Three DTC Directors Re-elected Without Opposition

September 16, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Three members of the DTC Communications Board of Directors were re-elected to new three years terms without opposition Saturday during the annual membership meeting of DeKalb Telephone Cooperative in Alexandria.

Ronnie Garrison of the Smithville Exchange received 176 votes. Bennie “Buck” Curtis of the Alexandria Exchange had 172 votes and Randy Campbell of the Liberty Exchange got 167 votes. A total of 181 members cast ballots in the director election.

In addition to Garrison, Curtis, and Campbell, members of the DTC board are Kurt Bass of Temperance Hall, James H. Dillard, Jr. of Gordonsville, Roy N. Pugh of Auburntown, Jim Vinson of Milton, Terry McPeak of Norene, David Parker of Woodland, and Michael Alexander of Woodbury.

In his report to the membership, President Roy N. Pugh said DTC Communications is keeping the promises made toward improving the quality of life for its members.

“About two years ago, your DTC Communications Board of Directors worked with our CEO Chris Townson, to carefully consider a broad, ambitious plan to improve DTC’s financial standing and position the company for current and future success. The plan included the primary goal of constructing a world-class fiber optic network that would deliver cutting-edge services related to education, entertainment, economic development, government, business and more,” said Pugh

“I am happy to say that we are keeping that promise. About 35% of our members now have access to the fiber network and we expect that number to increase to close to 50% by the end of next year, slightly ahead of schedule,” added Pugh.

Following Pugh’s remarks, CEO Townson elaborated in more detail on the improvements made by DTC within the last year.

“I am pleased to report to you today that we do continue to deliver on the promises of cooperatively working together to improve the quality of life for our members and the region we serve. Under this board’s direction and support, DTC’s employees have worked to build 391 new miles of fiber optic plant, almost doubling available access state of the art telecommunications and broadband internet services to DTC’s members. Additionally, DTC continues to build hundreds of miles of new fiber in parts of the Auburntown, Milton, Norene, Smithville, and Woodbury exchanges and we are planning and engineering for additional builds in the Alexandria, Gordonsville, Norene, and Smithville Exchanges also in 2019. Additional project areas will be determined soon. All this means is that thousands of members will now or soon will have a greater access to all the services they so desperately need. We are still on target to complete the first three phases of the project by 2021,” said Townson.

“Under this board’s direction and with careful planning and acute project management we also report that we continue to improve our cooperative’s financial performance. When reviewing your annual report you will see that we improved net earnings for the consolidated enterprise by approximately two million dollars year over year from 2016 to 2017. We did this while paying off our USDA RUS debt and while also investing approximately $5.6 million into capital improvements directly related to improved service to our membership. I am also pleased to report that so far in 2018 we continue moving forward with a strong financial performance,” Townson continued.

“We talk often of the challenges we face in this industry. Its not easy to build, maintain, and operate a complex network in a high cost area while still providing services at an affordable price. In fact many of our neighbors have suffered for years from the lack of access to robust services provided by DTC. As a result of this board of directors’ actions, two such areas will soon have access to voice video and gigabit capable broadband internet provided by DTC. Communities around the Watertown area in Wilson County and areas around Rawls Creek and Plunkett’s Creek in Smith County will soon be served as a result of DTC being awarded a Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act Grant in the amount of $1.75 million. DTC’s board of directors saw a need and an opportunity to help our neighbors and has chosen to invest in these underserved areas to meet that need. All of our communities and region will soon be better because of their leadership on this issue and more,” said Townson.

“There are many challenges to what we do but your cooperative is as committed as we have ever been to ensure that our communities have access to world class broadband and a telecommunications network that will allow for the best in education, entertainment, economic development, and any other form of e-connectivity that provides what we all need and that is opportunity,” Townson concluded.

DTC’s 2018 scholarship recipient, 18 year old Owen Queen of Watertown, addressed the membership with his winning essay about the important role of DTC in the community.

Parents Urged to Read With Their Children Daily

September 16, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Have you read with a child today?

It’s the most important twenty minutes of your day.

September 16-22 is “Read with a Child Week” and the DeKalb County School System seeks to heighten awareness of the importance of daily reading with children from birth.

“When you read with a child 20 minutes every day it teaches most school readiness  like vocabulary, counting, colors, social skills, and more.  Reading is the most crucial academic skill because it is the foundation for learning. And the benefits of reading last a lifetime,” said Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K through 6th grade.

“We want to encourage our community to join our Read With a Child Week emphasis by reading with a child in their life for 20 minutes every day.  Family Read Night has begun in all of our elementary schools and we want to invite you to come out and enjoy a book with your child,” added Burklow.

Read Night schedules are as follows:

DeKalb West School  Monday, September 17th and Thursday, September, 20th 3:00-5:00

Northside Elementary Tuesday September 18th and Thursday September 20th

Smithville Elementary–Wednesday and Thursday nights from 3:00-6:00

Family Read Night occurs all year long so check with your child’s school for a schedule.

Grandson of Johnny Cash to Entertain and Speak at Health Fair (VIEW MUSIC VIDEO HERE)

September 15, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

The eldest grandson of the late Country Music star Johnny Cash will be the keynote speaker and entertainer during a Health Fair Friday, September 21 hosted by the DeKalb Prevention Coalition and the DeKalb County Recovery Court in conjunction with National Recovery Month.

Thomas Gabriel will entertain and share his story during the program, which will be held from 5-6 p.m. at the DeKalb County Complex Auditorium. Information booths will also be set up where attendees can learn more about addiction, recovery, and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

A Narcan Training session will follow Gabriel’s entertainment and remarks from 6-7 p.m. Tommy and Suzanne Angel will provide the training in the proper use of Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and help save a life. Each participant will receive a kit with Narcan nasal spray upon completion of the hour long training session. A new kit will be provided to those who have already received the training and need another kit.

Narcan Nasal Spray is recommended for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose.

“Narcan is a medication used to block the affects of opioids, especially in overdoses. It can be sprayed into the nose of a person who has overdosed and it usually takes about two minutes to work,” said Sheriff Patrick Ray. “After administering Narcan to someone who has overdosed, the person will regain consciousness and at times might be aggressive. We have been told that it may take two or more times of administering Narcan to someone who has overdosed on fentanyl before we can revive them,” he added.

Lisa Cripps, Coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition, said its important for as many people as possible to get this Narcan training.

“This is important because many drugs are laced with Fentanyl, which can kill on contact. Many law enforcement officers, first responders, SRO’s, school nurses, and others in the community now carry Narcan. If you work in a public place Narcan could be a life saver for you, a co-worker, or a family member,” said Cripps.

Gabriel, T.G. – as those closest to him call him – is the oldest grandchild of Johnny Cash. Predominately raised on the road, he often dreamed of a life as a successful career musician. When he was young, his grandfather would call him onstage, to sing “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

At 21, he was in the studio trying out his voice. Johnny would say, “Son, you sound a lot like I did when I was younger; work on those vocals.”

Johnny also insisted that T.G. have a back-up option, so he went to the police academy, and into police work.

Life and adversity has kept him from pursuing his dreams, but he has regained control over his life, and is back in the world that holds so much potential for him.

Along with his voice that sounds so much like his grandfather’s, he brings a wealth of stories from his memories of his childhood and of growing up a member of such an iconic family.

For more information about the Health Fair contact Lisa Cripps at


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