Local News Articles

County Commission Wants Cookeville Boat Dock to Pay Up

December 18, 2012
Dwayne Page
Cookeville Boat Dock
County Commission Wants Cookeville Boat Dock to Pay Up

Owners of Cookeville Boat Dock apparently haven't paid all their DeKalb County personal property taxes for several years and members of the county commission have taken action to do something about it.

During Monday night's meeting, Second District Commissioner Jack Barton made a motion to "give this priority number one in our unpaid taxes that our (tax) attorney is going after," said Barton.

The commission approved the motion.

Members of the commission also raised a concern about Short Mountain Village, a housing complex on Mountain Street, and decided to look into their status on payment of taxes owed but county officials learned Tuesday morning that Short Mountain Village is now paid up and current.

From 1998 through the 2010 tax year, owners of Cookeville Boat Dock have been named as defendants in Chancery Court lawsuits filed against delinquent taxpayers. The amount they owe through 2010 in delinquent taxes comes to $137,144.47 with additional penalties assessed each month. The Trustee's office also shows that Cookeville Boat Dock owes $8,368 for the 2011 tax year and $7,593 for 2012.

Each year the attorney for the owners of Cookeville Boat Dock files an answer to the lawsuit, claiming that the county can't "collect a tax on real estate" on federal property since the U.S. government pays in lieu of taxes to the state for the use and benefit of DeKalb County. That constitutes, in essence, double taxation, according to their answer.

But county officials say Cookeville Boat Dock, like other marinas on the lake, conducts business on leased land from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is assessed by the county only for personal property and improvements.

Typically, if someone has an issue about their taxes, they must first pay them and then file a protest or challenge. But except for a year or two when they apparently paid some of their taxes under protest, Cookeville Boat Dock has gone without paying all their taxes for up to sixteen years, according to county officials.

Former Chancellor Vernon Neal recused himself from hearing the case in 2002 citing a personal conflict. Former Circuit Court Judge John Turnbull was designated and appointed to hear the case to its conclusion. After Turnbull retired from the bench, the case was passed on to Judge Amy Hollars but it still has not been settled in court.

In prepared remarks to the county commission Monday night, Barton said Cookeville Boat Dock should pay up " Throughout the process (developing a pay raise plan for county employees) we have struggled to make sure we as a county can afford this (now) and the ensuing years that this plan is in place. Having said that, I want to address something I brought up in the summer that was unanimously approved by the budget committee, but there has been no apparent action on. This matter will help address the monies needed to handle the raises or other projects as we see fit," said Barton.

"This would be the unpaid property and personal property taxes by Cookeville Boat Dock since somewhere in the beginning of the last decade. We have had many tax attorneys since 2001 or so, but we have filed a case to go after the unpaid taxes, somewhere in the early part of the last decade and for whatever reason, the case keeps getting postponed in Chancery Court either at the request of us but most often at the request of the Cookeville Boat Dock's attorney. There have been many issues I am sure as to why this has been postponed so many times and that was due to the long time sickness and subsequent death of Reese Nash, one member of the family that is the owner of the Cookeville Boat Dock. However, at some point business is business and we must force this issue that all of us must and do deal with yearly," he said.

"But my understanding of the taxes, we levy them for their improvements on the federal property they lease from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Business Personal Property Tax. These are taxes that all businesses are subject to and that all other boat docks pay. I want to make a motion that we give this priority number one in our unpaid taxes that our attorney is going after. Since we filed the case already, I understand legally we can go after all the taxes to the beginning and are not limited by how far back we can go. Not counting penalties or interest that may be due, I believe this amount to be a very significant amount between what has already been turned over to the Chancery Court Clerk and still has not been turned over. Enforcement of taxes serves as a deterrent to others trying to do this and in this area we as a county have failed. If further resources are needed to address this, I would add to my motion that you apprise the budget committee of what is needed to make it a priority and resolve the issue, so that we can collect what is long overdue us," said Barton.

New Dollar General Store May be Coming to DeKalb County

December 18, 2012
Dwayne Page
New Dollar General Store May be Coming to DeKalb County
Dollar General Store in Smithville

DeKalb County may soon be getting a new Dollar General Store.

The site, currently under development, is located on Highway 70 at Snow Hill.

