Local News Articles

Habitat in Search of Next Partner Family with Dream of Home Ownership

September 16, 2014
Dwayne Page
Latest Habitat Home on Hayes Street Almost Complete

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is seeking low income families in substandard housing who would like to realize the dream of homeownership.

Area residents are invited to get information about this program and to learn how to apply during a meeting on Thursday, September 25 at 6:00 p.m. at the Smithville First United Methodist Church Christian Fellowship Center, which is located across from Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. Applications must be postmarked by Tuesday, September 30.

Habitat is accepting applications from those wishing to become the next partner family in DeKalb County. "We're having this meeting with the hope of choosing a family," said Marie Blair, member of the Habitat Family Selection Committee.

The purpose of Habitat is to build homes and then sell them to eligible families at no interest and for no profit. Habitat is looking for families who could not otherwise afford a home.

For families to qualify, they must meet basic qualifications, need for housing, ability to pay, and a willingness to partner. Families must have been residents of DeKalb County for a least one year prior to September 1, 2014 and they must be a United States citizen or have permanent resident alien status.

"They may be living in overcrowded housing. It may be that they are spending more on their rent and utilities, more than 30% of their income. They may not have a house. They may be staying with others. They may be living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions. That's how we determine need," said Blair.

"The second qualification is ability to pay. Some people have the mistaken idea that it's a free house. It's not a free house. It's interest free. But when we actually sell the house to the person they are expected to pay the amount of the cost of the house without any interest, which if you've ever made a mortgage payment or a payment on anything you know that is a huge savings," said Blair.

For a family of four, the maximum allowable annual income is $26,510 which is 55% of the median income for families in DeKalb County. If you are age 60 or have a special needs household member, the maximum allowable annual income level for a family of four is $28,920. The income levels vary according to family size.

Partner families making payments now on their homes are helping to subsidize the next home to be built. "All of the families who are making payments now, and we have four families who are already living in houses, pay that money back to Habitat through their payments each month and that builds the fund so that we're able to build another house. We're not self sustaining yet because we don't have enough houses but we're told that when we have ten houses, that will be enough so that we won't have to be so concerned about fundraising every time we get ready to build a house," according to Blair.

Eligible families must be willing to do volunteer work and learn basic home repair and maintenance practices and budgeting. "To be a partner family with Habitat you have to earn "sweat equity". It's hours that you work. You can work on someone else's house. You can do community service projects. Whatever your skill level is you can earn "sweat equity" by doing that job. The partner families must perform a certain number of "sweat equity" hours. I believe the total is 500 hours over the entire time before they move into their house. But they actually must have 100 hours before ground is broken," said Blair.

"We also expect all of our partner families to attend an education course. We have a committee called "Family Support" that works on budgeting issues and home maintenance. If you rent a house and something goes wrong you call your landlord. If it's your house there is no landlord to call. You have to know the things you can do and the things you might need to seek professional help for. We want our families to learn how to do that before they jump into home ownership without realizing all the responsibilities that go with it," Blair continued.

Habitat will conduct screens and criminal background checks on applicants. "Once a family passes all the milestones, we screen them for income. We will verify employment and other income and have a credit check completed to determine if they are truly in need or can afford a house. One of the last things we do before approving a partner family, we have a group who makes a visit to the home where they live now but that is not to do a white gloves test. It's announced and planned with the family when it's convenient for them. We're really looking at what are their housing needs. Our Family Selection Committee will then make a recommendation to our board of directors. The board is the group that ultimately approves the family, Blair concluded.

If you can't attend the meeting on Thursday, September 25 or need more information call 615-215-8181 and leave your name, address and phone number.

Dowelltown Man Charged with Child Rape For Sexual Contact with Niece

September 15, 2014
Dwayne Page
Jonathan Everett Jay
Michael Dusty Hollis
Eric Wayne Tramel
Johnathan Nelson Sandlin
Jessica Renee Scruggs
William Paul McGee
 William Drane Smallwood, II
Jeffery Allen Fults
Christopher Neil Patterson
Christopher Neil Patterson
Jason Alexander Sturdivant

A Dowelltown man has been charged with two counts of child rape for allegedly touching his eight year old niece in a sexual manner on two occasions within the past two weeks.

