Local News Articles

DA Bryant Dunaway joins four other prosecutors in lawsuit against opioid manufacturers

January 23, 2018
District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway

District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway of the Thirteenth Judicial District, who represents DeKalb County, has joined four other DA’s in suing a group of opioid producers and others, alleging a “fraudulent campaign” to flood their communities with addictive pills.

The district attorney generals of Tennessee’s Thirteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Twenty-Second and Thirty-First Judicial Districts jointly filed the lawsuit Wednesday, January 10 in the Cumberland County Circuit Court.

Crossville was chosen for the filing location because the Cumberland Plateau communities are the hardest hit by opioid abuse in Tennessee which has the second highest statewide opioid prescription rate in the nation, according to a press release from the district attorneys.

“Tennessee doctors wrote more than 7.8 million opioid prescriptions in 2015,” DA Dunaway, said in the press release. “That’s more prescriptions than Tennessee has residents — men, women and children combined.”

Counties could chose to bring their own suits but DeKalb County attorney, Hilton Conger told the county commission Monday night, that he thought it best to let the District Attorney Generals pursue the legal battle.

“We’ve been approached by at least two law firms asking us to employ them to do the same thing (file lawsuit) but we knew this was coming. General Dunaway told us they (DA’s) were putting this together (lawsuit) so in my opinion we’re better off just letting them (DAs) fight this battle for us than private counsel,” said Conger.

“What we (county) hope to gain out of it is reimbursement for all the services including jails, hospitals, ambulance, emergency services and that sort of thing that can be tied into and attributed to opioid abuse ,” added Conger.

Unintentional overdose deaths now account for more early deaths in Tennessee than automobile accidents, suicides or homicides, and the vast majority of the state’s overdose deaths involve opioids — nearly 72 percent, as recorded in 2015, the press release says. Among the 19 counties named, more than 1 million opioid prescriptions were filled in 2016. The same region recorded 550 opioid-related overdose deaths from 2012 to 2016.

The defendants include prescription opioid producer Purdue Pharma L.P. and its related companies, along with Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. Additional defendants are alleged “pill mills” Montclair Health & Wellness LLC d/b/a Specialty Associates and North Alabama Pain Services LLC, plus David Florence, Mark Murphy and Nathan Paul Haskins, who are alleged to have diverted and illegally sold opioids throughout the state, the lawsuit says.

The latest suit alleges Florence, aka “DocStar” of a former reality TV show of the same name, owned and operated “pill mills” that prescribed opioids “without any legitimate medical purpose.” Florence ‘knowingly, and unlawfully,’ facilitated the distribution of the powerful and highly-addictive prescription drugs into the illicit market.”

The Perdue companies’ annual sales of OxyContin are between $2.47 billion to $2.99 billion a year, or 30 percent of the entire market for analgesic (painkiller) drugs, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit demands judgment against the defendants for damages resulting from breaches of statutory and common law, according to the press release. The suit also seeks punitive damages against the defendants for their alleged roles in flooding Tennessee with illegal opioids, seeks to award restitution to the plaintiffs, and requests an injunction to stop the flood of opioids to the region.

The suit is the third such complaint filed in Tennessee in recent months. The first was filed in June 2017 in Sullivan County Circuit Court in Kingsport, and the second was filed in September 2017 in Campbell County Circuit Court in Jacksboro. Collectively, the three complaints represent 14 district attorneys general and 47 counties in Tennessee.

According to the lawsuit, the manufacturers misled doctors and the public about the need for and the addictive nature of opioids. They turned a “blind eye” to the problems caused by addiction “and collected millions of dollars in ill-gotten profits.”

The drug manufacturers’ marketing campaign created a market for street heroin for addicts who could no longer obtain prescription opioids or afford diverted opioids, the press release says. All defendants knew of the volume of prescriptions being written and took no action to stop illegal prescriptions or diversions.

Science shows opioids are inappropriate to treat chronic pain and are dangerous and highly addictive, the lawsuit claims, citing several studies.

The lawsuit also makes a connection between opioid use by pregnant mothers and a condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Tennessee and border states Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi have the highest rates of NAS in the nation, in the range of 15-20 percent per 1,000 hospital births. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services reports 42.3 percent of the pregnant women it serves for addictions report opioids as the primary substance of abuse.

