Local News Articles

Beavers pleased Governor Haslam has requested aid for DeKalb County

March 15, 2012
State Senator Mae Beavers

Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) said today she is pleased that Governor Haslam has requested aid for the February 29 – March 2 tornadoes, straight line winds and severe storms that ravaged 10 counties, including DeKalb County which she represents. The request also specifically asks for Individual Assistance, including the Individuals and Households Program (IHP), Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Small Business Administration Disaster Recovery Loans and Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Hamilton, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton and Polk Counties.

“DeKalb was one of the worst areas hit,” said Senator Beavers. “A declaration would help those who suffered damage recover from these storms.”

Beavers said Governor Haslam requested President Obama declare a disaster under Tennessee’s Emergency Management Plan in accordance with the Stafford Act. Preliminary assessments indicated the most severe impacts were to individuals, households and businesses. The disaster caused the sheltering of more than 350 families, as well as 2 deaths in Cumberland County, 1 death in Dekalb County, 33 patients seen in local Emergency Rooms in three counties and over $18 million dollars in damage to homes. Business damages have also caused numerous workers to suffer the loss of their jobs.

Total expenditures statewide are expected to exceed $36.1 million.

“Those who suffered damages need this assistance to help them get back on their feet,” she concluded.

Smithville Municipal Election to be Contested

March 15, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Taft Hendrixson
Jimmy W. Poss
Scott Davis
Jason Judd Murphy
Tim Stribling
Steve White

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson will be challenged for re-election again this year.

Hendrixson, who is seeking his fourth term, will face opposition from Jimmy W. Poss, who currently serves as a seventh district county commissioner in the city election on Tuesday, June 19th.

Hendrixson was first elected mayor in 2006 and he was re-elected in 2008 and 2010.

Poss will be making his first attempt at an elected city public office.

Meanwhile, Incumbent Alderman Stephen White is seeking re-election. Also in the race for alderman are Scott Davis, Jason Judd Murphy, and Tim Stribling.

White was first elected in 2000 and will be looking for his seventh term as alderman.

Davis, Murphy, and Stribling are making their first runs for elected public office.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on June 19th. Each term is for two years. The terms of office for those elected will begin on July 1st.

Noon today (Thursday, March 15th) was the qualifying deadline.

Incumbent Alderman Cecil Burger is not seeking re-election. Burger will be ending his career as a city public official, completing his third term as alderman this summer. He was first elected to that office in 2006. Prior to that, Burger served as Mayor from 1990 to 2006, a total of eight terms. He also formerly worked for the city, having served 23 years as the city secretary-treasurer and at one time, city judge.

Early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election will be May 30 through June 14. Meanwhile, May 21 is the voter registration deadline for the Smithville City Election.

Voters who don't live in Smithville but own property in the city may vote in the municipal election under certain conditions.

The Smithville Charter allows Property Rights Voting. The property must be a minimum of
7500 square feet and the person owning the property must reside in DeKalb County. Proof of ownership and residence must be shown by the following means: (1) A certified copy of the deed and the execution of an affidavit that the person still owns this property and (2) A copy of the most recent DeKalb County real property tax notice, and (3) Proof of residence in DeKalb County. Property rights registrants are entitled to vote but not to hold any municipal office or serve on any municipal board or commission. Proof of ownership and registration form must be provided to the Election Commission office by the May 21 registration deadline.

Meanwhile, Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley reminds voters who have moved since registering to vote that the election commission office needs your current address on file.

"Updating the record is a simple process. All the voter needs to do is fill out a change of address form, which is available at the election commission office," said Stanley. To see if you need to update your record, simply check the address on your voter registration card. If it is different than your current address, you need to update the information with the election commission."

"Updating the address will make your voting experience go much easier and quicker." Stanley said," and will not slow down the line at the polling place during early voting or election day."

Smithville Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Phony Military Documents

March 14, 2012

65 year old Robert E. Neener of Smithville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty on March 12, 2012, to possessing and selling federal agency seals, and pretending to be a federal officer or employee, announced Jerry E. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. The guilty plea is pursuant to a plea agreement which includes a three year prison sentence and the payment of restitution to defrauded victims.

As part of the plea agreement, Neener admits that from January 2007 through December 2008 he operated a document vending business from his residence in Smithville, Tenn. which he advertised via the Internet. In these advertisements, Neener falsely represented that he could provide customers with "authentic" military replacement documents which were "exact reproductions" of those originally issued, and that he had contracts with military branches of the government.

