Local News Articles

First United Methodist Preschool A Fun Place to Learn

April 24, 2013
First United Methodist Preschool
Kathy Hendrixson Reads to Children

First United Methodist Preschool is more than your average Mother’s Day out! It is a place where a child is nurtured physically, educationally, and spiritually. This has been a fun year full of adventure and learning for everyone! In February we kicked off a reading and writing emphasis with a “Dress as your Favorite Book Character Day” in honor of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday. Since then the children have been working diligently to write and illustrate their very own class books! Thanks to the generous donations of parents and businesses in our community, we were able to print and bind a book for each child to keep forever!

On Thursday night, April 18th we celebrated by having an Author’s Debut and Silent Auction. To begin the evening parents and friends were able to browse at an Art Gallery that was compiled of creations that each class had made. Children had fun painting, posing, and creating all of the unique items that were up for auction.

Mrs. Kathy Hendrixson, from the Justin Potter Library, began the program by reading to the children and encouraged them to be a part of the summer reading program at the library.

As the grand finale the kids were then presented with their very own books. The 2 year old class, taught by Mrs. Jennifer Braswell, illustrated their own rendition of Brown Bear, Brown Bear. The kids used fruits and veggies to paint the pictures. The 3 year old class, taught by Mrs. Sharon Bell, wrote the book, Oh Where Will We Be in 2023. It is comprised of future plans and role models for each child in the next ten years. Mrs. Jane Groom’s 4 year old class wrote an autobiography about themselves, All About Me. It included family photos, the children’s favorite things, and plans for the future. Ms. Betty Hickey’s class made an art book, Self Portraits, which included their very own paintings of themselves and special handwriting for each picture.

It was an exciting night that spotlighted the importance of reading and education. Our desire is that these children will have a love for learning and self-confidence entering Kindergarten that they “can do all things through Christ who gives them strength.”

If you are interested in enrolling your child (18 months- 5 yrs. old) in preschool or would like to have more information, please contact Emily Bass at 615-597-6639 or email smithvillefump@gmail.com . Early Enrollment for the Fall has started now and will continue until we are full. We do follow the school calendar and will begin classes the week after public school has started.

Thank you to the following for the generous donations that made this night possible. Bernie’s Pizza, Beshearse Landscaping, Bratten Hale Cook II, Bridgeway Motel and Jewel’s Paving and Construction Company, Bumpers, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, The Close Family, DeKalb Animal Clinic, DeKalb Community Bank, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, Family Medical Center, Federal Mogul, Ford Lincoln of Cookeville, Scott Goodwin Family, Ginos BBQ, Hendrix Financial, Bill House Family, In Honor of DeKalb Tire and Service, In Honor of Light House Christian Camp, In Honor of Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland, Janney and Associates, Jeremy Trapp Attorney at Law, Johnson and Sons Cabinets INC, Johnson’s Heating and Air, Judkins Lawncare, Keith W. Blair Attorney at Law, Kilgores’ Restaurant, Kwik-N- Easy Inc., Larry and Frances Johnson, Liberty State Bank, Liberty Stop-N-Buy, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Nestle Inc., Optimus Pest Solutions, Peeled Chestnut United Methodist Church, Star Manufacturing International, Sue Puckett-Jernigan Attorney at Law, Tenneco, Tennessee Credit, The Real Estate Team, Turner Auto Parts, United Methodist Women, World Finance Cooperation, In Memory of Aubrey Turner, and In Memory of Paul Hardiman.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Set for Saturday

April 24, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is proud to announce that 23 of its funded county-level substance abuse prevention coalitions are taking part in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 27. The coalitions will partner with local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in more than 30 locations across the state for the event.

The Smithville Police Department is partnering in the Prescription Take-Back Day which will be Saturday, April 27 from 10:00 a.m. until noon at the city hall on the public square. Motorists should pull into the drive-through on the side of the building where you pay your water bill. Someone will be outside the building to collect the medications.

