Local News Articles

Optometry Services to be offered in Schools through CSH and WellChild

April 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
Dee Anna Reynolds

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

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

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

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

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

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

WellChild forms will be included with the beginning of the year registration forms so parents should be looking for those forms at the start of the new school year this fall.

In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel to the board of education.

Those employed since the last meeting include:

Kathy Jacobs, sub bus driver
Danny Washer, sub bus driver
Mary Sanders, Educational Assistant at DeKalb Middle School
James Caplinger, custodian at Smithville Elementary School
James Dwight Knowles, part time custodian at DeKalb West School

Vicky Walker, transferred to School Secretary position at DeKalb Middle School

Samantha Lester, School Secretary at DeKalb Middle School, resigned.

The school board adopted resolutions of appreciation for support staff and teachers.

The resolution for teachers is as follows:
"Whereas, teachers are a vital part of our school system because they nurture and engage students in activities which will educate and graduate tomorrow's citizens and leaders; and

Whereas, teachers spend countless hours preparing teaching materials, grading papers and projects, studying about issues in education, consulting with administration, parents, students, and fellow educators; and

Whereas, teachers create a safe and healthy learning environment for the students to enjoy while they participate in daily lessons; and

Whereas, teachers demonstrate an exemplary attitude and establish rapport with the students; and

Whereas, great teachers transmit their passion for learning onto their students; and

Whereas, effective teachers give positive and constructive advice, praise accomplishments, and adjust their teaching styles as needed to meet the individual needs of students

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education recognizes the numerous contributions that our teachers make each day by establishing May 7, 2013 as teacher Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that the board expresses appreciation and thanks to teachers in our school system. We encourage each school and community to recognize them for their contribution to the success of our school system and its students".

The resolution for support staff is as follows:

"Whereas, the support staff in the DeKalb County School System is an outstanding group of dedicated school employees who care deeply about the students; and

Whereas, our teachers and administrators depend upon support staff members to prepare learning materials, operate the office and carry out business functions of the school, tutor, counsel, advise and guide individual students and perform a variety of other activities that result in an improved learning environment for students and their teachers throughout the school year; and

Whereas, our support staff is made up of individuals who have shown a commitment to our schools and the students they serve; and

Whereas, support staff bring into our schools a good measure of common sense, a calm demeanor and a willingness to let others occupy the spotlight and receive credit for success; and

Now, therefore be it resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby establishes April 18, 2013 as support staff appreciation day; and

Be it further resolved that the board expresses appreciation and thanks to all the support staff in our school system and encourages each school to recognize and join in the celebration of these individuals on that day for the role they play in the success of our school system.

Be it further resolved that the board endorses the use of the Hollywood theme to celebrate support staff members because students and adults can have fun with the theme and show the support staff they are the true stars in our school system".

Jury Finds Smithville Man Guilty in Child Sex Crime

April 10, 2013
Dwayne Page
Kenneth Lee Moore

A Smithville man stood trial Wednesday in DeKalb County Criminal Court for the rape of a child but a jury of eight women and four men found him guilty of the lesser offense of aggravated sexual battery.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided over the trial.

44 year old Kenneth Lee Moore, facing a possible prison term of eight to twelve years, will be sentenced on May 17. Had he been convicted as charged in the indictment for rape of a child, Moore could have been sentenced to a minimum of twenty five years in prison. The jury deliberated for more than four hours before returning their verdict.

"We're satisfied with the verdict that we got today," said Deputy District Attorney General Greg Strong in an interview with WJLE. "This will require eight to twelve years of service in the penitentiary at 85% before release eligibility. It is really considered a 100% sentence but he can qualify for up to a 15% sentence reduction. Moore will be on community supervision for life as a sex offender. This will put the victim well into her adult years before he (Moore) is ever eligible for parole.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Moore allegedly raped his twelve year old niece on November 15th, 2010. The child, who was living with Moore at the time, awoke from sleep to find Moore allegedly making sexual contact with her.

"The basic facts of the case were that Moore accomplished oral sex with his twelve year old niece who was living with him at the time due to a hardship that her mother had, "said Strong. "She (victim's mother) had lost her job and she had to move in with the defendant (Moore). He took advantage of this young girl," said Strong.