DCHS to Retire Number of Another Basketball Great

January 23, 2018
Dwayne Page
Jerry "Red" Foster
Jerry "Red" Foster  (Photo from the 1975-76 season)

DeKalb County High School will be retiring the number of Jerry "Red" Foster at this Friday's games against Cannon County, January 26.

Jerry Foster starred as a Tiger player in the 70's and went on to a successful career at Bethel College and later played professionally in Chile and Spain. After his playing career, he became a teacher and high school basketball coach, where he was at the helm of the Lady Tiger basketball program for 7 years.

"Foster has continued to give back to the youth of DeKalb County through the game of basketball as he has worked with boys and girls teaching the fundamentals of the game in the after school programs," said DCHS Principal Randy Jennings.

"We would like to invite everyone to come out, as we once again honor and celebrate the accomplishments of one of DeKalb County's greatest players", he added.

The ceremony will take place on Friday, January 26 at DeKalb County High School between the girls and boys games. The girls game tips off at 6:00 p.m.

Justin Potter Library to Host Book Signing for Author and DeKalb Native Larry Self

January 23, 2018
Dwayne Page
Larry Self
Mary: A Mermaid in Reverse, Book I

Cookeville author and DeKalb County native Larry Self will sign copies of his new children’s book “Mary, A Mermaid in Reverse” on February 8 at Justin Potter Library.

The signing will be from 2-4 p.m.

The new book is a sequel to Self’s first in the series.

The story is about a little girl named Mary who makes a wish at a magic fountain with her friends. She wants nothing more than to be a mermaid. Will her wish come true? What will she need to do to make the magic work?

“It’s a story of fantasy. I left a cliffhanger on the first book and the new one picks up from there. I believe all children need a fantasy world to visit,” said Self.

Larry was born at home in 1944 near Smithville. He attended school in DeKalb County and later was pastor at churches here as well. Self moved his family to Putnam County in 1973 to pastor a church there and in 1976, Larry, his wife Betty, and U.L. Whitson founded the Cookeville Rescue Mission. Larry became Executive Director of the mission and served in that role for 38 years and spent 41 years there as Pastor of Marsh Chapel. Larry and his family currently attend the People’s Baptist Church near Alexandria.

Larry is excited about his new book and invites all his old and new friends to join him at Justin Potter Library in Smithville on Thursday, February 8 from 2-4 p.m. where he will sign copies of his books I & II. The books are available for purchase at $6.00 per copy and the first book includes a bonus music CD containing the classic Eddie Raven song “Thank God for Kids”.

Another Arrest Made in December Flare Gun Case

January 22, 2018
Dwayne Page
Kylan Taylor Leeper
Norman Leo Sprague
Danny Ray Prater

Another man has been arrested for participating in the theft of a flare gun which was later fired into two DeKalb County Homes in December.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_55.pdf (1.73 MB)

19 year old Kylan Taylor Leeper of Man Road Lebanon was arrested on Wednesday, January 17 for theft of property under $1,000, aggravated arson, and reckless endangerment. His bond is $510,000 and he will make a court appearance on February 1.

A co-defendant in the case, 20 year old Daniel Lewis Dillard of Lee Braswell Road, Smithville was arrested in December and charged with the same offenses. His bond was more than one million dollars.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Leeper and Dillard allegedly went to Walmart in Smithville on December 2 and stole the flare gun (valued at $47) and took part in firing the gun into a home on Lee Braswell Road December 4 while a woman and a minor were inside causing damage to the residence. There apparently were no injuries. They also fired the flare gun into another home on Short Mountain Highway (prior to the December 4th incident), placing the victim (woman) in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

Dillard was also charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, or search. He was already on probation for a separate offense at the time of the incident.

35 year old Norman Leo Sprague of St. Johns Hollow Road, Woodbury is charged with vandalism. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is February 1.

While incarcerated for another offense at the DeKalb County Jail, Sprague allegedly tore up a mat and blanket and was informed upon his release from jail on December 4 that he had 14 days to pay $110 for the damage. After the deadline came and went without his having made payment, a warrant for vandalism was issued against Sprague.

