Local News Articles

Gordon Votes to Combat Rising Gas Prices

May 14, 2008

In an effort to bring relief to consumers as gas prices rise to record highs, U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon voted for legislation Tuesday (May 13) that would suspend the fill of the nation's Strategic
Petroleum Reserve while oil prices remain above $75 per barrel.

"Gas prices near $4 a gallon are taking a chunk out of people's wallets," said Gordon. "The high prices have forced families to rethink their budgets and make tough choices about where to cut back on household expenses."

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed legislation to halt shipments of oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve until the end of the year as long as prices remain above $75 per barrel. The reserve serves as the nation's emergency oil supply.

Past presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as President George W. Bush, have tapped or suspended fill of the reserve in the past. After such action in 2000, the price of oil
dropped by one-third - from $30 to $20.

"Filling the reserve takes 70,000 barrels of oil off the market each day," said Gordon. "Experts predict this bill could lower gas prices by 5 to 24 cents per gallon. That's not enough and there's
still work to do to provide relief to consumers, but this is a first step."

The reserve, which holds 727 million barrels of oil, is 97percent full.

Gordon said Tuesday's congressional action would be followed by additional House efforts on energy.

"We need a smarter, cleaner energy future for America," said Gordon. "In the coming days, the House will consider legislation to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and we will hold OPEC-controlled entities and oil companies responsible for price fixing," said Gordon.

Boat Smart Super Saturday Sails for Fun On Area Lakes

May 14, 2008

Volunteers have teamed up with the US Army Corps of Engineers at area lakes for Boat Smart Super Saturday on May 17.

Super Saturday, the kickoff to National Safe Boating Week, May 17-23, is geared to promote boating and water safety while having fun at the lake. “Wear It,” referring to life jackets, is the primary message for boaters to follow to arrive alive after a day on the lake.

The team will be ready at boat ramps around the lake on Super Saturday to greet visitors and remind them of tips to be safe on the water. With the warmer weather and summer approaching quickly, crowds are getting back out on the lakes

A variety of volunteers participating from boaters, park hosts, clubs, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Scouts and more. Volunteers view it as a nice way to take a few hours, greet visitors, enjoy being around the lake, and feel good about knowing the information they provide may save a life.

“It’s a great time of year to enjoy water sports,” said Public Affairs Specialist Steve Foshee. “Boat Smart Super Saturday tackles the job of reminding people to have fun and yet to expect the unexpected. Prepare with the right gear for your boat, wear a life jacket, use courtesy and common sense, and don’t drink and boat.”
Some tips for boaters:
1) Expect the unexpected. Wear your life jacket.
2) Avoid drinking and operating a boat.
3) Keep a proper lookout – watch out for the “other guy.”
4) Use courtesy and common sense.
5) Take a safe boating course.

“This is a great kickoff event to get folks started on every day being a boat smart day,” said Randy Ventress, Staff Officer for Public Affairs of Division 11 8, Eastern Region, US Coast Guard Auxiliary. “Throughout the year we offer boating courses. We’ll be at Bass Pro Shops on Super Saturday promoting life jacket wear and demonstrating the comfort of inflatable life jackets.”

Area lakes that will participate in Boat Smart Super Saturday include Barkley, Cheatham, Old Hickory, J. Percy Priest, Cordell Hull, Center Hill, Dale Hollow, and Lake Cumberland.

$750,000 Federal Loan Allows CAIC to Make Loans to DeKalb Small Businesses

May 13, 2008

A $750,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan will allow the Cumberland Area Investment Corporation to make loans to small businesses in DeKalb County, U.S. Representative Bart Gordon said.

"In Tennessee, small businesses drive the state's economy," Gordon said. "Small businesses, those with fewer than 500 employees, employ over 44% of Tennesseans. Women represent over 35% and minorities account for over 18% of small business owners in Tennessee."

The funds will be used to create a revolving loan fund that will make small business loans in the 14 Upper Cumberland counties CAIC serves. CAIC will inject $750,000 of matching funds into the revolving loan fund to leverage the fund. Their intermediary Relending Program already has small business applications totaling almost $1.4 million on hand.