20 year old Jonathan Everett Jay of Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown is under a $150,000 bond and he will be in court October 9.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, September 11 a Sheriff's Department Detective responded to a residence on Snow Hill Road regarding a sexual assault of an eight year old girl. According to the mother, the child said that her uncle (Jay) had touched her inappropriately. The detective and a member of the Department of Children's Services spoke with the child and she confirmed what her mother had reported. When confronted Jay agreed to speak with the detective at the Sheriff's Department. After reading Jay his rights, the detective began the interview during which time Jay allegedly admitted to having had sexual contact with the child on two occasions, Wednesday August 27 and Thursday, September 11.

18 year old Michael Dusty Hollis of Hunt Hollow Road, Dowelltown is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court September 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, September 4 Hollis allegedly took a cell phone belonging to a member of the school staff at DCHS. The phone is valued at $350.

29 year old Eric Wayne Tramel of Midway Road, Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, September 9 a deputy saw Tramel walking on College Street in Dowelltown. Having prior knowledge that Tramel had active warrants out of Smith County for his arrest, the officer stopped and spoke with Tramel who identified himself as Anthony Tramel and gave a false date of birth. Tramel was positively identified by his tattoos. When confronted about his true identity, Tramel admitted to giving the officer a false name.

32 year old Johnathan Nelson Sandlin of Clear Creek Road, Liberty is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, September 9 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Clear Creek Road for a possible domestic. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Sandlin and a woman. She reported that Sandlin got in her face screaming and yelling and then pushed her toward the couch and punched holes in the wall. The woman told the officer that Sandlin's actions caused her to fear for the safety of herself and her children who were in the home. Sandlin suffered a cut on his finger apparently from punching the wall.

26 year old Jessica Renee Scruggs and 28 year old Jason Alexander Sturdivant both of Page Drive, Smithville are each charged with theft of property over $1,000. Bond for each is $7,500 and they will be in court on October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on or about Monday and Tuesday, September 8th & 9th Scruggs and Sturdivant allegedly took several pieces of steel from the Sligo construction site. They were allegedly found with some of the steel. The rest of the steel, valued at over $1,000, was taken to a local recycling business.

38 year old William Paul McGee of Morrison is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license. He was further issued a citation for driving an off road vehicle on the highway. His bond on the driving on suspended license charge is $4,500 and he will be in court on October 2. He will make a court appearance on the citation October 10. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 10 a deputy was dispatched to the end of Lowery Road to speak with someone who had been involved in an assault. While there, the officer saw McGee drive down the road on a four wheeler. Having prior knowledge that his license were suspended, the officer stopped McGee. A computer check revealed that McGee's license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

33 year old William Drane Smallwood, II of Lebanon is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for reckless driving and violation of the seatbelt law. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court October 9. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 10 a deputy spotted a white Dodge pickup pulling from a business location on Highway 70 west. The truck entered the highway in a reckless manner causing the rear end to slide back and forth across the lanes putting other drivers on the road in harm's way. The officer conducted a traffic stop and found the driver to be Smallwood. He had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. The officer asked Smallwood how many beers he had consumed. He replied about ten beers. Smallwood performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. A computer check revealed he had a prior DUI in 2012. Smallwood was placed under arrest.

39 year old Jeffery Allen Fults of Big Hill Road, Liberty is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court October 9. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, September 13 a deputy saw a white truck leave its lane of travel. After stopping the truck, the officer spoke with the driver, Fults and found him to have slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. Fults also had an odor of alcohol on him. Fults, who was unsteady on his feet, told the officer that he had been drinking throughout the day. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and submitted to a blood test. Fults was placed under arrest.

45 year old Christopher Neil Patterson of Big Hickory Court, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, September 14 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Big Hickory Court on a domestic disturbance call. The officer spoke with a woman who was very upset. The woman reported that she and her husband, Patterson had been in an altercation. She claims Patterson pinned her down on the bed with his knees causing bruising to her arms. He also allegedly tried to choke her. According to the woman, Patterson had threatened to kill her if she got up. Sheriff Ray said the woman's injuries were consistent with her statement. After an investigation, Patterson was determined to have been the primary aggressor. He was placed under arrest.

27 year old Jeffery Lynn Hendrix of Livingston is charged with assault. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, September 14 Hendrix, a prisoner at the jail, got into an argument with another male inmate. A correctional officer investigated and found them fighting. Video from the surveillance camera system revealed that Hendrix and the other prisoner pushed each other and then walked away. Hendrix then came up behind and assaulted him.

