Local News Articles

Farron Hendrix and Golf Course Management Group Awarded Bid to Lease City Golf Course and Pool

August 18, 2008
Dwayne Page
Farron Hendrix-New Tenant at City Golf Course and Pool

Farron Hendrix and Golf Management Group will become the new tenants at the Smithville Municipal Golf and Swimming Club on September 1st, subject to signing a contract with the city.

The Smithville Aldermen voted 3 to 2 Monday night to accept Hendrix' s bid, which was one of only two submitted.

The other bid was submitted by Tony Poss, who offered to manage the facility for the city, rather than leasing it.

Aldermen Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins Sr. voted to award the lease to Hendrix. Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger voted against it.

Both White and Burger argued that more time was needed to study the bids before making a final decision.

In his remarks, Alderman Burger said "In my opinion, the lease needs to be written, and we discuss it. If you don't know what's in the lease, you don't know what you're voting on. I'm also not for studying bids at this meeting. You take 15 minutes to study four or five bids and decide what's what, the measurements and everything contained with them, I don't think it's the right thing to do. We need to study bids other than this meeting. Then you can make the decision here as to what you want."

Alderman White, in his comments, stated "I think we need to take some time to look at both of these (proposals). I'm also still in favor of looking at the option of us (city) taking over the pool and golf course (operation). I believe there is a good possibility that we could be making money by the city operating it instead of losing money over there every year. I think we need to, at least as a board, look at that option and I don't think that's even been looked at and I think that's a big mistake."

Alderman Sullivan replied that "I think it was discussed at the last meeting and due to the cost of the equipment, we chose to open this back up for bids."

Hendrix agreed to accept the requirements set forth in the bid specifications for leasing the golf course and swimming pool but he requested that the following provisions be added:

"The Lessee (Hendrix) would pay up to $500 on the repair or the replacement of the hydraulic watering stations for the golf course, pumps, and any structural damage that may occur to the swimming pool. The City of Smithville would pay for any costs above the $500 on the repair or replacement of new equipment.'

"The Lessee bids $750 per month for the term of the lease"

The city received $2,500 per month under the previous lease with Jimmy Lewis.

The bid specs are as follows:

"Lease will be for a 5 year period starting September 1st, 2008 and will expire August 31st, 2013. Bidder shall state in his/her bid package the amount per month they will offer to pay for the term of the lease. Rent will be due on the first of each month beginning September 1st, 2008 with a 5 day grace period each month."

"Lessee shall have the right and option to extend the term of the previous lease for an additional 5 years beginning September 1st, 2013 and ending August 31st, 2018 under previous lease agreement pending Mayor and Board of Alderman approval at said time.'

"Lessee shall provide at it's sole expense, public liability insurance, including general liability coverage, with a limit of not less than one million dollars for any one person and three million dollars coverage per occurrence. Certificates of insurance shall be deposited with the Secretary-Treasurer at or prior to the beginning of the term and thereafter within 30 days prior to the expiration of such policies."

"Lessee shall provide the City a Letter of Credit in the amount of $10,000 either at or prior to the beginning of the term."

"Lessee will provide the necessary equipment and supplies for maintaining and operating the golf course and swimming pool, including but not limited to all proper mowing equipment for fairways and greens mowers, tractors, and swimming pool equipment. Tenant must, at all times, maintain a minimum of 20 golf carts available to golf course patrons."

"Lessee agrees to manage, from start to finish, the entire operation of the golf course and swimming pool facilities and tennis courts. Landlord will maintain tennis courts, nets, and fence as well as the electricity from the tennis court lights. All monies received by the lessee for use of pool and golf course, including concessions, shall be the property of lessee. Subletting of said demised properties will not be permitted."

"Maintenance of the Smithville Swimming Pool shall be at the lessee's responsibility. This includes certified lifeguards during all hours of operations. The Swimming Pool will be open for the general public on a daily basis from at least Memorial Day until the first day of school as designated by the DeKalb County Board of Education. Lessee shall also provide at least one day of "Free" swimming to school children K-12 that have successfully passed their recent school year. The City of Smithville will provide the water to fill the swimming pool once a year for filling and also provide necessary chemicals for proper maintenance and operations."