"Small businesses are the backbone of rural economies, and we are very pleased to be able to further our efforts in supporting small businesses, as well as start-up business throughout the region," Wendy Askins, executive director of the Upper Cumberland Development District, said.

A projected 300 jobs will be created as a result of the Intermediary Relending Program.

"Thanks to the support of our leaders like Congressman Bart Gordon, USDA Rural Development has the financial resources to invest in good jobs through the work of the Cumberland Area Investment Corp, said Rural Development State Director Mary Ruth Tackett.

CAIC serves Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren, and White counties.

FBLA Students Win Regional and State Awards

May 13, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Members of the DeKalb County High School's Future Business Leaders of America Club brought home awards from Regional and State Competitions this year.

The Regional competition was held March 6 at Cumberland University and all of the local
students placed in the top five of their competitions, making them eligible to compete at the State Competitions held in April. All students went beyond their assigned competition and
took some "open" event tests.

At the State Competitions in Chattanooga, local students competed against 1,871 students from all counties in Tennessee.

Luke Willoughby was elected State Vice-President for the 2008-2009 school year, and will represent Tennessee and DeKalb County at the National FBLA Conference in Atlanta in June.

Also this year, a DeKalb County student, John Malone, is the recipient of the Cumberland
University FBLA Scholarship.

At the Regional Competitions, the local winners are as follows:

April Martin- Region 5 Business Person of the Year
Brooke Pack- Hospitality & Tourism Management- 1st place
Dustin Hood, Jared Adams, and Tyler Cantrell- Entrepreneurship Team- 1st place
Josh Cantrell- Personal Finance- 1st place
Justin Duke- Technology Concepts and Computer Operating Systems- 1st place
Megan Pack- Business Communications- 1st place
Ryan Dodd- CISCO-1st place
Tia Menix- Word Processing II-1st place
Travis Woodward- Region 5 Who's Who- 1st place
Austin Garrett- Leadership- 2nd place
Dustin Jennings- Hospitality & Tourism Management-2nd place
Jared Adams- Sports Marketing & Management- 2nd place
Kelly Merriman- Business Calculations- 2nd place
Martha Webb- Word Processing I- 2nd place
Ryan Dodd- Introduction to Business- 2nd place
Travis Woodward- Mr. FBLA
Colton Rhody- Ethics and Business Law- 3rd place
Dustin Jennings- Business Calculations- 3rd place
Grant James- Introduction to Business Communication-3rd place
Justin Lattimore- Personal Finance- 3rd place
Nick Goff and Reeves Beller- Global Business- 3rd place
Tia Menix- Hospitality & Tourism Management-3rd place
Tiffani Scott- Word Processing II- 4th place
Tyler Woods- Economics- 4th place
Austin Garrett- Accounting I- 5th place
Nick Goff- Hospitality & Tourism Management- 6th place
Justin Lattimore- Sports Marketing & Management- 7th place
Tyler Woods-Sports Marketing & Management-8th place

Winners at the state competition are as follows:

Casey Curtis- Cyber Security- 4th place
Dustin Hood & Tyler Cantrell- Entreprenuership-4th place
Tia Menix-Word Processing I- 4th place
Travis Woodward- Mr. FBLA- 4th place
Josh Cantrell- Personal Finance- 6th place
Dustin Jennings- Business Calculations- 7th place
Justin Lattimore- Personal Finance- 7th place
Justin Duke- Technology Concepts- 10th place

Chapter Awards:
Local Chapter Annual Business Report- prepared by Advisors- 2nd place
Local Electronic Scrapbook- prepared by Brooke Pack/Shay Sullivan- 6th place
Community Service Project-prepared by Josh Cantrell, Jessica Paschal, and Justin Lattimore-7th place
Gold Seal Chapter Award of Merit-criteria met

Travis Woodward was recognized as a Mr. FBLA nominee from Region 5. Woodward is also the Region 5 Who's Who in FBLA.
Luke Willoughby was elected State Vice-President of Tennessee FBLA for 2008-09 and is a Who's Who in FBLA.
John Malone was awarded a $2,000 renewable scholarship from Cumberland University.

City Businesses With Gambling Machines Now Subject to Prosecution

May 12, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Businesses who have illegal gambling machines have now been warned and are now subject to being investigated by the Smithville Police Department

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings recently issued a news release stating that the department would begin enforcing the law regarding gambling machines as of Friday, May 9th.

