Local News Articles

DCHS Recommended for Re-Accreditation

January 21, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Al Rogers, Dr. Carol Hawkins, Karen Garner, and William “Butch” Vaughn,

DeKalb County High School will be recommended for re-accreditation by a study committee with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools who visited the school last week. But while DCHS drew praise for advancements, the committee found a need for more space and better technology.

"Plan a new school that will hold all the students and provide adequate technology for them," said Committee Chairperson Karen Garner.

The committee, made up of four Middle Tennessee educators, met with teachers, parents, and students in conducting its two day review last Thursday and Friday.

"We determine the institution's effectiveness in meeting the requirements of accreditation," said Garner, who spoke with WJLE Friday at DCHS.

"We were here Thursday and Friday all day but prior to that we had received the school's self assessment which covered five standards, things like the administration governance of the school, teaching and learning and how that happens in the school, and other aspects. We studied those and observed eighteen classrooms. We found good class work and good class management. We also interviewed many people here at school to come up with the preliminary findings for our report which will be that we will recommend that the school be re-accredited by the state SACS committee," she said.

While Garner said DCHS has earned high marks, there are areas that need to be addressed. "The one thing we found lacking was up to date and adequate facilities and technology. I think most people in this community know that," she said.

A SACS re-accreditation committee review is conducted every five years to determine if member schools have made sufficient progress and to make recommendations for improvement. "This is a five year study. When the next five year study comes along they (DCHS) will be checked to see how they have progressed. If SACS deems it necessary they might check in two years to see if any of these things are being addressed sufficiently," said Garner.

A final decision on SACS Re-accreditation of DCHS is expected by summer. "Our recommendation goes to the state. They will look at all parts of the report and decide before June," Garner concluded.

On Friday afternoon, Garner and members of the committee reviewed their findings with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps, Assistant Principals Kathy Bryant and David Gash, along with several teachers at the school and members of the Central office staff.

"The process: There is an analysis and evaluation," said Garner. "The school analyzes themselves. We provide the evaluation and hopefully we can say it's valuable feedback for you and a direction for improvement. Here's what we have done the last couple of days. Overall, we have conducted 87 interviews with administrators, teachers, support staff, students, and parents. We went into eighteen classrooms and did a minimum of twenty minutes of observations in each of those eighteen classrooms. When we go in and do observations, there's about thirty points that we look for. It's a four point scale. Anything scored three and above is great. Guess where you weren't three and above? Digital learning environment. Technology. Does that surprise anyone? No. You had a 3.57 on "supportive learning environment". That's a great score. You had a 3.47 score on "well managed learning environment". Another great score. There is nothing for you to worry about on those scores except for technology and that is not in the teacher's hands. We were very happy with what we saw. Overall, those are good scores for you," she said.

"Powerful practices. This is where we brag on you," Garner continued. " The faculty and administration are approachable and valued by the students and parents alike. Teachers participate in collaborative learning scheduled within the school day at "Tiger Time". That's a great thing. I know you are still working on that. Instructional practices have been implemented to meet the needs of all students. Counseling, assessment, referral, education and career planning exceed the student and parent expectations. They all have said anytime they ask for something, for scholarship applications, etc, there was always more given, which is a great thing," she said.

Recommendations for improvement. "Some required actions that we see. Develop a plan to respond to intervention challenges. That's where you are working on that "Tiger Time" plan. It's there. Now fine tune it and get it there. Include your team evaluations to determine professional development. You can recognize your needs and just take it from there to plan the professional developments. Where do teachers need it? That will help you focus a little bit," said Garner.

"Plan a new school that will hold all the students and provide adequate technology for them and design your learning environment to include all of these things. Higher expectations, exemplars, and formative assessments," she said.

"Based on our findings, we recommend you for accreditation. That is our recommendation. AdvancED makes the final determination. They will look at every score on everything we submit within the next couple of weeks and they will make the final determination," Garner said.

"We have just completed our external review. AdvancED office will review and send the report back to you. It may be at least thirty days in a good month. The commission will then act on your status between now and June. They will meet in June. They'll have everything done in April or May and they may tell you ahead of time," she added.

"We want to thank everybody for all the hospitality and for all the support and professionalism that we have seen on this visit. We respect and acknowledge your efforts to improve the quality of education here at your school and our congratulations to you for your progress toward achieving your accreditation as a quality institution," Garner concluded.

