Local News Articles

Is Your TV Going to Work after June 12?

February 6, 2009

To prevent more than 6 million U.S. households from having their television service cut off on February 17th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation today to extend the nationwide digital television (DTV) transition to June 12, 2009.

“Without this extension, close to 40,000 Tennessee households would not been able to watch TV after February 17th,” said Congressman Bart Gordon. “While most people won’t be affected by the DTV transition, the 115-day extension will give people who have rabbit ears on their TV sets time to get converter coupons and purchase equipment they need to ensure their TV continues to work.”

Television stations were scheduled stop broadcasting analog signals and exclusively broadcast in digital on February 17, 2009. After that date, analog televisions that rely on antennas would have gone black unless they were connected to a digital-to-analog converter box.

“It is important for everyone to figure out if they are going to be affected by the transition,” said Gordon. “If you have already made the transition, this delay will not affect you at all. Also, if you have a digital television or a television connected to cable, satellite, or other pay TV service, you do not need to do anything.”

For viewers who are using an antenna and have an analog TV they purchased before 2004, you will need a digital-to-analog converter box to continue to watch broadcast television on that set after June 12th. If you have not gotten a converter box yet or applied for a converter box coupon, call 1-888-388-2009 or go online to www.dtv2009.gov.

Currently, there is a waiting list of over 3 million households nationwide for converter box coupons from the federal government, which includes 39,593 Tennessee households according to the Department of Commerce. In addition, there is converter box shortage of at least 2 million units. For these reasons, the transition deadline was extended to June 12th.

For people who are on the waiting list, you should receive a coupon soon. The Economic Recovery bill currently being debated includes provisions that will increase the number of coupons the federal government is able to give to consumers. Converter boxes cost $40-70, and the government is offering two $40 coupons per household to purchase boxes.

The House-passed bill, which the Senate approved last week, now goes to the President, who is expected to sign it into law. For more information about the DTV transition, go to www.bart.house.gov/dtv.

Class of 2009 Honor Students Named at DCHS

February 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kesha Staley- 2009 DCHS Valedictorian
Kelly Merriman- 2009 DCHS Salutatorian

DeKalb County High School has released the names of this year's Honor Students including the 2009 Valedictorian Kesha Staley and the Salutatorian Kelly Merriman.

Staley is the daughter of Tim and Debbie Staley. She is in the DCHS Band, French Club, Literature Club, FBLA, HOSA, and Beta Club.

Merriman is the daughter of Ronald and Denise Merriman. She is in the Literature Club, French Club, FBLA, Yearbook Staff, Science Club, and Beta Club.

Students among the top twenty senior academic ranking from numbers one to twenty are as follows:

Kesha Staley, Kelly Merriman, Brooke Pack, Jordan Howe, Anderson Webb, Megan Pack, Rebecca Lawrence, Victoria Bennett, Thomas West, Amanda Reed, Kara Young, Megan Merriman, Jessica Strickland, Krysta Ferrell, Shay Sullivan, Ryan Leiser, Avarie Maynard, Carrie Herrin, Amanda Price, and Tiffany Winchester.

Students earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 in alphabetical order are:

Rosemary Apple, Victoria Bennett, Nicole Burger, Allison Curtis, Justin Dunaway, Josh Emerton, Macy Felts, Krysta Ferrell, Caleb Gash, Carrie Herrin, Jordan Howe, Matthew Lawrence, Rebecca Lawrence, Ryan Leiser, Avarie Maynard, Kelly Merriman, Megan Merriman, Jeff Miller, Megan Osborne, Brooke Pack, Megan Pack, Amanda Price, Amanda Reed, Kesha Staley, Jessica Strickland, Shay Sullivan, Anderson Webb, Thomas West, Tiffany Winchester, and Kara Young.

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Russell Ambrose, Adam Arnold, Corey Dodd, Cody Hawkins, Dustin Lattimore, Josh Lester, Anna Little, Malinda Mofield, Nathan Neal, Brandon Owen, Corey Poss, and Nikita Young..

