Local News Articles

County Moves Forward with Plans for Solid Waste Transfer Station (View Video Here)

August 26, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Household garbage from DeKalb County will be hauled to the Smith County landfill for disposal after the solid waste transfer station is up and running.

The county commission Monday night voted to enter into a five year contract with the neighboring county who will dispose of DeKalb County's solid waste at the rate of $29.00 a ton. "We have negotiated and gotten bids from two or three landfills for the disposal and transfer of the household garbage that would come to the transfer station, be loaded on a truck, and then hauled away," said County Mayor Mike Foster during Monday night's county commission meeting.

The commission also awarded a bid to Elk Mountain Construction of Cookeville to build the transfer station, which will be located in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east behind Tenneco Automotive. Elk Mountain's base bid was $1,308,092 with a deductive alternate of $425,077 from the base bid for road work into the proposed facility.

Foster said the transfer station operation is expected to be less expensive than starting up and maintaining another new Class I landfill. "Right now we're taking about 14,000 tons of garbage a year into the landfill. While we're closing that (existing) landfill, we can create a class III/IV landfill to take in construction material, household furniture, and other non-household garbage and cut that (intake into the landfill) at least by 30% or maybe down to 10,000 tons a year," he said.

"The good part about this agreement with Smith County is that it's for five years and they will take our garbage for $29.00 a ton. It currently costs us at least $35.00 a ton to dispose of it (household garbage) in our own facility (landfill). The landfill we're in now costs about $4,000,000 to build. It has lasted twelve years. Now we've got to do post-closure on it which means you have to encapsulate it in a 60 mil plastic membrane and then cover it with three or four feet of dirt. You're then talking about probably another million and a half dollars to close that (landfill). This way (transfer station) you don't have to haul leachate and you don't have to do post-closure on it and guarantee that post-closure by monitoring it for thirty years after closure. The environmental liability is extremely dangerous for the county. That is the reason primarily that everybody thinks this (transfer station) is the thing to do," said Foster.

While the county obtained bids for the disposal of its solid waste, Foster said it was not required to do so. "The low bidder on our negotiation was Smith County, which is good because it's one of the closer ones to us. County Attorney Hilton (Conger) has looked over this (contract) and we have a letter from him that basically says he has reviewed the contract between DeKalb and Smith County for disposal of non-hazardous waste. TCA 519 106 & 107 specifically authorizes these types of agreements between local governments. TCA 12-9-108 also provides for inter-local agreements between municipalities. Based on these statutes as well as a 1979 private act creating a purchasing law for DeKalb County, it's his (Conger's) opinion that the county is not required to advertise for competitive bids for these types of services. I (Conger) have consulted with CTAS (County Technical Advisory Service) and their attorney concurs with this opinion," he said.

The county still has to find some way it getting the garbage to Smith County. "We still have to contract with somebody which will have to be bid to haul that garbage to them (Smith County) or haul it ourselves. I don't think we want to get too much into that. Some of the garbage like the 40 yard compaction units maybe at Alexandria and some of those, where you could transport maybe fifteen tons at a time or twenty tons, we could probably load on our truck and haul to Smith County quicker than we could actually haul it here (to Smithville). We would actually save money doing that." said Foster.

The Smithville Industrial Board recently deeded the land for the solid waste transfer station to the City of Smithville, who in turn, deeded it to the county. The work under the contract will include the construction of a 5,400 square foot pre-engineered metal building as a solid waste transfer station including a scale house building and office building; construction of an access road with erosion control measures; stripping of 8,900 cubic yard top soil; 7,500 cubic yard site excavation; 6,000 cubic yard borrow material; 6,500 tons of mineral aggregate base stone; and 3,175 tons of hot mix.

With the help of Road Supervisor Kenny Edge and his department, the county has done much of its own work building an access road extending from the Industrial Park past Tenneco Automotive into the transfer station, a move which is expected to save the county money.

As WJLE reported earlier this month, the county received three bids from companies interested in building the transfer station.

