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Josh Miller Wins DeKalb Fair 5K (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

July 17, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fair 5K Winner Josh Miller (center) and Fun Run Winner Ethan Trapp (left) with Race Director Matt Boss
DeKalb Fair Fun Run Winners: 1st-Ethan Trapp, 2nd-Maddox Pyburn, 3rd-Max Hendrixson
DeKalb Fair 5K winners: 3rd-Emily Davis, 2nd-Danny Mayo, 1st-Josh Miller

Josh Miller of Smithville won the DeKalb County Fair 5K and Fun Run Saturday.

Miller was the overall winner of the race, which was held on West Main Street in Alexandria. He ran the course in 22:18.

Danny Mayo took second place in the race at 23:24 and Emily Davis came in third place at 24:15.

Fun Run winners were:
1st place: Ethan Trapp at 10:03
2nd place: Maddox Pyburn at 13:50
3rd place: Max Hendrixson at 14:47

Other winners in the 5K were:
Ages 9-18
1st place: Jesse Houser at 25:42
2nd place: Aiden Malone at 30:58
3rd place: Kacie Malone at 35:14

Ages 32-45
1st place: Kelly Pyburn at 26:28
2nd place: Andy West at 26:43
3rd place: Doris Graham at 27:21

Ages 51-57
1st place: Mark Sullivan at 25:50
2nd place: Lonnie Swaps at 26:58
3rd place: Deborah Bane at 40:21

Proceeds from the race will go to Run Down, a local non-profit organization in DeKalb County supporting people with Down Syndrome

December Bid Letting Expected for Bridge Repair Project

July 16, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
December Bid Letting Expected for Bridge Repair Project

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has notified city officials that the bid letting is December 2 for making repairs to the Veterans Memorial Bridge on South College Street.

The scope of the work to be done includes repairing damage to beams E&F in span 3 due to collision damage; injecting epoxy into cracks in the deck, sidewalk, and beams in span 3; installing steel channels on beam E in span 3; and performing partial depth repair to the sidewalk in span 3. No existing utility lines are to be affected during the repairs.

A recent TDOT inspection revealed “heavy collision damage” to the bridge and it will remain closed to traffic until repairs are made.

The damage was caused by a DeKalb County Landfill truck which hit the underside of the bridge last month as it was traveling east on Broad Street. Although the truck carried no dumpster at the time, the lift was up. The driver, 54 year old Roger Chapman, received minor injuries and was cited by Smithville Police for speeding.

Smithville Police Department Welcomes Two New Officers, Recognizes Three Others

July 15, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chief Mark Collins, Officer Harley Lawrence, Officer Dillon Hulse, and Police Commissioner Jason Murphy.
Chief Mark Collins, Officer Andy Snow, and Police Commissioner Jason Murphy
Chief Mark Collins, Detective Brandon Donnell,  and Police Commissioner Jason Murphy
Chief Mark Collins, K-9 Officer James Cornelius, and Police Commissioner Jason Murphy

The Smithville Police Department has two new officers.

Dillon Hulse and Harley Lawrence were sworn on Thursday, July 14 by City Attorney Vester Parsley. Police Chief Mark Collins and Smithville Alderman and Police Commissioner Jason Murphy were also present for the occasion.

Lawrence was hired to fill a newly created position within the department. Hulse was employed to fill a vacancy.

Meanwhile, K-9 Officer James Cornelius, Detective Brandon Donnell, and Officer Andy Snow have been awarded a “Certificate of Achievement” in recognition of five years of dedicated service with the Smithville Police Department.

(TOP PHOTO: Chief Mark Collins, Officer Harley Lawrence, Officer Dillon Hulse, and Police Commissioner Jason Murphy.

(SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP): Chief Collins, Officer Andy Snow, and Police Commissioner Murphy

(THIRD PHOTO FROM TOP: Chief Collins, Detective Brandon Donnell, and Police Commissioner Murphy

(BOTTOM PHOTO: Chief Collins, K-9 Officer James Cornelius, and Police Commissioner Murphy

Board of Education Building to be Named in Honor of Ernest Ray

July 15, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Board of Education Building to be Named in Honor of Ernest Ray
Ernest Ray

The DeKalb County Board of Education is paying tribute to a former educator and Superintendent of Schools by naming a building in his honor.

