Local News Articles

Aldermen Establish Procedures for Public Comments at City Board Meetings

November 17, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen have established procedures for members of the public to speak at city board meetings.

By a vote of 5 to 0, the city council Monday night adopted the following resolution as presented by Alderman Tonya Sullivan:

" Whereas, in our system of representative government, the Mayor and City Board members are charged with the responsibility of informing themselves and making sound decisions that affect the lives of the citizens of Smithville; and

Whereas, it is a commonly accepted practice in Tennessee cities to provide an opportunity for citizens input, as part of the board meetings so long as such comments are not permitted to degenerate into debates between citizens and the Mayor or board members; and

Whereas, it is the desire of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville that citizens be provided the opportunity to make comments at board meetings in accordance with established procedures; and

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville:
Citizens of the City of Smithville are hereby authorized to make comments at the beginning of each regular or special called meeting of the board, in accordance with the following:

The person desiring to speak should rise, address the Chair, and when recognized, state their name and address. Only residents, business owners and property owners of the City of Smithville shall be allowed to speak during the "comments by citizens" part of the board's agenda, unless requested to do so by the board.

After providing the required information, the person shall be allowed to speak for three minutes on any matter of concern to the citizen.

All citizens comments shall be directed to the Mayor. The Mayor may address questions to individual aldermen, but in no event will the citizen be permitted to call names, question the integrity or motive of individual aldermen or the Mayor, or make personal or derogatory comments.

It is the responsibility of the Mayor to maintain order at city board meetings."

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said he supports this resolution.

Concerned citizen Sherry Bush, addressed the board, thanking them for this action. "I just want to say thank you, to all of you, but particularly to Ms. Sullivan who took the time and the effort to draft such a proposal. I appreciate your upholding our rights to speak and let our feelings be known. So thank you very much."

Meanwhile, in other business, the aldermen adopted a resolution authorizing the application for Community Development Block Grant Funds from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to address water system needs.

The resolution reads as follows: "Whereas, the City of Smithville is eligible for grant funds under the Fiscal Year 2009 Community Development Block Grant Program administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and

Whereas, the City of Smithville is in dire need of improvements to their raw water intake to make it capable of drawing water during periods where the lake water level is drastically lowered and improvements to address the renovation of their existing water treatment facility; and

Whereas, the health and welfare of the community is adversely affected by the system's problems; and

Whereas, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the city believe the correction of the water system problem should be a priority; and

Whereas, the city is eligible for a maximum grant of $500,000 under the Community Development Block Grant Water/Sewer category;

Whereas, the city is eligible for a Community Development Block Grant up to 89% (86% plus the 3% Three Star bonus) of the total project cost.

Now, therefore be is resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen that;

The Mayor be authorized and directed to:

Execute and submit an application for CDBG funds to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in order to address the water problem for the community.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen hereby authorize an amount to be no less than 11% of the total project cost to serve as matching funds in order to secure the Community Development Grant funds. These matching funds will be acquired from the City of Smithville Water and Sewer Revenue Fund.

The Upper Cumberland Development District shall prepare all necessary documents for the completion of said project at no charge to the City of Smithville. Should said CDBG grant be approved, UCDD shall be engaged to perform all administrative services for said project."

Smithville Man Charged with Sexual Battery

November 17, 2008
Dwayne Page
Walter F. Smouthers
Steve A. Stanley
County and City Officers and K-9 units visit DCHS

A 47 year old Smithville man was arrested Friday by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department for sexual battery after he allegedly sexually assaulted a female.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Walter F. Smouthers of Magnolia Lane, Smithville was charged after detectives questioned him on a sexual assault case. County detectives found that on the morning of November 14th, Smouthers had spent the night with a male and female friend on Rosewood Lane in DeKalb County. When the female went into the bathroom to get ready to go to work, Smouthers went into the bathroom with her and sexually assaulted her. The female asked Smouthers' repeatedly to stop. After the sexual assault, Smouthers left the home. Smouthers did admit to the crime in an interview with county detectives. Smouthers' bond was set at $15,000 and he will appear in court on December 4th. Smouthers is currently being held in the DeKalb County Jail awaiting bond.

