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DCHS Students Enjoy Prom Night

April 26, 2010
Prom King and Queen Tyler McCloud and Micah Prichard

"Here's to the Night"

DeKalb County High School prom king and queen Tyler McCloud and Micah Prichard enjoy a dance during Friday night's event.

This year's prom was held at the Stone's River Country Club at Murfreesboro.

Students gathered at the high school Friday afternoon, all decked out in their prom night attire, for photographs and to meet with family and friends before leaving for the dance, many in stretch

Click here to see more prom night photos (many provided by Judith Hale)

Shehane Charged with Promoting the Manufacture of Methamphetamine

April 26, 2010
Dwayne Page
Clent Lee Shehane
Travis Matthew Pezak
Amy Janette Lawson
Gary Edward Matthews
Joel Thomas Hayes
John Anthony Poss
Andre Ronrico Watson
Shannon Ray Herman

A 24 year old man was arrested on drug charges last week after admitting to gathering items for someone else to make methamphetamine.

Clent Lee Shehane of Sparta Highway was charged Wednesday, April 21st with promotion to manufacture a schedule II controlled substance (Methamphetamine). His bond is set at $10,000 and his court date is April 29th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives went to the home of Shehane to do an investigation and found 2 hot plates, ph strips, lye, several empty cans and bottles, and a propane tank which were believed to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Shehane said he was getting the items for someone else to manufacture methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, in other cases 20 year old Travis Matthew Pezak of Ridgeview Lane, Baxter is charged with domestic assault, possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid) and possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) for sale and delivery. His bond is set at $10,000 and he will be in court on May 6th. Sheriff Ray says on Tuesday, April 20th, a deputy responded to Ridgeview Lane, Baxter to a domestic call. Upon arrival, the officer spotted Pezak running off in the woods. Through an investigation, the officer discovered that Pezak had assaulted his girlfriend. The woman had blood coming from her mouth and there were marks on her back. Pezak was arrested for domestic assault and when he was searched, a container was found in his pocket with 4 Dilaudids and 10 Xanax. The officer also seized $870.00 from Pezak, believed to be proceeds from drug sales.

32 year old Amy Janette Lawson of South College Street Apartments is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence, a second offense of driving on a suspended license, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says on Friday, April 23rd, a deputy spotted Lawson operating a motor vehicle on College Street in Smithville and noticed that she was weaving all over the roadway and almost struck a mailbox. Lawson had slurred speech, her eyes were squinted, and she had very slow reactions to the officer's questions. She submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. A computer check of Lawson's drivers license revealed that they were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in DeKalb County. A search of Lawson's purse turned up a hypodermic syringe. While transporting her to the jail, the officer noticed Lawson trying to hide something as she sat in the back of his patrol car. Upon inspection of the back seat , the deputy found yet another hypodermic needle. Prior to her arrest on Friday, Lawson had been in General Sessions Court, where she was ordered by Judge Bratten H. Cook, II not to be driving. Since her arrest, Judge Cook has ordered Lawson to be held without bond until her next court date on April 29th.

37 year old Gary Edward Matthews of Four Seasons Road Smithville is charged with public intoxication and introduction or possession of drugs in a penal institution where prisoners are quartered. According to Sheriff Ray, Matthews came into the DeKalb County Jail on Friday, April 23rd to serve his weekend sentence. As he entered, correctional officers noticed Matthews to be under the influence of drugs. They also found a yellow pill believed to be an Oxycodone in his sock. Sheriff Ray says this is not the first time Matthews has been charged with bringing drugs into the jail. On March 27th, 2009 Matthews allegedly tried to smuggle 19 pills believed to be Hydocodone into the DeKalb County Jail after he was arrested on other charges. Bond for Matthews was set at $11,000 and he will appear in court on May 6th.

32 year old Joel Thomas Hayes of Bobby Hayes Road, Dowelltown is charged with public intoxication after he came to the jail on Friday, April 23rd to serve his weekend sentence. Sheriff Ray says correctional officers noticed Hayes to be unsteady on his feet and he had slurred speech. Hayes admitted to taking Hydocodone and Percocet, before coming to the jail to serve his time. Bond for Hayes was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on May 6th.

