Local News Articles

Smithville Church of God To Give Away Backpacks for Back to School

July 20, 2012
Backpacks for Back to School

The Smithville Church of God is gearing up for back to school with plans to give away 200 backpacks filled with school supplies to students. The backpacks will be available as a part of the church’s free back to school party on Saturday, Aug 4. From 10-2 that day, the church fellowship hall and parking lot will be filled with inflatables, food, and fun for the community with the backpacks being given away on a first come-first served basis. Those interested in a backpack are urged to reserve one by registering on the church’s website www.smithvillecog.com or by calling the church office at 615-597-1419.

This giveaway comes as a part of a challenge, issued by Pastor Jeff Armstrong, for the church to reach out to the community in new ways. Pastor Armstrong instructs his church to follow the model set forth by Christ in His ministry: caring, reaching out, and helping those in need. Armstrong notes that Jesus always cared first for the physical and emotional need of those around him, enabling them to focus on spiritual necessities. He further reminds us of the biblical calling for the church to care for widows, orphans, the hungry, the lonely, and the lost.

The congregation kicked off the challenge by handing out over 2500 free bottles of water during the Smithville Jamboree and plans to continue over the next year with a series of events for all ages.

On August 22, there will be an after school youth rally for students in grades 7-12 featuring games, free food, and giveaways. There will be free transportation from school for the students for an afternoon of fun, and the evening will culminate with a youth centered service featuring the youth band and drama team and a message by youth pastor, Chris Moore.

On August 25, Gospel Bluegrass band Right on Time will perform at a BBQ dinner to raise funds for the projects of the Women’s Ministries; a $10 contribution will entitle you to a BBQ plate dinner as well as admission to the concert.

In September, the church will host a revival with Evangelist Rick Cottrell. We will also follow up this spring’s popular Princess for a Day fundraising event with Cowboy for a Day, which will offer boys a day of Wild Western fun.

October will begin with a Friend’s Day and picnic and will end with the annual Trunk or Treat Celebration featuring a free hot dog dinner for the entire family, as well as decorated vehicles and lots of candy for the kids.

November brings the Community Thanksgiving service and our annual contribution of Shoeboxes donated to the international charity, Samaritan’s Purse.

There are plans to wrap up the year in December with the annual Christmas walk-through, The Bethlehem Experience.

It is the hope of Pastor Armstrong, the staff, and congregation that these events will help the community to see Christ and his followers in a new light of caring and love.

Country Artist Kalisa Ewing to Perform at the DeKalb County Fair

July 20, 2012
Kalisa Ewing

Country artist Kalisa Ewing will perform at the DeKalb County Fair Tuesday night at the Lion's Club Pavilion following the Little Miss and Mister pageant.

"Look in the mirror find a new reflection, those chains won't hold you down unless you let them. Life can surprise you when you least expect it, that's what's so beautiful about redemption."

With her sweet country voice and hauntingly beautiful lyrics, singer/songwriter Kalisa Ewing is no stranger to life's surprises. Her songs are bold, fresh and honest; stories that may never have been told if not for a divine intervention of sorts.

"My mom and I got into a car accident the summer before my Sophomore year of high school and I blacked out. I remember during that time, visions of my guitar in my hands, playing my guitar and being on stage, all flashed before my eyes. That was enough to make me think a little bit harder about writing songs and what playing music meant to me."

Kalisa grew up in the country just outside Nashville where, at age 11, she picked up a guitar and penned her first song. She credits her insatiable passion for music to her grandfather, who died of heart problems just after she was born. Kalisa's grandfather, Owen McCarty, was a blind musician who moved to Nashville to fulfill his dreams as an artist in Music City.

Like her grandfather, Kalisa continued to search for a home in music. She took guitar lessons and began writing poetry to sharpen her songwriting skills.

"I've always felt a little bit like an outcast," said Kalisa. "It seems like so many people I meet either grew up singing in church or playing music with their families. I never did any of that. Hearing stories of my grandpa, I think he was the closest person in my blood that I can say dreamed the same dream. I know it must have been passed down to me by him."

Fast-forward through years of odd-end jobs and dead-end promises, Kalisa met industry veteran, Todd Wilkes, who recognized her unparalleled talent and opted to publish her independently. Under the helm of Wilkes and Kent Earls (Universal Music), Kalisa became the first co-venture of Wilkes' company, KingSpirit Music, and signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group.