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Preston Adcock, Emilee Anderson, Kirt Bandy, Carolyn Bass, Brian Bates, Chynna Cade, Courtney DeHoet, Kayla Hale, John Herriott, Shane Hickman, Turner Hobby, Amber Judkins, Lauren Kemp, Alisha Majors, Kimberly Majors, Whitney Moss, Justin Poteete, Jessica Richards, Francisco Rodriguez, Stephen Rogers, Logan Roller, Sonny Stults, Allyson Trapp, and Luke Willoughby.

The Class of 2009 at DeKalb County High School will graduate in May.

Hall Residence Destroyed By Fire

February 5, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fire early Thursday morning destroyed the home of Martha Hall at 3754 Holmes Creek Road.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says the call came in at 1:35 a.m. and members of the Main Station, Cookeville Highway, and Short Mountain Highway Stations quickly responded.

According to Chief Green, Ms. Hall was at home asleep when she was awakened by an alarm and her barking dog. She discovered a large fire in the front portion of her home and escaped with her dog. Ms. Hall ran to a neighbors house and knocked on the door, but could not awake them, so she got in her car and drove to DeKalb Market to call for help.

Chief Green says the fire was well underway by the time firefighters arrived and they could not save the home or any of the contents.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze, to keep it from spreading to a neighbor's house about thirty feet away.

Ms. Hall and her dog made it out of the burning home without any injuries.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene.

Three Qualify to Run for Alderman in Smithville Election

February 3, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Incumbent Alderman Willie Thomas, former Alderman W.J. (Dub) White, and Gary Durham are the first candidates to officially qualify to run in the Smithville Municipal Election in June.

Three other persons have also picked up qualifying petitions but have not yet returned them including Incumbent Alderman Jerry Hutchins, Sr., former Alderman Aaron Meeks, and Shawn Jacobs.

Lisa Peterson, Administrator of Elections, says candidates have until NOON on Thursday, March 19th to qualify. The deadline to register to vote in time for the election is May 18th.

Three Aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 16th. The positions are currently held by Jerry Hutchins, Sr., Tonya Sullivan, and Willie Thomas. Each term is for two years.

DeKalb County Gets Two Ambulances for Price of One

February 3, 2009

In these tough economic times, being creative can get you more than what you originally planned for. Today, Congressman Bart Gordon announced that DeKalb County was awarded $100,000 in federal funds to retrofit two trucks into two ambulances.

“Instead of purchasing a new ambulance for $115,000,” explained Congressman Gordon, “DeKalb County will purchase two new trucks and place refurbished boxes from older ambulances they already have on the new trucks at a cost of $60,000 each.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency (USDA-RD) awarded DeKalb County a $83,000 loan and a $17,000 grant. The loan is repayable over 10 years at 4.75 percent. DeKalb County will provide matching funds of $15,000.

“DeKalb County has found a way to stretch $100,000 in federal funds,” added Gordon. “It’s like getting two ambulances for the price of one.”

“When your budget is like ours, you really have to watch it,” said DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster. “These funds will really help us get equipment that’s relatively expensive. We’re very grateful.”

In addition to purchasing two trucks, the county plans to buy other emergency equipment, including a two-way radio, cardiac monitor, patient ventilator, compact and portable suction units, and a medical chair with straps.

“In emergencies, minutes count and a well equipped modern ambulance provides EMTs with the tools they need save lives,” said Robert Connelly, Jr., USDA-RD’s Acting State Director for Tennessee. “We're lucky in Tennessee to have a strong congressional delegation, led by Congressman Gordon. They make sure RD has the financial resources to improve the quality of life for people in our rural communities.”

DeKalb County has operated an ambulance service since October 2007.

Congressman Gordon Comments on DeKalb County’s Current Economic Situation

February 3, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

With the statewide unemployment rate at a 22-year high, Tennessee’s Labor and Workforce Department announced that DeKalb County’s unemployment rate increased from 8.2% to 9.2% from the month of November to December.

“More than 100 people in DeKalb County alone lost their jobs in one month,” said Congressman Bart Gordon. “My heart goes out to each of these workers and their families. I have heard from a number of people who live in DeKalb, and we all share the concern that things are going to get a lot worse before the economy recovers.”

