Local News Articles

Theft of Fishing Rods and Reels Lands Morrison Man in Trouble

June 3, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jarrod Allen Herrin
Shauna Faye Stringer
Robert Eugene Wright, III
Lonnie Ray Dyer

A Morrison man has been arrested for allegedly stealing fishing rods and reels from a boat at Sligo Marina.

25 year old Jarrod Allen Herrin of Morrison is charged with burglary and theft of property under $500. His bond is $7,500 and he will be in court Thursday, June 5. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on October 23, 2012, Herrin entered a pontoon boat at Sligo Boat Dock and took two rods and reels. The case was investigated by a Criminal Detective of the Sheriff's Department. Herrin was arrested on Tuesday, May 27.

27 year old Shauna Faye Stringer of Tubbs Street, Liberty is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court June 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, May 29 a deputy was dispatched to Tubbs Street in Liberty in reference to a physical domestic in progress. When the officer arrived all the parties were separated and he spoke with Stringer, who informed him that she and a man started arguing and that she broke a window in the house. Stringer further stated that she punched the man in the head. She was determined to have been the primary aggressor and was arrested for domestic assault.

26 year old Robert Eugene Wright, III of Murfreesboro is charged with a fourth offense of driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for driving on a revoked license, failure to maintain lane of travel, and violation of implied consent. His bond is $6,000 and he will be in court June 19. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, May 30 Wright was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 west in Dowelltown and left his lane of travel. A deputy conducted a traffic stop of Wright's vehicle and found him to have an odor of alcohol on his person. He was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Wright submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. Wright refused to voluntarily submit to a blood test. A computer check revealed that his license were revoked and that he has had three prior DUI convictions. Wright was placed under arrest for DUI.

54 year old Lonnie Ray Dyer of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with criminal trespass. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, June 1 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Short Mountain Highway for an unwanted guest. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Dyer who was sitting in a chair on the front porch of the residence. While this is the home of a relative, Dyer knew he was not supposed to be there because he was arrested on August 24, 2013 for the aggravated burglary of and theft of property from this residence . Dyer had further been advised previously by another deputy not to be back on the property. Dyer did not have consent from the homeowner, who owns the property, to be back there. He was placed under arrest.

Man Charged with Aggravated Sexual Battery of Child

June 2, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joel Henry

A 40 year old man is charged with aggravated sexual battery for allegedly touching his 11 year old niece inappropriately.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said Joel Henry is under a $25,000 bond and he will be in court June 5.

The incident occurred earlier this year at a residence on College Street in Smithville. According to the warrant, the child, who was spending the night, was asleep in bed with her grandmother. She awoke to find Henry standing over her and allegedly touching her in private areas. Following an investigation, Henry was arrested last week by Smithville Police.

Meanwhile a 19 year old man was arrested last week in a January auto theft.

Lucas Shane Bogle is charged with stealing a 1999 Toyota 4Runner from the driveway of a residence on Riley Avenue January 29, 2014 and then driving it to a local salvage yard where he sold it for scrap. The vehicle was in perfect shape and running good, according to Police Chief Randy Caplinger. Valued at more than $5,000, the 4Runner was sold for $489.

Chief Caplinger said while police recovered the stolen vehicle the same day it was taken, Bogle has been on the run since the theft. Bogle was picked up last week in Wilson County and charged with auto theft. He is under a $15,000 bond.

29 year old Travis Clint Tramel is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued two citations for simple possession of a schedule IV drug (xanax and valium). His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said on Saturday, April 26 police were dispatched to an area of West Main Street in answer to a complaint of a possible drunk driver. An officer stopped a vehicle on Riley Avenue and spoke with the driver, Tramel, who had a light blue powdery residue in his nose. His speech was slurred and labored. Tramel also performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was found with a metal pill container which held seventeen and a half light blue pills believed to be xanax and four light blue pills and a light yellow pill believed to be valium. Tramel was placed under arrest.

20 year old Jesse R. Herman is charged with burglary and theft. His bond is $16,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Sunday, April 27 police were dispatched to NHC Healthcare Center in response to a complaint of two vehicles having been broken into. A suspicious person later identified as Herman had been seen in the area. An officer found Herman on White Street and asked him about the thefts. Herman's girlfriend later told police that Herman had burglarized the vehicles. According to Chief Caplinger, $605 worth of personal belongings were taken from the two vehicles.