"Any person bidding on the Smithville Golf Course and Swimming Club may add or delete any provision mentioned in the bid specs in his/her bid proposal. The bidder that is awarded the lease to the Smithville Golf Course and Swimming Club must sign into contract with the City of Smithville before the lease becomes valid."

"The City of Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen reserve the right to accept or refuse any bid proposal."

Hilton Conger Reappointed Smithville City Judge

August 18, 2008
Dwayne Page
City Judge Hilton Cnger

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Monday night re-appointed Incumbent City Judge Hilton Conger to a new two year term, effective September 1st. The vote was 5-0.

Conger's current two year term expires August 31st.

Conger's salary as City Judge is $1,000 per month.

The Municipal Court, up until 2002, had the same jurisdiction in city criminal cases as the General Sessions Court, and the City Judge held court several times each month with the City Attorney serving as Prosecutor.

After changes were made in the City Charter, the City Court's jurisdiction was reduced to mostly minor traffic offenses and city ordinance violations. The court now convenes usually once per month.

The City Judge, previously elected by city voters to an eight year term, now serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, appointed to a two year term.

Conger was last elected as City Judge in 1998. He was named to his first appointed term in 2006.

The changes in the City Charter, regarding the City Court, came following a State Attorney General's opinion in the fall of 2001 that only the District Attorney General and his staff had the responsibility of prosecuting state criminal action in municipal courts.

City to Purchase New Playground Equipment for Smith Road Park

August 18, 2008
Dwayne Page
Playground Equipment

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Monday night voted 5 to 0 to purchase new playground equipment at the city park on Smith Road.

The board accepted a bid from School Sales and Services of Gallatin. The city will spend $8,015 to make the purchase. The company will install the playground equipment.

School Sales and Services was among four companies to submit bids.

(Playground equipment similar to that depicted in this photo will be purchased for Smith Road Park)

Meanwhile, Mayor Taft Hendrixson reported that the city has done some street paving.

According to the mayor, paving has been done on all or at least of portion of Hayes Street, West Bryant, Fisher Avenue, Duncan Street, and Anthony Avenue. The city tennis courts are also being paved.

The city hopes to have enough money left in the street budget to pave Adams Street

Questions were raised by George "Blackie" Davis and Faye Sandusky about the paving of the private driveway of the mayor's son.

Mayor Hendrixson said the company doing the city street paving also did the work on the driveway, but he says no city equipment, employees, or city funds were used on the project.

The mayor said he asked the company to give him a price on paving the driveway, which he thought was too high, but he asked them to do the work. The mayor added that he is paying the $3,700 for the project.

When asked by Sandusky if other residents in the area where the streets are being paved were given the same opportunity to have their driveways paved when the construction people came through, Mayor Hendrixson replied that "they had the same opportunity to contact the pavers, because they (pavers) were coming down the streets in front of their houses."

Mayor Hendrixson said "I'm certainly not trying to steal anything from the City of Smithville".

Complaints are beginning to surface about an on-going flea market at West Main and North Mountain Street, which has been in operation each week since prior to the Fiddler's Jamboree

City officials say there have been public complaints about the property becoming an eye sore, a possible violation of the city's beautification ordinance, and some business owners are grumbling about it.

City Attorney Vester Parsley says while the city apparently does not have a yard sale ordinance, there is a peddler's ordinance. " It's been on the books since 1976. They have to apply to Hunter Hendrixson (Secretary-Treasurer) to get a permit. It doesn't say what that permit costs. I assume it's free if they apply and meet the requirements of the ordinance which provides that they give their name and brief description of the nature of the goods they are going to sell; If employed, the name and address of their employer; and if a vehicle is going to be used, a description of it, together with a license plate number, and evidence of good moral character of the applicant."

City officials will check to determine if this property is in violation of city ordinances and if the flea market operation there can be regulated.