DCHS Principal Cripps expressed his appreciation to the faculty and staff. " I'd like to thank our teachers for the time and hard work they put into this, to Ms. Bryant, and to everyone else who has been involved in the process. Again thanks to all of you for everything you have done," he said.

Along with Chairperson Garner, other members of the visiting committee to DCHS were Al Rogers, now retired from the Franklin County school system; Dr. Carol Hawkins of Christiana Middle School; and William “Butch” Vaughn of Providence Christian Academy. Garner is a teacher at Seigel High School in Murfreesboro.

Director Willoughby said he was pleased with the committee's report. "To have such a quality group of people who are practitioners as part of the SACS accreditation group to come in and do an evaluation reinforces what we all know that the sooner DeKalb County schools can get better technology, better funding, and a new (high) school, the better off our children will be because all we're talking about is what's best for students. That is what we are mainly concerned with. These people (committee) bragged on what was happening in our classes. They bragged on our students and teachers. I'm very proud to have them come in and reinforce some of these thing we already knew," he said.

Judge Gives U.S. Attorney More Time to Respond in Foster Case

January 21, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster

A federal judge has granted a motion by a U.S. Attorney asking for more time in filing a response to motions on behalf of Mike Foster who is seeking to have the criminal case against him stemming from the Living the Dream incident dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger is giving U.S. Attorney David Rivera until February 10 to respond.

Hal Hardin, the attorney for Foster filed a motion last month asking the federal court to dismiss the case against the county mayor alleging that the former UCDD Chairman made false statements to the agency's board of directors relating to the Living the Dream facility, a home for seniors in Putnam County.

In his motion to dismiss, Hardin claims that "Mr. Foster is entitled to dismissal of the charge because the "statements" he made are ambiguous to such an extent that they cannot be prosecuted as a crime".

Hardin has also filed a motion for a "Bill of Particulars" seeking specificity of the charge against Foster, and a motion for "Severance" claiming that Foster would be prejudiced by a joint trial with his co-defendants Wendy Askins and Larry Webb.

U.S. Attorney Rivera has since submitted a request for an extension of time in filing responses to Foster's motions.

In his pleading, Rivera said "At the December 10, 2013 status conference the Court established pretrial deadlines. The court ordered a deadline for the Government's responses to Foster's pretrial motions to be January 10, 2014.

The United States is seeking an additional 30 days to respond to Foster's motions.

Foster's motions raise several legal issues and will take significant time to research. The United States is seeking additional time in order to fully address the issues raised.

The United States has been advised by Foster's counsel that Foster does not object to the request for additional time to respond to his motions.

For the reasons stated above, the Government respectfully requests that it be granted a 30 day extension to file its response.

Again, U.S. District Judge Trauger has granted a 30 day extension.

Meanwhile, Askins, the former UCDD Executive Director, filed a motion last month seeking a delay in her trial date with co-defendants Foster and former UCDD Deputy Director Larry Webb because her daughter is getting married during that time.

The trial is set for May 20. Askins claims her daughter is to be married on May 24. The date for the wedding was selected in April 2013, long before Askins was indicted in the case.

Webb's attorney, Edward Yarbrough, has responded to Askins motion. Yarbrough said Webb has no objection to a delay because more time is needed to prepare for the trial anyway.

Hardin, Foster's attorney, is opposed to a continuance at least as far as Foster is concerned. "Foster appreciates the situation involving Askins' difficulty in trying this case on the date presently set. However, Foster wishes to dispose of his case at the earliest possible moment, and therefore, suggests that his case be severed as previously requested, dismissed and or tried at an earlier date," said Hardin in his response to Askins' motion.

No ruling has yet been made on Askins' request for a delay of the trial.

DeKalb School Buses Pass Inspection, Drivers Certified

January 21, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jimmy Sprague
State Inspector Darryl Winningham with Orlando Guzman and Tony Trapp

DeKalb County School buses have passed state inspection.

State Trooper Darryl Winningham, inspector for this district, completed his evaluation last week of all the buses in the fleet including the substitute buses.

"We had our annual state inspection Monday through Thursday. We've got 42 buses in our fleet including 32 which are on a route. Trooper Winningham inspects them. He goes from top to bottom and front to back looking at every switch, every light, tires, and everything else. It's a very thorough inspection," said Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague.