The victim was one of three witnesses to testify for the prosecution during the trial Wednesday, along with the girl's mother and Detective Mike Billings of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. " I would like to say that she (victim) is a strong girl," said Strong. " I'm proud of her for what she did in this case. This is obviously not something that a twelve year old wants to go through. She held her head up and she was strong and she is the reason we got the verdict that we got," said Strong.

The defense called one witness, a juvenile relative of the victim, in an attempt to discredit the victim as a witness, according to Deputy D.A. Strong. "She testified about the victim's truthfulness. She also testified that she didn't know the victim very well. I don't think the jury put much faith in that," said Strong.

Moore's attorney, Jason Hicks of Cookeville, in an interview with WJLE after the verdict said this was a case of "he said", "she said" without any corroborating evidence. "We're pleased that the jury did not find him guilty of rape of a child or the attempted rape of a child. Our position from the beginning was that Mr. Moore was not guilty of any of the charges so obviously we were shocked by that (verdict). The cases of this nature are very, very tough for all the parties involved. There is generally little corroborating evidence from any other witnesses and that makes them very tough for the courts to try. We presented our case as to the victim's credibility and her veracity of truthfulness and the jury saw it differently. But ultimately we plan to appeal this case and keep fighting on up to the next levels," said Hicks.

"I would like to say thank you to Detective Billings and the Sheriff's Department for the job they did investigating this case," said Deputy D.A. Strong. " I'd like to also say thank you to the child advocacy center in Cookeville. That's where the victim in the case went for what we call a forensic interview. Without those things adding up we would not have had much of a case here," he said.

Election Commission Reorganizes

April 10, 2013
Dwayne Page
Jim Dean, Barbara Vanatta, Richard Puckett, Harry Lasser; seated Walteen Parker

The DeKalb County Election Commission has chosen its officers for the next two years.

The commission met in regular monthly session Wednesday afternoon at the courthouse to reorganize and to conduct other business.

Walteen Parker was named to her third term as chairman of the commission. Harry Lasser was re-elected as the secretary.

In other business, the commission reappointed Dennis Stanley as administrator of elections for the next two years. All five members voted in favor of Stanley's reappointment.

The DeKalb County Election Commission members include Republicans Walteen Parker, Barbara Vanatta, and Jim Dean. Democratic members are Richard Hearon Puckett and Harry Lasser.

In other business, the election commission set the dates for early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election. Three aldermen are to be elected.

Voting will be May 29 through June 13 on the following days and hours:

Mondays: Noon until 5:00 p.m.
Tuesdays: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Wednesdays: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Thursdays: 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Fridays: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. until Noon

Election day is Tuesday June 18. All voting will be done on the first floor of the courthouse.

Hands-On Citizenship

April 10, 2013
Members of Boy Scout Troop 347

On Monday, April 1, 2013, twelve members of Boy Scout Troop 347 spent the day in Nashville on Capitol Hill. The boys toured Legislative Plaza, including Senator Mae Beaver’s office. Rep Terri Lynn Weaver spent several minutes visiting with the troop before they toured the State Capitol building led by Assistant Scoutmaster, Jen Sherwood. Nine members of the troop served as Honorary Pages in the legislature. In the Senate, Tyree Cripps, Ian Mahan, Wyatt Martin, Will Stephens, and Thomas Webb sat nearby their sponsor, Sen. Mae Beavers. James Barrientos, Jonathan Birmingham, Wes Carpenter, and Grant Curtis served in the House thanks to Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver and Rep. Mark Pody. Their paging duties included delivering messages and running errands during the sessions as instructed by the members of the legislature.

The boys saw our state government in action, an opportunity they will not soon forget. This experience has inspired them to continue to be involved citizens and, maybe one day, run for office.

Indoor picture:
Back row L-R: James Barrientos, Grant Curtis, Jonathan Birmingham, Jim Sherwood, Nate Sherwood, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Rep Mark Pody
Front row L-R: Tyree Cripps, Ian Mahan, Thomas Webb, Will Stephens, Wes Carpenter, James Mathis

DCHS Senior Beta Club Members Attend State Convention

April 10, 2013
Talent Show Winners
Spanish, second place- Jessica Acuna

The DCHS senior Beta Club members attended the state convention that was held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel on April 1-3.