32 year old Danny Ray Prater of Liberty is charged with violation of an order of protection. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is February 8.

Sheriff Ray said that on January 1 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Pumpkin Hollow Road due to an unwanted guest. The officer spotted Prater at the intersection of the Alexandria to Dismal Road and Pumpkin Hollow Road and stopped to speak with him. Prater admitted to having been at his mother’s home on Pumpkin Hollow Road to see his son. A computer check revealed that Prater has an active order of protection against him to keep away from his mother and child at the residence. She is the petitioner and Prater’s son is listed on the order as a protected child.

Smithville Elementary Announces Students of the Month

January 22, 2018
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary Announces Students of the Month

Smithville Elementary would like to recognize our Students of the Month for January. These students were selected for their outstanding character, academics, and other traits that make them an all-around excellent student. Selected as Students of the Month for January are:

Pre-K: Lily Young

Kindergarten: Layla Ahedo Blas

1st grade: Ezalee Moore

2nd grade: Taylan Driver

Matt Adcock Receives DeKalb Fire Department’s Biggest Award

January 21, 2018
Dwayne Page
The 2017 Wilson Bank & Trust DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year is Matt Adcock, Station Commander of the Belk Station (left). Award presented by Captain Michael Lawrence
Captain Brian Williams (right) was named the Wilson Bank & Trust DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2017 Officer of the Year. Award presented by Chief Donny Green
The 2017 "Git R Done Award" goes to two firefighters including Steve Repasy, Station Commander of the Johnsons Chapel Station  (left) presented by Captain Jay Cantrell. Blake Cantrell (not pictured) will also receive the award.
The 2017 "Rookie" award went to Firefighter Luke Green (left) of the Main Station. Award presented by Captain/Training Officer Brian Williams
Chief Donny Green was honored by the department’s officers with a “Leadership Award”. Pictured: Lt. Jeremy Neal, Captain Jay Cantrell, Captain Brian Williams, Chief Green, Assistant Chief Anthony Boyd, Captain Michael Lawrence, Lt. Andy Pack, and Lt. Dusty Johnson
Length of Service Award Winners: 10 years of service: Shawn Puckett, Midway Station (LEFT) and Donnie Johnson, Main Station (not pictured), 20 years of service: Ronald Merriman, Keltonburg Station (RIGHT). 40 years of service: Hugh Washer, Cookeville Hwy. Station (not pictured)
Honorary Lifetime Membership Awards were presented to Calvin Tramel (left) and Lieutenant Dusty Johnson (right). Awards presented by Jeff Williams, Honorary Lifetime Member (center)
Training attendance awards were presented to the following members with 100% training attendance: Chief Donny Green, Assistant Chief Anthony Boyd, Steven Lawrence, Justin Bass, Calvin Tramel, Lt. Andy Pack, Matt Adcock, and Captain Brian Williams. Bill Brown not pictured.
Members with 75% training attendance were: Chris Mulford, Steve Repasy, Robert Sartin, Captain Jay Cantrell, Jerry Wayne Johnson, Shawn Puckett, Lt. Dusty Johnson, and Lt. Jeremy Neal.  Clint Cope, Kyle Devers, and Donnie Johnson (not pictured)
Ventriloquist David Turner with Chief Donny Green. Turner & Friends entertained during the Banquet Saturday Night.

The 2017 Wilson Bank & Trust DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year is Matt Adcock, Station Commander of the Belk Station.

Adcock received the award Saturday night during the Department's Annual Awards Banquet held at the DeKalb County Complex.

Meanwhile, Captain Brian Williams was named the Wilson Bank & Trust DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2017 Officer of the Year and Steve Repasy, Station Commander of the Johnsons Chapel Station and Blake Cantrell both have been named to receive the Department’s 2017 “Git R Done" award. Cantrell was absent during the banquet and will be presented his award later. The "Rookie" award went to Firefighter Luke Green of the Main Station.

Adcock was nominated and received the Firefighter of the Year Award taking into consideration his fire call response, training attendance, and community service participation. Captain Michael Lawrence, who presented the award, said Adcock has excelled in all considerations used to evaluate the worthiness of earning this award.

