Local News Articles

Vehicle Registration Fees to Increase July 1

May 25, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
James L. (Jimmy) Poss

The cost to register a vehicle in Tennessee will increase beginning July 1, 2017.

The registration fee for passenger motor vehicles (standard, disabled, military, motorcycle, specialty) will be increased by $5. The registration fee for commercial motor vehicles for transporting passengers for hire (buses, taxis) will be increased by $10. The registration fee for commercial and freight motor vehicles (semis, tractor trailers) will be increased by $20.

There will be a new fee for electric vehicles beginning July 1, 2017. The registration fee for electric vehicles will be $100. The electric vehicle registration fee is in addition to the standard registration fee.

These fee increases are part of the 2017 IMPROVE ACT which has been signed into law by the Governor to help shore up funding for roads and bridges across the state. 100% of these fee increases go to the highway fund.

DeKalb County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss advises individuals with upcoming renewals to take advantage of the current fees by renewing eligible vehicles prior to July 1, 2017. Previously, the county clerk’s office has been able to complete renewal transactions within a period of 60 days or less prior to the expiration date.

Meanwhile, County Clerk Poss has announced other changes that either have taken effect or are soon to take effect.

“After attending a three-day training last week our office has several updates to share with our citizens in the county,” said Poss.

These updates include the following:

•Fines from the law requiring insurance will now generate new fees in the county clerk’s office. Each fine of $25 will generate $5 to local clerks and the remainder to the state. The $100 fine will contribute $10 to local clerks with the remainder going to the state.

•To qualify for an antique plate, the vehicle must be over 25 years old and have a non-modified engine and body. It can be used for participation in or transportation to and from club exhibits, activities, tours, parades and general transportation on Saturday and Sunday. Also, it can be used on any day for the purpose of selling, testing or obtaining repairs to maintain the vehicle (Recently Federal Holidays were added to days of operation).

•Effective, April 4, 2017 ALL constables are eligible for Emergency tags.

•You may now go online to pay your state fee for reinstatement of a driver license. Also, an unrestricted intermediate driver may go online to upgrade that license.

•Hand Gun Permit Holders are not eligible to complete transactions on the Kiosk; However, you can now go online to renew or replace lost or stolen. In addition to this new feature, as before you may mail in your renewal or visit a full-service DVM to renew a hand gun carry permit.

•Until now the county clerk office has been in full compliance transferring all documents and certain payments electronically to the state. Recently, the state made a new request for Sales & Use Tax along with taxes collected from boat purchases to be transferred electronically. The county clerk office will be entering this ACH payment request to be completed and submitted electronically in the near future. Currently as few as 4 counties have complied and this request has no deadline as of yet.

•Effective July 1, 2017 the state will be offering a choice of two state plates. The current plate in use and a second very similar plate adding “In God We Trust” printed above and below the current state emblem.

•Heavy Vehicle Use Tax exemption: Reminder, if a registrant declared the vehicle is driven less than 5,000 miles (or less than 7,500 miles for agricultural vehicles), they do not have to pay HVUT (Heavy Vehicle Use Taxes); however, they must still have form 2290 stamped and dated by the IRS showing they are listed as “tax suspended”.

•The state attorney reminded all county clerks who have any type of “motor vehicle races” to ensure that any person, firm, or corporation operating or conducting any such event possess $100,000/$300,000 liability insurance. Accordingly, these statues apply to “any contest of speed among self-propelled wheeled conveyances not running on rails. This encompasses “all races of all vehicles that depend on a moor of propulsion, other than railroads. Such violation is a class A misdemeanor. A copy of this policy should be maintained in the county clerk’s office.

•Insurance Automobiles: Insurance requirements applicable to off-highway vehicles. Summary: Clarifies that off-highway vehicles operated on public roads are covered under the definition of “uninsured motor vehicle” for purposes of being covered under an uninsured motorist policy effective July 1, 2017.

•Also, a feasibility study is underway to determine if the state will start requiring titling of boats.

Kent Takes Final Bow

May 25, 2017
by: 
Bill Conger
DeKalb West School Principal Sabrina Farler poses with 2nd Grade Teacher Regina Kent who is retiring from DeKalb County Schools.