During Thursday night’s regular monthly meeting, the school board voted to name the Board of Education Building on the public square in honor of Ernest Ray.

Mr. Ray, now retired, served as an educator and principal in the school system for many years. He was principal at Smithville Elementary School, DeKalb Middle School, and DCHS before being elected as Superintendent of Schools in 1994. Ray was the last elected superintendent in DeKalb County before a new state law went into effect requiring all future superintendents or directors of schools to be appointed by the school board. When his term ended, Ray chose not to seek another term by appointment.

“We have a gentleman that everyone in this county knows. I had him as a teacher. He was a classroom teacher and later principal. Its our proposal to name this building whether it be in the form of a plaque or renaming the building (that would be determined later) but to name it in honor of Mr. Ernest Ray. This man has probably touched everyone’s life in this county in one way or another and always in a positive way. I’m proud we can do this,”said Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III.

Board members voting in favor were Danny Parkerson, Jerry Wayne Johnson, Kate Miller, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, and Shaun Tubbs. Board members Jim Beshearse and Doug Stephens were absent.

Parkerson asked if lettering could be placed on the building with Mr. Ray’s name “Could be get Patrick (Cripps) to investigate what it would cost to do it on a larger scale so that when people go by they see Mr. Ray’s name up there,” said Parkerson.

The board plans to follow through on Parkerson's suggestion.

Corps offers free one-day entry to participating day-use areas

July 15, 2016
Sarah Peace

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is offering free entry into participating day-use areas at Center Hill Lake, Cordell Hull Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, and J. Percy Priest Lake during “Life Jackets Saves and Pays Day” on Saturday, July 23, 2016.

“Life Jackets Saves and Pays Day” is a local event held by USACE to emphasize the importance of wearing a life jacket when around water. During the event visitors who bring their life jackets may enjoy free one-day admittance to any of the 11 participating USACE day-use areas.

The participating parks include Floating Mill Park, Hurricane Bridge Recreation Area, and Ragland Bottom Park at Center Hill Lake; Defeated Creek Park, Roaring River Park, and Wartrace Creek Recreation Area at Cordell Hull Lake; Lillydale Recreation Area, Obey River Park, and Pleasant Grove Recreation Area at Dale Hollow Lake; and Anderson Road Park and Cook Day-Use Area at J. Percy Priest Lake.

“Once in the park, don't leave your lifejacket behind, WEAR IT!” said Park Ranger Sarah Peace at Center Hill Lake. “The Corps wants everyone to have fun on the water, but most importantly we want you to be safe! So what are you waiting for? Grab your lifejacket, and we’ll see you at the lake!”

For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and http://www.facebook.com/centerhilllake, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.

Four DCHS Coaches to Get Pay Raises

July 14, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Coach Steve Trapp
Coach Lynus Martin

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to give pay raises to the DCHS head football and boys basketball coaches as well as the DCHS football and basketball head cheer coaches.

According to the Board’s action, Tiger Football Coach Steve Trapp will get an increase of $2,500 putting his total coaching supplement pay at $7,500 this year. Tiger Head Basketball Coach Lynus Martin will get a $1,500 raise which will increase his supplement pay to $6,500. The two cheer coaches will each get a $500 increase putting their pay at $1,335. The new girls basketball coach at DCHS will not get a raise since he has just been hired. His supplement pay will be $5,000.

Members of the DCHS Quarterback Club addressed the school board’s athletic oversight committee during a meeting Monday night concerned that the current supplement pay plan does not reward coaches for their value in contributing to the success of their sports programs and for the pride they help instill in the community.

Last month, the school board voted to move $5,000 within categories of the proposed 2016-17 budget to help rectify the inequities for these coaches, whose supplements rank below those in other counties in the district and across the state.

Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting that this distribution of $5,000 is the first step in addressing inequities in coaching supplement pay “until the athletic committee can further look at the pay scales and make some adjustments,” he said.

Board members Danny Parkerson, Jerry Wayne Johnson, Kate Miller, Shaun Tubbs and W.J. (Dub) Evins, III voted for the pay raises. Board members Jim Beshearse and Doug Stephens were absent.

Meanwhile, in his monthly report on personnel, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps reported to the school board that Chandra Adcock and Julie Hale have been granted a leave as requested.