42 year old John Anthony Poss of Poss Road, Smithville is charged with a fourth offense of driving under the influence, a first offense of driving on a revoked license, evading arrest, and reckless endangerment. His bond is set at $10,500 and he will be in court on May 6th. Sheriff Ray says on Sunday, April 25th, a deputy responded to a complaint of a reckless driver on Evins Mill Road Smithville. When the officer spotted the suspected vehicle, he noticed it was swerving in the roadway and almost hit other oncoming vehicles. The deputy activated his blue lights and siren, but the driver of the vehicle refused to stop. The officer pursued Poss for approximately three miles until he (Poss) hit a light pole on Prater Road. Poss appeared to be under the influence of an intoxicant having a smell of alcohol on his person. He was also unsteady on his feet. Poss refused to perform field sobriety tasks telling the deputy that the reason he ran from the law is because he was intoxicated. A computer check of Poss' driver's license revealed them to be revoked for a driving under the influence conviction on October 15th, 2009 in DeKalb County.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says the latest to be arrested in the recent drug round-up are:

34 year old Andre Ronrico Watson of Oriole Drive, McMinnville charged with
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond $50,000.00

25 year old Shannon Ray Herman of Author Hollis Lane, Woodbury charged with
4 counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
4 counts violation of the drug free act
Bond $70,000.00

Freshman Academy Students Honored

April 26, 2010
Freshman Academy Students Honored

DCHS Freshmen Academy teachers nominated students to receive the mid-semester DCHS citizenship award.

The award was given in a recent freshman assembly to the students who most represent the DCHS Freshman Academy motto: “Do what’s right, Commit to Graduate, Honor and respect everyone, Strive for Excellence.”

(Front, l-r): Roxana Rodriguez, Zackary Caplinger, Cecilia Maciel, Marissa Garmer, Makayla Funk. (Middle, l-r): Kaylee Green, Benjamin Brandt, Devon Hickey, Kaylee Cantrell, Kristen Campbell, Courtney Whiteaker, Haley Keck, Evan Curtis. (Back, l-r): Hunter Collins, T. J. Slezak, Harley Lawrence, Hunter Graham, Quenton McSparren, Kelsey Hale. Not pictured: Lucas Phillips and Sarah Roysden.

DCHS Band Program Recognizes Members during Awards Banquet

April 26, 2010
DCHS Band Queen Britney Campbell
Band Booster President Mike Campbell and Gabby Byford
Band Banquet Award Winners

On Saturday, April 24th, the DeKalb County High School Band hosted their annual band banquet at the DCHS Cafeteria. Band Director, Jonathan Wright, started the evening's awards ceremonies by simply saying thank you to Mark Willoughby, Kathy Hendrix, Patrick Cripps, David Gash, and all of the other administrators for their support of the band program.

Mr. Wright went on to thank Band Booster President, Mike Campbell, and all of the boosters and parents for "building props, fundraising, pushing equipment, driving busses and trucks, mending uniforms, administering first aid, forcing water on the students during band camp, organizing pool parties, providing meals, fixing equipment and office furniture, dusting and cleaning the band room, chaperoning bus rides, and loving and supporting the students."

A big thank you was also sent out to the staff members, Shaun Naumann, Greg Owens, Amanda Scott, Jonathan Turner, and Joey Wilburn for helping the students improve throughout the school year.

The banquet is an evening of awards for the students of the band. Some awards are awarded by the director and staff while others are the results of students' votes. Mr. Wright introduced Jonathan Turner and Shaun Naumann to present the Color Guard Awards, which were selected by the Color Guard Staff. The Most Improved Award went to Carlie Sullivan; Leadership Award was given to Gabby Byford; and the Director's Award went to Courtney Whiteaker.

Joey Wilburn presented the Brass Awards, which were selected by the Brass Staff.

The Most Improved Brass Musician was awarded to Renny Mason; Best Attitude Award was given to Courtney Caldwell; High Brass Award went to Emma Rigsby; and the Low Brass Award went to Kerry Page.

The following awards were voted on by the band students who participated in the 2009 marching season.

Best Musician – Britney Campbell; Best Marcher - Dakota Dexter; Most Improved Musician – Courtney Caldwall; Most Improved Marcher – Courtney Rice; Most Dedicated – Britney Campbell; Best All Around – Hunter Tramel; Most Athletic Color Guard – Katie Merriman; Best Color Guard Performer – Gabby Byford; Most Dedicated Color Guard – Gabby Byford; and Most Improved Color Guard – Ashley Brandt.

