Local News Articles

Hill Makes Brief Court Appearance on Violation of Probation Charges

August 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Craig Hill

38 year old Craig Anthony Hill, charged with aggravated robbery of Liberty State Bank in Liberty on August 3rd, made a brief court appearance in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday for violation of probation, but the case was continued until September 20th.

The violation of probation against Hill apparently stems from a sentence he received earlier this year in which he was to be on probation for a term of four years.

On Monday, March 22nd Hill appeared in criminal court and pleaded guilty to burglary, theft over $1,000, forgery, and two counts of theft under $500. He received a two year sentence on the burglary charge, suspended to supervised probation after serving 120 days. He was given credit for time served. Hill also received a two year sentence for theft over $1,000 on DOC probation. Hill received a one year sentence on DOC probation in the forgery case and a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation in each of the theft under $500 cases. Almost all the sentences were to run concurrently.

In the burglary and theft, Hill and another man, Eddie LeRoy Taylor were charged with breaking into a tool trailer at 340 Floyd Drive on November 17th, 2008, taking bolt cutters and cutting the lock off the trailer and then removing items totaling approximately $2,800 in value including several Dewalt drills, Dewalt skil saw, and Dewalt router.

Hill was arrested again on July 8th, 2009 for theft of property over $500 and forgery. Hill allegedly took jewelry from a residence on Hurricane Ridge Road without the owners consent and sold it to a local jewelry dealer. Hill also allegedly took checks belonging to the victim and forged them on June 29th and June 30th, 2009 in amounts totaling $313

The warrant against Hill for violating his probation was taken by probation supervisor Jessie Rucker on August 4th, 2010. Hill is accused of violating his probation in that he "has not provided any proof of employment, is no longer living at the last reported address, has not reported to his probation officer as instructed and has not provided the correct address and contact information, and he currently owes $5,085 in court costs/restitution" which he has agreed to pay but has not."

Hill will make his first General Sessions Court appearance on the aggravated robbery charge on Thursday, August 19th. He remains incarcerated under a $100,000 bond for aggravated robbery and he is being held without bond on the violation of probation charges.

In other cases, 44 year old Eddie LeRoy Taylor pleaded guilty to five charges of passing a forged instrument and received a suspended sentence of two years each case to run consecutively with each other and consecutive to other sentences in DeKalb, Rutherford, and Warren County. He will be on good behavior probation. Taylor was given jail credit for 567 days from January 26th, 2009 to August 16th, 2010.

20 year old Timothy Walker pleaded guilty to worthless check over $1,000. He received a two year suspended sentence. He must perform 100 hours of community service, make restitution of $3,500 to the victim, and pay $150 to the economic crime fund. He will receive the bike upon complete payment of restitution.

42 year old Michael Lawlor pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended except for 48 hours to serve. Lawlor will be on supervised probation. He will lose his license for one year and he must pay a fine of $360. Lawlor must also complete and alcohol safety education program.

32 year old Lavar Bass pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving on a revoked license. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days. He will be on supervised probation and he must pay a fine of $50. Bass was given jail credit of 78 days

26 year old Ryan L. Walden pleaded guilty to theft over $1,000 and received a two year sentence on probation. He was given credit for time served from March 1st to August 16th, 2010

48 year old Berna Dean Barnes pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended except for 45 days to serve. She will lose her license for one year and she must pay a fine of $360. The sentence will run concurrently with a DeKalb County violation of probation case against her.

Hilton Conger Re-appointed Smithville Municipal Judge

August 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Hilton Conger

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Monday night re-appointed Incumbent City Judge Hilton Conger to a new two year term, effective September 1st. The vote was 5-0.

Conger's current two year term expires August 31st.

Conger's salary as City Judge is $1,000 per month.

The Municipal Court, up until 2002, had the same jurisdiction in city criminal cases as the General Sessions Court, and the City Judge held court several times each month with the City Attorney serving as Prosecutor.

After changes were made in the City Charter, the City Court's jurisdiction was reduced to mostly minor traffic offenses and city ordinance violations. The court now convenes usually once per month.

The City Judge, previously elected by city voters to an eight year term, now serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, appointed to a two year term.