Local sources say plans for the store are in the making but a media spokesman for the Dollar General Corporation would not confirm it when contacted by WJLE Monday.

DeKalb County already has a Dollar General Store in Smithville and Alexandria.

Dollar General Corp. is a U.S. chain of variety stores headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. As of January 2012, Dollar General operated over 10,000 stores in 40 U.S. states.

The stores were founded in 1939 by Cal Turner in Scottsville, Kentucky as J.L. Turner & Son, Inc. In 1968, the business changed its name to Dollar General Corporation. In 2007, the company was acquired by the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), which took the company public in 2009.

Dollar General offers both name brand and generic merchandise — including off-brand goods and closeouts of name-brand items — in the same store, often on the same shelf. Although it has the word "dollar" in the name, Dollar General is not a dollar store. Most of its products are priced at more than $1.00. However, goods are usually sold at set price points of penny items and up to the range of 50 to 60 dollars, not counting phone cards and loadable store gift cards.

Dollar General often serves communities that are too small for Wal-Marts (although many locations are in relatively close driving distance to a Wal-Mart store). It competes in the dollar store format with national chains Family Dollar and Dollar Tree, regional chains such as Fred's in the southeast, and numerous independently owned stores.

Since the turn of the century, Dollar General has also experimented with stores that carry a greater selection of grocery items. These stores (similar to the Wal-Mart Supercenter, but much smaller) operate under the name "Dollar General Market".

City Poised to Allow 24/7 Beer Sales and On Premises Permits for Eligible Restaurants

December 17, 2012
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville may soon allow stores with off premises permits to sell packaged beer twenty four hours a day, seven days a week including Sundays and to allow eligible restaurants to obtain an on-premises permit to serve beer with meals in their establishments.

By a vote of 3-1-1, the Smithville Aldermen Monday night voted to adopt an ordinance amending the Smithville Code of Ordinances regulating beer sales.

Alderman Danny Washer proposed the changes and made a motion to adopt the ordinance amendment on first reading. Alderman Gayla Hendrix offered a second to the motion. Alderman Jason Judd Murphy joined Washer and Hendrix in voting for it. Alderman Tim Stribling voted against it. Alderman Shawn Jacobs passed saying he could not support it because of his being an elder at the Smithville Church of Christ.

Second and final reading will follow a public hearing at a special meeting set for Thursday, December 27 at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

Under the city's existing beer regulations, "It shall be unlawful for any beer permit holder to make or allow any sale of beer between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. during any night of the week, at any time on Sunday, and at any time on Christmas Day"

The proposed ordinance amendment would change the regulations to simply make it lawful for a beer permit holder to sell beer twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

A new section would be added to the ordinance allowing eligible restaurants to obtain an on-premises permit to sell beer with meals.

Alderman Hendrix said she believes Smithville is losing a lot of tax revenue by not lifting the restrictions on beer sales. "With Center Hill Lake, we're such a tourist area and something like this can bring in a lot of tax revenue to our small city because we have so many people coming into the lake from March through October and then even fishermen in the winter. By not doing this all we're doing is giving our tax revenue to surrounding areas. I think it would generate a lot of money for our city. I've heard a lot of comments from people at Center Hill Lake that are coming in from Nashville, Franklin, and Rutherford County, because they come here and then they're frustrated because a lot of them don't realize they can't buy this here and then they have to drive to Cookeville because it's the closest. It's not convenient for our tourists. I'd like to bring more tourism into this community and not have obstacles preventing this," she said.

"I know there will be some concern about the hours," said Alderman Washer. "But we get a lot of tourists who come in here and utilize our lake. They're not coming in here at twelve o'clock and going to the lake. They're coming early. They want to come and make one stop. And they don't just buy beer. They buy gas. They buy snacks, everything they need. Ice, whatever. They want to get it in one stop. They don't want to have to haul it down here. They want to wait until they get here. About the early morning or late at night. If you work second shift and you get off and want to go buy beer, you can't do it because everything is shut down. Right now I think we only have one store that stays open twenty four, seven. You're putting it into a small area but it will allow it for people who want to take it home and relax and not have to get up and go get it the next day. Its just a convenience. And to keep the money in town, that's going out of town. We need that. We've been wasting a lot of money, letting it go somewhere else. I hope people understand that," said Alderman Washer

"I would like to say that I don't doubt that this is a good policy decision for the board to make," said Alderman Jacobs. " I am concerned however that we have had on the ballot this year two referendums that would have liberalized the sale of alcohol in the city limits and both of those were defeated so that gives me some concern. But I want to say up front that I have a clear conflict of interest in this in that I am a church elder and I don't think I can vote on this ordinance as an alderman and then also as a church elder I don't think I can vote yes to it and still honor God and honor the commitment I have to my congregation. That's the reason I am voting the way I'm voting is because I do feel I have a definite conflict of interest," he said.