"One of my songs, ‘Redemption,' is about everything that I've had to learn the hard way through the years. That's the kind of real stories that I hope connect with people. I like to write about love, screwing things up, being a screw up, finding redemption and then living to tell about it. I write about what I've learned."

If there's one thing Kalisa knows about life's little surprises it's that it will bring you to where you need to be when you least expect it. It will bring you home. And that's exactly what her music is all about.

Pealer Files Federal Lawsuit Against UCDD

July 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Ashley Pealer

Ashley Pealer, a former Upper Cumberland Development District employee has filed a federal court lawsuit against the agency; the man who fired her, Randy Williams, UCDD's interim executive director; and Mike Gannon, chairman of the UCDD board. Pealer claims her personal cell phone messages and Facebook account were hacked, a violation of her Constitutional rights.

Pealer is being represented by W. Gary Blackburn of Nashville, who filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee Northeast Division Wednesday morning.

Allegations involve violations of the Stored Communications Act and the Wiretap Act, allegedly committed by Williams and Gannon.

Pealer claims that after she was fired, her cell phone, issued to her by UCDD, was taken from her; that some three hundred pages of her private text messages, which were stored through Verizon, were accessed by the defendants, printed and published to various persons. Pealer alleges that at least one of the defendants used her private password to invade and access her Facebook account as well. The Defendants also allegedly intercepted a private email communication to Pealer's Facebook account, according to the lawsuit.

Pealer claims the purpose and intent of this behavior was to embarrass and intimidate her in retaliation for her refusal to participate in or remain silent about the illegal behavior of former UCDD Executive Director Wendy Askins, and to determine the extent to which she (Pealer) was involved in disclosing illegal conduct to the news media.

Pealer is asking the court to "permanently enjoin any further publication of her text messages or information obtained from her Facebook account; that the court order the defendants to answer to Pealer in damages caused by their violation of the Secured Communications Act, in an amount of no less than one thousand dollars for each violation, to be assessed against each individual Defendant, and in an amount not less than ten thousand dollars for violation of the Wiretap Act; that the Defendants be assessed punitive damages as provided under the Secured Communications Act; that the Defendants be further assessed damages for the deprivation of Pealer's rights as guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; that Pealer be awarded her reasonable attorney's fees and expenses as provided both by the Secured Communications Act and the Wiretap Act; and that a jury be impaneled to try all issues so triable"

Allegations of the lawsuit state as follows:

Prior to June 18, 2012, the Plaintiff (Pealer) had been employed for a number of years by the UCDD. Pealer was provided a Droid smartphone by the UCDD. Her business email address was apealer@ucdd.org. The published personnel manual of the agency provides that communications stored in agency systems are the property of the agency. Pealer therefore does not assert any expectation of privacy with regard to the agency email account or voicemail.

Pealer maintained a separate private email account with the address and a private password protected Facebook account.

Pealer also communicated through text messages which were stored through a service provided by Verizon. The UCDD personnel manual is silent concerning text messages. The Agency, through its supervisory personnel, never sought access to or advised of rules concerning text messages prior to June 18, 2012. Pealer sent and received personal messages and regarded them as private.

In the months preceding June 18, 2012, the agency was the subject of an extensive investigation by NewsChannel5 television of Nashville. This investigation revealed what was appeared to have been the misappropriation of funds and the diversion of agency money for the private benefit of the Director, Wendy Askins, her family members and others. The Agency, its directors and employees have been and are the subject of a federal criminal investigation.

As a consequence of the scandal, the agency employed counsel to do an internal investigation at a cost of nearly two hundred fifty thousand dollars. During this investigation, Pealer was interviewed. At no time were her text messages requested or reviewed, nor was she asked to permit access to her Facebook account. At no time were her personal Hotmail emails requested or reviewed.

Director Wendy Askins, who was suspected of misappropriation of public funds, was forced to resign. She was permitted to retain her cell phone and upon information and belief, none of her messages were requested or reviewed by the Agency or by any attorney employed on its behalf.

Subsequent to Ms. Askins' departure, Mr. Earl Carwile was asked to become the interim Executive Director of the Agency. Pealer served as acting Deputy Director and reported directly to Mr. Carwile.

