Local News Articles

Noted Ventriloquist David Turner Entertains at Justin Potter Library

May 13, 2011
Dwayne Page

Noted ventriloquist David Turner and Friends entertained participants in Friday's Older American's Day celebration at Justin Potter Library

Turner, a resident and native of DeKalb County, performed with his pals "Tad Short", "Johnny Cash", "Willie Nelson", "Elvis", and "Maynelle"

David Turner from dwayne page on Vimeo.
The month of May is recognized nationally as Older Americans Month, a time when the vast contributions of older adults are recognized . Justin Potter Library joins in the national celebration each year by hosting Older Americans Day. This year's theme was "Connecting the Community". Participants enjoyed the fellowship and received door prizes, goody bags, and sack lunches.

DeKalb Schools to Close for Summer on Thursday, May 26

May 13, 2011
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Schools will close on time on Thursday, May 26

During Thursday night's Board of Education meeting, the school board had planned to approve executive action taken by Director Mark Willoughby to amend the calendar to make up a school day lost due to severe weather on Wednesday, April 27th.

Plans were to extend the school year by one day, moving the last day of school from Thursday, May 26 to Friday, May 27.

However, Willoughby informed the board Thursday night that the state has granted the school system's request for a waiver so that the lost day will not have to be made up. Therefore, the school calendar will not have to be changed. (Click here to listen to the entire school board meeting)

Students will not attend on Wednesday, May 25th. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Thursday, May 26. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home.

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix Addresses School Board from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Meanwhile, DCHS principal Kathy Hendrix reminded the board Thursday night that high school graduation is set for Friday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m. on the football field and that Senior Awards Day will be Thursday, May 19 at 8:30 a.m. in the gym.

School Board Seeks 17 cent Property Tax Increase to help Fund New Budget

May 13, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

The DeKalb County Board of Education is seeking a seventeen cent increase in the local property tax rate to help fund the new school budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year which begins July 1st.

The school board adopted the proposed tentative general purpose and food service budgets during the monthly meeting Thursday night which was held at the DCHS cafeteria. All six board members present voted in favor. Sixth district member Bruce Parsley was absent.

The general purpose budget totals $20-million 146-thousand 303 consisting of local monies but mostly state funding. In order the make the proposed budget balance a total of $666,893 is needed from the Education Jobs Fund, which is federal one time monies; an appropriation of $658,016 from the school system's allocation of Basic Education Program (BEP) reserves for equipment and capital outlay expenditures; and a seventeen cent increase in the local property tax rate. If approved, the local tax rate for schools would increase from the current level of 48 cents to 65 cents per $100 of assessed value. One cent of the tax rate is estimated to generate $44,323.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby outlined during the meeting and then further discussed with WJLE afterwards the need for some of the extras in the proposed new budget including the following: (Click the following link to hear Willoughby's comments made to WJLE)

A 3.2% pay raise for certified and support staff

Five new teacher positions (total funds needed $225,000):
One Northside Elementary School 5th grade teacher
One Northside Elementary School physical education teacher
One DCHS math teacher
One county wide instruction coach teacher
One band assistant teacher

Two new assistant soccer coach positions (total funds needed $5,570)

One new support staff position-DCHS site coordinator (total funds needed $33,580)

One new teacher position-DCHS special education teacher (total funds needed $45,000)

Three teacher positions which have been funded from federal stimulus (ARRA) money to be returned to the local general purpose fund now that the ARRA funds have been exhausted. (Total funds needed $135,000

One educational assistant position which has been funded from ARRA money to be returned to the local general purpose budget (Total funds needed $15,000)

Three new assistant principal positions with benefits (Total funds needed $229,100)
One at DeKalb West
One at Northside Elementary
One at Smithville Elementary

The proposed new budget also includes the following increases:

Textbook adoption (Math)- $40,000
Updated hardware/software Accounting Department- $40,000
Minimal increase in utility costs- $6,000
Increase in maintenance of plant supplies- $23,000
Increase in fuel costs: $124,000
Increase in capital outlay- $200,000 (mostly for DCHS science lab upgrades)

The spending plan will be presented to the budget committee of the county commission and if it meets with approval there, then it will go before the entire county commission in August for final approval. If the committee does not approve, then the proposed new school budget could be subject to some revisions by the board of education.