According to the preliminary statistics from Tennessee’s Labor and Workforce Department, 940 people are currently unemployed in DeKalb County. Many more people have either stopped looking or are underemployed. In November, the number of unemployed persons in the County was 835. These figures stand in stark contrast to the economic situation in December of 2007 when the unemployment rate was 5.0% in DeKalb County.

“We are at the defining moment in this economic crisis – if we don’t pass an Economic Recovery bill, the next two years are going to be painful for Middle Tennesseans and people across the country.”

Economists from across the political spectrum have stated that the current economic situation is likely to last for another two years unless strong action is taken. Many have indicated that unless the government intervenes, the nationwide unemployment rate could reach, and possibly exceed, 10%.

“It is about jobs, jobs, jobs – we must do everything we can to create more jobs in Tennessee and throughout the country,” added Gordon. “Last week, the House started the process of crafting an Economic Stimulus package. I am committed to working in a bipartisan way with my House and Senate colleagues, and the President, to ensure that the bill is improved. The final form should include a combination of tax cuts and smart spending initiatives that will effectively help to get our economy back on track.”

The House and Senate are working to pass a final draft of the Economic Stimulus package and have it ready for President Obama’s signature before President’s Day on February 16th.

City Council Moves to Rezone Property for Apartment Complex

February 3, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night adopted on first reading an ordinance to rezone property
that may soon become the location for an apartment complex for low-income grandparents raising a child.

The two acre site, owned by Bruce Medley and David Bryan , is located at 721 Bright Hill Road and to the rear of Fiddler's Manor and other property owners on Walker Drive.

The Smithville Planning Commission voted on January 5th to recommend to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen the re-zoning of the property from R-1 low density residential to R-3 high density residential.

The proposed Fiddlers Manor Annex would actually be situated on 1.76 acres of the property. Site plans have not yet been considered for approval by the planning commission.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded a $1.67 million grant to build eight apartments in Smithville for low-income grandparents who are raising a grandchild.

The grant was awarded to the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) as part of HUD's Demonstration Program for Elderly Housing for Intergenerational Families.

UCDD was one of only two organizations to receive HUD's Demonstration grant (the other organization is based out of Chicago).

Larry Webb who runs the Cumberland Regional Development Corporation – UCDD's nonprofit housing construction partner – explained, in a prepared news release, that the grant money will be used to build six two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units. Rent will be based on 30 percent of the grandparent's income minus any medical expenses they have. In addition, UCDD will pay the utility bills.

The proposed re-zoning of the property will be up for second and final reading passage following a public hearing at the next city council meeting on Monday, February 16th at 7:00 p.m.

In other business, the Aldermen approved the list of officers and members of the Smithville Fire Department for 2009 as presented in a letter by Chief Charlie Parker.

Officers and members of the department are:

Chief Charles Parker; Honorary Assistant Chief Robert Eller; Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale; Captain Jeff Wright; Lieutenants Danny Poss, John Poss, Donnie Cantrell, and Kevin Adcock; Firefighters, Anthony Wright, William Brown, Davey Ferrell, Charles Young, Wallace Caldwell, Dusty Johnson, Gary Johnson, James R. Hunt, Stephanie Brown, Stephanie Wright, Joseph Hall, and Glenn Lattimore; and Photographer, Greg Bess.

Glen Lattimore is a new member who has met the 90 day requirements of the department and has been approved for membership.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson wanted to appoint Walter Burton to replace the late John Bill Evins as a member on the Smithville Electric System Board but the aldermen said no. The vote was 3 to 2. Aldermen Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins, Sr. voted against the appointment while Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger voted in favor. The position will remain vacant for now.

Meanwhile, the city apparently gets good marks in it's latest compliance evaluation of the wastewater treatment plant.

During the city council meeting Monday night, Mayor Hendrixson read a letter from an official of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Cookeville Field Office. "On January 15th, personnel from the Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control conducted a compliance evaluation inspection at the Smithville Wastewater Treatment facility. The purpose of this inspection was to determine compliance with the NPDES discharge permit and to evaluate the reliability of the data submitted on the monthly operation reports."