On May 31, 2012, Mr. Carwile submitted to Mike Foster, who at that time served as Chairman of the Board, his resignation as Executive Director. Mr. Carwile complained of what he believed to have been poor financial management and inappropriate conduct on behalf of the UCDD Board. This included the surrender of over one hundred thousand dollars in grant money to an individual who had applied for the grants while a UCDD employee. Mr. Carwile complained that rather than focusing upon the multiple problems created by the unethical and illegal conduct of the former Executive Director, board members previously associated with Ms. Askins had become obsessed with identifying the person or persons who had contacted the media and who had taken "information out".

Pealer was associated with Mr. Carwile and was among those who had opposed and refused to remain silent about illegal and possible criminal activities attributed to Ms. Askins, her friends and family.

On June 18, 2012, Pealer reported to work. She was taken to the office of the then acting, Director, Randal Williams, and terminated. Mr. Williams falsely told Pealer that she was being terminated mainly because of an agency reorganization.

None of the procedures for such an adverse job action contained in the policy and procedures manual was followed.

Defendant Williams, in the presence of Sherry Thurman, announced in pretentious language that Pealer had been terminated and must leave the premises immediately. Pealer was not allowed to obtain her personal belongings and her cell phone was taken from her.

Thereafter, some three hundred pages of private text message of Pealer, which were stored through Verizon, were accessed by the defendants and printed. The defendant, Mike Gannon, who by then served as the Chairman of the UCDD Board, reviewed the text messages along with Defendant, Michelle Price, Sherry Thurman, and Patty Ray. After the text messages were printed, they were published to various persons.

At least one of the Defendants used the private password of Pealer to invade and access Pealer's Facebook account as well. The Defendants intercepted a private email communication to Pealer's Facebook account.

The purpose and intent of this behavior was to embarrass and intimidate Pealer in retaliation for her refusal to participate in or remain silent about the illegal behavior of Wendy Askins, and to determine the extent to which she was involved in disclosing illegal conduct to the news media.

At the time the stored messages were accessed by the Defendants, Pealer had already been terminated. Consequently, none of the texts were used as a premise for her termination, and no proper or legitimate purpose has been offered by the defendants.

The Stored Communications Act prohibits unlawful access to stored electronic communication.

The intrusion of the Defendants as agents of a public agency into Pealer's stored text messages and Facebok account constitutes a warrantless search upon private property in which Pealer had a reasonable expectation of privacy. The search was not done pursuant to a warrant or in the investigation of any matter concerning Pealer's employment, but was done following her termination for an improper purpose. This constitutes a deprivation of Pealer's rights under the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The UCDD, through its agents and employees, intentionally intercepted a wire or electronic communication from a third person to Pealer through the theft and misuse of her Facebook password. The UCDD therefore violated the Wiretap Act.

Referendum Petition Drive Underway to Allow Liquor Stores in Smithville

July 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Public May Decide If Liquor Stores Such as This Be Allowed in Smithville
Should Liquor Stores be Allowed in Smithville

One month after the liquor by the drink referendum was defeated in the Smithville Municipal Election, another petition drive has been started calling for a public vote in November on allowing liquor stores in the City of Smithville.

Randy Paris, the local businessman who started the petition drive to get the liquor by the drink question on the city election ballot in June, is now circulating a petition calling for a local option referendum in the November General Election to "authorize retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in the City of Smithville" Only ninety valid signatures are needed to get the issue before city voters.

Paris, in a telephone interview with WJLE Thursday, said this is a way to boost the local economy and bring in more tax revenue. "Since we barely lost in the liquor by the drink referendum, I decided to try for liquor stores where people could buy wine and other alcoholic beverages at a market. But the decision really shouldn't be about whether you drink or not or whether you approve of it or not. It should be a business decision that will help our city economically. We have a huge tourism trade and this is a way of generating revenue for our city from the amount of tourism we have as well as our local people who are spending money in Putnam County, Rutherford County, Jackson County, and all the surrounding areas. The money would stay in our county and our city to help us," he said.

Paris has until around the first of September to get his petitions turned into the election commission.

The City of Smithville has a beer board that issues permits to eligible applicants for the sale of beer within the city limits. The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission would apparently have the authority over the issuance of liquor licenses.