Conger was last elected as City Judge in 1998. He was named to his first appointed term in 2006 and re-appointed in 2008.

The changes in the City Charter, regarding the City Court, came following a State Attorney General's opinion in the fall of 2001 that only the District Attorney General and his staff had the responsibility of prosecuting state criminal action in municipal courts.

In other business, the aldermen voted 5-0 to employ Riley Bullard as a full time employee in the sanitation department now that he has completed a 60 day probationary period since his initial hiring on June 7th at $9.33 per hour. His pay will increase to $10.66 per hour.

The aldermen have delayed passage of the new budget again. Mayor Taft Hendrixson said another workshop is needed in preparation. "We're still kinda trying to tweak the budget a little bit on a wage scale revision and we need to have another workshop on the budget so we can get it passed as quickly as possible. We may have to call a special meeting."

The aldermen voted to have the workshop on Monday, August 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Mayor Hendrixson also briefed the aldermen on a news release from the Tennessee Department of Transportation announcing approval of an aeronautics grant in the amount of $46,308 for the Smithville Municipal Airport. "We put in for a grant, I believe the total expenditure was $61,000 for airport maintenance equipment including a tractor, bushhog, and mowers."

Mayor Hendrixson said the grant funds will be put to good use. "There's a lot of maintenance at that airport. We mow 75 feet of runway and it's 4100 feet long, and 75 feet on each side figures over 15 acres, just the sides of the runway, that doesn't include anything else. If we spend $61,000 and get $46,000 back, that's a bargain."

The aldermen voted to accept the grant.

The following is the TDOT news release about the grant:

Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that an aeronautics grant in the amount of $46,308 has been approved for the Smithville Municipal Airport in DeKalb County.

"From moving people to moving freight, the airports in Tennessee are vital pieces of the state's overall economy and travel system," said Bredesen. "Tennessee's airports are often the front doors to our communities, welcoming visitors from across the globe, so it's important to keep them up to date in order to stay competitive and efficient at meeting the needs of both businesses and travelers."

Funds from this aeronautics grant will be used for the purchase of the new grounds maintenance equipment.

The grants are made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Division.

"This division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee's diverse public aviation system," reported TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. "We are pleased to be able to provide millions of dollars each year for the betterment of our airports through these grant programs."

Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state airport system plan.

TAC Chair Fred Culbreath explained, "As Tennessee's communities continue to grow, the airports must keep pace. These grants are vital to many airports in Tennessee and our board examines the applications carefully to ensure the proper state and local matching funds are in place and that the grants will be put to good use."

The TDOT Aeronautics Division has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state's 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. The Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government and staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission.

Senator Mae Beavers and Representative Terri Lynn Weaver helped secure these funds for the Smithville Municipal Airport.

Sparta Bail Bonding Barred from Making Bonds in 13th Judicial District

August 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
District Attorney General Randy York

The Sparta Bail Bonding Company can no longer make bonds anywhere in the 13th Judicial District including DeKalb County.

The company had been accused of using unlicensed agents to make bonds in Putnam County and Judge Leon Burns, Jr. issued the ruling last week following a hearing over that matter in Criminal Court.

The company, which had been in business for about eighteen years, has recently been in trouble financially, having filed for bankruptcy.

District Attorney General Randy York told WJLE Friday that his concern is that the integrity of the court system is protected. However no criminal charges are expected to be brought against anyone associated with the company. "In April of this year, it came to the court's attention that they were using unlicensed individuals to help make bonds in Putnam County and at that time the court suspended their privileges of making bonds in Putnam County. Then it came to the court's attention that a petition and bankruptcy had been filed by the owner of Sparta Bail Bonding and at that time the court put down an order suspending their right to make any bonds anywhere in the 13th Judicial District. So a hearing was held last Thursday and the court found that they had in fact allowed unlicensed individuals to make bonds in Putnam County and also that they were insolvent. As a result, Judge Burns issued an order prohibiting them from making any additional bonds throughout the 13th Judicial District. I was impressed with the fact that our courts are very interested in preserving and protecting the integrity of the courts and moving forward with this."

