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DTC Signs FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge and Opens WI-FI Spots for Public Use

March 23, 2020

DTC Communications has joined hundreds of companies and utilities across the United States in signing the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Keep Americans Connected Pledge.

In this pledge, DTC has promised to keep open public Wi-Fi spots to the general public. DTC has also pledged not to charge late fees or disconnect customers for specific COVID-19, or Coronavirus related reasons.

DTC has opened public Wi-Fi spots at each of its retail locations and is available for the use of any community member. The “DTC Community Wi-Fi” service may be accessed at no charge using one’s personal device from the safety of their vehicle if they are parked close to the store entrance.

“DTC has always been here to serve others. By joining the FCC’s pledge to “Keep Americans Connected” during these challenging times, we continue a long legacy of putting people first” said Chris Townson, CEO of DTC Communications. “Without question, broadband is a critical and necessary service to provide connectivity and improve the quality of life for our members and the region we serve. We provide service to schools, hospitals, health clinics, small businesses and families that depend on fast reliable internet access and communications services now more than ever.”

DTC has also partnered with several TV networks to provide free previews to all of its TV subscribers. The free preview channels include CNBC, CNN, FOX News, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, MSNBC, Oxygen, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel.

DTC Communications is a member owned telephone cooperative established in 1951. The cooperative supplies communication and entertainment products and services to residential and business customers primarily throughout Middle Tennessee.

Veteran School Board Member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III Says He Will Not Seek Re-Election

March 23, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

After having served over 34 years on the DeKalb County Board of Education from the 5th district, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III has decided to hand the reigns over to someone else after his term is completed on August 31. He will not be a candidate for re-election on August 6.

“Although I have enjoyed serving on the Board of Education, I feel the time has come for me to devote more time to my family, business and my personal life and well being,” said Evins.

“I am grateful to the people of the 5th district for the opportunity they gave me to serve them all these years. It has been a privilege to have served on the Board of Education with 6 different Superintendents/Directors of Schools and many fellow board members past and present. I believe Director Patrick Cripps and his staff are doing a wonderful job and I expect they will continue to do so. We have a great school system with dedicated employees and it has been my honor to have worked with them,” said Evins.

“While our school system still has challenges to meet, I am proud to say that over the years I have seen many academic and athletic improvements with the changing times and technologies for the betterment of our educational system. Although there are too many of them for me to name here I am glad to have had a part of helping make those happen along with many others. Today our students and teachers are better prepared because of them. My hope is that we can get a new school construction project started soon. I would like to see it approved before I leave office, “ said Evins.

Evins’ has actually served two stints on the Board of Education. His first tenure began in 1978 and covered 18 years. He was re-elected in 1984 and 1990 which in those days were for 6 year terms. After his mother passed away, Evins’ chose not to seek re-election to a fourth term in 1996 but Evins returned to the Board after he was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2004. Evins was elected to a full term later that year and he was re-elected in 2008, 2012, and 2016. Evins also served several years as Chairman of the Board.

Judges Order Release of Several Non Violent Prisoners from DeKalb County Jail Due to COVID-19 Threat

March 21, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

Some inmates incarcerated in the DeKalb County Jail have been given an early release under judicial orders in response to the spread of COVID-19 .

Several non-violent offenders including older ones with pre existing health conditions and those whose sentences were about to expire anyway have been released within the past week to make room should remaining prisoners become infected and have to be quarantined.

Jails across the state and nation are also releasing prisoners to lessen the risk of a pandemic outbreak among the inmate population. The decision locally came after a Tennessee Supreme Court order last week suspending in-person court proceedings until March 31.

“The judges have been good helping us getting the prisoners released that we need out. I met with the criminal court judges and the chancellor in Cookeville last Friday and that evening I met with DeKalb County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II and we talked about the inmates we have here. We had some inmates in jail for non-violent crimes who were awaiting bond hearings, arraignments, etc. and others already sentenced who were close to completing their terms. We also looked at older inmates including those with pre existing health conditions. We didn’t want to possibly further endanger their health if someone came into the jail with COVID-19 so the judges did orders on those inmates to release them and we have been doing that since last Friday. We are only releasing inmates who are non-violent. Prisoners incarcerated for violent crimes including sex offenses, robberies, etc. will not be released,” said Sheriff Ray.

“We currently have 27 inmates in our jail and two or three of them will be released when their sentences expire Sunday. Since last Friday, we have only had four new prisoners come into our jail.”

For new prisoners entering the jail, Sheriff Ray said a protocol is being followed to monitor their condition and to keep them from exposing others in the event they should be diagnosed with the virus.

“We have a quarantine cell with three rooms where we lock down inmates who are newcomers to the jail. They go through a protocol and a nurse assesses them for five days to make sure they don’t develop a fever,” he said.

Sheriff Ray began restricting public access to the facility last week until further notice due to the threat of the coronavirus.

“Our number one priority is to prevent possible exposure to staff as well as inmates therefore we have placed the sheriff’s office and jail on a soft lock down which means that the general public is not able to enter the facility. The front door to the lobby has been locked. Anyone in need of an officer or services such as a warrant must press a button at the front door which will ring for a correctional officer who will meet you at the door to offer assistance,” said Sheriff Ray.

For all non-emergency issues please call 615-597-4935.

“Tuesday night church services and family visitations with inmates at the jail are prohibited except for online visitations and the inmate roadside litter pickup program has been suspended until the threat subsides,” said Sheriff Ray.

“Rather than an in court appearance, video conferences are being arranged for defendants needing an immediate hearing before a judge for certain matters such as bond conditions, etc.,” he said.

To keep the jail from being infected, regular wipe downs are being conducted throughout the jail and cell areas.

The pandemic threat has also created a lack of some menu food items and cleaning products at the jail as the supply from vendors has run short although a new shipment is expected in a few days.

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