The proposed ordinance states as follows:
Section 1: A Class 1 On Premises Permit shall be issued for the consumption of beer only on the premises. To qualify for a Class 1 On Premises permit, an establishment must, in addition to meeting the other regulations and restrictions in this Chapter:

(A) Be primarily a restaurant or an eating place; and
(B) Be able to seat a minimum of thirty people in booths and at tables, in addition to any other seating it may have; and
(C) All seating must be part of the premises. In case of any outdoor seating, the outdoor seating area must be accessible from the inside of the restaurant or eating place and the outdoor seating area must have some type of enclosure around it, such as a wall or fencing; and
(D) In addition to the requirements of subsection 8-210(1) (a) through (c), the monthly beer sales of any establishment which holds a Class 1 On Premises Permit shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the monthly gross sales of the establishment. As used herein, the term "gross sales" means all retail sales of the permit holder plus any applicable taxes. As used herein, the term "beer sales" includes all retail beer sales plus any taxes applicable to beer sales"

Section 2: Section 8-211 Prohibited conduct or activities by beer permit holders: Section 8-211 (2) is hereby amended by changing the following text: "Make or allow any sale of beer between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. during any night of the week, at any time on Sunday, and at any time on Christmas Day to the following: "Make or allow any sale of beer between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. during any night of the week".

Kimberly Frazier Named Chief Nursing Officer for DCH and SRH

December 17, 2012
Kimberly Frazier

Kimberly Frazier, RN, BSN, has been named Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for DeKalb Community Hospital (DCH) and Stones River Hospital (SRH), according to Sue Conley, Chief Executive Officer, effective January 2.

Frazier has worked at DeKalb Community Hospital since 1998, serving since 2011 as Director of the Medical Surgical nursing units as well as ICU and ER. She has been serving as Interim CNO since September. She has also served as Director of Implementations / Clinical Informatics for both DCH and SRH.

“Kim is an outstanding leader who brings significant clinical experience to her new role,” said Conley. “Having her assume expanded responsibilities as Chief Nursing Officer for our two facilities will benefit our patients, our staff and the community. This is a well-deserved promotion for Kim.”

Frazier earned her bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from Middle Tennessee State University and is in the process of completing her master’s of science degree in nursing administration. She has earned certifications in Chemotherapy, Advanced Continued Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Basic Life Support, Crisis Prevention Intervention and Emergency Preparedness.

A native of Smithville, Frazier was born in DeKalb Community Hospital. She and her husband Will have four children – Gavin, Isabella, Mackenzie and Alex. She is very involved with DeKalb County High School, having spearheaded DCH’s involvement with the school’s Athletic Department. She also coaches Junior Pro basketball and fast-pitch softball. Additionally, Frazier has served on the Smithville Chamber of Commerce Board.

About DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospitals

DCH and SRH are a part of the Capella-Saint Thomas system of hospitals, a joint venture between Capella Healthcare and Saint Thomas Health, along with sister hospitals Highlands Medical Center in Sparta and River Park Hospital in McMinnville. There are approximately 80 physicians on the combined medical staffs, representing nearly every medical specialty. Both are accredited by The Joint Commission. Established in 1969, DCH is a 71-bed hospital located in Smithville offering 24-hour emergency services and comprehensive diagnostic, medical, surgical and rehabilitative services. Established in 1980, SRH is a 60-bed hospital located in Woodbury. The hospital provides 24-hour emergency care as well as surgical procedures, same day outpatient services, cardiac rehabilitation services, and comprehensive imaging services. Through the Riverside Center, a full range of mental health services for older adults is available, with intensive inpatient services at a 22-bed gero-psychiatric unit at the hospital.