Three Arrested on Charges of Manufacturing Meth

August 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Michael Eugene Lattimore
Amanda Kay Farless
Michael Shone Saylors
Sebrena Michelle Wright

Three people were arrested Saturday after officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department found meth lab components while serving a state warrant at the residence on Andrew Street in Smithville.

27 year old Michael Eugene Lattimore and his wife 25 year old Amanda Kay Farless, both of Andrew Street, and 31 year old Michael Shone Saylors of Village Place, Smithville were all charged with manufacturing a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine).

Lattimore is also charged with evading arrest while Farless and Saylors were charged with prevention or obstruction of service of legal process.

Bond is $30,000 for Lattimore and $27,500 each for Farless and Saylors.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the discovery of the meth lab components was made on Saturday, August 14th as two deputies went to the Lattimore home on Andrew Street to serve a state warrant on Lattimore in a separate matter. "When the deputies knocked on the door and identified themselves as being deputies from the sheriff's department, no one came to the door. A deputy then looked through the window and saw Saylors looking right at him. He instructed Saylors to open the door but again no one answered the door. After about ten minutes of knocking, another officer was called to the scene. That's when Lattimore ran out the back door of the residence." He was later arrested.

Sheriff Ray says Farless later said the reason she did not answer the door was because Lattimore had told her not to. Farless gave officers consent to search the premises and they found a bag under the kitchen sink, which contained components used to manufacture meth. According to Sheriff Ray, Farless admitted to making meth .

Among the items found were jars of tri-layer liquids, a jar of blue liquid, a two liter plastic bottle with a white binder, lithium battery strips, wet coffee filters, four turkey basters, two funnels, bottles with ph solution, bottles with sulfuric acid, four razor blades, bottles of water, plastic bag with ammonium nitrate, rolls of black tape, gloves, drain opener, about 60 coffee filters with a white residue powder, cold compresses, and four empty pseudoephedrine packs

All three will make a court appearance on September 2nd

25 year old Sebrena Michelle Wright of Lower Helton Road, Alexandria is charged with Introduction of drugs in a penal institution where prisoners are quartered. She is under a $5,000 bond and her court date is August 19th.

Sheriff Ray says Wright was trying to smuggle pills into the jail on Monday, August 9th. "She came into the sheriff's department and dropped off an item for an inmate that was here. She signed in the item she was dropping off. One of the correctional officers checked the item and found a baggie that contained some pills. One was a small green pill believed to be oxycontin. Three other pills, orange in color, were believed to be suboxone. A note signed by her was also in there."

In another case, 44 year old Tony J. Reeder of East Main Street, Smithville is charged with evading arrest, a fifth offense of driving under the influence, and resisting arrest. Reeder was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. He is under a $12,000 bond and his court date is August 26th.

Sheriff Ray says a deputy, while on routine patrol on Midway Road, spotted a vehicle that was setting in the road. Reeder was standing beside the vehicle near the driver door talking to another person. "Upon pulling behind the subject's vehicle, the deputy observed, Mr. Reeder flip off another vehicle that was wanting to pass them. The deputy approached Reeder and began speaking with him. Reeder had slurred speech and his eyes were very blood shot. There were passengers in the vehicle and they were asked to get out . At this point Reeder got back inside the automobile. The officer ordered him twice to get out of the vehicle but Reeder refused, saying he was going to his house. Reeder then drove away. The deputy pursued him, got him stopped, and placed him under arrest. Reeder, who had a strong odor of alcohol on him, refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.

Craig Anthony Hill Arrested for Aggravated Robbery of Liberty State Bank

August 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
Craig Anthony Hill

The man believed to have been responsible for the bank robbery of Liberty State Bank on Tuesday, August 3rd has been arrested. More than $6,000 was taken in the robbery.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 38 year old Craig Anthony Hill of Holmes Creek Road, Smithville turned himself in at the DeKalb County Jail Saturday for a violation of probation.

