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Heather Shehane Awarded DeKalb County “Teacher of the Year”

March 2, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

A first grade teacher at Smithville Elementary School was named “DeKalb County Teacher of the Year” and received the “John Isabell Memorial Award” Thursday night during the eleventh annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center.

The award and a check for $150 was presented to Heather Shehane by Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank, a sponsor of the banquet, along with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and Lori Isabell, whose husband John for whom the award is named, passed away in 2014. John Isabell was a long time educator and former President of the DeKalb County Education Association

Shehane, who is in her sixth year as a teacher, was among five local educators who were recognized during the banquet for being chosen by peers as “Teacher of the Year” at their schools. The others were 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. Wilson and her Principal Sabrina Farler were unable to attend due to their commitment to participate in the annual Family Literacy Night at DeKalb West School which was also held Thursday night.

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.

Administrators introduced the Teachers of the Year at their schools, remarked on how they deserved the honor, and presented them with a school bell award.

“It is my great honor and privilege to talk about Mrs. Heather Shehane. When you walk into her classroom it is calm. She has high expectations but she gets to know her students right off the bat really quickly. She is moving those students whether they are struggling or really high achievers and meeting their needs. She does an amazing job at Smithville Elementary School. I can say that when her students leave at the end of the school year to go to second grade they are more than ready,” said Julie Vincent, Principal at Smithville Elementary School.

Karen Knowles, Principal at Northside Elementary spoke of Shelly Jennings. “When I first came to Northside we were trying to decide how we were going to partner subjects up. She looked at me and said tell me what you need me to do? What do you need me to teach? She is a huge team player and she has great expectations of her students.”

“The DCHS Teacher of the Year, Sara Halliburton is in her sixth year of teaching and has been a level 5 teacher for the past three years. Her students always have excellent test scores. In 2014 she created the Climate Crew, an organization at the high school to try and better the school in a lot of different ways. They do a lot of things for the teachers and students and the school in general. She serves as a freshman class sponsor, is an instructional team leader, and a graduation coordinator. She makes a difference in the lives of her students,” said DCHS Principal Randy Jennings.

“Some of Mrs. Suzette Barnes’ accomplishments are that she was the 2013 DeKalb Middle School Teacher of the Year, 2014 Best of the Best Teacher, 2015 National Association of Science teacher. She helped build the DMS softball field and outdoor classroom, and started a clothes market for students, leads the local education celebration at school, a student council sponsor and Jr Beta Club fundraiser, and she is over the STEM program and oversees the 21st Century After School Program,” said Amanda Dakas, DeKalb Middle School Principal.

School board members attending were W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, Danny Parkerson, and Jerry Wayne Johnson.

“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 Patrick Cripps.

Two Injured in Alexandria Wreck

March 2, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Two women were injured in a crash Thursday at Alexandria.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said 57 year old Barbara Reynolds of Alexandria, driving a 2006 Ford Taurus, was east on Main Street crossing Highway 53 to New Hope Road when she pulled into the path of a 2011 Nissan Altima, driven by 18 year old McKenzie Meadows of Carthage who was heading south on Highway 53. Meadows’ vehicle hit the Reynolds car in the driver side.

Meadows was transported by EMS to Riverview in Carthage while Reynolds was taken by ambulance to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

Members of the Alexandria and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Departments were also on the scene along with the Alexandria Police Department.

Bowen Loses His Life in Tragic Accident

March 1, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

A 28 year old Lebanon Police Officer who lived in DeKalb County lost his life in a tragic accident Thursday morning.

Joseph Bowen was driving home from work in his 2008 Chevy Silverado extended cab pickup when the truck left Highway 70 and went down a rocky embankment before hitting a large tree and plunging into the swift waters of Dry Creek at Dowelltown. The truck was carried a few feet downstream and came to rest partially submerged on its passenger side.

When Bowen didn’t arrive back home, family members became concerned and contacted authorities. Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan notified Sheriff Patrick Ray that family members had reported Bowen missing and a search began along the route from Lebanon to Smithville.

According to Sheriff Ray, members of the Lebanon Police Department and Wilson County Sheriff’s Department were involved in the search along with the Alexandria Police Department and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. A BOLO (Be on the lookout) was also issued by the sheriff’s department through central dispatch. Verizon pinged Bowen’s cell phone in DeKalb County in the area of Nashville Highway and Goose Creek Road. The phone was last used at 7:29 Thursday morning.

After the truck was spotted in the creek the BOLO was cancelled but Bowen remained missing. Search teams were organized to comb the creek and an aerial helicopter search was conducted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. One of the teams later found Bowen’s body in the creek several hundred yards from where his truck was located.

Agencies involved in the search included members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue, DeKalb Emergency Management Agency, DeKalb EMS, Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, TWRA, Alexandria Police and Fire Departments, Smithville Police officers, Tennessee Division of Forestry, Putnam County Swift Water Rescue, Lebanon Police and Wilson County Sheriff’s Department, and several concerned citizens who volunteered to help. The THP assisted with a ground and aerial search and the THP Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) investigated the crash along with Trooper Bobby Johnson.

Prior to going to work for the Lebanon Police Department, Bowen was employed at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Ray said Bowen was a good officer and will be missed

“Joe Bowen and his family have been true servants to this county. Joe’s wife, Kim, is a 911 dispatcher for DeKalb County. His father, Dewayne, was a former deputy in DeKalb County before leaving to go to the Lebanon Police Department. Joe has served as a volunteer fireman for DeKalb County. He started his career in law enforcement working for my department as a correctional officer. I then promoted him to a deputy position where he worked in that capacity until he left my department to go to the Lebanon Police Department. Joe was much more than an employee to me. He was a true friend. His personal life and work ethics were a true example of what every officer should be like. My department, along with other emergency agencies in the county, mourn his loss and will provide his family for whatever support they need,” said Sheriff Ray.

In a Facebook post, the Lebanon Police Department “ is asking for prayers as we mourn the loss of one of our officers. Veteran Officer Joe Bowen. Officer Bowen leaves behind a wife, 2 children, and a family that loved him, both by blood and in blue”.

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