Just last month, Smithville city voters denied an attempt to get liquor by the drink in qualifying city restaurants. By a vote of 402 (54.69%) to 333 (45.31%) city voters said "No" to the liquor by the drink referendum, which would have given city restaurants the opportunity to apply for a license from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to serve wine and other mixed alcoholic beverages to its patrons. Under state law, that issue cannot be raised again for at least two years.

Cumberland Presbyterian Revival Releases First CD Recording "A New Hallelujah"

July 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Cumberland Presbyterian Revival

Cumberland Presbyterian Revival, a group of contemporary Christian singers and musicians from the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, has released its first recording called "A New Hallelujah".

The new release, available on compact disc, features thirteen spirit filled selections with CPR's own brand of praise and worship sound. From the first notes of "A New Hallelujah" to the last refrain of "You Are Here", each song is sure to touch a chord with churches and listeners alike.

"This is stuff that we do every Sunday," said Thea Tippin, a CPR vocalist. " These are songs that we love and the congregation loves. We've had people ask us to do a cd for so long and we have wanted to do one for so many years. We hope this will be successful. We hope it blesses people. That's the main thing," she said.

Teresa Trapp, a founding member and vocalist of CPR, said the group had plenty of songs from which to select for the cd. "We all just got together and decided each one would write down five or six of his or her favorite songs that we enjoy singing and bring those to the table and from those, we recorded and then from the recording, we chose which ones to go on the cd. It was a collaboration of everybody in the group," she said.

"After listening to it, you can just tell that it was just God ordained, " said Fran Tyson, CPR vocalist and keyboard player. "Every song on there, the Lord chose for us," she said. "I think my favorite worship song that we have on there just for entering into the presence of the Lord is "Worthy Is the Lamb" and then it moves into "Shout to the Lord"," she said.

The title, "A New Hallelujah" is the lead off song on the cd and is a personal favorite of most members, partly because it was recorded by members of the children's choir from the church. "We got the children's choir together several months ago and did the song live at church one Sunday morning and it was just overwhelming," said Scott Brown, who performs in the group as a vocalist and on acoustic guitar. " People liked it and we've had a lot of compliments on the song on the cd so far,"he said.

Colton Rhody, lead guitarist, said he prefers the more upbeat songs. "I like the second song on the cd "I Came to Praise the Lord" and there's a song called "Don't You Wanna Go" I like. Those are more southern gospel or country type and I get to play a little more on those," he said.

Other members who make up Cumberland Presbyterian Revival are James Snyder, bass guitarist and vocalist and Ty Linscomb and Hunter Tramel, vocalists. The cd includes a special performance on the song "A New Hallelujah" by vocalists Thomas Tippin, Caven Ponder, Briz Trapp, Cameron Miller, Ted Tippin, Bill Miller, Brittany Pinkard, Allison Rogers, Paige Snyder, Noah Gill, and Nathan Atkins.

You may purchase a copy of the "A New Hallelujah" cd at F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts, Charlie Max & Company, or Creative Styles in Smithville. You may also buy a copy directly from members of the praise group or at the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The cost is $20.00.

Proceeds from the sale of the cd will help support the church building fund. "We have been growing by leaps and bounds at our church and we thank God for that but we've been getting a little crowded so there has been talk of starting a building fund and we thought this would be a good way for us to contribute so all the proceeds from this will go back to the church for the building fund," said Brown.

Smithville Boy Scout Troop 347 Attend Camp

July 19, 2012
Smithville Boy Scout Troop 347 Attend Camp

Smithville Boy Scout Troop 347, sponsored by the Smithville Rotary Club and First United Methodist Church Smithville, spent July 8th – 13th at Boxwell Scout Reservation, Camp Craig, near Gallatin. Scouts attending and courses taken include:

Tyree Cripps:
Environmental Science*, Photography, Space Exploration, Leatherworking, Woodcarving

James Mathis:
Indian Lore, Personal Fitness*, Chess, Rifle Shoot

Jim Sherwood:
Personal Fitness*, Chess, Rifle Shoot; winner of the “Chess Master” Award, 1st place in the camp-wide chess tournament

Nate Sherwood:
Indian Lore, Fish & Wildlife Management, Chess, Rifle Shoot

Will Stephens:
Geology, Fish & Wildlife Management, First Aid*, Space Exploration, Leatherworking, Woodcarving
*denotes Eagle required merit badge

There are a few outstanding requirements for some boys and some badges, such as Personal Fitness requires documenting 3 months of exercise and the improvements and First Aid requires the scout put together a first aid kit for their home.