Those who have either resigned or retired are as follows:

Kelley Burgess, teacher at DCHS
Orlando Guzman, mechanic
Cecilia Jenkins, teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Sherry Judkins, custodian at Northside Elementary School
Rolando Navarro, teacher at DCHS
JoAnn Pittman, custodian at DCHS
Ashley Reeves, teacher at Northside Elementary School

Early Voting Begins Friday, July 15

July 14, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Scott Cantrell
Shannon Cantrell

Early voting for the August 4 county general, Smithville, Liberty and Dowelltown city and state primary elections begins tomorrow (July 15). Voting will continue Mondays through Saturdays and end on July 30.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW SAMPLE BALLOT)

DekalbTN-PG6-InfinityNewspaper.pdf (37.26 KB)

DeKalb County Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley is encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting.

“Voting early lets people cast a ballot when it’s convenient for them,” Stanley said. “The flexibility means everyone doesn’t have to vote on Election Day.”

“Tennesseans broke records during the March 1 ‘SEC Primary’ by taking advantage of early voting,” said Secretary of State Trey Hargett. “It will be exciting to see Tennesseans participate in the electoral process this August and November.”

Early voting will be conducted on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse in Smithville. Hours of early voting are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m. until Noon on Saturdays; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays; and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

Sample ballots can be found on wjle.com; dekalbelections.com; or GoVoteTN.com and at the DeKalb County Election Commission office.

Tennesseans voting early or on Election Day should remember to bring valid photo identification. Photo IDs issued by Tennessee state government, including driver’s licenses, or the federal government are acceptable even if they are expired. College student IDs are not acceptable.

The only county wide race on the ballot August 4 is for Assessor of Property between Democratic Incumbent Scott Cantrell and Republican challenger Shannon Cantrell. The winner will serve four years.

Three positions on the DeKalb County Board of Education are up for election on Thursday, August 4 but only one race is contested.

Incumbent 5th district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III is being challenged for re-election by Barry Mabe and Kevin Hale.

6th district incumbent Doug Stephens is unopposed for re-election.

In the 4th district, Kate Miller is unopposed for the election to fill the remaining two years of her husband Billy Miller's unexpired term. He resigned in 2014 and she was appointed to serve until this election.

The 5th and 6th district winners will serve four years.

The other school board members, Danny Parkerson in the 1st district; Jerry Wayne Johnson in the 2nd district; Jim Beshearse in the 3rd district, and Shaun Tubbs in the 7th district were elected in 2014 and are in mid-term. Their terms are up August 31, 2018.

Two candidates are running to fill the remaining two years of an unexpired county commission term in the 1st district. Republican Thomas Chandler and Democrat Julie Williams Young are vying for the seat. They were each nominated by their party during conventions earlier this year. No independents qualified for the position. The winner will fill the seat left vacant by Elmer Ellis, Jr. who resigned.

Constables will be elected to serve four years. Only one race is contested. In the first district Republican Lee Plummer and Democrat Jason Taylor are seeking the position.

The other candidates for constable are unopposed as follows:

Constable 2nd District—Thomas Theriaque, Republican
Constable 3rd District—Travis Bryant; Democrat
Constable 4th District—Paul Cantrell, Democrat
Constable 5th District—Mark Milam, Democrat
Constable 6th district—Carl Lee Webb, Democrat
Constable 7th district—Johnny King, Democrat

The Smithville Municipal Election will be contested on Thursday, August 4th.

Five candidates are in the race in which three aldermen will be elected, each to serve a four year term.

Incumbents Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller, and Danny Washer are running for re-election along with newcomers Ronald Dale Stanley and Richard Steinbach.

Also on August 4th, Dowelltown voters will elect a mayor and alderman. The only candidates to qualify were Pam Redmon for mayor and William A. Davis for alderman. Another alderman position was to have been filled in the election but no other candidate qualified. The terms are for four years.

The Liberty Municipal Election is also set for Thursday, August 4th. Dwayne Blair, Todd Dodd, and Jason Ray are each seeking a four year term as alderman. They are unopposed. J.D. Bratten will be a candidate for alderman to fill a one year unexpired term.

State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster in the 40th district and Mark Pody of Lebanon in the 46th district will be challenged for re-election this year.

Representative Weaver will be unopposed for re-nomination in the Tennessee Republican Primary on Thursday, August 4th but she will have a Democratic opponent in the November 8th General Election.