County Mayor Foster and members of the purchasing committee met Tuesday morning, August 5 for a bid opening with Ronnie Reece of Professional Engineering Services from Sparta, who has been consulting local officials on the project.

The purchasing committee voted to award the contract to the company determined to have the best bid after the three proposals were given a more in depth review to make sure they met all the bid specifications as advertised.

At the time it appeared that Johnson Builders of Doyle had the lowest bid. But Foster said Monday night during the county commission meeting that it turns out Elk Mountain's bid was better. "The group that we thought actually had the low bid, when the engineer went back and re-did their math, the second group (Elk Mountain) was actually lower than the one we thought was. The (Elk Mountain) contract was actually about $860,000 (after deducts) for the transfer station, cutting the road into (the facility), and getting part of the gravel on it. Road Supervisor Edge has helped do part of that so that will cut (costs) some more. We've hired a guy to help too trying to get ahead. The city and county are going to try and go together to get an industrial improvement grant to do the black topping, which if we can do that would save us about $280,000. We've already talked with TDOT and they have said that because we are already at this point and that it serves the city industrial development board's land, they feel there is a good chance we might be about to do this (get the grant)," said Foster.

Now that the bid has been awarded, the contractor has 150 days to complete the project. Foster said he is hopeful that the transfer station is operational by December.

Meanwhile, the existing Class I landfill, located off Billings Road in the eastern portion of the county, will soon be full. "According to the engineering estimates, we probably have nine months left on it (existing landfill). But we'll still put some stuff in there (existing landfill) until we fill it. Then we'll do a Class III/IV cell for construction material," Foster said.

Portion of County Complex to be Renamed Honoring Mike Foster

August 26, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster
Jimmy Poss, David McDowell, Mike Foster, Marshall Ferrell, and Jerry Scott

A portion of the County Complex will soon bear the name of County Mayor Mike Foster.

During Monday night's monthly meeting, the county commission voted to name the north end of the building which houses the exercise room, game room, gym and theater the "Mike Foster Multi-Purpose Center".

The motion, made by sixth district commissioner Marshall Ferrell, was adopted unanimously.

Ferrell said Foster is due much of the credit for the county acquiring the building and turning it into the facility it is today. "The new county complex would not exist if it were not for the efforts of the commission and Mike Foster. Mayor Foster's experience in building was a great asset. He worked endless hours to see the project was completed properly. Therefore, I would like to make a motion to name the north end of the complex that houses the exercise room, game room, gym, and theater, the "Mike Foster Multi-Purpose Center". I would also like to add to that motion that the appropriate signs to match the signs above the other entrances be in place," said Ferrell.

Prior to the vote, Seventh District member Larry Summers, who serves as Chairman Pro Temp of the County Commission, praised Foster for his twelve years of service and leadership. Summers gave Foster credit for many endeavors over the years including the county complex project. "The state said we needed to have more office space in the courthouse. He (Foster) brought the idea (purchasing the building) to the county commission. We now have a facility that is second to none. You show me a small county with 18,000 to 20,000 people that has something to be proud of as much as that," said Summers.

After the vote renaming the complex, Summers presented an award on behalf of the county commission to an emotional Foster. "Presented to Mike Foster, DeKalb County Executive 2002-2014 in appreciation of twelve years loyal service from our fellow commissioners, David McDowell, Bobby Joines, Jimmy Poss, Mason Carter, Elmer Ellis, John Green, Jerry Adcock, Jerry Scott, Rick Cantrell, Jack Barton, Marshall Ferrell, Bradley Hendrix, Jeff Barnes, Wayne Cantrell, and Larry Summers."

Foster then presented plaques to the following outgoing members of the commission who will be leaving when their terms expire this week: Jimmy Poss of the seventh district for 16 years; David McDowell of the fourth district for 4 years; Jerry Scott of the third district for 24 years; and Marshall Ferrell of the sixth district for 12 years. Bobby Joines and Rick Cantrell were not present but plaques are also available for them. Joines has served 12 years on the county commission from the second district and Cantrell is completing John Green's unexpired term from the fifth district. Cantrell has also been a member of the planning commission for 17 years and currently serves as chairman of the planning commission.

