Local News Articles

Third District to Have New Voting Location

January 14, 2014
Dwayne Page
Smithville Church of God Fellowship Hall

Voters in the third district will have a new voting location this year.

The DeKalb County Election Commission voted Monday night to move the voting precinct from the Middle School to the Smithville Church of God Fellowship Hall on West Broad Street in Smithville.

The move means no school will be used for voting, freeing up the facilities for school days or teacher training. Voting was moved from Smithville Elementary School two years ago when the DeKalb County Complex opened on South Congress Boulevard.

“We have been looking to move this precinct for some time due to conflicts with the school system and due to safety issues," said Walteen Parker, Election Commission Chairman. “We want to thank Pastor Jeff Armstrong and the Church for agreeing to allow the facility to be used for voting.”

“We also want to thank the local school system for allowing us to use the various schools throughout the past years," Parker added. “School system personnel worked with us in securing the site and for that we are appreciative.”

The move becomes effective with the upcoming May primary elections.

In the coming weeks the election commission will mail letters to active voters in the district notifying them of the change.

Discovery of One Dead and Two Malnourished Dogs Results in Arrest of Local Man

January 13, 2014
Dwayne Page
Roy Wilkey, Jr.
Michael Odell Bly
Kelli Rae Bullard
Shawn Michael Giddens
Killian Blake Ellis
Martha Shelyane Silcox

A Smithville man has been charged with animal abuse after two malnourished dogs and a dead canine were found on his property.

47 year old Roy Wilkey, Jr. of South College Street, Smithville is under a $1,500 bond and he will be in court January 16. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Christmas Day, a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Poplar Street to do a welfare check on dogs. Upon arrival, the officer found three dogs, two living and one that was dead. One of the canines was chained to a push mower and could not get to his water dish nor his dog house. No dog food could be found on the premises and the animals appeared to be very malnourished. The homeowner said the dogs had been in this condition for about a month.

Meanwhile, 37 year old Michael Odell Bly of Bell Street, Smithville is charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, January 11 a deputy went to Bell Street Apartments in an attempt to serve an arrest warrant on Bly for violation of parole. The homeowner gave consent to a search and in a back bedroom the officer found a black bag containing a one pot cook bottle, tubing, coffee filters, and lighter fluid. In the bathroom, the deputy found a Mason jar that contained Coleman fuel. The search also turned up a two liter bottle with muriatic acid in the wood line behind the residence. According to Sheriff Ray, Bly was found to be in possession of the black bag which contained the meth lab components. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. His bond is $50,000 on the meth charge. He is being held without bond for the parole violation. Bly will be in court on February 19.

44 year old Kelli Rae Bullard of Holmes Creek Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicant. She was also issued a citation for failure to maintain a lane of travel. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court February 19. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 12, a deputy received a call of a possible drunk driver on Highway 56 north. The car was a dark colored sedan. The officer spotted the car and observed it crossing the yellow center line and the white line of the highway. He initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle and found the driver to be Bullard. She submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Bullard also submitted to a blood test. She was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

27 year old Shawn Michael Giddens of Spencer is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on January 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, January 11 as an officer was working a wreck on the Sparta Highway, Giddens came up demanding a ride to Spencer. He was very unsteady on his feet and he had a strong smell of alcohol on his person. He refused to sit in the car or call someone else to pick him up. Due to his level of intoxication, Giddens was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

20 year old Killian Blake Ellis of New Hope Road, Alexandria is charged with domestic assault, vandalism over $500, and theft of property under $500. He was further issued a citation for driving on a suspended license. Ellis' bond totals $9,000 and he will be in court on January 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 12 a deputy responded to Prichard's Foods in Alexandria after a woman called central dispatch, saying she needed a police officer. Before any further information could be obtained, the phone disconnected. The deputy and an Alexandria Police Officer pulled over two vehicles on Highway 53, one driven by the woman who placed the call and another behind her, driven by Ellis. After speaking to both persons, officers determined that a domestic incident had occurred between Ellis and the woman. According to Sheriff Ray, Ellis took the woman's phone from her and jumped on the hood of her car as she was trying to get away from him. A similar incident occurred on December 19 in which the woman phoned 911 to report that Ellis was preventing her from leaving on that occasion.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray said that Ellis's vandalism and theft charges are the result of an incident with a vending machine at Prichard's Foods in Alexandria on December 15th. According to Sheriff Ray, Ellis vandalized a Cola Cola machine by using a pry bar, causing $1,000 worth of damage. After breaking into the drink machine, Ellis allegedly took $50 worth of coins.