"Matt was nominated this year and the evaluation of his nomination considered his fire call response, training attendance, and community service participation. The fire calls and training attendance stand for themselves. He excelled in both of those areas as he is among the very top of our membership when considering percentage of response and participation in both fire calls and training events. As for his community service, Matt has demonstrated outstanding community service by assisting other stations in conducting extra hands-on drills throughout the year, responding to emergency medical calls in his community as an Emergency Medical Responder, working with new recruits to complete required on-line courses, assists the Training Officer with conducting recruit orientation classes, and has actively participated in fire prevention and safety education events at our local schools. DeKalb County Fire Department attempts to recognize firefighters who reflect a positive image of commitment and sacrifice to the department and our communities, and there’s absolutely no doubt that Matt has earned the honor of being named DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2017 “Firefighter of the Year”, said Captain Lawrence.

Captain Williams earned the "Officer of the Year Award" for his achievements in training attendance, incident response, and community service.

“As the Training Officer, he does a tremendous job planning, coordinating, and scheduling training for our members,” said Chief Donny Green in presenting the award. “ Brian is among the top when it comes to incident responses and training attendance. In 2017, he led the department to be recognized as the 2nd highest volunteer department in the state for training hours at the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy. Our department was only 13 hours short of being in the # 1 spot! Among all 732 fire departments in Tennessee, both career and volunteer, DeKalb County Fire Department ranked # 17,” said Chief Green. In addition to these recognized hours, Capt. Williams coordinated and scheduled over 3,000 man hours of in-house training at the department. On top of his training officer responsibilities, he volunteers to launder firefighters’ turnout gear and re-fill SCBA cylinders. He is always active in participating in fire prevention and safety education in local schools and other organizations. Lastly, as a member of the DeKalb Emergency Services Association, he played a big role in helping plan, prepare, and deliver almost 300 meals to the needy last Thanksgiving,” said Chief Green.

The "Git R Done Award" goes to a firefighter who demonstrates exceptional sacrifices by going above and beyond responding to calls and attending training. Captain Jay Cantrell said this year there are two “Git R Done” winners.

“Station Commander Repasy continuously makes himself available for anything this department asks of him. He sacrifices his time to run errands for our officers and is always available and willing to use his mechanical skills to repair and construct whatever we need. He is always at trainings and calls and still does all these extra things that makes our department better prepared to serve and respond,” said Captain Cantrell. In addition, he is very active in the Smithville Lions Club and the local Red Cross chapter where he frequently donates his time and services to assist victims of disasters”.

“Blake Cantrell serves as the department’s Communication Officer and also as the President of the DeKalb Emergency Services Association (DESA). During 2017, Blake led the association in planning, organizing, and implementing the first annual DESA Thanksgiving Day meal delivery program. On Thanksgiving Day, DESA delivered just over 270 meals to needy and shut-in residents in DeKalb County. Blake’s leadership and sacrifice played a huge role in making this effort so very successful. Blake also planned and organized DESA’s participation and sponsorship of the 2017 Camp Phoenix, an annual week-long camp held at Indian Creek Youth Camp in May. “Blake always has the “can-do” attitude and he worked hard to find sponsors and volunteers to make this a fun event for some very special children,” said Captain Cantrell. With his excellent information technology skills, Blake has gone above and beyond by installing a video surveillance system at the Main Station, setting up the department’s new text messaging system, and always keeping our computers working. Both Steve and Blake demonstrate the model of a "Git-R-Done" firefighter,” said Captain Cantrell. Their commitment to sacrifice of personal time, both in our department in the community, while leading with a positive “Git R Done” attitude, clearly shows why the awards panel chose both to be recognized as our 2017 recipients of this award,” said Captain Cantrell.

The "Rookie of the Year" award is exclusively based on hours of training and goes to a firefighter who completed his or her basic recruit training during 2017. Captain/Training Officer Brian Williams presented the award to Luke Green.