49 year old Steven Stoner is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Monday, May 5 police received a call from Kwik-N-Ezy about an intoxicated person who was trying to purchase beer but was refused. Police were told that the man, Stoner, had gone across the street to Mapco Express. An officer went to the store and spoke with Stoner at the counter. He appeared to be very unsteady on his feet. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was slurred. For his safety, Stoner was placed under arrest.

49 year old Leslie Franklin Arnold is charged with driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. His bond is $6,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Tuesday, May 6 Arnold was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 56 when he was observed crossing the yellow line. As the officer was making the traffic stop, Arnold sideswiped a van. A computer check revealed that Arnold's license were revoked for DUI in Putnam County on January 30. Arnold had an odor of alcohol on his person and his speech was slurred. A half pint of Vodka and two empty beer cans were found in his vehicle. Arnold was taken to the emergency room of the hospital by DeKalb EMS.

42 year old Kathy Sue Morris is cited for shoplifting at Walmart. Chief Caplinger said that on Monday, May 5 Morris was observed by a Walmart employee concealing items on her person inside the store. An officer confronted Morris and found the items.

53 year old Roy Douglas Atnip is charged with domestic violence. His bond is $2,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Tuesday, May 6 at a residence on East Main Street, Atnip and his girlfriend got into an argument. Atnip got mad and pulled a glass cabinet over and hit her on the leg. The woman, in fear for her safety, called 911. Atnip was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

40 year old Steve Mabe, Jr. is charged with theft over $500. His bond is $5,000. Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, May 3 Mabe allegedly went to Lynn's Auto Sales at 415 Dry Creek Road and removed four tires and wheels from a vehicle on the sales lot and replaced them with other tires and wheels. He also took a radio from the vehicle. The stolen tires, wheels, and radio were later seen on Mabe's vehicle at his residence. Mabe was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

22 year old Joshua Cripps is charged with theft of property. His bond is $2,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Wednesday, May 7 at the parking lot Evins Manor Apartment on Foster Road, Cripps allegedly stole a radiator from the bed of a truck. He was arrested after being found in possession of the radiator.

39 year old Dondi Billings is cited for shoplifting at Walmart. Chief Caplinger said Billings was observed by a Walmart loss prevention officer concealing items inside her purse. Billings went through the cashier line, purchasing some merchandise but not the goods in her purse. She was stopped at the door and the unpaid for items were found.

22 year old Dillon Myers is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, May 10 police responded to a complaint of a possible DUI on Highway 70. An officer spotted a vehicle matching the description given by central dispatch. It was parked on a sidewalk. The officer approached the automobile and found the driver, Myers, passed out behind the wheel. He had difficulty getting Myers to wake up. Myers had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Myers performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and he refused to submit to a blood test. Myers was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

33 year old Kendra Dean White is cited for shoplifting. She will be in court on June 12. Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, May 10 police were dispatched to the Dollar General Store due to a complaint of a shoplifter. An officer spoke with the store manager who said she saw White putting items in her purse. The officer confronted White and asked to look in her purse. She consented and the unpaid for items from the store were found.

31 year old Chassity Phillips-Watson is charged with driving under the influence. Her bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said that Phillips-Watson was involved in a car crash at the intersection of Holmes Creek Road and Allen's Ferry Road. She was found to have slurred speech and very watery eyes. She was taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital. According to the warrant, she left the hospital against medical advice and she was arrested by police after submitting to and performing poorly on field sobriety tasks.

28 year old Jose Sanchez is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, May 10 Sanchez was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when he was stopped by police for speeding. He had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. The officer noticed an open container of beer in a cup holder on the driver's side. Sanchez was unsteady on his feet. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and he consented to a breath test. Sanchez was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

18 year old Bradley Mullican is charged with public intoxication and cited for consumption of alcohol under age 21. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Thursday, May 15 police were dispatched to the county complex on South Congress Boulevard to check on a person seen stumbling into the walls there and holding an alcoholic beverage. An officer spoke with the man, Mullican, who had slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Mullican told the officer that he had consumed several wine coolers within the previous hour. For his safety, Mullican was placed under arrest.