Thirty-eight students from DeKalb County competed with others from across the state in academic and non-academic areas. Students that competed were; Banner: Grace Webb, Ashley Medlin, Emily Webb, Chelsea Lewis, Callie Gash, Taylor Monette, Elizabeth Lasser,and Anneika Norton. English: Savannah Dexter. Spelling: Kayley Green. Art: Courtney Rice, pen and pencil; Dylan Young, color pencil. Oratory: Matt Boss. Creative Writing: Erika Brown. Math: Bindiya Patel. Science: Erin Cantrell-Pryor. Spanish: Jessica Acuna. Social Studies: Will Graham. Quiz Bowl: Zach Martin, Taylor Leach, Mallory Sullivan, Alex Hayes, Ashlee Gunter, and Caleb Cantrell. Talent: Kelsey Evins, Hunter Collins, Mykaela Duke, Justin Wiser, Jacob Parsley, and Lauren Craig. Voting Delegates: Cecelia Maciel, Cassie Lester, Ashley Barnes, Danielle Tyson, and Jordan Wilkins. Others attending were, Kaylee Cantrell, Ethan Shaw, and Katie Haggard.

The club was pleased to have 2 wins; Spanish, second place- Jessica Acuna and Talent, second place-Kelsey Evins, Hunter Collins, Mykaela Duke, Justin Wiser, Jacob Parsley, and Lauren Craig.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver- The Loop

April 10, 2013
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

Hello, fellow Folks of the Fortieth! Session has adjourned for the week, and most members have headed home for the weekend. The hallways are quiet; while here in 105, I pause to collect my thoughts for this week's update on the Hill. A book titled "Ancient Wisdom" sits on the shelf above me. How timely the text for today speaks: If you want to be wise, catch yourself from thinking or saying, "Who cares?" or "What does it matter?" Instead consider why you momentarily want to shut down. Pray immediately that God would keep your heart and head in the game.

Honestly, when Thursday rolls around, it is very easy to embrace a "Who cares?" attitude. But there is something about spending yourself in hard work that produces energy and passion in your heart and soul. I believe we are wired not to run away from reality, but to transform it. Pressing forward, and working together to make Tennessee even better is the mission statement from this Rep, and also from many of my colleagues, as well.

In the House, we continue the trend of cutting taxes: sales tax on food from 5.25 to a flat 5%; raise the Hall Tax Exemption for seniors from $16,200 to $26,200 for single filers, and $27,000 to $37,000 for joint filers; HB64 exempts Tennessee businesses from paying a portion of their annual excise tax, allowing businesses to use that money for expansion or other necessary costs.

Workers' Compensation Reform Act of 2013 will create a system that is more fair and efficient, and will provide better outcomes for employers and employees, and it continues gaining support from both employers and employees across the state. The current state workers' compensation system was created in 1919--very much in need of an overhaul! Tennessee is currently one of only two states that adjudicate workers' claims in trial courts, which results in some of the highest medical costs related to workers' comp in the nation. Debate on the chamber floor is scheduled for April 11.

Transportation Sub and Full are closed, as are many other committees. The House Chamber will shortly be set for long days as we work toward completion of this session by April 20. . .or soon thereafter.

In My Bag of Bills, HB119 will be heard in Finance Full before it goes into one last committee called Calendar and Rules. HB119 places the strictest possible limitations on the use of EBT cards, plus penalizes those establishments and welfare recipients who abuse them. HB68, also in Finance Full next week, protects children in cases where mental health history is on record when considering child custody cases. HB1295 will be in Criminal Justice Full on Tuesday. This bill is paramount in order to protect children inside the womb and outside the womb. Yes, the week was a whirlwind, and next week promises to be a repeat.