Neener received more than $200,000 from customers who ordered thousands of documents, which included honorable discharges and various military awards. Neener had no authorization from any federal agency to either make or sell these documents. Neener also used the official seals of various federal agencies on most of these documents, including the U.S. Air Force; the Army; the Navy; the Department of Defense; Homeland Security; the Department of Justice; Veterans Affairs; the DEA; the Coast Guard; and the U.S. Marine Corps, without authorization to do so.

Neener also signed or copied signatures of various federal officials on these documents, which made it appear that the various awards or certificates were endorsed and authorized by such officials. On some documents, Neener fabricated the names and official positions of federal officials and on others, he forged the signatures of real persons, identifying them by the federal positions they actually occupied, including a former Secretary of the Navy and a former President of the United States.

"Using the Internet to fraudulently sell counterfeit documents is unlawful and triggers serious concerns when those documents falsely purport to be issued by federal agencies, particularly military agencies," said U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin. "Federal prosecutors in this district will continue to focus attention on anyone who sells phony replacement awards to veterans who have earned such awards, as well as those who sell phony awards to individuals who have not earned them. We will continue to seek significant prison sentences for anyone convicted of such crimes."

"The Office of Inspector General aggressively investigates unauthorized uses of the official VA seal, and unauthorized creation of documents by anyone pretending to act under the VA's official authority will not be tolerated," said Quentin G. Aucoin, Special Agent in Charge of the VA Office of Inspector General.

Neener will be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell on July 13, 2012.

The case was jointly investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the U.S. Secret Service, the Tennessee Highway Patrol- Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Hester.

Fire Department Proposes Lease Purchase Option For Ladder Truck

March 14, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Fire Chief Charlie Parker (2011 photo)
Waniford Cantrell (2011 photo)
Aerial Ladder Truck

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department unveiled their recommendation for purchasing a 75 foot ladder truck during a public forum Tuesday night at city hall.

Chief Charlie Parker said the department is suggesting that the mayor and aldermen include funds in the budget to make a down payment and enter into a five year lease purchase agreement. "Our recommendation is a 75 foot ladder truck with a 1,750 gallon a minute pump which gives us a 1,500 gallon a minute water way. It also has a 300 gallon tank and it carries hose and other equipment so we can use it as a first line engine also. We can count it as an engine and a ladder truck. I think we need to make a conscious effort to keep some of our (city reserve funds). We purchased our last fire truck in 2001. We did a lease purchase on that. We had the money in the bank to pay for it all then. At that particular time we got cheaper money to lease it and draw money off of the bank. That's probably not going to be the case this time. Interest does not draw very much. But, you don't have to spend all our capital outlay in one year. Our recommendation is to put a down payment down and do a lease purchase. We're looking at a five year lease purchase. This is a year to year lease. Once you make a substantial deposit, it is on a year to year lease so if you decide you don't want it in two years then you can give it back to them. That's not very smart on our end of it because you'll already have two years into it. We think the lease purchase is probably the best way to keep some money in the bank and still accomplish what we need," said Chief Parker.

Asked about the price of such a truck, Chief Parker said the costs vary but the price on the demo truck that the department tested recently was around $680,000.

Demo trucks, he said, are available for purchase. "We were at a weekend training class in Sevierville the weekend before last and up there we saw some demo trucks that are still available. Talking with some truck manufacturers, they are expecting raw price increases coming in the next month or two. The 2001 truck that we bought was a demo unit and we got it at a pretty substantial price difference (cheaper) than what we had actually bid (planned for in bid specs). It was already made. It had probably 99% of the specs that we had already specked out except for a few minor things they had to change. That's one way there could be a cheaper price for a truck. We can put it in the budget for next year or we could continue to wait. Its up to the citizens. Its up to the board. Our goal for the Smithville Fire Department is the protection of our citizens," said Chief Parker.