33 year old Juan Espinoza Vasquez of McMinnville is cited for driving on a suspended license, violation of the financial responsibility law, and failure to maintain lane of travel. He will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, September 9 a deputy saw a red truck leave its lane of travel on Highway 56 south. After stopping the truck, the officer spoke with the driver, Vasquez. A computer check revealed that his license were suspended on February 12 for failure to provide financial responsibility.

34 year old Candace Rochelle Guidry of Nashville is cited for violation of the light law, simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax), and possession of drug paraphernalia. She will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 10 a deputy stopped a white car for no brake light. The officer spoke with the driver, Guidry and received consent to search the vehicle. He found in Guidry's purse a pill believed to be xanax and a cut straw containing white powder. Guidry told the deputy that the items found belonged to her.

40 year old Lynn Jay Jones of Miller Road, Smithville is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. He will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, September 11 a deputy saw Jones walking on New Home Road. The officer stopped and spoke with Jones, who had a warrant against him for violation of probation. While making the arrest, the deputy found two hypodermic needles on Jones.

School Board Honors Former DWS Principal and Cafeteria Manager

September 15, 2014
Dwayne Page
Georgia Young
Danny Parkerson

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to honor two persons who served DeKalb West School for many years.

Second District Member Jerry Wayne Johnson made a motion that a plaque be placed in the new cafeteria in memory of the late Georgia Young, who served as cafeteria manager until her death three and a half years ago. Young worked in the school system for almost 40 years.

Johnson also moved that a plaque be placed in the new safe wing at the West School in honor of former Principal Danny Parkerson in recognition of his 37 year education career.

"As you know, the board before us added onto the West School. We're very proud of it and it is very nice. And as all of you know we had a cook over the whole cafeteria for years, Mrs. Georgia Young. I'd love to see us put a plaque up in her memory in the cafeteria. And Mr. Parkerson has retired. He taught in the school system for 37 years. I'd love to see a plaque put up in his honor in the safe wing. I put that in the form of a motion," said Johnson.

The school board unanimously adopted Johnson's motion.

According to her daughter, Young started working for the school system in the cafeteria at the Liberty Elementary School in the fall of 1972. She became cafeteria manager at DeKalb West School from the time the school opened in the fall of 1974 until she died on March 15, 2011. Young started the 2010-11 school year but became ill in August 2010 and had to leave her job. She never officially retired and was still an employee at the time of her death.

Parkerson's 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," Parkerson told WJLE. After joining the staff at DWS, Parkerson became the girls basketball coach and later took on the boy's program as well. Parkerson became principal of DWS during the mid 1990s.

WJLE: A Golden Celebration to air on DTC3

September 15, 2014
Dwayne Page
Former WJLE Managers Tony Glen Rast and Ralph Vaughn
Former WJLE Announcer Bill Austin
Former WJLE Announcers Elaine Rigsby and Tom Miller
Former WJLE Announcers Jack Atnip and Ralph Vaughn
Former WJLE Announcers Dennis Stanley and Karl David Smith
Former WJLE Announcers Jeff Barnes (left) and Trent Miller (riacght) with WJLE's Dale Carroll
Former WJLE Announcer Shawn Jacobs with Dwayne Page and Ralph Vaughn
Former WJLE employee Dean Estes with Dale Carroll
Former WJLE Announcers Darvin Gill, Ginger Wenger, and Tom Duggin
WJLE's Brian Lehan with former Announcers Nick Nokes, Darvin Gill, and Deana

In April, 1964, WJLE Radio in Smithville first went on the air as an AM only station at frequency 1480. Some seven years later, WJLE added an FM frequency at 101.7, and this year, 2014, WJLE Radio is celebrating it's 50th anniversary on the air.

On July 26, 2014, the station held a golden anniversary celebration, in which many of the station's former personalities, managers, employees and friends stopped by to reminisce about their years and memories at WJLE.

The event, hosted by former station manager, Ralph Vaughn, and current station manager, Dwayne Page, was filmed by DTC TV, and will be aired on DTC3 and DTC3 HD (channel 303), beginning Saturday, September 27. Three one-hour episodes were produced from the all-day radio special, featuring interviews with former WJLE employees, as well as other friends of the station. The episodes will air multiple times during late-September and October, exclusively on DTC3.

Episode 1 features interviews with the following people:
- Phillip "Fluty" Cantrell
- Bill Austin
- Bro. Royce Moore
- Coach Harold Luna
- Jeff Barnes
- Former TWRA officer Ben Franklin
- Tom Miller
- Trent Miller
- Elaine Rigsby
- Tim Harvey

Episode 1 will air on the following dates and times on DTC3:
Saturday, September 27 - 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 28 - 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 30 - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 4 - 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 5 - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 8 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 11 - 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 12 - 2:00 p.m.

