Local News Articles

Early Voting Begins May 30 for Smithville Municipal Election

May 22, 2012
Dwayne Page

Early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election begins Wednesday, May 30 through Thursday, June 14 at the DeKalb County Election Commission Office on the first floor of the courthouse.

Hours for early voting are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m,
Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until Noon.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 19, each to serve a two year term, beginning July 1. The candidates for mayor are Taft Hendrixson and Jimmy Poss. Candidates for alderman are Scott Davis, Jason Judd Murphy, Tim Stribling, and Steve White.

The ballot will also include a referendum on liquor by the drink in city restaurants. Voters will have the opportunity to vote either "yes" or "no" on whether to "authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in the City of Smithville."

Registered voters who will be unable to go to their polling place (courthouse) on election day may vote by one of the following methods;

1. Voting by personal appearance
Beginning May 30, 2012 and through June 14, 2012, a voter desiring to vote by personal appearance shall go to the DeKalb County Courthouse, sign an application to vote and cast their vote on a voting machine. The last day to vote early by personal appearance is June 14, 2012.

2. Voting by mail
A voter must meet certain legal qualifications in order to vote absentee by mail. A voter desiring to vote absentee by mail shall, in writing over his/her signature either in person at the Election Commission Office or by mail, request an application for an absentee ballot. The voter must make
the request in writing and include their name (as registered), social security number, residence address (911 address), mailing address (if different from residence address), the election(s) they wish to vote in, the reason they are requesting to vote an absentee ballot and their signature. The written request must be received no later than June 12, 2012.

Disabled & Elderly Voters
Disabled or elderly voters (persons 65 or older) assigned to vote in precincts where the polling place is inaccessible may vote at the DeKalb County Election Commission office on election day OR vote early by personal appearance during the dates specified for early voting at the DeKalb County Courthouse OR vote by absentee ballot. Any disabled or elderly voter desiring to vote at the election commission office must notify the office in writing and complete an affidavit that states their voting location is inaccessible. Deadline for notification is June 9, 2012. Affidavits are available at the election office.

Please call 597-4146 if you have any questions. STATE LAW REQUIRES A PHOTO I.D. TO VOTE IN 2012 ELECTIONS.

For additional information, contact the Election Commission Office at 615-597-4146. The DeKalb County Election Commission is located at 1 Public Square, Room 104, (DeKalb County Courthouse), Smithville, TN. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

City of Smithville to Purchase Ladder Truck for the Fire Department

May 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
City to Purchase Ladder Truck Similar to Truck Shown Here
City to Buy Ladder Truck for Fire Department
Fire Chief Charlie Parker Addresses Mayor and Aldermen Monday Night
Mayor and Aldermen

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department will soon have its first ever ladder truck, possibly within ninety days.

The aldermen Monday night, on a 4-0 vote, adopted a recommendation by Fire Chief Charlie Parker to accept a bid from EVS-Midsouth, Inc of Memphis in the amount of $746,705 for a Pierce Impel 75 foot Hal Quint aerial ladder truck with a 1,750 gallon per minute pump/500 gallon tank. This was the lowest of the two bids submitted. The other bid was from Cumberland International Trucks of Nashville for a 2012 Sutphen 75 Foot Pumper/Ladder with a Stainless Steel Rescue Style Body complete and delivered in the amount of $785,818.

Alderman Danny Washer made the motion to accept the bid from EVS-Midsouth to purchase the ladder truck. Alderman Shawn Jacobs offered a second to the motion. Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger joined Jacobs and Washer in voting in favor. Alderman Gayla Hendrix was absent.


Chief Parker said EVS-Midsouth, Inc not only had the lowest bid but also met all the city's bid specs."The price on this is not just for the ladder truck itself. This is for all the equipment that goes on the truck, the air packs, the hose, the nozzles, everything to make it fully compliant and there's also a few extra pieces of equipment in there to make sure it works with our current fleet. There are some adaptors, intakes, and other things to adapt the hose from the ladder truck to what we've got to make sure everything will match up to all three trucks. That equipment is in this price also," he said.

Chief Parker said he and the officers of the city fire department met last week along with alderman and fire commissioner Shawn Jacobs and voted to recommend the bid from EVS-Midsouth. "Our officers met along with Mr. Jacobs on Tuesday night and we reviewed the specs. It was our recommendation to go with the cheaper one (bid) from EVS-Midsouth. I discussed with Alderman Jacobs about the financing. There had been some discussion about whether to do it outright or whether to finance it. I was going to leave that up to the board's discretion and let the mayor and aldermen see the best option for that as far as paying for it. We do recommend going with this one (EVS-Midsouth). It does meet all of our specs and it does have all the equipment. It would have everything on it ready to go," said Chief Parker.

City firefighters have already had some training in the use of a ladder truck, according to Chief Parker, with more training to come, "Yes, we have had training and we're also setting up another class in the future to get everybody through it again so there is still more training to come on it. We have had some but there will be more training after the truck is delivered. We also have another sixteen hour class that I am trying to get scheduled. So there would be more extensive training to go on it yet,' he said.