Chief Jennings, in the news release, said "I have received several complaints from citizens in our community about illegal gambling devices in certain business establishments within the city limits of Smithville."

"I contacted the District Attorney General's Office and asked for a clarification of state law on possession of illegal gambling devices and their recommendation on the enforcement of the law. The Attorney General's office recommended giving ten days notice of the police department's intention to enforce the law regarding Possession of gambling devices. I have decided to follow their recommendation."

Under state law, "A person commits an offense who knowingly owns, manufactures, possesses, buys, sells, rents, leases, stores, repairs, transports, prints, or makes any gambling device or record."

"Any gambling device or record is contraband and shall be subject to seizure, confiscation, and forfeiture in accordance with the forfeiture provisions, codified in state law.

"Possession of a gambling device or record is a Class B misdemeanor".

Chief Jennings said Friday that he would start an investigation and if any illegal gambling devices are found, he will build a case and act on it. " What you have to do is have someone go in and play them (machines) and get paid off and then testify in court. It's hard to get somebody to do that. It's probably what we'll be looking at somewhere down the road. If they are here, the next step in the process is to make sure they're paying off and being able to prove it."

Chief Jennings added that " I want to have proof they're actually used as a gambling device before I pick them up."

Meanwhile, Smithville Police have made several recent arrests on various charges.

Chief Jennings says 30 year old Jason R. Skaroupka of Green Acre Drive is charged with simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. His bond is $1,000 and his court date is May 22nd.

Officer Bradley C. Tatrow, in his report, states that On May 5th at 6:03 p.m., I responded to Wade Street to Officer Jody Johnson who was attempting to stop a vehicle because of a warrant in Rutherford County. Upon arrival, I made contact with the driver, Ashley Allen. I asked Ms. Allen if she would consent to a search of her vehicle and she replied ‘no'. Upon deploying K-9 Astro, he indicated on the back right passenger door. A small baggie of a green leafy substance, believed to be marijuana, was found under the front passenger seat very near the back floor board. Skaroupka was occupying that seat and was seen by Officer Johnson stuffing the small baggie under the seat. He did admit that the baggie belonged to him and he was placed under arrest.

47 year old David R. Petty of Smith Road was charged Monday, May 5th with theft of property under $500. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on the charge May 22nd.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew, in his report, states that on May 5th at Save-A-Lot on South Congress Boulevard, Petty allegedly took a purse belonging to Melissa Murphy and ran across the parking lot to McDonald's. Petty was chased down by the victim, store employees, and spectators and detained by them until police arrived. The purse and contents were valued at under $500.

19 year old Steven Cuevas of Highland Avenue was charged Monday, May 5th with vandalism over $1,000 and domestic assault. His bond is $7,500 and his court date is May 15th.

According to Officer Matt Holmes, Cuevas was arrested after police responded to a fight call at Evins Manor Apartments, 848 Foster Avenue. "Upon arrival, I saw a large group of people gathered in the parking lot. I spoke to a woman who advised me that her boyfriend and father of her child, Cuevas, had assaulted her and damaged her vehicle. She had large markings on her throat. She advised us that Mr. Cuevas had choked her. Cuevas admitted to choking the woman and vandalizing her vehicle. He advised me that he did so because she kicked his vehicle. Myself, Officer Leffew, and Deputy Mike Billings found no evidence of any damage done to Mr. Cuevas' vehicle. The victim's mother advised me that she witnessed the entire thing and that Mr. Cuevas choked her daughter and then jumped up on top of her vehicle on the trunk, roof, and hood, jumping up and down, caving it in."

Four teenagers, including a juvenile, were recently charged by Smithville Police with drug offenses after they were found in a vehicle near the high school.

19 year old Joshua Ryan Crabtree of 229 Toad Road, Dowelltown and 18 year old Scotty Dale Colwell of 646 Kendra Drive are charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana). Bond for each is $2,500 and their court date is May 29th.

19 year old Brian Allen Cunningham of 449 LaFever Street is charged with simple possession of marijuana. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is May 29th.

A 17 year old female is also charged in the case.