Another person is also charged with Ellis in the incident with the drink machine. 36 year old Martha Shelyane Silcox of Carthage is charged with vandalism over $500 and theft of property under $500. Her bond is $6,500 and she will be in court January 16. Sheriff Ray said Silcox was the driver of the vehicle who dropped off Ellis and then picked him up after he broke into the drink machine.

Flu Bug Biting Hard

January 13, 2014
Dwayne Page
Michiko Martin

Health officials in DeKalb County are urging more people to get vaccinations for the flu after at least 12 people in Middle Tennessee have died from complications of the virus so far this season.

Nine people from Nashville and its surrounding counties have died while three deaths have been reported in the Upper Cumberland region.

Free vaccines are currently available at the DeKalb County Health Department. Anyone interested should call in advance at 597-7590. Flu vaccines are also available for a fee at local pharmacies. The Family Medical Center currently has a few of the FluMist still available.

More than three hundred fifty people have been tested for the flu at the Family Medical Center and almost one hundred cases have been confirmed, according to Office Manager Michiko Martin in a statement released to WJLE Monday. "Since October 1st, we have performed 352 flu tests. Eighty five have been positive for Type A and 13 have been positive for Type B. But, there have been others who have tested negative, yet had all of the symptoms of the flu, and they were treated accordingly," said Martin.

If you think you have the flu, Martin urges you to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. "Most insurances require a positive flu test before they will pay for Tamiflu and it (Tamiflu) is only effective if given within 48 hours of onset of symptoms," she said.

Martin offers some tips to help you guard against the flu virus. "The best thing you can do to prevent the flu is to: (1) Get a flu vaccine when available (it takes up to 2 weeks to get into your system); (2) have good hand washing practices; (3) cover coughs and sneezes (use tissues or masks, if available); and (4) avoid crowded situations".

"We highly advocate getting the flu vaccine," said Martin. "People die from the flu not the vaccine. You cannot get sick from the vaccine; it is a dead virus. If someone gets sick after having the vaccine, then they had already been exposed to the flu (it takes 2 weeks to get into your system). The FluMist is a live-attenuated virus (which means that you can have some mild flu-like symptoms), but it is only given to healthy individuals 2 – 49 years of age. There are vaccines designed for the very young (6 months) and the elderly (65+). There are traditional vaccines which cover 3 strains of the flu virus and the newer quadrivalent vaccine which covers 4 strains. There is the FluMist for healthy individuals that do not like shots. There is also an intradermal version that is given much like a TB skin test (right under the skin). We currently have a few doses of FluMist available. We have given over 4200 flu vaccines this year. We started giving them as soon as they came in, but were not able to give them to Medicare patients until October 1 because Medicare would not pay for the vaccine until then. Most insurances will cover the vaccine, but people may have to check their individual coverages to know for sure," said Martin.

The predominant flu virus in circulation this year is H1N1, which first emerged in 2009. In Tennessee, 15 deaths among people younger than 18 occurred during the 2009-10 season, which compares with two or three deaths during a typical flu season, state health officials have said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months or older, with rare exceptions, should get vaccinated for the flu.

Influenza Symptoms
Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

•Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
•Sore throat
•Runny or stuffy nose
•Muscle or body aches
•Fatigue (tiredness)
•Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Flu Complications
Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death.
Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections are examples of complications from flu. The flu can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu.