The bid from EVS-Midsouth, Inc contained options for financing the purchase from three to five years at interest rates of 2.45% or 2.55%. Cumberland International Trucks included financing options of from three to seven years at interest rates of 2.45% to 2.66%.

The aldermen, at the suggestion of Mayor Taft Hendrixson, chose to make the initial $250,000 down payment to EVS-Midsouth for the truck when ordered as called for in the bid, and to pay the rest off when the truck is delivered, which is expected to be within ninety days. Mayor Hendrixson said he saw no reason to pay interest when the city has the money in the bank to buy the truck. "My suggestion is on paying for it. If you do it on a three year deal it is going to cost you up to $28,000 interest. We've got the money to pay for it and I've never been one to pay interest if you've got the money. My suggestion is to pay the $250,000 now and when it's delivered, pay the rest of it," said Mayor Hendrixson.

All the money for the purchase will come out of the city's general fund reserve. The down payment will be paid in this budget year. The remainder will be allocated in the 2012-13 budget year, which begins July 1st

In response to Mayor Hendrixson's suggestion, Alderman Jacobs said "that makes sense to me and that still will not deplete our reserves by any means."

Mayor Hendrixson responded "no but it will be about 20% of our general fund reserve. About a fifth of our reserve in the general fund," he said.

"I want to assure everybody that we absolutely have no intention of running through the rest of that reserve in the near future unless there is some sort of catastrophe or something like that," said Alderman Jacobs. "As a matter of fact, I believe we will be putting more money in that reserve at the end of this fiscal year if something doesn't happen. I've been told we're finishing about $200,000 to the good," he said.

Mayor Hendrixson replied, "I hope more than that, but I don't know," he said.

"In other words we're finishing the year under budget," said Alderman Jacobs.

Mayor Hendrixson answered,"That's what's built our reserve up in the past. If you budget six million and spend five and a half million, you can put half a million dollars in reserve for things that you do need," he said.

The city fire department will have a total of three trucks in the fleet with the addition of the new ladder truck including a 2001 and a 1992 model. Alderman Washer asked why not sell the 1992 model, while it still worth something. Chief Parker said the city needs all three trucks to maintain its Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating. "In keeping up our ISO rating, we still need the older truck. We can put it into a reserve status but to keep our pump capacity for our ISO rating, we would still need to keep the old truck. Its twenty years old now so we can run it as a reserve pumper, but in five years it could be considered an antique," he said.

Chief Parker said he would prefer to replace the 1992 truck possibly within the next five years and establish a schedule for replacing the oldest trucks over time. "We're going to have to do something with it within the next five years. Having a newer truck now gives us a little bit of cushion. We've got five years to start looking. But as far as getting rid of it at this point, it almost kind of defeats our purpose of adding the newer engine and getting our ISO ratings up. But I'll definitively look at some numbers to see what a 20, 25, and a 30 year old truck would be at today's prices and that will give us some kind of idea (what the 1992 truck would bring today versus five or ten years from now)," he said.

In other business, the aldermen voted 3 to 0 to set the wages of the lifeguards at the municipal swimming pool at minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for this season. Alderman Steve White "passed" citing a conflict since his daughter works as a lifeguard at the pool. Mayor Hendrixson asked the aldermen to fund a maximum of three lifeguards at fifty eight hours per week for thirteen weeks. The aldermen gave their approval. Mayor Hendrixson said the cost would be about $20,000 for lifeguards this season, a little more than last year.

Students Awarded for Academic Excellence at DeKalb Middle School

May 21, 2012
Ashley Barnes
Highest 7th Grade GPA: Jayrah Trapp (99.3), Allison Rogers (98.5)
Highest 6th Grade GPA: Thomas Webb, Olivia Fuson
DMS Sixth Grade Subject Award Winners
DMS Seventh Grade Subject Award Winners

DeKalb Middle School held the annual Awards Day Ceremony for 6th and 7th graders on Monday. Principal Randy Jennings opened up the ceremony and introduced Mrs. Lori Hendrix to give out the Jr. Beta Recognition certificates. Forty two 6th and 7th graders received a certificate for participating in the Jr. Beta Club this year.

Mrs. Lambert handed out awards for Gifted TIP Participation. These awards went to Jorge Blanco, Gentry Harpole, Rachel Fuson, and Eli Cross.

Mrs. Smitty gave out the TTU Math Competition Awards to Damian Walters and Bradley Miller.

Mrs. Kathy Bryant gave out the Computer Awards to Dailen Brown, Grace Godowns, Alexis Bates, and Kalli Petty.

She also handed out the Perfect Attendance awards to Ana Amaya, Courtney Ambrose, Faedra Burns, Ethan Keck, Haley Martin, Thomas Moore, Adam Ferrell, Ricky Gunter, Clay Hoyle, Justin Perricone, Calen Arnold, Kalli Petty, and Erica Birmingham.

Citizenship Awards were then given to 6th Graders- Cristobal Flores and Shauna Pedroza, and to 7th graders- Adam Ferrell and Cynthia May.

