Local News Articles

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix Explains Tennessee Diploma Project

November 3, 2009
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Education has implemented the Tennessee Diploma Project (TDP), a broad overhaul of standards and curriculum designed to challenge students and better prepare them for college and the workforce.

Students, who began high school this fall, will begin a new path with increased graduation requirements, a focus on the skills needed for college and the workforce in an ever expanding global economy, and new assessments.

Gateway Exams in high school will be replaced by end-of-course exams that truly test the mastery of expectations leading to college- and work-readiness. The overall assessment system includes the ACT's College and Readiness Test, Explore (given in the 8th grade) and the PLAN College Readiness Test given in the 10th grade.

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix says the changes will initially affect DeKalb County ninth grade students. "The state has made several changes with the incoming Freshman Class. Various business and community leaders all over the state were asked by state leaders, what skills do graduates need? These are some of the things they mentioned: stronger math and science skills. Students need to be able to work critically toward a focused solution. They need to be able to apply their knowledge. They need to have stronger communication skills, both verbal and written. They need to be able to work in teams to solve real problems. They need to be able to think, apply, and use what they know and they need to have a strong work ethic. That means they need to be there regularly and they need to be there on time. So our tests and our graduation requirements had to be adjusted to meet these needs. So starting with this year's ninth grade students, there's going to be one diploma, one path. We won't have a dual or technical path anymore. Our tenth through twelfth grade students are still on the old policy. They still have the same requirements. They have to pass the Algebra, the Biology, and English X Gateway courses. They have to pass those tests. The state has also changed the standards to meet these needs that they have determined that we have and they have developed new assessments to go along with them. In the future, there's going to be ten End of Course Tests. Right now we have five End of Course Tests. That's Biology, Algebra I, English X, English IX, and U.S. History."

"Our Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) will still be determined by Algebra, Biology, and English X but the ninth grade students don't have to pass those tests. All five of those tests will count 20% of their final grade, just like they do now for the next two, and maybe three years. Thereafter, those End of Course Tests are going to count for 25% of their grade. So they're going to have to know the material in order to pass the class because they have to pass the class to graduate. All juniors right now have to take the ACT. They will be taking that in the spring. The scores they make on their ACT are going to determine some of the classes they will be placed in."

"Concerning some of the changes, right now, the sophomores through seniors are still under this old policy. They need three credits in Math but it's going to four. Starting with the ninth graders and everyone below, they'll need Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry and then they'll need a higher math. That's where that ACT score comes into effect. They're going to have three choices there. One of them is called a bridge course. Any student who makes below a 19 on their Math score on the ACT will be placed in the bridge course. For those who have a 19 or above on the Math part of the ACT, they'll have two choices. If they excel in math and they know they want to go into something Math related after they leave high school, we have the STEM courses for them, which is Advanced Math, Calculus, Pre-Calculus, those courses. We will also have a Finite Math Course for the middle group or those who are good in math but who are not wanting the advanced math courses, like Calculus and Pre-Calculus."

"This spring, they're supposed to pilot an Algebra II End of Course Test and then add the English III, Geometry, Chemistry, and a Physics End of Course, if the money allows. I know in the past we were supposed to add Algebra II and Geometry but we never did get that but right now they're saying that Algebra II is going to be piloted this spring."

"They have added a half credit of Physical Science, which can be counted if you're in marching band, for example. There's a few things that can count for that. They have also added a half a credit for Personal Finance, which we have already incorporated into our schedule. We've already got a lot of students who are taking that."

"All students are supposed to have two Foreign Language credits and a Fine Arts credit. That is the only thing that can be waived for students not going to a university. They have to use that to expand on their elective focus. Every student must have an elective focus. It could be in Math and Science, a career in technical, or education. There's a lot of different areas where they can have a focus."

Meanwhile, Hendrix says many students at DCHS are taking advantage of before and after school programs to catch up on work. "We're well into our second nine week session of school. During the fall break we had a week of intercession and over seventy students took advantage of this. They got caught up on things they were behind in. I was really proud of the number of students who turned out for that. We still have some students who are behind in some areas and they have some needs. They need to take advantage of the before and after school programs that we have available to them because the end of the semester will be here before we know it and we want everyone to pass the classes they are enrolled in. They need to stay caught up with their classes so they can graduate on time. Any parent can call the Guidance Office and sign up their son or daughter for help."

