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Local News Articles

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver to be Sworn into Office Tuesday

January 12, 2009
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver-

The 106th General Assembly convenes Tuesday and Terri Lynn Weaver will officially become DeKalb County's new State Representative as she takes the oath of office at noon

Representative Weaver told WJLE Monday she is excited and anxious to serve. "At high noon, the freshman class will be standing up and we will be taking our oath as the new representatives in the state. We're the new kids on the block but we're learning and it's exciting and an honor for me to be in Nashville representing the folks of the 40th district."

"It's a week of organization. We're electing our officials. I'll soon learn where I'll be planted. As of now, I'm in a temporary office. In fact, my desk is between a refrigerator, two microwave ovens, and a television but I'll soon have an office. At the moment, I'm looking through resumes to hire an assistant. Right now I have a temporary assistant. After this week, we will recess for two weeks to get our offices in line and get our committees set up and come back around the first week in February and start governing."

"I've put in for three committees I'd like to be on but I won't know for certain which committees I'll be on until probably Thursday. I'm mostly interested in being on the agriculture committee as well as the transportation and education committees."

"I have a temporary number and people can call me at 741-2192. You can also email me at"

State lawmakers will convene with a Republican majority in both the House and Senate. The session will start with election of the Speaker of the House.

On Monday, Republicans nominated former Deputy Governor Justin Wilson for comptroller, former state House Republican leader Tre Hargett for secretary of state and Shelby County Commissioner David Lillard for treasurer.

A joint session of the House and Senate is scheduled to elect the constitutional officers on Wednesday.

Top 4-H Public Speakers Awarded at County Competition

January 12, 2009
Dwayne Page
(Left to Right) Luke Willoughby, Elizabeth Sanders, Erin Cantrell Pryor-
(Left to Right) Wyatt Martin, Ashli Chew, Lydia Trail, Cassie Cain
Kyra Trapp, Brooke Reffue, Katlyn Cox, Jeremy Wagner

Students from the elementary to high school level competed in the annual DeKalb County 4-H Public Speaking Contest Monday night at Northside Elementary School.

First place winners in the competition are as follows:

Wyatt Martin, a fourth grade student from DeKalb West School
Ashli Chew, a fifth grader from Northside Elementary School
Lydia Trail, a sixth grade student from DeKalb West School
Cassie Cain, a seventh grader from DeKalb West School
Erin Cantrell Pryor, an eighth grade student at DeKalb West School
Elizabeth Sanders, a ninth grader at DCHS
Luke Willoughby, a twelfth grade student at DeKalb County High School

Runners-up in the contest included:

Kyra Trapp, a fifth grader who received second place
Brooke Reffue, a sixth grade student who was awarded second place
Katlyn Cox, a fourth grader who received third place
Jeremy Wagner, a fourth grade student who was awarded second place.

County Extension Agent Ron Rogers says the winners in this contest will advance to the next levels of competition. "In grades four through eight, they will go to the sub-regional contest and compete against students from eight other counties at Livingston. The competition ends there. Our winners in grades nine through twelve will represent us in the state public speaking contest at Murfreesboro during 4-H Congress in late March."

Rogers says public speaking is not required for students in 4-H but it is strongly encouraged. "Many of the teachers promote it heavily because public speaking is a life skill. It's something students will make use of all their lives no matter where they work or what they do. We think it's a great thing to learn. It gets them over their fear of crowds and being in front of people. We really work at it hard and the teachers work with us. We really think it's a very important project."