The Marching Band Top 10 Awards were also voted by the band students.

Axyl Chalfant
Britney Campbell
Hunter Tramel
Dakota Dexter
Ryan Macy
Gabby Byford
Meagan Sullivan
Brandon Adcock
Katie Merriman
Tyler Seymour

The following awards were selected by Director Mr. Wright, and were designed to reward the students who were successful in both concert season and marching season.

Best Woodwind Performer – Britney Campbell; Most Improved Woodwind Performer – Kristen Campbell; Best Brass Performer – Dakota Dexter; Most Improved Brass Player – Renny Mason; Best Percussion Performer – Dalton Vaughn; Most Improved Percussionist – Sarah Cantrell; Positive Mental Attitude – Brandon Adcock; and Fixer Upper Award – Chase Cantrell.

The Band Queen is voted on by the students and is open to any junior who will be in marching band during their senior year. Mr. Wright says "This young lady has shown a special dedication to the band and has participated since her 5th grade year. The 2010 Band Queen is Britney Campbell.

Britney was also honored with an award for making the Middle Tennessee State Honor Band. In January she performed with the Gold band which is the top band. This was her 5th year to participate in Mid-State Band.

Two very special awards, the John Phillips Sousa and the Inaugural Fowler Stanton Leadership Awards, were also presented. The recipients of these awards are selected by the director.

The John Phillips Sousa Award is on permanent display in the band room. This award is for the senior who not only is a great musician, but who is also a great leader. Mr. Wright says, "This year's recipient is not outspoken but has always been there to lead and help others. He always makes sure he can perform his part at a high level and has been there to help young and older students alike as a section leader." The 2009-2010 John Phillips Sousa Award was presented to Ryan Macy.

In honor of the late Fowler Stanton, the DCHS Band has created the ‘Fowler Stanton Leadership Award.' Mr. Stanton was the founder of the DCHS Band as we know it today. His hard work and dedication led to many years of musical and life opportunities for the students. Many have mourned his passing this year and in honor of what he has done of the people of DeKalb County , this award will also be on permanent display in the band room. Gabby Byford is the inaugural winner of this prestigious award. Mr. Wright says, "[Gabby] has never failed to be a strong leader and show her dedication through her actions. Those who have worked with her know that she will do whatever she can to help you and improve the performance of the group."

The awards portion of the evening ended with Mr. Wright thanking the seniors for their invaluable leadership in the program. He encouraged them to not "be strangers. Come back and let us know what you're into." He told them, "I thank you for all of your dedication and I will miss you very much."

And finally, before the students were able to wrap up the evening with a dance, Mr. Wright unveiled the theme and some of the music for the 2010 marching season. The show for the 2010-11 school year will tell the story of a circus "gone wrong." An unruly circus performer nearly destroys the circus by setting fire to the big top, "The Show Must Go On!" The DeKalb County High School Band Presents: "Big Top Catastrophe."

The band has several performances before the school year is over. The Annual Spring concert is on Thursday, May 6th, and the Ensemble Group performances, which will include the Winter Color Guard, Brass Ensemble, and DC-1 Percussion, will be on Monday, May 10th. Both shows will start at 7pm in the High School Gym. For more information log onto .

Redmon Charged with Criminal Trespassing

April 24, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested a man Friday, April 23rd for criminal trespassing after finding him inside an automobile in the storage lot of JR Motors.

25 year old Michael Brandon Redmon is under a $1,000 bond and his court date is May 6th.

Police say Officer Matt Farmer received a complaint that someone had climbed the fence into JR Motors' storage lot and was going through the cars. When Officer Farmer arrived at JR Motors he saw someone in one of the vehicles. Officer Farmer approached the vehicle and found Redmon reclining in the seat. Redmon had on rubber gloves and he was holding a screw driver in one hand and some nuts and driver bits in the other. When Redmon was asked why he was there and what he was doing, he gave three different statements. Redmon was asked to step out of the vehicle and to empty his pockets and put the contents on the hood of the vehicle. Redmon had tools designed specifically to remove car stereos along with a screw driver and interchangeable bits. The owner of JR Motors said that Redmon did not have permission to be on the property and he was trespassing.