About Capella Healthcare and Saint Thomas Health

Capella Healthcare partners with communities to build strong local healthcare systems that are known for quality patient care and exceptional service. Based in Franklin, Tenn., Capella owns and/or operates 15 acute care and specialty hospital facilities in seven states. For more information, visit www.CapellaHealthcare.com Saint Thomas Health is the market share leader in Middle Tennessee with 6,500 associates serving the region. Saint Thomas Health’s regional health system consists of five hospitals and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures in diagnostics, cardiac services and ambulatory surgery as well as medical practices, clinic and rehabilitation facilities. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit www.sths.com.

Morris Charged with Reckless Endangerment and Vandalism

December 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
Frank Ervin Morris
David Matthew Graham
Gregory Allen Mayo

In his latest report on crime, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 45 year old Frank Ervin Morris of Gene Vaughn Road, Smithville is charged with seven counts of reckless endangerment and one count of vandalism.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, December 7 Morris came to a residence on Medlin Lane and engaged in conduct that placed seven females in fear of serious bodily injury. Morris allegedly broke out two windows, kicked in the front door causing damage to the door and frame, and broke two porch rocking chairs. Two chairs inside the home were damaged due to the broken glass from the windows. The estimated value of the damage is $2,550.

Bond for Morris is $19,000 and he will be in court on December 20.

21 year old David Matthew Graham of Cookeville and 44 year old Gregory Allen Mayo of Dry Creek Road are charged with vandalism. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will be in court on January 3.

Sheriff Ray said that on December 10, Graham and Mayo, who were both inmates at the jail, vandalized a sleeping mat by cutting the mat and removing the stuffing.

Self-Service Kiosk for Renewing Driver's Licenses Now Available at County Complex

December 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
County Clerk Mike Clayborn at Kiosk

A new self-service kiosk for renewing driver's licenses was recently placed at the DeKalb County Complex. It's part of a statewide effort that Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security officials hope will reduce wait times at driver's license testing centers.

The kiosk is only for renewal of expired Tennessee driver's licenses or replacement of lost licenses. "It will not do CDL's (Commercial Driver's Licenses) and it will not do a license where the owner has a handgun carry permit," said County Clerk Mike Clayborn.


The license-holder pays at the kiosk by credit or debit card and poses for a photo. A receipt is printed out which serves as a temporary driver's license until the real license arrives in the mail a few days later.

The kiosks are networked with state driver's license records and have facial-recognition software which compares the person posing for the new photo with the previous license photo to avoid fraud.

The new kiosk is now available for use whenever the county complex is open. Its located in the hallway near the County Clerk, Trustee, Assessor of Property, and Register of Deeds offices.

People getting Tennessee licenses for the first time must still go to a driver's license testing station and renewals and replacements will still be available there as well.

Corps To Tighten Restrictions Around Center Hill Dam

December 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
Center Hill Dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to tighten restrictions around locks and dams on the Cumberland River and its adjoining tributaries, including Center Hill Dam.

Nashville District Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jim DeLapp said the Corps, because of safety issues, will install physical barriers, most likely buoys tied to cables above the water, within 500-700 feet of dam tail waters to prevent boat access to that area. Barriers will also be placed above the dams. The restrictions will be effective on a project by project basis as they are phased in. Fishing from the bank will still be allowed but all forms of water access will be prohibited in the restricted area, including boating, swimming and wading. The restrictions are being put in place to bring the Nashville District into compliance with other U.S. Corps of Engineers properties nationwide.

"We understand the tightened restricted areas in the Nashville District may be unpopular, but it is necessary for the district to enforce a more restrictive policy that complies more effectively with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' ER 1130-2-520, Chapter 10," said Freddie Bell, chief of the Natural Resource Management Branch. "The increased restriction will also provide the highest level of public safety and address physical security issues."

Since 2009, three fatalities, one serious injury and 10 near misses/rescues have occurred in the hazardous waters immediately downstream of dams on the Cumberland River and its adjoining tributaries. Life jacket wear has been ineffective in these areas, since all of the victims who drowned were wearing a life jacket.