Man Wanted in Burglary and Theft Case

January 12, 2009
Dwayne Page
Jeremy D. Loader

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is asking for your help in locating 24 year old Jeremy D. Loader of Bethel Road Smithville, who is wanted in a recent burglary and theft case.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says"On Monday night January 5th, a deputy responded to a call on Bethel Road, Smithville to investigate a break-in at a residence where several weapons were taken. While the officer was at the home, Loader telephoned and advised the victim that in fact he (Loader) was the one who took the weapons and that he wanted to come back and talk with the victim. After hearing Loader admit to the theft, the deputy left the residence and went down the road hoping to intercept Loader. After making contact with Loader, the deputy approached the driver's side of the vehicle, but Loader put the automobile in reverse in an attempt to flee. Loader's vehicle came in such close contact with the deputy that it almost struck him. The deputy, thinking Loader was trying to hit him, fired two rounds, striking the rear tire of Loader's vehicle. Loader alluded the officer and was last seen on Bethel Road. A BOLO "Be On The Lookout" was issued to DeKalb and surrounding counties. A short time later, Loader's vehicle was found abandoned on Wood's Cemetery Road in Warren County.

Sheriff Ray says Loader is a white male, 6 feet 1 inch tall, 190 pounds, with brown hair and hazel colored eyes. If you know the whereabouts of Loader, please call the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department at 597-4935 or the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department tip line at 464-6400.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, deputies arrested 30 year old Terry Bly of North Cumberland Apartments, Lebanon Saturday for driving on a revoked driver's license. Officers observed Bly drive around the DeKalb County public square and park in front of the jail. The arresting officer had prior knowledge that Bly's license was revoked. Sheriff Ray says Bly's license was revoked for a driving under the influence conviction in Wilson County on November 4th, 2008. Bly's bond was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on January 28th.

40 year old David Dixon of Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville was charged Saturday with public intoxication after deputies responded to a domestic violence call on Hurricane Ridge Road. Officers found Dixon walking on Hurricane Ridge Road in an intoxicated state. Dixon had a strong smell of alcohol on his person and he was staggering and very belligerent. Dixon's bond was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on January 22nd.

Odom, Maynard win big awards at DCHS football banquet

January 11, 2009
Avarie Maynard and Chris Odom

Senior linebacker, Chris Odom, was named the 2008 DCHS Football Most Valuable Player at Saturday night's awards banquet, sponsored by the DCHS Quarterback Club. Odom led the Tiger defense in tackles, this past season, was an All-Region selection, the Upper Cumberland's Best Linebacker, and was considered for Dream Team and All Mid-State honors, this season, as well. Odom was a four-year member of the Tiger football team. The Tigers set many program records en route to final record of 9-3 in 2008.

Meanwhile, DCHS senior, Avarie Maynard, was named Most Valuable Cheerleader for the 2008 football season. Maynard was a senior captain, a four-year member of the cheerleading squad, and one of only three seniors on the 2008 DCHS football cheerleading squad.

Other football awards were as follows:

Best Offensive Player: Hunter Poteete

Best Defensive Player: Logan Roller

Best Offensive Lineman: Josh Emberton

Best Defensive Lineman: Nick Lester

Best Offensive Back: Matt Lawrence

Best Defensive Back: J.J. Herriott

Best Receiver: Abram Edwards

Best Linebacker: John Curtis

Best Special Teams Player: Zach Taylor

Most Improved: Tom West

Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award: Matt Lawrence

Other cheerleading awards were as follows:

Best Stunts: Kidman Puckett

Most Spirited: Quincie Winchester

Best Jumps: Krysta Ferrell

Best Dance: Macy Felts

Most Improved: Erin Colwell

D.E.A.R. Award: April Hale

Macy Felts, Krysta Ferrell, Lela Ambrose, Kidman Puckett, and Johnna Roller were also given Perfect Attendance awards for not missing any practices throughout the course of the season.

The annual DCHS Football banquet was held Saturday night at Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

Deer Hunting Seasons to Conclude with Young Sportsman Hunt

January 10, 2009

Tennessee's 2008-09 deer hunting seasons will conclude with the Young Sportsman Deer Hunt to be held the weekend of Jan. 17-18. Only youth (ages 6-16) may participate in the Young Sportsman Hunt, regardless of whether they possess a junior or adult license.

Bag limits allow for either-sex hunting in all units. In Unit A, (DeKalb County) the antlerless limit is two for the hunt.