Meanwhile in other cases, 28 year old William Travis Malone of 1812 Morena Street, Nashville was arrested on Wednesday, April 21st and charged with two counts of simple possession, possession of drug paraphernalia & public intoxication. Corporal Travis Bryant received a call of possible drug activity at 1222 South College Street. When Corporal Bryant pulled into the parking lot, Malone jumped down between the cars. Corporal Bryant saw him toss a pill bottle into one of the cars. Malone was not cooperative. He was instructed twice to put his hands on the car before he finally complied. A search of his person revealed an open syringe, a small plastic container with six capsules believed to be oxycodone and three pills believed to be hydrocodone. The pill bottle that Malone threw into the car contained seven pills believed to be hydrocodone and seven pills believed to be xanax. He appeared to be disoriented and unsteady on his feet. Bond for Malone is $5,000 and his court date is May 13th.

27 year old Michael Eugene Lattimore and 24 year old Amanda Kay Lattimore, both of 632 Andrew Street were arrested on Friday, April 16th for disorderly conduct. Corporal Travis Bryant and Officer Matt Holmes made the arrests. The Lattimores were found outside a residence on Andrew Street yelling and trying to fight others at the residence. They had been warned by Officer Nathan Estes on Thursday, April 15th to stay away from this residence. Bond for each is $1.000 and their court date is May 13th.

60 year old Terry Walker Trapp of 1434 Holiday Haven Road was arrested on Monday, April 19th for DUI. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow saw a black Chevrolet truck failing to maintain lane of travel on West Broad Street. Trapp drove on the center line for approximately one half mile. The officer activated his blue lights to signal Trapp to stop. Trapp tried to make a right turn into Florence & White Ford parking lot but missed the turn and nearly hit an ATV that was parked on the sidewalk. Trapp put the truck in reserve, backed up, and then pulled into the parking lot of the Ford dealership. Upon contact with Mr. Trapp, Officer Tatrow noticed his movements to be slow and unsteady and his speech was slurred. Trapp said that he is on several prescription medications. Trapp submitted to field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. Hid bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 17th.

Meanwhile, anyone having information on the following offense is asked to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Thursday, April 22nd, Hoyte Neal Jr of 322 West Broad Street noticed when he left to go to work that someone had cut his truck tire during the night.

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

Meanwhile, LieutenantSteven Leffew is proud to announce that Officer Matt Holmes has successfully completed a week long course in Child Passenger Safety becoming a National Child Passenger Safety Technician by the Governors Highway Safety Office. Officer Holmes will be assisting in the proper installation of child restraints.

The Smithville Police Department will be conducting a child passenger safety seat check point in the near future where there will be an availability of a variety of child restraint devices to the public free of charge.

Anyone wishing to have their child restraint properly installed and inspected may come by the Smithville Police Department.

Please be aware that it is preferred that the following be present during the inspection: The
vehicle transporting child, the vehicle manual, the child restraint device, the child restraint device manual and preferably the child and/or children to insure the proper fitting.

DeKalb Unemployment Rate Down Slightly to 11% in March

April 24, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate dropped to 11% in March, down slightly from 11.2% in February. The rate for March, 2009 was 11.4%

The local labor force for March was 9,650. A total of 8,590 were employed and 1,060 were without work.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for March was the third lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region. Upper Cumberland counties and their unemployment rates are as follows from highest to lowest:

Pickett County- 18.2%
Van Buren- 14.5%
Clay- 14.2%
Smith- 13.9%
White- 13.8%
Fentress- 12.9%
Cumberland- 12.2%
Putnam- 10.2%

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 10.6 percent, down from the February rate of 10.7 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of March was 9.7 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for March show that the rate decreased in 85 counties, increased in seven counties and remained the same in three counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 7.4 percent, down from 8.0 percent in February. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 19.8 percent, up from 18.4 in February, followed by Marshall County at 18.4 percent, down from 19.0 percent in February.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 8.2 percent, down from 8.4 percent in February. Davidson County was 9.1 percent, down from 9.2 in February. Hamilton County was at 9.4 percent, down from 9.6 in February, and Shelby County was 10.6 percent, down from 10.7 in February.