In an interview with WJLE last year, Trooper Winningham described the bus inspection process. "We do annual inspections on all buses but we also do spot checks through the year if we have a reason. We work to ensure that everything is properly working on a bus before it gets back on the highway. I go from (checking) the tires all the way to the top of the buses. I check belts, fluid levels, brake pads, brake drums, brake lines, air lines, etc. Everything is checked on those buses for safety from the lights inside to the seats being secured in them. We check windshield wiper blades, the horn. We check every alarm and buzzer for all doors and emergency exits. Here at the (school bus garage) where we do all the inspections, the (local) crew is outstanding to work with. They go above and beyond to make sure that every bus is safe for every child," said Trooper Winningham.

"I am proud to say that our buses are some of the safest buses in the state. We passed inspection at 100%," said Sprague. I'm not saying we didn't have any deficiencies. I think he (Trooper Winningham) found an exhaust leak and a couple of buses had some turn signal bulbs that were out. But the inspection reflects the work that we do at the shop with Foreman Orlando Guzman and Mechanic Tony Trapp. If something comes in and the driver has an issue we fix it right there. Sometimes we're not able to fix it right then. We'll have to order a part but a majority of the time we've got parts in stock to make the repair right then," he said.

On Friday, the bus drivers tested for recertification at Northside Elementary School. "All of our drivers passed the test and all of them are recertified with the state," Sprague concluded.

DeKalb Democrats to Gather for Mass Meeting Saturday

January 20, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Party Leaders Jim Judkins, Myra Johnson Miller, Joyce Hendrixson, Jordan Wilkins
State Representative Gloria Johnson

Several Democrats planning to run for local, district, or state public offices are expected make their intentions known during the DeKalb County Democratic Party Mass Meeting this Saturday, January 25 at 10.00 a.m. at the DeKalb County High School Cafeteria.

State Representative Gloria Johnson of Knoxville is expected to attend. Food and entertainment will be provided. Please bring an item for the bake sale.

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Election Commission has issued twenty nine petitions including:

Michael Clayborn for County Clerk (Incumbent), Democrat

James L. "Jimmy" Poss for County Clerk, Democrat

Jeffrey McMillen for Register of Deeds (Incumbent), Democrat

James "Jimmy" Sprague for Road Supervisor, Democrat

Shane Walker for Road Supervisor, Democrat

Katherine Pack for Circuit Court Clerk (Incumbent), Democrat

Bratten H. Cook, II for General Sessions Judge (Incumbent), Democrat

Margie Rigsby Miller for General Sessions Judge, Democrat

Michael Agee for Sheriff, Democrat

Larry Flair, Sr. for Sheriff, Independent

Kenneth Clayborn for County Commissioner in the First District, Democrat

Elmer Ellis, Jr. for County Commissioner in the First District (Incumbent), Democrat

Bennett Armstrong for County Commissioner in the First District, Democrat

Jerry Hutchins, Jr. for County Commissioner in the Second District, Democrat

Bradley Hendrix for County Commissioner in the Third District (Incumbent), Democrat

Bobby Taylor for County Commissioner in the Fourth District, Democrat

Wayne Cantrell for County Commissioner in the Fourth District (Incumbent), Democrat

David McDowell for County Commissioner in the Fourth District (Incumbent), Democrat

Anita Puckett for County Commissioner in the Fifth District, Democrat

Rick Cantrell for County Commissioner in the Fifth District (Incumbent), Democrat

Betty Atnip for County Commissioner in the Sixth District, Democrat

Jeff Barnes for County Commissioner in the Sixth District (Incumbent), Democrat

Marshall Ferrell for County Commissioner in the Sixth District (Incumbent), Democrat

Danny McGinnis for County Commissioner in the Sixth District, Independent

Kevin Robinson for County Commissioner in the Seventh District, Democrat

Larry Summers for County Commissioner in the Seventh District (Incumbent), Democrat

Jonathan Low for Constable in the Second District, Independent

Travis Bryant for Constable in the Third District, Independent

Tony Lawson for Constable in the Second District, Independent

All are expected to be candidates for the nomination of their party in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary May 6 except for Low, Bryant, and Lawson who will be running as Independents in the DeKalb County General Election in August to fill vacant Constable positions. McGinnis will be an Independent candidate for the county commission and Flair plans to run as an Independent for Sheriff.

Several candidates have already returned their completed petitions to the election commission office.

The qualifying deadline is noon February 20, 2014.

