Local News Articles

Hale Picks Up Petition To Run For School Board

January 7, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

One person has already picked up a petition to run for the school board in the fifth district.

Kevin D. Hale of Dearman Street plans to seek the position currently held by W.J. (Dub) Evins, III.

Petitions for the 5th and 6th district school board races can now be picked up at the DeKalb County Election Commission office.

School board members, who run as non-partisan candidates, are elected in even-numbered years in August with the membership being staggered. In August 2012, members in Districts 5 and 6 are to be elected. The qualifying deadline for this election is NOON, April 5.

Sixth district member Bruce Parsley, who was elected to the school board in 2008, resigned effective December 31, 2011. Parsley told WJLE Friday that the reason he stepped down is because he is furthering his education seeking to become a teacher. He is already serving as a substitute teacher. Under state law, teachers apparently cannot serve as members of the board of education.

Jack Campbell Re-elected to FSA County Committee

January 6, 2012

Lindsay Locke, Acting County Executive Director of the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency, says the DeKalb FSA County Committee met in regular session on Tuesday, December 6 to canvass and tabulate the ballots received in the 2011 Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 2 County Committee Election. The deadline to return ballots was December 5.

Jack Campbell was re-elected to serve as a member on the Committee representing LAA-2. His second term began January 1, 2011. Mike Conley was elected as the 1st Alternate.

In addition, the Committee held its Organizational Meeting on December 6, 2011. The Committee selected Timmie Adcock to serve as Chairperson, Jack Campbell to serve as Vice-Chairperson, and Mary Sanders to serve as Member.

Locke says that the DeKalb FSA County Committee and office staff wishes to express their appreciation to voters in LAA-2 who participated in the election by voting and returning their ballots. "The local County Committees are a very important part of Farm Service Agency's program delivery and administrative processes. I do not know of any other agency providing federal programs that can say that the delivery and decision making efforts are made on the local level by a farmer-elected committee," added Locke.

For more information about FSA's County Committees or other program inquiries, call 597-8225 (extension 2) or come by the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency office at 647 Bright Hill Street in Smithville. You can also visit the agency's web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov.

Infinity Athletics Allstars Receive 2nd Place at COA Rocky Top Championship

January 6, 2012
Infinity Athletics Allstars

The Infinity Athletics Allstars received 2nd place at their latest competition at Nashville Municipal Auditorium on Saturday, December 10th.

The next event will be the last Tennessee competition on Saturday, February 11th at Nashville Municipal Auditorium. Then, the final competition will be the Cheersport Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia February 17-19th. Anyone interested in coming to a competition to support the All Stars and needs more information, please call Infinity Athletics at 215-9050. We would like to thank everyone for all their support.

Pictured are Top Row (L-R): Coach Jennifer Sykes, Kenzie France, Shaunta Koegler, Madison Colwell, and Callie Mulloy
Bottom Row (L-R): Shelby Sprague, Chloe Sykes, Emme Colwell, and Alley Sykes
Not Pictured: Katherine Clendenen

DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department Awarded Federal Grant

January 6, 2012
County Fire Chief Donny Green

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded a $103,950 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Operations and Safety Grant, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announced.

Even though demands of EMS providers and firefighters have increased tremendously over the years, the resources they depend on to provide their life-saving services have not. That's why Congress initiated the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which is similar to the highly successful COPS program that put more than 100,000 new police officers on the nation's streets.

Chief Donny Green said the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department will use this federal funding award to purchase a new 4 X 4 brush/quick attack vehicle to replace the old and unreliable 1975 homemade brush truck. This vehicle will be used in the department's county wide operation and will be a huge asset in helping firefighters access areas around Center Hill Lake.

DeKalb County will only have to provide a 5% local match for the purchase of this new vehicle awarded in this grant. Chief Green says that the department appreciates the support of County Mayor Mike Foster and the DeKalb County Commissioners for agreeing to provide the 5% local match for this grant.

Candidates for School Board Can Now Pick Up Petitions at Election Commission Office

January 5, 2012
School Board Seats Currently Held by Bruce Parsley and W.J. (Dub) Evins, III

Petitions for the 5th and 6th district school board races can now be picked up at the DeKalb County Election Commission office.

School board members, who run as non-partisan candidates, are elected in even-numbered years in August with the membership being staggered. In August 2012, members in Districts 5 and 6 are to be elected. The qualifying deadline for this election is NOON, April 5. The seats are currently held by W.J. (Dub) Evins, III in the 5th district and Bruce Parsley in the 6th district.

Meanwhile, the state representatives seats that serve DeKalb County will also be on the August State Primary ballot. However, due to statewide redistricting, petitions for those offices will not be issued until February 6, 2012.
"Due to the events of reapportionment (or redistricting), the Coordinator of Elections may postpone the normal beginning date petitions can be issued," said Dennis Stanley, DeKalb Administrator of Elections. "Due to the fact the legislature has yet to approve a redistricting plan, the Coordinator has moved the date to February 6." The qualifying deadline, however, will remain the same-April 5.