Legislative Update from State Senator Mae Beavers

April 24, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers

The State Senate has approved a resolution sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers calling for an elected State Attorney General (AG). The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 698, was approved by a vote of 19-14 this week on the Senate floor.

“If the role of the Attorney General in the state of Tennessee is to provide the best legal service possible to the state and its citizens, then it doesn’t make much sense to me that he or she is currently twice removed from the citizens of Tennessee,” said Beavers. “Currently, the people of Tennessee have to elect a governor, who appoints the Supreme Court, who then appoints the Attorney General and Reporter. This process eliminates any possible practical or substantial check of the attorney general by Tennesseans – who are supposed to be his or her most important clients.”

Forty-three states elect their attorneys general via a popular election, and in six other states, the Attorney General is selected by either the popularly elected Governor or the popularly elected state legislature. Beavers said for most of Tennessee’s history, when the Constitution called for an appointed Attorney General by the Supreme Court Justices, the court was popularly elected.

“The Supreme Court Rules talk about promoting public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary,” said Beavers. “How does a system where an Attorney General appointed by the same body he might one day argue a case before promote public confidence and impartiality?”

The resolution offered by Beavers would amend the state’s Constitution to allow a popular election every four years. The amendment process would require approval by both the 106th and 107th General Assemblies. If approved, the question would then go to voters in a statewide referendum in the year 2014.

Issues In Brief

DUI / Interlock devices – The full Senate has approved legislation that would increase the use of ignition interlock devices to curb the number of alcohol-related car crashes in Tennessee. Senate Bill 2965, sponsored by Senator Beavers, requires the use of the devices for extreme drunk drivers, such as those who have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .15 percent or higher or who drive intoxicated with a child in the vehicle. It also provides that those convicted of drunk driving under .15 with the option to install an interlock device instead of being geographically restricted by the court. Interlock devices are small pieces of equipment attached to the steering wheel of a car with a tube that the driver must breathe into in order to allow the ignition to start. Studies show the devices have been very successful in curbing drunk driving.

Abortion / federal healthcare law – The State Senate has passed and sent to the governor legislation to prohibit taxpayer-funded coverage for abortion services in Tennessee associated with the federal healthcare law passed by Congress. The bill, Senate Bill 2686, prohibits any health care plan established pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th United States Congress from offering coverage for abortion services.

Veterans / fundraising – A resolution seeking to amend Tennessee’s Constitution to allow tax exempt veterans groups to raise funds in the same manner as 501 (c)(3) charitable organizations was sent to a Summer Study Committee for further review and to refine the language of the proposal. Veterans groups were left out of the Constitutional Amendment approved by voters in 2002, due to the way their organizations are generally structured as 501 (c) (19) or 501 (c) (4) organizations under the Internal Revenue Code. The Committee will look at making the language in the resolution, SJR 982, as precise as possible to allow charitable fundraisers by veterans, without unintentionally opening a door to any unscrupulous gaming activities.

Highways / federal funds – Legislation that calls for Tennessee to keep its own road money rather than participate in the Federal-Aid Highway Program was approved by the Senate Finance Committee. The bill, Senate Bill 3678, provides for Tennessee to opt out of the federal program subject to enabling action by Congress. The state could then elect to retain the state’s contributions to the federal Highway Trust Fund for transportation purposes. Tennessee is a donor state as far as the Federal-Aid Highway Program is concerned. In the 2008-2009, Tennessee remitted $740.6 million in taxes collected from fuel, batteries and diesel to the federal highway trust fun and received $673.4 million in allocations. Under the proposal, taxes retained by the state would be directed to the State Highway Fund instead.

Foreign defamation / Libel Tourism -- State Senators voted this week to approve Senate Bill 3589 that would help in the fight against a tactic known as “Libel Tourism.” The practice is used in defamation lawsuits filed against authors critical of individuals with known ties to terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and Hamas. The legislation ensures that Tennessee Courts have the ability not to recognize a foreign judgment, if that country’s laws protecting free speech and the free press are not as protective as freedoms provided in the constitutions of Tennessee and United States. The measure relates to grounds for non-recognition of foreign defamation judgments, closely resembling similar laws passed by the New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Utah and Florida Legislatures on the matter.