“ The department feels that the most important thing we can do for our new recruits is to give them basic training and reinforce the importance of continuous training. Consequently, training is the sole criteria used in the “Rookie of the Year” selection. From January 2017 through December 2017, Luke had 169 hours of training, including completion of the 64 hour Basic Firefighter Training. In addition to his Basic Recruit training, he has completed a long list of extra training courses to improve his firefighting skills. “We certainly want to recognize recruits who demonstrate an outstanding level of commitment to training. Our department is fortunate to have an excellent group of recruits who have contributed to our department being recognized with elite training awards for 9 consecutive years. We are proud of all of them and we are honored to name Firefighter Luke Green as our “Rookie of the Year” for 2017,” said Captain Williams.

Four members have earned pins for length of service awards.

10 years of service: Donnie Johnson, Main Station, and Shawn Puckett, Midway Station. Johnson was absent but will receive his pin later.

20 years of service: Ronald Merriman, Keltonburg Station

40 years of service: Hugh Washer, Cookeville Hwy. Station. Washer was absent but will receive his pin later.

Training attendance awards were presented to the following members with 100% training attendance: Matt Adcock, Justin Bass, Asst. Chief Anthony Boyd, Bill Brown, Chief Donny Green, Steven Lawrence, Lt. Andy Pack, Calvin Tramel, and Captain Brian Williams. Members with 75% training attendance were: Capt. Jay Cantrell, Clint Cope, Kyle Devers, Donnie Johnson, Lt. Dusty Johnson, Jerry Wayne Johnson, Chris Mulford, Lt. Jeremy Neal, Shawn Puckett, Steve Repasy, and Robert Sartin.

Honorary Lifetime Membership Award were presented to Calvin Tramel and Lieutenant Dusty Johnson.

“Tramel joined the department in 2004 and has served as Station Commander since 2006. He first served as Station Commander at the Midway station and now serves as Station Commander at our newest station, the Four Seasons Station, that is scheduled to be in operation my mid-Summer. “With training be an important part of our department’s success, this firefighter has not missed a monthly training session during his entire 13 years on the department. Whatever we are doing, whether training, fire calls, fundraisers, or special work projects, he is always there. Not only is he always there, most of the time he brings his family with him to help with fundraisers and other special events. He has a genuine interest in serving his community and he has made outstanding contributions to the betterment of our department and we are honored to present Calvin with this recognition and award,” said Jeff Williams, an Honorary Lifetime member himself who presented this years awards.

“Lt. Johnson served on the department from 1998 through 2005. After a few years away, he joined the department again in 2010 and has been an active member for a total of 14 years. He has served as a Lieutenant for 6 years and has provided significant contributions to improve the department. “This member has donated countless hour of his time and use of his equipment to help maintain our parking lot and installation of the natural gas back-up generator at the Main Station. No matter what time, day or night, he is willing to use his skills and equipment to help whenever he can. He always does his part in supporting our fundraising events and work sessions. His service to our community can further be seen in his leadership of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, where he has served as the Captain for several years. His sacrifice and commitment to our department has been outstanding and we are very happy to be able to present Lt. Dusty Johnson with his Honorary Lifetime Membership Award,” said Lt.Williams.

Chief Green was honored by the department’s officers with a “Leadership Award”. “The award represents exceptional leadership paired with courage and a vision for positive change. This person unselfishly gives much more time and effort than expected and demonstrates a loyal commitment to the department and the community. The recipient of this award goes to Fire Chief Donny Green,” said Captain Brian Williams.

Chief Green highlighted some of the department’s major achievements in 2017 that have resulted in huge milestones. In August, the Department was awarded a $49,815 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) award that was used to purchase portable generators, automatic external defibrillators (AED’s), and water supply equipment. Also in August, for the ninth consecutive year, DeKalb County Fire Department was recognized as one of Tennessee’s elite fire departments for 2017 outstanding training achievement. Of the 732 fire departments in Tennessee, both volunteer and paid, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department ranked # 17 for 2016-17 training achievement by the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy. Considering the ranking among departments that operate with 100% volunteer staff in the state, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department ranked # 2. In October, site preparation work began on the site for the new fire station, the department’s 12th station, in the Four Seasons Community. The goal is to have the station constructed and have the station in operation by mid-Summer. Also in October, the department had 12 students graduate it’s 7th Citizens’ Fire Academy class. In November, several of the department’s members participated in the DeKalb Emergency Services Association (DESA) Thanksgiving meal for needy and underserved DeKalb County residents.