In a separate case, deputies stopped 31 year old Steve A. Stanley of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown on Highway 70 West Friday. Sheriff Ray says officers had knowledge that Stanley's drivers license was suspended. After the stop, a search incident to arrest was conducted on Stanley's vehicle. Inside, deputies found a purple container with nineteen and one half small yellow pills believed to be Dilaudids. Also found in Stanley's vehicle were 2 cut straws, one with drug residue in it and a hyperdermic needle. Stanley was arrested for driving on a suspended driver's license, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) for resale. Stanley's vehicle was also seized. Stanley's bond was set at $29,000 and he will appear in court on December 11th.

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Smithville Police Department, on Monday, November 3rd, made a surprise visit at DeKalb County High School with their drug dogs. Sheriff Ray says "I believe that any deterrent, such as locker and vehicle searches at the schools, is a tool to help keep our children in a drug free and safe learning environment."

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings says "The Smithville Police Department will try to use any resources, within our means, to help prevent drugs from being used or sold at our schools."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says "Anything we can do to help keep our young people off drugs is a step in the right direction. Too many times our young people and adults are robbed from us because of the use of drugs and from the greed of drug pushers. What we do today to rid our county of drugs will help to ensure that our young people are able to live the life that God intended. I fully support Sheriff Ray in his efforts to rid our county of drugs."

Director of Schools Willoughby, Sheriff Ray, and Chief Jennings, say "we must work together to make sure we're doing everything possible to make sure our students can have a safe and drug free learning environment. By continuing our partnerships, we will achieve this goal."

Habitat Dedicates Gibbs Family Home in Brief Sunday Ceremony

November 16, 2008
Dwayne Page
Felicia Gibbs and Children Dasia and Tristan
Felicia Gibbs and Children Cut Ribbon to their new Habitat Home
Felicia Gibbs and Children surrounded by Habitat Board Members

A formal dedication ceremony was held Sunday afternoon by members of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County to commemorate the recent completion of the second partner family home at 214 Adams Street in Smithville.

Felica Gibbs and her children, 5 year old Dasia and 2 year old Tristan, moved into the home in June. Ms Gibbs says the family loves their new home and are thankful to everyone who helped them. “I love it. It’s absolutely wonderful. The kids really seem to like it and they are adjusting well. We just want to say thank you to everybody who contributed to the possibility of us having this house and our enjoyment in being here.”

Nolan Turner, President of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, says everyone associated with the organization is proud to be able to make homeownership a reality for this family. “We’ve been a long time getting this house completed but we’re proud of it and we’re proud for Felicia and her family. This is a three bedroom house, about 1,100 square feet, with a porch and a small back deck. The house also has some space underneath for storage. It’s a nice frame house.”

The brief dedication ceremony featured opening remarks and a prayer by Board President Turner followed by scripture reading from board members Glenda Davis and Sharon Evans, quoting Mark 12:28-31 and I John 3:16-18.

Board member Laura Stone led the Responsive Reading: Litany of Life. “With gratitude to God who has provided the materials and given us strength to build this house.

We dedicate this home.

To the deep and abiding love that binds the Gibbs family together,

We dedicate this home.

To the understanding, patience, discipline and forgiveness essential for the growth and fulfillment of the Gibbs family,

We dedicate this home.

To the vision, courage, faith and hope that make life cheerful and serene,

We dedicate this home.

To the beauty and order and cleanliness that provide a wholesome atmosphere and elevate the spirit of Christian living,

We dedicate this home.

To the training of the bodies, minds and souls of all who live within these walls.

We dedicate this home.

And lastly, to the work of God’s kingdom in the world and in cooperation with His church,

We dedicate this home to the glory of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

Gary Johnson, Construction Committee Chairperson, formally presented Ms. Gibbs with the keys to the home and she and her children then cut the ribbon.