Domestic Violence – The Senate Judiciary Committee continued to make progress in attacking crime in the state with passage of several bills this week, including two measures to address domestic violence. One proposal, Senate Bill 2708, prohibits a respondent of an order of protection from telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating directly or indirectly with the petitioner. The bill makes it clear that the person to whom the order is directed cannot contact the victim “for any purpose.” The action would prevent excuses from being used in violation of the order.

The second domestic violence proposal, Senate Bill 2709, allows the court to order domestic abuse perpetrators to attend counseling programs. The bill prescribes a list of counseling programs the judges can order from if they choose, including, intervention programs that are certified by Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council. The bill increases the maximum penalty for those convicted of the crime from $200 to $225, with the proceeds going to grants for domestic violence shelter programs.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

April 24, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver.

This past week was a busy one. It began with an important roundtable meeting between the Smith County Living Group, the Commissioner of Tourism and Development, Upper Cumberland Tourism, The Main Street Program, Department of Economic and Community Development, and Cumberland Region Tomorrow to discuss preserving and protecting our Courthouse and Square in Smith County. It was exciting to see us all come together and productively advance towards a solution. Towns perish without vision. However, the vision for Carthage is in full gear. The Courthouse Square is the heartbeat of any small town and we are working to revitalize and bring business back to Main Street again. It an honor as your State Representative to work for you by networking with local state government officials and working together towards making our district a better place to live and raise our families.

Tuesday was minister’s day on the Hill. What a wonderful blessing to have prayer in my office and in just the nick of time! I was also busy this week with vital legislation to our district. House Bill 3627 will be heard this week which will require the Tennessee Department of Transportation to bring a prioritized list of bridges to the General Assembly. In this economic crisis it is imperative we have transparency and accountability coupled with fiscal responsibility that will bring rural taxpayer dollars back to rural Tennessee. Our bridges and roads are vital to our economic development and security of jobs. HB3628 addresses Workers Compensation which would repeal legislation passed previously requiring sole proprietors to buy insurance. Now is not the time to add another expense to our small businesses who are struggling in this economy.

Earlier this week I paid a visit to a company in Red Boiling Springs called Raecoe. The company makes uniforms for our honorable men and women in service for our country. They employ approximately 100 people. Owner Joel Coe welcomed my visit as we toured his facility and discussed the different dynamics of his business.

This week, I along with some of my esteemed colleagues denounced a tax increase proposal floated by Governor Phil Bredesen as a way to balance the budget. The administration proposed an additional $85 million in tax increases by increasing the sales tax on single article sales.

Last week, Bredesen and his senior staff outlined a plan to remove the sales tax cap on single article sales. At present, the value of individual items over $3,200 are taxed at seven percent. The governor wants to increase this to 9.75 percent.

Many of us expressed our disappointment in the Governor for showing blatant disregard for the challenges small business owners and average Tennesseans face. Small businesses should be the driving force behind an economic recovery.

The $85 million tax increase would be in addition to $50 million the administration has called for by increasing taxes on cable television, cable television boxes, business telephone services, and free hotel breakfasts. In total, Bredesen has proposed over $130 million in new taxes this year alone.

The TennCare Oversight Committee heard an update on Monday regarding the Long-Term Care and Community Choices Act of 2008, a proposal that overhauled the state’s previously fragmented long-term care system. The plan aimed to increase options and choices for those who needed long-term care support, expand access, and better utilize existing funding.

The plan was designed to promote independence, choice, dignity, and quality of life for the elderly and/or people with physical disabilities who need long-term care support and services from the state’s TennCare program. The legislation included consumer-directed options that offered more choices regarding the kinds of long-term care services people need, where they are provided, and who will deliver them, with appropriate mechanisms to ensure accountability for taxpayer funds. In 2008, 98 percent of all long term care dollars went to nursing home care, the most expensive option. We anticipated saving money by moving funds to home and community-based care for those who were able to live at home with some assistance.

The committee heard from Pattie Killingsworth, Chief of Long-Term Care. Killingsworth reported that TennCare CHOICES, the long-term care system created by the legislation, was successfully implemented in Middle Tennessee in March of this year. The transition was seamless, and 8, 624 enrollees were transitioned to the new program. Even more Tennesseans are taking advantage of the home and community based services since March, including about 450 brand new enrollees. Killingsworth reported the department is currently working on implementing CHOICES in East and West Tennessee.