People at Higher Risk from Flu
Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

Flu Severity
Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things, including:
•what flu viruses are spreading,
•how much flu vaccine is available,
•when vaccine is available,
•how many people get vaccinated, and
•how well the flu vaccine is matched to flu viruses that are causing illness.
•Person to Person
•People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

•To avoid this, people should stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. It also is important to wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately. Further, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.

•The Flu Is Contagious
•Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older.

STEM mobile Learning Laboratory Comes to DeKalb West School

January 13, 2014
Dwayne Page
STEMmobile Learning Laboratory Comes to DeKalb West School
DWS Teacher Tammy Payne and 6th grader Dallas Cook
Assistant DWS Principal Sabrina Farler with Sebastian Tarango
Teacher Tammy Payne and students follow steps shown on screen
Sixth graders Haley Dies and Dallas Cook at STEM mobile

Getting children excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM subjects) can be a challenge for any teacher but DeKalb West School has a new tool this week to ignite students' interest: the STEM mobile.

The STEM mobile is at DeKalb West School Monday through Friday, January 13-18. It will be open to the public on Saturday, January 18 from noon until 1:30 p.m. at DeKalb West. Everyone is invited to attend.

The STEM mobile is a mobile learning laboratory that provides a unique, on-site educational experience for grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade; however, this year the focus is on grades 2-8. This mobile classroom brings much-needed technology to the doorsteps of DeKalb West, and the students have access to state-of-the-art equipment to help them to promote STEM learning in creative and hands-on ways.

In a demonstration for WJLE Monday, sixth grade teacher Tammy Payne and assistant DWS principal Sabrina Farler showed sixth graders Dallas Cook, Haley Dies, and Sebastian Tarango how to create a simple circuit using the hands-on technology available through the STEM mobile.

The STEM mobile is the product of the Oakley STEM Center and Tennessee Tech University as part of the Upper Cumberland Rural STEM Initiative, a grant project funded by Tennessee's First to the Top program. UCRSI is part of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, whose mission is to enhance student participation and interest in STEM subjects.

Housed in a 53-foot tractor-trailer with self-contained power, the STEM mobile has its own heating and cooling system, a satellite uplink for Internet connectivity and workstations to accommodate about 24 students at a time. This classroom on wheels is stocked with equipment from the Oakley STEM Center, TTU, and includes equipment and supplies for activities for each grade level. Materials are on board and ready to go for grade levels.

The STEM mobile is designed to help students learn more about three core STEM themes particularly relevant to rural students: *water, with a focus on its importance, usage and conservation;* energy, which highlights how power is generated, ways to lower consumption, green energy and long-term energy needs; and *my food, my body, my health, which help students learn more about agriculture, health, nutrition and physical fitness. You may visit www.ucrsi.org. for more information about the STEM mobile.

Eli Gill Wins Tiger Football MVP Award, McKenzie Poteete Claims MVC

January 13, 2014
Dwayne Page
Eli Gill and McKenzie Poteete
Senior Team Manager Sarah Edwards Receives Clay Edwards Memorial Award

Senior defensive lineman Eli Gill was named Most Valuable Player of the 2013 DeKalb County High School Football Team during the annual Awards Banquet held Saturday night at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center building. The awards were sponsored by Liberty State Bank

The MVP trophy was presented to Gill by Coach Steve Trapp. Gill helped lead the Tigers to an overall 6-5 record and another appearance in the state play-offs in 2013. It was the third consecutive year the Tigers earned a berth in the state play-offs and their fifth appearance in the last six years. The Tigers lost in the first round of the play-offs to Knoxville Catholic.

Gill is the son of Darrell and Beth Gill. Darrell won the Tiger MVP award after the 1987 season. They are apparently the only father and son to ever win the MVP at DCHS. Eli said he is honored to have been named MVP. " It's amazing. You can only get it once in your life. I am blessed to have this opportunity to have this award. It also means a whole lot to me that my dad and I are the first father and son to have the MVP award."