After devoting her life to education for 40 years, Regina Kent is retiring from her professional passion. When the longtime educator walks out the door for the final time on May 26, she will be leaving behind an impressive legacy. During her four decades of teaching, Kent has taught hundreds of children the building blocks of education no doubt, but she also has been a comforter for crying children, an encourager to the downtrodden, and a motivator to the uninspired.

“For the better part of my life, this school has been my second home,” Kent said. “It is finally dawning on me what a big piece of my life I’m leaving behind. It means more to me than words can express, and my life will not be the same without it,” she added.

The second grade teacher has been a beacon, leading children to the next level in their academic development while inspiring a love for learning.

“Mrs. Kent has a long, valuable history with our school,” says Principal Sabrina Farler. “I don't know what it is, but among her many talents, she has always had the ability to motivate her students to be voracious readers. She has been a great asset. We'll miss her, but her retirement is richly deserved.”

“The last day of school will be a bit different for “Miss” Kent this year, for when she closes her classroom door on the last day of school, she will also be closing the door on a successful teaching career,” said Donna Davis, who, until her retirement, taught second grade alongside Mrs. Kent for many years.

“I always admired “Miss” Kent's artistic abilities; with her guidance her students were able to complete many artistic projects which enhanced and supplemented the curriculum and, just as importantly, which the students enjoyed. I'm sure that in the homes of many of her former students who are now adults there may be one of those coffee-can Santas which they made in her room at Christmas! As we worked side-by-side and collaborated and commiserated, we also developed a friendship. Our tradition of attending the Southern Women's Show each year became a bit of West School lore! So I say to “Miss Kent” as you close that classroom door this year and open the door to the next chapter in your life, “Welcome to the world of retirement! You're going to love it! Grab your passport and let's go!”

Kent began teaching in 1977. Friends, family, and colleagues will honor Mrs. Kent at a reception in her honor May 24.

“It has been a blessing to have had the opportunity to work at such an outstanding school as DeKalb West,” Mrs. Kent said. “I know I am going to miss it, but I am looking forward to retirement and starting a new chapter in my life.”

Thirty-nine 8th graders graduate from DeKalb West School

May 25, 2017
by: 
Bill Conger
All A Honor Roll: Left to Right: Trevonte Alexander, Nick Cothern, Jordan Crook, Emma Damron, Lydia Davenport, Levi Driver, Lynsey Ellis, Gracie Griffin, Garrett Hayes, Jaden Johnson, Abby Lawson, Cassie Maxwell, Ashlin Maynard, Jaya Tramel, Parker Vantrease, and Cody Woodham.
A & B Honor Roll Left to Right are: Katie Bain, Kyndal Cox, Nathaniel Dace, Sydney Hendrixson, Lily Martin, Michael Martin, Lacey McMillen, Riley Overstreet, Megan Price, Janelle Rodriguez, and Hannah VanDyne.
TJ Alexander, Garrett Hayes, and Gracie Griffin won the A.R. Reading Achievement Awards
Junior Beta students were recognized for serving the community
T.J. Alexander and Cody Woodham picked up "Making Tracks, the most improved student award.
Garrett Hayes was presented with Mrs. Georgia Young award, named after his grandmother, the late DWS cafeteria manager.
The peer-voted Citizenship Awards: (Left to Right) Jaden Johnson, Hannah VanDyne, Gracie Griffin, and Nick Cothern.
Jaden Johnson received the Tennessee Tech Math competition award for ranking 9th place out of 61 other students state wide

Thirty-nine 8th graders graduated from DeKalb West School on Tuesday (May 23).

In addition to the presentation of their certificates of recognition, students were honored for academic achievements. In Karen France’s homeroom, Jaden Johnson swept the academic achievements, winning awards for English/Language Arts (97.5), History (98.5), Math (99), and Science (100). In Cynthia Wilson’s homeroom, Jordan Crook won the ELA award (98) and tied with Gracie Griffin (98.75) for the History trophy. Ashlin Maynard and Crook tied for the highest math average with 99.5. Wilson’s homeroom had a four-way tie with a score of 100 for Science with Crook, Maynard, Lydia Davenport, and Jaya Tramel.

Students selected Jaden Johnson and Hannah VanDyne in Mrs. France’s room for the Citizenship Awards and Gracie Griffin and Nick Cothern in Cynthia Wilson’s homeroom.