The program ended with the group reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Turner says fundraising efforts will begin soon toward the construction of a third Habitat house, though the location has not yet been determined. “We’re going to start raising money to build the next house. We’re cleaning off some land now to build the next house. Hopefully this next year we’ll have the third house underway. We’re debating on whether we’re going to put it here (Adams Street) or not. We have some land over at the end of Snow Street that we’re hoping to develop into a Habitat Village that will probably accommodate five to seven houses.”

Tecia Puckett-Pryor, member of the Habitat Development Committee, says it’s exciting to be able to bring homeownership to families in need. “It’s really exciting to come down Adams Street and see these two beautiful houses and I encourage anyone who has not been by Adams Street lately or ever to come down and check out the two Habitat houses on this street. When we bought this land, it was abandoned. There was an old trailer that had been burned out and trash on the property, but we cleaned it up and were able to build two houses and now we have two families who are new DeKalb County homeowners. We’re excited about that.”

Denise Perry and her children became the first Habitat partner family.

Pryor says Habitat will soon be seeking applications from potential partner families for the third house.” We look at need and the family’s willingness to partner with Habitat because they have to do a lot of work with us. We also look at their ability to pay as well. We’re targeting people who can’t qualify for governmental programs but who also can’t qualify for conventional financing. We’re helping those people who sort of fall in the middle. They have to be in inadequate housing to begin with to even qualify but we will be opening up applications for our third house probably in the winter or spring of 2009.”

Pryor says members Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County are also appreciative to the community for their support. “We would like to say thank you to all the groups, organizations, and churches that have helped build this house. It takes many, many people to get this done. We also thank everyone who supports Habitat through either the Chili Cook-off, the Fiddler 5K, or those who give us donations. We appreciate everybody who supports this cause.”

Board President Turner also added his thanks. “We want to thank the churches who contributed very much to building this house. A lot of churches pitched in and helped build it. It’s a great experience for people who aren’t even trained to build. A lot of them learned those skills here. We’re thankful to the people of all those churches who came and helped us out. We appreciate all of the volunteers, because it was volunteers who really built this house.”

The 2007-08 Board of Directors include President Nolan Turner, Vice President Tom Janney, Secretary Nancy Lewis, Treasurer Glenda Davis, Michael Antoniak, Marie Blair, Robin Driver, Sharon Evans, DeDe Johnson, Gary Johnson, Jason Lohorn, Casey Midgett, Steve Osment, Pam Restrepo, and Laura Stone.

(Bottom Photo- Felicia Gibbs and children Dasia and Tristan are surrounded by Habitat Board members: left to right: Glenda Davis, Michael Antoniak, Gary Johnson, Nancy Lewis, Laura Stone, Tom Janney, Sharon Evans, and Nolan Turner)

Officer Pleads Guilty to Lesser Offense in DUI Case

November 16, 2008
Dwayne Page

A McMinnville police officer from Smithville, who was seriously injured in a pickup truck wreck in August while off duty, appeared in DeKalb County General Sessions Court Thursday.

25 year old Bryan Officer, who was charged with DUI, possession of a handgun while under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, violation of the open container law, and not wearing a seatbelt, pleaded guilty to a lesser offense. He will avoid jail time, but he will lose his license and has reportedly decided to resign from his job. Officer qualifies for an application of judicial diversion, which means his criminal record will be cleared provided he successfully completes one year of probation. Officer must pay fines and court costs and make a $100 contribution to the economic crime fund.

Under the agreement with the D.A.'s office, Officer entered pleas to charges of reckless driving and violation of the implied consent law, which means he failed to take a sobriety test or submit to a blood alcohol test. The implied consent law requires an automatic forfeiture of driving privileges for one year. All other charges against him were dismissed. Officer's firearm will be returned to him.

McMinnville Police Chief Charlie Sewell told the Southern Standard that Officer has informed the department that he will be voluntarily tendering his resignation Monday. Officer has been on unpaid administrative leave since the accident, which led to the charges.