Police Report No Serious Injuries in Friday Wreck

January 20, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Car and green colored semi truck involved in accident
Car driven by Jacob Seibers

Smithville Police report no serious injuries in a traffic accident Friday involving a car and a tractor trailer (tanker) truck at the intersection of Broad Street and South Congress Boulevard.

Corporal Travis Bryant told WJLE that 18 year old Jacob Seibers of Smithville was west on East Broad Street, turning left to go south on Congress Boulevard when he pulled into the path of an eastbound tractor trailer (tanker) truck, driven by 52 year old David Spry of McMinnville. Spry was hauling feed grain for the owner of the truck, Randall Roberts. 22 year old Michael Shanks of Cookeville was a passenger of the Seibers' car.

According to Corporal Bryant, both drivers claimed to have had the green light.

DeKalb EMS and members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

War of Words Continues Between City and DUD

January 20, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Utility District
City of Smithville

The war of words between the City of Smithville and the DeKalb Utility District over increases in water rates continues.

City Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson issued a statement to WJLE Friday morning on behalf of the Mayor and Aldermen in response to DUD's notice last week that rates to customers who receive water purchased by the DUD from the city will be increased by 42% or $4.30 per thousand gallons effective with the January billing.

DUD officials say the increase is necessary to help offset the 144% rate increase the City imposed on the DUD effective January 1. The DUD must now pay the city $5.00 per thousand gallons, an increase from the rate of $2.05 per thousand gallons the DUD had been paying.

"The DUD has an opportunity to discuss their new rate at the next Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting on February 3 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall if they are indeed concerned about their new rate," said city officials in the response.

City officials claim the DUD has enjoyed extremely low water rates from Smithville over the last three decades and that the rate has only increased by 90 cents per thousand gallons in the last 34 years.

"Since 1979, DUD’s water rate per 1,000 gallons has increased only 90 cents. Their 1979 rate was $1.15 and their 2013 rate was $2.05. That’s only 90 cents in 34 years," according to city officials.

The city response continues as follows:

"The City of Smithville Water Treatment Plant produces 1,000 gallons of water for $2.67 per the 2013 Water Cost Study conducted by Warren and Associates of Lebanon. Again, DUD’s rate was $2.05 per 1,000 gallons in 2013, 62 cents less than the City’s cost to produce. But they (DUD) still raised their customer’s rates 7% in 2013."

"DUD’s customers have already endured a 14% rate increase since 2012 with another 7% rate hike projected for 2014 to fund a water treatment plant that has yet to even begun construction".

"According to their 2013 audit, the DeKalb Utility District shows a long term debt obligation of over $4,000,000.00 but they want to borrow millions more to construct an unnecessary water treatment plant. Currently, the City of Smithville Water and Sewer Department enjoy ZERO debt."

"The Smithville Board of Aldermen has invited DUD’s Board on numerous occasions to sit down and work out a new water rate for 2014. Other than a few mail correspondences their board never responded to the City’s request to a meeting dating back to early 2012. DUD did attend the November 11, 2013 workshop by the Aldermen to discuss new rates for DUD. They were asked by the Mayor and Aldermen if they had any input or comments on their rates for 2014. The DUD Board sat silently. It’s hard to negotiate a new rate if the other side is unwilling to speak."

"It’s obvious the DeKalb Utility District has enjoyed extremely low water rates while the citizens of Smithville have been subsidizing DUD’s low rates over the years."

DUD representatives, in response to the city's statement, said "If the City of Smithville has undercharged DeKalb Utility District for the past ten years and the City of Smithville has ZERO debt, why has the City chosen to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer’s dollars to prevent DUD from building a treatment plant? The City of Smithville should be relieved DeKalb Utility District does not want to be their customer".

Martin Picked up on Drug Indictment

January 20, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Terrance Ladale Martin
Jessie Eugene Thomas
William Stacy Matthews
Terry Lynn Burton
Jessica French Hale
Vanessa Ann Murphy
Nelson Gregory Hendrixson

A 31 year old Smithville man is the latest to be arrested on drug charges in a recent undercover investigation by the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Terrance Ladale Martin of South Bright Hill Street, Smithville was charged in a grand jury sealed indictment with one count of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Roxycodone) in a drug free zone. His bond is $50,000 and he will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on February 21. He was arrested on Saturday, January 18.

A total of 56 people have been arrested in the three month undercover drug sting . A total of 64 people were indicted last Monday, January 13 as a result.