Adult Leadership during camp: Jen Sherwood, Will Sherwood and Walt Stock.
Boys 11 years of age and up are welcome and encouraged to join Troop 347. There is a full schedule of camping, canoeing and high adventure scheduled for the 2012 – 2013 year. Call 615 597 2321 for more information.

Utility-funds scam is gathering steam and victims – don’t be next!

July 18, 2012

Have you been contacted by someone claiming to be from your utility company, promising the U.S. government will aid your payments through specially approved funds? The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Division of Consumer Affairs warns utility consumers to be on guard: Your personal information is at risk.

Consumers that are contacted are being advised to provide Social Security numbers. Once a consumer provides this information, a bank account number is given, supposedly to fund payments. But, the bank account numbers being provided to victims are fake and consumers’ payments are being returned.

“There is no such federal utility payment assistance program,” said Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell. “However, utility customers seem to be falling for the ruse, making it one of the more successful scams in recent times. Victims often share the information with family and friends, who also fall for the scam before learning the truth.”

Scammers find victims through all the usual channels: emails, bogus Tweets and Facebook messages. They are also reported to be going block by block, knocking on residents’ doors and handing out leaflets encouraging people to pay their bills with the bogus account information. Scammers also tend to prey on people looking for a shortcut or for the promise of free or easy money. Word of mouth playing on that theme also appears to help this scam spread.

“One reason the scam is spreading is because it seems to work – at first,” said Cordell. “Before the local utility company gets wise to the bogus account numbers being used, the payments are processed and initially credited to victims, who receive payment confirmation notices. Only later, the payments are rescinded.”

If you are contacted by one of these scammers:

•Do not provide your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident about to whom you are speaking.

•If you receive a call claiming to be from your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.

•Never allow anyone into your home supposedly to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Always ask for – and verify – proper identification.

If you have questions about your utility’s conduct, contact the Tennessee Regulatory Authority at www.tn.gov/TRA.

DeKalb Fair to Present Cattle Show and Open Rodeo Monday Night

July 18, 2012
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Fair presents an Open Rodeo on Monday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena. Meanwhile, a Commercial Heifer Show and Open Beef Show is set for Monday at 6:00 p.m. at the grandstand.

Rodeo Highlight at Fair Monday Night from dwayne page on Vimeo.

The Open Rodeo events include:
Bareback Riding
Team Roping
Calf Roping
1-Barrel Speed Race
3-Barrel Speed Race
Bull Riding
Kids Events
Calf Scrambling

For information contact: Triple R. Rodeo, James Young at 931-256-0267 or 931-738-2713 or visit www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com.

The cattle show is open to anyone with registered beef cattle, if class is offered.
Beddings to be furnished by the exhibitor
Cattle are to be on the grounds by 5:00 p.m. the day of the show
Show begins at 6:00 p.m.
Cattle will be released by 9:00 p.m. Monday night
All cattle are to have health papers and will be checked with registration

Entry fee is $7.00
1st place: $20
2nd place: $15
3rd place: $10

For more information call David Crook at 529-1000 or Jana Crook at 615-464-3160

Classes include:
Jr. Showmanship
Sr. Showmanship
Jr. Bull Calf
Winter Bull Calf
Sr. Bull Calf
Summer Yearling Bull
Jr. Yearling Bull
Sr. Yearling Bull
Two year old Bull
Champion Bull
Reserve Champion Bull
Commercial Heifers
Jr. Heifer Calf
Winter Heifer Calf
Sr. Heifer Calf
Late Summer Yearling
Early Summer Yearling
Spring Yearly Heifer
Jr. Yearling Heifer
Sr. Yearling
Champion Female
Reserve Champion Female

Final Approval on FEMA "Safe Room" Grant Application Expected Soon

July 18, 2012
Dwayne Page

The school system should receive word within a few weeks on final approval of a FEMA grant to fund a classroom addition at DeKalb West School, including eight tornado "safe rooms"