The State of Tennessee, in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority, will begin offering rebates to Tennesseans who replace old appliances with Energy Star® qualified ones. Portions of the rebate funding were made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The total funding for the rebate program is just over $5.9 million, and rebates will be granted until the funds are depleted.

Rebates of $250 will be available for central air conditioners, $40 for room air conditioners, and $250 for heat pumps. Because there are certain specifications that the appliances must meet in order to be eligible in addition to being Energy Star®, consumers are encouraged to check the requirements before purchasing.

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development reports that the estimated energy savings for delivery and installation of qualified heating and cooling products statewide will be approximately 16 million kilowatt hours per year. A reduction in energy use of that size translates to a yearly savings of almost $1.4 million in energy costs for Tennesseans and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by 32 million pounds annually.

The Transportation Committee approved House Bill 2544 Tuesday afternoon after a long debate. The bill creates the offense of “super speeding” when a driver speeds at 75 miles per hour or more on any two-lane highway or 85 miles per hour or more on any public highway or interstate. The penalty for super speeding would be a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a $200 fine.

The bill will be heard next in the Budget Subcommittee. Instead of costing the state money, the legislation actually has the potential to bring in $3.7 million. Under the bill, the funds would be directed to the state’s Trauma Center System established in 2007.

In closing, remember the 40th district seat is your seat. I invite you to come to my office, the War Memorial Building room 105, anytime and spend the day shadowing your State Representative or just dropping in for a visit. As always I am happy to hear from the people in my district.

DCHS Students Help Smithville Police Stage Mock Traffic Accident

April 23, 2010
Dwayne Page
DCHS Students Help Stage Mock DUI Traffic Accident
DCHS Students Help Stage Mock DUI Traffic Accident2

The Smithville Police Department and DeKalb EMS in cooperation with DeKalb County High School staged a "mock drill" in the parking lot of DCHS on Friday morning.

Police say the drill simulated a two vehicle crash involving drunk drivers. There were a total of eight victims, two of whom died. The others were treated at the scene. Students in the theater class at DCHS played the roles of victims in the exercise. The entire student body was allowed to witness the event.

Authorities say this drill helped test the readiness of the police department and the ambulance service while serving as a lesson to students about the dangers of drunk driving, especially on prom night.

Police also want to express a special thanks to DeKalb Tire & Service for providing the cars used in the staged accident scene.

Student with "Hit List" Apologizes- Judge Orders Him Placed in State Custody

April 23, 2010
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County High School freshman, who allegedly made threats against other students and school system employees in a "hit list" found at school last week, pleaded guilty to committing a delinquent act as well as violation of probation in a previous drug case against him in Juvenile Court Thursday morning.

Judge Bratten Cook, II ordered that fourteen year old Justin Manley be placed in state custody where he will receive counseling and treatment for his drug use, behavior problems, and a condition he is believed to suffer from called "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (ADHD).

Manley, who appeared before the judge, alongside members of his family and attorney, Jeremy Trapp, apologized to people he named on the "hit list" and their families. " I'd like to apologize to all the parents here because of me. I've thought about it long and hard and realize it's probably the most ignorant thing I could have done and I'm sorry."

Last Monday, April 12th, the DCHS school resource officer Kenneth Whitehead was informed by other students that Manley had a hit list. The list, with written threats against seventeen students, DeKalb West Principal Danny Parkerson, bus driver/transportation supervisor Peggy Pursell and a high school teacher, was apparently found in a backpack at Manley's locker.

The list was confiscated and Manley was taken into custody, removed from school, and placed in the juvenile detention center in Cookeville, where he apparently remained until Thursday's hearing.

During questioning by his lawyer, Trapp, Manley said Thursday that he did not intend to harm anyone and that he made out the list to just "clear his head"

Attorney Jeremy Trapp- "Tell the court why you wrote that"

Manley-"To clear my head"

Trapp- "Did you show that letter or give it to anybody?"

Manley- "No sir"

Trapp- "Where did they find it?"

Manley-"My backpack"

Trapp- "Is that the way you vent, to write it down on paper?"

Manley-"Yes sir"

Trapp- "Did you ever mean to show that to anybody or scare anybody with it?"