In addition to Foster, members of the commission thanked County Clerk Mike Clayborn and Road Supervisor Kenny Edge for their years of service. Clayborn is completing twelve years and Edge is leaving after six terms and 24 years.

Newly Elected Officials Sworn into Office (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

August 26, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Former Chancellor Vernon Neal and General Sessions Judge Bratten Cook II
Newly Elected County Officials
New County Commission
New Members of School Board
New Constables Travis Bryant and Chad Curtis
Sixth District County Commissioner Jeff Barnes Sworn in by County Mayor Mike Foster

Although their terms of office don't officially begin until September 1, newly elected county officials including county commissioners, school board members, and constables took the oath of office in a formal ceremony Monday.

The program was held at the county complex auditorium.

Former Chancellor Vernon Neal administered the oath to General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II. The other officials then took the oath from Judge Cook.

Members of the county commission were sworn in collectively as one group by Judge Cook. All newly elected members of the commission were present except for sixth district member Jeff Barnes, who chose to take the oath from County Mayor Mike Foster prior to the county commission meeting Monday night at the courthouse.

County Commissioners sworn in by Judge Cook were:
First District: Mason Carter and Elmer Ellis, Jr.
Second District: Joe N. Johnson and James E. Midgett
Third District: Jack E. Barton and Bradley Scott Hendrix
Fourth District: Wayne Cantrell and Jonathon Norris
Fifth District: Jerry D. Adcock and Anita Puckett
Sixth District: Betty Jean Atnip
Seventh District: Kevin Robinson and Larry Summers

Judge Cook then administered the oath to the following county officials:
County Mayor Tim Stribling
Road Supervisor Butch Agee
Trustee Sean Driver
Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen
Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack
County Clerk James L. Poss
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Constables Travis Bryant in the third district and Chad Curtis in the first district were sworn in to fill vacant positions. Second district constable-elect Chris Tramel was unable to attend the ceremony and will be sworn into office at a later time.

School board members Jerry Wayne Johnson in the second district, Jim Beshearse in the third district, Billy Miller in the fourth district, and Shaun Tubbs in the seventh district received their oath of office. First district school board member-elect Danny Parkerson was absent and will be sworn into office at a later time.

Judge Cook then administered the oath of office to all deputy clerks present for the ceremony.

The program opened with local boy scouts leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer by Bill Robertson, pastor of the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

County Mayor Stribling offered some closing remarks at the end of the ceremony.

(TOP PHOTO: Former Chancellor Vernon Neal and General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II

(SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP): Seated: County Officials General Sessions Judge Bratten Cook, II, Trustee Sean Driver, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, and Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen. Standing: Sheriff Patrick Ray, Road Supervisor Butch Agee, County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, and County Mayor Tim Stribling)

(THIRD PHOTO FROM TOP: County Commissioners Seated: Jonathon Norris, Anita Puckett, Betty Jean Atnip, Jack Barton, Joe Johnson, and Wayne Cantrell. Standing: Elmer Ellis, Jr., Mason Carter, Jerry Adcock, Kevin Robinson, Bradley Hendrix, Larry Summer, and Jimmy Midgett

(FOURTH PHOTO FROM TOP): School Board members Shaun Tubbs, Billy Miller, Jim Beshearse, and Jerry Wayne Johnsoin

(FIFTH PHOTO FROM TOP): Constables Travis Bryant and Chad Curtis

(BOTTOM PHOTO): County Mayor Mike Foster and Sixth District County Commissioner Jeff Barnes

Man Files False Report in Rock Throwing Case

August 26, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brian Kane Pack

A Smithville man has been charged with filing a false report and reckless endangerment for allegedly throwing rocks at his family's home and vehicles as well as law enforcement officers and then trying to blame someone else for it.