Local Law Enforcement Agencies Team up for "Booze It and Loose It" Campaign

August 18, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police Department, and the Alexandria Police Department will be teaming up to make our roads in DeKalb County a safer place to drive next week in the "Booze It and Loose It" campaign.

All three law enforcement agencies will combine their efforts to do Sobriety Check Points on Highway 56, Highway 70, Highway 146, Highway 53, and possibly others on August 25th through September 1st.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "We will be looking for impaired drivers through extra patrols, check points, and saturation patrols."

"Booze It & Lose It" is designed to reduce impaired driving injuries, fatalities, and associated economic losses. The Booze It & Lose It campaign provides for increased law enforcement efforts and public service messages to accomplish its goal. The intervention targets all drivers who are impaired due to the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Impaired driving and impaired-related crashes constitute one of the nation's leading health problems. These events result in more deaths each year than do total homicides, and alcohol is a factor in 35% of all crashes in the United States.

Man Arrested Trying to Outrun the Law in Stolen Car

August 18, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 23 year old man, trying to outrun the law in a stolen car Saturday, was arrested by an officer of the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Michael Frederick Teachout of Students Home Road, Smithville is charged with a third offense of driving under the influence, evading arrest, aggravated burglary, and theft of property over $1,000.00. His bond was set at $84,500 and he will appear in court on September 4th.

According to Sheriff Ray, deputies were on a call on New Home Road on Saturday when they heard a vehicle on Dry Creek Road driving erratically. The vehicle came upon the intersection of Dry Creek Road and New Home Road and stopped at the stop sign. The driver then began to smoke the tires on the vehicle. A deputy pulled up to the car and activated his blue lights, but the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed trying to evade the deputy. The car went approximately one mile down the road and stopped. The driver then exited the automobile and took off running. The driver was found by the pursuing deputy within seconds. Upon capturing the driver, Teachout, the officer noticed that he had a pair of socks on his hands. Teachout also had a strong odor of alcohol on his person, slurred speech, and was unsteady on his feet. The deputy obtained the vehicle tag number and contacted the owner. Through an investigation, Officers learned that Teachout went to a home on Old Blue Springs Road, Smithville and entered a house without the owner's permission and took the key to a 1995 Mercedes Benz. Teachout then stole the car.

Meanwhile in another case, 41 year old Todd Allen Bussiere of Lake Motel, Smithville was charged Monday, August 11th with violation of the sexual offender law.

Sheriff Ray says Bussiere, who is a convicted sex offender from Waterbury Vermont, was living at the Lake Motel and never registered with the DeKalb Sheriff's Department. Bussiere was convicted in Vermont on charges of Lude and Lascivious Conduct with a Child. Bond for Bussiere was set at $50,000 and he will appear in court on August 21st..

22 year old Tracy Ann Thomason of Bryant Street, Smithville was arrested Tuesday, August 12th on two counts of theft and one count of forgery.

Sheriff Ray says Thomason was arrested after she stole a check from a ladies purse at a church in Smithville. After taking the check, Thomason wrote it out for $200, and then forged the victim's name on the check. During the investigation, Officers also learned that Thomason had gone to Hayes Street just before she was taken to the jail and stole a package off a porch there. She also allegedly stole a debit card and cell phone from another address on Hayes Street. Thomason's bond was set at $1,000 and she will appear in court on August 21st.

Former Cannon County Jail Nurse Pleads Guilty to Theft and Fraud

August 16, 2008
Kyra Robinson

A DeKalb County woman and former nurse at the Cannon County Jail entered a guilty plea to charges of theft and fraud Friday in Woodbury.

Kyra Robinson is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of prescription drugs from the taxpayers.

WBRY reports that Robinson pled guilty in Cannon County Circuit Court to theft and 37 counts of fraud. Robinson was indicted by the January, 2008 term of the Cannon County Grand Jury on over 260 counts of fraud for obtaining inmate prescriptions and then keeping them for herself. Robinson was employed by the Cannon County Jail until shortly before her arrest and reportedly cost Cannon County's taxpayers well over $30,000.

Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III sentenced Robinson to a total of 8 years in prison as a standard 30 percent offender. A suspended sentence hearing was set for November 14th to determine if Robinson will have to serve that sentence or if she will be placed on probation.

The case stemmed from a local investigation.

In December, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department executed a search warrant at the home of Mark and Kyra Robinson on Anthony Avenue in Smithville.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says officers made at least one drug buy from Robinson's residence and during the search, they found 193 Xanax pills, 203 empty prescription bottles with numerous individuals' names on them, hemostats, rolling papers, roach clips, syringes, and a pill grinder.

In the December case, Mark Robinson was charged with possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) for sale and delivery and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officers seized the cash from Robinson.

Sheriff Ray says it was during the December investigation that he learned that the empty prescription bottles found at Robinson's home had the names of several Cannon County inmates on them.

He then contacted the TBI and the Cannon County Sheriff's Department with this discovery.

During the April term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury, Mark Robinson of Dry Creek Road, Smithville was indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule IV controlled substance (Xanax), and conspiracy to sell a schedule IV controlled substance (Xanax).

Kyra Robinson of Braswell Lane, Smithville was indicted for conspiracy to sell a Schedule IV controlled substance (Xanax).

One Airlifted After Pickup Truck Crash

August 15, 2008
Dwayne Page

Two people were involved in a pickup truck crash around 3:34 a.m. Friday morning on Highway 70 just east of Sligo Bridge.

19 year old Joshua Dillehay of Carthage was driving west in a 2000 Dodge Ram pickup truck when he apparently lost control, went off the highway, and struck a rock bluff. Dillehay got out of the truck with only minor injuries. However his 21 year old female passenger, Kendra Hillis of McMinnville was trapped in the truck. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene for extrication. The woman was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga with serious injuries.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Others on the scene were DeKalb EMS , the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and the Midway Station of the DeKalb County Fire Department. The Johnson's Chapel Station of the Fire Department set up the helicopter landing zone.

Willoughby Updates School Board on Personnel Moves

August 14, 2008
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby Thursday night updated the school board on personnel moves made since last month.

Those employed for 2008-09 include;

Jennifer Kickliter, Deaf Interpreter
Brittany Lockard, Pre-school Education Assistant
Elena Koplevich, ESL Teacher, Smithville Elementary/DeKalb West School
Tiffany Wheatley, SPED Teacher at Northside
Kenneth Gordon, ESL Assistant at Northside
Scott Rupe, Gifted Teacher at NSE,SES, DWS
Amy Fletcher, Teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Courtney Beaty, Paraprofessional at SES replacing Natasha Vaughn
Cori Sexton, Paraprofessional at DCHS replacing Rob Robinson
Bryan Jones, Teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Lisa Pack, Teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Ashley Garrett, Teacher at Northside Elementary
Natasha Judkins, Teacher at DCHS
Tina Paschal, Paraprofessional at DeKalb West, replacing Shelby Ann Jennings
Elizabeth White, cook, part-time at Northside Elementary
Vicki Sandlin, cook at DCHS


Trent Colwell, transferred to a teacher position at Northside Elementary
Peggy Tramel, transferred to a full-time position at DCHS cafeteria
Tonya Dickens, teacher, transferred to DeKalb West School


Shelby Ann Jennings, Paraprofessional at DeKalb West School

Leave of Absence:

Reba Malone, custodian at DeKalb Middle School, as requested.

In other business, the board granted a request from DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix to allow the football, football cheerleading, girls' and boys' basketball, basketball cheerleading, softball, and baseball teams to practice during the fourth block of school each day. The football and football cheerleading teams will practice during the fall semester only. The basketball teams will practice during the 2nd and 3rd nine week periods. The basketball cheerleading, baseball and softball teams will practice during the spring semester only. This is the same schedule that the high school has been following for the last several years.

The board also granted permission for the local FBLA officers and an advisor to attend Camp Clements on the weekend of September 4th-7th. Camp Clements is used for officer training workshops, leadership training, and teambuilding. As State Vice President, Luke Willoughby is required to attend and the local officers are encouraged to attend. Approximately five students have been invited.