So why the need for a ladder truck?. "The Smithville Firefighters want to be able to extinguish these larger fires," said Chief Parker. We currently have the knowledge, personnel, and training to fight these larger fires, but we do not have the equipment to do so. There have been several of these fires in the past in Smithville from apartment fires to factory fires and we feel that an aerial (ladder truck) can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on an emergency scene and increase the safety of our firefighters by having the equipment to use to do it with. We need it (ladder truck) to access the roof of a one or two story building in our downtown district. We need it to access windows of two or three story apartment buildings or homes around Smithville. We need it to be able to put water above ground level where we need it. If we need to put it (water) in a second story window, we can't do that off of a ground ladder. We can, but in a small amount. With a ladder truck, we can operate the nozzle that's mounted on the end of the ladder, or we can do it remotely from the base. That nozzle can put 1,500 gallons of water a minute onto that fire. When we get there in the first crucial minutes of a fire, if we don't get to it really quick it'll get bigger really quick and that makes it harder for us to fight. It makes it more dangerous for us to fight. This is one thing we're really pushing for. To be able to get the water above ground where we need it, when we need it, and how much. With the nozzle locked back, we can use the ladder in rescue mode, picking people out of windows or off of roofs," said Chief Parker.

Chief Parker said if the city were to purchase a ladder truck, the department would also have the 2001 truck and would like to keep the 1992 truck, to be used as a reserve unit.

Resident and former Mayor Waniford Cantrell said he is sold on the idea that the city needs a ladder truck and the plan proposed is "the best deal around", he said. "As far as I'm concerned, time's a wasting. We need to go ahead and get serious about buying this. I see no problem for us looking for a demonstrator and if we go with a down payment and a five year lease program, you're not going to get a much better deal than that. I guarantee, I can find enough money in this budget if you need any help, finding that down payment money. I'd like to see the council get serious and let Charlie (Parker) get some definite money figures and go ahead and purchase one of these things on a purchase lease plan and spread that cost out. This is going to be the best deal in town," said Cantrell

Aside from members of the fire department and aldermen, the meeting was attended by only a few citizens. No one spoke out in opposition to the proposal.

Prescription Drug Manufacturer Pfizer Comes to the Aid of Sabrina Brown

March 13, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

Almost a week after someone stole the medications she needs to survive, Sabrina Brown got some good news Monday.

The prescription drug manufacturer, Pfizer has announced that it will help Brown obtain the Zyvox medication free of charge through Pfizer's RSVP program, which is designed to help qualified patients access the Pfizer specialty medicines they need.
PLAY WJLE VIDEO OF SABRINA BROWN HERE

The announcement by Pfizer comes after Nashville media publicity about the case.

Brown, who lives on Earl Avenue with her husband and step mother, told WJLE last Friday that someone broke into her home last Tuesday, March 6th between 3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. while they were away. When Brown returned, she discovered that someone had emptied out her purse and stolen cash and some expensive medication she was taking for a life threatening bacterial blood infection. Smithville Police were called to investigate. There was no sign of forced entry. Brown told police she wasn't certain whether the doors to the home were locked while they were gone.

Police report the following list of items stolen and their approximate value: Zyvox, $7,515; Zofran, $1,796; Cipro $67.99; Phenergan $19.49; TN ID $20; and $150 in cash. The purse was found in the basement.

Brown, a patient at Vanderbilt, said the hospital gave her the medications but they wouldn't replace what had been stolen and she can't afford to buy more. Brown said she might have died had she not been able to replace the medication she needs for her condition. Brown made an appeal to whoever stole the medications to return them to her, but no response has come so far.

Brown said she is thankful for the words of encouragement and letters of support she has received over the past week.

Smithville Gets Approval for $1.5 Million Airport Grant Project

March 13, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Grant funds to repair cracks and repave airport runway
Saw cuts to be made in airport runway as part of the process to repair cracks
Cracks such as this appear in many places along airport runway

The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced Monday that state aeronautics grants totaling $16,751,893 have been approved for seventeen Tennessee airports including the Smithville Municipal Airport.

PLAY VIDEO BELOW OF AIRPORT MANAGER WESLEY NOKES DESCRIBING THE PROJECT

The City of Smithville has been approved for a $1.5 million project for runway overlay and apron expansion. State grant funding totals $1,350,000 and the local matching obligation is $150,000. The funds will be used to re-pave the airport runway and to pave and expand the aircraft parking area.

Wesley Nokes, Airport Manager, said cracks in the runway will have to be fixed first. "We're going to be doing a complete airfield overlay but before that can be done several cracks in the runway have to be fixed. The process by which they do that, they'll saw cut the cracks six inches on either side of it (cracks), completely remove that section of asphalt, take it down to the core, and remove all the old. They'll come back and fill all that in and pave back over top of it and bring it up to grade with the rest of the runaway. All the cracks have to be fixed before we can start the (overlay) process," said Nokes.