Drug take-back events remove thousands of pounds of unused and potentially addictive medications and other substances from homes and raise awareness of permanently installed prescription drug disposal boxes in communities. The importance of removing unused medications from homes cannot be over emphasized, as more than 8,000 Tennesseans have died from drug overdoses in the past 10 years. Organizers estimate that more than 5,775 pounds of medication will be collected at these events around Tennessee.

Smithville Police Detectives Solve Identity Theft Case

April 24, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jeffery D. Nelson

Smithville Police detectives Matt Holmes and Brandon Donnell have solved a local identify theft case with the arrest of a Nashville man.

41 year old Jeffery D. Nelson is charged with four counts of identity theft. His bond totals $40,000 and he will be in court on May 9.

Nelson is accused of using information from a Smithville man's debit card to withdraw funds from the victim's bank account to pay his own utility bills on several occasions. The total amount of the theft comes to nearly three thousand dollars.

According to Police Chief Randy Caplinger the Smithville resident hired the All My Sons Moving and Storage Company of Nashville last October to transport furniture from his home here to a condo in Banning, California.

Nelson, who worked in the Nashville office of All My Sons, was able to access the victim's debit card information from paper work showing where the victim had paid the company for their services.

After Nelson was developed as a suspect, warrants were prepared and the U.S. Secret Service was contacted to make the arrest. Nelson was then handed over to Smithville Police.

Chief Caplinger praised detectives Holmes and Donnell for their work in solving this case.

Two Cited For Animal Cruelty

April 24, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two people, 24 year old Jessica Yvonne Lane and 25 year old Lonnie (J.B.) Brown, are scheduled to be in court Thursday after being cited earlier this month for cruelty to animals.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said on Monday, April 1 an officer was dispatched to a residence on West Main Street concerning a couple of dogs being starved. The officer found one dog deceased, chained to a stake in the back yard. It appeared the dog had been dead for at least a day. Another dog was chained and appeared to be sick. There was no food with the dogs at the time of the complaint.

Meanwhile in other cases, 24 year old William Morris is cited for simple possession of a schedule IV drug. Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, March 30 while investigating a possible DUI at Mapco, an officer made contact with Morris. The officer noticed a pill holder hanging from Morris' key chain and asked if he could see what was inside it. Morris willingly showed the officer the pills inside the bottle. There were nine pills believed to be xanax.

44 year old Michael Lynn Vance was arrested for domestic assault on Thursday, April 4. According to the warrant, Detective Brandon Donnell responded to a fight in progress on Andrew Street where one person had a knife. As he arrived, Detective Donnell saw two persons fighting in a field behind Andrew Street. One of the men involved in the fight was Vance. The other man was a member of Vance's family. As Vance was ordered to get on the ground Detective Donnell saw Vance drop a knife. Upon further investigation it was determined that Vance was the primary aggressor. The victim had a cut on his hand and a small cut on his upper lip. Bond for Vance was $2,500

26 year old Jamaal Ahmad League was arrested for public intoxication on Sunday, April 7. According to the warrant, Officer Steven Barrett responded to Mapco Express where a man was in the store cussing the customers and asking for money. The man was apparently intoxicated. Upon arrival, Officer Barrett made contact with the man, League, who had a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. He was unsteady on his feet. League had been asked several times to leave the store and not to bother the customers. League was placed under arrest due to his being a nuisance to the public and for his safety. His bond was $2,000.

35 year old Terika Diana Faux was cited for shoplifting at Dollar General Store on Thursday, April 11. Faux was observed by store management concealing items in her purse. She will be in court on April 25

36 year old Rickey Lee Tisdale was arrested on Tuesday, April 16 for aggravated assault, simple assault and simple possession. Tisdale allegedly threw a family member onto a couch and strangled her. When she went into the bedroom to call 911, Tisdale allegedly broke the phone and strangled her again leaving marks on her throat. Tisdale also allegedly grabbed a neighbor, who had gone in to check on the victim, throwing her on the bed and leaving bruise marks on her arms. Tisdale was asked to sit in a chair while Officer Barrett conducted an investigation. When Tisdale sat down a metal pill container fell out of his pocket and onto the floor. The container held eleven pills believed to be xanax. Bond for Tisdale is $10,000 and he will be in court on May 2.