Vice Chairman Charles Robinson, who presided in the absence of Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins III Thursday night also recognized Sixth District School Board member Linda Fuston, who was also absent. Fuston, who was defeated for re-election last week, will be leaving the school board. Her term expires as of August 31st. "I want to acknowledge an individual who has spent eight years dedicated to the children of this county and that's Linda Fuston. She gave a different perspective to the board. She was a wife, mother, grandparent, and former teacher. Her heart was always for the children of this county. I have a plaque to give to her in recognition of her eight years. She is a good friend. I'll miss her and I think the board will."

Third District member Kenny Rhody added that Linda, who was his kindergarten teacher, "was a blessing to be able to serve with on this board."

Bruce Parsley will take her place starting next month.

The school system has received a Tennessee Tech University Hydroponics Grant in the amount of $4,586 for the growing of plants in water. Students in the program can earn dual high school/college credit.

The board adopted an Extended Learning Program Proposal for the 2008-09 school year to meet the needs of students in individual schools.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Education Pre K-6, says the proposal is to conduct after school tutoring and enrichment programs including "Read Nights' at the libraries and involving parents in activities that will help them help their children at night with their homework.

School System Awarded 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant to Serve At-Risk Students

August 14, 2008
Dwayne Page

In recent years, DeKalb County has had a high rate of suicide and teen pregnancy. In an effort to address concerns of at-risk students and their families with after school academic and enrichment activities, the DeKalb County School System has been awarded a 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Grant.

The initial award amount for the school system is $216,250 but it could increase to over a million dollars within five years, with no local matching requirement.

The announcement was made during Thursday night's meeting of the Board of Education and the school board voted to implement the program.

Supervisor of Instruction Dr. Carol Hendrix, who was instrumental in the school system getting the grant, says the funding is for $216,250 for a minimum of three years totaling $648,750. She says successful implementation of the grant for three years may extend the funding for two additional years with $432,500 in additional monies. Again, no matching funds from the school system are required.

A prepared written summary of the key elements and overall purpose of the grant, states that the "DeKalb County School System will create five 21st Century Community Learning Centers with school system partners including LEAPS, the Extended Learning Program, and Title I and IV. The ultimate goal of the program is to address the needs of at- risk students and families with academic and enrichment learning activities. Eight objectives including reading/language, mathematics, and science skills development, academic enrichment, art and music enrichment activities, counseling programs emphasizing drugs, suicides, and violence prevention, extended library hours, English of Second Language skills development, and computer literacy for parents, will guide the goal. Along with community partnerships and parents, approximately 1,800 students and 500 parents will be served."

The report provides statistics which support DeKalb County's need for the grant. "The most sobering report came in 2005 when the Center for Disease Control reported that DeKalb County had the second highest suicide rate in the United States between the years 1999-2002 and the highest of any county east of the Mississippi. DeKalb County experienced an average suicide rate of 42.8 per 100,000 people for the four years between 1999-2002 compared with the national average of 10.7% Additionally, the most recent data from the Tennessee Department of Health (2006) reports that DeKalb County had the highest suicide rate in the state at 42.15 per 100,000 between the years 2002 to 2005. In 2007, DeKalb County retained the rating with a mortality rate of 93rd out of 95 counties."

"Moreover, the Tennessee Institute of Public Health ranked DeKalb County 90th out of 95 counties in the 2007 Tennessee County Health Ranking. The institute further ranked DeKalb 95th out of 95 counties in teen birth rate per 100,000. The graduation rate at DCHS in 2007 was reported at 76.1 by the State Department of Education and the Tennessee Institute of Public Health ranked DeKalb as 93rd out of 95 counties in graduation rates in the state."

"As in many communities, poverty, violence, and crime are of major concern. Whereas 18% of the overall population lives below the poverty line, 21% of children up to 17 years old live in poverty. Overall, 56% of our students are identified as "at-risk" as defined by their qualifications for the free/reduced school lunch program. It has been estimated that the free and reduced lunch rate could be as high as 65% county-wide if all students eligible completed an application. Additionally, all K-8 schools in the county are school-wide Title I schools.'