35 year old Jason Skaroupka is charged with a fifth offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $12,500 and he will be in court on June 5. Chief Caplinger said that on Friday, May 16 an officer stopped the operator of a Jeep who was speeding on South Congress Boulevard. The driver, Skaroupka told the officer that he did not have a valid license because they were revoked for failure to pay child support. He further could not show proof of insurance. A computer check confirmed that Skaroupka's driver license are revoked and that he is an habitual traffic offender. He was placed under arrest.

42 year old Richard Brandon Turner is charged with public intoxication. He is under a $1,500 bond and he will be in court on June 5. Chief Caplinger said police were dispatched to the area of Bell Street and Atnip Street on a complaint of an intoxicated man. After receiving a description of the man, an officer spotted him on Atnip Street. He was found with an open container along with several unopened containers of beer. The man, Turner was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. After becoming belligerent with the officer, Turner was placed under arrest.

27 year old Kenny Dyal, Jr. is charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search. He is under a $1,500 bond and he will be in court June 19. Chief Caplinger said that on Sunday, May 25 police were at a residence on Jackson Street investigating a prowler call. As an officer was walking toward the residence, someone was seen running out the front door. The officer gave chase on foot. Dyal was caught and placed under arrest. He was brought to the jail for booking.

19 year old Martelia Tallent is charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. She will be in court on July 10. Chief Caplinger said on Tuesday, May 27 Tallent was operating a motor vehicle on East Main Street when she rear ended another vehicle which was stopped at a traffic light. Tallent then left the scene. She was stopped by an officer on West Main Street. Tallent had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and she was unsteady on her feet. Tallent admitted to drinking two beers and she performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

27 year old Jason Sturdivant is charged with filing a false report. He is under a $6,000 bond. Chief Caplinger said that on Monday, April 6, police responded to the Tannery at 504 West Broad Street in reference to a vehicle crashing into the front of the building. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Sturdivant who said he was traveling west on Broad Street when a small green vehicle pulled out in front of him from Anthony Avenue, almost hitting him, causing Sturdivant to hit the curb and lose control of his vehicle, striking the front of the building. But, according to Chief Capliger, video surveillance from a neighboring business showed that Sturdivant's vehicle pulled out from Anthony Avenue, crossed the highway, and struck the building.

DeKalb County’s Evans honored by TTU College of Business

June 2, 2014
Brady Evans

Brady Evans, of Smithville, received the Avo Anderson memorial scholarship from Tennessee Tech University’s College of Business.

Evans is a senior studying basic business at TTU and a graduate of DeKalb County High School. He was one of more than 100 students to receive scholarships from the College of Business. The college distributed $155,000 this spring to its top students.

“We are proud of this outstanding group of students,” said Ken Wiant, interim dean of TTU’s College of Business. “We are also extremely pleased with the support we receive from businesses and alumni in supplying the private funds for scholarships. In these trying times, they have responded by increasing the amount that we could award this year.”

“These awards recognize our students’ achievements and help us to attract quality students to TTU.”

Charges Pending Against Man Involved in Hit and Run Accident

June 2, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Scene of Rear End Hit and Run Crash on South Congress Boulevard
Utility Trailer was being pulled by pickup truck shown in background
After Leaving Scene of Crash on Congress Boulevard, Man Wrecks on Braswell Lane

A man involved in a hit and run accident on South Congress Boulevard Sunday was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital after his vehicle crashed in a rollover on Braswell Lane.

Pablo Valenciano was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and later flown by Life Force helicopter ambulance to Erlanger in Chattanooga.

According to Trooper Tommy Cooper of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Valenciano was south on Congress Boulevard in a GMC Yukon when he rear ended a Buick Sentry, driven by Kathy Phillips, who was stopped in the southbound lane. In front of Phillips on Congress Boulevard was a Dodge Dakota pick-up truck, driven by Rodney Pelham who was also stopped in the southbound lane, waiting for the traffic light to change at the intersection of Bryant Street near Rite-Aid Pharmacy. Pelham's truck was pulling an eight foot utility trailer. The force of the crash pushed Phillips' car into the back of the utility trailer attached to Pelham's truck. After impact, Valenciano drove away. Minutes later Valenciano lost control of his Yukon on Braswell Lane, left the road and overturned, coming to rest upright in a yard.