38 year old Ignacia Hernandez was recently arrested for a third offense of driving on a suspended license and cited for a violation of the vehicle registration law and for failure to maintain lane of travel. Police said Hernandez was operating a motor vehicle but was stopped for failure to maintain lane of travel. He told the officer he didn't have a license and a computer check revealed his license were suspended for driving on a prior suspended license in Macon County. A computer check of the vehicle tag came back to a different vehicle. Bond for Hernandez is $5,000 and he will be in court on May 9.

Anyone with information on any criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that would help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Wilson County Mayor to Speak at DCHS Graduation

April 23, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto will be the guest speaker for the 2013 graduation program at DeKalb County High School on Friday, May 24.

Hutto is a life long resident of Wilson County. Growing up in Watertown, he attended Watertown Elementary and graduated from Watertown High School. Randall earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1984, and would continue his education with a Master's plus 30 degree in Education from Trevecaa Nazarene College.

He began his career in education at Lebanon High School in1984, teaching U. S. History, Math, and Physical Education. During his tenure at Lebanon High, he utilized his passion for both young people and athletics as an assistant varsity football coach for 16 years, and led the Blue Devils Boys' Varsity Basketball team as head coach for 12 years.

After an 18 year career at Lebanon High School, Randall accepted the opportunity to serve as Assistant Director of Schools for the Lebanon Special School District in 2003.

Randall began a new and challenging career in September of 2010, when the citizens of Wilson County elected him to serve as Wilson County Mayor.

He and his wife, Paula, have been married for over 24 years, and have three children, Alex, a student at Tennessee Tech, Megan, a student at Lebanon High School and Brett, a student at Winfree Bryant Middle School. Randall and his family are members of Immanuel Baptist Church, where he teaches Sunday School and serves as a deacon. He is a member of the Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, and Watertown Chambers of Commerce, and an active member of the Lebanon Breakfast Rotary Club.

The graduation program starts at 7:00 p.m. on the DCHS football field.

Two Charged with Domestic Assault; Another for being Fugitive from Justice

April 23, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michael Napier Rose
Ricky Lynn Devault
David Michael Cook
Dylan Kirt Cunningham
John Owen Moberly
Alfredo Guerro Gonzales

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department charged two men recently in separate incidents of domestic assault.

28 year old Michael Napier Rose of Kings Court, Smithville is charged with domestic assault, public intoxication, and resisting arrest. His bond is $12,500 and he will be in court on May 2. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, April 20 deputies responded to Kings Court on a domestic violence call. Upon arrival, the officers saw Rose chasing his girlfriend and then go into the home. The woman had a cut on her hand and a bruise on the right side of her face. Rose allegedly had broken her cell phone which prevented her from calling 911. While the officers were investigating, Rose ran out the back door of the residence and jumped off the deck. The officers grabbed Rose and took him to the ground in order to handcuff him. Rose had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very belligerent. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. On the way to the jail, Rose used his head to try and break a window out of the patrol car and spat throughout the back of the vehicle.

54 year old Ricky Lynn Devault of Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on May 9. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 18 Devault allegedly assaulted a female family member at his home of Talpha Drive. He allegedly punched her in the mouth with his fist and grabbed her throat, leaving red scratch marks. The woman's thirteen year old daughter allegedly witnessed the assault. Devault was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

40 year old David Michael Cook of Bell Street, Smithville is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court on April 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, April 19 Cook ran his vehicle in a ditch on Hurricane Ridge Road. The investigating officer ran a computer check through the National Crime Information Center and learned that Cook was wanted in Lyon County, Kentucky for a first degree drug offense and operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Cook was arrested and taken to the jail for booking.