Robinson Child Struck by Car Released from Hospital

May 13, 2011
Dwayne Page

A young child, who was rushed to Vanderbilt Medical Center by DeKalb EMS Thursday evening after being hit by a vehicle, has been released from the hospital and is going to be okay.

Buddie Robinson, father of three year old Zeva Robinson, told WJLE Friday evening that his daughter suffered only superficial wounds and no internal injuries as a result of the accident. Robinson said he and his wife Donna want to thank everyone for their concern and prayers.

911 received a call at 6:15 p.m. Thursday that a three year old child had been hit by a car in the parking lot of the Bill Page Ballpark in Smithville.

Smithville Police said the child was playing near a gravel pile outside the fence in the parking lot when a 17 year old Rock Island girl, who was backing out of her parking spot in a 1987 Ford Probe, didn't see the youngster and accidentally struck her.

Robinson said Zeva was first taken by EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and then transported to Vanderbilt.

Smithville Fire Department called to Car Fire

May 13, 2011
Dwayne Page

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and Smithville Police responded to a car fire Thursday night on West Broad Street.

Central dispatch received the call at 11:00 p.m.

Car Fire from dwayne page on Vimeo.
The car was parked in front of a shop/garage building across from Gordon's Hardware.

The cause of the fire is apparently undetermined. No one was injured.

Board Gives Approval for Development of Softball Field at DeKalb Middle School

May 13, 2011
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb Middle School softball field will be developed on the campus starting this summer.

The Board of Education Thursday night gave approval for the project, which will be paid for through fundraisers by the booster club and school softball fund.

Principal Randy Jennings said the initial phase entails developing the field including dirt for the infield and grass for the outfield and installing a fence which is estimated to cost $17,000.

DeKalb Middle Principal Randy Jennings Address School Board from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Plans are to eventually build a press box with a concession stand, bathrooms and storage areas, purchasing the materials at cost and using donated labor to construct.

The Lady Saints softball team currently plays at another location in town off campus.

Thirty Three Students Served by Adult High School This School Year

May 12, 2011
Dwayne Page

Susan Hinton, Adult High School Instructor/Supervisor, gave her annual report to the board of education and the Director of Schools Thursday night.

Hinton explained that a total of thirty three students were served for the current year and that the current enrollment is ten. There are five graduates for the year including three summer school students. Seven transferred to the GED program upon turning eighteen. Twelve dropped (including attendance, transferred, or moved).

Susan Hinton Giving Annual Report on Adult High School from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Hinton said students must take a reading test upon enrolling in the Adult High School. Any student who does not read on an 8.5 grade level or higher is ineligible to take any high school credits. Remedial reading and remedial course work is required by the state. There have been fifteen remedial reading students taught this school year.

Hinton also read essays prepared by two of her students.

Director of Schools Employs Professional Personnel for 2011-12

May 12, 2011
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has signed contracts with the 236 Professional Personnel for the 2011-2012 school year.

Willoughby presented a list of the employees to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Certified personnel at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-

Charlotte Agee, Jeanette Allen, Angie Anderson, Danny Bond, Amanda Brown, Kevin Burchfield, Boyd Cantrell, Harriett Cantrell, Jeanine Cantrell, Todd Cantrell, Mary Anne Carpenter, Joe Pat Cope, Patrick Cripps, Dixie Crook, Jared Daniels, Kelly Daniels, Deborah DePriest, Andrew Dixon, Donna Emmons, Marshall Ferrell, Tina Fletcher, Michelle Fontanez, Amanda Fuller, David Gash, Marie Hill, Susan Hinton, Sonja House, John Isabell, William Jennings, Ben Johnson, Dylan Kleparek, Brad Leach, Lynus Martin, Shealyn Morgan, Lori Myrick, Rolando Navarro, Jenny Norris, Scott Odom, Shelly Painter, Walteen Parker, Linda Parris, Mary Anne Puckett, Joey Reeder, Leslie Rice, Melissa Ruch, Frederick Sanders, Daniel Seber, Amy Tobitt, Steve Trapp, Chris Vance, Michael Whitefield, Shea Wiegele, Carol Williams, Brittany Willoughby, Jonathon Wright, Melvin Young, and Kathy Hendrix.