Meanwhile, in other recent crime news 35 year old Jessie Eugene Thomas of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with a violation of an order of protection. His bond is $2,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, January 13, a deputy responded to a residence on Toad Road. Upon arrival the officer found Thomas sitting in a vehicle parked halfway in the yard. The woman, who had obtained the order of protection against Thomas, was in the front yard of the residence when the officer arrived. She reported that Thomas was on the premises trying to speak to her in violation of the order of protection. He was arrested and taken to the sheriff's department for booking.

38 year old William Stacy Matthews of Gard Lane, Smithville is charged with two counts of forgery. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on January 23. Sheriff Ray said that on or about October 26, 2013, Matthews allegedly forged a name to the title and registration of a 1999 GMC van, registering the vehicle in the name of the victim. Matthews allegedly admitted to forging the victim's name. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the Sheriff's Department.

41 year old Terry Lynn Burton of Wolf Creek Road, Silver Point is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on January 23. Sheriff Ray said that on or about January 14, a deputy was dispatched to Wolf Creek Road in response to a report of someone having driven a vehicle into a neighbor's yard. Upon arrival the officer spoke to Burton who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and his speech was slurred. Burton allegedly admitted to drinking and driving into his neighbor's yard. Burton submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

31 year old Jessica French Hale of South College Street, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court January 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, January 9 Hale allegedly took $120 from the cash register of a business on Dale Ridge Road without the owner's consent. She allegedly admitted to taking $80 from the register. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the Sheriff's Department.

35 year old Vanessa Ann Murphy of Short Mountain Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. She was further issued a citation for failing to maintain her lane of travel. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on February 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, January 16 Murphy was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when she was stopped for failing to maintain her lane of travel. Her speech was slurred and she had difficulty keeping her eyes open. Murphy was also unsteady on her feet. Murphy submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood test. According to Sheriff Ray, Murphy is believed to have been taking narcotics. She was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

34 year old Nelson Gregory Hendrixson of Bethel Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on January 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, January 17, Hendrixson allegedly assaulted his wife at their residence by hitting her in the mouth with his fist, causing a severe cut on her lip. She then tripped and fell. While the woman was on the floor, Hendrixson allegedly kicked her in the body and legs. She had bruising on her left shoulder and left leg requiring her to be treated at the emergency room of the hospital.

Brian Williams Named DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of Year

January 19, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Steve Repasy (left), Brian Williams (Center), Matt Boss (right)
Honorary Lifetime Members: Billy Crymes, Dick Kinsey, and James Pennington

The 2013 DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year is Brian Williams, Station Commander of the Main Station, located on King Ridge Road.

Williams received the award Saturday night during the Department's Annual Awards Banquet held at the DeKalb County Complex.

Chief Donny Green said Williams is more than worthy of the honor. "The DeKalb County Fire Department always wants to recognize firefighters who excel in applying their training and community service. Anyone can show up in a classroom or show up on an emergency scene and say they are learning or are efficient in their firefighting skills. However, our department is interested in recognizing firefighters who are demonstrating a high level of proficiency in applying their learning and making a difference at emergency incidents. It’s not the numbers that should impress anyone, it’s all about the results,” said Chief Green.

"Brian was nominated this year and the evaluation of his nomination considered his fire call response, training attendance, and community service participation. The fire calls and training attendance stand for themselves. He excelled in both of those areas. As far as his community service, Brian has demonstrated an outstanding community service by taking the lead in allowing our department to partner with the Tennessee Fire Marshall’s Office in the “Get Alarmed Tennessee” Smoke Alarm Program. Starting in April 2013 and up to December 31, 2013, Brian has sacrificed his personal time and expense to travel to every community in DeKalb County while installing 681 smoke alarms in homes with no alarms, or in homes with deficient alarms. Keep in mind, this enormous task not only included traveling to residences and delivering the free smoke alarms, but also included the time that he spent ensuring that every alarm was properly installed and functioning. The degree of safety for our DeKalb County residents has been dramatically improved with Brian’s efforts in this program responsibility that he voluntarily accepted. This type of community service, that so clearly demonstrates going above and beyond normal training and emergency response duties, is exactly what we want to recognize in the selection of this prestigious award. DeKalb County Fire Department attempts to recognize firefighters who reflect a positive image on our department in the community and there’s absolutely no doubt that Brian has accomplished this. As such, we are honored to announce that Brian Williams is DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2013 “Firefighter of the Year”.