M2U00733 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet updated the school board during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. "We actually had nine of these grants go through and get approved, yours being one of them. Three of them have come back from Atlanta already, getting approved and monies becoming available. I've spoken with the state and there is one more (grant application) ahead of you guys at the moment and then you guys are next. I expect monies becoming available for our DeKalb West project, probably in August. Nobody will swear to the date at all. They won't commit in any way but its encouraging to see the ones who have already gone down there and gone through the process and have come back actually quicker than I expected. We've already dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's and we're just waiting for it to go through the machine if you will. Meanwhile our roofing expert spent a day with Earl (Jared) and looked at the roofing jobs that you've got coming and all of those look very straight forward and easy to do so whenever you turn us loose on that we'll be able to have those ready to bid in no time at all and we'll be ready to start DeKalb West as well," said Brown.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has already approved grant funds of more than $1.5 million for the safe room project at DeKalb West School, pending final approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The spending plan calls for $600,000 in local funding to meet a 12.5% FEMA grant match for building eight tornado "safe rooms" at DeKalb West School. The proposed addition would be constructed in the front of the school, including eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area.

The county commission, Monday night, July 23, is expected to approve funding for the plan when it adopts budgets for the 2012-13 school year. A proposed $3.4 million note would cover the $600,000 grant match for the safe room project along with an $850,000 cafeteria and kitchen renovation project at DeKalb West School; a $1.1 million DeKalb Middle School roof project (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit), a $700,000 DeKalb West School roof project (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit and seal off gymnasium); and an $85,000 Smithville Elementary School roof project (8,000 square feet of the roof).

Meanwhile, in other business the board of education Tuesday night voted to sign up for a new program offered by TVA through its local distributors that uses a conglomerate of customers to ease electric load at peak times - typically in the height of summer - when demand for power can outstrip supply. By participating, the school system would receive financial incentives.

Under the TVA-EnerNOC Demand Response Program, school officials would be notified to reduce power consumption at any school building that qualifies. Locally, the high school, middle school, and possibly Northside elementary might be eligible for the program which could result in a possible curtailment of power by as much as 250 kilowatts combined.

Eligible customers not only save energy and earn money, but help support the reliability of the local electric grid and help maintain affordable electricity across the Tennessee Valley region by their participation.

Under the program, a team would identify the schools energy reduction potential, outline these measures in a detailed energy reduction plan, and install necessary metering devices to monitor energy consumption levels in real time. "The real plus to this is them coming in and telling us the areas that are using the most electricity and it not costing us anything for them giving us a prescription for it," said Director Mark Willoughby.

Maintenance Supervisor Earl Jared said while the program sounds like a good idea, it might not be feasible to implement it in the local school system. "It would be great", said Jared. "But if you can't shut enough (power) down to participate, then its going to be hard to do. It takes about 100 tons of cooling to shut down (qualify). We only have that much in a couple of buildings (DCHS and DMS). That might be all that qualifies," he said

Peak power demands usually occur during the afternoon and the school system could be asked to reduce power usage at a time when school or summer school is still in session. "They're going to call you about two o'clock in the afternoon and want you to shut down (reduce power) for about four hours," said Jared. "Then its going to get hotter (inside the buildings) from there on out. I'm not sure it would even be feasible to do it," he said.

Even when the call is placed to the school system to reduce power usage during peak demand, Director Willoughby said school officials could choose not to comply on that day, if there is some reason. But Jared pointed out that if the school system opted out too many times, it could be dropped from the program.

Since there is no cost to the school system to participate, Director Willoughby recommended giving it a try. "I'd rather to do it and if we can we will and if we can't do it we're not losing anything," he said.

DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps reported that Freshman Orientation is scheduled for July 30. "Our Freshman Orientation will be Monday, July 30. Students can be dropped off at 4:00 p.m. and parents can come back at 6:00 p.m.. We'll do orientation with them (students) and they can get their schedules. Freshmen students who do come on this date will not have to come to our half day registration on August 2. On July 26 & 27, new student registration will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. That applies to new students in the county. This does not apply to new students coming to the high school from the middle school or the west school. Its just new students to our county. Also on July 26 & 27, grades 10, 11, & 12 can pick up their schedules between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. but they will still need to attend on that half day of registration," said Cripps.

Randy Jennings, Principal at DeKalb Middle School, said sixth grade orientation will be July 31. "Our sixth grade orientation at the middle school is July 31, which is on Tuesday night. We will be doing a call home to the students to let them know which students are to come at what time. We have two different groups who come. Seventh and eighth graders will register on August 2," he said.