Mr. Josh Agee handed out the 6th Grade Subject Awards to Eleonore Atnip and Austin Johnson- English, Ana Amaya and Bradley Miller- Math, Abby Evans and Marshall Evins- Reading, Kyle Justice and Damien Walters- Science, and Grace Godowns and Allison Maynard- Social Studies.

Mr. Webb handed out the 7th Grade Subject Awards to Rachel Fuson and Allison Rogers- Reading, Eli Cross- English, Jayrah Trapp- Math, Lane Poss- Science, and Kalli Petty- Social Studies.

Highest GPA Plaques were given to 6th Graders- Bradley Miller, Olivia Fuson, and Thomas Webb, and 7th Graders- Jayrah Trapp and Allison Rogers.

Names were drawn from a box for TCAP Rewards and the winners received a Walmart gift card. The winners were 6th graders- Cody Merriman and 7th graders- Callie Cripps and Remington Tatrow.

(Bradley Miller and Cristobal Flores were not present for the ceremony.)

(TOP PHOTO: Highest 7th Grade GPA: Jayrah Trapp (99.3), Allison Rogers (98.5)

(SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP: Highest 6th Grade GPA: Thomas Webb, Olivia Fuson)

(THIRD PHOTO FROM TOP: 6th Grade Subject- Eleonore Atnip, Austin Johnson, Ana Amaya, Abby Evans, Marshall Evins, Kyle Justice, Damien Walters, Grace Godowns, Allison Maynard)

(BOTTOM PHOTO: 7th Grade Subject- Allison Rogers, Rachel Fuson, Kalli Petty, Lane Poss, Jayrah Trapp, and Eli Cross)

Teacher Judy Redmon to Remain Active in Retirement

May 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
Judy Redmon

She may be retiring as a teacher from the DeKalb County School System after thirty six years, but don't expect Judy Redmon to be inactive.

Although this long time educator will not be returning to the classroom next year, Redmon plans to stay busy in other ways. "People ask me if I'm looking forward to retirement. I'm looking forward to a change, but I'm always going to miss the kids. My husband Ronnie and I are really active in church. I've been to a college and put in an application to be a supervisor so we'll see how that pans out. I can't remain inactive when it comes to kids. I'll do something," she said.

Redmon's teaching career began in 1976 at DeKalb Middle School. "I taught at the middle school for 32 years. I taught fifth grade social studies for two years and fifth grade math. In the middle of my sixth year, Jane Hobson moved to a school in Smyrna and I was moved up to seventh grade math. I also taught seventh grade geography and seventh grade English. Later I became assistant principal for six years," said Redmon.

"I've also taught adult education, all subjects for fourteen years and I have done summer school at the high school for four years," she added.

After her years at DeKalb Middle School, Redmon moved to Northside Elementary School where she has taught fourth grade math. Redmon was also one of the first local educators to attain career level III, status, an achievement only few have reached.

Redmon said it was her love for children that inspired her to become a teacher. "I come from a big family, fourteen kids. I'm one of fourteen. I was the first to go to college. I quit high school when I was a junior, beginning my junior year. I later got my GED and went on to college. My love of kids I guess is the drawing factor that got me into education," she said.

As a teacher, Redmon has had the added pleasure of working with her own daughter and watching her grandchildren advance through the school system. " It's been a really good pleasure of mine to have taught with my daughter, Patty Hale for several years, the four years I've been here at Northside plus seven years at the middle school we've taught together and that's been a real pleasure in my life," said Redmon. Our youngest granddaughter is here at Northside. She is in the fifth grade and will be in the middle school next year. Our grandson is in the middle school now," she said.

While she has enjoyed her years as an educator, Redmon said there were often challenges to overcome. "When I started at the middle school, we had no walls (in the classrooms), just little dividers. My (area) was probably only a 20 x 20 section down there. I had a set of lockers on one side and the rest of it was just open to the other classrooms. Mr (Ernest) Ray later came (as principal) and he got the walls put up. They have modified it a lot since then, putting up a lot of dividers and walls. It's made it a lot better," she said.

A major obstacle of teaching in a classroom without walls, according to Redmon, was holding the students' attention, when they could be so easily distracted by what was happening in the adjoining class room. "It was terrible because you would be trying to teach and the other teachers were presenting their material and If my material wasn't as interesting as the other teachers, then they would listen to that teacher more than me. So it was tough to hold their attention,' she said.

Redmon, like other educators, has seen changes in curriculum and teaching standards over the years. " The curriculum has really changed in the years that I have been a teacher. The material I once taught in fifth grade math, I am now teaching in fourth grade. I don't always agree with what they are asking us to teach. Sometimes I think they're requiring too much of our children, but they say you teach it, so I teach it. But it has made it more difficult for the students," said Redmon.

