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(UPDATED) DeKalb Highway Department Busy Fixing County Roads Heavily Damaged by Rains (VIEW VIDEO HERE OF DAVIS HOLLOW ROAD)

February 25, 2019
By: Dwayne Page

Members of the DeKalb County Highway Department spent the day Monday repairing roads in the county damaged by recent rainy weather and the work will continue in the days ahead.

Roads with the most damage include Smith Fork Road, Davis Hollow Road, Falling Water Road, Harbor Pointe Drive, Park Drive, and Austin Bottom Road.

IMG_4413 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

According to Road Supervisor Danny Hale, embankments on portions of these roads gave way resulting in sections of the roads cracking and collapsing making them impassable.

WJLE joined Road Supervisor Hale on Davis Hollow Road near Dale Ridge Road Monday morning where a road crew gathered after making repairs to a portion of Smith Fork Road.

“Two weeks ago I drove down this road (Davis Hollow Road) and it wasn’t like this. We have had so much rain that the bank on the side I’m assuming couldn’t hold all the pressure from being so wet and the road has just sunk down but this is not the only place. We have this situation in numerous other places across the county where they (roads) have dropped down. We’re working on building them up. Right now we’re bringing them back up with shot rock and filling in with crusher run gravel. If it dries up the repairs will be fine but if there are further problems we’ll probably have to dig out and do something different. Right now we’re trying to get the roads to where people can travel them and we’re working as quickly as we can. Please be aware of our workers in these areas and thank you ahead of time for your patience while we work to correct these problems caused by the record rainfall,” added Hale.

Meanwhile Road Supervisor Hale said he has been in close contact with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and has been told that because of rising lake levels the end of Johnsons Chapel Road will be under water. This is to control extreme flooding in surrounding areas. “Please avoid these areas at all cost and do not attempt to drive through any water or closed roads,” said Road Supervisor Hale.

DeKalb Grand Jury to Meet April 1

February 25, 2019
By: Dwayne Page

The next term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury will meet on Monday, April 1st, 2019.

“It is the duty of your grand jurors to investigate any public offense which they know or have reason to believe has been committed and which is triable or indictable in the county. Any person having knowledge or proof that an offense has been committed may apply to testify before the grand jury subject to the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated 40-12-105. The foreman in this county is presently Ms. Katherine Pack, 1 Public Square, Room 303, Smithville, Tennessee, 37166.” said DeKalb Circuit Court Clerk Susan Martin.

“The grand jury will next meet on Monday, the 1st day of April, 2019, at 9:00. You may be prosecuted for perjury for any oral or written statement which you make under oath to the grand jury, when you know the statement to be false, and when the statement touches on a matter material to the point in question,” she said.

DeKalb West School Hosts 4th Annual Family Literacy Night

February 25, 2019
By: Bill Conger

Reading takes center stage this Thursday night (Feb. 28) at DeKalb West School. Doors open for the 4th Annual Family Literacy Night at 5:15. Popular children’s author Michael Shoulders will return to inform and entertain the crowd starting at 5:30, and the rest of the evening until 7:30 will continue with a host of fun activities including the appearance of some favorite book characters like The Cat in the Hat, Willy Wonka and Charlie.

D.W.S. Librarian and Family Literacy Night Coordinator Amanda Mullinax says the school puts the spotlight on family involvement with reading each year.

“Like many things in life, parents and caregivers help shape children’s thoughts on education in general, especially reading,” Mullinax says. “When an adult finds value in the act of reading, many times a child will too. When an adult demonstrates the importance of making time each day to read, many times a child will follow. When an adult holds learning to a high degree, its usefulness is typically internalized by that child and will stick with them always! All these things not only alter children’s lives as readers but also as future adults who will hopefully start the cycle again with their own families someday. My hope is that the cycle they continue is one that contains a respect (if not a love) for reading, for learning, and for growing.”

Four families at DWS were selected to talk about the love of reading instilled in their children. (Interview below)

Joe and Sinead Finocchiaro are the parents of Presley, Caleb, and Jacob. Presley had the distinction of earning the Mrs. Sabrina Farler Principal’s Award for 2017-2018 for most yearly AR points – 474.2 points. From 1st grade to present in 7th, Presley has taken 787 book quizzes with a 90% accuracy. Her brother Caleb, a 6th grader, persistently scores among the top readers in his class while brother, Jacob, a 1st grader is following strongly in his sibling’s footsteps.

Brad and Cassie Brown have two young girls, Hannah and Hailey, who have a passion for reading. Kandis and Kenny Moss are raising a family of five strong readers— Bralin, Kenson, Hudson, Averly, and Declan. Mark and Galen Brown have nurtured along two stronger readers in their sons, Isaac and Ethan.

WJLE: What do you say or do to encourage your children to read?