The apron will also be doubled in size, according to Nokes "The apron which is our parking area for our aircraft, its pretty much been unchanged since the airport was built in the early 70's. This is the original asphalt that was put here. We're going to extend this (aircraft parking area) to twice the size that it is right now. Its going to give us twice the original parking area and that will really help us on crowded days," said Nokes.

The city also recently received a $166,667 grant for apron expansion design with a local matching share of $16,667.

VIDEO BELOW IS WESLEY NOKES DESCRIBING PLANS FOR EXPANSION OF AIRCRAFT PARKING AREA

The grants are made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Division.

The Division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee's diverse public aviation system.

Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state Airport System Plan. The board carefully reviews all applications for grants to ensure that the proper state and local matching funds are in place and that the grants will be used for needed improvements.

The TDOT Aeronautics Division has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state's 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports.

Local FFA Members Attend State Goodwill Tour

March 12, 2012
by: 
Corey Merriman, DeKalb County FFA Reporter
FFA Students
FFA Students with State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
FFA Students with State Representative Mark Pody

Members of the DeKalb County High School Future Farmers of America recently attended the Tennessee State FFA Goodwill Tour in Murfreesboro at MTSU. During the evening, FFA members from around Middle Tennessee gathered together to eat and meet with the state officers of FFA. After eating the meal that was prepared, the attendees traveled to the new education building on campus to participate in a program prepared by the Tennessee State FFA Officer team. During the program, each of the state officers told a story and described how each of their stories inspired them. The main theme in all of the presentations was "I Believe". They then asked FFA members to also say what they believed in. Everyone had a great time, and it was well pleased to be able to attend.

Meanwhile, seventeen DeKalb County FFA members traveled to the State Capitol in Nashville to attend the recent Flowers on the Hill. We were able to meet state representatives and congressmen to thank them for their support of Career and Technical programs as well as the FFA. While there we were able to spend time with our representatives Mark Pody and Terri Lynn Weaver. Rep. Weaver led a tour of the House Chamber floor where we were walked through the legislative process. We were also able to meet and speak with former House engrossing clerk Larry Cole. Rep. Pody took the time to speak with us concerning his first piece of legislation that would create an official Tennessee Day of Prayer. This bill was passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate and will become law after the Governor signs it. This day was filled with exciting new experiences, people, and we all look forward to participating in this event next year. Thank you to all of our Senators and Representatives for their continued support of Career and Technical Education

Top Photo: Row 1: Alyssa Fee, West TN Vice President; Peyton Graham, State President; Olivia Fernandez, State Treasurer; Haley Cobb, Middle TN Vice President; Courtney Walker, East TN Vice President; Elissa McLearran, State Secretary; Emily Keaton, State Reporter; Gina Locke, State Sentinel. Row 2: Sarah Jones, Amy Hastings, Connor Giddens, Jeremie Ferdelman, Adam Cubbins, Andrew Lawrence, Dylan Reagan, Brent Vickers. Row 3: Vickey Vickers, Macie Bouldin, Nic Linder, Laura Martin, Justin Bass, Nick Underhill, Chris Powell. Row 4: Joe Vickers, Crystal Vickers, Alex Keith, Corey Merriman, Kaitlynn Jones, Cody Griffith, Shara Adcock, Brandon Barnes, Brady Foster. Row 5: Justin Coats, Casey France, Ashley Taylor, Haley Parchman

Middle Photo :L to R: Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, Brady Foster, Adam Cubbins, Blake Reffue, Caleb McBride, Luke Griffin, Mason Merriman, Cody Griffith, Alex Keith, Crystal Vickers, Brent Vickers, Matt Elliott, Haley Parchman, Corey Merriman, Sarah Jones, Amy Hastings, Ashley Taylor

Bottom Photo: L to R: Row 1: Corey Merriman, Sarah Jones, Amy Hastings, Ashley Taylor, Mason Merriman, Adam Cubbins, Haley Parchman, Brent Vickers, Crystal Vickers, Alex Keith. Row 2: Cody Griffith, Chris Powell, Brady Foster, Blake Reffue, Luke Griffin, Rep. Mark Pody, Matt Elliott, Caleb McBride

Two Charged in Meth Lab Investigation

March 12, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jerry Henry AKA Bug Goff
Rhonda Goff
Clinton Lane Cope
Tiffany Shenea Hobbs

The Sheriff's Department arrested two people last week in a meth lab investigation.