24 year old Brian Kane Pack of Lakeview Circle, Smithville is under a $12,000 bond and he will be in court August 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 21 a detective and other members of the sheriff's department along with TWRA officers were called to a residence on Lakeview Circle to investigate who had been throwing rocks at the home and several vehicles there. According to Sheriff Ray, this was not the first complaint. Officers had been called to the same residence several times before and on a couple of occasions, someone had thrown good sized rocks at the officers while they there on the scene at night, hitting a patrol car and another vehicle used in undercover operations. During the investigation, Pack came forward to report that he knew who was throwing the rocks and gave the officers the names of the suspects. The investigation later revealed that Pack was the only person responsible. When confronted by a detective, Pack allegedly admitted to throwing the rocks and giving officers false information.

Due to his actions, Sheriff Ray said that Pack placed the officers in danger of bodily injury by causing them to go into the woods at night on steep terrain, looking for someone that Pack knew was not there.

44 year old Donna Sue Blankenship of McMinnville is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, August 18 a deputy was dispatched to the Short Mountain Highway area in reference to a suspicious woman who was reported to have been going door to door and walking through people's yards. The officer found the woman, Blankenship on Banks Pisgah Road. Residents in that neighborhood said they did not know Blankenship. She had slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. Blankenship said she had been taking Xanax. She was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

34 year old Heather Starr Trapp of South College Street, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended license and evading arrest. Her bond is $7,500. The offenses occurred on June 4 but the warrants were not served on her until August 20. After her arrest on June 4, Trapp was taken to Warren County where authorities had active warrants on her for separate offenses. In the June 4 incident locally, Sheriff Ray said that a deputy was called to check out a complaint of a possible drunk driver on Highway 56 south. The officer spotted the vehicle on Whorton Springs Road and observed it traveling on the wrong side of the road. He attempted to conduct a traffic stop using lights and sirens but the car continued on down the road for another one to two miles before finally coming to a stop. The driver was found to be Trapp. A computer check revealed her license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in 2011.

54 year old Lonnie Ray Dyer of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with two counts of assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court August 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, August 19 Dyer, a prisoner in DeKalb County Jail, allegedly assaulted two other inmates in the cell with him by hitting them in the back of the head with his fists.

31 year old Anthony Robert Hawkins of Cecil Hale Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued a citation for driving on roadways laned for travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court September 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 23 a deputy was on Highway 70 when he spotted a silver Chevrolet Silverado leave its lane of travel several times. The officer stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, Hawkins who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Hawkins said that he had been drinking and had taken prescription medication. Hawkins submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was placed under arrest.

Three Injured in Sunday Wreck

August 25, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Three Injured in Sunday Wreck

Three people were transported to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital Sunday after a two car wreck at West Bryant Street and Fisher Avenue.

Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE that 64 year old Patricia Luna of Sparta, driving a 2001 Buick Le Sabre, attempted to make a right turn onto Bryant Street from Fisher Avenue when she pulled into the path of a 2002 Toyota Camry, driven by 64 year old Glenda Turner of Smithville who was traveling east on Bryant Street.

Luna, Turner and a passenger with Luna, 83 year old Geneva Looney of Smithville were taken to the hospital by DeKalb EMS. The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was also on the scene to provide assistance.

Captain Leffew said Luna was cited for failure to yield.

Danny Parkerson to Retire as DWS Prinicpal

August 24, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Danny Parkerson

After a career as an educator spanning almost four decades and nearly all that time as either Teacher or Principal at DeKalb West School, Danny Parkerson is retiring. But come next month, Parkerson will have a new assignment, school board member.

Parkerson will be representing the first district, taking over the position being vacated by John David Foutch who decided against seeking another term on the school board this year. "I hope I can give the school board my experience having been a teacher and principal and help them see things from that point of view," said Parkerson in an interview with WJLE last week.

Parkerson is hoping to remain principal until his first school board meeting, September 11.