Cassie Brown: The encouragement that is provided by the parents has always been picking out books that are fun and interesting to the girls. They love going to the library or book shelf to pick out something that each of them like and is their choice.

Sinead Finocchiaro: To encourage my children to read I try to get them excited about the stories and adventures they will encounter. I first got them interested in books by reading to them, and when reading, I put a lot of emotion and action into the reading to make the stories come to life.

Kandis Moss:  I believe having them see their Dad and I read at home on our own free time has been an influence for them to see the value in reading. I also try to consider each of my child’s interests and try to research and find books that I know they would enjoy reading and would want to engage in. Finding a book series they can get into also helps since it continues that desire to keep reading. I also try to encourage them to always have a book with them in the car especially for those longer drives. My favorite response I give them when they come and tell me they are bored is, “Go read a book or clean the house!” Which would you rather do?

Galen Brown: Reading is a part of who we are in our home. Everyone reads, even if it is just a car magazine or a daily devotional. Both of our boys really love books! Isaac seems to not have a lot of free time right now and will usually just read the required amount for his AR assignments. We don’t push him to read more since he plays a sport, and his classes are a little more challenging this year. Ethan, however, loves to get his hands on a good series and read all the way through. He is at an age where he really gets into the story! I believe it is the pure enjoyment of reading that keeps him going, so we have to say very little about it to him.

WJLE: Once they started reading in the early grades, did their desire to read catch on, or did you have to continue to nudge it along?

Cassie Brown: The girls have always loved books. Even before they could read on their own, they desired to be read to, and when they began to read on their own, it was even more fun for them to say that they are “reading” a particular book.

Finocchiaro: Once they started reading it was different with each child, Presley never really needed much encouragement. She is still to this day rarely without a book. Caleb did need more encouragement, but then, he found an author and genre he loved and didn’t need much nudging after that. Jacob is a new reader who doesn’t need much assistance with reading now and is very excited about his new talent.

Moss: Every child is different. I have some that once they find a series they really enjoy they take it upon themselves to continue reading those books. I also have some that I have to constantly encourage and find good reads for them. The teachers at West do a great job with giving the students recommendations on new books to check out.

Galen Brown: One of my children loved reading from the start. He loved facts and would read books about dinosaurs, bugs and other boy topics until he had them memorized. The librarian at DWS, Mrs. Amanda, was also extremely helpful in pointing him toward books that she knew he would enjoy. My other son did not always enjoy reading. As a child, he would only want to read the week’s reading story and not much else. We worried that this would affect his vocabulary and overall school success, given the fact that reading is so pivotal to both of these areas. However, about the middle of second grade reading caught on with him, and he has since passed the rest of the family with his passion for it.

WJLE: Do you read together as a family?

Cassie Brown: We began reading as a family when the girls were babies. Several times a day, we would read a book and always before bed the girls would pick out a book for us to read.

Finocchiaro: We do spend time together as a family reading books out loud, not as much as earlier years when learning to read. Now we curl up more with our individual books.

Galen Brown: Honestly, we do not read together anymore. When our children were younger we read to them every day. They would pick a book they wanted to read, and then we would read the Bible as a family. My husband actually read the Bible to them straight through for about 5 years. We now mostly go different directions in a bookstore, and everyone gets to purchase what they like. Quite a few extended family members love to read also, and we recommend and share books with them.

WJLE: How much importance do you place in reading for yourself now as an adult? How much importance did you place in reading as a child?

Cassie Brown: I go to the library one to two times a week for a new book. As a child I loved to read just as much. It was always fun to get lost in the characters of the book and enjoy the suspense.  

Finocchiaro: I still regard reading with high importance. I am the type of person who always has to have a current book I’m reading though I wish I had more time to do so. Reading in my childhood was by far one of my favorite pastimes, and I was always submerged in a book ready to tear through it in a day. Reading was a very important part of my childhood and one of the reasons it means so much to me to have children who love reading also!

Moss: As a child I probably didn’t enjoy reading as much as I do now
as an adult.  I try to read now as often as I can, not only to set an example for my children but because I know just how beneficial it is for me. Whether it’s to escape, to further my knowledge, to learn new things, or just be entertained reading offers so many benefits.  Reading opens up doors to imagination, to better career choices, to expanding your mind, improves vocabulary, reduces stress, stimulates your mind, and helps develop better writing skills.

Galen Brown: Reading is so important for all ages. I still remember my dad reading to us when we were small. He read books by C.S. Lewis and E.B. White with such inflection in his voice that it created pictures in my head like a movie. At the time, I thought that was what every parent did; they read to their child! Our children have too many electronic options in front of them that seem much more exciting than a book. I want our youth to know that reading is exciting! Reading broadens our experiences without ever leaving home, and it builds a strong vocabulary that our children are sometimes missing in this media driven society. And yes, I still love to read and probably have no less than four books by my bed at the moment. You never get too old for books!

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