Episode 2 features interviews with the following people:
- Dean Estes
- Bro. Ricky Arnold
- Randy Vaughn
- Shawn Jacobs
- Tony Glen Rast
- Wanda Redmon
- Ginger Fedak Wenger
- Jack Atnip
- Bradley Johnson
- Deana Cantrell Colwell
- Plus the WJLE Birthday cake cutting ceremony

Episode 2 will air on the following dates and times on DTC3:
Saturday, September 27 - 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 28 - 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 1 - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 4 - 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 5 - 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 7 - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 11 - 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 12 - 5:00 p.m.

Episode 3 features interviews with the following people:
- Ken Underhill
- Karl David Smith
- Dennis Stanley
- Tom Duggin
- Darvin Gill
- Nick Nokes
- Jeff Nokes
- Ronnie Young

Episode 3 will air on the following dates and times on DTC3:
Saturday, September 27 - 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 28 - 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 1 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 4 - 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 5 - 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 8 - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 11 - 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 12 - 1:00 p.m.

Other interviews that were not included in any of the episodes will be released prior to the airings each week.

Again, WJLE: A Golden Celebration will air on DTC3 and DTC3 HD, available exclusively on the DTC TV service

New Member Elected to DTC Board of Directors

September 13, 2014
Dwayne Page
Terry McPeak of Norene, Jean Chumbley Ferrell of Woodbury, and Charles Dwight Vinson of Milton

Members of DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (DTC Communications) have elected a new member to the Board of Directors.

Jean Chumbley Ferrell defeated Incumbent Greg Rogers from the Woodbury Exchange in the director election. The results of the voting were announced Saturday during the annual membership meeting held at the fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Two other incumbent members up for re-election, Charles Dwight Vinson of the Milton Exchange and Terry McPeak of the Norene Exchange ran unopposed.

Ferrell, who qualified to run by petition, received a total of 456 votes to 256 for Rogers.

Vinson had 421 complimentary votes and McPeak garnered 391 votes.

Here's how the votes break down for each candidate at the four early voting locations and on election day:

Jean Chumbley Ferrell: Alexandria-61, Gordonsville-27, Smithville- 143, Woodbury- 96, Paper Ballots- 2, and Election Day at Alexandria-127 for a total of 456 votes

Greg Rogers: Alexandria- 9, Gordonsville- 20, Smithville -13, Woodbury- 137, Paper Ballots-10, and Election Day at Alexandria- 67 for a total of 256 votes


Charles Dwight Vinson: Alexandria-46, Gordonsville-28, Smithville-68, Woodbury-147, Paper Ballots-7, and Election Day at Alexandria-125 for a total of 421


Terry McPeak: Alexandria-44, Gordonsville-28, Smithville-62, Woodbury-123, Paper Ballots- 6, and Election Day at Alexandria-128 for a total of 391.

All three directors elected will serve for three years.

The DTC Communications Board of Directors, in addition to McPeak, Vinson, and Ferrell are Ronnie Garrison of Smithville, Randy Campbell of Liberty, Bennie Curtis of Alexandria, , Jimmy Oakley of Temperance Hall, Roy Nelson Pugh of Auburntown, David Parker of Woodland, and James Dillard, Jr. of Gordonsville.

Merriman to Receive Stipend as Volunteer Assistant Soccer Coach (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 13, 2014
Dwayne Page

Rhonda Merriman, who has been a volunteer assistant Girls Soccer Coach at DCHS for several years, will now be paid a stipend for her services.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby asked the school board Thursday night for a vote to reflect in the minutes that Merriman is to receive a stipend but that she continue to be classified as a volunteer assistant coach.

Merriman receives an hourly wage as a support staff employee at DCHS.

To ensure that Merriman would not be due overtime for her assistant coaching duties, Willoughby consulted with an official of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Willoughby said his concern was based on an issue that arose several years ago when the county was forced to pay more money to certain employees who had accumulated a significant amount of overtime.

"After our last board meeting, I contacted the federal wage and hour labor office. About ten years ago there was a lot of overtime that was paid in DeKalb County and it really got sticky at that time so that's what we were checking out. Ms. Rhonda Merriman has been doing this job as a volunteer assistant soccer coach for a long time. She does an excellent job and is an excellent employee. She is a super person. But according to Nathaniel Powell with the federal wage and hour labor office (who researched the issue), we need to specify in our board minutes that the money that she receives (from coaching) would be a stipend and her title would need to be (in the minutes) a volunteer assistant coach. We are not to ask her to do anything concerning the outside activities during the forty hours that she works," he said.

