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Chamber Presents Community Improvement Award to Bill Page Ball Park

August 12, 2020

The Smithville-DeKalb County presented a Community Improvement Award to the Bill Page Ball Park for the brand-new scoreboard dedicated “In Loving Memory of Bill and Jo Ann Page.” The Bill Page Ball Park was founded in 1985 by Bill and Jo Ann Page with the help of other local volunteers. Bill and Jo Ann had such a great love for kids and the game of softball. After the sudden passing of Bill in 2014, the ballpark became even more important to Jo Ann. She continued management of the league as family members, including Jordan and Morgan Atnip, pitched in to help with the upkeep of the field.

Before Jo Ann’s passing in 2019, she had been working on getting a new scoreboard for the ballpark. She had made a request to Liberty State Bank about sponsoring the project and been in contact with a scoreboard company. After funding was approved, local artist, Dalton Vaughn, designed the “In Memory” panel to be added to the top of the scoreboard. Local businessman, Darrell Gill of Gill Automotive, donated his equipment to be used for installation and supplied the posts. Smithville Electric dug the post holes and mounted the posts.

In 2019, the DeKalb Church League Softball was reestablished with the help of Darrell Gill of Smithville Church of the Nazarene, Daniel Leslie of Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church, and Logan Cornelius of New Life United Pentecostal Church. These men had helped in years’ past in the normal kids’ season by either coaching or umpiring and now have stepped up to help continue what Bill and Jo Ann started years ago.

Bill and Jo Ann Page’s positive impact in DeKalb County will long be remembered and appreciated by the many adults and children that were touched and inspired by their giving hearts, their long-time dedication to serving others, and their love of kids and softball. For more information on the DeKalb Church League Softball schedule, see their Facebook page.

U.S. Census Staff Coming to Smithville Thursday to Offer Mobile Questionnaire Assistance

August 12, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

U.S. Census Bureau Staff will be in Smithville Thursday, August 13 for mobile questionnaire assistance to help people respond online to the 2020 Census. Look for them on the corner of the county complex across from DeKalb County Ace Hardware from 7 a.m to 5 p.m.

The current DeKalb County self response rate to the census is at 50.3% which is approximately 12% below the Tennessee average. Self response rates for the cities are as follows: Liberty-49.2%, Alexandria 55.2%, Smithville 57.4%, and Dowelltown 57. 4%. The final county wide response rate for 2010 was 62.3%.

More than 3,000 U.S. Census Bureau staff are now going into communities with the lowest 2020 Census response rates to encourage and assist people with responding on their own to the 2020 Census. This operation, known as the Mobile Questionnaire Assistance (MQA) program, is a separate activity from census takers going door to door to count households that have not yet responded. MQA is part of the Census Bureau’s final push to encourage people to complete the 2020 Census. The Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) operation began nationwide Tuesday, August 11.

MQA representatives will encourage people to respond to the 2020 Census in open, public places in the lowest responding areas of the nation. These are places where people naturally visit when leaving home to help increase self-response rates. People are encouraged to respond on their own online or by phone. Locations for MQAs will include grocery stores and markets, food banks, laundromats, restaurants and grab-and-go eateries, unemployment offices, back to school drives, places of worship, and libraries.

The local census response representatives will help people complete the census on a 2020 Census tablet or on their own device, while practicing state and local social distancing protocols. All census workers have been trained in social distancing protocols and issued personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks to be worn during MQA support.

About 62% of households across the country have already responded online, by phone or by mail since invitations began arriving in mid-March. The Census Bureau is selecting where to provide MQA based on local response rates and conditions.

If people need help responding in a language other than English, Census Bureau staff can provide phone numbers or assistance responding online in 12 other languages. Staff will also have guides available in 59 languages that walk people through how to respond to the English questionnaire.
All staff will carry an ID badge with their name, photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark seal, and an expiration date. They will have an official Census Bureau-issued bag and tablet. MQA locations will have banners bearing the 2020 Census logo.

In the interest of public health concerns because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Census Bureau staff will decide on a weekly basis whether MQA activities will take place in a low-response area in coordination with local partners.

For more information, visit

County Commission Encourages Public to Attend Forum with CTAS Consultant Ben Rodgers

August 11, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

As part of an effort to promote more transparency, the DeKalb County Commission is encouraging the public to join them in a forum Thursday night to learn more about services available to the county by the UT County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS).

CTAS County Government Consultant Ben Rodgers will be the featured speaker at the meeting which starts at 6 p.m. at the County Complex Auditorium.

Everyone is encouraged to attend including the citizens of DeKalb County and all local elected public officials, county employees, and other stakeholders.


Rodgers joined CTAS in 2005 and assists counties in the Upper Cumberland area (Region 3). He graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in accounting. Rodgers worked in public accounting for over two and half years prior to joining CTAS.

CTAS is not new and DeKalb County officials have often sought guidance, advice, and services from it over the years. CTAS offers assistance in every aspect of county government finance — budgeting, purchasing, investing, debt management, insurance and risk management. CTAS attorneys author many CTAS publications, draft and review legislative proposals, monitor General Assembly action, and compile private acts of each county.

After recently defunding the county’s financial advisor position, the county commission expects to rely more on CTAS, specifically Rodgers, in assisting the county with budgeting and financial matters and other services going forward, much of which CTAS offers the county at no charge.

First District Commissioner Julie Young said Rodgers will be a valuable asset to the county as he has been for other counties in the region.

“He will tell us what he (CTAS) offers not just for our county but almost every county surrounding us. Already many of our elected officials use his services. They (CTAS) provide training that we can all go through free and Mr. Rogers can also do for the county the same on our budgets for free that Mr. (Steve) Bates was doing and being paid by the county. We are trying the save the county money and be more transparent. Our county is in good shape (financially) but we have to be financially responsible to our constituents. I encourage everyone to join us for this meeting and meet Mr. Rodgers,” said Commissioner Young.

“County government can only work if we all work together and that includes the taxpayers and the commission. We have to work together,” said Fourth District Commissioner Janice Fish Stewart. “ We want to be as transparent as we can be and we want to encourage the participation of our citizens. We want them to meet Mr. Rodgers and ask him questions. He is already a valuable resource. If we have questions about a procedure or the Tennessee Code that we deal with as commissioners we can call him and he has the answers for us and if he doesn’t he gets back to us. I want to encourage people to come to this meeting and participate with us,” said Commissioner Stewart.

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