Local News Articles

Joe Black Effort Asks County to Help Form Coalition to Address Issue of Abandoned Animals

October 19, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

Members of the Joe Black Effort met with County Mayor Mike Foster and the County Commission Thursday night at the county complex to address the issue of abandoned and abused animals.

Rene Stufano asked the commissioners to help form a coalition to deal with the problem on a county-wide basis. "From our standpoint it isn't Smithville's problem. It's a county problem," said Stufano. "I think its important to come up with some kind of agreement with the county, with the city of Smithville, with the city of Alexandria, and with Dowelltown, and Liberty. The way I see it right now, everything is being dumped on the Smithville pound, which is a little closet, disgusting building with nothing good to say about it. I really feel like DeKalb County can do better than that. The animals go there. They're fed. They can keep them (animals) two days and wait for them to be claimed and then be euthanized. That is not acceptable for me or for a lot of other people," said Stufano.

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M2U00856 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

The Joe Black Effort is offering a temporary solution, according to Stufano, to have their volunteers at the dog pound to care for the animals and keep the area clean and safe until they can be moved out or someone adopts them. Stufano said all volunteers will sign a disclaimer holding no one responsible for any injury that may occur. "In the few months that we've been running, we have more than 50 members. We have 30 foster homes right now with animals in them. We're accommodating 100 animals," said Stufano. "We've been taking care of their medical needs. Dr. Burke, Dr. Wheeler, and Dr. Little are all working with us. We charge a little bit of an adoption fee. We're doing fundraisers so that we can pay our medical bills. Our goal is to have our own rescue. We'd like to get a no kill shelter. I am aware that there are times animals have to be euthanized. But its not appropriate for every animal. I would like to see us create a DeKalb Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals. Members of the coalition need to be the mayors, the commissioners, aldermen, the people who run all the cities and the county, and the veterinarians. The Joe Black Effort volunteers would like to offer a temporary solution. We would like to sign a waiver. (City attorney) Vester Parsley would write that up so that the county is not responsible. The city is not responsible. If something happens to the pound we're (Joe Black Effort) not responsible and to allow our volunteers to temporarily assist in the treatment of the animals that come into the pound. We are willing to take care of their medical needs and take them out and put them in the Joe Black program. If they need to be euthanized then we can have that done. A permanent solution would be to have a building and a real rescue. I think to have a real shelter, something nice and clean, have an adoption center, having the animals taken care of, would really uplift our county. I think the less animals we see on the streets, the better," said Stufano.

The county commissioners made no commitment Thursday night, other than to suggest a meeting of the county's agriculture/animal control committee to explore the issue further. County Mayor Foster advised the Joe Black Effort to continue working on obtaining its 501(c) 3 non-profit status and to be patient with the county, saying that the problem is not one that could not be solved overnight.

In an email Friday morning, Stufano wrote. "Last nights meeting went well. We had good representation, all three veterinarians were there. Basically we introduced the idea of a new rescue and also the idea that this is a county wide issue. The poor solution that is in place now is antiquated, inadequate and needs to be torched. We talked about a coalition and doing something as a county. The county has really dumped this issue on the city and rationalized it by saying the city has more of a problem because it has a denser population. As we all know animals are dumped all over the county so that argument doesn't hold water," she wrote.

The Joe Black Effort will host a community meeting Tuesday, Oct. 23rd at 6:00 p.m. at the county complex auditorium to give the public an opportunity to discuss solutions for the animals and to present the idea of a DeKalb County Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals. Everyone is invited to attend.

Changes Coming to Alexandria Post Office

October 18, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Alexandria Post Office

In a move to cut costs, the U.S. Postal Service is looking to reduce hours of operation at the Alexandria Post Office within a few weeks. Meanwhile, three carriers, who will continue to serve Alexandria postal customers, are to be reassigned to work out of the Watertown Post Office as of November 3.