According to Sheriff Ray, Hill had been a suspect in the bank robbery since the day of the offense, and he allegedly confessed to the crime during questioning on Saturday. Hill was subsequently charged with both violation of probation and aggravated robbery. Hill is under a $100,000 for the robbery but he is currently being held without bond for the violation of probation

He will make a court appearance Monday, August 16th on the violation of probation and Thursday, August 19th for the aggravated robbery

In a brief statement, Sheriff Ray said "On August the 3rd, through an investigation into the robbery, Hill was identified through (bank surveillance) video tapes and other investigative tools to be the person responsible for the robbery. Lawmen had been searching for Hill ever since. Hill, who had been living out of town since this incident, came to the DeKalb County Jail to turn himself in on a violation of probation warrant. While there, he was questioned by Sheriff's Department Detectives about the robbery and admitted his involvement in the robbery of Liberty State Bank.

The warrant alleges that "On or about the 3rd day of August 2010, Craig Anthony Hill did enter the Liberty State Bank in Liberty Tennessee presenting the teller with a note stating "Give me the money in 20's and 100's, I have a gun" thus putting the teller in fear of her life. The teller at that point took the cash from her drawer and gave it to Craig Hill as instructed. The amount of money taken during the robbery was in excess of $6,000."

On that day , Sheriff Ray said the robber was described by witnesses as a white male, wearing an orange plaid shirt and blue jeans. He was also wearing a camoflagued hat with sunglasses on the cap. The man had no covering over his face. He was approximately five feet, five inches tall and weighed about 130 pounds.

The man did not display any weapon during the robbery and no one was injured. After he left, a bank employee called 911 at 1:18 p.m. Within a minute of the call, an officer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who was on Highway 70 in Liberty, arrived at the bank.

Officers and detectives of the Sheriff's Department rushed to the scene. Sheriff Ray says he also contacted the FBI and two agents came over. Constable Mark Milam arrived as well.

Reeder Indicted for Vehicular Homicide in Fatal SUV Crash

August 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
Dwayne Reeder

A 31 year old DeKalb County man has been named in a grand jury sealed indictment for vehicular homicide in an SUV crash at Dowelltown last December that claimed the life of another man.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Dwayne Allen Reeder of McMinnville Highway, Smithville was arrested on Friday evening after being served with the indictment. His bond is $50,000 and he will appear for arraignment on Monday, August 16th in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

According to information released at the time by Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Reeder, 39 year old Walter Redmon, 27 year old Courtney Paris and 41 year old Troy Edward Bain were traveling east on Highway 70 in a 1997 Ford Expedition. Reeder was operating the vehicle when he apparently fell asleep. The SUV went off the left side of the road and embankment. The vehicle overturned and plunged almost straight down to the creek below.

Among those responding were members of the DeKalb County Fire Department Extrication and Rescue Team, the Liberty Fire Station, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, DeKalb EMS, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Reeder, Redmon, and Paris were injured and transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Bain died in the crash. According to Lieutenant Maynard, Bain and Redmon, back seat passengers, were ejected. They were not wearing their seatbelts. Reeder and Paris, in the front seat, were apparently wearing their seatbelts.

The indictment alleges that on or about December 22nd, 2009, Dwayne Reeder did kill Troy Edward Bain, by the operation of an automobile, the killing of Bain being the proximate result of Dwayne Reeder's conduct which created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person, constituting the offense of Vehicular Homicide.

Liberty Man Charged with Felony Theft

August 13, 2010
Dwayne Page
Andrew Duane Maynard

A Liberty man, accused of stealing from Wal-mart, has been arrested by the Smithville Police Department.

26 year old Andrew Duane Maynard of Maynard Road, Liberty was picked up on Tuesday, August 10th for felony theft. Detective Matt Holmes made the arrest. On Monday, August 9th, Officer Matt Farmer took a report of a theft from Wal-Mart. A Loss Prevention associate at the store had still pictures and video of the suspect taking items out of the store on three different occasions through the Garden Center. The pictures showed the suspect sliding the items under the gate. He then drove his truck around and picked them up. After identifying Maynard as a suspect, Detective Holmes and Deputy Jodie Johnson of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department went to Maynard's home but the officers were told that he was not there, that he had gone to town. Maynard was later seen pulling away from a dumpster site on Hwy 70 West. Deputy Johnson spotted Maynard and initiated a traffic stop. Maynard was questioned about the thefts and he admitted to taking the items. He said that the items were at his house. Stolen merchandise from Wal-Mart valued at approximately $3600 was recovered at Maynard's residence by Chief Randy Caplinger, Detective Holmes and Deputy Johnson. Bond for Maynard is $5,000 and his court date is August 19th.