Officer has been recovering at home from the injuries he received in the accident, which occurred on Friday night, August 29th on Highway 70 east at Sligo Hill.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Officer was traveling west in a 1988 Chevy pickup truck when he failed to negotiate a curve, overcorrected, and overturned. The truck came to rest upright on it's wheels. Officer was ejected from the vehicle. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and later transported to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Kings and Queens Crowned at DeKalb West Harvest Festival

November 15, 2008
Dwayne Page
Lynsey Ellis and Parker Vantrease
Hailey Glass and Zachary Bass
Kristina Tyree and Tyler Malone

Kings and Queens were crowned Saturday night during the annual DeKalb West School Harvest Festival, sponsored by the PTO.

Julie Cook, secretary of the DeKalb West School PTO, says the Harvest Festival is a major fundraiser for the school. "We hope to raise about $7,000. We're going to give some of the money back to the teachers (for their classrooms) because they've helped us out a lot. We'll use at least half of it to go to the accelerated reader program that helps the kids excel in reading. We hope to fund the whole program with that money."

Dewayne Martin, PTO President, said the Harvest Festival featured a variety of fundraising activities, in addition to the crowning of the kings and queens. "We had a basketball toss and a ring toss, a cake walk, a dance for the sixth through eighth grade, face painting, and a barbeque supper. It turned out to be a real good night."

PTO Treasurer Sean Driver says money was also raised in a silent auction. "For example, if there were two teachers for the second grade, they each joined in and they presented a basket for our silent auction and these were theme baskets. Some were camping baskets, hunting baskets, baby baskets, and things like that and we just had a good turn out with that. There were ten baskets and I think it generated over $1,200 for the school and that's good because it's all about the kids."

DeKalb West Principal Danny Parkerson says events like this help bring the community together. "We had a good turnout. This is our family night and get together. I try to stress that whether we raise any money or not we have a good time and welcome a lot of people who don't usually come into our school like aunts, uncles, and friends of the community. We all have a good time, enjoy a meal, and fellowship together."

The King and Queen of the Pre-Kindergarten to Second Grade Division are Lynsey Nicole Ellis and Parker Vantrease of Tonya Ellis' kindergarten classroom. The class raised $328, the most of any class in the division.

Ellis is the daughter of Donnie and Tonya Ellis and Vantrease is the son of Jeremy Vantrease and Missy Vantrease.

Others representing the division were Becca Lawrence of Amy Young's Pre-K class. She is the daughter of Charlie and Tracy Lawrence.

Hannah Van Dyne and Cayden Kyle represented Deb Poteete's kindergarten class. Van Dyne is the daughter of Danny and Susan Van Dyne and Kyle is the son of Jamie and Kimberly Kyle.

Victoria Dube and Clayton Crook represented Kathy Lawrence's first grade class. Dube is the daughter of Terri Henry and Charles Dube and Crook is the son of Patrick and Jana Crook.

Representing Cynthia Pulley's first grade class were Isabella White and Christian Trail. White is the daughter of Elaina Hight and Trail is the son of Heidi Herman.

Sarah Starnes and Dakota Fathera represented Regina Kent's second grade class. Starnes is the daughter of Richard and Tammy Starnes and Fathera is the son of Rex and Tyra Fathera.

Representing Shelia McMillen's classroom were Addison Oakley and Noah Byrge. Oakley is the daughter of Clark and Lisa Oakley and Byrge is the son of Barton and Karen Byrge.

Meanwhile, the King and Queen of the division for Grades 3 to 5 are Hailey Glass and Zachary Bass of Kim Crook's fourth grade class. This class raised $418, the most of any other class in the division.

Glass is the daughter of Doyle and Debbie Glass and Bass is the son of Terry and Brandy Bass.

Others representing this division were Breanna Gibson and Hunter Faulk of Lori Pryor's third grade class. Gibson is the daughter of Erin and Shelly Gibson and Faulk is the son of Joseph and Rebecca Faulk.

Emily Glass represented Pam Sanders' third grade class. She is the granddaughter of Robert and Jane Wheeler.

Tyra Owens and Hunter Robinson represented Tammy Payne's fourth grade class. Owens is the daughter of Heather Owens and Robinson is the son of Regina Hillis and Lynn Robinson.