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The postal service has scheduled a community meeting for Thursday, November 1 at 4:00 p.m. to discuss the proposals with the public at the Alexandria Post Office. "This whole plan is called the POST Plan," said David Walton, spokesman for the Tennessee District of the U.S. Postal Service in an interview with WJLE Thursday. "We're not looking to close this post office. We're looking to reduce the retail hours there within a month but we are going to be relocating the carriers on November 3. That is another cost savings. The post offices where we are holding community meetings first, those are post offices that have vacancies, meaning there is no current sitting postmaster there. Alexandria happens to be an office where we currently don't have a postmaster. That's why its one of the first to have a community meeting," said Walton.

The Alexandria Post Office is among 13,000 across the country targeted for cuts. "We are looking at about 13,000 rural post offices across the country," said Walton. "We are conducting community meetings over the next couple of years. This will go on through September 2014. Because the postal service gets no tax dollars, which a lot of people don't seem to realize, we have to do what we can to help our financial situation right now. Originally we had planned to close post offices but we got such a push back from communities. They did not want their post offices to close so we came up with a new strategy. It preserves our rural post offices but it also enables us to cut costs by reducing the number of hours of operation at those locations," he said.

Alexandria postal customers began receiving surveys in September outlining four different options for the Alexandria Post Office. Walton said the postal service wants input from the public before making a final decision. "Before we hold any community meetings, we send out a survey to customers two weeks prior. It gives them four choices on how they would like to proceed. We ask that customers fill out these surveys and send them back into us so that we can present the results of that survey at the community meeting. The survey that customers receive will give them four choices. One of the choices would be to keep the post office open but at reduced hours. Currently the Alexandria Post Office is open eight hours. We're looking to take that down to six hours of window service each weekday. Current Saturday window service hours and access to delivery receptacles would not change. Another option would be to discontinue service at that office altogether and provide customers with roadside mailbox delivery. A third option would be to close the office and have customers to get post office services from another nearby post office. The fourth option would be to close the post office and open a village post office, which is similar to a post office but its located within an existing business and would offer more of our popular products such as Forever stamps, pre-paid priority mail, post office boxes, and we would accept mail there as well. These are the four choices and whichever choice we get the most votes for that is the decision. That's how it will end up. If people want to keep their post office open but with reduced hours and at least sixty percent of the community members want that then that's the route we will go," said Walton.

"After the community meeting is held, one week later we will post the decision at the Alexandria post office facility and if it is to reduce the hours that would go into effect thirty days after that," said Walton. " The implementation at Alexandria would occur no sooner than January 12. Again, the reason we're having these community meetings is to get input from the people who use the post office. We're not just going to make these decisions. We want input from them because they are the ones that are our customers. They use the post office so we want them to have a say in it," he said.

"Another thing we're doing in Alexandria right now is something called Delivery Unit Optimization(DUO)," said Walton. "What that means is we will relocate our carriers to another office. There will be three employees who will move to Watertown. They will not be losing their jobs, they're just going to be working out of another location. Its more of a centralized hub. Our competitors, both Federal Express and UPS, they already have this concept in place. We're just following suit. It does really add up to a lot of cost savings. So say you had three or four offices and we took all those carriers out of those offices and relocated them in a centralized location, that saves us a considerable amount of money and fuel costs. So rather than our trucks having to go each individual office, they can just make one stop and then our carriers will deliver the mail the rest of the way. I know it worries people when we do a DUO because they think their post office is going to close but that's not the case. Again, I have to reiterate, the postal service doesn't get any tax dollars so its important that we watch our costs just like any other business or organization," said Walton.

In May, the postal service announced that daily retail hours of the Alexandria, Liberty, and Dowelltown Post Offices would eventually be reduced. The Smithville Post Office was not among those listed for reduced hours. No specific plans have yet been released for the Liberty and Dowelltown locations.

Grading Changes Could Keep Some Students from Getting HOPE Scholarships

October 18, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby
Charles Robinson

Parents counting on a state scholarship to help pay their children's college tuition need to keep a sharp eye on report cards, because some school districts' versions, including DeKalb County, may conflict with what HOPE Scholarship officials actually see. The difference is created by the common practice of giving additional weight — or points — to grades earned in more rigorous honors and Advanced Placement classes. That conflicts with requirements of the state's uniform grading policy, which sticks to a 4.0 scale.