The following students made the All A Honor Roll for the entire school year: Trevonte Alexander, Nick Cothern, Jordan Crook, Emma Damron, Lydia Davenport, Levi Driver, Lynsey Ellis, Gracie Griffin, Garrett Hayes, Jaden Johnson, Abby Lawson, Cassie Maxwell, Ashlin Maynard, Jaya Tramel, Parker Vantrease, and Cody Woodham. Making the A & B Honor Roll all year long were Katie Bain, Kyndal Cox, Nathaniel Dace, Sydney Hendrixson, Lily Martin, Michael Martin, Lacey McMillen, Riley Overstreet, Megan Price, Janelle Rodriguez, and Hannah VanDyne.

Jaden Johnson received the Tennessee Tech Math Award for placing 9th out of 61 other 8th grade students statewide. In 6th grade Johnson placed 6th in that competition.

DWS Making Tracks awards for most improved went to Trevonte Alexander and Cody Woodham. Garrett Hayes received the Mrs. Georgia Young Award for his high academic ability and outstanding character, and the “4 PAWS” or teacher’s choice award went to Katie Bain and Nick Cothern.

Junior Beta students who earned a minimum of 10 service hours were honored at the ceremony. For the second year in a row, Emma Damron had the highest number of service hours followed by Jaden Johnson and Garrett Hayes.

Congratulations to the 8th grade graduates: T.J. Alexander, Jordan Bailiff, Katie Bain, Victoria Billings, Hailey Bogle, Kaileigh Brandon, Nick Cothern, Kyndal Cox, Jordan Crook, Nathaniel Dace, Emma Damron, Lydia Davenport, Levi Driver, Lynsey Ellis, Dakota Faulk, Gracie Griffin, Hannah Grisham, Vanessa Harn, Garrett Hayes, Sydnee Hendrixson, Jaden Johnson, Justin Johnson, Abigail Lawson, Harley Mace, Lily Martin, Michael Martin, Cassie Maxwell, Ashlin Maynard, Lacey McMillen, Riley Overstreet, Megan Price, Janelle Rodriguez, Arthur Sulivan, Damien Sullivan, Jaya Tramel, Hannah VanDyne, Parker Vantrease, Cody Woodham, and Ciara Young.

Man Allegedly Pulls Gun During Confrontation Outside Walmart

May 24, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Nathan Joe Trapp

Smithville Police arrested a man last week after he allegedly pulled a gun on another person during a confrontation outside at Walmart.

34 year old Nathan Joe Trapp has been charged with aggravated assault, violation of bond conditions and he was cited for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Police were called to Walmart on Friday, May 19 after receiving information that Trapp had pulled a gun on someone there. Officers spoke with the victims who stated that Trapp almost hit one of them with his vehicle as they were walking to enter Walmart. One of the victims waited outside the front doors to ask Nathan what his problem was and he made a rude reply. The other victim pushed Trapp back away from the first victim and he (Trapp) reached for a pistol in his waistband. The victims then backed off to avoid escalating the situation and Trapp entered Walmart. Officers found Trapp inside the store and detained him. It was discovered that Trapp didn’t have a license to carry the firearm and he was also under bond conditions barring him from possessing a firearm. Bond for Trapp is $45,000 and his court date is June 8.

37 year old Abadih Lopez Ruiz was arrested for driving under the influence and a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license. Police were called to Los Lobos for a hit and run on Saturday, May 13 and while enroute to the scene, the officer got behind the described vehicle on Hayes Street and pulled it over. The driver, Ruiz, got out of the automobile. The officer observed him to be unsteady on his feet and he had an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. Ruiz submitted to field sobriety tasks but performed poorly. A computer check with Central Dispatch revealed that Ruiz was driving on a revoked license. His bond is $6,500 and his court date is May 25.

32 year old Jessica Taylor Lane was cited for two counts of simple possession on Tuesday, May 16. Lane was involved in a hit and run accident outside the city limits but was stopped inside the city. Police asked for and received consent to search her vehicle where they recovered 2 1/2 white pills identified as Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone, a schedule II drug. Incident to arrest a total of six pills identified as xanax were found on her person and in her purse. Lane’s court date is June 8.

21 year old Alejandro Garza was arrested on Saturday, May 20 for evading arrest and he was cited for speeding. Police observed a silver Jeep traveling west on East Broad Street at a speed of 63 mph in a 40mph speed zone confirmed by radar. The officer got behind the vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop. After several turns onto other roads the vehicle finally stopped and the officer spoke with the driver, Garza who said he had just gotten off work. Garza claims he failed to stop because he didn’t want to get another ticket. His bond is $3,500 and his court date is June 15.

