Local News Articles

DCHS golfer Mallory Sullivan Shoots Course Record at Jackson County

August 30, 2012
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan

DCHS golfer Mallory Sullivan reached another milestone Tuesday having shot a 35, one under par for a course record at the Cumberland Bend Golf Course in Jackson County

She was competing against Clay County. "On the girls side, we played at Jackson County on Tuesday against Jackson County and Clay County and Mallory shot the course record," said Coach Joe Pat Cope. "She shot a 35 up there, one under par which is a sports records for girls high school golf there. They framed her score card and put that up. We're pleased with where we're at right now," he said.

Meanwhile, the DCHS boys golf team remains undefeated in district play. "They haven't lost a district match in the last two seasons," said Coach Cope. "We have three seniors, Zach Martin, Hayden Ervin, and Corey Kijanski and they have all been shooting in the mid 30's. They have played really well. Ethan Roller has shot under par six rounds this year. I am tickled to death the way the guys are playing," he added.

"We have five more matches left including Livingston, which is also undefeated in the district, and we'll play them next Tuesday, September 4. If you can come out and support the Tigers and Lady Tigers, that would be huge, Coach Cope continued. "That's always a battle. We've been fortunate enough to beat them the last couple of years, but anytime Livingston comes to town it's going to be tough. They've got four really good guy golfers and their scores are real similar to ours so it should be a good match," he said.

"We have our district tournament coming up in a couple of weeks. The girls will play Monday, September 24 at Ironwood and the boys will play Tuesday, September 25 at White Plains Golf Course in Cookeville. We look forward to seeing everybody out at the matches," said Coach Cope.

WJLE'S Fearless Forecasters Begin New Season of College Football Picks

August 30, 2012
Dwayne Page

WJLE's Fearless Forecasters began a new season of college football picks Thursday afternoon.

The program airs LIVE on Thursday's at 4:30 p.m. featuring panelists Chad Kirby, Dewain Hendrixson, Joe Goodwin, Jeff James, John Pryor, Darvin Gill, Scott Brown, Ricky Atnip, and a special guest each week. This week's guest was Tim Stribling.

The forecasters pick who they believe will win in fifteen of the biggest or most interesting college football games of the season. They also make an underdog pick each week.


Election Commission Sending Letters to Smithville Property Rights Voters

August 30, 2012
Dennis Stanley

Letters are going out this week to the City of Smithville Property Rights voters regarding the voting procedure in a referendum on the ballot in November.

The DeKalb County Election Commission is mailing the letter to over 150 property rights voters stating that if they wish to cast a vote in the package store referendum they can only do so by absentee ballot. Because the referendum is being held in conjunction with a county-wide election, the Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to institute a
relatively new state law that allowed the city to require property rights voters cast ballots only by absentee mail.

The aldermen met in special session Monday night at city hall to adopt this ordinance on second and final reading following a public hearing. No one showed up to oppose the ordinance and it was approved on a 5-0 vote.

"We asked the board to adopt this ordinance as a means for making it more convenient for the property rights voter and to eliminate potential confusion on election day," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. "Had the city not voted to make this change, property rights voters who waited until election day to cast their ballot would have had
to vote in two different locations-their county precinct and one of the four precincts located inside the city limits. Even those who voted early would have had to go through the line twice-once to vote their county address and once to vote as a property rights voter."

The board's decision to require absentee mail ballots for property rights voters applies only to the November 6 election. Registered voters who live inside the city are not affected by this change. Included in the letter being mailed this week is an application for an absentee ballot.

"If a property rights voter wants to cast a ballot in the referendum, all they have to do is fill out the form included with the letter and mail it back to our office," Stanley said. "Then at the appropriate time we will mail them a ballot for the referendum."

"Remember, this is the only way a property rights voter can cast a ballot in the referendum," Stanley added. "And this in no way affects their voting routine in the county-wide balloting."

Property rights voters are those who live elsewhere in the county but own a minimum amount of property inside the city limits and have registered as a property rights voter.

If you are a city property rights voter and have yet to receive your application, please contact the election commission office at 597-4146. All applications must be returned by October 30th.

Tiger Pride Pageant Shows Spirit

August 30, 2012
Shan Burklow

The Tiger Pride Pageants brought out hundreds of people showing their Tiger Pride this past weekend. The pageant proceeds raised money for the DCHS Tiger Football Program. The Tigers players, managers, and cheerleaders came out to do their part. Over 80 contestants participated in the pageant as well as many vendors and business sponsors.