Wisconsin Fugitive from Justice Arrested by Sheriff's Department

November 2, 2009
Dwayne Page
Richard John Ceska

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a Wisconsin man last week on a fugitive from justice charge.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 41 year old Richard John Ceska of First Street Apartments, Waterford Wisconsin was arrested on Monday, October 26th for being a fugitive from justice. Ceska was wanted for substantial battery, domestic abuse, and disorderly conduct out of Wisconsin. Ceska is being housed without bond. He appeared in General Sessions Court Thursday where he signed his waiver of extradition back to Wisconsin.

48 year old Kenneth Clayton Odom of Hamilton Drive, Murfreesboro was arrested Wednesday, October 28th for possession of drug paraphernalia after deputies stopped to assist a stranded motorist where Odom was present. The officers found a hypodermic needle in the back pocket of Odom's jeans. Bond for Odom was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on November 19th.

On Friday, October 30th deputies spotted 25 year old Andrew Dillon of Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville running a stop sign at the intersection of Highway 70 East and Smith Road. After stopping Dillon, the officer checked Dillon's driver's license and discovered it was suspended for a failure to satisfy a citation in Putnam County. Dillon was charged with driving on a suspended license and his bond was set $1,000. His court date was set for November 4th.

36 year old Matthew D. Stevenson of Old Road Lebanon was stopped for a traffic violation at the intersection of Highway 70 West and Toad Road on Sunday, November 1st. Deputies smelled an odor of alcohol on Stevenson's person. He submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. A check of Stevenson's license revealed that they were suspended. Officers also found a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic gun between the front seats of Stevenson's car. Stevenson was charged with a third offense of driving under the influence, an eighth offense of driving on a revoked driver's license, and possession of a loaded handgun while intoxicated. Bond for Stevenson was set at $17,500 and he will appear in court on November 19th.

Meanwhile, Smithville Police have charged Wayne Vanderpool, a Third District Constable, with disorderly conduct. According to Chief Richard Jennings, Officer Travis Bryant responded to a two vehicle traffic accident on Highway 70 on Saturday, October 31st involving Brenda Vanderpool and Jamie Lynn Gandzer.

During the investigation of the accident, Officer Bryant secured a handgun from the Vanderpool vehicle in order to check the serial number.

Chief Jennings says according to Officer Bryant, Wayne Vanderpool walked up and demanded that the officer give back the weapon.

Officer Bryant reportedly instructed Vanderpool to get out of the lane of traffic or he would risk being arrested. Police allege that Vanderpool replied, "go ahead and take me to jail."

Chief Jennings says Officer Bryant refused to return the weapon because he feared for his own personal safety. Vanderpool was not arrested at the scene but police later obtained a warrant charging him with disorderly conduct. His bond is $1,000.

Police are remaining silent about some details of the incident pending further investigation.

County Firefighters Summoned to Smoke Filled Home

November 2, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department was called to the home of Darlene Jones at 141 Carter Drive around 12:40 a.m. Monday morning.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says Jones had left a pot of beans cooking on the stove when she went to bed and it overheated. Jones was awakened later by a smoke alarm. Finding her home filled with smoke, she called 911.

Members of the Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, Short Mountain Highway Station, and Blue Springs Station responded along with DeKalb EMS.

Chief Green says firefighters removed the pot of beans from the stove and ventilated the house. There was no actual fire damage and no one was injured.

The house is a rent home, belonging to Betty Sandlin.

Man Airlifted after Saturday night Truck Wreck

November 2, 2009
Dwayne Page

A Smithville man was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga Saturday night after a two vehicle accident on New Home Road.

Trooper Darrell Knowles of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Greg Mayo was traveling north on New Home Road when the Ford pickup truck he was driving went over the center line and sideswiped a southbound Ford truck, driven by Douglas Barnes.

According to Trooper Knowles, Mayo told him he looked down for an instant making a call on his cell phone when the accident occurred.

Barnes' truck went off the road into a ditch and then struck a fence. Barnes apparently swerved to try to avoid the collision but was unsuccessful.

Mayo was taken by DeKalb EMS to the parking lot of DeKalb Middle School where he was airlifted by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital.

Barnes and a passenger of his truck were not injured.

Members of the Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department along with the Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department reportedly set up the landing zone for the helicopter.

DCHS Tigers at Greenbrier for First Round of TSSAA Football Playoffs

October 31, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers will meet the Greenbrier Bobcats in the first round of the TSSAA football play-offs Friday night, November 6th.