62 year old Helen Faye Self of Wade Street was named in a grand jury sealed indictment on August 2nd charging her with two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance. She was arrested by Officer Matt Farmer. Bond for Self is $20,000 and she will appear for arraignment on Monday August 16th in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

22 year old John David Anderson of Cookeville Highway was arrested on Tuesday, August 10th for DUI. According to the warrant, Officer James Cornelius observed a vehicle on North Congress Boulevard that appeared to be traveling faster than the posted limit. Upon getting behind the vehicle he noticed it swerve over the dividing lines several times. After stopping the vehicle and speaking with the driver, Anderson, Officer Cornelius noticed his speech to be slurred and he had poor motor skills. He submitted to several field sobriety tasks but he performed poorly. Anderson was unsteady on his feet. He submitted to a blood alcohol test. Bond for Anderson is $1,500 and his court date is August 26th.

47 year old Lou Ann Self Cantrell of West Main Street was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia on Tuesday, August 10th Officer Randy King received a tip about drug paraphernalia and illegal narcotics at 215 West Main Street. He was invited into the residence and Ms. Cantrell admitted to having paraphernalia there. Four syringes were found. Cantrell will appear in court on August 26th.

26 year old Jeffrey Edward Dawes of Miller Road was arrested on Friday, August 13th for driving on a suspended license. Officer David Phillips saw Edwards speeding on Foster Road and initiated a traffic stop where he was cited for speeding. A check of his license through Central Dispatch revealed them to be suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. Bond for Dawes is $1,000 and his court date is October 13th.

27 year old April Lynn Anderson of Tramel Branch Road was arrested on Friday, August 13th for driving on a suspended license Officer David Phillips saw Anderson speeding on East Broad Street and initiated a traffic stop where she was cited for speeding. A check of her license through Central Dispatch revealed them to be suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. Bond for Anderson is $1,000 and her court date is September 8th.

Anyone having any information on a crime is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

DeKalb County's Preliminary High School Graduation Rate at 90.6%

August 13, 2010
Dwayne Page
Jonathan Fontanez

The DeKalb County High School graduation rate continues to improve.

Jonathan Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, told members of the board of education Thursday night that according to the state, the preliminary graduation rate is 90.6%. "The state has released our preliminary graduation rate and I want to put the emphasis on the term ‘preliminary' as the state is conducting last minute calculations of appeals on our students. The preliminary graduation rate that we have received at this time is 90.6%, which indicates that 90.6% of our students are graduating from high school. That is well above the track that we are mandated by the federal government to be on and compared with other school districts across the state, we are fairing very well additionally. I look for this preliminary graduation rate to actually be adjusted just a bit to the better as a result of some additional appeals that we submitted based on requirements, etc."

Fontanez adds "We have some wonderful programs in place that our teachers are utilizing that are being quite effective with our students. Our students are working very diligently. They're working very hard on their academics and our teachers are doing a fantastic job of teaching new and more rigorous contact standards that are assessed by new and more rigorous assessments. The curriculum is not a slouch curriculum. It is one of the top curricula in the nation, so our students are fairing very well and we want to commend all of our teachers and students and we know our parents are playing a huge role in that as well with the community support that we have. We appreciate the support of the school board as well."

Meanwhile, DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix is urging students needing credit recovery to take care of that as soon as possible. " I'd like to encourage all parents to talk to their daughters and sons and if they need credit recovery, any after school help, we have this available for them."

" We had a lot of students who waited until the spring semester last year and we were overflowing with students out there trying to get everything done. They need to get started on it right away so they can get this completed and go on with the rest of their schedule without having to re-take some classes because after so long if they haven't gotten their credits made up, we'll put them back in the class even though they should have gotten their credit recovery done in a certain period of time. If they fool around and don't get that done, we have no choice but to put them back in those classes. So we want the parents to talk to them and if you can, get them out there. We have transportation available. Ms. Crook will be there starting Monday in the morning at seven o'clock so we have after school help in the morning and afternoon. We have people there til five o'clock everyday and Mr. Ferrell is there until six p.m."