Clay Farler, Attendance Supervisor, said parents may still enroll their children in pre-kindergarten."We had our pre-k registration on Monday. We had fewer to initially register this year than we had in the past so at the moment it looks like we still may have some openings. Several people came in today to register so if you would like to come by my office and pick up your registration papers, you're encouraged to do that, especially those of you who live in the west school area. We were lower there (on numbers) than we have been in recent years. Hopefully other people who were not able to come Monday will be able to come and register their students," he said.

Dee Anna Reynolds of the Coordinated School Health Program, reminded parents to make sure their children have all immunizations up to date. "I want to remind parents that there is still time to get their children's immunizations current and up to date and let them know that we will be at the middle school August 2 during registration to check on immunizations. If those are not current those students will not be allowed to come into school until those are updated. The two main shots that we will be looking for are the Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster ("Tdap") and then there's a second dose of Varivax which is chicken pox or the parent can show proof that the child has had chicken pox if they do not have that second dose. We're also working with Mr. Farler with the pre-k registration now and checking those immunizations as well. For students who were in sixth grade last year and going into the seventh grade this year, letters were sent home for the first time prior to spring break hoping that would give parents that week while the children were off on spring break to get those (immunizations). Nurses went back and checked those again and a second letter was sent home the week before school was out so that they would have the summer to work on getting those immunizations current and up to date. There is still time now, if they have not had time to get those (immunizations) taken care of. There is still time to do that even with their private physician, medical doctor, or health department. We're also going forward with the back pack program again this year. We hope that we'll be able to feed kids every weekend as long as supplies and volunteers last. If anybody is interested in helping us with that give us a call with the coordinated school health program," said Reynolds.

Stephanie Dyer, School Nutrition Supervisor, reminded parents about making application for the free and reduced price lunch program "I want to remind all the parents that the free and reduced applications will be available in the students' packets and if they are not there, then you can get them in the teacher's classrooms or in the office. Please fill it out correctly. The instructions will be available on our website under lunch menu. That is the DeKalb County School website. Make sure you sign and put the last four digits of the parent's social security number on the back. Also make sure you check the NO income box, just in case. We're looking forward to Education Celebration and I want to tell all the parents to please come out to have some watermelon with us," said Dyer.

Meanwhile, Julie Vincent, Principal at Smithville Elementary School, reported that preparations are being made for the start of school there. "Things are really shaping up at Smithville Elementary School. The custodians are working super hard at getting the floors stripped and waxed. There's been a lot of painting that's gone on. I'd like to thank Mr (Randy) Jennings for loaning us one of his custodians to come over and help us get the floors done correctly. There's lots of good positive changes and I've had lots of great comments from teachers that have come in the classrooms already to work and move furniture. They just seem real excited. Its been real positive so far. Things will be all set to go come August 2 for registration and August 6 for the first full day," she said.

Director Willoughby also presented his monthly report on personnel to the board.

Those employed since the last meeting are as follows:
Nicole Reese, teacher at DCHS (math)
Brittany Allen-teacher at DCHS
Marilyn Roberts-teacher at DCHS
Ashlee Thomason- teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Heather Shehane-teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Megan Pack-teacher at Northside Elementary School
Jalene Vanatta-teacher at DeKalb West School
Julie Styler-special education teacher at Northside Elementary School

Amee Cantrell- transferred to a special education teaching position at DCHS
Amanda Mullinax-transferred from teacher position to librarian at DeKalb West School
Lindsey Holmes- transferred from teacher position at DeKalb West School to Smithville Elementary School
Sue Close- transferred from substitute teacher to English as a Second Language (ESL) assistant at Northside Elementary School
Mandi Dakas- transferred from teacher position to Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School
Beth Pafford- transferred from teacher position to Assistant Principal at Northside Elementary School
Lorie Isabell-transferred to Smithville Elementary School as special education teacher
Betsye Walker- transferred to part-time Northside Elementary School special education teacher position
Lisa Peterson- transferred from Educational Assistant Job Coach position to teacher at DeKalb West School
Melinda Lattimore- transferred from Smithville Elementary to Northside Elementary School
Teresa Sullivan- transferred from DeKalb Middle School/DCHS to Smithville Elementary School
Paulette McDonald-transferred from DeKalb Middle School to DCHS

Anna Johnson, teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Shawn Baker, teacher at DeKalb West School
Cheryl Vance, teacher at Northside Elementary School

City Recognizes Pool Lifeguards

July 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
Pool Lifeguards

The Smithville Mayor and Alderman Monday night paid tribute to lifeguards at the Municipal Swimming Pool for their work in helping keep the pool and its patrons safe this summer.