Misunderstandings can occur due to differing GPA scales between school districts and the state. A county's weighted scale allows honors students and AP students to receive extra points for taking more difficult classes. The HOPE Scholarship, funded by the state lottery, awards students with a 3.0 or higher on the uniform scale (4.0) or a 21 or higher on the ACT. The scholarship allows up to $6,000 per year at an eligible four-year postsecondary institution or a two-year eligible postsecondary institution that offers on-campus housing.

The issue was discussed last week during the school board meeting. Board member Charles Robinson brought up the subject, referring to an article he read recently in the Tennessean quoting state officials urging parents across the state to make sure they understand the grading standards in regard to their children qualifying for a Hope Scholarship. "I know that we changed our grading to put more weight to certain dual enrollments and advanced placements but the state of Tennessee goes with a different grading scale compared with what we do now so some of these parents may be caught off guard when you have the state looking at it (recognizing a grading standard) and you have the school providing an inflated grade. As a result some of these kids could be kicked out the Lottery Hope Scholarship program. Dr. Gary Nixon of the State School Board recommended that parents start looking at their children's grades or report cards in the sophomore year. There is another avenue that you can take to get the HOPE scholarship and that the ACT test," said Robinson

"If you're taking an AP class (DeKalb County) and your grade is a 90, you get a 95," said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. But when you come into the lottery scholarship to qualify, I don't believe they recognize the 95 grade. They recognize the 90," he said. "The reason we're doing this grading standard the way we're doing it now is because AP students are in a much more difficult class than your non AP or non honors class, therefore those students are getting extra points for that. But we do have to make sure everybody knows how the lottery scholarship is going to count that," said Director Willoughby.

Another reason the extra points were added was an incentive for the students to take the higher level classes because we had a low ratio of enrollment in those classes," said Gina Arnold, Supervisor of Special Education. " We also know that when they do take those higher level classes, it does boost their ACT score so by taking the class they are much more likely to have a higher ACT score and qualify for the HOPE scholarship on that basis. So it was a local initiative to get the kids to take the more difficult classes. It wasn't at the expense of them not qualifying for the HOPE scholarship because it would improve their chances of qualifying based on the ACT scores," said Arnold.

Dr. Gary Nixon, Executive Director of Tennessee State Board of Education, in previous published remarks had said, "The differing GPA seems to be causing some confusion, but I am not sure to what degree that it is a problem because there are no facts, but it seems to be more of a local issue rather than a state issue. I would encourage districts to leave no room for misinterpretation," he said.

Big Turnout For First Day of Early Voting

October 17, 2012
Big Turnout For First Day of Early Voting

DeKalb County voters turned in a strong showing at the polls Wednesday, the first day of early voting for the November 6 election. A total of 251 county voters cast their ballots Wednesday (185 in person with 66 in absentees).

"Early voting is a flexible and convenient option for many voters," said Administrator of Election Dennis Stanley. "It is my hope that voters will continue to take advantage of this opportunity over the next two weeks."

Early voting will continue through Thursday, November 1 and the hours today are 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the courthouse in Smithville. Voters with questions regarding the locations and hours of early voting are encouraged to contact the DeKalb County Election Commission at 597-4146 for more information.

District Attorney Randy York Announces New Anti-Drug Campaign

October 17, 2012
Randy York

District Attorney Randy York and fellow Tennessee district attorneys have kicked off a statewide campaign to fight the rising rates of prescription medication and synthetic drug abuse among Tennessee’s youth. The campaign is called Deceptive Danger, because Tennessee’s youth is deceived into thinking that any substance prescribed by a doctor or purchased in a convenience store is safe. Campaign materials include a new educational DVD, two posters and a brochure. In addition, the district attorneys will be making presentations and distributing the materials to public middle and high schools across the state, supported by a partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education.

The Deceptive Danger campaign follows an increase in prescription medication and synthetic drug abuse in Tennessee. The rise in prescription drug abuse prompted law enforcement to focus their attention on fraudulent prescriptions, the operations of pain management clinics or “pill mills,” and those dealing prescription medications illegally.