Born and raised in Alexandria, Parkerson has called DeKalb County home all his life. After high school graduation, he furthered his education at MTSU and Tennessee Tech. "I attended MTSU from 1969 to 1972. I got my Masters and Ed.S degree from Tennessee Tech. I even took a three hour course at TSU," said Parkerson.

His first teaching job was in Smith County. " I started out for two years at Forks River in Smith County. I came to DeKalb West in the 1978-79 year," he said. While his background is in science, Parkerson said he enjoyed teaching a variety of subjects, especially math.

After joining the staff at DWS, Parkerson became the girls basketball coach and later took on the boy's program as well. "I started out with Tommy Alexander. He was the boy's coach and I was the girls coach. After Tommy left, I took over the boy's program until I became principal. I've stayed out of coaching mostly since then but I have helped a couple of times when we've been in between coaches," said Parkerson.

During his eighteen year career as basketball coach, Parkerson guided several teams to winning seasons including championships at the James C. Haile State Invitational Tournament held annually in Murfreesboro. " The 1992 season was probably the best boy's team I ever had. It was a complete team. We had depth. We won about every tournament we went to that year," he said.

When former DWS principal Eddie Hobson stepped down in the mid 1990's, Parkerson got the call to succeed him. Now in his 19th year, Parkerson said being principal at DWS has been rewarding and a job he has thoroughly enjoyed. While he is comfortable with his decision to retire, Parkerson said he will miss being at the school every day. "You get to a point in life that you know it's time. I'm feeling pretty comfortable about it being time. I know I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss the kids. I'll miss the school. I may get a little emotional. I love the West School. As an educator we sometimes forget who we work for. We work for the public. I would like to thank everybody in DeKalb County for supporting DeKalb West and for giving me a job that has lasted a lifetime," he said.

Since groundbreaking last year, Parkerson has been looking forward to the completion of the new building addition at DWS and is happy to see it being finished before he steps down. "This will meet the majority of the needs at DeKalb West School for the next twenty five years at least. You'll have to come and see it," he said.

An open house for the public is expected to be held soon.

While Parkerson has enjoyed being an educator, he also finds satisfaction in serving his community in the public arena. His election to the school board is just his latest venture into politics. Parkerson served two stints as Mayor of Alexandria from 1985 through 1989 and from 1993 until 1997. He was also a member of the county commission from the first district several years ago. "People should serve their community. The reason I ran for the county commission is because I wanted to see how the county operated and learn a little bit more about county politics and what the county commission did. But If you want to learn about government, small town is the way to go (referring to his terms as mayor). I'm now looking forward to the challenge of working with the gentlemen that serve their districts on the school board and learning what the community wants and try to get a plan to facilitate it," Parkerson said.

As he leaves as Principal, Parkerson wishes his successor and all his fellow teachers continued success in the years ahead. " I appreciate all the teachers I've worked, shared , laughed, and cried with. We hold in our hands the most precious thing God has given a family, a child. I've heard some say it (teaching) is a calling. I give God credit. When you're going forward you may not see God's hand in it but as you start looking back you can see God's hand in each step of your life. Where he showed you, sheltered you, and provided for you. I'm blessed with my students and my friends. It's just been a tremendous time," he said.

Anytime he is approached by a student at school or in the community, Parkerson is reminded of the influence that an educator can have on a young person. "I get a lot of recognition in the community, at the fair, and at school from kids who come up, say my name and hug me. The kids is what I'll miss the most. They keep you young and lively. I think the future for them is bright. When the final chapter is written and you go to face your maker and they put something on your tombstone, I'd rather be remembered as a teacher than anything else because a teacher is one of the most important persons in a child's life."

Danny and his wife Pat Parkerson reside in Alexandria. They have one daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Jake Pyburn and a granddaughter, Marley Leigh Pyburn of Alexandria.

Tigers Fall to Warren County in Season Opener 34-30

August 23, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers lost their season opener to the Warren County Pioneers in Smithville Friday night 34-30.

The Tigers moved seventy yards in four plays to get their first points of the night. Quarterback Steven Jennings scored on a thirteen yard run with 10:29 left in the first period. Matthew Poss added the extra point and DC led 7-0.