The Tigers, a fifth seed, will have to travel as they take on the 4th seeded Bobcats at Greenbrier. Both teams finished 6-4 during the regular season. The winner of the game will advance in the state play-offs to meet either Maplewood or Scott County on November 13th.

Maplewood, who finished the regular season at 6-4, is a number one seed. Scott County, who has a 4-6 record, is an eighth seed.

Meanwhile, Livingston Academy, a number three seed at 7-3, will host Stone Memorial, a sixth seed at 3-7. The winner of that game will advance to meet the winner of Whites Creek, a number seven seed at 7-3, and the second seeded White House Blue Devils who had a regular season record of 6-4

"The Courthouse Gang" Wins Habitat Chili Cookoff

October 31, 2009
Tecia Puckett-Pryor
Courthouse Gang wins Best Chili Award
Board of Education Takes Second Place in Chili Cookoff
Smithville Review Awarded for Best Decorated Booth at Chili Cookoff-

A great crowd turned out on Friday to enjoy chili and delicious baked goods at Habitat for Humanity’s Sixth Annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, which was held at the 303 Building on the square. “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials won the “Best Chili” award, and “Monster Mash” from the DeKalb County Board of Education followed in second place. In the decorating contest, the “Red Hot Chili Papers” from The Smithville Review won first place honors.

According to Tom Janney, President of the local Habitat Board of Directors, the event raised approximately $3,500.00, which will be used toward the building of the third Habitat house in DeKalb County. “This was possibly the best turnout we have had for the Chili Cook-off,” said Janney. “We appreciate all the chili teams for their hard work and dedication to this event and to everyone who brought the delicious baked goods. This is a great community event and a great help to Habitat,” Janney added.

Twelve teams participated in the event, including the “Sligo Canvas Shop Chili Toppers” from Sligo Canvas Shop, “Liberty Bell Peppers” from Liberty State Bank, “BTU Chili – Best Tasting Utility Chili” from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, the “Red Hot Chili Papers” from The Smithville Review, “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials, “Monster Mash” from the DeKalb County Board of Education; “Hot Checks Chili” from DeKalb Community Bank; “Edgar Evins Chili Peppers” from Edgar Evins State Park; “The Bean Counters” from Tom Janney, CPA and Associates; “The Risk Takers” from Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance, The Inn at Evins Mill, and Allen’s Chapel Methodist Church.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181.

THP Urges Motorists Beware: Drunk Driving Will Not Be Tolerated on Halloween

October 30, 2009

Halloween is a fun night for both children and adults, but the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS) and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) remind parents, children and especially motorists to do their part to make sure that everyone gets home safely. The celebration can quickly turn into a real night of horror if someone is hurt by a carless or impaired driver.

“With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, we want to make sure revelers aren’t taking the party to the roadways, putting trick-or-treaters and responsible motorists at risk,” said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. “Law enforcement officers throughout Tennessee will be out in full force arresting and removing drunk drivers from our roadways.”

Halloween is a particularly deadly night due to drunk drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, 58 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher. Last year in Tennessee, eight people were killed in seven crashes on Halloween between 12:00 a.m., October 31, 2008, through 6:00 a.m., November 1, 2008. Four of those crashes involved alcohol. That compares to three people killed in crashes on Halloween during the same time period in 2007. One crash in 2007 involved alcohol.

“One foolish decision can turn a fun Halloween into a real nightmare,” stated THP Colonel Mike Walker. “We want everyone to have a good time, but be smart about it. Designate a driver. This is your warning, because if you drink and drive, you will go to jail.”

Parents and children have a responsibility to be safe this Halloween too. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5-14) is four times higher on Halloween evening than any other evening of the year. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) reports that fatal collisions between motor vehicles and young pedestrians (under the age of 15) happen most frequently between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., prime trick-or-treating time. Parents should remind teens just how terrifying and dangerous and illegal it is to drink and drive. In 2008, 31% of young drivers, 15 to 20 years old, who were killed in crashes, had a BAC of .08 or higher. Drivers are less likely to use restraints when they have been drinking. In 2008, 63 percent of young drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes who had been drinking were unrestrained.

There are simple precautions partygoers can take such as designating a sober driver in advance or taking a taxi. Below are tips parents, children and motorists should keep in mind before heading out the door this Halloween.