33 year old Jerry Henry AKA Bug Goff and 27 year old Rhonda Joy Goff are each charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. Jerry Goff is also charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. Bond amounts are $85,000 for Jerry and $50,000 for Rhonda and they will be in court March 15.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on Thursday, March 8, Jerry and Rhonda Goff were found at their residence at 257 Toad Road with numerous components including Coleman propane fuel, lighter fluid, acetone, blend fuel, propane cooking heads, lithium batteries, coffee filters, cold packs, rubber tubing, mason jars, lye, funnels, glass dishes, and 310 grams of pseudoephedrine, a key component in the manufacture of meth. Officers also found in the home a loaded nine millimeter Rugar handgun belonging to Goff, who is a convicted felon.

According to Sheriff Ray, the arrests were the result of an investigation by sheriff's department drug detectives into the manufacture of methamphetamine. A search warrant was obtained on March 7 and executed at the Goff residence on March 8.

22 year old Clinton Lane Cope of Midway Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court March 15. Sheriff Ray reports that on Monday, March 5, a deputy responded to a domestic complaint involving two victims at a residence on Midway Road. After speaking to all parties involved, it was determined that Cope was the primary aggressor. Cope said he became angry and kicked in a bedroom door, destroying several items. The officer saw broken glass and picture frames on the floor and tables flipped over. One of the victims had bruising from an assault two weeks prior. The victim said that Cope had threatened to kill her and another victim, by cutting their throats. One of the victims said the reason Cope was mad was because he wanted her medication.

Joe Leonard Marlar of Goodner Lane, Alexandria is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court March 15. According to Sheriff Ray, on Tuesday, March 6 an officer got behind a vehicle on Highway 70 west for failing to maintain lane of travel and speeding through a school zone at 60 miles per hour. The deputy activated his lights and sirens and made the traffic stop. Upon speaking with the driver, Marlar, the deputy noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Marlar's person. Marlar said he had consumed two beers and had taken prescription medication. Marlar submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. He submitted to a blood alcohol test.

22 year old Tiffany Shenea Hobbs of West Main Street, Liberty is charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution. Her bond is $3,500 and she will be in court on March 15. Sheriff Ray reports that Hobbs was arrested for failure to appear and violation of probation and brought to the jail on Tuesday, March 6. During a strip search, one of the corrections officers noticed a cellophane pack in Hobbs' body cavity. The package contained two orange pills believed to be suboxone, a schedule III controlled substance.

22 year old Eddy Fidel Rangel of Rainwood Drive, Nashville is charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court on April 5. Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, March 10 a deputy was called to Old Highway 53, Liberty on a complaint of an unwanted guest. Rangel was found to be hiding under a pickup truck at the residence of a neighbor. Rangel had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. His speech was also slurred. Rangel had no place to go. Due to his intoxication and for his safety, Rangel was placed under arrest. The deputy instructed Rangel several times to put his hands behind his back but Rangel refused to comply, throwing his hands up in the air and stating that he wanted to go back into the house. Rangel had to be forcibly placed under arrest.

Replace smoke alarm batteries, as you spring forward

March 9, 2012

As clocks move ahead this weekend for daylight saving time, Tennessee State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak would like to remind Tennesseans to change their homes’ smoke alarm batteries, as well.

“ ‘Change your clock, change your battery’ is an easy phrase to remember and practice when you update your clocks this weekend,” says McPeak. “Smoke alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and tested monthly to ensure you have the protection you need,” McPeak says. “Use this time to protect your home and family.”

A working smoke alarm will double your survival chances during a home fire by giving you the critical time needed to escape. Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. A fire’s smoke and toxic gases can actually deepen your sleep, diminishing your chances of survival.

More than 90 percent of all American homes have smoke alarms, but as many as one-third of them don’t work – because of old or missing batteries. It is critical to replace batteries regularly – even if they appear to be working fine. Twice a year is recommended. This helps prevent the warning, low-battery “chirp” emitted by alarms. All too often, alarm batteries are removed but not replaced, putting home occupants at risk. There is no way to predict when a fire will occur, and just one night in a home without a working smoke alarm can prove dangerous. Replacing batteries for daylight saving time is just one fire safety step. Here are a few more:

Smoke alarms should be put inside and outside every room where residents sleep, and on each home level. All residents should know how the alarm sounds and what it means.

Smoke alarms need to be cleaned and maintained according to their instructions.

Have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room; teach it to everyone in the home, especially children.

When the smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to a pre-planned meeting place.