Northside Elementary School-

Joyce Alexander, Rebecca Baugh, Marla Beshearse, Kelly Birmingham, Kathy Bryant, Linda Bush, Michael Crockett, Amanda Dakas, Alisha Day, Ashley Dean, Holly Espinosa, Jerry Foster, Carrie Gottlied, Amy Green, Amanda Griffith, Jennifer Griffith, Melissa Hale, Cynthia Hale, Jessica Hale, Patty Hale, Lisa Hull, Lorie Isabell, Karen Jacobs, Shelly Jennings, Sabrina Kirksey, Kristy Lasser, Lisa Mabe, Jama Martin, Amanda Mathis, Libby McCormick, Pamela Miller, Elizabeth Nolt, Louise Owen, Amy Raymond, Judy Redmon, Bethany Rigsby, Melissa Roysdon, Tammy Sims, Carol Tripp, Cheryl Vance, Julie Vincent, Betsye Walker, Ginger Wenger, Sandy Willingham, and Dr. Gayle Redmon.

DeKalb West School-

Shawn Baker, Doris Cantrell, Jenny Cantrell, Jeanna Caplinger, William Conger, Kim Crook, Martha Damron, Genrose Davis, Tonya Ellis, Janet England, Denise Graham, Lesa Hayes, Ricky Hendrix, Lindsay Holmes, Cathleen Humphrey, Regina Kent, Michael Littrell, Shelia McMillen, Melanie Molander, Amanda Mullinax, Tammy Payne, Debra Poteete, Cynthia Preston, Lori Pryor, Cynthia Pulley, Joyce Robertson, Susan Robinson, Audrey Russell, Pam Sanders, Lori Sexton, Jane Watson, Susan West, Vicki Wilson, Amy Young, and Danny Parkerson.

Smithville Elementary School-

Ana Bain, Renee Beaty, Kelly Birmingham, Kim Brown, Beth Cantrell, Laura Carter, Wendy Colvert, Layra Crook, Trena Curtis, Sue Driver, Vicky Duke, Kelli Foster, Misty Franklin, Tina Gash, Vicky Hawker, Bradley Hendrix, Holly Hendrix, Mary Henny, Tanya Howard, Amanda Johnson, Anna Johnson, Angela Johnson, Jennifer Judkins, Karen Knowles, Carrie Lee, Kristen Malone, Adrienne McCormick, LeVaughnda Midgett, Margaret Nichols, Christina Ontiveros, Beth Pafford, Susan Palmer, Kristy Parsley, Mary Pugh, Jane Ramsey, Amanda Rhoady, Allison Rigsby, Carol Sampley, Carol Tallent, Jan Thomas, Janet Trapp, Carol-Ann Tripp, Fay Turner, Sherian Waggoner, Tiffany Wheatley, Janet Woodward, Christie Young, Crystal Young and Dr. Billy Tanner.

DeKalb Middle School-

Joey Agee, Josh Agee, Lori Alexander, Suzette Barnes, Ashley Barnes, Lisa Craig, Lisa Cripps, Courtney Davis, Tena Davidson, Jenny Elrod, Sabrina Farler, Jason Farley, Amy Fletcher, Lori Hendrix, Tom Hill, Bryan Jones, Michelle Jones, Gail Kirksey, Taleen Lambert, Michael Lewis, Michael Littrell, Leah Magness, Martha Melching, Debra Moore, Joy Parker, Karen Pelham, Anita Puckett, Joyce Robertson, Candice Scrabo, Lori Sexton, Penny Smitty, Tonya Sullivan, Kitty Thomas, Nancy Tucker, Tad Webb, Jennifer West, Kathryn Wisinger, and Randy Jennings.