Tips for Motorists

Slow down. Watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs.
Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
Be especially alert for children darting out from between parked vehicles and from behind bushes and shrubs. They’re excited – and they are not paying attention.
Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
If you are driving to a Halloween Party, put your mask on after you park the car.
Never drink and drive – tonight or any night. If you are partying, designate a driver.

Tips for Parents

Adults should accompany children at all times and supervise their "trick or treat" activities.
Teach children to "stop, look left-right-left, and listen" before they cross the street.
Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
Use a flashlight and wear retro-reflective strips or patches on your clothing or costume to be more visible to motorists.
Be certain that the mask does not obstruct vision or hearing.
Ensure that costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.

Tips for Pedestrians
(children and adults)

Before crossing a street, stop at the curb or edge of the road and look left, right and left again to be sure no cars are coming. Continue to check for traffic while on the street.
Walk – never run – from house to house or across the road.
Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
When crossing at an intersection with a traffic light, be sure to watch for turning cars. Obey all pedestrian signals.
Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.

Tigers Fall to Wildcats 35-14

October 30, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers dropped their regular season finale to the Livingston Academy Wildcats Thursday night in Smithville 35 to 14 and will now wait to see if they will get a berth in the state play-offs which begins next week.

In the game Thursday night, Livingston Academy got on the board first on a 10 yard touchdown run by Paul Daniels. The P.A.T. by Jake Huitt was good and the Wildcats led 7-0 with 8:26 left in the first period.

The Wildcats extended the lead with 2:53 left in the first period on a 30 yard touchdown run by Quarterback Brannon McCoin. The P.A.T. by Jake Huitt was good and Livingston Academy led 14-0.

The Tigers scored their first touchdown of the night with 7:17 left in the second period on a four yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Kevin Kijanski. The P.A.T. by Zach Taylor was good and the Tigers trailed 14-7.

The Wildcats struck again with 1:15 left in the second period on a 43 yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Brannon McCoin to Creed Hayes. The P.A.T. by Huitt was good and Livingston Academy built it's lead to 21-7.

Livingston Academy took a three touchdown lead with 9:37 left in the third period on a Paul Daniels one yard run. Huitt's P.A.T. kick was good and the score was 28-7.

DeKalb County cut the lead to 28-14 with 1:12 left in the third period on a three yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Justin Bragg. Zach Taylor's P.A.T. kick was good.

The Wildcats added their final touchdown of the night with 4:52 left in the fourth quarter on an eight yard run by Quarterback Brannon McCoin and Livingston Academy went on to win 35 to 14.

DeKalb County concludes the regular season at 6-4 overall and 3-2 in District 8 AA.

As you adjust your clocks, change smoke alarm batteries

October 29, 2009

Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman is reminding Tennesseans to change their smoke alarms’ batteries this weekend when they set back their clocks late Saturday night for central standard time.

“Smoke alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and should be tested monthly to ensure they’re providing the proper protection,” says Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman. “Use the extra hour we gain this weekend to make sure your home and family are fire-safe.”

Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply, narrowing the chances of surviving a fire. A working smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time a person has to escape a fire in their home.

Nationally, more than 90 percent of all homes have smoke alarms, but it is estimated that one-third of them don't work because of old or missing batteries. It is critical to replace batteries regularly – even if alarms appear to be working fine. Twice a year is recommended. This reduces the chance of alarms chirping to indicate low batteries. All too often, a battery is removed and not replaced, putting a home’s occupants at risk. There's no way to predict when a fire will occur, so even one night without an operational smoke alarm can be dangerous.
Here are some other helpful hints on the importance of smoke alarms:

• Smoke alarms should be installed in every room where an occupant sleeps, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home. Make sure everyone can hear the alarm and knows what it sounds like.
• Smoke alarms need to be cleaned and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Devise a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room, and be sure to teach it to any children who live in the home.
• When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place.

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/

Alexandria Christmas Parade set for December 12th

October 29, 2009
Dwayne Page
Deb McCoy (left), Denise Barrett (right)

The 2009 Alexandria Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, December 12th at 3:00 p.m.

Deb McCoy and Denise Barrett, organizers of this year's parade, say floats, old vehicles, tractors, 4-wheelers, horses, and other entries are welcome. Anyone under the age of 16 must have an adult to accompany them in the parade.

All participants must line up at 2:00 p.m. and no later than 2:30 p.m. Prizes will be given away on the square following the parade.

Craft and food booth may be set up on or around the square . Please contact Deb McCoy at 615-948-6486 or Denise Barrett at 615-948-4829 for more information.


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