Trooper Cooper said Phillips and a passenger of her car, 12 year old Damien Phelps were taken to the hospital by DeKalb EMS where they were treated and released.

Pelham's wife Teresa was in the truck with him. Neither of them were injured.

Trooper Cooper said charges are pending.

Members of the Smithville Police Department and Sheriff's Department were also on the scene along with the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department. Trooper Bobby Johnson assisted Trooper Cooper.

Corps Offers Guided Tours of Center Hill Dam

June 1, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Center Hill Dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is offering the public free guided tours of the Center Hill Dam.

The tours in 2014 are scheduled Saturday, July 19, Aug. 16, and Sept. 6; with tour times at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 12 noon. Tour size is limited and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. All guests including minors are required to submit a request form at least fourteen days prior to the tour and receive confirmation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.

Approximately 45 minutes in length, the tour begins at the Center Hill Power Plant reception area. After guest check-in and a brief introduction, Corps of Engineers personnel will provide registered participants an up-close look at the dam and power plant facilities.

In addition to the guided tours of the power plant, Corps Park Rangers will be available at the Power Plant to answer questions and conduct a brief presentation on the many benefits that Center Hill Lake provides. Linda Adcock, Project Manager for the Center Hill Dam Seepage Rehabilitation Project, will also be providing an update during the tour on the progress of construction.

Call (931) 858-3125 to request a registration form. Once completed, return the form to 158 Resource Lane, Lancaster, TN 38569; or email the completed form to centerhilltours@usace.army.mil.

For more information visit
http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Locations/Lakes/CenterHillLake/OpenHouseTo...

DeKalb Clean Up Campaign is a Huge Success

May 31, 2014
DeKalb Clean Up Day
Missy Marshall, Terri Lynn Weaver, Mike Foster,Stine Moss-Cooperwood, Suzanne Williams

The Keep Tennessee Beautiful's DeKalb County Clean Up Campaign was a huge success according to County Mayor Mike Foster and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams. Approximately 200 people participated in this year's event.

Volunteers reported litter pick-up at various locations including Hwy. 56 S, Hwy. 56 N, Hurricane Bridge area, Smithville Golf Course area, Memorial Gardens, Dowelltown, Alexandria, Liberty, Austin Bottoms, Belk, Keltonburg, and the Smithville Public Square. Employees at SHIROKI, North America picked up miles of litter on Hwy. 70. In the Four Seasons area, volunteers spruced up the children's playground area.

The dumpsters that had been placed all around the county days prior to the main event, to give people a head start on the clean-up and to serve as motivators to spruce up homes and neighborhoods, quickly became full to capacity.

"This was our most successful clean-up campaign ever," says Chamber Director Suzanne Williams. "The weather was perfect, and it was amazing to see a long line of people waiting to sign-up and help out. Beautification in our communities is especially important right now with our peak tourism season about to begin."

Keep Tennessee Beautiful Executive Director, Missy Marshall, and Clean & Green Programs Coordinator, Stine Moss-Cooperwood, drove from Memphis to be a part of this year's event in DeKalb County. State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver also attended and helped picked up litter.

Many groups volunteered to contribute to our success including the Boy Scout Troop #347, Sheriff's Department, "Friends of Tennessee"- Jim & Diane Loy, SHIROKI North America, Solid Waste Department, Church of the Latter Day Saints, Justin Potter Library employees, and General Sessions and Juvenile Court community service workers.

"We are so grateful to everyone who came out and helped," says County Mayor Mike Foster. "The community support and willingness to work together is a reminder of how blessed we are to live here in DeKalb County."

(Bottom Photo: Keep Tennessee Beautiful Executive Director Missy Marshall; State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver; County Mayor Mike Foster; Clean & Green Programs Coordinator Stine Moss-Cooperwood; Chamber Director Suzanne Williams)

Nomination Period Begins for FSA County Committee Election

May 31, 2014
Donny Green

Donny Green, DeKalb/Cannon County FSA County Executive Director, announces that the nomination period for the 2014 Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee Election is underway. The nomination period continues through August 1, 2014.