Jared Pyles and Dani Meadows represented Jeanna Caplinger's fifth grade class.

Meadows is the daughter of Patrick and Tracie Meadows and Pyles is the son of Howard and Teresa Pyles.

Chasity Garrett and Teddy Tippin represented Jane Watson's fifth grade class. Garrett is the daughter of Jamie Garrett and Tippin is the son of Aaron and Thea Tippin.

The King and Queen of the division for Grades 6 to 8 are Kristina Tyree and Tyler Malone of Cynthia Preston's eighth grade class. This class raised $448, more than any other class in the division.

Tyree is the daughter of Brad and Sabrina Hayes and Josh and Carrie Tyree and Malone is the son of Christy Malone.

Others representing the division were Tayler Brooke Martin and Dusty Griffith of Pat Allen's sixth grade class. Martin is the daughter of Roxie and Barry Martin and Griffith is the son of Tony and Janet Griffith.

Leah Burchfield and Will Puckett represented Janet England's sixth grade class. Burchfield is the daughter of Glenda and Stacey Burchfield and Puckett is the son of Henry and Donna Puckett

Representing Martha Damron's seventh grade class was Bradley Faulk, the son of Joseph and Rebecca Faulk.

Samantha Sircy and Caleb McGhee represented Vickie Wilson's seventh grade class. Sircy is the daughter of Scott Sircy and Jenny Bennett and McGhee is the son of Stephanie McGhee.

Haley Keck and Justin Coats represented Melanie Molander's eighth grade class. Keck is the daughter of Amie Buchanan and William Keck and Coats is the son of Susan and Thomas Coats.

Corps Updates Media on Progress of Rehab Work at Center Hill Dam

November 14, 2008

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a progress report on the rehabilitation of Center Hill Dam.

The plan includes grouting as well as modern concrete barrier walls to stop the seepage. Grout is generally a mixture of sand, cement, water and additives. The mixture is placed under pressure into the rock foundation. The grout will fill voids and slow the seepage beneath and around the dam. A barrier wall is a concrete wall built in sections deep into the foundation as a permanent barrier to seepage.

Work has been underway since the first of three major construction contracts was awarded in February. The Left Rim and Main Dam Grouting contract was awarded to Kiewit-A.C.T., Joint Venture in the amount of $87.4 million dollars.The scope of the contract includes;

Construction of concrete grouting platforms and staging area at Eisenhower Park (also known as Center Hill Recreation Area)

Install grout curtains along 4,100 linear feet; up to depths of 270 feet.

Fill a cave feature in the left rim

Monitor and correct water quality degradation from grouting operations to protect the Caney Fork River.

When actual grouting begins, about 1,000 holes three inches in diameter will be drilled into the foundation. It's possible more holes could be drilled.

After the first round of grouting is finished, more grouting will take place and a cut-off concrete wall will be placed through the earthen portions of the dam and adjoining rim walls.

The priority contract is planned to be completed in the spring of 2010. The first step has been to prepare the work surfaces from which the grouting is accomplished, referred to as "platforms". Grouting is planned to begin at the main dam foundation in December. Contract documents are also being prepared for the next large grouting contract at the Right Rim and Saddle Dam. This contract is scheduled to be awarded in September 2009.

Meanwhile, lake levels continue to remain low -- operating at a current elevation of 622 feet. It's anticipated Center Hill Lake could reach its lowest level since 1956 by the end of the year, from a combination of Corps efforts to keep the lake down in order to reduce stress on the dam and also from the recent shortage of rainfall in the area.

(Top Photo shows October 2008 view of the nearly completed grouting platform at the Main Dam Embankment. The view is looking northeast from the contractor’s staging area at Eisenhower Park (also known as Center Hill Recreation Area).

(Middle Photo shows an aerial view in August 2008 of the current left rim and main dam work. It shows excavation for the left rim work platform and fill at the main dam, Eisenhower Park and the area downstream of the dam.)