'We also have on-line classes and some distance learning classes. If your child's ACT test results haven't been up to where it needs to be, we actually probably could get them enrolled in an ACT prep class, which we don't currently have there but we could do that through our distance learning program. We have all kinds of things out there for them if they will take advantage of it."

School Board Reluctantly Approves New Budget

August 12, 2010
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education reluctantly adopted the 2010-11 budget for schools Thursday night, as approved by the county commission Tuesday night.

Even though the budget includes $10,768 more local money than the board of education had requested, school board members were upset that the county commission had reduced the property tax rate for schools from 49 cents to 48 cents per $100 of assessed value. And since one cent of the tax rate generates $47,023 in local money or $44,320 with a 5.75% delinquency rate figured into the equation, board members say that's how much more the school system would have had this year, had the one cent reduction not been made. That extra money, they say, could have been used to hire another teacher.

For that reason, the school board initially voted 5 to 1 to reject the school budget. Seventh district board member Johnny Lattimore made a motion to pass it and first district member John David Foutch offered a second to the motion. But during the roll call vote, Foutch voted no along with fellow board members W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, Kenny Rhody, Bruce Parsley, and Board Chairman Charles Robinson. Lattimore voted yes and fourth district member Joan Draper was absent.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby then asked that the board members to take a recess apparently to explain to them that they had little choice but to adopt the spending plan, since schools can't operate without a budget. After the break, another vote was taken. Lattimore again made the motion to pass the budget and Foutch again offered a second to the motion. This time Foutch voted yes along with Lattimore, Rhody, and Robinson. But Evins and Parsley again voted no. So the budget was adopted 4-2.

Evins says this is not the first year that the county commission has cut the property tax rate for schools and re-allocated it to other departments of county government. According to Evins, several years ago, about two thirds of the county property tax rate was allocated for schools and the sinking fund (local option sales tax fund) which is also for schools, was used only for capital outlay expenditures, the way it was meant to be. Today, he says only about a third of the property tax rate goes to schools, and the county commission is using $1.5 million of the sinking fund for school operation plus over $500,000 for debt service. And while the tax rate for schools is decreasing, Evins says the tax rate for the county general fund has increased by twenty cents within the last two years, going from 55 cents to 75 cents.

When the sales tax referendum was approved by the voters in May 2007 raising the local option sales tax rate in DeKalb County from 1.5% to 2.75%, Evins says the public was told by county officials that the extra money derived from the increase would go to schools. And while the school system did receive the extra sales tax funds, the property tax rate for schools was cut by an equal amount, essentially putting schools right back where they were. "The sales tax referendum was passed with the understanding that the money was going to schools, but an equal or greater amount of money was taken away from the schools by reducing our property tax rate sixteen and a half cents and debt service by two cents, which makes eighteen and a half cents."

County Mayor Mike Foster insists that before the sales tax referendum was passed it was explained to the public that property tax payers would be getting an overall 19 or 20 cent property tax break, if the referendum were approved " That was the intent. It was the design that the sales tax would take the place of part of the property tax rate for schools. We made that clear in the (public) meetings and when it (referendum) was voted on and that's exactly what has been done."

Evins also pointed out that even though the school budget is more than $18 million, the 48 cent tax rate generates $2,127,365. The rest is from state and federal sources.

In order to balance the budget this year, the school board is expected to appropriate $712,000 of the local school system's share of state Basic Education Program (BEP) reserves as one-time expenditures and $58,476 of Technology Reserves.

Last year, the school board used federal stimulus funds to fund several positions that might have been eliminated due to insufficient funds. But since stimulus funds were only guaranteed for two years, board members are concerned about what might happen next year, if those funds are gone.

In other business the board of education approved a request for the DeKalb County Little League to make some improvements of their facilities.