"I encourage all producers to participate in the county committee election process by nominating candidates by the August 1 deadline," said Green. "We are counting on as much participation as possible, because county committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We have seen a trend in recent years of increased nominations of minority, beginning farmers, and women producers and we hope that will continue."

Committees apply their judgment and knowledge to make decisions on county commodity price-support loan eligibility, establishment of allotments and yields, conservation programs, disaster programs, employment and other farm program-related issues. Nationwide, there are more than 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to five members who are elected by eligible local producers.

To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.

Nominees must reside in Local Administrative Area (LAA) for which they are seeking to be elected. For the 2014 Election, the DeKalb/Cannon County FSA County Committee Election will conduct elections in LAA-2 (DeKalb County) and LAA-4 (Cannon County). Below are the descriptions of the LAA's that will be conducting elections this year:

Local Administrative Area # 2, the portions of DeKalb County described as follows:

West of a line where Hwy. 146 crosses the Cannon County line following Hwy. 146 north to Hodges Rd.; thence north to Tabernacle Rd.; following a line from Tabernacle Rd. to Dry Creek Rd.; west of Dry Creek Rd. to Hwy. 70 West; north of Hwy. 70 to Hwy. 96 North (Dale Ridge Rd.); west of Hwy. 96 North to Hwy. 141 (Wolf Creek Rd.);West of Hwy. 141 to Center Hill Dam; thence following the Caney Fork River north/northwest to the Smith County line; thence south of the Smith County line; thence east of the Wilson County line to the Cannon County line; northwest of the Cannon County line back to the intersection of Hwy. 146 and the DeKalb/Cannon County line.

Local Administrative Area # 4, the portions of Cannon County described as follows:

That portion of Cannon County that lies east of Highway 53 (a state highway that runs south from the DeKalb County line and north from the Coffee County Line).

Individuals may nominate themselves, or others, as a candidate. In addition, eligible candidates can be nominated by community-based and other organizations in the county where the election is being held before the close of the nomination period, especially groups representing socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. Nominations and elections are open to all eligible candidates and voters without regard to race, color, religion, nation origin, age, sex, marital status or disability. The nomination form (FSA-669A) is available at USDA Service Centers and online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections

Ballots will be mailed to all eligible voters in LAA's 2 and 4 on November 3, 2014. Completed ballots must be returned, either in person or postmarked, no later December 1, 2014. For more information about FSA county committees, visit the DeKalb/Cannon County USDA Service Center or call 615-597-8225, extension 2.

Children Burn Survivors Enjoy Camping Experience

May 30, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Child Burn Survivor Given Motorcycle Ride
Children Burn Survivors Check Out County Fire Truck
Kids Get Up Close Look Inside Fire Truck
Camp Phoenix Participants and Supporters
Camp Participants and Supporters
Participants and Supporters

Trying to live a normal life with burns isn't easy, especially for children. But for one week a year, the kids of Camp Phoenix get to forget their troubles and just have fun!

Eleven burn survivors ages six to sixteen from various places in Tennessee and Kentucky are at Indian Creek Youth Camp in DeKalb County through Saturday on a week-long camp sponsored by the Tennessee Firefighters’ Burn Foundation and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Director Judy King said the staff of Camp Phoenix first brought a group of children to Indian Creek Youth Camp five years ago and they have been returning every year since. "Camp Phoenix is a one week summer camp for children ages six to sixteen who are burn survivors. It's a chance for them to come out and be with other children that have similar situations. They get to go on the lake and go swimming. They do arts and crafts, horseback riding, and then we do unique things such as take them on motorcycle rides. It starts on Memorial Day and goes through the whole week and we leave on Saturday," she said.

The DeKalb Firefighters’ Association partners with Camp Phoenix each year to lend support. "We're a supporter of Camp Phoenix. We try to donate so kids can do fun things. A lot of these kids have been through a tragedy and we're just trying to uplift them and show that there are people who care. It's something we look forward to doing every year. Earlier this week we sponsored a charter bus for them to travel to an amusement park in Kentucky, said Brian Williams, Secretary-Treasurer of the DeKalb Firefighters' Association.

The children were transported by school bus from Indian Creek Youth Camp to Edgar Evins State Park on Thursday for a pizza party, sponsored by the DeKalb Firefighters Association. The kids were also treated to rides in DeKalb County Fire Trucks and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Patrol Cars. Firefighters from other areas of Middle Tennessee were there to give children motorcycle rides through the park.