Officer Randy King states in his report that "On April 29th, I responded to 254 Tiger Drive near DeKalb County High School to a suspicious vehicle where underage children were smoking. Upon arrival, I walked to the driver's side of the vehicle and spoke to the driver, Joshua Crabtree. As I was speaking to him, I noticed a smell of what I believed to be marijuana coming from the vehicle. I asked Mr. Crabtree to step out of the vehicle. I asked Mr. Crabtree if there were any drugs or weapons on his person or vehicle. Mr Crabtree advised me that he had a small bag containing a pipe and a small amount of marijuana in it. These were found in his jacket pocket. Scotty Colwell was seated in the right rear of the vehicle. After Mr. Crabtree was arrested, I searched the vehicle, incident to arrest, and found two marijuana cigarettes, a pipe, and a red pill crusher under the ashtray where he was sitting. Also during the search, officers found a small amount of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in the floorboard directly in front of where Cunningham was seated. Drug paraphernalia and marijuana were also found in the immediate location of where the juvenile was seated."

34 year old Alfonzo Wilbur Lester of 625 Highland Street was charged on April 29th with disorderly conduct. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on the charge May 29th.

53 year old Larry Dale Lepley of Old Sparta Highway was charged on May 1st with a first offense of driving under the influence and a first offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court May 29th

Officer Bradley Tatrow states that he stopped a vehicle on East Broad Street. Upon speaking with the driver, Lepley, Officer Tatrow noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His speech was slurred and his motor skills were slow. When asked to perform field sobriety tasks, Lepley stumbled sideways when he exited the vehicle. He performed poorly on all tasks. He did submit to a Breathalyzer test and the result was .12. A computer check revealed that his license was suspended for failure to pay child support.

21 year old Joshua Denton Bowers of West Main Street was charged May 1st with vandalism. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is June 5th.

Officer Bradley Tatrow states in his report that Bowers vandalized two trucks that were parked in the parking lot of Fred's in Smithville. He slashed all four tires to both vehicles and also took a small dumb bell weight and damaged the body of one truck and also keyed it. Mr. Bowers admitted to vandalizing the vehicles. The estimated value of the tires is $2,200 and the truck damage is $1,500.

21 year old Alfonzo Soto of South Third Street, Smithville was charged with domestic assault on May 2nd. His bond is $2,500. He allegedly came to the work place of his girlfriend to bring her lunch and got mad at her while there. Soto allegedly assaulted her by grabbing her by the neck and choking her. He threatened to kill her if the law was called.

35 year old Sandy D. Wheeler of Chattanooga was charged May 5th with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, a second offense of driving under the influence, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is $5,500 and her court date is May 22nd.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew states in his report that Wheeler was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 that was involved in an accident in front of the Smithville Electric Office. She was later caught after leaving the scene about three miles away on Highway 70. She was very unsteady on her feet, had slurred speech, and had problems staying awake. She performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks and refused to submit to a blood test. Upon a search incident to arrest, officers found two used hypodermic needles in the console of the vehicle with a liquid residue in them.

Sheriff Ray Releases Weekly Update on Recent Arrests

May 12, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Sheriff Patrick Ray Monday released his weekly update on recent arrests made at the DeKalb County Jail.

Last Monday, May 5th, county detectives arrested 33 year old Tracy Dionne Schunke of Foster Road Apartments, Smithville.

Sheriff Ray says Schunke allegedly stole checks from a residence on Short Mountain Highway on April 22nd and went to a business in Alexandria and passed three checks totaling $490.

Schunke was charged with theft of property under $500 and three counts of passing a forged instrument. Her total bond is set at $16,000 and her court date is May 29th.

Also on Monday, 18 year old Josh Lorne Tate of Woodbury was arrested for simple possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid).

Sheriff Ray says county detectives and deputies stopped Tate at Wal-mart for suspicion of a theft and found a bottle in Tate's pocket containing three small yellow pills believed to be Dilaudid. Tate's bond was set at $1,000 and his court date is May 29th.

35 year old Kristie Renea Waggoner of Grandview Drive, Smithville, on Thursday, was involved in an accident on Possum Hollow Road in Dowelltown.