The immediate hazardous water areas above and below dams in the Nashville District are best described as industrial areas that pose a high level of risk for the public because of the hydroelectric, spilling, sluicing and lock operations that are often present or begin with little or no notice. Such water releases can change a dry riverbed or calm waters into a life-threatening situation within seconds that can swamp, capsize and trap boats and people in turbulent waters.

"We want the public to understand safety is the Agency's highest priority," said Bell. "The tailwater directly below a dam is a high risk area and fishing in this area is a high risk activity. As we comply with Corps regulations by restricting these areas, we are also keeping the public safe."

DeLapp said the barriers will cost around $2 million for all 10 projects and that they will be phased in beginning in February and running through April.

The Corps will hold public meetings in Nashville, Cookeville, and Paducah and Somerset, Kentucky in January 2013 to both inform and solicit input from the public.

For more information, on the "Restricted Areas Around Dams" please go to http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/pao/news/boating_restrictions_near_dams.htm.

DeKalb County Records Three Traffic Fatalities in 2012

December 16, 2012
Dwayne Page

Three people have lost their lives in DeKalb County traffic accidents this year and the Tennessee Highway Patrol and other local law enforcement agencies will be working over the next two weeks to keep that number from going any higher.

The THP will be conducting driver license roadside safety checkpoints this week on State Route 146 and sobriety roadside safety checkpoints next week on Highway 56 in DeKalb County. Two of the three fatal wrecks this year in DeKalb County occurred on Highways 146 & 56 while the other took place on Highway 70 at Snow Hill. At least one of them involved alcohol. Meanwhile, two others from DeKalb County died in traffic accidents in Rutherford and Smith Counties this year.

30 year old Chris Gammons of Smithville, involved in a two vehicle crash on Saturday, June 23 died Monday, July 9 at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Gammons was one of four people in that accident which occurred on Highway 70 near the intersection of Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road) on Snow Hill. Gammons and Troy Bruno, both of Smithville were airlifted from near the scene of the crash by Life Force and Air Evac helicopter ambulances. The other two in the wreck were 32 year old Cleva Elaine Gammons of Smithville, wife of Chris Gammons, and 52 year old Johnny Hickey of Liberty. Hickey was traveling west on Highway 70 in a 2004 F350 full size flat bed truck when he crossed the turning lane and into the path of an eastbound 2002 Nissan Altima, driven by Cleva Elaine Gammons. Chris Gammons was a front seat passenger and Troy Bruno was a back seat passenger of the Altima. Chris Gammons was ejected and landed on the highway, in front of the Altima. Bruno was trapped in the backseat and had to be extricated by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication and Rescue Team.Bruno and Chris Gammons were transported by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone on Highway 70 at the intersection of Toad Road. One of them was airlifted by a Life Force helicopter and the other was flown out by an Air Evac helicopter. Mrs. Gammons was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital, where she was treated and released. On November 26, Hickey was indicted by the grand jury on one count of vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular assault, and driving under the influence.

41 year old William Larry Dyle, II of McMinnville was found dead at the scene of a motorcycle crash on Highway 56 south on Thursday, September 27. Dyle was operating a 2007 Honda Gold Wing motorcycle southbound and failed to negotiate a curve. He ran off the right side of the roadway, struck two mailboxes and a utility pole near the home of Phillip Cantrell. Dyle, who died at the scene, was wearing a helmet but was thrown from the bike. He landed about ten yards away from the motorcycle. It is unknown when the accident occurred. A couple out walking discovered the crash and reported it to 911 at around 6:19 a.m. Dyle's body was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

A Wednesday, November 28 traffic accident claimed the life of 72 year old Martha J. Thomason of Short Mountain Highway, Woodbury. The accident occurred on Highway 146 between the Game Ridge and Whorton Springs Roads. Thomason was driving south on Highway 146 in a 2004 Honda CRV when she went off the right side of the road, struck an earthen embankment, and overturned in a field. The car came to rest upright on its wheels. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Rescue Team were summoned to perform extrication in order to get Thomason out of the car. She was treated on site by DeKalb EMS and then loaded onto an Air Evac helicopter ambulance which landed at the scene. Thomason was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville where she later died.