"The Smithville Wastewater Treatment Facility is operating under a permit re-issued in 2007. The permit and laboratory records were available for review at the facility. The review of the MOR for the year 2008 was conducted. No affluent violations have been noted. The wastewater treatment plant laboratory was found to be clean and well equipped. with an established quality control and quality assurance program in place. Calibration records indicate the laboratory instruments are being properly maintained.. I would like to thank Mr. Bobby Pinegar and his staff at the Smithville Wastewater Treatment Facility for their time and courtesy during the inspection."

Mayor Hendrixson, after reading the letter, added " I, for one, would like to congratulate Mr. Bobby Pinegar, Mr. Gary Prater, and Mr. Anthony Haseman for their diligent work at our wastewater treatment plant. There were no violations found."

Aldermen Vote to Budget $1.4 Million in Available Funds for Water Plant Rehab

February 2, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Greg Davenport-Consulting Engineer for J.R. Wauford Company

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night voted 3 to 2 to budget $1.4 million from almost $4 million in water and sewer fund reserves in order to make renovations to the water treatment plant.

The money will be set aside during the 2009-2010 fiscal year, which begins July 1st.

Alderman Tonya Sullivan, who brought up the issue, thanked the board for taking this action in a prepared statement after the meeting. "I would like to thank the board for having the insight to take swift action to ensure the safety of our water. Safe drinking water is at the forefront now with the board committing $1.4 million for the next budget year for the water treatment plant renovations. This board put a good foot forward in securing safe water for all citizens in DeKalb County. The leadership that was exemplified will make a lasting impact on generations to come."

Aldermen Sullivan, Jerry Hutchins, Sr. and Willie Thomas voted in favor while Aldermen Cecil Burger and Steve White voted no.

The city recently applied a second time for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to help fund the water plant rehab project and Alderman White said he was concerned that if the city commits to spending this much money now it might jeopardize the city's chances of getting the grant.

Meanwhile, the aldermen also voted 5 to 0 to have the city's engineering firm, the J.R. Wauford Company provide an updated report at the next meeting on the upgrades that need to be made at the water plant and the cost estimates.

The most recent report by Wauford on the condition of the water plant was released in January 2008.

Alderman Sullivan said she toured the water plant on January 19th, 2009 and saw for herself the conditions there.

The following is an exchange between Alderman Sullivan and Mayor Taft Hendrixson during Monday night's meeting

Alderman Sullivan:"The state of the water department, on the day that I went, looked like a makeshift water department. Mr. Mayor, how many times have you been to the water plant?"

Mayor Hendrixson: "Well, I don't know how many times."

Alderman Sullivan: "What state did you find it in when you went? When I went, there was standing water, electrical panels, there's equipment that's leaking and not functioning properly. There are infractions from the state that are in here (January 2008 Wauford engineering report) that have not been repaired. There are recommendations from Wauford that call for a renovation of this plant. We've not taken action on that and this report has not been made available to this board."

Mayor Hendrixson: "I asked (January 2008) that we put $900,000 out of city money (matching funds) to get a CDBG Block Grant for $500,000"

Alderman Sullivan: "But we didn't" (get the grant)

Mayor Hendrixson: "We didn't but we're putting in again (for the grant)"

Alderman Sullivan: "This water plant is in a state of emergency. Had that ice storm hit Smithville instead of Kentucky (last week) we would be the ones without water because you don't even have generators down there."

Mayor Hendrixson:" There's never been one (generators) down there."

Alderman Sullivan: "No, but they (generators) are in the (Wauford) report. They are recommended to be there."

Mayor Hendrixson: "Yes"

Alderman Sullivan: "Mayor you are jeopardizing 15,000 people by not taking action."

Mayor Hendrixson: I can't take action myself Ms. Sullivan, the board has to do this."

Alderman Sullivan: "Okay, that's my intent tonight. If we had fixed the problems as they happened as opposed to letting it go long term we wouldn't have to spend $1.4 million."

Mayor Hendrixson: "What did you find we needed to fix?"

Alderman Sullivan: Well sir, I think everything that the engineering firm has recommended, we need to fix."

Mayor Hendrixson: "I agree and I want to do it."

Alderman Sullivan: "Is there a reason during your tenure that you haven't fixed it or brought it before this board to fix?"