Tennessee lawmakers enacted stricter and more specific laws earlier this year dealing with synthetic drug use as well. The new laws make the sale and use of all synthetic drugs illegal. Previously, synthetics manufacturers were continuously skirting the law by changing the chemical composition of the synthetic drugs. The unknown composition of synthetic drugs makes them especially dangerous, and their effects are unpredictable. Deceptive Danger complements these law enforcement and legislative actions with increased public awareness.

“The selling of synthetic drugs and the abuse of prescription medications are problems in our district and the state of Tennessee,” said General York. “The goal of the Deceptive Danger campaign is to educate Tennesseans on these issues, and to eliminate these dangers from our state.”

The Deceptive Danger DVD shows real Tennesseans fighting through potentially deadly addictions to prescription medications and synthetic drugs. Their stories reveal how devastating these addictions are. The video contains information about the dangers of prescription medication and synthetic drug abuse and the legal consequences of using and selling these substances.

“Prescription medication and synthetic drug abuse is a growing problem in Tennessee, and one that we must curb as quickly as possible,” said Guy Jones, deputy director of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference. “The Deceptive Danger campaign gives our DAs a chance to show young Tennesseans the repercussions of using these drugs that may appear relatively harmless to them at first. Everyone needs to know these drugs are very dangerous.”

For more information about Deceptive Danger or to schedule a presentation for your school or organization, please contact General Randy York at (931) 528-5015.

About Deceptive Danger

Deceptive Danger is a prescription and synthetic drug use education campaign organized by the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference in 2012. It is designed to inform young Tennesseans of the dangers of these drugs before they face dire consequences. This campaign includes an educational Deceptive Danger DVD, a poster focused on prescription drugs, a poster focused on synthetic drugs, and a brochure covering both prescription and synthetic drug use and the legal consequences. For more information about Deceptive Danger, visit www.tndagc.org.

DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club Participates in Emergency Exercise – “Winter Storm 2012”

October 17, 2012
by: 
William Freddy Curtis
KD4WFE-Clarence Gilley and KG4IKT – Jeff Estal
W4ODB – David Brown -Portable Amateur Radio Setup
N4WJT – Billy Hooper- Portable Amateur Radio Setup

Members of the DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club participated in an emergency exercise on Saturday, October 6th, 2012. The Simulated Emergency Test exercise was titled “Winter Storm 2012.” The drill was conducted in association with DeKalb & Cannon County EMAs. The exercise scenario was a Winter Storm entered Tennessee from the West near Memphis and moved into Middle Tennessee West of Nashville by noon on Saturday. The storm shut down all major Interstates and Highways across West Tennessee and Middle Tennessee. There was major widespread Power Outages across West and Middle Tennessee during the next several hours which included Cannon and DeKalb counties.

Local Amateur Radio Operators utilized local radio repeaters and then utilized their emergency skills for stations in point-to-point contact. Portable High Frequency and VHF/UHF stations and antenna systems were constructed, evaluated for performance, and deployed at several locations including DeKalb West School, Woodland School, and atop Short Mountain. Emergency Amateur Radio stations at Cannon County High School, DeKalb Community Hospital, and Stones’ River Hospital were also activated and evaluated for effectiveness.

The Amateur Radio station at the DeKalb County Emergency Operations Center located at the Smithville Fire Hall was the Command Center for the exercise.

Communications were sent to the State Emergency Operations Center at TEMA in Nashville, Tennessee via wireless computer-radio access. These messages relayed the latest emergency status in DeKalb and Cannon Counties. This involved the following process: Messages were sent from either the DeKalb EOC or a mobile station setup atop Short Mountain. It was transmitted by HF radio to an automated station in another part of the U.S., outside the local simulated disaster area. It then went via one of five hardened servers located worldwide (for redundancy), and then into the regular Internet, to be delivered via e-mail anywhere that e-mail is available. Thus, if the Internet were down locally or even regionally, by using the Winlink 2000 system, we would still have some e-mail capabilities. This is in addition to and separate from the usual local and area VHF/UHF operations.