Central Office Staff-

Gina Arnold, Katherine Ballard, Michelle Burklow, Clay Farler, Dr. Danielle Collins, Jon Fontanez, Dee Anna Reynolds, and Stephanie Walker

County Wide-

Lisa Bell, Amy Fox, Judy Malone, and Lori Rogers.

In other business, the board granted tenure to the following teachers, as recommended by Director Willoughby. He says these teachers have completed the statutory apprentice period of three years as required for tenure: Ashley Barnes, Rebecca Baugh, Ashley Dean, Amy Fletcher, Cynthia Hale, Lindsay Holmes, Bryon Jones, Amanda Mullinax. Taleen Lambert, Leah Magness, Cynthia Pulley, and Jonathon Wright.

Meanwhile, Jane Parsley, a teacher at Smithville Elementary School is retiring.

Carol Tallent, a teacher at Smithville Elementary School, was granted a leave as requested.

Willoughby Hires Support Staff for 2011-12

May 12, 2011
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby announced Thursday night during the board of education meeting that he has employed the 212 support staff for the 2011-2012 school year.

Those employed at DeKalb County High School are:

Rena Adcock- Cook, Wanda Bradford- Part Time Cook, Amee Cantrell- Social Worker, James Carroll- Custodian, Kathy Chapman-Cook, Kenderly Cripps- Guidance/Records Clerk, Annette Davis- Educational Assistant, Debbie Eaton- Educational Assistant, Regina Estes- Secretary, Beverly Ferrell- Educational Assistant, Gary Good- Educational Assistant, Dena Haugh- Educational Assistant, Melissa Hicks- Cook, Deborah Knowles- Educational Assistant Job Coach, Helen LaFever-Cook, Rita Leichtfuss- Educational Assistant, Deborah Magness- Bookkeeper, Thomas Maney- Custodian, Charles Martin- Custodian, Rhonda Merriman-Educational Assistant, Sara Parker- Guidance, Lisa Peterson-Educational Assistant Job Coach, JoAnn Pittman-Custodian, Brian Reed- Educational Assistant, Denise Rutland- Custodian, Vicky Sandlin- Cook, Linda Sorrell- Educational Assistant, Norman Underhill- Educational Assistant, Tiffany VanWinkle- Educational Assistant, Suzanne Williams-Educational Assistant, Jamie Wright- Guidance Clerk, and Debbie Young-Cafeteria Manager.

DeKalb Middle School:

Sue Arnold- Part-Time Cook, Helen Cantrell-Cook, Charles Cantrell- Custodian, Fay Gilreath- School Bookkeeper, Connie Haggard- Cook, Barbara Hibdon- Cook, Rita Johnson-Cook, Martha Knowles- Educational Assistant, Samantha Lester- School Secretary, Paulette McDonald- Educational Assistant, Angie Moore- Educational Assistant, Lisa Norton- Educational Assistant, Ray Robinson- Custodian, Eldon Vanatta- Cafeteria Manager, Vicky Walker- Educational Assistant

Smithville Elementary School:

Brent Arnold-Educational Assistant, Jimmy Barnes- Custodian, Janis Barnes- Educational Assistant, Clay Bumbalough- Custodian, Brenda Beth Cantrell- Educational Assistant, Darlene Evans-Educational Assistant, Jennifer Gay- Educational Assistant, Mary Gibbs-Cook, Betty Griffith- Educational Assistant, Jean Hayes- Cafeteria Manager, Michelle Hoyle- Educational Assistant, Vicki Jefferies- Educational Assistant, Melinda Lattimore- Educational Assistant, Brittany Lockard- Educational Assistant, Sara Lomas-Custodian, Talitha Looney- Cook, Pat Milam- Part Time Cafeteria Monitor/Substitute Custodian, Tera Mooneyham-Educational Assistant, Ronda Northcutt- Educational Assistant, Holly Owens-Educational Assistant, Freeda Phillips- Cook, Rhonda Pelham- Secretary/Receptionist, Amelia Phillips- Cook, Lori Poss- School Bookkeeper, Brenda Rigney- Educational Assistant, Teresa Spencer- Educational Assistant, Wayne Taylor- Custodian, Tammy Tyler- Cook, Amanda Trapp-Educational Assistant, and Celia Whaley- Educational Assistant,