" He (Gill) has been a good football player for us," said Tiger Coach Steve Trapp. "He is a good kid on and off the field. Being a past MVP myself, it gives me great pride and honor each and every year to recognize a new DCHS MVP," said Coach Trapp.

Meanwhile, Senior and Captain McKenzie Poteete was named Most Valuable Cheerleader. The presentation was made by Cheer Coaches Amanda Fuller and Sonya House. "She is a very talented cheerleader, a very gifted dancer and a perfect student," said Fuller. "She is such a hard worker and gives 110% all the time. She has contributed so much to this squad over four years but I think her greatest contribution is that she has been a great role model. She has shown kindness and humility to each one of these cheerleaders. She puts them before herself. We have all been blessed by having her on our squad and I am truly going to miss seeing her cheering on our sidelines with her big smile," said Fuller.

Other individual Football Player Awards are as follows:
Offensive Player- Devonta Milan
Offensive Lineman- Cameron Rhea
Offensive Back- Steven Jennings
Receiver- Aaron Patterson
Defensive Player- Lane Ball
Defensive Lineman-Hunter Stone
Linebacker- Patrick Spare
Defensive Back-A.J. Mooneyham
Special Teams Player- Matthew Poss
Most Improved- Jonathon Munoz
MVP- Eli Gill
Coach Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award-Sarah Edwards (Senior Manager and daughter of the late Clay Edwards). The award was presented by Coach Steve Trapp and Sarah's brother Abram.

Individual Cheer Awards are as follows:
Best Stunts- Lexie Bates
Most Spirited-Elizabeth Mason
Best Jumps- Kaitlyn Roller
Best Dance-Carlee White
Most Improved- Grace Odom
Best Motions- MaKayla Redmon
MVC-McKenzie Poteete
DEAR (Dedication, Enthusiasm, Attitude, and Responsibility)-Brooke Martin

SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP:(SEATED) Hunter Stone, AJ Mooneyham, Sarah Edwards, Patrick Spare, Devonta Milan. BACK ROW: Cameron Rhea, Jonathon Munoz, Steven Jennings, Eli Gill, Aaron Patterson, Matthew Poss, Lane Ball.

THIRD PHOTO FROM THE TOP: Team manager Sarah Edwards receives "The Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award" named for her father. Pictured with her brother and mother, Abram and Tena Edwards and Coach Steve Trapp

BOTTOM PHOTO: Cheerleading Awards(FR) Carlee White-Dances, McKenzie Poteete-MVC, Kaitlyn Roller-Jumps (BR) Lexie Bates-Stunts, MaKayla Redmon- Motions, Brooke Martin-DEAR, Elizabeth Mason- Spirited, Grace Odom-Improved

Republican Candidates Announce for Public Offices During GOP Mass Meeting (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

January 11, 2014
Dwayne Page
Butch Agee for Road Supervisor
Chris Smithson for County Mayor
Mingy Bryant for General Sessions Judge
Sheriff Patrick Ray seeks Re-election
Trustee Sean Driver seeks Re-election
County Commission Candidates Bobby Joines, Jerry Adcock, and Mason Carter
Jennifer Winfree and Mae Beavers Present Plaque to Kenny Edge
Chris Tramel and Lee Plummer running for Vacant Constable Seats

The DeKalb County Republican Party may have as many as five candidates for county offices in the August General Election along with three candidates for the county commission and two candidates for vacant constable positions.

Members of the party met Saturday morning at the courthouse to select delegates to the DeKalb County Republican Party Convention and to give candidates an opportunity to announce their intentions.

In addition to Sheriff Patrick Ray and Trustee Sean Driver, who are each seeking their third terms, three other candidates announced for other offices during the mass meeting.

Butch Agee, local supervisor for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, asked for the party's nomination to run for DeKalb County Road Supervisor to succeed Kenny Edge, who is not seeking re-election.

Former County Commissioner Chris Smithson is seeking the Republican Party nomination for County Mayor while local attorney Mingy Bryant is looking to become the GOP candidate for General Sessions Judge.