Sheriff Ray says deputies found Waggoner to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Waggoner submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. Waggoner was placed under arrest for driving under the influence and her bond was set at $1,000. Her court date is May 29th.

On Friday, 22 year old Juan Pablo Soto was stopped on Highway 70. Sheriff Ray says deputies, who had prior knowledge of Soto not having a valid driver's license, stopped him. Officers also found an open beer container in the vehicle. Soto was charged with no driver's license and was written a citation for an open container. Soto's bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on May 29th.

County Deputies responded to a domestic call on Toad Road on Saturday. Sheriff Ray says upon arrival, officers found a man with a stab wound to his arm and he was bleeding from his head. Deputies also found blood on the walls and carpet in the home. After an investigation, officers found that 23 year old Sara South of Toad Road Dowelltown had stabbed the victim and had hidden the knife. Deputies found the knife and South admitted to the assault. She was charged with aggravated domestic assault and her bond was set at $10,000. South's court date is May 29th. The victim was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital and was treated and released.

Meanwhile, on Sunday 28 year old Juventino Castillo of South College Street, Smithville and 31 year old Antinio Celaya of West Broad Street, Smithville were arrested on Highway 56 South. Sheriff Ray says Castillo was stopped by County Deputies for weaving. After Castillo refused to perform sobriety tasks, he was found to be under the influence of alcohol and placed under arrest for DUI. Castillo was also found to be driving on an expired driver's license and was written a citation for expired driver's license. Celaya, who was a passenger in the Castillo vehicle, was found to have in his possession a small plastic bag containing a white powder believed to be cocaine. He was charged with simple possession of a schedule II drug (Cocaine). Deputies also found a bag containing marijuana and rolling papers along with several open beers in the vehicle. Both Castillo and Celaya were charged with simple possession of a schedule VI drug (Marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both men were also written citations for open containers. Both Castillo's and Celaya's bond was set at $3,000 and their court date is May 29th.

In other news from the Sheriff's Department, the inmates have planted a new garden for the year. Sheriff Ray says "The inmates have planted vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, squash, different varieties of beans, pepper, and okra. Last year was the first inmate garden we had done and the garden was a success. The garden helped with the costs of food in my jail budget and also allowed the inmates to eat fresh garden vegetables instead of canned vegetables. I would like to thank Bobby Colvert and Steve White for donating and working the ground up for us again this year and also Green Thumb Garden Center and the DeKalb Farmer's Coop for their donations to our garden."

Mount Juliet Woman Dies From Injuries in Smithville Wreck

May 11, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 52 year old Mount Juliet woman, seriously injured in a two vehicle crash last Wednesday morning in Smithville, has died.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Donna Seat Randall died Saturday at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga where she was airlifted after the accident.

The near head-on crash occurred Wednesday morning on West Broad Street in front of the former location of Stribling Chevrolet.

Trooper Jennings says 19 year old Joshua Glen Kerley of Antioch Road, Smithville was driving west in a 2006 GMC Sierra pickup truck when he apparently fell asleep, crossed over into the eastbound lane, and struck a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse, driven by Randall.

Trooper Jennings says after making impact with the car, Kerley's truck overturned at least twice and came to rest upright on it's wheels in the eastbound lanes facing south. Randall's car wound up in the grass off the road also facing south.

The accident was reported to 911 at 5:19 a.m.

According to Trooper Jennings, Kerley was enroute to his job with Jones Brothers Construction in Mount Juliet while Randall, who is employed at Raintree Manor in McMinnville, was also going to work.

Randall was trapped in her car and had to be extricated by members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication and Rescue Team. She was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga with serious injuries.

Kerley was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment.

Randall's death marks the fifth traffic fatality of the year as the result of DeKalb County accidents. Two people died in January and two passed away in March.

Woodbury Woman Drowns in Center Hill Lake

May 10, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 44 year old Woodbury woman has apparently become the first drowning victim on Center Hill Lake this year.

Dead is Sherry Mathis of Parch Corn Hollow Road, Woodbury.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Mathis, her cousin (male), and two friends (male and female) were on a pontoon boat on the lake near Lakeside Resort when the incident occurred after 11:00 p.m. Friday night.