"The most recent Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Summary Report in 2007 for DeKalb County reported 273 cases of children from the ages of 11-18 referred to Juvenile Court. The offenses ranging from criminal homicide ( .37%) assault (14.29%), vandalism (4.03%), theft of property (2.20%), possession of alcohol and controlled substances (3.30%), traffic (33.33%), unruly behavior (10.26%), and possession of tobacco products (10.99%)

The needs assessment report states that "The DeKalb County School System has a history of collaboration among and between schools to improve services for students. The 21st Century Community Learning Center will extend that collaboration to include the Smithville First Baptist Church, Appalachian Craft Center, Healing Hearts and STAR. Community based organizations including the County Advisory Board, Juvenile Court Judge, and Tennessee Technological University will provide direction and input into the programs. Among the activities will include "A Drama in Action Club", "Family Read and Math Night", Upwards Basketball, Crafts display at the 38th annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival, and opportunities to improve skills in the classroom for students. Parent participation will be maximized in their children's learning through direct involvement with students and special workshops. Transportation for all students, nutritional, and fitness will maximize the effects of the program."

Dr. Hendrix says the grant funds will help provide transportation. "We can hire bus drivers and we can pay for fuel to transport our students to these after school programs as well as our summer programs. We're partnering with extended contract and Title I to ensure that we have all the needs met in the county for the schools. Last year we met all the needs. We asked the principals what they wanted this year and we are 100% sure we will have the money this year to provide every activity that the principals asked for. There's also another element to this. In the project design, I put a site coordinator in there because this is going to take a lot of wor. So we'll have a site coordinator. Also within the grant, there's going to be enough money to pay teachers close to what they make an hour and we've never been able to do that previously."

The learning centers will be located at the five schools in the county with one satellite site, the Smithville First Baptist Church. Each site will recruit qualified staff from the school served by the program. Transportation will be provided for students to the satellite sites as well as to home at the end of the program. Local school buses and drivers will be employed from the school system to provide safe transportation for children to return home. The school system transportation policy concerning parents picking up children at school will also be utilized to allow parents to transport children home if they desire.

Under the program, Reading/ Language, Math, and Science tutoring will be utilized to strengthen student's classroom performance. Tutoring will be offered at all sites from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Various programs including Math Fun for Young Children, Math Explorer and Science Families will be utilized in the programs for students at Northside Elementary, DeKalb Middle, and DeKalb West School.

A "DeKalb Scholars Club" will provide activities in the areas of math, science, and reading in grades 3-12 at Northside Elementary, DeKalb Middle, DCHS, and DeKalb West School. Activities will include Lego Mindstrom, Destination Imagination, Debate Team, Chess, Literacy Circles/Reading Club, and Mastery Speller which are unique opportunities for many students to learn and develop leadership activities. These will be offered from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during the regular school week and competitions will be held on Saturdays during the summer at times to be determined.

Research indicates that participating in recreational activities is associated with higher levels of self-esteem, and motivation, and overall psychological well-being. Additionally, participation in athletics have shown a positive association with academic achievement and increased parental involvements. Specific recreational activities will include tennis, partnership golf (includes parents and students), Karate and Upwards Basketball for students from all sites.

The Appalachian Center for Crafts will provide after school and summer art activities for students and access to artists who are in residence at the craft center. Students will display crafts at the Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival next year as a result of working at the Crafts Center. Art and Music students will also attend Laketoberfest at Lakeside Resort and Educational Complex sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Additionally, keyboarding will be offered to approximately 20 students in grades 3-8.

The Drama in Action Club will be developed for young thespians in grades 6-12. This club will meet two days a week from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. for a 10 week period twice a year. Music activities will be incorporated into the program. Through arts integrated literacy instruction, students will find reading and writing more meaningful. At-risk students show the greatest gains, therefore, at least 50% of students deemed at-risk by classroom teachers will be chosen to participate in the drama club. Each school will be limited to 40 students during each 10 week period.