Incumbent Republican County Commissioners Mason Carter in the first district, Bobby Joines in the second district, and Jerry Adcock in the fifth district also spoke during the mass meeting and asked for the party's nomination to run for re-election in August.

Two Republicans, Chris Tramel in the second district and Lee Plummer in the first district are seeking the party's nomination to run for vacant constable positions. Jonathan Low also announced plans to run for constable in the second district but he has already filed his qualifying petition with the election commission to run as an Independent. The terms of the vacant constable positions expire in 2016.

Republican candidates for offices in the 13th Judicial District also made announcements Saturday including Gary McKenzie of Putnam County for Criminal Court Judge Part I, Jonathan Young of Putnam County for Circuit Court Judge Part II, Wesley Bray of Putnam County for Criminal Court Judge Part I, Bryant Dunaway of Putnam County for District Attorney General, Shawn Fry of Putnam County for District Attorney General, and John Meadows of White County for District Public Defender. They will be seeking the Republican nomination for those offices in the May 6th GOP Primary in the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb and six other counties.

In making his announcement to run for Road Supervisor, Agee named members of his family and spoke of his qualifications for the job. "I would like to be your candidate for Road Supervisor. I am the son of the Johnnie Agee Taylor and the late Grady Agee. My step-father was C.B. Taylor. I have one sister, Wanda. I am married to the former Cynthia Cook of Alexandria. She is the daughter of Jean Cook and the late Buddy Cook. She has one brother. We live in Liberty and attend Salem Baptist Church. We have two sons, Josh and Joey. Josh is married to the former January Zaderiko and they have one daughter. Joey is married to the former Casey Bogle and they have two daughters. I have been with TDOT for seventeen years. I have been supervisor for thirteen years. I have had all kinds of training and certifications. I did get my certification from the Tennessee Highway Certification Board," he said.

Agee also praised Edge for the job he has done as Road Supervisor. " I'd like to say that Mr. Edge has done an excellent job and whoever gets this job, whether it be me or someone else, has some big shoes to fill," said Agee.

Smithson promised to run an office that would be open and transparent, if elected County Mayor. "I promise you'll have an open and transparent county government where anybody who wants to know what is happening can find out". Smithson also said he'd like to "keep our tax increases to a minimum."

In announcing her candidacy for General Sessions Judge, Bryant spoke of her family and educational background. "I am a resident of DeKalb County and have been since I was seventeen years old. I have a law practice here across the street from the jail. I am married to Chad Bryant. I am a Republican and so is he. I am running for General Sessions Judge of DeKalb County. I am here today asking you as delegates to choose me. I graduated from MTSU with a Bachelors Degree. I went to the Nashville School of Law where I achieved my Doctorate of Jurisprudence," she said.


Bryant also spoke of her convictions as to how a judge should serve. "I believe a judge should be neutral and to leave out all biases when they approach the bench. They should apply the laws fairly across the board no matter what station in life you come from. I believe if you're given a chance and the opportunity to be on probation and you violate that opportunity then you should serve the time that you did originally. I don't believe that people who violate probation or bond should be allowed to continue to run around on the streets. I believe our community and county should send a strong message to criminals that if you want to continue in your life of crime you should pick a new county because DeKalb County will not tolerate it," said Bryant.


In making a bid for another term, Sheriff Ray thanked the party faithful for their trust and confidence in him. "I consider it a true honor to be able to work as your Sheriff. I want to thank you for your support and the confidence that you've shown me, not only at election time but throughout my tenure thus far. Today, I ask for your continued support and trust by allowing me to be your candidate for the office of Sheriff. My pledge to you remains unchanged. I promise and commit myself to direct the Sheriff's Department with honesty, integrity, and in the professional manner that you expect and deserve. I humbly ask for your support for the nomination of Sheriff in the August General Election," he said.