"It is amazing to see how the county comes out to support our kids", Emcee Shan Burklow commented, "Everyone is having a great time and we all just want to do whatever we can to make their school experience as amazing as possible. This started out as a simple idea, and it's gratifying to see it turn into such a great success! Misty Martin and Melissa Hale along with an incredible group of volunteers made today a wonderful first year event."

There were four pageants hosted during the day long event. Winners were crowned in the following categories: Little Miss Tigerette - Kenlee Renae Taylor, the seven year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville. Miss Junior Tigerette - Madison Rae Rackley, the 9 year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville. Miss Tigerette - Sarah Anne Colwell, the 12 year old daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville. Miss Tiger Pride - Hope Stephens, the 16 year old daughter of Samantha Stephens of Livingston.

Pictured from left to right: 2nd Alternate Taneah Cantrell, !st Alternate Tyra Graham, Queen Hope Stephens, 3rd Alternate Ashley Medlin, 4th Alternate Kami Denise Bogle.

DeKalb Fire Dept Extrication Team Participates In Training Exercise

August 30, 2012
DeKalb Fire Dept Extrication Team Participates In Training Exercise
DeKalb Fire Dept Extrication Team In Training

Members of the DeKalb Fire Department Extrication Team recently participated in a training exercise

"This training involved an Advanced Vehicle Extrication scenario at night at the DeKalb County Fire Department's main station," said Lt Bradley Mullinax, Extrication Team Leader for the DeKalb County Fire Department.

"Our department is devoted to training our members to the highest possible level so hopefully we are prepared for a variety of different rescue operations," he said. "This training drill tested our members ability to stabilize multiple vehicles in less than perfect conditions such as the night hours when scene lighting is extremely limited and then perform a rescue operation to remove a trapped victim.The training was a success that left our team members more educated on a variety of vehicle rescue techniques," said Lt. Mullinax.

The DeKalb County Fire Dept's vehicle rescue team is currently made up of 30 members of the DeKalb County Fire Department. "Vehicle extrication is just one of the many rewarding opportunities offered by the fire department to help the members of our community," added Lt. Mullinax.

DeKalb Seniors Show Improvement in ACT Scores

August 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
Lisa Cripps

DeKalb County High School seniors last year improved their performance on the ACT test in 2012, earning a composite score of 18.7, up from 17.9 the year before, according to a report released last week by the Tennessee Department of Education. A total of 168 students took the tests.

"Its inspiring to see the progress they made on the ACT," said Lisa Cripps, Secondary Supervisor for the local school system in an interview with WJLE Wednesday.

DeKalb students improved somewhat in each area from 2011 to 2012 but still fell short of the state ACT averages. Cripps said local ACT scores began trending downward a couple of years ago after the state began requiring all eleventh graders to be tested. "We had a five year trend when we were really doing very well in 2008-09 but in 2010 we started testing all eleventh graders, whether they were college bound or not. We're only one of seven states that does that. As a result, we dropped down in our ACT scores," said Cripps.

"I'm really thrilled to say that we are back up almost a full point. I want to thank all the teachers because this is a building process where our middle schools and elementary schools all filter into that high school. This is just a real celebration for our high school and all teachers," she added.

The following are DeKalb County ACT results compared to the state averages for 2011 and 2012

DEKALB: 17.5 (2011) STATE: 19.4 (2011)
DEKALB: 18.7 (2012) STATE: 19.6 (2012)

DEKALB: 17.3 (2011) STATE: 19 (2011)
DEKALB: 17.6 (2012) STATE: 19.1 (2012)

DEKALB: 18 (2011) STATE:19.7 (2011)
DEKALB: 19.1 (2012) STATE:19.9 (2012)

DEKALB: 18.1 (2011) STATE:19.4 (2011)
DEKALB: 18.9 (2012) STATE:19.6 (2012)

DEKALB: 17.9 (2011) STATE:19.5 (2011)
DEKALB: 18.7 (2012) STATE:19.7 (2012)

Statewide, ACT scores for the high school class of 2012 show a slight improvement in all four subject areas — English, math, reading and science.

All public school students in Tennessee take the ACT in their senior year, which is over 68,000 students statewide, according to ACT results.

The average composite score for Tennessee seniors in 2012 was 19.7, a small increase over the average composite score in 2011 of 19.5. The percentage of Tennessee students earning scores that indicate readiness for college courses also increased in each of the subjects.

— In English, the average score increased to 19.6 this year from 19.4 last year. The percentage of students meeting the English college readiness benchmark was 59 percent this year, compared to 58 last year.

— In reading, the average score increased to 19.9 this year from 19.7 last year. The percentage of students meeting the reading college readiness benchmark was 43 percent this year, up from 41 percent last year.