According to Willoughby, the overtime concern was the only reason for the delay in naming Merriman as a paid assistant. "There was nothing against trying to keep Ms. Rhonda Merriman from doing this. It's just that financially I did not want to get the county in a bind. There's no telling how many hours the coach actually puts in and we could have had to pay her or anybody else overtime approximately $18 per hour but I think the problem has been worked out if we can have a motion to classify the money that she receives as a stipend and her title as a volunteer assistant coach," said Willoughby

The board unanimously voted to follow Director Willoughby's recommendation.

Last month, Brooke Roller, a member of the DCHS girls soccer team addressed the Board of Education asking that Merriman be kept as a paid assistant. Roller delivered a brief prepared statement in support of Merriman.

The school budget includes funding for additional coaching supplements including two DCHS assistant soccer coaches (one for the girls team and one for the boys team) totaling $5,570.

Proposal to Outsource School Custodial Services Dropped

September 12, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County School System will not be outsourcing its school custodial work to the GCA Services Group

During Thursday night's regular monthly school board meeting, Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III brought up the subject saying he wanted to "get a conclusion drawn on our custodial services so our custodians will know whether we're going forward with this or not. Is this an issue we're eliminating so our custodians can know that their jobs are secure and everything is back to normal"?

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said he no longer intends to pursue an agreement with GCA. " I've had a couple of people ask me about that. A couple of board members. I have no intention of bringing it back up unless there is a board member that asks me to. That's dead in the water. If a board member asks me to check into it again I will. If not I won't," he said.

GCA officials had sought to contract with the school system to provide custodial services for $400,000 for the first year with annual renewal options for at least up to four additional years, a move intended to save the district money. All current custodial staff working for the school system, recommended by the principals would have been hired by GCA. All chemicals, equipment, and consumables would also have been provided by GCA for maintaining the buildings year round. But the proposal became controversial as questions arose about GCA's hiring practices and whether the school system would actually save money over time.

Smithvillle Police Department Awarded K9 Ballistic Vest

September 12, 2014
Dwayne Page
K9 Leo wearing ballistic vest

The Smithville Police Department has been awarded a ballistic vest for K9 "Leo" thanks to a non profit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

A total of $16,595.00 has been donated to the charity from the “K9 Kota Campaign” to provide vests for seventeen K9s in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, New Jersey, California and Indiana.

The “K9 Kota Campaign” held an online event selling over 1,350 tee shirts for the cause.

K9 Kota is a law enforcement dog with the Winchester Police Department in Virginia that sustained a work related injury on January 3, 2014. The dog fell through an attic floor onto a hardwood floor while detaining a suspect. Although the injury was severe to his right front leg, Kota climbed back up the flight of stairs to continue the fight. After months of surgery and physical therapy his return to police work is still unknown.

Locally, K9 Officer James Cornelius and K9 Leo of the Smithville Police Department have been working together for over three years. Officer Cornelius has been in law enforcement for four years. K9 Leo is a five year old Dutch Shepherd that has been working for four years. K9 Leo had one handler prior to Officer Cornelius. K9 Leo and Officer Cornelius were paired in March of 2011 and completed 120 hours of initial training with Dean Hunter of Canine Command. They continue to attend monthly maintenance training with Hunter and recertify yearly with the USPCA.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950.00 and has a 5 year warranty. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially life saving body armor for their four legged K9 Officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 930 law enforcement dogs in 39 states with protective vests since 2009 at a cost of $880,000.

The organization orders the U.S. made vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, Massachusetts, who also does the custom embroidery on the body armor. Vests are manufactured by Armor Express in Central Lake, Michigan.

New K9 graduates as well as K9's with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to law enforcement dogs who are US employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. was named as a charity partner in March of 2014 in a nation wide Groupon Campaign which raised over $335,000 in 19 days. The non profit will be providing over 350 law enforcement dogs nationwide with the protective body armor in memory of K9 Rocco of the Pittsburgh Police Department who sacrificed his life in the line of duty in January of 2014. All vests will be embroidered with the sentiment, "In Memory of K9 Rocco, Pittsburgh Police Department".

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Tax deductible donations are accepted via mail to: Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718 or via the website: www.vik9s.org.