42 year old Comer Thomas Vance of Meadowbrook Drive, Smithville is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia (three hypodermic needles), failure to maintain lane of travel, and driving on a revoked license. He will be in court May 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 16 a sheriff's department drug detective observed a light colored van traveling on the Old Snow Hill Road in the center of the roadway. A computer check revealed that Vance's license were revoked. A search of his vehicle revealed three needles.

22 year old Daniel Trey Hamilton of Jacobs Pillar Road, Smithville is cited for simple possession of a schedule IV drug (klonopin). He will be in court May 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 16, as a sheriff's department drug detective was walking toward Hamilton, he saw Hamilton pass something to a female friend. The woman handed over to the detective a red pill container which held three klonopin pills, a schedule IV drug.

19 year old Alxis Nandez of Smith Road, Smithville is cited for driving with no license, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), and leaving the scene of an accident. He will be in court on June 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 18, an officer was dispatched to Vaughn Lane regarding a wreck with property damage. The deputy made contact with Nandez, who had left the scene of the accident. Nandez had no drivers license and no insurance on his vehicle.

21 year old Dylan Kirt Cunningham of Manchester is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and a third offense of driving on a revoked license. He was also issued citations for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), failure to maintain his lane of travel, simple possession of a schedule III drug (Suboxone), and violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $8,000 and he will be in court June 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 18 a deputy saw Cunningham operating a Honda Civic on Highway 53 and Highway 70 west, crossing the double yellow line. The officer stopped the car for failure to maintain lane of travel. Cunningham, the driver, had an ID only license. A computer check revealed that his drivers license were revoked in Franklin County for a DUI on August 13, 2012. Cunningham had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was slurred. Cunningham submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He refused to consent to a blood test so a forced blood draw was taken as per state law. Cunnigham told the officer that he had consumed three beers. A partially filled bottle of Crown Royal alcohol was found in his vehicle. Cunningham told the officer that he was "messed up" and that he was taking medication. He was arrested and taken to the jail for booking. Upon inventory of his vehicle, a schedule III drug (Suboxone) was found.

65 year old John Owen Moberly of Crossville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 4 a deputy stopped to do a welfare check on a man in a vehicle in the parking lot of Center Hill Marine on Highway 70. The man, Moberly, was slumped over the seat, semi conscious with an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. The vehicle was still running. The deputy said the man was confused and did not know where he was. Moberly was sent to the emergency room of the hospital for evaluation. While at hospital, he was treated and showed signs of being intoxicated.

37 year old Alfredo Guerro Gonzales of Foster Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on May 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 20 Gonzales was operating a motor vehicle on College Street when he was stopped by an officer because his automobile was smoking. Gonzales told the officer that he was drunk. Gonzales had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. He submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. Gonzales was arrested and taken to the jail for booking.

42 year old Vickie Lenae Alvis of Sparta Highway, Smithville is charged with driving on a revoked license. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on April 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 21, Alvis was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when a deputy stopped her having prior knowledge that Alvis' drivers license were revoked. A computer check confirmed that her license were revoked for driving under the influence. Alvis was arrested and taken to the jail for booking. She had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person.

DCHS Graduation Set for May 24 (VIEW PHOTO GALLERY OF SENIORS HERE)

April 22, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Valedictorian Taylor Leach

A total of 187 students at DeKalb County High School will receive their diplomas during graduation exercises Friday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW PHOTO GALLERY OF DCHS CLASS OF 2013)

http://www.wjle.com/image-gallery/dchs-class-2013

The program will feature remarks by the Valedictorian Taylor Leach, Class President Matt Boss, guest speaker Randall Hutto, Wilson County Mayor, and Principal Patrick Cripps. The prestigious White Rose and Citizenship Awards will also be presented to three outstanding members of the class. Diplomas will be presented to each graduate by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. The DCHS Chorus is also expected to perform.