(Bottom Photo shows the work that is currently underway to prepare the left rim for drilling and grouting. Approximately 340,000 cubic yards of soil and rock are being excavated from the left rim, cutting through the hillside to create a work platform.)

Tigers Run in State Play-Offs Ends at Whitehouse

November 14, 2008
Dwayne Page

The season for the DeKalb County Tigers came to a close Friday night as they lost their second round state play-off game 42-20 at Whitehouse.

DeKalb County completes the year with an over-all record of 9-3. Their only losses were to Station Camp and Whitehouse at home during the regular season and Friday night's loss at Whitehouse in the state play-offs.

The Tigers got the ball to start the game but went three and out and had to punt.

Whitehouse began their first drive at the DeKalb County 43 yard line and scored five plays later on a seven yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Trox Greenwade to Chad Neal. Matthew Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and the Blue Devils led 7-0 with 8:02 left in the first period.

DeKalb County answered, scoring on an eleven play, 80 yard drive. Quarterback Hunter Poteete found Travon Johnson on a 24 yard touchdown pass play. Zach Taylor's P.A.T. attempt was no good but the Tigers were on the board, trailing 7-6 with 2:42 left in the first quarter.

The Blue Devils extended the lead on their next drive, moving 61 yards in eight plays. Demarqus Payne scored on a seven yard touchdown run. Matthew Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and Whitehouse led 14-6 with 11:20 to go in the second period.

Whitehouse got the ball back at the Tigers 24 yard line as Demarqus Payne picked off a Hunter Poteete pass. Four plays later, the Blue Devils scored on a three yard touchdown run by Quarterback Trox Greenwade. Gossett's P.A.T was good and Whitehouse led 21-6 with 8:33 left in the second period.

The Tigers turned the ball over again as Travon Johnson fumbled after catching a pass from Quarterback Poteete. Whitehouse took over at the DeKalb County 31 yard line and six plays later, the Blue Devils were in the endzone, this time on a five yard touchdown run by Bryan Dixon. Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and Whitehouse led 28-6 with 5:22 left in the second period.

Matthew Parker intercepted a Hunter Poteete pass and returned it for a touchdown, but the play was nullified by a penalty. Whitehouse, however got the ball on the turnover, and marched down field to score another touchdown. Matthew Parker capped the seven play, 39 yard drive with a ten yard touchdown catch from Quarterback Greenwade. Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and the Blue Devils took a commanding 35 to 6 lead with 1:05 left in the second quarter.

Whitehouse got the ball to start the third quarter and scored again, moving 65 yards in just two plays. Bryan Dixon capped the drive on a 13 yard touchdown run. Gossett converted on the P.A.T.and the Blue Devils led 42-6 .

Moving to the fourth quarter, DeKalb County recovered a muffed punt and took over at the Whitehouse 13 yard line. J.J. Herriott caught a one yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Poteete to cap the drive and the Tigers cut the lead to 42-13 after Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T.

DeKalb County got another touchdown late in the game on a 24 yard pass play from Quarterback Poteete to Abram Edwards and with Taylor's P.A.T. DeKalb trailed 42-20.

The final score, Whitehouse 42, DeKalb County 20.

DCHS Golf MVP Shay Sullivan Signs with Belmont

November 14, 2008
Dwayne Page
Shay Sullivan Signs with Belmont University

Shay Sullivan, the 2008 DeKalb County High School Most Valuable Female Golf Player signed with Belmont University Thursday.

Sullivan, a Senior, finished fourth this year in state tournament competition. This was her third year to make it to the state. She is a three time district winner and a two time region champion.

During a local award's banquet last month, Sullivan was named the 2008 Most Valuable Player In Golf and she received a plaque for her career achievements.

Joining her at the signing Thursday were her parents, James and Tonya Sullivan; her sister, Mallory Sullivan; DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix; DCHS Golf Coach Chris Vance; and Sullivan's personal golf coach Eddie Hobson.

School Board Adopts 2009-2010 Calendar

November 13, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education formally adopted the school calendar for the 2009-2010 year Thursday night, upon the recommendation of Director of Schools and the School Calendar Committee.