Trustee Sean Driver, in making his announcement for another term, spoke of the conveniences he has brought to the office. "When I ran in 2006, a lot of the voters wanted the office automated. We've got it fully automated now. Voters wanted to see on-line payments. We have established that now through the office at www.tennesseetrustee.com. We also accept partial payments in the office. When this term finishes September 1, I will have brought in to the county with your tax dollars and other monies over three million dollars in investment and interest monies," he said.

Driver thanked the party for its support as he asked for the nomination to run again. "I look at myself first and foremost as a servant to this county but I would like to thank this party because you have stood behind me and I would appreciate the nomination once again to run for DeKalb County Trustee," said Driver.

A plaque was presented by the DeKalb County Republican Party to Road Supervisor Edge for his twenty four years of service to the county. The plaque reads as follows: "Presented to Kenny Edge, Road Supervisor 1990-2014. In appreciation for your loyal and dedicated service to the citizens of DeKalb County and your loyalty to the DeKalb County Republican Party. Retirement is a time to look forward. Yet we look back at your many accomplishments with pride and admiration. Thank you for a job truly well done".

"I want to thank the Republican Party," said Edge in a brief address at the Mass Meeting. "I've really enjoyed serving everybody. Once you get elected, politics don't matter. You've got to serve each and everyone. I've enjoyed working with the people of this county. Like I've said, I don't own the highway department. It's theirs (the public) and it's their services. I've tried to do it the best that I can. I thank each of you," said Edge.

Meanwhile, Party Chairperson Jennifer Winfree announced that she will be a candidate for Republican State Executive Committeewoman in the 17th Senatorial District during the Tennessee Republican Primary this August.

The DeKalb County Republican Convention will caucus next Saturday, January 18th at 10:00 a.m. at the courthouse to formally nominate GOP candidates to run for offices in the August General Election. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

Evaluations Scheduled for School Board and Director

January 10, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education will conduct its annual performance evaluation of the Director of Schools and a School Board self evaluation on Tuesday, January 28 at the Board of Education Building.

A workshop on Director Mark Willoughby's evaluation will be held first at 6:00 p.m. followed at 7:00 p.m. by a special called meeting on the board's self evaluation.

The evaluations are performed annually in January in accordance with board policy and Director Willoughby's contract. The board has used the same basic instruments for making the evaluations and itself for several years.

Willoughby's contract states that the evaluation of the Director shall occur no later than January 31 each calendar year during the term of the contract. The board will review the Director's performance, progress toward established goals, and the working relationship between the two parties.

During the workshop, the school board members will evaluate Director Willoughby on his relationship with the board, community relationships, staff and personnel relationships, educational leadership, business and finance, and strategic planning skills. Board members are to make a check mark on the four page evaluation form in each of 52 areas, if they determine expectations have been met. Spaces are also provided on the form for board members to write comments.

Willoughby's current contract with the board is scheduled to expire June 30th, 2014. He has served as Director of Schools since July 1st, 2006.

In the self evaluation, each board member will be asked to rate the board's performance on a scale from one to six in team building, decision making, governance, school improvement, community, planning, communications, motivation, influence, and policy. A score of "one" is the lowest and a score of "6" is the highest. They are also to rate themselves on how much is being done now in each of 46 areas and how important those issues are to them.

Sixth district member Doug Stephens also wants the school board to hold a workshop soon to establish long term goals and future plans of the school system.

Youth Sports Concussions Policy Adopted by School Board

January 10, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night adopted a policy on second and final reading as recommended by the Tennessee School Boards Association intended to reduce concussions in youth sports and increase awareness about the traumatic brain injury.

The policy is not just an option. A new state law, which passed last April and took effect January 1, makes learning about the dangers of concussions a prerequisite for competing, while also implementing safeguards to ensure that children who suffer a concussion don't return to play until they are healed.

Under the policy, it is up to local youth leagues for all sports, not just football, to put the procedures into practice. The law applies to public and private school teams and to recreational leagues for children under 18 that require a fee.
It has three key components.