Poss gave the Tigers a 10 point lead on the strength of a 28 yard field goal with 4:16 left in the first period.

Pioneer quarterback Christian Wilkinson put Warren County on the board on a five yard touchdown run with 1:04 left in the opening period. Evan Reynolds added the extra point and DeKalb County's lead was cut to 10-7.

DeKalb County extended its advantage with 10:21 left in the second period on a three yard touchdown run by quarterback Jennings. Poss added the extra point and DC led 17-7.

Warren County's Bryson Lewis burned the Tigers on a 73 yard touchdown run with 7:27 left in the second period. With the extra point, the Pioneers trailed 17-14.

Wilkinson threw for a 13 yard touchdown screen pass to Malik Ladet with 33 seconds left in the half and with the extra point the Pioneers got the lead 21-17.

In the third quarter Warren County struck again. Facing a 4th & 3, Rickie King broke free on a 60 yard touchdown run for a score and with the extra point the Pioneers stretched their lead to 28-17 with 8:08 left in the period

Wilkinson got his second TD of the night on a nine yard quarterback keeper with 3:26 left in the fourth period. The extra point attempt failed but the Pioneers were in command leading 34-17.

The Tigers scored two touchdowns late. Quarterback Jennings threw for a 29 yard touchdown pass to Jonathon Munoz with 1:10 left in the fourth period. Poss converted the extra point to trim the Warren County lead to 34-24.

DeKalb County scored on the last play of the game on a 34 yard touchdown pass play from Jennings to Munoz. The final score, Warren County 34, DeKalb County 30.

The Tigers will host Stone Memorial of Crossville in Smithville next Friday night, August 29 at 7:00 p.m. in Smithville. WJLE will have LIVE coverage on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE Streaming at www.wjle.com.

Join us for Coach to Coach with former Tennessee Football Coach Phillip Fulmer and former UT Assistant Coach Doug Matthews Friday's at 5:00 p.m. talking Tennessee football followed by Murphy's Matchups at 6:00 p.m. featuring the Guru of Tennessee High School Football Murphy Fair making his high school predictions with commentary and interviews, and then Tiger Talk at 6:30 p.m. featuring the voice of the Tigers John Pryor interviewing Tiger Football Coach Steve Trapp and several Tiger Football players. Coach to Coach also repeats on Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Climbs to 7.4% in July

August 22, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for July was 7.4%, up from 7% in June but well below the rate of 8.3% in July, 2013.

The local labor force for July, 2014 was 9,280. A total of 8,600 were employed and 690 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's Jobless Rate for July tied for second lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region.

Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:
Pickett: 11.2%
Van Buren: 11.1%
White: 9.5%
Clay: 9.4%
Fentress:9.3%
Jackson: 8.9%
Warren:8.9%
Cumberland: 8.8%
Overton: 8.2%
Putnam.7.8%
Macon:7.7%
DeKalb: 7.4%
Cannon:7.4%
Smith:7.2%

County unemployment rates for July 2014 show the rate increased in 86 counties, decreased in five, and remained the same in four counties.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in July at 6.3 percent, up from 6.0 in June. Knox County was 6.6 percent in July, up from 6.3 in June. The Hamilton County July rate was 7.8 percent, up from 7.2 in June. Shelby County was 9.0 percent in July, up from 8.8 in June.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for July was 7.1 percent, five tenths of one percentage point higher than the 6.6 June revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for July was 6.2 percent, up from 6.1 percent in June.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Northside Elementary Named "Reward School"

August 22, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman have announced 168 schools including one in DeKalb County as the 2013-14 Reward Schools, the top 5 percent of schools in the state for academic achievement and the top 5 percent for annual growth.

Northside Elementary School is DeKalb County's 2014 Reward School for progress (high student growth).

DeKalb West School is among the 2015 Focus Schools due to an achievement gap in the Gap Pathway Subgroup of Students with Disabilities versus Non-Students with Disabilities.