Antlered deer that are taken during the Young Sportsman Hunt count toward the statewide antlered deer bag limit. If a youth in Unit A has already taken three antlered deer this year, he or she would only be allowed antlerless deer on this hunt. A

Each youth must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 21 or older, who does not need a license, but also must wear 500-square inches of fluorescent orange.

Youth hunters ages 10-16 need a TWRA Hunter Education card along with the appropriate license where applicable. Hunters, ages 6-9, are not required to possess a hunter education card or license (these youth must have their Social Security number to check out a deer).

For those youth hunters, age 10 and older, who have not taken the TWRA Hunter Education course, the apprentice license is available.

The apprentice license exempts a hunter, 10 or older who falls within the hunter education requirement, from having to complete the mandatory TWRA Hunter Education course for the current license year.

The apprentice license (Type 12) may be purchased for $11 at any hunting and fishing license agent. The license is valid from the date of purchase through the last day of February. This license may only be purchased once in the lifetime of the hunter.

While hunting, the apprentice hunter must be accompanied by a licensed adult at least 21, who is hunter education certified or otherwise exempt from the law. In addition to the apprentice license, the hunter must have other applicable licenses and permits.

For more information about the Young Sportsman hunt, refer to the Hunting and Trapping Guide available at all license agents or on the TWRA Web site. (The icon is located on the lower portion of the home page.)

Habitat Restore Exceeds First Year Goals

January 10, 2009

The Restore of DeKalb County’s Affiliate Chapter of Habitat for Humanity just completed its first full year of operation, easily exceeding its goals for the year.

“When we started, I hoped we could generate sales of $10,000,” reports Restore manager and Habitat board member Mike Antoniak. “For the year, gross sales totaled more than $16,000....not bad considering we were only open six hours a week.”

The Restore serves as a fundraising arm of the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Sales at the store support Habitat’s projects, and will help the group build its third home in DeKalb County.

Restores specialize in the sale of items donated to Habitat which cannot be used in Habitat homes. The local store has evolved into a combination thrift/building supplies center, selling new and re-usable household items, appliances, furniture, tools and all types of construction materials at bargain prices to generate funds for Habitat.

“Our success is entirely community-driven, and I’d like to thank our store volunteers, donors and everyone who shops the Restore for their support,” says Antoniak. “Special appreciation goes to Robin Driver of Center Hill Realty who has given the Restore a home, at no cost, so all sales directly benefit our Habitat chapter.”

The Restore is located at 415 Miller Road in Smithville and open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 until 12. Donations may be dropped off during regular business hours. For more information, or to arrange a pick-up of donated items, please call 215.8181 and leave a message on the ReStore voicemail box.

Sheriff Releases Yearly Report on Incident Responses

January 10, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department responded to more than six thousand dispatched calls from January 1st to December 31st, 2008.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the following are Incident Responses or dispatched calls; not self-initiated calls (incidents that officers respond to on routine patrols). Self-initiated calls are not included in these counts:

Calls Reported:
Wrecks- 637
4 wheeler calls- 99
911 calls- 205
Abandoned Vehicles- 45
Animal calls- 227
Assaults- 36
Boat Fires- 3
Break-ins- 208
Burglar Alarms- 428
Child Custody Exchanges- 18
Children in roadway- 13
Debris in roadway- 44
Disturbing the peace- 109
Domestic violence- 357
Drug trafficking- 43
Escorts- 120
Extra Patrols- 31
Fights- 84
Fire Alarms- 37
Funeral Escorts- 187
Gas drive-offs- 19
Harassments- 40
Indecent exposure- 7
Investigations- 303
Vehicle lockouts- 752
Medical Assists- 194
Missing Persons- 65
Phone harassment- 9
Possible D.U.I.- 125
Prowlers- 77
Public Intoxication- 25
Rape- 2
Reckless Drivers- 229
Recover Property- 29
Robbery- 3
Seizures- 10
Shots fired- 67
Shop lifter- 4
Stolen property- 209
Stolen vehicle- 68
Stranded motorists- 65
Structure Fires- 66
Someone threatened- 105
Suicides- 14
Suspicious persons/vehicles- 389
Traffic Hazards- 84
Trespassing- 13
Unruly juveniles- 36
Unwanted guests- 159
Vandalism- 141
Vehicle fires- 22
Wanted Persons- 27
Welfare checks- 132
Miscellaneous- 65