60 year old Fred Thomas Dowell Jr. was arrested on Tuesday, May 23 for simple possession, a ninth offense of driving while license revoked, and illegal possession of a weapon. Police spotted Dowell driving a white Infinity on West Broad Street. Knowing that Dowell’s license are revoked, the officer stopped him on Bryant Street. A computer check of his license showed them to be revoked for a DUI offense and eight prior charges of driving on a revoked license. A convicted felon, Dowell was also found to be in possession of a 22 caliber handgun and approximately 0.5 grams of a white crystal like substance believed to be methamphetamine.His bond is $25,000 and his court date is June 8.

State Lawmakers Honor DCHS Valedictorian and Salutatorian

May 24, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Terri Lynn Weaver, Mae Beavers, Dr. Kathy Bryant,  Rachel Fuson, Hunter Robinson, Patrick Cripps, and Mark Pody

State lawmakers hosted a luncheon Wednesday, May 24 at Sundance Restaurant to honor the DCHS Class of 2017 Valedictorian Rachel Fuson and Salutatorian Hunter Robinson.

Both Fuson and Robinson were formally presented copies of resolutions paying tribute to them as adopted in the State House of Representatives and State Senate and signed by the Governor. The presentations were made by State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody. DCHS Principal Dr. Kathy Bryant and Director of Schools Patrick Cripps also attended the Luncheon.

The Joint Resolution honoring and recognizing Fuson states as follows:

“WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should pause to pay tribute to those students who, through their natural talents and unflagging commitment to academic excellence, have distinguished themselves in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, Rachel Olivia Fuson is one such exceptional student who was recently named Valedictorian of the 2017 graduating class at DeKalb County High School; and

WHEREAS, through diligent study, steady composure during examinations, and steadfast commitment of time and talent, Rachel Fuson achieved outstanding academic success and joined the ranks of the best and brightest students in Tennessee and our country; and

WHEREAS, in her remarkable high school career, she earned an exemplary grade point average while participating in a variety of extracurricular activities, including Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Science Club, Literature Club, and the Climate Crew; she is a football cheerleader and a member of Girls Scouts USA Troop 343; and

WHEREAS, her display of intellectual aptitude and ambition surely bodes well for her future success as a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Fuson's noteworthy achievement is a tremendous source of pride for her parents, Joe and Melissa Fuson, her school, and her community; and

WHEREAS, Rachel Fuson's dedication to excellence is clearly deserving of the respect, admiration, and commendation of the members of this General Assembly; now, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED TENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we hereby commend and honor the 2017 DeKalb County High School Valedictorian, Rachel Olivia Fuson, on her impressive academic achievement and extend to her our best wishes for a happy, successful future.”

The resolution honoring Robinson states as follows:

“WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should pause to pay tribute to those students who, through their natural talents and unflagging commitment to academic excellence, have distinguished themselves in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, Jacob Hunter Robinson is one such exceptional student who was recently named Salutatorian of the 2017 graduating class at DeKalb County High School; and

WHEREAS, through diligent study, steady composure during examinations, and steadfast commitment of time and talent, Hunter Robinson achieved outstanding academic success and joined the ranks of the best and brightest students in Tennessee and our country; and

WHEREAS, in his remarkable high school career, he earned an exemplary grade point average while participating in a variety of extracurricular activities, including the Senior Beta Club and the soccer team; treasurer of his FFA chapter, he received the FFA state degree in March 2017; and

WHEREAS, his display of intellectual aptitude and ambition surely bodes well for his future success as a student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Robinson's noteworthy achievement is a tremendous source of pride for his parents, Lynn and Regina Robinson, his school, and his community; and

WHEREAS, Hunter Robinson's dedication to excellence is clearly deserving of the respect, admiration, and commendation of the members of this General Assembly; now, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED TENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we hereby commend and honor the 2017 DeKalb County High School Salutatorian, Jacob Hunter Robinson, on his impressive academic achievement and extend to him our best wishes for a happy, successful future.”