Registration for all students will be Thursday, July 30th. That will be an abbreviated school day.

Friday, July 31st will be an administrative day at all schools and all teachers must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

The first full day of school for all students will be Monday, August 3

A system wide professional development day will be Monday, July 27th at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

All teachers will report to their individual schools Tuesday and Wednesday, July 28th & 29th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each day.

This year the school system operates on a 9-1, 9-2, 9-1 calendar, meaning students are in school for nine weeks, then are off one week for fall break, back in school for nine weeks, off two weeks for winter break, in school for another nine weeks, and then off one week for spring break.

Dr. Carol Hendrix, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, explained during the school board meeting that next year, the school system will operate on a 9-2, 9-2, 9-1 calendar "The main difference in this calendar and last year's is that it's a 9-2, 9-2, 9-1 calendar. We go to school nine weeks, we're off two weeks, we go nine more weeks and then we're off for two weeks, then we go nine weeks and we're off for one week. The reason we did that is because with the curriculum standards going up we realized that we need some time after nine weeks to work with our children who are at risk and behind. So one of those (two) weeks of the first 9-2, (when school is out) we'll be working with children in different areas and not only just the students behind. We'll also have some enrichment activities during one of those weeks as well that we're off. So school won't be completely out."

Dr. Hendrix says there's another change in the new calendar regarding TCAP's. " The federal government requires that we get our average yearly progress reports two weeks sooner next year than this year, so we had to back up TCAP testing. So TCAP testing will be March 24th-26th and March 29th-31st. The state will allow us next year, as well as this year, to use six days which is going to be a tremendous advantage in testing"

Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 7th.

Schools will be closed for the fall break October 12-23

Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 25, 26, & 27 and for the winter break December 21 through January 1, 2010. Friday, December 18 will be the last day students attend before winter break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Students will return after the holidays on Monday, January 4th to begin the third nine week session.

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18th and for President's Day, Monday, February 15th.

Schools will be closed for spring break April 2-9

Students will not attend on Friday, May 21. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend.. The last day of school will be Tuesday, May 25. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 6 and Thursday, March 11 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 8 and Thursday, January 28th at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Monday, October 5th, Thursday, January 7th, and Tuesday, March 9th.

Competency testing at DCHS will be October 6-8 and February 9-11.

Gateway testing at DCHS will be December 1-3 and May 4-6. Gateway test makeup will be December 4th and May 7th.

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 2nd. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 3rd.

TCAP testing of elementary students will be March 24-26 and March 29-31

(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 2nd and Friday, March 5th

Meanwhile, in other business Thursday night, the school board set the date for graduation at DeKalb County High School for Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby also presented his monthly written report on personnel to the board. Those employed since last month include Mario Murphy, substitute Sign Language Interpreter; Brent Arnold, Special Education Assistant at Smithville Elementary School; Ricky Holcomb, mechanic at the bus garage; Heather Blankenship, Educational Assistant at DeKalb Middle School; Cathy Driver, substitute bus driver; Brandon Cox, Assistant Baseball Coach at DCHS.

Substitutes include Jamie Nokes, Amber Bain, Jennifer Butts, Annajane Cherry, Nikki Clark, Ann Frazier, Kristie Gardner, Amy Lockhart, Lisa Patterson, Daniel Perry, Amy Williams, and Carol Northcutt.

Meanwhile, Alisha Cheatham has been transferred from a full time to a part time Speech Language Pathologist and Sharon Washer has been transferred from a substitute to a full time cafeteria worker at DCHS.

Tad Webb has resigned as an Assistant Baseball Coach and Viva Vickers has resigned as a substitute bus assistant.

Transportation Manager Peggy Pursell updated the school board on the latest school bus inspection by the state as well as the latest price of fuel. "Our buses were inspected last week. It was a state inspection. We had a very, very good report. The only repair we had, and I can't remember ever seeing this before, is we had one bulb to put in one of our backup lights. We owe this to Mr. Orlando Guzman and Mr. Rick Holcomb. They work so hard and they are so dedicated to their job. I didn't do anything. They did it every bit and I'm so proud of them because of their hard work".