As for mentors, Redmon said former DMS principal Ernest Ray is among those she admired most. "Mr Ray has probably been the biggest influence in my life because when he came to the middle school to be the principal, my husband and I had just had our third child and he was born with a physical disability. I was having to miss quite a bit of school to take care of my child and his physical disability. I ran out of sick days. Mr. Ray gave me some of his sick days. He was just a good influence on the kids. They respected him. The teachers respected him. He was fair and honest. He has just really been a good person in my life," she said.

Redmon said she is grateful for the opportunity to have been a teacher and is proud of her service. "I've had a good thirty six years. It hasn't always been the best, but its been a good thirty six years. I really appreciate all the people that I've worked with. I've worked with and under seven administrators. I am fortunate to have been able to stay in this profession as long as I have. I am proud of that,' she said.

Redmon is also among those who help raise money for the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life. "That is a special place in my heart because my husband had cancer," she said. This year's Relay for Life is set for Friday, June 8 at Greenbrook Park.

Man Charged with Statutory Rape of 15 Year Old, Parents of Girl Arrested for Child Neglect

May 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
Steven Michael Rogers, Jr.
Donna Smith
Bryan Smith

A 21 year old man has been charged with the statutory rape of a fifteen year old and the girl's parents have been arrested for child neglect, allowing their daughter to engage in sexual activity with this man, even providing them condoms.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Friday that Steven Michael Rogers, Jr. charged with statutory rape, will make an appearance on June 21 in DeKalb County General Sessions Court. His bond is $5,000.

45 year old Donna Smith and 33 year old Bryan Smith are each charged with child neglect. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will be in court on June 21.

The warrant against Rogers states that "on Friday, May 11 at a residence in Smithville, Rogers did have sexual intercourse with a fifteen year old female while living with her the past four months".

The warrant against Donna Smith, the mother of the girl, states that she " did knowingly approve of the daughter's sexual intercourse with a 21 year old male, Michael Rogers. This has been happening for the past four months and on several occasions. Also the parents furnished condoms to the subjects and allowed them to live together".

The warrant against Bryan Smith, the father of the girl, states that he "did knowingly approve of his daughter's sexual intercourse with a 21 year old male, Michael Rogers. He has known of this going on for the past four months and on several occasions has furnished them with condoms and allowed them to live together knowing that this was going on in the residence."

The case was investigated by the Department of Children Services and detectives and officers of the Smithville Police Department.

In other cases, 38 year old Darrell Gurley is charged with criminal impersonation. He will be in court on May 24. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said Gurley, who had active warrants against him, was found at a residence on Tommy Harrell street. When confronted by detectives, Gurley gave a false name and date of birth to identify himself. After confirming who he really is, Police asked him again and Gurley admitted his true identity.

37 year old Brian Lasser is charged with public intoxication. He will be in court on June 21. His bond is $1,000. An officer was dispatched to the soccer field at Northside Elementary School to investigate a complaint of an intoxicated man crawling on his hands and knees, causing a disturbance. The officer arrived on the scene and found that the man, Lasser, was very unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. He also appeared to have a white pill residue around his mouth. Lasser told police that he had taken two oxycodone and one xanax before he arrived at the soccer field to watch the children play ball.

49 year old Bobbie Lisa Andrews is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. Her court date is June 14. She was stopped for a traffic violation and during the investigation, the officer asked for and received consent to search. He noticed that she was adjusting her clothing. A female correctional officer was summoned to the scene. Andrews was searched and a needle was found hidden in her blouse.

37 year old Crystal Turner is cited for shoplifting. She will be in court on June 21. An officer was called to the Dollar General Store on Sunday, May 13. An employee noticed that Turner had concealed items in her purse while in the store. When confronted, Turner produced the items.

Jeff Bandy Overall Winner of Relay for Life 5K & One Mile Fun Run

May 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
Relay for Life 5K and One-Mile Fun Run held Saturday
Relay for Life 5K and One Mile-Fun Run

Runners, both young and older, participated in the fourth annual Relay for Life 5K and One Mile Fun Run Saturday starting from Greenbrook Park.

Money raised through the run will go to the American Cancer Society to help find a cure and for patient services.

Jeff Bandy was the overall winner in the 5K. He ran the course in 20:35.
Kristen VanVranken had the best time among women at 22:19.

The following are the winners for the Relay for Life 5K.
One mile fun run winners:
1st place Caden Close 7:58
2nd place Macy Hedge 8:13
3rd place Grayson Redmon 8:29

5 K winners
12 - 19 age group
1st place Loren Cripps 35:23
2nd place Alisha Hale 46:03

1st place Bailey Hayes 31:50
2nd place Jacob Washer 31:51
3rd place Noah Parsley 35:35

19-29 age group
1st place Tasha Maynard 27:57
2nd place Jessica Terrell 28:54
3rd place Kandi Moss 31:40

1st place Travis Hendrixson 21:43
2nd place Darren Oakley 26:23
3rd place Andy McCaleb 26:32

30 - 39 age group
1st place Kristen VanVranken 22:19
2nd place Diana Moon 24:00
3rd place Deana Ruth Colwell 27:40

1st place Dale Grissom 21:30
2nd place Josh Agee 22:19
3rd place Josh Miller 23:39