— In mathematics, the average score was 19.1 this year, up from 19.0 last year. The percentage of students meeting the mathematics college readiness benchmark was 29 percent this year, an increase from 27 last year.

— In science, the average score increased to 19.6 this year from 19.4 last year. The percentage of students meeting the science college readiness benchmark was 21 percent this year, up from 20 percent last year.

DeKalb County Fire Department Receives Elite Award for 2011-12 Training Efforts

August 29, 2012
Donny Green

For the fourth consecutive year, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department has been recognized as one of Tennessee’s elite fire departments for outstanding training achievement. And most notable among these awards is the department being awarded the Gold Level Award named as the #1 volunteer fire department in Tennessee for training hours. This year, the department logged 1,469 training hours, the second highest amount of training hours for any volunteer fire department in Tennessee, and was recognized as a Silver Level fire department in Tennessee for its 2011-12 training efforts. Additionally, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department ranks #25 overall considering all 732 fire departments in Tennessee, both paid and volunteer.

DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster commended the department’s members and officers for making DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s training program such a huge success. “It is amazing to see the level of commitment that we are getting from our volunteer firefighters who work hard and train hard to make sure our citizens have good fire protection here in DeKalb County. These rankings make it very clear that we have an excellent group of men and women who are willing to do whatever it takes to be ready to respond to the emergency needs of our citizens,” says Mayor Foster.

Chief Donny Green says he wants to personally commend Lieutenant/Training Coordinator Anthony Boyd and Lieutenant/Training Officer James Pennington for their determination in making our training program one of the best. “Properly trained firefighters are the best tools a fire department has. Without training, even the best equipment is useless. We emphasize to our members that being a professional firefighter has nothing to do with your status as "career" or "volunteer", it's entirely defined by how you perform.” says Chief Green.

The Department’s training was a core element in the recent Insurance Services Office (ISO) evaluation that resulted in a dramatic improvement to DeKalb County’s Public Protection Classification Rating of Class 6, a rating that many larger counties and cities do not have. This translates in significant savings to DeKalb County homeowners’ insurance premiums.

If you are interested in learning more about the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, or would like information on how to be on our team and become a volunteer firefighter, you can visit the Department’s website at: www.dekalbfire.com or call the Main Station at 615-597-2609 and leave a message. You can also visit the Department’s FaceBook group page.

Several County Officials Differ with Mike Foster Over Pay Scale Issue

August 28, 2012
Dwayne Page

Establishing a wage scale for county general employees remains under consideration by County Mayor Mike Foster and members of the county commission, but so far no plan has been formulated.

M2U00815 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
No pay raises were included in this year's budget, other than for employees due a raise in a four tiered salary pay scale for the Sheriff's Department which was implemented last year to bring their salaries in line with other law enforcement agencies in the area.

In June, Foster told WJLE that he hoped to have a wage scale for other county employees in place by later in this budget year. "We hope to institute a step system based on job classification and years of service. That would be primarily for all county employees, especially where there are like positions throughout the county," he said.

County officials, both in the courthouse and at the county complex, support step increases for their employees based on years of service, provided it can be funded without a property tax hike. But they are at odds with Foster on his idea of using job classification as a criteria.

On Tuesday, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, County Clerk Mike Clayborn, Trustee Sean Driver, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, and Clerk and Master Deborah Malone issued the following statement to WJLE as a group " We as county officials have only asked for step raises based on years of service. At this time, we don't feel that job classifications are in the best interest of DeKalb County. It is our belief that job titles will be divisive and will kill morale and unity of the county offices. Government will not efficiently operate without all offices working together. Therefore, we would hate to see anything done that would undermine this spirit of unity that exists now."

Aside from the elected office holders or appointed administrators, the number of employees in the courthouse and county complex offices are as follows:

County Mayor: two employees
Circuit Court Clerk: three employees
Clerk and Master: one employee
Election Commission office: one employee
County Clerk: three employees
Trustee: two employees
Register of Deeds: two employees
Assessor of Property: three employees

Each employee is budgeted to receive the same amount of pay $23,024 per year except for one of the employees in the assessor of property's office who receives $28,579. Under an agreement reached years ago, the salary for this employee's position was set at a higher level because he uses his own personal vehicle for making on-site reviews of property and is responsible for his own expense associated with that vehicle other than a county reimbursement rate for mileage which is currently 47 cents per mile for travel within the county.