Mayor Hendrixson:"I'm trying to get a half million dollar grant. I brought this before the board."

Alderman Sullivan: "You have the money in the bank to fix it."

Mayor Hendrixson: "We do"

Alderman Sullivan: "Then that's what we should be doing, we shouldn't wait until it falls apart and we're in a state of emergency, such as Kentucky is in, before we do this."

Mayor Hendrixson: "I don't think it's (water plant) about to fall apart at any time. It does need some repair and I want to do it. I've proposed to put $900,000 out of city money."

Alderman Sullivan: "But you didn't propose to start action."

Mayor Hendrixson: "No I wanted to wait to see if we could get a half million dollars given to us."

Alderman Sullivan: "Alright, but we didn't get it."

Mayor Hendrixson: No, but we're trying again.'

Alderman Sullivan: "We can't keep waiting."

Greg Davenport, consulting engineer for the J.R. Wauford Company, also addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night concerning the condition of the water plant. "It was originally constructed in 1966 and it was updated in 1978 as well as the pumps at the intake or pump house at the lake."

"Smithville was successful in obtaining about $2 million in CDBG grants for rehabilitation of the sewer system over the last ten years. Then as the cat kind of got out of the bag on sewer rehab, Smithville came to me and said ‘what should we do?'. I said well your water plant needs some work so lets put in a CDBG grant for that. This application was filed probably in January, 2008. That has become a highly competitive program and I believe Smithville missed it (getting grant) by one municipality. In other words, if there were thirty in there and you guys were number sixteen, then fifteen and up got funded."

Concerning findings at the water treatment plant, Davenport said "as part of the report, we went through each of the unit processes and more or less determined some of the weaknesses that the plant has. As you can see in the report, it's about $1.4 million worth of work. Some of the things that are wrong at the plant, in my opinion need to be fixed immediately, like the switch gear problems down there at the high service pumps. The water in the slab. That needs to somehow be addressed. It's unsafe."

"Some of the things that need to be done are not really what you'd call emergency items, but they need to be done. For instance, the plant control system. It needs to be renovated and updated to what I call state of the state. The filter under drains have been in there since 1978. They are porcelain style and with grout they are prone to crack. Is it creating an unsafe condition for the citizens as of this minute? My opinion is no but it's undesirable."

"The standby power is an item that could create a catastrophe. The probability of that is not very high. I can't answer how expeditiously you should pursue those things. All I can do is present the risk to you. And the risk is if you have a major ice storm, you could be without water. But that is not something that the state wrote you up for per se in their report. It's something that they would like to see."

Man Caught Speeding Arrested on Drug Charges

February 2, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ernest Paul Barnwell

A 38 year old Smithville man was arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Thursday when officers found him with drugs after trying to stop him for speeding.

Ernest Paul (Hot Rod) Barnwell of Hawkins Drive was charged with possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) for sale and delivery, possession of a schedule III drug (Suboxone) for sale and delivery, possession of drug paraphernalia, 3rd offense of driving on a revoked license, and possession of brass knucks which is a prohibited weapon.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Thursday while on an extra patrol on King Ridge Road, Dowelltown, a deputy spotted a 1993 Dodge Intrepid driving at a high rate of speed. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver kept going. The car turned onto New Home Road and stopped at a residence. The driver, Barnwell, exited the vehicle and ran behind a house and attempted to enter the residence through the backdoor.

Officers found a container on Barnwell containing 17 Dilaudid pills and 1 Suboxone pill. They also found in Barnwell's car, a duffle bag containing 2 syringes and a set of brass knucks. In addition, officers discovered that Barnwell was driving on a revoked license.

Barnwell's bond was set at $111,000 and he will appear in court on February 19th.

Deputies also seized Barnwell's vehicle and $48 in cash.

Meanwhile on Friday deputies responded to a fight call on Potts Camp Road, Smithville in the Jefferson Community.

Upon arrival, Sheriff Ray says the officers found 46 year old Joseph Allen Maples, 36 year old Louise Ann Gorney, and 18 year old Timothy Christopher Schanck of Potts Camp Road, Smithville, and a 17 year old male, who was visiting, in an intoxicated state.