Total 6,536 incident calls

Board of Education to Conduct Evaluations

January 8, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education will conduct an annual performance evaluation of the Director of Schools and a School Board self evaluation on Thursday night, January 22nd at the Board of Education Building.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson, during Thursday night's monthly school board meeting, said the same basic instruments for making the evaluations will be used as in the past and the same procedure will be followed. " Our precedent in doing this is that, in the past, when Mr. (Johnny) Lattimore was chairman in 2007 we had an evaluation workshop for the director starting at 6:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. we had a special called meeting to address the board issues (self evaluation). This is probably something our policy committee needs to look at on the interpretation of the policy concerning the board self evaluation as to whether we can do it in a workshop setting or if it needs to be done during a special called meeting. But for now I want to continue the precedent that has been set in the past. So on January 22nd, we'll have a workshop to evaluate Mr. (Mark) Willoughby and then at 7:00 p.m. we'll go into a special called session to evaluate ourselves."

Robinson also called for a board workshop on Saturday, February 21st at 8:30 a.m. to set future goals. "In taking into consideration how we evaluate ourselves and our director and what we want to achieve for the next school year in trying to remain a board of distinction, we will have workshop to address our five year plan, our strengths and weaknesses and how we can improve. We want to be a pro-active board and I believe this (workshop) will help us to be pro-active and not reactionary."

At the workshop on January 22nd, the school board members will evaluate Director Mark Willoughby on his relationship with the board, community relationships, staff and personnel relationships, educational leadership, business and finance, and strategic planning skills. Board members are to make a check mark on the four page evaluation form in each of 52 areas, if they believe expectations have been met. Spaces are also provided on the form for board members to write comments.

Willoughby's contract states that the evaluation of the Director shall occur no later than January 31 each calendar year during the term of the contract. The board will review the Director's performance, progress toward established goals, and the working relationship between the two parties.

In the self evaluation, each board member must rate the board's performance on a scale from one to six in team building, decision making, governance, school improvement, community, planning, communications, motivation, influence, and policy. A score of "one" is the lowest and a score of "6" is the highest. They must rate themselves on how much is being done now in each of 46 areas and how important those issues are to them.

Also during the school board meeting Thursday night, Director Willoughby updated the board on personnel moves since the last meeting.

Darril G. Taylor has been employed as a substitute bus assistant and Tiffany Frazier, Martha Kirksey, Gayla Hendrix, and Kymerleigh Lamson have been named substitute teachers. Roenia Turner has resigned as an educational assistant at DeKalb West School. April Odom was granted a leave of absence as requested and Peggy Semmes, a teacher at DeKalb County High School, was also granted leave as requested.

The school board approved a grant proposal totaling $26,000 to create a model dropout prevention program, specifically for students with significant disabilities at DCHS.

The board also adopted a budget amendment to appropriate $10,435 in additional state revenue received for lottery and pilot early childhood programs not previously appropriated in this year's budget. The county commission will also be asked to approve the budget amendment.

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix updated the school board on high school news. "We took our Gateway and End of Course tests in December and I'm really proud of the scores that we received.. In Algebra I, we had 93.7% pass and we had 44.4% advanced. In Biology, we had 98.4% pass and 78.9% advanced. In English 10, we had 99.2% pass and 84.6% advanced.. And in the End of Course in English 9, we had 98.9% pass and in U.S. History 90.7% passed.

Also in our Adult High School we had eleven students who took the Algebra I test and all of them passed. One student at the adult high school took the English 10 test and also passed. So 100% of our students at the adult high school passed the Gateway.