Gayla Colvert Hendrix of Smithville and Teresa Marion of Smith County are seeking the Democratic nomination for State Representative in the 40th district in the Tennessee Democratic Primary on Thursday, August 4th. The winner will face Weaver in November.

The 40th district includes Smith, Trousdale and part of DeKalb and Sumner Counties.

Meanwhile, Representative Pody will be unopposed for nomination in the Tennessee Republican Primary on August 4th but he will be opposed by Democrat Amelia Hipps of Lebanon in the November 8th General Election. Hipps is unopposed for nomination in the Tennessee Democratic Primary on August 4th.

The 46th district includes Cannon, and part of Wilson and DeKalb Counties.

Each term is for two years.

Sixth District Congressman Diane Black of Gallatin is facing opposition in the Tennessee Republican Primary on Thursday, August 4th.

Her opponents in the Republican Primary are Joe S. Carr of Lascassas, Tommy N. Hay of Monterey, and Donald Strong of Crossville.

Two candidates, David W. Kent of Cottontown and Flo Matheson of Crossville, are running in the Tennessee Democratic Primary.

The Republican and Democratic nominees will be on the November 8th General Election ballot along with Independent David Ross of White House.

The term is two years.

The 6th Congressional District includes Pickett, Fentress, Cumberland, White, DeKalb, Cannon, Coffee, Wilson, Smith, Jackson, Overton, Clay, Putnam, Trousdale, Macon, Sumner and Robertson Counties and small portions of Van Buren and Cheatham counties.

Ten seats on Tennessee's state-level courts are up for retention elections on August 4. Three seats on the Tennessee Supreme Court join three seats on the Tennessee Court of Appeals and three seats on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

The supreme court justices at large standing for retention are Holly Kirby, Jeff Bivins, and Roger A. Page.

The appeals court judges standing for retention are Kenny Armstrong, Brandon O. Gibson, and Arnold B. Goldin (All Western Division)

The court of criminal appeals judges standing for retention are J. Ross Dyer (Western Division) Timothy L. Easter (Middle Division), Robert L. Holloway,Jr. (Middle Division), and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr. (Eastern Division)

Voters will be asked to either “retain” or “replace” each judge or justice.

DCHS Football Cheerleaders Awarded at NCA Camp

July 13, 2016
DCHS Football Cheerleaders
Allison Maynard, Rachel Fuson, Kaitlyn Roller, Lexie Bates, and Rosa Payne
Kaitlyn Roller
Rachel Fuson
Rosa Payne, Kaitlyn Roller and Lexie Bates

The DCHS football cheerleaders attended NCA cheerleading camp in June at the Park Vista resort in Gatlinburg. They received the performance Top Team trophy awarded to the team with the best cheerleading technique, skill incorporation and performance ability. They received the technical excellence awards for stunts and motions. They also received a bid to Nationals in Dallas, Texas and won the spirit stick every day.

Five cheerleaders made the All-American team, an award earned by outstanding individuals who exemplify the best cheerleading skills. They are Allison Maynard, Rachel Fuson, Kaitlyn Roller, Lexie Bates, and Rosa Payne.

Individual awards:

Kaitlyn Roller was the Top All-American, a medal given to the highest scoring All American at camp

Rachel Fuson received the individual leadership plaque for excellence in leadership throughout the week in captain's class

Rosa Payne, Kaitlyn Roller and Lexie Bates were asked to sign with NCA staff.

Fuson Awarded Second Place at State Essay Contest

July 13, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Skylar Fuson pictured with her teacher, Jenny Elrod

Skylar Fuson, a 7th grader at DeKalb Middle School, was recently awarded Second Place in the State Essay Contest. This announcement came on Friday, June 17th at the 2016 Farm Bureau Women’s Summer Leadership Conference in Columbia, TN. The subject of the contest this year was “Why is Agriculture Important?” This is an annual contest to promote education in the use of agriculture in daily living and its effects on the economy. Skylar received a $300.00 cash prize. Pictured with Skylar is her teacher, Jenny Elrod. Mrs. Elrod was also awarded $100.00 by attending the state contest with Skylar.