The evening began with a meal and entertainment from Ventriloquist David Turner and Friends. David is a DeKalb County resident and created his first ventriloquist figure at the age of 10. He was chosen to perform for the Armed Services and entertained in more than 13 countries. David and Friends perform for churches, fairs, conventions, civic groups, and corporations.

Stribling, Hendrix Officially in the Race for County Mayor, Foster Still Could Enter

January 20, 2018
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling is now officially in the race for re-election.

Stribling filed his qualifying petition with the DeKalb County Election Commission Friday and it has been verified.

Third District County Commissioner Bradley Hendrix will be running against Stribling in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary on May 1. Hendrix has already filed his petition with the election commission and it has been verified.

Former County Mayor Mike Foster recently picked up his petition but has not yet filed it with the commission but the qualifying deadline is not until February 15.

No Republicans or Independents have announced for County Mayor.

Meanwhile, Liberty Mayor Dwight Mathis picked up his petition Friday to seek re-election The Liberty Municipal Election is August 2. A mayor and all five aldermen seats will be filled in the election that day in Liberty.

Darrell Johnson recently picked up a petition to run for Mayor of Liberty while Derek Johnson and William H. Reynolds have obtained petitions for an Alderman seat in Liberty. Reynolds is an incumbent seeking re-election.

Jennifer Winfree, GOP State Executive Committeewoman, has picked up a petition to seek re-election to that position.

The Election Commission Office has released the entire list of persons who have either obtained qualifying petitions or who have filed them and been verified as a candidate to date:























































The qualifying deadline is less than a month away for candidates planning to run for county wide offices or positions on the county commission in 2018.

The last day candidates may qualify to run is NOON February 15, 2018. That applies to Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

DeKalb County Democrats will be nominating candidates in a primary set for May 1. Republicans will nominate candidates by caucus on Sunday, February 11. Nominees of both parties and any independents will run in the August General Election. Winners will take office September 1 and serve for four years.

Thursday, February 1 is the deadline for sheriff candidates to file an affidavit of qualification with the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) and for county road superintendent candidates to file an affidavit of qualification with the Tennessee Highway Officials Certification Board.

The following county offices are up for election in 2018: Road Supervisor, County Mayor, Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, and Trustee and for the county commission in each of the seven districts (two per district for a total of 14).

The qualifying deadline for five school board seats, municipal elections in Smithville, Dowelltown, Liberty, and Alexandria, and for the August state primaries is noon April 5.

Up for election in August will be school board seats in Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7.

City seats up for grabs in August are: In Smithville the Mayor and two aldermen positions; in Dowelltown three aldermen seats; in Liberty the Mayor and five aldermen spots and in Alexandria the Mayor and four aldermen positions including one alderman to fill a two year unexpired term.

State primary races in August will include State Senator in District 17, State House in District 40 and 46, Sixth District Congressman, Governor, and US. Senator.

DCHS Retires Number of the Late Basketball Star Rosa Stokes (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

January 19, 2018
Dwayne Page
Rosa Stokes
Family members of the late Rosa Stokes at her number retirement ceremony at DCHS Friday night

Family members of the late Rosa Stokes attended a number retirement ceremony at DCHS Friday night for Rosa who wore #55 during her years as a Lady Tiger Basketball player from 1979-83. Rosa passed away in 2003 from a heart condition.

The ceremony was held between the boys and girls DCHS basketball games against Watertown.

As the family entered the gymnasium to begin the ceremony carrying the banner with Rosa's name and number, they were greeted by cheers, applause and a standing ovation from the crowd in the stands including members of the DCHS Class of 1983 and Rosa's former DCHS teammates.

Members of Rosa's family participating in the tribute Friday night were Margaret Johnson (aunt), John Johnson, Thomas Stokes, and Robert Stokes (uncles), Kim Johnson (cousin), and Cheryl Whitfield, Sonya White, Estella Clark, Margaret Donnell, Amber Donnell, Latisha Donnell, Renita Robinson, and Marquis Donnell.