The honor students will also be recognized:

Those earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 are: Valedictorian Taylor C. Leach (4.0), Salutatorian Phillip J. Carroll (4.0), Daniela J. Acuna (4.0), Casey J. Alderman, Kristen R. Campbell (4.0), Caleb B. Cantrell (4.0), Sarah E. Cantrell, Erin Cantrell-Pryor, Hunter T. Collins (4.0), Lauren E. Craig (4.0), Emily R. Davidson, Savannah P. Dexter, Benjamin G. Driver, Hayden R. Ervin, Christina Ferguson, Makayla S. Funk, Callie A. Gash, William G. Graham, Kayley B. Green, Katie S. Haggard (4.0), Jessica L. Harbaugh, Amy L. Hastings, Alexander D. Hayes (4.0), Haley Keck(4.0), Elizabeth A. Koegler, Mandee R. Lattimore, Samantha R. Leiser (4.0), Cassandra L. Lester (4.0), Chelsea A. Lewis (4.0), Cecilia Maciel Ortega, Martha L. Martin (4.0), Zachary R. Martin (4.0), William M. Molander, Annieka M. Norton (4.0), Benjamin P. Pafford (4.0), Johnathon K. Page, Haley D. Parchman, Jacob E. Parsley (4.0), Taylor B. Poston (4.0), Martelia L. Tallent, and Rebekah G. Webb (4.0)

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Kaylee S. Cantrell, Mykaela O Duke, Alyssa K. England, Marissa E. Garmer, Cory A. Kijanski, Spencer B. Maynard, Taylor B. Monette, Lucas D. Phillips, Skyar J. Ritchie, and Dalton H. Vaughn.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Connor N. Apple, Emily K. Blackwell, Matthew W. Boss, Matthew C. Bouldin, Brittany N. Brakeall, Ashley S. Brandt, Benjamin F. Brandt, Cohen W. Brown, Downing E. Burke, Abbey L. Caldwell, Paige L. Cantrell, Austin L. Certain, Evan M. Curtis, Rachel L. Edge, Fantasia M. Erdman, Cain A. Evans, Krestin M. Evans, Lydia M. Foutch, Ashlee M. Gunter, Kelsey R. Hale, Alex C. Hall, Laddie B. Jerrells, Jason A. Judkins, Harley D. Lawrence, Walter L. Lewis, Quenton P. McSparren, Derek C. Parsley, Bindiya R. Patel, Elijah C. Poss, Nathan A. Sexton, Ethan D. Shaw, Spencer E. Stanfield, Cheyenne L. Stanley, Lindsey M. Taylor, Elijah G. Turner, Zachary D. Vincent, Emily J. Webb, and Zoe E. Whaley.

Members of the DCHS Class of 2013 are as follows:

Jessica Acuna, Matthew Adcox, Casey Alderman, Jose Daniel Alvarez, Connor Apple, Braxton Atnip,

Jacob Daniel Bandy, Timothy Bandy, Randy Beechler, Emily Blackwell, Matthew Boss, Matthew Bouldin, Brittany Brakeall, Ashley Brandt, Benjamin Brandt, Megan Brooks, Cohen Brown, Gage Brown, Halea Brown, Downing Burke,

Abbey Caldwell, Destiny Caldwell, Kristen Campbell, Brittany Campbell, Paige Cantrell, Caleb Cantrell, Kaylee Cantrell, Sarah Cantrell, Erin Cantrell-Pryor, Zackary Caplinger, Phillip Jacob (P.J.) Carroll, Alissya Coronado, Cortney Cawthorn, Austin Certain, Christopher Chapman, Justin Coats, Hunter Collins, Matthew Colwell, Quentin Cook, Christopher Crabtree, Lauren Elisabeth Craig, Evan Brady Cripps, Taylor Cudney, Evan Curtis,

Emily Davidson, Leif Robert Davis, William Day, Savanah Dexter, Kyra Dickens, Ernest Dodd, Marly Driver, Aleisha Driver, Benjamin Driver, Mykaela Duke,

Rachel Edge, Kelsey Eller, Alyssa England, Fantasia Marie Erdman, Hayden Ross Ervin, Krestin Evans, Cain Evans,