40- 49 age group
1st place Melissa Ruch 26:08
2nd place Beth Gill 33:41
3rd place Beth Stephens 34:00

1st place Jeff Bandy 20:35 (Overall Winner also)

50- 59 age group
1st place Kathy Hale 46:02
2nd place Barbara Wall 47:44
3rd place Vicky Terrell 47:46

1st place Jerry Adcock 24:52
2nd place Mark Miller 28:40
3rd place Tim Robinson 29:31

60 - 69 age group
1st place Phillip Cantrell 27:56
2nd place Mike Braswell 31:28

"These are the people who placed, but everyone was a winner because they participated in the event to raise money for cancer," said spokesperson Judy Redmon. "A special thanks goes to Food Lion, who provided water and bananas; Bumpers, who provided free drink coupons; the Smithville Police Department; the Ambulance service; the Fiddler 5 K, for the loan of the clock; the City of Smithville employees, for the use of the barricades; and anyone else who volunteered or helped in any way with this most successful event." she said.

Adam James and Ally Judkins Win White Rose; Elizabeth Sanders Gets Citizenship Award (SEE LOCAL NEWS FOR VIDEOS OF GRADUATION)

May 18, 2012
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix Presents White Rose to Adam James
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix Presents White Rose to Ally Judkins
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix Presents Citizenship Award to Elizabeth Sanders
Motivational Speaker Micheal Burt Delivers Commencement Address
Valedictorian Adam James speaking to the DCHS Class of 2012
Class President Victoria Tatrow speaking at the DCHS graduation

It was a night of joy and celebration Friday evening for the Class of 2012 on the occasion of graduation at DeKalb County High School.


Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to Adam James and Ally Judkins while the Citizenship Award was presented to Elizabeth Sanders.

The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the class for outstanding achievement and leadership, academics, and other activities. The Citizenship Award is given to the senior who has demonstrated outstanding service, devotion and loyalty to DeKalb County High School. The honors students were also recognized during the program.

The 168 students received diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby as their names were called by Principal Kathy Hendrix.

In his remarks, Valedictorian Adam James urged his fellow classmates to embrace the future with courage and confidence. "This mystery of what the future holds can be scary. And sure, we can choose to be afraid. We can choose to approach life cautiously- yes, we'll be safe, but never will we ever be able to truly embrace all that life has to offer. With this guarded lifestyle, we will work and grow old, but, honestly, not much else. Or, there is another path, another lifestyle, which we can choose instead of living in the shadows, we can choose to live a life filled with joy. We can choose to be amazing. We can choose to be absolutely incredible. Because, that is just what we are–incredible. Each and everyone of us has the capabilities necessary to leading a long, happy, and successful life. The fact that we are here tonight proves that. We only get one shot–one chance–to live this life right. So live it, and live it to the fullest," said James.

"You make your own happiness. Ask yourself, why do some people have more than others? Because they visualize it and go after it. What is it that you want out of life? Because whatever your answer may be, it can be yours. All you have to do is use your imagination and ask for it. Obstacles can't stop you. Problems can't stop you. Most of all, other people can't stop you. Only you can stop you. So don't be afraid to think big, for it is the person who thinks big that lives big. No one is better than you. You truly do deserve every happiness life has to offer," he said.

"There is a quote I like that says "Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs. But its your choice whether to close your eyes and scream or throw up your hands and enjoy the ride". Whether it be 5, 10, 15, or 100 years from now, I hope each and everyone of you graduates will look back on these years as students of DeKalb County with pride and think "Wow, what a ride," said James.

Victoria Tatrow, Class President, paid tribute to the teachers and parents and challenged her fellow classmates to strive for excellence " It is true, our experiences over these past years have allowed us to discover for ourselves who we are meant to be. Furthermore, I hope in my heart that each of you find happiness and joy in everything you do throughout this next adventure. At times, it may seem difficult, but so long as you believe in yourself, nothing will be impossible. Each of you are amazing individuals, so talented, intelligent, and inspirational. Please, always remember that by knowing who you are, striving for excellence, and believing in your dreams with all of your heart, you can accomplish anything," said Tatrow.

Motivational speaker Michael Burt, in his address to the class, urged the graduates to live each day with purpose and passion. "Your destiny truly has no city limits. If you read any of the six books that I have written, I very seldom talk about goals. Not because I don't believe in goals, but what I think wins out is a dominant focus in your life. A definitive aim. For all of the parents who are here tonight, the strongest way to get these young people to chase their dream is to let them see you chasing your dreams. So remember this, young people, here's a simple concept. We become the sum average of the five people we hang around the most. The second thing is this. We will be the exact same people five years from today with the exception of two things. The people that we meet and the books that we read. Every person in this stadium has a dream. You're either at one of two places tonight with that dream. You're either ready to go after it or you're ready to give up on it. My hope is that tonight's talk will help you get the inspiration you need to go after it. Don't ever let your confidence be predicated by people who tell you that you can't do something with your life, because if this Woodbury boy can write six books, win a championship, and speak to 125,000 people, then you can do it too," said Burt.