18 year old Zack Ferrell of Smithville, on his way to work at Nissan, lost his life in a pickup truck crash around 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning, July 1 on Highway 96 near Lascassas in Rutherford County. Trooper Michael Cummins of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said Ferrell was driving a 1986 Chevy pickup truck, heading toward Murfreesboro, when he ran off the right side of the highway and struck a guardrail. Ferrell apparently overcorrected and came back across the highway, crossing the center line and oncoming lane. The truck then went off an embankment and into a line of trees. The truck ran head on into a tree. Ferrell was partially ejected. Trooper Cummins said Ferrell died at the scene. His body was taken to Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro. Ferrell graduated from DeKalb County High School in May.

19 year old Johnny Ray Farless of Smithville died and two others were injured after their car ran into a tractor trailer rig on Interstate 40 in Smith County early Thursday morning, October 25. Those injured were 21 year old Amanda Price of Liberty and 19 year old Zachary Barlow of Lebanon. Farless and Barlow were passengers of a 2009 Hyundai, driven by Price. The accident occurred at around 2:06 a.m. Price was driving east on I-40 near the 252 mile marker when she apparently fell asleep and ran into the back of a 2012 tractor trailer, which was parked off the roadway near a truck rest stop area. The driver of the rig, 44 year old Alvin Walker of Olive Branch, Mississippi was asleep in the sleeper cab compartment of the truck at the time of the accident. The truck was loaded with general freight. After making impact with the rear of the trailer, Price's car spun around and came to rest halfway in the slow lane and the entrance ramp to the rest stop. Walker was not injured. Neither Farless, Price, nor Barlow were wearing a seatbelt.

Impaired driving is a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures 305,000 others every year in the United States. During the sobriety checkpoints, Troopers will evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Troopers will target those who operate a vehicle while impaired and take corrective actions for other violations observed while ensuring the protection of all motorists.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol recognizes that sobriety checkpoints are highly visible and effective tools in the battle against impaired driving.

Board Looks to Make School Buildings More Energy Efficient

December 15, 2012
Dwayne Page
Joe Bond of Johnson Controls

The DeKalb County Board of Education is looking to partner with Johnson Controls to bring more energy efficiency to existing school buildings.

During Thursday night's meeting, the board voted to enter into a project development agreement with the company to continue a study already begun to determine what improvements are needed that would deliver a certain amount of energy savings over a period of time. After the study is completed, officials of Johnson Controls will return to the school board with a detailed scope of the work to be done and the savings projections. At that time the board can vote to proceed with a contract with Johnson Controls or opt out. The cost for the study is $11,000.

But the costs of making any facility and infrastructure retrofits or renewal projects recommended by the study could be offset from the energy and operational savings that are achieved as a result, according to Joe Bond of Johnson Controls, who addressed the board. Project improvements may include lighting system enhancements; HVAC upgrades; and water conservation measures. "We were able to come out and do a preliminary assessment a couple of month ago," said Bond. " Our engineers came on site and spent a couple of days walking the buildings with your maintenance director and what we found was an opportunity to help upgrade the buildings with no extra tax dollars affected. This is money you are already spending today. You just happen to be writing the check out to the utility company whether its TVA or your natural gas provider or water company. This money will be redirected back into your buildings and to upgrade your facilities especially at the high school. The high school is the culprit of a lot of the energy use in the county but that's not unusual because most high schools are going to run a lot more than elementary or middle schools. What we learned here in DeKalb County is that you spent a little over $570,000 in utilities last year. You have right at 412,000 square feet. The buildings vary in age. Some of them are over thirty years old and with various updates and additions throughout them," said Bond

Once the study is completed possibly by early March, Bond said he will return to the board with a detailed scope of the proposed work to be done and the savings projections. If the board votes to proceed with a contract, the work will begin, mostly after school and possibly at night.