A total of 14 Amateur Radio Operators from throughout Middle Tennessee checked into the emergency radio network. Local amateur repeaters were utilized, as well as, VHF/UHF and High Frequency point-to-point contact. Those local DeKalb /Cannon County Amateur Radio Operators involved in the exercise included W3HKG – Bob Mitchell, N4WJT – Billy Hooper, KD4WFE – Clarence Gilley, N4LZY - Jerry Elkins, KK4GBO – James Young, AC4QP – Buck Barton, KG4IKT – Jeff Estal, W4ODB – David Brown, KK4JUO – Wade Campbell, NN9J – Steve Kujawski , NF9G – Kathy Kujawski, and KC4GUG – Freddy Curtis - DeKalb & Cannon County Amateur Radio Emergency Coordinator. Additional stations checking into the radio network were KD4WX – John O’Conner ARRL – ARES District 6 Emergency Coordinator, KK4ISW – Dallas Rife of Shelbyville, and WB4CWS – Gary George of McMinnville.

The club would like to thank DeKalb County Emergency Management Director Charlie Parker, Faye Morse – Cannon County EMA Director, DeKalb Community Hospital, and Stones’ River Hospital for their support of local participation in this annual state-wide exercise.

The DeKalb County Amateur Radio Club is an organization of Amateur Radio operators from DeKalb/Cannon and Surrounding Counties and is an affiliated club of the American Radio Relay League. The next club meeting will be on Thursday, October 25th, 2012 - 6:30 PM at the DeKalb County Complex, 722 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville. Any person interested in Amateur Radio is invited to attend.

Picture Captions:

Picture 1
KD4WFE – Clarence Gilley and KG4IKT – Jeff Estal - Portable Amateur Radio Setup atop a very foggy Short Mountain at the SET Exercise on Saturday, October 6th, 2012.

Picture 2
W4ODB – David Brown – Portable Amateur Radio Setup in a portable trailer at Woodland School in southern Cannon County, TN.

Picture 3
N4WJT – Billy Hooper – Portable Amateur Radio Setup under the pavilion at DeKalb West School in Liberty, TN.

Early Voting Begins Wednesday, Election Officials Expecting Good Turnout

October 16, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Barack Obama
Mitt Romney

Early voting begins Wednesday, October 17 for the November 6 balloting and based on the recent rate of new voter registrations, turnout could be heavy for this election.

"There has been a tremendous amount of interest in this particular election," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. "Since the August election, we have registered over three hundred new voters. That may not sound like a lot but it is a lot for a county this size in a period of time that short. So we know there is going to be heavy interest. In fact, in the Presidential election in 2008 over seven thousand votes were cast here during that race. That included early voting and election day. We hope that to avoid possible long lines on election day, people will come out and vote early," he said.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW SAMPLE BALLOT)
Sample Ballot

Stanley said the schedule of early voting for this election offers a variety of times to make it as convenient as possible for the voters. "Early voting will start October 17 and run through November 1. There are various times for early voting. All early voting is being done on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse. The hours for early voting on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.; on Mondays from noon until 5:00 p.m.; on Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; and on Saturdays 9:00 a.m. until noon. This gives voters a variety of times to choose to come and vote. We have three or four days of mid morning voting and two days of afternoon voting so this should be ample opportunity for voters who work during the day or who work out of town to get here and vote during one of those time periods including Saturday morning. We hope that people will vote early," said Stanley.

Remember to make sure your address is correct on your voter card before election day. "We're going to have a lot of voters this time that probably have not voted in an election or two and they may have moved," said Stanley. "The best way to handle that is to come and vote early. If you come and vote early we can change your address right here and then there is not a major problem. If you wait until election day, you may end up going to two different precincts because your voter card may say you vote at DeKalb Middle School but you moved and didn't tell us and didn't get a new card so you may have to go to the county complex or somewhere else to vote. You may have to go to two places. So look at your voter card. See where your precinct is and see what the address is on that voter card. If that is not your current address you need to contact us. The best way to solve that problem is to come by our office and fill out a new voter registration card with the new address or come and vote early. We can do everything then. If you wait til election day, you may be going to two different places," said Stanley.