The graduation program included the processional by the DCHS band; Invocation by Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Vice President Laura Martinez; Music by the DCHS Chorus and Theater Class singing the Beatles "In My Life"; an Introduction by Senior Class President Victoria Tatrow; Recognition of Honor Students by Guidance Counselor Lori Myrick; Presentation of Valedictorian, Salutatorian, White Rose, and Citizenship Awards by Principal Kathy Hendrix; Guest Speaker Micheal Burt; Presentation of the Class by Principal Hendrix; Presentation of Diplomas by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby; Benediction by FCA President Elizabeth Sanders; and Recessional by the DCHS Band.

DeKalb West School Graduates Thirty-nine Students

May 18, 2012
Bill Conger
Tavia Cantrell, Kirkland Smallwood, James Sherwood
Anna Malone, James Sherwood, Morgan Vickers, William Cain
Justin Blair and Damian  Payne
Damian Payne and Will Cain
Will Cain
Aaron Tippin

Thirty-nine members of the 8th grade class at DeKalb West School graduated Friday, May 18. Students received a certificate of completion, and others also were recognized for special achievements.

For the highest grade averages, Kirkland Smallwood from Cynthia Preston’s class and James Sherwood from Melanie Molander’s homeroom swept the top grades in every subject except for Tavia Cantrell, who had the highest average in math, in Mrs. Molander’s homeroom.

Here’s how the final scores stacked up. Math: Cantrell, 93.29% and Smallwood, 98.32%; Science: Sherwood, 98.51% and Smallwood, 99.69%; Social Studies: Sherwood, 97.7% and Smallwood, 98.91%; Literature: Smallwood, 98.72% and Sherwood, 98.52%; English: Smallwood, 99.42% and Sherwood, 98.23%; Spelling: Smallwood, 99.96% and Sherwood, 99.09%.

William Cain and Dani Meadows were recognized for scoring a perfect 6 on the TCAP writing assessment.

Winning the peer-nominated Citizenship Awards were James Sherwood and Anna Malone from Melanie Molander’s homeroom, and Will Cain and Morgan Vickers from Cynthia Preston’s class. The Mrs. Georgia Young award was presented to Will Cain.

The Genrose R. Davis Librarian’s Award also went to Will Cain with 1954.3 Accelerated Reader points. He scored the most A.R. points among the student body this school year as well as earning the most points in Preston’s homeroom. Damian Payne finished first in his class with 1555.3.

Payne also earned an award for perfect attendance, as did Justin Blair and Kirkland Smallwood.

Country star Aaron Tippin was the guest speaker and sang a couple of songs for the crowd. Tippin and his wife, Thea, watched their son, Ted Tippin graduate. Schools Director Mark Willoughby, Principal Danny Parkerson, and Assistant Principal Sabrina Farler also spoke during the ceremony.

Students completing 8th grade are the following: Lucas Barnes, Jessica Billings, Justin Blair, Noah Byford, William Cain, Tavia Cantrell, Lane Davenport, Alex Foutch, Chyna Fullilove, Chasity Garrett, Ashley Grater, Brandon Grater, Katie Hall, Madison Hayes, Josh Hembree, Elijah Hendrixson, Anna Malone, Keely McKay, Sam McMillen, Dani Meadows, Heather Miller, Mary Mofield, Amber Montgomery, Alexis Nokes, Damian Payne, Jared Pyles, Maribel Quintero, Katie Roehner, James Sherwood, Kirkland Smallwood, Haley Smith, Christian Staten, Nathaniel Theriaque, Ted Tippin, Morgan Vickers, Hailey Walker, Chelsey Waters, Jordan Whitehead, and Mathew Winsett.

(TOP PHOTO: For the highest grade averages, Kirkland Smallwood from Cynthia Preston’s class and James Sherwood from Melanie Molander’s homeroom swept the top grades in every subject except for Tavia Cantrell, who had the highest average in math, in Mrs. Molander’s homeroom. Pictured left to right are Tavia Cantrell, Kirkland Smallwood, and James Sherwood.)

(SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP) Winning the peer-nominated Citizenship Awards were (left to right) Anna Malone and James Sherwood from Melanie Molander’s homeroom, and Morgan Vickers and Will Cain from Cynthia Preston’s class.)

(THIRD PHOTO FROM TOP) Attendance: Justin Blair, Damian Payne and Kirkland Smallwood won awards for perfect attendance. Smallwood not pictured.)

(FOURTH PHOTO FROM TOP) The Genrose R. Davis Librarian’s Award went to Will Cain, who was the top reader in his class and had the most yearly points in school, with 1954.3 Accelerated Reader points. Damian Payne finished first in his class with 1555.3 A.R.'s class.) Pictured left to right: Damian Payne and Will Cain

(FIFTH PHOTO FROM TOP) Will Cain was presented with this year's Mrs. Georgia Young award, named after the late longtime kitchen manager at DWS)

(BOTTOM PHOTO) Aaron Tippin performs for the 8th grade graduation at DeKalb West School

Mini-Grants Available to Downtown Building Owners for Revitalization

May 18, 2012

For decades, a bustling downtown was the social, cultural and financial lifeblood of communities across America. With today's interstates spidering through land that used to be thought of as "out there," Main Street's shops and diners, once filled with familiar faces, have been competing with big box stores and parking decks in sprawling bedroom communities. Here in Tennessee, we're not ready to let downtown become a memory.