According to Sheriff Ray, "They were idling down the lake when she fell overboard."

The operator of the pontoon threw out a flotation device and then jumped in the water and grabbed her. He and the other two on board pulled Mathis back onto the boat. Her cousin began administering CPR but apparently could not revive her. She was brought back to Lakeside where DeKalb EMS picked her up. Mathis was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Sheriff Ray says according to witnesses, there was evidence of drinking by those on the boat, but it's not yet known if alcohol contributed to Mathis' death.

An autopsy will be performed.

The case is under investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and TWRA.

Over $100,000 Raised During 11th Annual Relay for Life

May 10, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb Countians opened up their hearts and their wallets in a big way Friday in the fight against cancer during the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

People of all ages filled Greenbrook Park for this 11th annual event to enjoy the food, games, music, and fellowship.

Co-Chair Iva Del Randolph says already $100,000 has been raised with more money still to come in.

In this overnight family-oriented event, participants walk relay-style around the track and take part in fun activities off the track. Cancer survivors took center stage during the opening ceremony to receive medallions and to give a personal testimony as to just how long they've been a survivor.

Six month old William Blair, son of Keith and Amanda Blair, and 9 year old Allison Rogers, daughter of Wes and Lori Rogers, were the honorary chairpersons for this year's Relay. Both Blair and Rogers are cancer survivors.

This year more than 30 teams joined together to raise money to aid in the battle against cancer. A male beauty contest was also held again this year, featuring several men dressed as women, using their attributes to bring in as much money as possible.

The walking track was also lined with luminaria in honor or remembrance of those who have battled cancer. This ceremony of light symbolizes the hope and courage with which we all continue to fight cancer

Chris Summers, Community Representative with the American Cancer Society says "Relay For Life is a unique opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember those we've lost, and fight back against the disease. Many of the participants are cancer survivors."

Funds raised at Relay For Life will enable the American Cancer Society to support local services and resources for cancer patients and their families. Funds also support critical cancer research and community education programs designed to teach people how to reduce their risk of developing cancer.

The American Cancer Society has to date spent over 9 million on cancer research in our state in 2008! This money is raised by over 130 Relay For Life events across Tennessee in communities that care about fighting cancer.

Board to Consider Feasibility of Portable Classrooms to Relieve Student Overcrowding at Elementary School

May 9, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Board of Education is considering the possibility of obtaining portable classrooms to relieve student overcrowding at Smithville Elementary School.

Board member Charlie Robinson Thursday night recommended that a committee be appointed to do a feasibility study. "I think it's time to form a committee. According to the facilities study for our school system, completed by David Brown of Katts, Brinkley, Jones, & Morris Architects that was completed on October 11th, 2007 we're going to need additional classrooms to meet our Basic Education Program in at last one school in our system. I'm going to suggest that we establish a committee to evaluate the cost of site preparation, which includes electrical, water, and sewer hookups as well as fire code and state building code requirements for the placement of portable classrooms as needed throughout our system. Questions addressed should be the cost comparisons concerning buying, renting, or building this type of classroom. This is a band aid solution. I believe Mr. Willoughby has made some inquiries and has some information concerning this solution. I also recommend that we have input from our Maintenance Supervisor Earl Jared and our Transportation Supervisor Shane Cook. At the TSBA Convention, all of us who have attended discussed the placement of portables with the man who represents the portables company. I think it's time. We've got to be pro-active for our next school year."

Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins III says portable classrooms are not the best option but it may be better than moving some second grade classes to Northside Elementary School. "This is a financial cost. The other cost is the possibility of having to move some second grade classes and teachers to Northside. There's some adjustments that have to be made when we do that. I personally don't feel comfortable doing that, but if that's our only alternative then that's what we'll have to do to keep from being overcrowded at the Smithville Elementary School so we'd like to look into this first and see if it's economically feasible to do this and not disrupt four classes. I just don't feel comfortable splitting up the second grade or, for that matter, any grade. Smithville Elementary School currently has ten second grade classes and there is expected to be a total of eleven second grade classes there next year."

A committee made up of board members Kenny Rhody and Johnny Lattimore, assisted by Board Chairman Evins and Director Mark Willoughby will study the issue and report back to the board at a later meeting.

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