Christina Ferguson, Lydia Foutch, Casey France, Sonni Fullilove, Makayla Funk,

Marissa Garmer, Callie Gash, Samuel Giles, Elizabeth Schonstatt Garcia- Godinez, Nathan Gohs, Hunter Graham, Will Graham, Kayley Green, Lisa Elaine Greer, Cody Griffith, Sheldon Blake Grisham, Ashlee Gunter,

Sierra Danielle Haggard, Katie Haggard, Kelsey Hale, Katie Hale, Austin Hale, Alex Hall, Jessica Harbaugh, Amy Hastings, Alex Hayes, Joshua Heady, Devon Hickey, Abigail Holden, Joey Howell, Jordan Huling, Bridget Hutchens, George Junior Hyde,

Veronica Ingram, Laddie Jerrells, Brandon Jones, Ilse Lorena Ramirez, Jason Judkins, Brandy Julien,

Haley Keck, Cory Kijanski, Gabriel Knowles, Elizabeth Koegler, Lucas Kurzendoerfer,

Mandee Lattimore, Harley Lawrence, Andrew Lawrence, Nathan Lawson, Taylor Leach, Joshua Thomas Lee, Samantha Leiser, Andrew Neil Lemons, Cassi Lester, Lucian Lewis, Chelsea Lewis, Elyse Litteer, Jacob Tyler Long,

Cecilia Maciel, Austin Malone, Laura Martin, Martha Martin, Zachary Martin, Shelton Martin, Spencer Maynard, Caleb McBride, Quenton McSparren, Will Molander, Taylor Monette, Jonathan Michael Morris, Brittany Murphy,

Annieka Norton,

Ashley O'Conner,

Benjamin Pafford, Jonathon Page, Haley Parchman, Derek Parsley, Jacob Parsley, Bindiya Patel, Hannah Marie Pease, Drew Pedigo, Lucas Phillips, Elijah Poss, Taylor Poston, Amanda Nicole Puckett, Cody Puckett, Shawna Puckett, Eric Christopher Redmon, Dillan Reeder, Tiffany Riley, Skylar Ritchie, Roxana Rodriguez, Sarah Roysden, Jared Brendon Russell, Kieran Benjamin Russell,

Javier Sanchez, Margarita Sanchez, Nathan Sexton, Ethan Shaw, Tyler Joseph (T.J.) Slezak, Spencer Stanfield, Seth Stanley, Kayla Stanley, Cheyenne Stanley, Carlie Sullivan, Martelia Tallent, Lindsey Morgan Taylor, Christian Tyler Terry, Brandon Thaxton, Juan Carlos Torres, Eli Turner, Jacob Turner, Kristina Tyree,

Derek Vanatta, Daniel Vandergriff, Tyler Vanhoose, Dalton Vaughn, Brent Vickers, Zachary Vincent,

Ashton Waggoner, Zackery Walker, Kelley Walker, Emily Webb, Grace Webb, Zoe Whaley, Joel Wilkerson, and Matthew Wright.

TCAP Testing Begins Tuesday

April 22, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

DeKalb County students will be taking the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, Achievement Tests starting April 23.

Students in grades 3-8 take the Achievement Test, and high school students take End of Course exams for various subjects. In addition, some school systems, including DeKalb County will administer the Achievement Test to students in Kindergarten and Grades 1 and 2 in the areas of reading/language arts, and math. TCAP is a set of statewide assessments given in Tennessee to measure students' skills and progress.

The Achievement Test is a timed, multiple choice assessment that measures skills in Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. "April 23 is the first day of testing. It will be our Reading, Language Arts test," said Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade. "On April 24 it will be Math. April 25th will be Science and April 26th will be social studies. That is the 3-8 grade schedule. This year we are also testing kindergarten and first grade. Last year we tested second grade. But for kindergarten, first and second grade, the main focus of their testing will be the Reading, Language Arts, and Math. Those are very important subjects and we want to make sure that they have those foundational skills and that they are ready for third grade. April 29-30 will be two days that we have for make ups," said Burklow.