After investigating, officers discovered that Gorney had bought a 12 pack of beer and brought it to the Potts Camp home where she and her boyfriend, Maples, allowed Schanck and the 17 year old to consume the alcohol knowing the two were under the legal drinking age of 21.

Maples and Gorney were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Their bond was set at $1,500 each. Schanck was charged with under age consumption and his bond was set at $1,000. All three will appear in court on February 12th. A petition will be taken on the juvenile for underage consumption.

On Thursday, deputies stopped 24 year old Joshua R. Cripps of Hodges Road, Smithville on Highway 56 South for driving with his lights off after dark.

Sheriff Ray says upon running Cripps' drivers license, deputies learned that it was suspended. Officers also found a knife with a blade length of over 6 inches located between the seats of the vehicle which Cripps was apparently using for protection.

Cripps was arrested for driving on a suspended license and possession of a prohibited weapon. Officers also issued Cripps a citation for driving with his lights off after dark. Cripps' bond was set at $5,000.00 and he will appear in court on February 26th.

On Friday, 22 year old Christopher Peter Mulford of Ginger Drive Smithville was charged with public intoxication after he reported to the DeKalb County Jail to serve weekends for a drug offense. Sheriff Ray says correctional officers noticed Mulford to have slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. Mulford did admit to taking Hydrocodone and Xanax before coming to the jail. Mulford's bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on February 11th.

On Saturday, deputies responded to a fight call on Page Drive in Smithville. While at the scene, 27 year old Gary Thomas Woodard of Page Drive pulled up in his vehicle. Deputies asked Woodard for his license and discovered that he was driving on a suspended driver's license. Woodard was charged with driving on a suspended driver's license (4th offense). His bond
was set at $4,000 and he will appear in court on February 11th.

On Sunday while on a traffic stop on Highway 70 East, deputies spotted a vehicle coming toward them at a high rate of speed. Sheriff Ray says the vehicle came close to hitting the officers. One of the deputies took off after the vehicle and observed it driving in the turning lane. The officer stopped it and found the driver to be 39 year old Juan Manuel Rivera of Short Mountain Street, Smithville. Deputies noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Rivera's person and he was very unsteady on his feet. Rivera did admit to consuming alcohol. He was charged with driving under the influence and his bond was set at $1,500. He will appear in court on February 12th..

On Monday, February 2nd, officers responded to a reckless driver call on Rosewood Lane in Smithville. and stopped 38 year old Jerry Wayne Harper of Rosewood Lane. After talking to and then allowing Harper to leave, officers observed him go into a residence and assault his
girlfriend by hitting her in the chest with his fist and pulling her hair. The officers got to Harper and the victim and placed him in custody. When the officers told Harper to put his hands behind his back, he refused. Deputies were able to cuff Harper and they discovered that he had a knife on his belt with a blade exceeding 5 inches in length which he apparently kept for personal protection. Harper was charged with domestic assault, possession of a prohibited weapon, and resisting arrest. Harper's bond was set at $11,000 and he will appear in court on February 12th.

State Representative Weaver Introduces Bill to Allow Home-Schooled Students to Participate in Public School Athletics

January 31, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver has introduced a bill that authorizes home-schooled students to participate in athletics in public schools if they comply with certain conditions. -

Under the bill, home-schooled students may participate in interscholastic activities at the public school to which the student would have been assigned by the local board of education, if:

(1) The student legally resides in the school district;
(2) The student's parent or guardian complies with notice requirements for home schooling;
(3) The student's parent or guardian applies in writing to the principal before the beginning date of the season for the activity in which the student wishes to participate;
(4) The student is at or above grade level as demonstrated by assessment testing;
(5) The student meets the same standards for acceptance in the activity as public school students; and
(6) The student meets all TSSAA eligibility requirements that are not in conflict with the provisions of this bill.

This bill prohibits any public school student who has been unable to maintain academic eligibility to participate in interscholastic activities from participating as a home- schooled student for the duration of the year in which the student becomes ineligible and the following year. Any such student could become eligible for the third year by showing that the student is at or above grade level as demonstrated by assessment testing.

This bill prohibits any public school team or group from being impeded from competition against other schools' teams merely because the school's team has home-schooled students participating.

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