Northside Elementary:

Emma Jean Bandy- Cook, Heather Blankenship- Educational Assistant, Suzanne Bradford- Educational Assistant, Gail Crips- Secretary, Evril Cubbins- Educational Assistant, Regina Daw- Cafeteria Manager, Rebecca Ervin- Cook, Sally Exum- Educational Assistant, Starr Ferrell-Educational Assistant, Terrie Ford- Educational Assistant, Kenneth Gordon- ESL Assistant (English as Second Language), Phyllis Hallum- Educational Assistant, Sherry Judkins- Custodian, Jennifer Lewis- Educational Assistant, Thelma Martin- Educational Assistant, Jennifer Martin- Educational Assistant, Denise Merriman-Cook, Rebecca Moss- Educational Assistant, Lynn Pichey-Custodian, Paula Pinegar- Educational Assistant, Jo Dean Redmon- Lunch Monitor, Tayla Turner- Educational Assistant, Kim Violet- Custodian, Sharon Washer- Cook, Elizabeth White- Part-Time Cook, and Deneene Willingham- School Bookkeeper.

DeKalb West School:

Holly Bain-Educational Assistant, Donna Driver- Cook, Dorothy Duggin-Custodian, Tena Edwards- Educational Assistant, Ruth Frazier- Custodian, Pauline Frazier- Custodian, Stephanie Fuson- Educational Assistant, Shelly Gibson- Educational Assistant, Lisa Hale- Secretary, Donna Hale- School Bookkeeper, Nancy Mulloy- Cook, Faye Nixon-Cook, Tina Paschal- Educational Assistant, Elizabeth Redmon-Educational Assistant, Tonya Roberts- Educational Assistant, Beverly Starnes- Cafeteria Manager, Kristi Sullivan- Educational Assistant, Missy Vantrease- Educational Assistant, and Linda Vickers- Cook

County Wide Positions:

Chandra Adcock- School Nurse, Jenean Bain- Bus Assistant, Sandra Billings- Substitute Bus Assistant, Cindy Childers- Coordinated School Health Assistant, Betty Cooper- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Billy Curtis- Special Needs Driver (car), Dana Davenport- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Bettye June Dodd- Bus Assistant, Christie Driver- School Nurse, Russell Estes- Substitute Custodian, Sharon Farler- Substitute School Nurse, Greg Frasier- Technology Director, LeAnne Frasier- Library Assistant (half time at Smithville Elementary School and Half Time at Northside Elementary School), Mary Gay- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Melissa Fuson- Substitute School Nurse, Billy Golden- Maintenance Worker, Lynn Griffith- Bus Assistant, Rebecca Hawkins- Substitute Bus Assistant, Darnette Hibdon- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Terry Hicks- Maintenance Worker, Earl Jared- Maintenance Supervisor, Freda Johnson- Bus Assistant, Penelope Mason- 21st Century CCLC Site Coordinator, Delilah McGhee- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Kelly Merriman- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Teresa Miller- Payroll/Bookkeeper Central Office, Tamara Murphy- Substitute Nurse, Jean Neal-Bus Assistant, Carolyn Neal- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Shirley Ours- Special Education Secretary, April Odom- Attendance Clerk, Angela Patrick- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, B.J. Patterson- Technology, Melissa Pirtle- Food Service Bookkeeper, Jo Dean Redmon- Part Time Custodian- Brian Reed- Alternative School Assistant, Joyce Robinson- Payroll/Bookkeeper Central Office, Pauletta Ruffner- Substitute Cafeteria Worker/Custodian, Roger Sharp- Technology, Teresa Sullivan- Educational Assistant at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School, Janice Tanner- Substitute School Nurse, Kimberly Turner- School Nurse, Pam Turner- Substitute School Nurse, Barbara Vanatta- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Jamie Vickers- Secretary/Bookkeeper Central Office, Judy Wiggins- Substitute Bus Assistant, Linda Williams- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Joannie Williams- School Nurse, Aaron Young- Maintenance Worker, Jeanette Young- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, and Rita Young-Attendance Clerk at Northside Elementary and Smithville Elementary School


Orlando Guzman- Mechanic and Rick Holcomb- Mechanic.