In addition to the counselors at each school working with students during the day, two after school programs will be utilized to address drug suicide and violence prevention. "Too Good for Drugs and Violence" is recognized as a successful research based curriculum designed for grades K-12 that offers counseling, universal prevention, service learning projects, and parent conferences. This program will be offered from 3:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. three days per week for students age 12-18. The "Strengthening Families Program" will involve two-7 week cycles for two to two and a half hours per session. Sessions will be at a time accessible for both students and children. This program will be accessible for both middle school students and their families at two sites, DeKalb Middle and DeKalb West School.

Healing Hearts of Tennessee will collaborate with the school system and provide three programs entitled "Child-Parent-Relationship (CPR) Training, After School Teen Group, and Healing Hearts Mentoring Program". The CPR classes will teach skills and techniques proven effective for helping communicate with and discipline their children more effectively. This involves 10 sessions' classes for two hours in length with no more than eight individual's participation. The first series of classes is projected to be offered one night a week during the fall and a second series during the spring.

After School Teens Groups is for students 13-18 . These groups, one for boys and one for girls, will target students who have a history of behavioral, emotional, or truancy problems and or involvement with the DeKalb County Juvenile Court. This group will have no more than 10 students per group meeting for eight weekly sessions. The licensed counselor will be the same gender as the participants in the group.

The Healing Hearts Mentoring Program is designed to match at-risk youth with a mentor/role model. The role of the mentor is to help guide another individual's development.

"Family Read Night" and "Family Math Night" will be conducted at four of the five sites including DeKalb West, DeKalb Middle, Northside Elementary, and Smithville Elementary Schools expanding library hours for four days a week from 7:00 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. and from 3:00 p..m until 6:00 p.m. Librarians and teachers will involve parents in learning skills for reading and use of the library. Parents will be given specific times to read and work on math skills with their children during this program.

The Smithville First Baptist Church will serve as a satellite center for all school sites. The church is building a Life Enrichment Center which is slated to be completed soon. The goal of the church is to be community service oriented. The center will have a gym, classrooms, and a stage for cultural activities and other events. The church will provide four programs including a Reading Program deigned for elementary school children who need assistance in reading skills. The program will meet on Tuesdays immediately after school until 5:00 p.m. Volunteers from the church will work with children on specific skills according to needs assessment. Certified teachers will monitor the program.

English of Second Language will be offered at the church for all school children of any age. It meets weekly from 3:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. teaching English proficiency to speakers of other language. Snacks and recreation will be provided.

Upwards Basketball, a youth-league basketball program will be developed at the church for all school age children. The goal of this program is to teach character along with skills for basketball. Dates and times have not yet been established for this program even though it will be in the evenings and on Saturday mornings.

5th Quarters is an event which will be available at the church for high school students on Friday nights after home football games. Music and refreshments and social time will be part of this program.

In the needs assessment report, DeKalb County Juvenile Judge Bratten Cook, II was quoted as saying at a meeting discussing the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, "If we don't begin providing after school programs both in academics, recreation, and the arts, we are going to continue to lose students by the tons as I see every week in my court."

Officials say the tragedies of the county are preventable through expanded programs in elementary and secondary schools.

The report says " A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, in 2007 found that regular participation in high quality after school programs is linked to significant gains in standardized test scores and work habits as well as reductions in misconduct and risky behavior. Making the transition from after school to full service or community schools is a long-term project. DeKalb County is ready for the challenge."

County Firefighters Respond to Tuesday Blaze

August 13, 2008

Firefighters from the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, Blue Springs, and Main Stations of the DeKalb County Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 2766 Cookeville Highway Tuesday around 12:30 p.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says the owner, Chris Smithson, and others were working in the metal construction building when they discovered a large fire and reported it to DeKalb 911.

When firefighters arrived, the building was fully involved with heavy smoke and flames showing. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to a nearby residence.

A pickup truck and ATV, owned by Smithson, were among the items destroyed in the fire.

DeKalb County Sheriff's deputies and DeKalb EMS provided assistance at the scene. Chief Green says the cause of the fire is currently undetermined and is under investigation. No one was injured during this incident.


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