DeKalb EMS Response Team Receives "Pediatric Call of Year" Award

May 24, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jamie Parsley,Susan Musilli, Greta Stone, and Hoyte Hale

The DeKalb County Ambulance Service along with hospital and emergency room staff at St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital have been awarded the “Pediatric Call of the Year” award for their efforts in trying to save the lives of victims in a mobile home fire in December. That fire claimed the lives of three people including a four year old child.

The 2017 Erlanger Life Force awards were presented Tuesday to Greta Stone, EMT-PCC/IC and Jamie Parsley, AEMT, members of the DeKalb EMS crew who were on duty and responded to the call on Sunday, December 4 at 1276 South Mountain Street in Smithville. The EMS awards ceremony was held in Chattanooga.

The fire claimed the lives of 27 year old Jeremy Shelton, 36 year old Crystal Fults, and 4 year old Caylix Johnson. Two others, 26 year old Heather Standridge and 23 month old Brantley Johnson were injured.

The DeKalb EMS crew treated Standridge and the Johnson children while transporting them to St Thomas DeKalb Hospital. The 4 year old child, Caylix Johnson died at the hospital. Standridge and the 23 month old, Brantley Johnson were later taken to Vanderbilt Hospital.

Upon arrival at St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital, the victims were treated by hospital and emergency room staff including Melody Judkins, Andria Nokes, and Diana Hardin. Brad Mullinax also arrived to assist.

Life Force was summoned to airlift the surviving victims but rainy weather that day prevented them from flying. Instead, the Life Force flight crew Susan Musilli and Corey Guy arrived at the local hospital to help in stabilizing the victims before accompanying them by ground ambulance transport to Vanderbilt Hospital.

“Jamie and myself never left the patients’ side until released to Vanderbilt Children's hospital. We continued assisting ER staff and Lifeforce for Brantley's stabilization,” said Stone.

The Erlanger and Life Force Awards Ceremony is a yearly event that honors the accomplishments of EMS personnel who have provided exemplary life-saving care to both adults and children.

DeKalb EMS Director Hoyte Hale said he is proud of his staff and for the great job they do.

DCHS Students Help "Beautify" School

May 24, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Students Help "Beautify" School
Students stop to pose for picture while painting at DCHS

As the school year wraps up, students at DCHS took part in a makeover Monday to make the school and grounds look nicer now and for when they return to class in August.

The DCHS Climate Crew sponsored the first annual “School Beautification Day” event but students in several other organizations joined in as well to help spruce things up. “. We really just want our kids to take ownership of this building. They came up with all the projects and we have helped supply them paint and equipment but they are doing all the hard work,” said Sarah Halliburton, Climate Crew Sponsor.

Students spent much of the school day Monday with landscaping chores including planting flowers, weed eating, painting and putting in new shelves and mirrors in bathrooms, among other beautification efforts.

Members of the HOSA, BETA Club, FFA, FCCLA, Football, Softball, Girls Basketball, and others joined the Climate Crew in participating.

Special thanks to the City of Smithville Public Works Department for providing assistance with a wood chipper

Hearing Officer Recommends that Jessica May Be Denied Parole

May 23, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jessica Ashley May

21 year old Jessica Ashley May, serving an eight year sentence for attempted aggravated child neglect stemming from the 2015 death of her 23 month old son, may have to serve at least two more years behind bars.

A parole hearing was held for May Tuesday at the Carroll County Jail where she is incarcerated as a state prisoner. The parole hearings officer who heard the case made a non-binding recommendation to the Tennessee Board of Parole that Ms. May be declined parole due to the seriousness of the offense, and that her case be reviewed again in two years.

A final decision could come within the next two weeks.

The case will now go to a board member, who will review it and cast his/her binding vote. This process continues until three concurring votes are reached, which is what is needed by law to finalize the case. There are seven parole board members.

The board members consider a variety of factors in making decisions on whether to grant parole including the seriousness of the crime, time served, victim input, the inmate’s institutional record (programs completed, educational progress, disciplinary incidents, etc.), and other factors.

May stood before Judge Gary McKenzie in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 and entered a plea to attempted aggravated child neglect, a Class B felony, and received an eight year sentence as a range I mitigated offender to serve at least 20% before parole eligibility. At the time May had already served 568 days since her arrest on May 19, 2015.

Less than a week before May’s plea, her fiance at the time, 25 year old Cody Key was handed a 45 year prison term for the beating death of May’s child, 23 month old Colten Alexander May after entering a plea in Putnam County Criminal Court to second degree murder. Key is to serve 100% of the sentence but he was given jail credit of 563 days for time served from May 19, 2015 to December 1, 2016.