Many local fire departments have supplies of donated smoke alarms, and departments will help install them in the homes of the elderly and disabled. Visit www.tn.gov/commerce/sfm/. The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/, @TNCommerceInsur (Twitter), http://on.fb.me/uFQwUZ (Facebook), http://bit.ly/ry1GyX (YouTube)

School System May Purchase Electric Bus for Handicapped Students

March 8, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
School System Considering Purchase of Electric Bus Similar to One Shown Here

The DeKalb County School System is looking into the possibility of purchasing an electric powered school bus for transporting handicapped students.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, during Thursday night's school board meeting, said that a representative of a company that produces electric school buses will be meeting with him and Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague next week to discuss the issue further.

According to Director Willoughby if the school system were to buy an electric bus, it could be the first school system in the state to have one

The school system is apparently in need of a bus for handicapped students but they're expensive. "A handicapped bus costs over $100,000 that we're bidding out," said Willoughby. But if grant funds can be secured, the cost to the local system might be as little as $15,000. According to Willoughby, that's all some districts in California have had to shell out to get one. "California has only $15,000 in this electric bus," he said.

By going green with an electric bus, Willoughby said the school system would save on fuel costs and maintenance. "These electric buses have been very successful as handicapped buses. They will run approximately 80 miles before a recharge. There's no fuel costs, no oil, and little to no maintenance," said Willoughby.

He said the people he'll be meeting with next week have their own grant writers and would help in writing the grant for the school system.

Meanwhile, the school board Thursday night adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring Professional Services Staff including school nurses, guidance counselors, school resource officers, psychologists, speech therapists, and others.
PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO SEE THREE PRINCIPALS ADDRESSING SCHOOL BOARD

Board chairman Charles Robinson read the following resolution:

"Whereas, the DeKalb County School System is dedicated to showing appreciation for our special services staff members that include guidance counselors, librarians, school nurses, school resource officers, school psychologists, speech and hearing specialists, and others;

Whereas, the special services staff members in DeKalb County Schools are responsible for the safety and welfare of our students;

Whereas, this group of professionals serve a very important role in providing a variety of special services to our students on a daily basis;

Whereas the DeKalb County Board of Education wishes to honor the special services staff members for their commitment and loyalty to their students and schools.

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Education hereby establishes March 15 as Special Services Staff Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that the Board of Education expresses our appreciation to all the school employees who provide special services in our school system. We encourage each school and community to recognize these individuals for their role in the success of our school system.

In other business, the board approved articulation agreements with the Tennessee Technology Center at Murfreesboro in the areas of Industrial Electrical Maintenance Computer Information Technology, Computer Information Systems Online, Computer Operations, Automotive Technology, and Computer Aided Drafting.

Brad Leach, Career and Technical Education Director,in addressing the board Thursday night said that through these agreements high school students, upon successfully demonstrating competency in certain high school courses, may be awarded a specific number of contact hours at the tech center in Murfreesboro in those course offerings. "We've been working for about two years with the Tennessee Technology Center in Murfreesboro to take competencies and standards in our courses and to tie them into courses that are at the Tennessee Technology Center in Murfreesboro and these are the agreements that we've reached and signed. What this basically says is that the courses that we're teaching at the high school will be in line with the courses at the technology center and they will award us so many hours of credit in these particular courses, depending upon the courses students take in high school. It's a win win situation for the kids. It's a great thing especially for the kids going to the technology center. These are students that have graduated and are now attending the tech center," said Leach.

Stephanie Walker, School Nutrition Supervisor, said the school system is participating in a contest this month with other districts through the Fuel up to Play 60 initiative to get more students to participate in the breakfast program.

Walker said If your children eat every day for the month of March and their school wins the contest then their name will be put in a drawing for two 2012-2013 Tennessee Titans Tickets. If your child eats everyday for a week their name will be in a drawing for free items each Friday for the month of March. (PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO LEARN MORE)

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the board on personnel.

Those employed since the last meeting include:

Brenda Bandy, Special Education Assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Tammy Ferrell, custodian at DeKalb Middle School
Jeremy Haas, custodian at DeKalb Middle School
Gary Caplinger, teacher at DCHS
Debra Londan, substitute bus assistant

Transfers:
Brenda Bandy, Special Educational Assistant from Smithville Elementary School to DCHS

Resignations:
J. Annette Davis, Special Education Assistant DCHS
Charles Cantrell, custodian at DeKalb Middle School

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