During Monday night's county commission meeting, Foster reiterated his position that job classification should be taken into consideration. "Some counties are like us where nearly everybody makes the same amount of money. Some of them are grossly different from ours. We've got to do a lot more work before we try to figure out what we're going to do. A lot of that is going to be up to the department heads to come up with job descriptions so that we can implement the step raises. There's obvious differences in some of the positions. Some of them (employees) have been there a long time. In my office, I've got one (employee) who has been there for eleven years and one who has been there for one year and they make the same exact amount (salary). I agree that its probably not appropriate but that's the system we're under right now but I think we need to work to make some corrections but we're not ready to vote on it tonight. We will work on that and work with the department heads and see if we can come up with some solutions," said Foster.

Speeding Becoming a Concern at County Complex

August 28, 2012
Dwayne Page
County Clerk Mike Clayborn Points to Painted Stop Sign on Pavement
County Clerk Mike Clayborn Points to Area Where Speeding Is A Concern
Mike Clayborn Stands Near Area Where Speeding Is A Concern

Traffic control in the parking area of the new county complex has become a concern and county officials are considering options to address it.

County Clerk Mike Clayborn, who brought up the issue during Monday night's county commission meeting, said the travel lanes in front of the building lack proper signage and someone could get hurt. "We've got a big problem out there with traffic. Somebody is going to get hurt out there. I've almost gotten hit four times coming around the edge of the building. They are coming from that (Peking) restaurant and from that (On The Way) service station and they (motorists) are paying no attention. They don't even see the white stop sign (painted at the end of the travel lanes in front of the building) and we're fixing to have a horrendous crash," said Clayborn.

County Mayor Mike Foster said he and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, who is also a county commissioner, are planning to speak with the city and county attorneys to see what can be done. "It's a county facility but its in the city," said Foster. Jimmy (Poss) is going to talk to city attorney Vester Parsley and we'll talk to Hilton (Conger) as to what we need to do as far as putting speed limits on that. We've talked about speed bumps and ripples. It does need something to slow it down. The worst I've seen is coming from the Farmers Market around the corner because they come through there pretty fast and its probably the same way on the other end," said Foster. There's about 550 to 600 feet through there (in front of the building). Its almost like a drag strip. I think there needs to be a set speed limit and something to slow the traffic," he added.

Driver License Renewal, Photo ID, and Duplicate Title Services Available Soon at County Complex

August 28, 2012
Dwayne Page
Kiosk for Driver License Renewal and Photo ID

DeKalb County residents may soon be able to obtain a duplicate title, renew drivers licenses, and get a photo ID at the county complex

County Clerk Mike Clayborn, during Monday night's county commission meeting, said he has been working for two years trying to obtain a contract with the state to be able to print duplicate titles in his office. Last week, state officials contacted Clayborn saying they were now prepared to offer a contract for this service. Clayborn said his office may also have the opportunity to produce new titles at some point in the future. "They wanted to include in my contract that I would do new titles, which incurs a whole lot more paperwork. I told them to go ahead and include it because I don't have to just automatically go into doing them. We can kind of feel our way through the duplicates, learn how to do them and then step up (to the new titles). But when we step up, its going to require more people. I'll need your (county commission) backing to do that. With the duplicates, we can handle that with what we've got (staff). But if we decide we want to do new titles, you've got to consider that you'll have individuals coming in. I don't know how many a day we'll do, but it'll be several. Then you have all your dealerships and they might bring in a week's work in one day. In other words, if you come in and do your title work, in three days you'll have a title instead of waiting two weeks. We don't have to go right into it. Its not something we've got to do in the next six months, or next year, or the next two years," he said.

clayborn from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Clayborn said the service of printing duplicate titles could be available in the county clerk's office by the first of the year.

Meanwhile, both Clayborn and County Mayor Mike Foster said that the county has reached an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Safety to set up a self serve Kiosk in the county complex for driver license renewal and to produce photo ID's. "All you've got to do is go in with a credit card. You'll put in your information. You'll swipe your card. It'll give you a receipt and they'll send you a renewal on your driver's license and make you a Tennessee ID," said Clayborn.

"It'll save you from having to drive to McMinnville or Cookeville to get a drivers license renewal or to go and get a photo ID," said Foster. "We've already signed a contract with them so that's a done deal. For those of you who go through airports a lot, a kiosk will be there. You punch in the numbers and the machine talks to you. It tells you what you need to do. It takes a picture and then gives you a temporary drivers license and when they check all the details, then they send you the license," said Foster.

The kiosks will be connected to the Tennessee Department of Safety's mainframe computer and will use face recognition software, comparing old drivers' license photos with the person standing in front of kiosk to insure the correct person is getting the new license.

Licenses and ID cards will not be printed at the kiosk due to security reasons.

Instead, a temporary driver's license will be printed in the form of a receipt, complete with a photo. The receipt will be valid for two weeks.


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