Meanwhile, Stanley reminds voters about key dates for the upcoming Presidential Preference Primary and DeKalb County Democratic Primary, set for March 6th. The last day to register to vote is February 6 and early voting will be
held from February 15 through February 28. The last day a voter may send in a written request for an absentee ballot is also February 28th.

Stanley also reminded voters that a photo identification will be required to vote on the machine during early voting or on election day. For more information, contact the election office at 597-4146.

2011 Fire Incident Responses Up in DeKalb County

January 5, 2012
Fire Incident Response Data
County Fire Chief Donny Green

The DeKalb County Fire Department has compiled its 2011 Incident Response Summary.

The best news in this report is that DeKalb County did not record any fire-related deaths in 2011. Overall, 2011 fire incident responses in the county were up by 54 calls from 2010. In 2010, the department responded to a total of 392 fire incidents. The department responded to 446 fire incident responses in 2011. This count does not include the 357 rural medical first responder calls that county fire department personnel responded to.

DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green said that the most marked increase in incidents is in the "alarms" category. This category captures responses to automated alarms such as fire/smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Chief Green said that this is expected because of the increased population of absentee homeowners around the Center Hill Lake area. According to Green, these property owners increasingly are using automated alarm systems to monitor their property, as their primary residences are elsewhere.

With DeKalb County's rural population growing at rates higher than the cities' population growth within DeKalb County, the department continues to strive to prevent fires and fire related incidents by using prevention and educational measures. DeKalb County Fire Department's Fire Prevention and Safety Officer, Lt. Brad Mullinax, says that preventing incidents is much more economical than responding to them.

The chart as shown above provides a breakdown of each type of fire incident response that the department responded to in 2011.

UPDATED: DeKalb County to Have Two State Representatives Under Redistricting Plan

January 5, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Terri Lynn Weaver
Mark Pody
Mae Beavers

DeKalb County would have two State Representatives under a new Republican drawn redistricting plan unveiled Wednesday.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver would continue to represent Smith County and most of DeKalb County as part of the 40th district but the southern portion of DeKalb County would become part of another district with Cannon and a large portion of Wilson County, represented by Republican Mark Pody of Wilson County. Legislative atttorney Doug Himes told WJLE Thursday that a total of 6,126 DeKalb County residents would be in Pody's 46th district. The precincts affected include Belk, Keltonburg, and Blue Springs in the sixth district, a small portion of the Middle School precinct in the third district, and a small portion of the Church of Christ Annex precinct in the seventh district. The rest of DeKalb County (12,597 residents) would remain in Weaver's 40th district.

Weaver would also lose Macon County but she would pick up Trousdale County and a portion of Sumner County.

The plan would have to be enacted by the State Legislature before it could take effect.

Click Link Below to See Statewide House Redistricting Plan
http://www.capitol.tn.gov/house/docs/Statewide010412.pdf

Meanwhile, State Senator Mae Beavers would continue to represent DeKalb County as part of the 17th district under the Republican drawn senate redistricting map.

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey announced the release of the plan Wednesday, which was put together by the Senate's Working Group on Redistricting with the assistance of the Office of Legal Services and is now available at the General Assembly's website.

Click Link Below to see the Middle Tennessee Senate Redistricting Plan
http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/redist/Plan%20H%20Middle.jpg

Under the plan, Senator Beavers' 17th district would still be made up of Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, and Wilson Counties, but Beavers would lose Trousdale County and the one precinct she represents in Sumner County to the 18th district.

"We were committed to drawing a fair and legal state senate map and that is exactly what we have done." said Lt. Governor Ramsey. "The map emphasizes regional integrity and adheres to state and federal laws as well as court precedent. I look forward to concluding the redistricting process swiftly and efficiently as soon as we go into session next week."

In addition to Lt. Governor Ramsey the Senate Working Group on redistricting included three regional coordinators: Majority Leader Mark Norris, Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron and Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson.

This release includes both a statewide map as well as regional and urban center breakout maps for public perusal. A comprehensive memorandum explaining the new map in detail can also be found at the website: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/redist/redistricting.html.

Landscape Photographer Bill Luton to Host Book Signing Saturday

January 5, 2012
Bill Luton
Book Cover for "The Lake" by Bill Luton

Landscape Photographer, Bill Luton, exposes the beauty to one of Tennessee's most beautiful lakes in the pages of his new book "The Lake" a photographic journey through the seasons on Center Hill Lake.

Click the following link to hear a radio interview with Bill Luton on WJLE

The book is now available for sale and Luton is inviting you to meet him during a book signing this Saturday, January 7 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the White Possum Grille on Walnut Street downtown Smithville.