Board of Education Asked to Fund Another School Nurse Position (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 12, 2014
Dwayne Page
Director Mark Willoughby and Board Members Dub Evins, Shaun Tubbs, Jerry Wayne Johnson, and Jim Beshearse
Board members Danny Parkerson, Billy Miller, and Doug Stephens

The DeKalb County Board of Education is being asked to ensure that each school has its own nurse by adding a new position.

Dee Anna Reynolds, Coordinated School Health Coordinator, addressed the Board with this concern Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting.

The school system currently employs four school nurses, Chandra Adcock, Kim Turner, Christie Driver, and Joanie Williams. All are registered nurses. Each school has its own nurse except for the DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb County High School which have to share a nurse. Director Mark Willoughby said the state provides funding for one school nurse per three thousand students. Any other nurses must be funded locally.

Because of the growing student population and children with chronic conditions including diabetes, Reynolds said another nurse is needed. "County wide our nurses had 20,181 clinic visits for 2013-14. In August we had almost 2,000," said Reynolds.

Due to the demand, Reynolds said her assistant, Cindy Childers, an LPN has been lending a hand but she can't take on the responsibility full time because of her duties with the Coordinated School Health Program. "Covering the Middle School/ High School is almost impossible from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. so Cindy has been leaving every day to go over for a couple of hours to cover the Middle School/ High School and some days she stays longer because there are other situations to deal with. Cindy is part time so she can't do that every day. On days when she does not do that, the nurse at Smithville Elementary School goes over there. So we're leaving Smithville Elementary School open and even for a few hours that worries us a little bit because we have students diagnosed with seizure disorders which require the emergency medication Diastat if a seizure occurs at school and only a nurse can administer Diastat," said Reynolds.

School Nurse Chandra Adcock also stressed the need for another nurse. "As a parent, taxpayer, and employee I'm concerned that we as a county only choose to provide partial nursing services to an entire population of children. We have multiple students in our schools every day with chronic health conditions. Just to name a few, we have people with asthma, diabetes, seizure disorders, cardiac disease, life threatening allergies, blood disorders, cystic fibrosis, and many more. On a daily basis that one nurse is assigned to care for students in two of the largest schools in the county serving approximately 1,400 students," she said.

Meanwhile three parents, Darlene Evans, Ashley Bryant, and Glenda Davis, who all have children with diabetes also addressed the board asking them to find the funds to hire another school nurse to help meet the medical needs of their children and others in the school system.

The school budget does not provide funding for a new school nurse position. A budget amendment, authorized by the county commission, would be required to pay for one this year.

Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III called for a workshop on Monday, September 22 at 6:00 p.m. at the Board of Education building to address the matter. "Asking for a budget amendment, probably isn't going to happen and if it does it's probably going to take a while. My main object right now is to see if we can come up with a plan to start making sure these issues are addressed. This (workshop) will give us some time between now and the next board meeting to come up a plan," he said.

Evins has asked Reynolds and nurses to meet with the board at this workshop to provide input.

In the meantime, Director Willoughby said he will assign a substitute nurse to meet the needs. " I think it's extremely serious. Unless you (school board) tell me different, I'm going to start putting a sub nurse in there every day until we can get somebody we can classify as full time. We have more of a need this year than what we have had in the past," he said.

Reynolds said there are six nurses available as substitutes including four registered nurses and two licensed practical nurses.

Evins Named School Board Chairman

September 12, 2014
Dwayne Page
School Board Officers Shaun Tubbs, W.J. (Dub) Evins III, and Doug Stephens
New School Board

Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III is the new Chairman of the Board of Education.

Evins was named by his fellow board members to serve as chairman during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting.

Sixth district member Doug Stephens was elected Vice-Chairman and Seventh District member Shaun Tubbs was named Assistant Secretary.

The board re-organizes each September electing officers to serve for the year.

Thursday's night's meeting was the first for the board since last month's election of the new members.

The board consists of Danny Parkerson from the First District, Jerry Wayne Johnson from the Second District, Jim Beshearse from the Third District, Billy Miller from the Fourth District, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III from the Fifth District, Doug Stephens from the Sixth District, and Shaun Tubbs from the Seventh District.

(TOP PHOTO: Shaun Tubbs, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, and Doug Stephens)

(BOTTOM PHOTO): Jerry Wayne Johnson, Danny Parkerson, Billy Miller, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, Shaun Tubbs, Doug Stephens, and Jim Beshearse


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