"I would like to congratulate the basketball cheerleaders. They won the TSSAA state championship in the non-building for the third year in a row. Ms. (Walteen) Parker also received the Coaches Achievement Award."

" I would also like to congratulate our football team. Hunter Poteete was a Region 3A Mr. Football finalist. He was also Region 4-3A MVP, Upper Cumberland Playmaker of the Year. He won two All-State awards, one of them was the Tennessee Sports Writers Association and the other was the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association award."

" Abram Edwards was the Region 4-3A receiver of the year. He also received the Upper Cumberland receiver of the year award and he also made the All-State Tennessee Sportswriters Association."

" Chris Odom was All Region 4-3A and he received the Upper Cumberland linebacker of the year award. J.J. Herriott was All Region 4-3A and he received the Upper Cumberland defensive back of the year award. Logan Roller was named to All Region 4-3A and he received the Upper Cumberland defensive lineman of the year award. Matthew Lawrence was named to All Region 4-3A."

"Coach (Steve) Trapp received the Region 4-3A Coach of the Year award and he also got Upper Cumberland Coach of the Year. Congratulations to all of them."

Gina Arnold, Supervisor of Special Education, also gave a report. "The Tennessee Department of Education has created an annual profile of all the special education programs across the state and this is the first year that the monitoring process is in this format. It's a new format for us. We received our results over the Christmas holiday. Based on the data for the 2007-08 school year, the DeKalb County School profile for Special Education met all of the requirements. I would like to thank our students and our parents who are involved in the special education program and a special thanks goes to the teachers and paraprofessionals and other staff who work everyday to make this a success and to our principals who are very cooperative and so supportive of special education here in DeKalb County."

County Fire Department Releases Yearly Report on Incident Responses

January 7, 2009

The DeKalb County Fire Department has compiled its 2008 Incident Response Summary.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says overall, 2008 fire incident responses in the county were up by 20 calls from 2007. In 2007, the department responded to a total of 390 fire incidents. The department responded to 410 fire incident responses in 2008. This count does not include the 371 rural medical first responder calls to which county fire department personnel also responded.

Green says with the rural population growing at rates higher than the cities' population growth in DeKalb County, the department continues to experience annual increases in the its rural call volume. Even though 2008 was an extremely dry year, the department responded to 47 fewer wildland and grass fires than in 2007.

The following is a breakdown of each type of fire incident response that the department responded to in 2008:

Incident Type:
Structure- 69 (Year 2007), 76 (Year 2008)

Wildland/Grass/Debris-100 (Year 2007),73 (Year 2008)

Auto Wrecks-129 (Year 2007),126 (Year 2008)

Auto Fires-23 (Year 2007), 25 (Year 2008)

Landing Zones-11 (Year 2007), 18 (Year 2008)

Extrication/Entrapment-19 (Year 2007), 31 (Year 2008)

Hazmat-None for both years.

Alarms- 33 (Year 2007), 54 (Year 2008)

Miscellaneous- 6 (Year 2007), 7 (Year 2008)

TOTAL-390 (Year 2007), 410 (Year 2008)

TDOT says Repairs to Veterans Memorial Bridge to Begin Soon

January 7, 2009
Dwayne Page
Veterans Memorial Bridge

Repair work on the Veteran's Memorial Bridge on College Street is expected to begin this month, possibly next week.

Jennifer Flynn, Community Relations Officer with the Tennessee Department of Transportation in Chattanooga says the cost of the project is $141,806. "This is a project for the repair of the bridge on College Street over U.S. 70. Work should start on the project by the first of next week. The signal lights are up already on each end of the bridge and for the duration of the project College Street will be reduced to one lane with the signals controlling traffic crossing the bridge."

"The contractor on the project is Jamison Construction, LLC from McEwen Tennessee. The price of the contract is $141,806 and it should be completed on or before May 15th, 2009. They will be doing concrete repair and deck repair on the top of the bridge."

The bridge has received collision damage over the years caused by large trucks that have hit the underside of the structure on Highway 70.


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