The following are bus drivers:

Harold Ashford, Karen Adkins, Neal Brown, Dwayne Cantrell, Dinah Cripps, Elaine Davis, Debbie Eaton, Marshall Ferrell, Starr Ferrell, Linda Fowler, Bill Fowler, Judith Hale, Darnette Hibdon, Melissa Hicks, Michael Kingsbury, Dwight Knowles, Kimberly Lawson, Angela Lawson, Bobby Martin, Ronald Merriman, Jimmy Mullican, Linda Gail Pack, Walter Phillips, Faye Pollard, Jimmy Poss, Tony Poss, J.T. Pursell, Bobby Taylor, B.J. Thomason, and David Turner.

Substitute bus drivers are: Danny Bond, Tina Fletcher, Daniel Lawson, Jimmy Sprague, Carol Swope, Ken Taylor, and Suzanne Williams.

Clerk Advises Against Crossing County Lines to Avoid Wheel Tax

May 11, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mike Clayborn

If you live in a county that requires a wheel tax, you can't legally cross county lines to renew your car tags where the tax is not applied.

County Clerk Mike Clayborn said the Department of Revenue is asking counties to monitor this closer."Revenue is watching for several things. For instance, we have a lot of folks that come from some of our surrounding counties that have a wheel tax. They want to come in here (DeKalb County) and get their tag because we don't have MARTA (emission regulations) and we don't have a wheel tax. The state and counties are watching this. We have been instructed by Revenue that if we knowingly renew a tag or do a registration on a vehicle that's sold by somebody else besides a dealer, we put our jobs in jeopardy. We've been provided with a 911 (address) book. If we have a question, we look in it. If it's in DeKalb County we do it, if it's not we don't", said Clayborn

What about persons who reside outside the county but have a local address? "The problem you run into with this is we have some people who live in Warren County that have a Smithville address, also Wilson County, and Smith County. They (those counties) all have a wheel tax. Just because it says Smithville, Alexandria (on your address), does not mean that you live in DeKalb County. You must renew your tag in the county where you reside. A residence is a place where you spend 80% of your time. There's been more tickets written for this. Your registration and your license should be the same. If you have a Snow Hill address on your license, there should be a Snow Hill address on your registration. If not, you could get a ticket," said Clayborn

On another issue, Clayborn explained the law pertaining to giving an automobile to a relative. "Most folks know that if you give a car to a lineal relative, there's no taxes (applied). Now, you can give a car to a lineal relative without taxes being applied, but now they (state) require that you have an affidavit filled out and signed (stating) that there's no money changing hands," said Clayborn.

Clayborn further explained that "If you're out there and you have a car for sale and you're going to sell that car to somebody, on the back of your title this is what you'll find. It's says signature of seller, printed name of seller, date of sale, and sale price. If you're the seller, it's your responsibility to fill all those out. What that means is, if I sold you a $10,000 car and I (seller) didn't put that in there and you (buyer) came in and you'd written in $5,000, I (seller) could be held liable just like you because I didn't do what I was supposed to do. Folks who are selling cars need to know this. So you need to fill out the back of that title. If you don't know the people you're selling the car to, the best thing to do is come up here (clerk's office) and let us show you what to do because this has happened over and over again. People will sell a car and not make the buyer put their name on there. That's an open title as far as the state is concerned and that's against the law. So if you want to sell your car, fill out your part, and make them put their name in there. If you have any questions or concerns about it come up here and we'll help you with it and get it done right", said Clayborn.


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