Members of the DeKalb Firefighters Association wish to thank Sheriff Patrick Ray and his department along with Park Rangers and Manager Carl Halfacre of Edgar Evins State Park for their support.

Camp Phoenix is funded through the Tennessee Firefighters Burn Foundation. "They do the fundraising. We have memberships and fundraisers that fully fund and support the camp. Everyone here is a volunteer so all the money we raise goes back into the foundation and Camp Phoenix. Our staff all go through an extensive background check. We've got paramedics, firefighters, school teachers, and members of the community that volunteer to give a week of their time to put this on for the kids," said King.

The primary objective of the Foundation is to assist burn survivors in their recovery and to keep in close contact with burn units and medical facilities that provide care for burn victims. Providing burn awareness education through various community programs is also a major purpose of the Foundation.

Visit their website at www.tnfbf.org to learn more.

Committee Rejects Proposed School Budget

May 30, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education will have to revisit it's tentative budget for the 2014-15 year after the budget committee of the county commission Thursday night unanimously rejected it.

"I don't think this committee is ready to have a tax increase to present to the county commission," said budget committee member Wayne Cantrell.

The DeKalb County Board of Education Wednesday night adopted the tentative school budget and sent it to the budget committee on Thursday but the proposed $21.1 million spending plan does not have sufficient revenues to fund it without a property tax increase, which members of the budget committee said would require an additional six to seven cents.

Total revenues to fund the proposed school budget comes to $19,193,975 versus $21,151,531 in expenditures, a difference of $1,957,556. To help close the gap, the school board proposes to plug in $898,000 from Basic Education Program (BEP) reserves, $89,981 in Technology reserves, and $700,575 in unassigned money from the fund balance. Still, the board would have to come up with another $273,000 from the county commission or make cuts by that amount in order to balance the proposed budget.

The school board voted 4-3 to adopt the tentative budget Wednesday night. Members Billy Miller, Kenny Rhody, John David Foutch, and Charles Robinson voted in favor. Chairman Johnny Lattimore and members W.J. (Dub) Evins, III and Doug Stephens voted against it.

"I'm in favor of a large number of programs in here. Some of them have just been brought to my attention. In order for me to know what I'm voting on, I'd rather know a little more about it so I vote no," said Evins.

"I'm going to vote no. This is the first time that I've seen these nine pages (budget) and I'm not going to put my name to it without digging into it deeper," said Stephens.

"I'm going to vote no. There are some things I think we could cut," said Chairman Lattimore.

To meet the requirements of the Affordable Care ACT the Board has budgeted for 2014-15 school year a “defined Employer contribution” for the health insurance program, effective for coverage beginning January 1, 2015.

Based on calculations this will make the “Limited” health insurance option affordable to all eligible employees, according to Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. The Board will also pay 100% of the cost of a GAP insurance plan for each employee enrolled in the “Limited” plan. The GAP plan will offset the deductible and out of pocket expense of the “Limited” plan.

Again, based on projections it is anticipated that the overall cost to the School System will essentially remain the same. However, should enrollment in this plan exceed projections the school system could incur additional cost, according to Director Willoughby.

The proposed budget includes funding for a new second grade teacher as well as an English teacher, Chemistry teacher, and a part time English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at DCHS. "There will be a second grade teacher added simply because of our (enrollment) numbers. We're planning on adding an English teacher and a Chemistry teacher at the high school in order for us to change to a modified block schedule with five- seventy minute periods for the state mandated tested course subjects We also need to add a part-time ESL teacher based on the (enrollment) numbers we already have right now which have gone up. It's been a long time since we've added any teachers at the high school but we have approximately 225 to 230 students coming into the ninth grade (from DeKalb West and DeKalb Middle School)," said Director Willoughby.

A total of $25,045 has been added to the proposed budget for additional supplements including two DCHS assistant soccer coaches (one for the girls team and one for the boys team totaling $5,570), two assistant DeKalb Middle School soccer coaches ($2,790), a DeKalb Middle School assistant basketball coach ($1,395), a DeKalb Middle School and DCHS Cross Country coach (2 positions totaling $5,000), an Athletic Director supplement ($5,000), an assistant DeKalb West School basketball coach ($1,395), an assistant DeKalb West Baseball coach ($1,395), and a DeKalb West School Cross Country coach ($2,500).