In a letter to Director Mark Willoughby, Jonathan Norris, President of the DeKalb County Little League, explained why the improvements were needed. "We have nearly 300 kids in our program and we are severely limited on playing fields for them. We are wanting to build another game field in an existing area that we are currently using as a practice field. This would, of course, be at no cost to the DeKalb County Board of Education and would be fully funded by the DeKalb County Little League, board members, and donors to our program. The only actual addition to the existing property required would be a new fence to regulate the boundaries of our field and possibly lights in the future, as our funds allow."

The board voted 5-1 to grant approval for DeKalb County High School to charge student fees in certain courses. Board member Bruce Parsley voted no.

The requests were made by teachers in the Nutrition and Foods and the Science, Family and Consumer Science classes as well as PACE (a transition class for the Freshman Academy) and the E4TN on-line class which benefits students seeking to earn dual credit for high school and college. (To read more about this issue click the following link to read last month's school board story http://www.wjle.com/news/2010/school-board-consider-request-student-fees...)

The board approved a request by DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix to allow the football, basketball, softball, and baseball teams to practice during the fourth block of school each day. The football team will practice during the fall semester only. The basketball teams will practice during the second and third nine week periods. The baseball and softball teams will practice during the spring semester only. This is the same schedule that the high school has been following for the last several years.

Approval was granted for the DCHS girls soccer team to attend a tournament at Franklin County High School in Winchester September 18th-19th.

In his monthly written update on personnel, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby reports that the following personnel have been granted a leave of absence as requested:

Amanda Brown, DCHS teacher
Dorothy Duggin, DeKalb West School custodian
Sabrina Kirksey, Northside Elementary School teacher
LeVaughnda Midgett, Smithville Elementary School teacher
Amanda Mullinax, DeKalb West School teacher
Penny Smitty, DeKalb Middle School teacher
Amy Tobitt, DCHS teacher
Betsey Walker, Northside Elementary Special Education teacher


Jan Alexander, DeKalb Middle School teacher
Pat Allen, DeKalb West School teacher
Betty Boss, DeKalb West Educational Assistant
Betty Hickey, Smithville Elementary teacher
Eddie Judkins, Maintenance
Kathy Lawrence, DeKalb West teacher
Larry Steffee, DCHS teacher
Mary Summers, Food Service Supervisor, as of August 31st


Betty Cooper, Northside Elementary cafeteria employee
Tonya Dickens, Smithville Elementary School Special Education teacher
Megan Hardin, DeKalb West School teacher
Rebecca Oliver, DCHS English as a Second Language teacher
Lori Page, DCHS teacher
Jennifer Peek, Smithville Elementary Pre-K teacher
Diane Trapp, Northside Elementary Bookkeeper

New Hires:

Shawn Baker, DeKalb West School teacher
Jenny Cantrell, DeKalb West School teacher
Karen Caplinger, Northside Elementary Bookkeeper
Jennifer Cowan, Smithville Elementary School Special Education Educational Assistant
Andrew Dixon, DCHS teacher
Jason Farley, DeKalb Middle School teacher
Denise Graham, DeKalb West School teacher
Melissa Hale, Northside Elementary teacher
Lisa Hull, Northside Elementary teacher
Cathleen Humphreys, DeKalb West School teacher
Ben Johnson, DCHS Special Education teacher
Angela Johnson, Smithville Elementary teacher
Jennifer Judkins, Smithville Elementary English as a Second Language teacher
Ginda Kilgore, DCHS Special Education Educational Assistant
Leah Magness, DeKalb Middle School teacher
Jennifer Martin, Northside Elementary Educational Assistant
Shayln Morgan, DCHS teacher
Holly Owen, Smithville Elementary Special Education Educational Assistant
Sara Parker, DCHS Counselor
Mary Ann Puckett, DCHS teacher
Allison Rigsby, Smithville Elementary School Pre-K teacher
Judy Rose, Northside Elementary Educational Assistant
Kristen Strickland, Smithville Elementary teacher
David Turner, Substitute bus driver
Vicky Walker, DeKalb Middle School Educational Assistant
Elizabeth Wiegele, DCHS Special Education teacher
Kathryn Wisinger, DCHS English as a Second Language teacher
Aaron Young, Maintenance