Coffee and Conversations happen every Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, along with yours truly, will be presenting the Trousdale County Senior Center with the first ever Innovative Grant Award on April 5, at the Senior Center in Hartsville. "High five" to the Trousdale Seniors who submitted the best concept designed to encourage more senior participation in their community. FYI, they won 5,000 bucks! Oh, and their proposal? Change a portion of the Center into a coffee and juice bar, complete with a library and internet connection hot spot, to make their Center more appealing to the baby boomer population! You rock!

Saturday is a full day, as well, as Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder will come to Trousdale to greet our area veterans and visit the Trousdale Medical Center as we continue to bring better ways to serve our veterans closer to home.

Please do not hesitate to call my office, 615-741-2192, for any questions or assistance. Hey, have a great week--and may the good Lord take a likein' to you!

Terri Lynn

Annual Celebration of Spring at Edgar Evins State Park

April 10, 2013

The 4th Annual Celebration of Spring will be Saturday, April 13th at Edgar Evins State Park, Silver Point, between Smithville and Cookeville on Center Hill Lake. This will be a FREE day of outdoor recreation and entertainment for families and individuals, sponsored by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park and park employees.

The day's activities will begin at 8 a.m. at the Visitors Center with registration for all and sign-ups for the events that have a maximum number of participants. The activities that have limits are the popular nature hikes led by Ranger Mark Taylor, Holly Taylor and Danny L. Bryan, Assistant Professor of Biology at Cumberland University, as well as the approximately 45 minutes long pontoon boat rides for adults and children over 3 years accompanied by an adult.
Some new features this year include a chance to decorate a cookie or cupcake, sponsored by Peggy and Scotty Richardson of the Pure Bread Baking Company, and a Native Animals presentation by the popular NHECM. (http://www.nhecm.com/) The wildlife “stars” of the program will include a young bobcat, possum and raccoon. In addition David Haggard, West Tennessee Interpretive Specialist for TN State Parks will bring his Birds of Prey program.

Live on-stage performances throughout the day will also include a Minnie Pearl impersonator and country/pop singer, Patricia Jackson from Nashville, and the Flat Broke Blue Grass Band. The young dancers from Cannon Arts Dance Studio will dance around the Maypole and perform several colorful ballet numbers.

Other offerings will include kite flying, face painting, 3-legged and sack races, living history demonstrations, and Holly’s friendly snakes.

Boy Scouts of Troop 875 will show how to cook in a Dutch Oven over a camp fire. Girl Scouts of Troop 1146 will assist anyone interested in making honeysuckle baskets or corn shuck dolls and some new crafts options.

Many offerings will overlap so there will be something going on most of the day for various ages and interests. In addition there are approximately 11 miles of trails waiting to be hiked by those who prefer to explore on their own.
Count the number of candies in a jar at registration for a chance to win a days rental of a kayak or canoe and a sack lunch for two from Caney Fork Outdoors and Big Rock Market.

Participants are encouraged to pack a picnic or sack lunch and plan to stay for a fun day in the park. Those who wish to make it an overnight or weekend outing may phone the park office (1-800-250-8619 or 931-858-2114) to inquire about camping and cabins.

The websites for the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park may be visited at http://foeesp.ne1.net and http://www.facebook.com/friendsofeesp

The park address is 1630 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point, TN 38582

Ralph Vaughn to Speak at Chamber Banquet

April 9, 2013
Ralph Vaughn

The 2013 Chamber Annual Membership Banquet is set for Thursday, April 11, 2013 at the DeKalb County Complex, 732 South Congress Blvd., Smithville. "We are excited to again host this enjoyable and informative event. This is a special milestone year for the Chamber as we are celebrating our 50th year. We invite you to share in this fun-filled night of dining, entertainment, and the latest updates from the Chamber including the introduction of our new Board, recognition of our retiring board members, and 2013 Officers," says Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams. In addition, Leadership Director, Jen Sherwood, will present winners for "Community Leader of the Year" and "Legacy" awards.

The special evening begins at 5:30 PM with a "Silent Auction." The dinner and program start at 6:00 PM. Dinner music will be performed by Tomomi McDowell. State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver will sing the National Anthem as Boy Scout Troop #347 presents the flags. The musical entertainment for the evening will be by local singing talent, Josh Melton. The delicious meal will be prepared by Chef Jason Evans of The Inn at Evins Mill. The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2013 will serve the meal.