The Reward Schools span 49 districts across Tennessee and include 90 schools that serve mostly economically disadvantaged populations.

“Tennessee teachers and students continue to show their dedication to teaching and learning,” Haslam said at an event held at Hazelwood Elementary in Clarksville, recognized for both its high overall achievement and strong growth. “Our Reward Schools are leading the state in progress and performance, and we are thrilled to recognize the extraordinary efforts of staff and students at these Tennessee schools.”

Schools are designated as Reward for performance for overall student achievement. This designation is determined annually by a one-year success rate. A success rate is calculated by adding together the total number of proficient or advanced students in each subject and dividing by the total number of test takers for each subject.

Schools are designated as Reward for progress, such as Northside Elementary, for having high student growth. This designation is determined by a one-year TVAAS school composite.

This year’s list recognizes 67 schools for overall academic achievement and 84 schools for annual value-added growth. The list also names 17 schools that earned both designations, rising to the top 5 percent for annual value-added growth while also ranking in the state’s top 5 percent for overall achievement.

In general, Focus Schools are the 10 percent of schools in the state with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students, such as racial and ethnic groups, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, students with disabilities and English-language learners. More specifically, schools are designated as Focus Schools in one of three ways:

1. Gap Pathway: The school has one of the largest gaps in the State for the indicated subgroup.
2. Subgroup Pathway: The school has a composite proficiency rate below 10 percent for the indicated subgroup.
3. Graduation Rate Pathway: The school has a graduation rate below 60 percent.

These 10 percent of schools (Reward Schools) receive recognition for their success, and the department interviewed the 2013 Reward Schools to compile best practices for schools across the state. “Learning From The Best: Promising Practices from Tennessee’s 2013 Reward Schools” identifies themes and promising practices in leadership, instruction, and school climate. You can view the report online at http://tn.gov/education/data/doc/learning_from_reward_schools.pdf.

“We believe there are many lessons to be learned from these top performing schools. Every student deserves a school where they will be supported and challenged, and we are excited to share best practices that have proven successful,” Huffman said. “Because our accountability system recognizes growth and different starting points, we have enormous diversity in our Reward Schools.”

A complete list of 2014 Reward Schools is available here: http://www.tn.gov/education/data/accountability/schools_2014.shtml.

School-level achievement data is available here: http://tn.gov/education/data/tcap_2014_school.shtml.

Powerful Thunderstorm Hits DeKalb County Hard

August 20, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tree falls on top of Don Turner's home on Earl Avenue in Smithville causing extensive damage to the roof
Metal roof blown off Smithville Business Doc's Detail Shop on Bryant Street (Photo by Ken Underhill)
Metal Roof Blown Off Doc's Detail Shop on Bryant Street (Photo by Ken Underhill)
Don Turner covers his car after a tree fell on it breaking the rear window

Powerful winds from a severe thunderstorm caused widespread damage across DeKalb County Wednesday afternoon with downed trees and power lines in various locations.

Central dispatch received more than one hundred calls in the aftermath of the storm. No injuries were reported.

Due to the storm, students were kept at school for about an hour longer than normal for their safety.

Most of the damage was due to trees which had been uprooted or fallen in yards and across roads and utility lines. Some structure damage was also reported at several places.

In Smithville a tree fell onto the home of Don Turner on Earl Avenue causing extensive damage to the roof. Turner's car parked near the house was damaged and the rear window broken out from the fallen tree.

The metal roof on the building that houses Doc's Detail Shop on East Bryant Street in Smithville was blown off.

Roof damage was reported at Triple A Coatings in Smithville

High winds caused damage to the home of Victor and Debbie McMillen on Lower Helton Road near Alexandria.

Firefighters, utility crews, state and county highway department workers, and others were dispatched to the affected areas, many of them using chainsaws to remove trees which had blocked roads.

(VIDEO BELOW SHOWS COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS USING CHAINSAWS TO REMOVE TREE ACROSS DEARMAN STREET OFF BRIGHT HILL ROAD)

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