Lisa Bell, data analysis to new position
Heather Blankenship, Northside Elementary Special Education Educational Assistant to replace an employee who transferred
James Carroll, DCHS Custodian to a full time position
Wendy Colvert, Smithville Elementary teacher to Special Education Pre-School
Christie Driver, School Nurse (Funding Source Change Only)
Jason Farley, Northside Elementary Educational Assistant, employed as a teacher
Beverly Ferrell, DCHS Educational Assistant (Funding Source Change Only)
Amy Fox, half time Special Education Compliance Monitor and half time Instructional Leader (Funding Source Change Only)
Lori Isabell, Northside Elementary teacher
Anna Johnson, Smithville Elementary teacher, from Title IIA to TitleI (Funding Source Change Only)
Dwight Knowles, bus driver, now a full time driver
Mike Lambert, DeKalb Middle School Custodian, to a full time position
Penelope Mason, Site Coordinator from a 12 month to an 11 month position
Adrianne McCormick, Smithville Elementary teacher, to K position
Rebecca Moss, Northside Elementary Educational Assistant (Funding Source Change Only)
Pam Sanders, DeKalb West Special Educational teacher
Linda Sorrell, DCHS Educational Special Educational Assistant (Funding Source Change Only)
Teresa Spencer, Smithville Elementary Special Educational Assistant (Funding Source Change Only)
Suzanne Williams, DCHS Educational Assistant (Funding Source Change Only)

DeKalb Libraries Getting a Technology Upgrade

August 12, 2010
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Library Director, Managers, and Librarians

The public libraries in DeKalb County are upgrading to a web-based automation system

Kathy Hendrixson, Director of DeKalb County Libraries at Justin Potter, says this new system will give patrons and staff the best access to library resources while keeping costs down. "We're updating our automation system, upgrading to a web based system. This is going to be a great asset, not only to the library, but to the patrons who will be using it. We hope to utilize today's technology so that patrons and staff have the best access to library resources while keeping costs down."

"The switch to this new system will require a change over a period of time. The staff will also have to be trained so on Friday and Saturday, August 13th & 14th the only thing the three libraries will be doing will be checking books in and out. That's the only thing we will be able to do because we're going to be actually changing over probably next week. We will be closed next Monday through Thursday, August 16th-19th for training and to start the implementation of this new system. Like anything else, you have to be trained and learn the system before you can put it to the public, so that's what we'll be doing next week. We're going to ask the public to bear with us but it will be a great asset to them once it gets up and running."

"A lot of things are coming with this new system. It will tie all three libraries together, Alexandria, Liberty, and Justin Potter in Smithville. Once we get the website up and running, patrons can log on and see what we have in each library."

" We're also going to have new library cards. That will be implemented within a few weeks. Patrons will get a new library card with a bar code and it will be on a key chain to make it easier to carry.

Hendrixson adds that the patron ID cards may be used at all three library locations but you must register at each library. As always, books checked out at a library must be returned to that same library.

Tentative timeline: Friday, Aug. 13th thru Saturday Aug. 14th - Librarians will only be able to check items in and out. Patrons must bring library card to check out items.

·Monday, Aug. 16th thru Thursday, Aug. 19th – Libraries will be closed.

·Friday, August 20th - Libraries will re-open with new system.

Alexandria Library News
Alexandria Library will have new hours effective August 9th: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 12 – 5 pm, and Saturday 9 am – 2 pm .

Meanwhile Justin Potter Library's Book Sale continues through August 27th. There are books, movies, and magazines available at a very low price. Come by and see what they have. For additional information, please call the library at 615-597-4359.

The Alexandria Library, 109 Public Square, will have a book sale beginning Monday August 23 - Friday September 17. The library hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12 - 5, and Saturday 9 - 2. Everything 25 cents and under.

(Pictured front row left to right are: Cheryl Runyon, Alexandria Branch Manager, Kathy Hendrixson, Director DeKalb County Libraries, Helga Thompson, New Liberty Library Branch Manager, Back row: Larry Bean, retiring Liberty Library Branch Manager, and Rochelle Turner, Librarian at Justin Potter Library.)


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