If Johnson Controls doesn't achieve the guaranteed savings for the school system, the company would pay the difference between what was guaranteed and what was actually achieved, according to Bond. "A performance contract generates guaranteed utility savings. Our firm does guarantee the savings and we do write you a check if we fall short of those savings," he said.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said he believes this is a great opportunity to make school buildings more energy efficient and save money. "The costs for the study is $11,000 but that money could be absorbed through cost savings if the school system later decides to proceed with work to implement the recommendations of Johnson Controls," said Willoughby. "They work with several different school systems in basically saving them a significant amount of money on energy and utilities. He (Bond) and his company have done a preliminary study and he would like to present to the board the study thus far. If we did enter into a contract with Johnson Controls we would not be using any additional money from the school system. We would not be using any additional tax dollars to do this project. If we do this, it would upgrade our climate control systems, possibly our use of water in the schools, and make everything more efficient. And the savings would go toward funding these projects where each year we're spending several thousand dollars on replacing air conditioning and heating units at schools. This is a way that we could possibly go ahead and do everything and get upgraded so we're not trying to do catch up all the time. We have some units that have been running since 1963. Our maintenance people do an excellent job patching them and keeping them going. But we could replace some of those and save a lot of money. We could enter into a contract with Johnson Controls and they would come out and do a study. The study cost $11,000 and if we do business with Johnson Controls and they come in and update our facilities then we wouldn't ever pay that ($11,000). That (fee) is absorbed through the project. If we vote tonight to let them do the study then we can decide by April whether we're going ahead or not," said Willoughby.

Mark Willoughby Recognized as Upper Cumberland Superintendent of the Year

December 13, 2012
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby Recognized as Upper Cumberland Superintendent of the Year

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby was recognized Thursday night for having been named the 2013 Upper Cumberland Superintendent of the Year.

Keith Brewer of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents presented a plaque to Director Willoughby for this honor during the monthly school board meeting.

Brewer said Willoughby was also in the running for Superintendent of the Year in the state but lost out to the eventual winner by less than a point. "It's my privilege tonight to recognize your Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. He is one of the outstanding leaders for the 2012-13 school year," said Brewer. "We have a competition for Superintendent of the Year. That is based on finalists that we have from each developmental district. Mr. Willoughby represented the Upper Cumberland District. He was nominated and elected as the finalist for the Upper Cumberland. He joined seven other superintendents across the state. It was a close competition this year. Some outstanding leaders were there. The Upper Cumberland (Superintendent of the Year) won last year (State Superintendent of Year) and she is now the current deputy commissioner from Putnam County which is in the Upper Cumberland so whatever you're doing down here it's right in the Upper Cumberland District. It represents about twenty two districts," he said.

"This year, Mr. Willoughby did not win (State Superintendent of Year) but what separated him from the eventual winner as Superintendent of the Year representing Tennessee in Los Angeles this year was less than a point," said Brewer. "We have independent readers, about nine of those are judges from across the state and they are made up of retired superintendents, higher education, supervisors, and practitioners in the field and they do the judging. That's a process that takes them sometimes a week and then they send the scores to us and we certify those scores and count those," he said.

In other business, Director Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel.

Those employed since the last meeting are as follows:
Evelyn Wray and Luanna Tollett, substitute teachers
Mary Margaret Tripp, Smithville Elementary School
Ricky Edwards, substitute bus driver

Bonnie Rigsby, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School

Leave of Absence:
Ginger Wenger, Teacher at Northside Elementary School as requested
Kristy Williams, Teacher at Smithville Elementary School as requested
Christy Young, Teacher at Smithville Elementary School as requested

Jim Harrison of Civil Site Design Group updated the board on plans for the DeKalb West School building program. Harrison, the civil engineer for the project, said the targeted bid date is March 28. "We've been on site looking at utilities, grades, and that sort of thing. The architects have proceeded with the floor plan. We've made some adjustments looking very closely at parking and everything else so we are proceeding nicely with some of the more schematic design elements. We are currently shooting at a target date of bid date of March 28, trying to complete all the design work. We were out there with maintenance today just doing some on ground work just to make sure everything fit within the site to accomplish the goals we needed to for not just what's inside the building but what's outside as well," said Harrison.

Director Willoughby said he is hopeful construction can begin by late spring. "Hopefully we'll bid it out in March and come back in April and accept the bids. Hopefully the bids will come in within reason and we'll accept those bids and start on the project," he said.

The board had planned to act Thursday night on the Architectural contract with Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects, Inc for the building project at DeKalb West School but delayed a vote until a special meeting in January so that the attorney reviewing the contract for the school board can attend to answer any questions.

Meanwhile, the board has scheduled a workshop to conduct its annual evaluation of Director Willoughby for Monday, January 14 at 6:00 p.m. followed by a special meeting for a board self evaluation at 7:00 p.m.


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