Smithville is among the communities seeking to revive its downtown districts. In December, 2010, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced that Smithville was among 12 communities selected to participate in Tennessee Downtowns, a competitive community improvement program for cities and counties seeking to revitalize traditional commercial districts. Communities with central business districts at least 50 years old are eligible to apply for a downtown revitalization package, which includes a site visit, attendance at a two-day downtown revitalization workshop, ongoing technical assistance and an innovation project grant.

Mini-grants are available to local downtown business owners who want to join in the effort.

The new Tennessee Downtowns Design Committee will be taking applications for downtown Smithville building owners who will invest a minimum of $1,000 in exterior improvements to their buildings. If your application is approved by the committee, you will be eligible to receive $500.

The deadline for filing your application is June 30. Your project must be completed within 60 days of the date of approval. After a design committee inspection and Chamber receiving receipts, a $500 reimbursement should be expected within 30 to 60 days.

Fore more information, contact the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce at 597-4163

Tennessee joins a growing national movement to improve the business climate in America's traditional downtowns. Main Street works with these communities to provide technical assistance, training and guidance to improve the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of traditional commercial districts. The "Main Street Approach to Revitalization"™ guides communities to develop strong, broad-based local organizations and to create a road map for implementation and management of the revitalization process.

In the middle 1980s Tennessee Main Street Program joined the National Main Street Center as a coordinating partner. Since then our program has engaged with towns and cities across Tennessee, spreading the national methodology and language of "Main Street" , developed more than 30 years ago and successful in more than 2,500 communities across America.

The National Main Street Center's © "Main Street Approach to Downtown Revitalization" comprehensive downtown revitalization advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment and the rebuilding of traditional business districts based on unique assets such as distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment and local ownership. In other words, we believe in community-driven, common sense solutions to make our downtowns safe, appealing and vibrant places where folks want to shop, live and make memories.

Downtowns play an important role in a community's economic development strategy. These commercial cores usually account for as much as 30 percent of a community's jobs and 40 percent of its tax base. Downtown is also a community's crossroads – a place in our hearts and minds that evoke strong emotions and help define our identity.

The benefits of downtown revitalization are clear:
Revitalization protects the existing tax base. Private investment in banks, businesses and commercial property and public investment in streets, sidewalks and water and sewer lines are protected and enhanced.

Revitalization provides an incubator for new business. A viable downtown offers opportunities and incentives for the new entrepreneurs such as lower rent and technical assistance.

Revitalization helps attract industrial development. Downtown reflects the overall image a community projects to potential investors. An invigorated downtown makes a very positive statement about the whole community.

Revitalization provides a point of focus and stability. A vibrant downtown gives the whole community and region a sense of pride and positive self-image. It also serves as an anchor that holds the community together and provides the stability necessary for economic growth.

More than One Million Dollars in Scholarships Awarded to DCHS Seniors

May 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
Amy Austin of Union University Presents  $84,820 Scholarship to Heather Vidal
2012 DCHS Scholarship Recipients
Tennessee Scholars at DCHS
Adam James Receives Perfect Attendance Award from DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix

More than one million dollars in scholarships were awarded to sixty nine members of the Class of 2012 at DeKalb County High School during Thursday's annual Senior Awards Day program.

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

Heather Vidal, the Class Salutatorian, received more than $108,000 in scholarships, the largest total award presented to any student during the program. Vidal was presented a scholarship of $84,820 from Union University and the $24,000 Ned McWherter scholarship.

Meanwhile, Adam James, the Class Valedictorian, was presented an award for perfect attendance during the 2011-12 school year. Honor students, Tennessee Scholars, and students who have received the High Schools That Work Award of Educational Achievement were also recognized.

Other scholarship recipients are as follows:

Lela Ambrose
University of Tennessee at Knoxville: $30,600

Joseph Angaran:
Anthony Duane Trapp Memorial: $1,000

Christian Atnip:
Smithville Women's Club: $350

Jessica Ball:
DTC Communications McAllen Foutch Memorial: $8,000

Thomas Beltz:
U.S. Marines Enlistment

Dustin Brown:
DeKalb County Children's Service Council: $500

Chelsea Cantrell:
Love-Cantrell Funeral Home: $500

Megan Cantrell:
DeKalb Fire Fighters: $500

Tiffany Cantrell:
DeKalb Funeral Chapel: $500

Michael W. Caldwell:
Jolly Angels: $1,000
DeKalb County Scottish Rite: $1,000

Yesenia Cintron:
U.S. Marines Music Award

Erin Colwell:
David Wayne Alexander Memorial: $1,000
DeKalb Funeral Chapel: $500
Smithville Rotary Club: $750