Key is incarcerated at the South Central Correctional Center in Wayne County, a Tennessee Department of Correction facility.

The couple brought the child to the emergency room of Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital on Sunday morning, May 17, 2015 but he was already dead. It was determined that the child had suffered internal and other physical injuries that resulted in his death. Law enforcement officers concluded that Key had severely beaten the child and that May knew the abuse was taking place.

“I will say that Jessica May was not involved in the killing of her child, Colten May. She was not an actor in that homicide. We did charge her with neglect because of a history of abuse of the child in which she either turned a blind eye to or did nothing about it. The abuser of the child was Cody Key but Jessica May did nothing to prevent the abuse that was inflicted on the child by Cody Key and she turned a blind eye to it over a period of time. In plain language that is the gist of the circumstances as to why she was charged with neglect,” District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway told WJLE after the hearing.

May, who was pregnant again at the time of her arrest in 2015, was later transferred to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction due to her special needs. After giving birth, she was initially incarcerated in the Warren County Jail. Her child was placed in the custody of the Department of Children Services and is reportedly now with May’s family members.

Man Accused of Assaulting His Ex-Girlfriend with Stick

May 23, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joel Thomas George, Sr

A 54 year old man has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly hitting his ex-girlfriend with a stick.

54 year old Joel Thomas George, Sr. of Eagle Creek Road is under a $5,000 bond and his court date is June 8.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, May 20 a deputy was dispatched to George’s residence on Eagle Creek Road due to a 911 open line where people could be heard over the phone yelling in the background. Upon arrival the officer spoke with George and his ex-girlfriend and learned that they had been in an altercation. The woman told the deputy that the two of them began arguing after she arrived to pick up her belongings. As she was gathering her things George allegedly picked up a stick from the bedroom and used it to hit her phone which was on a table, striking her hand in the process. George also allegedly used the stick to hit her in the back of the head as she was leaving the home causing her bodily harm.

Essay Winners Recognized During D.A.R.E Graduation at DeKalb West School

May 23, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray, Alex Antoniak, Tess Barton, Tish Summers, and Chief Deputy Don Adamson

Fifth graders at DeKalb West School received certificates during the annual D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony held Tuesday.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was conducted by D.A.R.E. Instructor and Chief Deputy Don Adamson of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Each student prepares an essay during the course and those with the best essays from each class are recognized and awarded. This year's essay winners at DeKalb West School are Alex Antoniak from Jeanna Caplinger’s class and Tess Barton from Nadina Martel’s class.

Barton was the over-all winner. In addition to the award, prizes, and recognition, Barton gets to keep "Daren the Lion" the D.A.R.E. Mascot and she received a $50 check from Judge Bratten Cook II. Tish Summers made the presentation in Judge Cook’s absence.

In addition to Sheriff Patrick Ray and Chief Deputy Adamson, others on hand for the ceremony were DeKalb West School Principal Sabrina Farler, School Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, Trustee Sean Driver, County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell, Road Supervisor Butch Agee, employees of the Sheriff's Department, and a real life DAREN THE LION.

Fifth graders in Jeanna Caplinger's class are:
Alex Antoniak, Cadon Barrett, Graceson Boyd, Alyssa Crook, Ethan Curtis, Nickolas Dandurand, Marshall Farler, Will Farris, Presley Finocchiaro, Riley Fuson, Blair Gipe, Jaxon Humphrey, Austin Nicholson, Allena O’Conner, Kayleigh Overstreet, Xavier Parker, Serenity Patterson, Hannah Redmon, Bristol Redmon, Austin Sardessai, Brooklyn Sutherland, Karly Vickers, and Hasten Waggoner.

Fifth graders in Nadina Martel’s class are:
Tess Barton, Trey Beilfuss, Hunter Cannon, Brayden Carter, Gavin Cooper, Angelina Davenport, Carson Donnell, Brynn Harvey, Zoi Hale, Ella Hendrixson, Shauna Kempf, Weslie McCowan, Melanie Ortiz, Maressa Rose, Brayden Saliski, Kolton Slager, Karson Smallwood, Ashley Sosa, Shelby Starnes, Jackson Vantrease, Hanniah West, and Ally Tarpley.

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