School officials urge parents to make sure their children are well rested and have had breakfast before they get to school. "Parents make sure your child gets plenty of sleep the night before the tests," said Burklow. "We do not want anyone to oversleep because we are going to start testing at 8:15 a.m. so we do not want children to come into school feeling rushed and under pressure. We want them to come in relaxed. So make sure students get plenty of sleep and that they get up in time and be ready to go to school. Also be sure that the child eats a healthy breakfast. I know Stephanie Dyer, our school nutrition supervisor will be serving breakfast on the main days of testing, TCAP as well as End of Course. She is very supportive of supplying breakfasts for the children because it is a pretty long testing session in the mornings and she knows the importance of the children eating breakfast. If your child does not eat breakfast at home, they have a great breakfast at the schools so parents help your students start the morning off right. Make sure they have a full stomach and are ready to learn," said Burklow.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby also asks parents to try and avoid any conflicts that would keep your children out of school this week. "During this week that we are giving TCAP tests, we would ask that parents don't schedule any kind of appointments, such as dental visits. Please reschedule those to another time. Because if you come to school at 9:00 a.m. and want to check your child out of school, if the test is underway we cannot go in and disturb that classroom. We have to monitor that classroom and make sure that everyone in that classroom has a great opportunity to do well on the test," said Willoughby.

State House of Representatives Rejects Judicial Redistricting

April 22, 2013

A proposal to redraw Tennessee's judicial districts for the first time since 1984 was killed on Friday when House members voted against it.

Even if the measure had passed the current makeup of the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb County, would have remain unchanged. The district includes Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties.

The State House of Representatives voted 66-28 to defeat the measure sponsored by Republican Representative Jon Lundberg of Bristol. The companion bill in the Senate was approved 27-4 earlier this month. The plan from Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville, would have affected 22 counties in eight districts. The number of judicial districts would have been reduced from 31 to 29.

Most of the House members against the measure said they felt they were being dictated to by the Senate, particularly Ramsey.

The proposal would have created separate judicial districts for Rutherford and Williamson counties because of population growth in the Nashville suburbs over the last three decades.

Two judicial districts in northwestern Tennessee made up of Lake, Dyer, Obion and Weakley counties would have been merged into a single district. Meanwhile, Coffee County would have ceased to have its own district and instead be folded into one with Cannon, Warren and Van Buren counties.

Ramsey has said the changes were not expected to affect the positions of existing judges, but that the elimination of two judicial districts would reduce the positions of two prosecutors and public defenders.

He estimated the cost savings of eliminating those four positions would be more than $600,000.

State Legislature Approves New City Charter for Smithville

April 22, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Both the State House and Senate Friday adopted a rewrite of the Smithville charter, subject to final approval by the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen.

The legislation amends Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of 1941 to make changes in the city charter, as sought by the mayor and aldermen.

The measure passed in the State House of Representatives 87-0 and in the State Senate 29-0.

The resolution was passed by the Board of Aldermen in February and sent to the legislature. It will now return to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a second reading where it must receive a vote of not less than two thirds of the entire membership of the board before it can take effect.

Under the new city charter the terms of office for the mayor and aldermen will go from two to four years (beginning with the elections in June this year and in August next year). It extends voting rights to county residents that own commercial property in the city (two persons per deed), allows property rights voting to county residents who own at least 3,500 square feet of property in the city, and allows by ordinance regular city council meetings to be held only once per month.

The new charter calls for city elections every two years, on the first Thursday in August to coincide with the county general election and state primaries. Terms of office for the mayor and aldermen will go from two to four years.

There will be no change in the date of the city election this year. The election will be held on Tuesday, June 18. The three aldermen elected this year will serve for a three year term until after the August election in 2016. From then on three aldermen will be elected to serve four year terms.

Next year under the proposed new charter, a mayor and two aldermen will be elected on the first Thursday in August. Those elected will serve for four years.

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