The proposed budget includes funding for a half-time speech pathologist. "We are presently contracting those services. Our system needs a full time person and the budget would have to be amended if one is found. The funds are in the proposed budget they would have to be transferred into the correct category and line item," said Director Willoughby.

The proposed budget includes funding for four Academic Coaches totaling $200,000 to help teachers and students.

A new full time Technology position is budgeted at $30,000. The school system already has a Technology Director and two part time employees in this category. "I believe since 2006, we have added 1,500 devices and we're fixing to add a lot more. We need to add this new technology person," said Director Willoughby.

The Transportation Director would get a four thousand dollar pay raise again this year in this proposed budget. His salary would go to $36,710. "Last year we increased the Transportation Director category (salary) by approximately $4,000. We said at that time that we would do it again this year," said Willoughby. The pay raise would bring the salary more in line with transportation directors in other counties.

Funds are also included in the budget for Odyssey Ware. "This is a credit recovery program and we have been paying for that out of the Race to the Top money. That money has gone away so we have added that ($20,000) into the budget (Under Other Contracted Services)," Willoughby said.

"We have added ($6,000) in copy paper for schools (Under Other Supplies and Materials for Summer School)," Willoughby continued.

Twenty thousand dollars is budgeted for New Attendance Software under Other Contracted Services.

Under Evaluation and Testing $37,000 is budgeted including new money of $18,000 for Universal Screener and $4,000 for ACT software. "We will be doing state required assessments of students throughout the year through Universal Screening. The ACT software will help students score better on the ACT," said Director Willoughby.

While the school system normally anticipates having to use some reserves to balance its budget each year, it has not yet had to do so. Last year (2012-13), the district projected a deficit but actually ended up around $300,000 to the good by the end of the fiscal year. Director Willoughby Thursday night told the budget committee and county mayor that he did not feel as comfortable this year. "Balancing the budget with reserves is not a good thing to do. This year I feel its a sure bet that we'll be using some of those reserves," said Willoughby

Chamber Gets TACP Grant for DeKalb Farmers Market

May 29, 2014
Chamber Gets TACP Grant for DeKalb Farmers Market

Recently, the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce applied for the TACP Farmers Market Promotion & Retail Grant Program on behalf of the DeKalb Farmers Market to purchase new DeKalb Farmers Market Signage, Rack Cards, and Display Tables.

Chamber Director Suzanne Williams was thrilled when she received the good news that the non-matching $1,000 grant request was approved. After working with County Mayor Mike Foster and DeKalb Farmers’ Market President Jeff Cantrell on these projects, the new and much-needed items have now been acquired and just in time for the new growing season.

The new DeKalb Farmers Market double-sided signs, designed by Jeff McMillen, are full-color and include the new Pick Tennessee Logo. The signs will be placed in high traffic areas at different entrances to the county to be able to reach the greatest number of people - directing locals and visitors alike to the DeKalb Farmers Market location at 205 East Bryant Street, Smithville (north side of the DeKalb County Complex).

The DeKalb Farmers Market Rack Cards, designed by Shan Burklow, showcases our local farm produce vendors and will be distributed by the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and marinas, Edgar Evins State Park, county and city offices, community buildings, and other public places. During the DeKalb County Agricultural Fair, the rack cards will be handed out at the DeKalb County Fair Exhibit Building and other distribution points. The local community, as well as tourists, will have the opportunity to become more aware of the location, hours, as well as other pertinent information about the delicious array of produce available at the DeKalb Farmers Market.

The 4 new Display Tables will be available to be used by farm produce vendors to help attractively display and better market their fresh produce and other items for sale. Having available tables for the vendors provides convenience for the farmers and gives the DeKalb Farmers Market the opportunity to grow in the number of vendors they currently have.

DeKalb Farmers Market President, Jeff Cantrell, is very excited about the new marketing tools provided by this grant. Jeff says, “The DeKalb Farmers Market is very grateful to the Chamber for doing this for us and for this opportunity to expand our customer base by helping more people find out about the Farmers Market and what we have to offer.”

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