Raised in Alexandria, Rosa began playing basketball at DeKalb West School for the Lady Bulldogs under Coach Danny Parkerson in elementary school during the mid to late 1970s.

Her star shone even brighter at DCHS under Coach Mickey Bilyeu from 1979-83 where she scored over 1,500 points as a Lady Tiger (known as Tigerette at the time) and was named All District, All Upper Cumberland, All Mid-State and Honorable Mention All State.


After her playing days at DCHS, Rosa continued her basketball career as a member of the Cumberland University Lady Bulldogs in Lebanon where she made an indelible impact on the program becoming a prolific scorer and rebounder. As a Lady Bulldog, Rosa scored over 1,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds. In 2009 she was posthumously inducted into the Cumberland University Hall of Fame.Cumberland plays a tournament in her name each December.

Stokes entered the coaching ranks after her collegiate career with assistant coaching stints at the University of Louisville, Murray State University, Tennessee Tech University, UT-Chattanooga, and Long Beach State University, where she served as associate head coach. In the summer of 2001, she was named head women's coach at Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, Georgia and served in this capacity until 2003. Rosa passed away on August 7, 2003 from a heart related condition.

Although he could not attend the ceremony Friday night, Rosa's high school coach Mickey Bilyeu issued a statement which was read during the program. "In my 24 years as a head basketball coach I had many players who were exceptional and Rosa was one of those you would call "special". She didn't always have the support system, extra motivators or advantages that many players of today have, but she was one of the most focused, coachable and extremely intense players that a coach could ever want. Her personality carried her a long way in life and she will never be forgotten. She always had that big smile".

The banner bearing Rosa's number 55 will be permanently hung in the DCHS gymnasium as a tribute to one of DeKalb County's greatest athletes.

Director of Schools Announces Teachers of the Year

January 19, 2018
Dwayne Page
Heather Shehane, Teacher of Year at Smithville Elementary School
Shelly Jennings, Teacher of Year at Northside Elementary School
Cynthia Wilson, Teacher of Year at DeKalb West School
Suzette Barnes, Teacher of Year at DeKalb Middle School
Sara Halliburton, Teacher of Year at DeKalb County High School

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has announced the 2017-2018 Teachers of the Year at the building level of the five schools in the county.

This year's honorees are Heather Shehane at Smithville Elementary School; Shelly Jennings at Northside Elementary School; Cynthia Wilson at DeKalb West School; Suzette Barnes at DeKalb Middle School; and Sara Halliburton at DeKalb County High School.

“Our district’s Teacher of the Year program recognizes and honors outstanding teachers in DeKalb County. We applaud teachers who care about our children, who devote their professional lives to enriching the lives of DeKalb students, and who demonstrate exceptional gains in student achievement. We are not just exceptionally proud of our Teachers of the Year, but we are also grateful for all of our educators in DeKalb County,” said Director Cripps.

Shehane is a first grade teacher and is in her 6th year of teaching.

Jennings teaches fourth grade English Language Arts and social studies. She is in her 12th year.

Wilson is in her 28th year. She teaches English Language Arts and social studies for the eighth grade.

Barnes is in her 9th year of teaching seventh grade Reading/Language Arts and science.

Halliburton teaches biology for ninth through twelfth grades. This is her 6th year in the classroom.

According to Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction, “Competition for the district-wide John Isabell Teacher of the Year award continues through February, and will be announced at DeKalb County’s Teacher of the Year Banquet in the spring. Additionally, three DeKalb County teachers will be chosen by a committee to compete at the regional level in March, and if selected they will represent DeKalb County at the state level competition.”

Teachers of the Year are selected competitively through five cycles: Building, System, Field Service Core Center Region, Grand Division and State; and from three categories (levels of teaching); Grades Pre K-4, 5-8, 9-12.

Teachers selected at each cycle receive local recognition and awards underwritten by local sources. State recognition/awards include a banquet honoring the nine State Teacher of the Year finalists and certificates of appreciation from the governor. In addition, the State Finalists and the State Teacher of the Year receive cash awards.

Dr. Kathy Bryant, Supervisor of Instruction, concludes, “The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote effective teaching practices by recognizing and rewarding outstanding teachers while encouraging others to join the teaching profession.”


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