Remember voters at the polls must show a valid state or federal-government issued photo I.D. to vote. For more information call the election commission office at 597-4146 or visit www.dekalbelections.com. Tweet at http://twitter.com/dekalbelect

Sample ballots are available for voters who want to see how the ballot is laid out ahead of time. "There will be a sample ballot on the wall of the courthouse during the early voting period," said Stanley. "There will be sample ballots at the voting precincts on election day. If you would like to see a sample ballot in advance we have one on our website at www.dekalbelections.com. WJLE has used the sample ballot on their website before so there are ways to look at the races. Also just remember, depending upon where you live, depends on whether or not you will vote in the liquor referendum and depending on where you live will depend on whether or not you vote for a state representative in district 40 or district 46," said Stanley.

DeKalb County voters may cast ballots for President of the United States, a U.S. Senator of Tennessee, U.S. Representative of the Sixth Congressional District, and State Representatives of the 40th & 46th districts. City of Smithville voters will also decide the outcome of a liquor referendum.

In the Presidential race, the ballot includes:
Electors for Mitt Romney for President and Paul Ryan for Vice President (Republican Nominee)
Electors for Barack Obama for President and Joe Biden for Vice President (Democratic Nominee)
Electors for Virgil Goode for President and Jim Clymer for Vice President (Constitution Party Nominee)
Electors for Jill Stein for President and Cheri Honkala for Vice President (Green Party Nominee)
Electors for Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson for President and Luis J. Rodriguez for Vice President (Independent Candidate)
Electors for Gary Johnson for President and James P. Gray for Vice President (Independent Candidate)
Electors for Merlin Miller for President and Virginia D. Abernethy for Vice President (Independent Candidate)

Candidates for the U.S. Senate are:
Bob Corker (Republican Nominee)
Mark E. Clayton (Democratic Nominee)
Kermit Steck (Constitution Party Nominee)
Martin Pleasant (Green Party Nominee)
Shaun E. Crowell ( Independent Candidate)
David Gatchell (Independent Candidate)
James Higdon (Independent Candidate)
Michel Joseph Long (Independent Candidate)
Troy Stephen Scoggin (Independent Candidate)

U.S. House of Representatives (6th Congressional District)
Diane Black (Republican Nominee)
Pat Riley (Green Party Nominee)
Scott Beasley ( Independent Candidate)

Tennessee House of Representatives (40th District)
Terri Lynn Weaver (Republican Nominee)
Sarah Marie Smith (Democratic Nominee)

Tennessee House of Representatives (46th District)
Mark A. Pody (Republican Nominee)

City of Smithville
Liquor Referendum
"To permit retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in the City of Smithville"

"Not to permit retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in the City of Smithville"

Smithville Property Rights Voters To Cast Absentee Ballots in City Liquor Referendum

October 16, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley

Smithville property rights voters wishing to vote in the city liquor referendum and who have not received an absentee request should contact the DeKalb County Election Commission Office.

While registered voters who live inside the corporate city limits may vote in the referendum either by machine on election day or during early voting, city property rights voters may only vote in the referendum by absentee ballot. However, those voters may still come to the polls to cast ballots in the Presidential race and other offices in the November 6 election.

"If you are a resident of the city, (a registered voter living inside the city limits) you can vote in that referendum issue on machine either during early voting or election day," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. "If you are a property rights voter for Smithville, the only way you can vote in the referendum is by absentee. That's a paper ballot
by mail," he said.

Smithville aldermen recently adopted an ordinance addressing this issue only for this election hoping to make the process go smoother. " If you recall sometime ago the City of Smithville adopted an ordinance that for this election only property rights voters would have to vote in the liquor referendum by absentee," said Stanley. "That eliminates a voter
who waits until election day from having to go to two precincts. For example, someone may be voting for President at their residential precinct at Blue Springs but their property being in Smithville, they would have to come to town and vote. So we eliminated that issue when the city board adopted that ordinance. Remember, if you are a property rights voter, you only vote in the referendum by absentee," he said.

Stanley stressed that while eligible city property rights voters may only vote by absentee for the liquor referendum, they may still vote by machine for candidates listed on the ballot. " This has no impact whatsoever on your normal election voting," said Stanley. "What I mean by that is you still vote for President, U.S. Congress, and State Representative at the
place of your normal county voting or you can come to the courthouse and vote early on the machine. The only issue is if you are a property rights voter and you want to vote in the referendum you have to do that by absentee," he said.