Manley- "No sir"

Trapp-"Did you intend any harm out of that?"

Manley- "No sir"

Trapp- "But you understand now how serious that can be?"

Manley- "Yes sir"

Trapp- "Do you understand the school taking action the way they did?"

Manley- "Yes sir"

Trapp also questioned Officer Whitehead along with Patrick Cripps and David Gash, members of the high school administration. All three said that Manley had not been involved in any fights at school, although Gash added that on one occasion, " We had a report that he was going to have a fight. Deputy Whitehead and myself, we went around the campus and found him walking around, but there was never any actual altercation"

Manley's probation officer also said she never saw Manley "that angry".

The "hit list" incident, however, was not Manley's first encounter with the court. In December, 2009 Manley appeared in Juvenile Court on a charge of simple possession. He was placed on probation. Less than a month ago, as part of his probation, Manley was drug tested and the result showed he had used marijuana and Xanax. Because of the failed drug test and the delinquent act offense, Manley was also facing a violation of his probation, which he pled guilty to Thursday.

Manley has also had a series of misbehavior incidents at school this year including at least eight unexcused absences, at least three suspensions from riding the school bus, not participating in class, being disruptive, uncooperative, and annoying classmates, among others

Manley comes from a broken home. His mother and father divorced several years ago. Manley had lived with his mother until January, 2009, when he came to DeKalb County to live with his father.

Manley's mother, who lives at Hermitage and has legal custody of Manley, asked the court to place him with her and that she would make sure he received the counseling and treatment he needs at a center in Memphis. "I have been employed at the Nashville airport but I'm a home mom now. I will be with him 24/7. His step-father owns a business in Nashville. He is self employed, so he is in and out all the time. We have an in-house alarm system to where there's no way he can get out of the home without that alarm going off. I would be by his side constantly making those trips to Memphis, checking on his progress and communicating with the doctors and the people he's having therapy with."

Manley's mother added that if her son was in her care, she would see that he was home schooled. "He was hard to handle and he had behavior problems in school (when he lived with her). I got calls from teachers all the time, but never this serious. He doesn't cope well in school and I plan to home school him."

Trapp appealed to the judge to grant Manley's mother's request. "As far as the imminent threat, getting physical, there's two experts (evaluators, counselors) that didn't see any imminent risk of violence. There are some drug and behavioral issues and he needs some medication. There's no question that he has issues to work out. But his mother will do everything she can to make sure that he gets the proper treatment that he needs. She is an in-home mom and can be there 24/7. She anticipates sending him to this Memphis facility."

Judge Cook however was not convinced. " Looking at the psychological evaluation, it looks to me like there's a lot of issues that need to be addressed. Through no fault of your own, sounds like you (Manley) were raised in a home that was not calm, quiet, collected, and nurturing. There's nothing you could have done about that. That's just the circumstances of your mom and dad. I'm sure that brought on some of the problems that you have. Reading this evaluation, the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), looks like a significant problem that you might can deal with if treated."

"I think there's a lot of things you (Manley) need that you might could get if I left you in your mom's home or your dads home and I say might because I would be deferring to them to get you the help that I know that the state will provide If I put you in state custody."

"I accept your explanation that it was the stupidest thing you could have done. And I think your apology to these people was sincere, but still it's stupid. In the day and age that we live today, you cannot do something that stupid and not suffer a substantial consequence as a result of it. Part of the whole judicial system's job is to protect people. And here when you have a specific threat, even though you say I didn't mean it, you have to take it seriously because if I just slap you on the wrist and let you go and then all of a sudden you decide to get a gun and start shooting these people, then I'm not sure I'd ever sleep well another night of my life. I'm not willing to take that chance. Plus, there's just a lot of treatment that you need son. So I'm not going to defer to your parents to get that (treatment) when I know if I put you in state custody that you're going to get the help you need because I'll monitor the case and make sure you do. Hopefully you won't be there too terribly long. A lot of that depends upon you. Your behavior. Whether you cooperate with the treatment, the counseling, taking the medication, a lot of that depends on you."

Judge Cook added " I want you (Manley) to end up being a successful, responsible person but you're going to have to learn to follow the rules and if you don't there's going to be some consequences you're going to have to suffer, and not good ones."


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