Throughout the changing seasons, from early dawn through dusk, Luton is able to capture an image not often seen or viewed while exploring the lake's secluded coves.

The lake itself snakes over 60 miles through some of Middle Tennessee's most noted terrain. Roughly less than 1% of the shoreline has been developed and what has, is mainly for recreational usage.

Rolling hills, steep cliffs, and hidden waterfalls are just a part of what has been experienced and shared in this first series. Migrating waterfowl to human intervention awaits you with just a simple turn of the page.

Shown are 25 images from "The Lake" providing you with samples of the images found within the 48 page book. This hardback book measures 12" wide by 9" tall using 80# silk paper, a four color process with a spot gloss varnish to protect and enhance each individual image.

You can preview and order "The Lake" online at www.luton.us

Tennessee Lawful Employment Act Aims To Strengthen Legal Employment Verification

January 4, 2012

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis today announced new requirements of all employers in Tennessee to demonstrate that they are hiring and maintaining a legal workforce.

“This online verification process is designed to be convenient for employers and only takes a few minutes to complete. The department can provide assistance to employers who don’t have Internet access,” said Commissioner Davis.

Signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam on June 7, 2011, the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act requires verifying the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees through the online E-Verify program (www.uscis.gov/everify), or requesting all newly hired employees to provide one of the following identity and employment authorization documents as required:

A valid Tennessee driver's license or photo identification
A valid driver's license or photo identification from another state where the license requirements are at least as strict as those in Tennessee
A birth certificate issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory
A U.S. government issued certified birth certificate
A valid, unexpired U.S. passport
A U.S. certificate of birth abroad
A report of birth abroad or a citizen of the U.S.
A certificate of citizenship
A certificate of naturalization
A U.S. citizen identification card
A lawful permanent resident card
The law also requires employers to obtain and maintain a copy of one of the above listed identity/employment authorization documents for all non-employees as well. A “non-employee” is defined as any individual, other than an employee, paid directly by the employer in exchange for the individual’s labor or services.

The employment verification provisions referenced above will be phased in as follows:

All state and local government agencies must enroll and participate in E-Verify or request and maintain an identity/employment authorization document from a newly hired employee or non-employee no later than January 1, 2012

All private employers with 500 or more employees must enroll and participate in E-Verify or request and maintain an identity/employment authorization document from a newly hired employee or non-employee no later than January 1, 2012

All private employers with 200 to 499 employees must enroll and participate in E-Verify or request and maintain an identity/employment authorization document from a newly hired employee or non-employee no later than July 1, 2012

All private employers with six to 199 employees must register and utilize E-Verify or request and maintain an identity/employment authorization document from a newly hired employee or non-employee no later than July 1, 2013

The Tennessee Department of Labor does have the authority to impose penalties for non compliance. For a first violation, $500 for each employee or non-employee not verified, for a second violation, $1,000 for each employee or non-employee not verified, and $2,500 for a third violation.

The private employer must submit evidence of compliance within 60 days of the final order. If the employer fails to submit such documentation, then the commissioner has the authority to suspend the private employer's license until the employer remedies the violation.

Any lawful resident of Tennessee or any employee of a federal agency may file a complaint alleging a violation of the employment verification provisions of the Act. If there is satisfactory evidence of a violation, the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will conduct an investigation.

For more information on the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act visit http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/eVerify/ or contact the Labor Standards Division toll-free at 1-855-TNEBILL (1-855-863-2455).

Ferrell Named Forestry Employee of the Year

January 3, 2012
Glenn Ferrell

Glenn Ferrell was recently named the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry’s Employee of the Year. The award is presented annually to a division employee who shows outstanding efforts and work accomplishments for a particular year.

“Glenn has been a tremendous asset in the Cumberland District. The technical and professional staffs there, along with the citizens they serve, are fortunate to have such a dedicated individual working with them,” said State Forester Steven Scott.

Ferrell has served the division’s Cumberland District since 1982 – 13 years as a part-time wildland firefighter in Cannon County and the last 16 years working full-time as a Forestry Aide 2 in DeKalb County. He is charged with operating a dozer used in fighting wildfires and works in forest management activities along with Forestry Technician Joe Bryson.

“Glenn does a great job in fire control in a county that has a high percentage of extremely steep terrain,” said Bryson. “He takes his dozer where a goat couldn’t go and when it becomes impossible to plow safely any farther, he jumps off his dozer and grabs a (leaf) blower or rake and does the work of two men.”

Ferrell is a native of Cannon County where he grew up and went to school in the small community of Short Mountain.

“I always wanted to work in forestry,” said Ferrell. “You get to work outside and do different stuff every day. It’s not always the same job.”

Ferrell currently resides in DeKalb County with his wife Louise and has a step-daughter and two young grandchildren. In his spare time, Glenn enjoys watching dirt track racing and spending time with his grandchildren.

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