City property rights voters should have already received their absentee applications by mail. "We mailed out absentee requests to all the property rights voters that we have registered," said Stanley. "We hope that we mailed them out to the correct address. If you did not get an application to vote in the referendum and you are a property rights voter, let us know and we will get you one and once we get that back we will get you the ballot. The ballot you receive for property rights voters is only for the referendum. The Presidential election and all the other races are not on that ballot,' he said.

Remember voters at the polls must show a valid state or federal-government issued photo I.D. to vote. For more information call the election commission office at 597-4146 or visit www.dekalbelections.com. Tweet at http://twitter.com/dekalbelect

Former NFL player Michael Cobb Addresses Student Athletes at DCHS

October 16, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Former NFL Player Michael Cobb Signs Autographs at DCHS
Former NFL player Michael Cobb Addresses Student Athletes at DCHS
Former NFL player Michael Cobb Visits DCHS

Former Michigan State University and NFL player Michael Cobb visited DeKalb County High School Tuesday morning where he addressed a group of local student athletes, coaches, teachers and sports enthusiasts.

These days, Cobb is busy throwing out ideas to help young people make positive choices.

Cobb was an All-City football and basketball player while growing up in Youngstown, Ohio. He was All Big-10 in 1975 and '76 while playing football at Michigan State.

Cobb (6-foot-5, 244 pounds) was a first-round draft pick (22nd overall) of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1977 and went on to play four other seasons with the Chicago Bears. He also played in the United States Football League (1983-84), where he led the Michigan Panthers with 62 catches and helped win the first-ever USFL championship. He also played for the Birmingham Stallions before retiring when the USFL folded after the 1985 season.

"We have to be very, very careful of who we listen to and who we respond to," said Cobb, who said he was led astray by his aunt in his childhood days. "For some reason, I had the wisdom enough to realize that I needed to listen to people that really cared about me and not the people that were trying to lead me in the wrong direction.

"It was a combination of events that made me see the light."

Cobb has been to more than 3,000 schools and talked to over 1 million students.

"I'm just reinforcing things kids have already heard or are starting to tune out," said Cobb, who has been touring the country for more than 25 years. "It never gets old.

"I change my talk when I speak to older groups, but the truth is universal. People are seeking the truth and when they hear it, 90 percent respond."

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver joined Cobb on his visit to DCHS and at other schools in her district.

Four Arrested on Burglary and or Theft Charges

October 15, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joel Thomas Hayes
Ryan Lee Walden
Daniel Ray Page
David Tyler Hutchins
James Frederick Summers

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested four men last week on recent burglary and or theft charges.

In the first case, 34 year old Joel Thomas Hayes of Bobby Hayes Road, Dowelltown and 28 year old Ryan Lee Walden of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown were charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Bond for each is $10,000 and they will be in court on October 25. They were arrested on October 12.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, October 4, Hayes and Walden allegedly broke into an outbuilding on Dale Ridge Road by cutting a lock off the front door. They allegedly stole a welding tank and cart, a chainsaw, tackle box, water tank, a battery charger, windows, and several other items all valued at over $1,000.

The case was investigated by criminal detectives of the sheriff's department.

In the second case, 35 year old Daniel Ray Page of Highland Road, Rock Island was charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court October 25. Page was arrested on October 12.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, October 5, Page allegedly stole from property on the Cookeville Highway, a file box and a freezer, valued at less than $500, and sold those items to a recycling center.

In the third case, 18 year old David Tyler Hutchins of Woodbury Highway, Liberty was charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on November 29.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, October 12, 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.

Meanwhile, 34 year old James Frederick Summers of Toad Road, Dowelltown is charged with a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. He also has two capias warrants against him for failure to appear. His bond totals $16,000 but he is being held without bond on one of the failure to appear warrants. His court appearances are set for October 25 and November 14.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, October 10 a drug detective spotted Summers operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70. Having prior knowledge that Summers' license were revoked, the officer stopped Summers' vehicle. The drug detective received consent to search and found a 44 magnum handgun under the driver's seat along with four rounds of ammo. A computer check confirmed that Summers' license were revoked for DUI and other prior offenses. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

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