County Officials Ask Commission to Reconsider Pay Plan

July 13, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jeff McMillen

A new pay plan for county employees would be implemented with passage of the 2016-17 budget later this month but some public officials don’t like it and are asking the county commission to reconsider.

Under the plan, employees of the offices of Trustee, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, Assessor of Property, County Mayor, Circuit Court Clerk, and Clerk and Master would get step raises at a percentage of what their employer earns. But since the county mayor gets $10,000 more than the other aforementioned officials, his two employees would earn more money than their clerks.

Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, in addressing the county mayor and commissioners in a workshop session Tuesday evening at the courthouse, said he doesn’t think the plan is fair.

“I consider my employees to be just as important as they are. Every office is important or they wouldn’t have it. I can’t imagine how you can think that they (county mayor’s two employees) are worth $4,000 more than my employees just because Tim (Stribling) makes $75,000 and I make $65,000. I’m not asking you to take anything away from Tim’s girls. They are important. They write the checks. They pay the bills and all that. We record the deeds. So we’re important too or we wouldn’t be there. Every office has got a function,” he said.

McMillen claims the proposed pay plan only adds to disparity which already exists between the county mayor’s employees and other clerks. According to McMillen, the county mayor’s employees earn extra pay for writing grants on behalf of the county, not part of their regular duties, but they do it while at work. “They are splitting that money ($4,500) and basically getting over $2,000 more than what our employees are,” he said.

McMillen and others are also upset that they were not invited to attend the budget committee meeting when this issue was decided. McMillen said he had to learn the particulars of the plan in a news story on WJLE's website.

During a lengthy meeting last month, the county commission’s budget committee came up with the new wage scale and tied it to the salaries of the county public officials. Because it is based on a percentage of what their boss earns, clerks would get an automatic pay hike funded by the county every time the state grants a pay raise for the county’s public officials. The plan also includes five step increases for these employees with them being eligible to earn up to 44% of their employer’s salary at level 5 after eight years of service.

Wayne Cantrell, Chairman of the Budget Committee, said automatic pay raises for clerks when their bosses get an increase is an aspect of the plan he likes.

“We came out of there (budget committee meeting) united because we thought that this was the best thing we could do right now,” added Budget Committee member Larry Summers.

McMillen warned the commission that it would be fostering division and hurt feelings if employees of one office are treated differently than the others. “Tell me what the difference is between those girls and mine. They don’t have to have a BS degree. They don’t have to have an Associate’s Degree. All they have to do is come in and apply for a job and him (county mayor) be willing to hire them because he thinks they can help him,” said McMillen.

“I think there needs to be an honest appreciation of the fact that there are different accountabilities all across our county and in your offices. If you are the manager at Food Lion, Walmart, or Federal Mogul there are people who stand side by side that earn different wages. In my mind those two people (county mayor’s employees) are not statutory clerks as all of your employees are. They don’t take an oath of office. And that doesn’t have any bearing on the raise. But in that office(county mayor), if you went to a CPA and said what would it take to do payroll for 120 people you would get a lot higher salary than probably either one of those girls make. And take into consideration accounts payable for our size county. That’s just the way I look at it,” said Budget Committee member Jack Barton.

“My office is bigger in accounts receivable than accounts payable. So how can you compare that?”, asked Trustee Sean Driver who also addressed the commission.

McMillen said the county ‘s plan also fails to take into consideration years of service. “You’re not saying anything about time of service being important. I have an employee who has been here 19 years. One employee of the county mayor’s office hasn’t been here near that long and she is going to make $3,000 more than my 19 year clerk,” he said.

When asked by Trustee Driver if he thought the plan was fair, County Mayor Stribling replied that it was the budget committee’s recommendation and that if the county commission were to vote it down then the budget committee would have to revisit it.

Should the county commission adopt the budget, which includes the new pay plan, clerks could challenge it in court. McMillen said there are no plans to do so. “There is no lawsuit guys. We’ve never met with any attorney. We’ve not talked about that. I don’t want a lawsuit. That’s not what we’re here for. When lawsuits are happening, it’s bad for all of us because you know who pays for every bit of it? The county does. We’re not into a lawsuit. We’re into a discussion,” he said.

“ I only ask that you look at paying everybody the same. I owe it to my employees to represent them”, McMillen concluded.

During a previous budget committee meeting last month, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack and Trustee Sean Driver expressed their opposition to the proposed pay plan.

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