Firefighter Steve Repasy received the Department’s 2013 “Git R Done" award. Captain Anthony Boyd and Lieutenant Kyle Casper made the presentation. This award is given to a firefighter who demonstrates exceptional sacrifices by attending works sessions, additional instructor-led fire related training, and working to enhance the department’s fundraising successes. Repasy willingly took on the task that entailed planning, fabricating, and installing storage racks on tanker trucks for the portable folding water tanks that the department uses to supply water in areas where hydrants are not readily available. This ability is vitally important in order for the department to be able to maintain adequate water supplies that meet the Insurance Services Office (ISO) minimum criteria for water supply. He also enlisted the help of Todd Cantrell who assisted him in planning and directing the project from start to finish. Repasy contributed about 50 hours of design and development. In total, Repasy and other firefighters donated 64 hours of installation labor. The General Metals Class performed about 160 hours in fabricating the tank racks. In combination, the class and other volunteers donated a total of about 274 man hours and services for this project allowing the cost of this project on all three tankers to be less than $400 total. Purchasing such racks from a fire service equipment vendor, and having them installed, would have easily cost the county fire department a minimum of $5,000. Repasy's commitment to sacrifice his personal time, while leading the numerous work sessions involved in this project, clearly shows why he is being recognized as the 2013 recipient of the DeKalb County Fire Department’s “Git R Done” Award.

The "Rookie" award went to Firefighter Matt Boss of the Liberty Station. Assistant Chief/Training Officer David Agee made the presentation. This award is exclusively based on hours of training and goes to a firefighter who completed his/her basic recruit training during 2013. Agee said the department feels that the most important thing we can do for our new recruits is to give them basic training and reinforce the importance of training. Consequently, training is the sole criteria that we use in the “Rookie of the Year” selection. From January through December 2013, Boss had 192 hours of training, including completion of the 64 hour Basic Firefighter Training. In addition to his Basic Recruit training, he has completed extra training to improve his fire fighting abilities. “We certainly want to recognize recruits who demonstrate an outstanding level of commitment to training. Our department is fortunate to have an excellent group of recruits who have excelled in training in 2013. We are proud of all of them and we are honored to name Firefighter Matt Boss as our “Rookie of the Year” for 2013,” said Assistant Chief Agee.

Four firefighters were recognized and presented pins for their years of service including the following:
Five years of service: Bradley Johnson (Short Mountain Station), Richard “Skip” Roberts (Austin Bottoms Station), and Steve Repasy (Midway Station).

Fifteen years of service: Captain Anthony Boyd

Three firefighters were awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership awards. James Pennington, a former Captain, Lieutenant, and a member of the Belk Station received this honor for his 11 years of service, both as an officer and firefighter, and his involvement in the Department’s Fire Prevention and Safety Program. Billy Crymes, a former Lieutenant and member of the Main Station was presented this award for his 10 years of service, both as an officer and firefighter, and his involvement in several construction projects within the Department. And lastly, Richard “Dick” Kinsey, a former Captain, Lieutenant, and member of the Short Mountain Station was awarded this honor for his 10 years of service, both as an officer and firefighter, and his contributions in instructing several vehicle operations training courses, CPR/First Aid courses, and his role in many special events.

Forty one members of the department were also presented incentive awards for their “above and beyond” efforts in regards to training attendance and fire call response. These awards are funded through a federal “Staffing for Fire and Emergency Response” (SAFER) grant, which Chief Green said is to help retain and recruit firefighters."In 2008, we were awarded a SAFER Grant from the federal government that is a non-matching local grant and does not require any local funding, it's 100% federal, to help us recruit and retain firefighters. Under this program, we've provided these training award incentives for firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training and at least 35% of their assigned station calls, or at least 75% of their monthly training and at least 35% of their assigned station calls. Our goal is to use these incentives as a tool to help encourage our firefighters to stay engaged and involved with the training and operation in our department." Firefighters who met the 100% attendance criteria in 2013, each received $400 (or a prorated amount if they have been active for less than the full year). Firefighters who met the 75% attendance criteria in 2013, each received $200 (or a prorated amount if they have been active for less than the full year).