The keynote speaker for the evening will be Ralph Vaughn, probably best remembered as the manager of WJLE for 15 years and 21 years as the Program Director and MC of the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival. Ralph was president of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce in Murfreesboro for 12 years and the Morgan County Chamber of Commerce in Madison, Georgia for 3 years. A native of DeKalb County, he recently retired from Barrett Firearms Manufacturing in Murfreesboro where he served as the Special Projects Coordinator. Ralph is currently serving as the President of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame.

Please contact the Chamber office at 597-4163 for more information. Banquet ticket prices are $25 per person and can be purchased by calling the Chamber or from the Chamber Board of Directors.

2013 Cumberland Beef Day Set for Thursday

April 8, 2013

Beef and forage producers from across Tennessee will gather at the White County Fairgrounds on Thursday, April 11 for Cumberland Beef Day, an educational event hosted by University of Tennessee Extension and the White/Van Buren Cattlemen’s Association. This will be the 15th edition of Cumberland Beef Day and will once again give farmers an opportunity to learn better management practices, talk with agriculture product vendors, and see hands on demonstrations.

The theme for Cumberland Beef Day this year will be “Improving the Health of the TN Beef Herd.” Battling diseases is an ongoing fight for cattle producers. Knowing the signs to look for, precautions to take, and steps for treatment is critical to maintaining profitability. Some of the top animal health experts in the state will be on hand to help producers become more knowledgeable about cattle health and learn to develop their own health management plan.

During our educational sessions, we will follow cow-calf production from before the calf is conceived, until the time comes for it to be marketed. Since it is impossible to produce healthy calves without first maintaining healthy cows, Justin Rhinehart, UT Extension Beef Specialist, will present “Managing the Health of Your Calf Herd”.

We will then look at how to treat calves once they are born as Dr. Brian Whitlock, UT Assistant Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine discusses “Live Calf to Weaned Calf.” His presentation will include information on vaccination protocols and diseases in TN to look out for.

In the afternoon, there will be a hands-on demonstration on diagnosing diseases by Dr. David Anderson, UT Professor & Dept. Head in the College of Veterinary Medicine. His discussion will not only help producers learn to catch diseases early, but will also focus on what feedlots are looking for in cattle coming from TN.

In addition to the discussion of beef cattle health, Cumberland Beef Day will feature an update on the new Beef and Forage Center Initiative from the University of Tennessee by its director, Dr. Gary Bates. Dr. Andrew Griffith, UT Assistant Professor of Ag Economics will also be on hand to present “The Beef Cattle Market Outlook.”

As well as the speakers and demonstrations, Cumberland Beef Day will also feature an extensive trade show, lots of door prizes, a silent auction to benefit the 4-H livestock project, and bulls for sale at private treaty. This event is free to anyone interested in beef and forage production, and lunch will be provided. The 2013 Cumberland Beef Day kicks off with the trade show at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude at approximately 2:00 p.m. Please call the UT Extension office at 615-597-4945 if you would like more information on Cumberland Beef Day.

DeKalb County Schools’ Data Walls

April 8, 2013
DeKalb County Schools’ Data Walls

School districts across the nation collect and maintain many forms of educational data. Standardized test scores and average daily attendance figures are just two regular points of data collected.

In April each DeKalb County School will be displaying a new DATA WALL. This will provide our community, parents, teachers, and students with an image of past and present data, as well as, projected goals for future data that will be collected. Much research and evidence now exist indicating why school leaders must become familiar with and use existing school data to make sound educational decisions about teaching and learning.

These walls will help each school analyze and identify gaps in performance while producing rich data discussions. This will allow DeKalb County to be proactive rather than reactive in our school improvement efforts. Administrators and teachers are monitoring student progress to ensure that all students are successful in attaining state and district goals. We regularly ask: Where are our students? What does our test data tell us? How do we plan to accomplish our goals?

As you visit the schools please observe these DATA WALLS located near each office area. We hope this gives stakeholders an opportunity to understand our challenges and recognize our areas of accomplishment.


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