"I thought you would want to know about the price of fuel. I called and got an estimate today. It's $1.99 a gallon right now. We don't need any (fuel) but it's going down and I'm watching it. We bought fuel after the fall break for $2.44 per gallon. What we charge for our field trips now is 45 cents and that's what we charged four years ago. So when I order fuel again, which will probably be in a week and a half, I'm hoping it'll be way on down there, but I'm watching it and if it starts to go back up I'll order."

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix addressed the board with a monthly report on activities at her school. "I would like to congratulate all the teachers and students of the county. They have done an excellent job this past year meeting their AYP."

"I would also like to congratulate the band on their success this past school year. I'll just highlight some of the things they've achieved. At the Hendersonville Golden Invitational, they placed first overall in Class E and they had the best overall Drum Major and best overall Horn Line. At the Columbia Golden Invitational, they received a second place for Field Commander in the White Class. Then they went to the Blue Devil Invitational and received first place overall in Class E, best overall Drum Major, best overall Percussion, best overall Color Guard, Superior Drum Major, Superior Percussion, Superior Color Guard, and Excellent Band. Then they went to Vanderbilt where they got Superior Percussion, and in the Division II State Finals, they were awarded for Superior Field Commander, Excellent Band, Excellent Percussion, and Excellent Color Guard. They have done an excellent job and I am very proud of them. I think Mr. Wright and Ms. Birmingham have done a really good job with them this past year."

"Our Lady Tiger Soccer team was the District Runner-up. All District First Team was Nicole Burger, Jodie Curtis, and Jessica Richards. Second Team was Megan Merriman, Daryl Hobby and Cynthia Woodward and I think they've done a really good job this past season. So congratulations go to them."

"Our progress reports went out today from the high school. I hope the parents look at those and if you see that there are some concerns, please get in touch with the high school. If they (students) need some help, we've got all kinds of before and after school things available for them. It's getting close to the end of this semester. Gateways are coming up the first week in December, then we have the End of Course the next week after that and then we've got Finals. So this first semester is just about over with. So if any student is behind they need to get with the after school or before school program and get caught up on whatever they are behind in."

Sixth District Board member Bruce Parsley also commended the DCHS football team on it's success. "I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate the DeKalb County High School Football team. As many of you know, this is the fifth time in school history that the football team has been to the state playoffs, but this is the first time in school history that we've made it past the first round. So I'd just like to give a big hand to the football team. This is one of the hardest working group of athletes I've ever seen and I'd like to invite all of you out there to go to Whitehouse Friday night at seven o'clock.

The “Just Say No To Drugs” Party a Success

November 12, 2008
Participants at JUST SAY NO party
Participants at JUST SAY NO event

The DeKalb County Children’s Service Council, Sheriff Patrick Ray and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Old El Paso Taco Company, and Smithville Wal-Mart had their “Just Say No To Drugs” party for the Students of the DeKalb County High School. The Students enjoyed tacos, chips, brownies, and cokes. Students had the opportunity to view videos about the different types of drugs and the effects that drugs have on their lives. Students also experience how alcohol can impair people’s vision by wearing “Fatal Vision Goggles” which mimics the effects that alcohol has on people’s vision.

This year’s sponsors were: Dr. Pepper Bottling Company, Frito-Lay, Bumpers, El Rancho Restaurant, DeKalb County Board of Education, Smithville Review, Middle Tennessee Times, W.J.L.E., DeKalb County Official’s: Trustee Sean Driver, Road Supervisor Kenny Edge, Judge Bratten Cook, County Court Clerk Mike Clayborn, Prichard’s Grocery, Amvet’s, Smithville Kiwanis Club, Old Fashioned Freewill Baptist Church at Blue Springs, and all of the many volunteers.

Donations are still being accepted for future projects for the children of DeKalb County. You may contact Clata Redmon at 597-7991 or Merril Harris at 536-5287.


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