Firefighters receiving 100% Training Perfect Attendance Awards are as follows:
Assistant Chief David Agee, Bobby Anderson, Lee Ansel, Josh Arnold, Jacob Bond, Matt Boss, Kelly Cantrell, Lieutenant Kyle Casper, Nelson Davis, Bill Fowler, Chief Donny Green, Bradley Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Jerry Wayne Johnson, Vert Komoroski, Harley Lawrence, Ronald Merriman, Jeremy Neal, Andy Pack, Shawn Puckett, Steve Repasy, Robin Summers, Tony Thomas, Calvin Tramel, Brian Williams, and Lieutenant Chris Wyke.

75% Training Attendance Awards:
Seth Braseel, Justin Brooks, Gelasio “Marco” Chacon, Donnie Johnson, Ian Johnson, Gary King, Zach Kubiak, Stan Morris, Bob Myracle, Jason Neal, Danny Parker, Brandon Pyles, Brent Reed, Billy Tiner, and Hugh Washer.
During the ceremony, Chief Green highlighted some of the major accomplishments achieved by the Department in 2013. In April, the Department began its first ever 6-week Citizens’ Fire Academy with 9 participants. Also in April, the Department partnered with the Tennessee Fire Marshall’s Office in the “Get Alarmed Tennessee” smoke detector program. From April through December, Firefighter Brian Williams headed up the free smoke alarm installation program and installed 691 smoke alarms in DeKalb County homes. In May, the Spring 2013 Session Citizens’ Fire Academy graduation ceremony was held at Center Hill Lake. Twelve of our members graduated from the Fire Academy’s 22-hour Live Burn Training in June. Additionally, in June, DeKalb County Fire Department and DeKalb County High School’s General Metals Shop completed a lengthy project that involved designing, building, and installing storage racks on three of the Department’s tanker/pumpers. In September, Firefighters Chris Wyke and Kyle Casper were promoted as Lieutenants. The Fall 2013 Session of the Citizens’ Fire Academy began in October and continued for 6 weeks. We had 9 students graduate on November 5," said Chief Green.

Approximately 175 people were in attendance at the Awards Banquet, including firefighters, their families, local and state officials, graduates of the 2013 Citizens’ Fire Academies (Spring and Fall session), and community partners. County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presided over the ceremony.

DeKalb GOP Caucus Nominates Candidates for August General Election

January 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sean Driver, Patrick Ray, Chris Smithson, Mingy Bryant, Butch Age
Bobby Joines, Jerry Adcock, Mason Carter
Edwin Sadler for District Public Defender
Chris Tramel and Lee Plummer

The DeKalb County Republican Party held a caucus Saturday morning, January 18 to formally nominate candidates for county offices in the August General Election.

As expected, delegates to the caucus nominated the following candidates:

Patrick Ray for Sheriff

Sean Driver for Trustee

Butch Agee for Road Supervisor

Mingy Bryant for General Sessions Judge

Chris Smithson for County Mayor

Mason Carter for County Commissioner in the first district

Bobby Joines for County Commissioner in the second district

Jerry Adcock for County Commissioner in the fifth district

Chris Tramel for Constable in the second district (to fill a vacancy)

Lee Plummer for Constable in the first district (to fill a vacancy)

All are incumbents seeking re-election except Agee, Bryant, Smithson, Tramel, and Plummer.

Meanwhile, two candidates for offices in the 13th Judicial District also spoke Saturday including Jonathan Young of Putnam County for Circuit Court Judge Part II and Edwin Sadler candidate for District Public Defender. They will be seeking the Republican nomination for those offices in the May 6th GOP Primary in the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb and six other counties.

Four Others Arrested on Drug Indictments

January 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Garth Cantrell
Eric Dewayne Judkins
Robert Jeffery League
Brandon Scott Kidd

Four other persons have been arrested on drug charges from the recent undercover investigation by the Sheriff's Department. That brings the total to 55 arrested out of the 64 named in sealed indictments returned by the Grand Jury on Monday, January 13.

The latest to be arrested are:
32 year old Garth Cantrell of Pine Grove Road, Smithville:
One count of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Roxycodone); and one count of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Crack Cocaine), bond $50,000

22 year old Eric Dewayne Judkins of Hendrixson Road, Smithville:
One count of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Opana); and one count of Sale and delivery of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone), bond $50,000

50 year old Robert Jeffery League of Smith Road, Smithville:
Two counts of Sale and delivery of a schedule I drug (MDMA Ecstasy); and two counts of a Drug Free Zone, bond $50,000

28 year old Brandon Scott Kidd of Four Seasons Drive, Smithville:
One count of Sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug (Xanax), bond $20,000

All those indicted in this investigation will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on February 21.

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