It requires administrators, coaches, parents and youth athletes to be educated about the dangers of concussions and to sign a sheet stating they understand those dangers before competing. Any athlete who displays the symptoms of a concussion would be required to be removed from competition. And any athlete suffering a concussion could not return to play or practice until cleared by a doctor, osteopath or neuropsychologist.

Last month, board members had questions as to the liability regarding youth leagues who use school facilities but are not affiliated with the schools.

An attorney of the Tennessee School Boards Association has said the school system is not liable. Loniel Greene, Assistant Director of Policy Services and Staff Attorney for the TSBA, in an email to Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder, wrote that "Based on my interpretation of TCA 68-55-502 (state law), each LEA (school system) is only responsible for system sponsored athletic activities. Thus, there is no responsibility for youth leagues that are not sponsored by the system."

National Federation of State High School Associations has developed a free 20 minute course online
entitled "Concussion in Sports-What You Need to Know". The course may be accessed at www.nfhslearn.com.

The Tennessee Department of Health has concussion information available online at http://health.state.tn.us/TBI/concussion.htm.

School Board to Allow Electronic Attendance

January 9, 2014
Dwayne Page
School Board (Older Photo)

School board members who are unable to attend regular or special meetings due to a family emergency, military service, or a work related absence will soon be able to participate through electronic attendance.

The DeKalb County Board of Education adopted the new school board meetings policy on first reading Thursday night as provided for in state law.

Under the policy, an absent board member may attend a regular or special meeting by electronic means as often as he or she is able to do so if the absence is because of military service. However, a board member may not participate electronically more than two times per year for absences due to work and or family emergencies. A quorum of the Board must be physically present at the meeting in order for any member to attend electronically.

Any member wishing to participate electronically must do so using technology which allows the Chair to visually identify the member.

The responsibility for the connection lies with the member wishing to participate electronically. No more than three attempts to connect shall be made, unless the Board chooses to make additional attempts.

This new policy could possibly allow third district board member Kenny Rhody to participate in school board meetings electronically when he becomes able to do so. Rhody has been battling a serious medical condition for the last several months and has been unable to attend any school board meetings.

Second district member Charles Robinson proposed the new policy with Rhody in mind. "I know I can't speak for Mr. Rhody, but I know Mr. Rhody is very serious in his duties and responsibilities as a school board member," said Robinson. "I think this might interest him in being able to attend school board meetings electronically due to the fact that with his medical condition it might be a long process before he can actually attend a school board meeting. I would like to make a motion that we adopt it on first reading because it will make us in compliance with state law and it would give a board member an opportunity to participate if he wishes," added Robinson.

Sixth district member Doug Stephens offered a second to Robinson's motion. All members present voted in favor of passage on first reading.

The policy provides for electronic attendance due to a family emergency. The member must be absent due to the hospitalization of the member or the death or hospitalization of the member's spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, step-son, step-daughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

Electronic attendance is also provided due to a work related absence. Under the policy, the board member must be absent from the county due to work. The member wishing to participate must give the Chair and director at least five days notice prior to the meeting of the member's desire to participate electronically.

Small Fire Forces Evacuation at Tenneco Automotive

January 9, 2014
Dwayne Page
Small Fire Forces Evacuation at Tenneco Automotive
Smithville Firefighters at Tenneco Automotive

Employees were evacuated after a small fire at Tenneco Automotive around noon on Thursday.

According to Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker, two employees were reportedly treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. One of them was later transported to the hospital by DeKalb EMS.

The fire apparently started and was confined to a welding work station in the plant as sparks ignited some work material.

Chief Parker said maintenance employees of the plant used fire extinguishers to bring the fire under control. Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department quickly responded to make sure the blaze did not spread.

The plant's ventilation system helped clear the smoke from the building.


Follow Us


News Feed

WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166
Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net
WJLE AM FCC Public File
WJLE FM FCC Public File

Local News

6:30 A.M.
7:30 A.M.
8:55 A.M.
12:00 NOON
4:00 P.M.
9:45 P.M.

DTC Communications

Fiddlers Jamboree