Jakob Craven:
Dailey & Vincent Scholarship: $1,000

Alex Cripps:
U.S. Navy Enlistment: $85,000

Chelsea Crutcher:
U.S. Army Enlistment: $71,500

Jonathan Edwards:
University of Tennessee at Knoxville: $23,200
CIC Foundation: $10,000
Jolly Angels: $1,000
DCHS Beta Club Scholarship: $500

Matthew Elliott:
U.S. Marines Enlistment

Katy England:
Class of 1966: $500

Whitney England:
Tennessee Tech University: $16,000
Love-Cantrell Funeral Home Allen D. Hooper Memorial Award: $500
Jolly Angels: $1,000
DCHS Beta Club Scholarship: $500

Jeremie Ferdelman
U.S. Navy Enlistment: $85,000

Sloane Garrett:
Jeff Garrett Memorial: $500
AmVets Auxiliary: $250
Jolly Angels: $1,000

Jessica Garrison:
Tennessee Tech University: $10,000
Liberty State Bank: $1,000
Leadership DeKalb

Zachary Goldstein:
Universal Technical Institute Imagine America Foundation: $1,000

Katelyn Goodwin:
First Bank: $500
Love-Cantrell Funeral Home: $500

Todd Hasty:
Mentors Association Scholarship: $5,000

Tiffini Hendrixson:
Covenant College: $12,000
U.S. Marines Athlete Award

Johnna Hensley:
Dailey & Vincent Scholarship: $1,000
DeKalb Community Hospital: $500
FCCLA: $200

Heather Hughes:
Mentors Association Scholarship:$5,000

Brooke Hutchings:
Covenant College: $12,000
DeKalb Funeral Chapel: $500

Adam James:
Belmont University: $40,000

Sarah Jones:
Tennessee Tech University: $3,000
DeKalb County Soil Conservation District: $500
Doyle & Melford Smith Scholarship: $1,000

Stephanie Jones:
Martin Methodist:$25,000

Ally Judkins:
Kyle & Kenny Robinson Memorial: $1,000

Danielle Knowles:
DeKalb PTO: $300
Smithville Rotary Math Award: $100

Monse Leon:
Martin Methodist:$41,600

Tammy Li:
Liberty State Bank: $1,000
DCHS Student Council: $500
Elzie & Nell McBride Memorial: $500

Allison Little:
Tennessee Tech University: $4,000

Sarah Lomas:
Dailey & Vincent Scholarship: $1,000

Laura Martinez:
Tennessee Tech University: $10,000
U.S. Marines Scholar Award

Alex Meadows:
Lucille Stewart Memorial: $2,000
U.S. Army Athlete Award

Mason Merriman:
Kyle & Kenny Robinson Memorial: $1,000
Smithville Rotary Club: $750

Dustin Netherton:
U.S. Marines Enlistment

Tevin Owens:
Agee Oil Scholarship: $1,500
DeKalb Firefighters: $500

Jacob Odom:
University of Tennessee at Knoxville: $30,600
U.S. Army Athlete Award

Laura Pafford:
Mentors Association Scholarship: $5,000
Tennessee Tech University: $4,000

Hailey Perry:
DeKalb Republican Women: $500

Sebastian Phillips:
Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Scholarship: $500
AmVets: $250
U.S. Marines Athlete Award

Chris Powell:
U.S. Navy Enlistment: $85,000

Kidman Puckett:
DeKalb Funeral Chapel: $500

Stephanie Rackley:
Smithville Rotary Club: $750
Smithville Business & Professional Women's Club: $500

Cora Beth Rhody:
Smithville Women's Club: $350

Louis Richards:
Smithville Rotary Vocational Award: $100

Martin Riley:
U.S. Army Enlistment: $71,500

Yazmin Rivera:
Martin Methodist: $41,600

Sydney Robinson:
First Bank: $500
Leadership DeKalb

Johnna Roller:
Tennessee Tech University Cheerleading

Elizabeth Sanders:
Eddie Crips Memorial: $1,000
DeKalb Funeral Chapel: $500
Leadership DeKalb

Russell Storey:
U.S. Navy Enlistment: $85,000

Laura Sullivan:
Motlow State Community College: $4,000
DeKalb Retired Teachers: $750

Victoria Tatrow:
Tennessee Tech University: $10,000
Jolly Angels: $1,000

Zach Thompson:
MTSU: $16,000

Briana Vidal:
Cedarville University: $42,000
Comcast: $1,000

Heather Vidal:
Union University: $84,820
Ned McWherter Scholarship: $24,000

Krystal White:
MTSU: $16,000

Ashlee Whitehead:
Smithville Business & Professional Women's Club: $500

Jacob Williams:
U.S. Marines Enlistment

Austin Wilmore:
Tennessee Tech University: $4,000

Alyssa Young:
Dailey & Vincent Scholarship: $1,000
Smithville Rotary Club: $750

Riley Young:
Tennessee Tech University: $3,000


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