Tony Poss, operator of the pool and golf course, said the lifeguards did an outstanding job and he thanked them and city officials for their support of the lifeguards this year.

Certificates of appreciation on behalf of the city were presented by Mayor Jimmy Poss to each lifeguard. Some were absent due to other commitments. This year's lifeguards are Conner Apple, Jason Judkins, Lucas Phillips, Travon Johnson, Zach Taylor, Zack Vincent, Spencer Stanfield, Kevin Kijanski, Grace Webb, Ethan Roller, Dylan Young, Cole Parsley, Chase Cantrell, McKenzie Poteete, Johnna Roller, Camry White, Jake Odom, Mallory Sullivan, and Alex Hall.

Mayor Poss singled out White for pulling a child to safety this summer at the pool. Tony Poss also praised Judkins, Phillips, and Apple for helping save the lives of two people while on vacation in Florida, pulling them from ocean waters.

In other business, Edward Frazier of Cill Street came before the mayor and aldermen asking for enforcement of city ordinances to keep animals from running at large. Frazier said dogs running loose in his neighborhood are creating a nuisance. The city has ordinances requiring pet owners to keep animals from running free. Alderman Shawn Jacobs mentioned that the city has two animal control officers and suggested that Frazier or anyone with a problem such as this may call central dispatch at 215-3000 to have an officer address the problem. If they still don't get any satisfaction, they may further report it to the mayor and aldermen.

Todd Van Dyne, member of the DCHS Quarterback Club, addressed the mayor and aldermen asking that the city appropriate either $150 or $500 to purchase a banner in support of the local football program. The banner would be displayed during local games. Mayor Poss said city officials would discuss it and get back to him.

Alderman Danny Washer asked that the media be contacted to notify the public in the event of early garbage pickup. In recent weeks because of the hot weather, garbage pickup has started as early as 6:00 a.m. Public Works Director Kevin Robinson later told WJLE that the city will continue picking up garbage as early as 6:00 a.m. for now, until the end of the extremely hot weather season.

Mayor Poss also commended Alderman Sanitation Commissioner Jason Murphy for his volunteerism, taking part of a day recently to ride the garbage truck helping the sanitation workers.

Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson also gave a brief financial report. "On our local sales tax for the year, from January til June, we collected $426,502. Compared to 2011 for the first six months, we collected $418,640 so we're up about $8,000. Its not a whole lot of difference but I'd rather it be up than down," said Hendrixson

"Our basic checking accounts, we have several but in our operations account, we have a general checking account which pays for police, fire, and finance and administration. Sanitation also comes out of that even though its in a separate account. At the end of June we had right at $3.4 million, compared to 2011 which was right at $3.4 million so we're basically the same as we were at this time last year," said Hendrixson.

"Our water and sewer operations or maintenance account can only be spent on water and sewer and nothing else. Last year at this time we were at $1.58 million. This year we're at $1.9 million. We're up about $331,000. Keep in mind we've completely paid for the water plant renovation which was around $2.7 million. Its complete and there is no debt on that. We have no debt at all in the water and sewer," he said.

"The City of Smithville has several cd's. In the general account we have two cd's that total $500,000. In water and sewer we have six cd's which equal $600,000. We have two other cd's, which also fall under water and sewer. Our grinder pumps. We have several sewer customers. We allocate their money. They don't actually have a sewer system. They use grinder pumps. We have $40,000 in one and $20,000 in another for $60,000. That's a total of cd's at $1,160,000. So our total cash on hand at the end of June to the City of Smithville was $6,475,000. Obviously, that's not just money that's setting there. Its constantly being used for our day to day operations," said Hendrixson.

"We have a couple of debt obligations at the moment. Our ladder truck that we have purchased. We paid $250,000 down in our last budget. That leaves around $496,000 left on that. In this budget we've been approved for an airport paving grant, which will pave the runway and the apron. It's a $1.5 million grant and the city is obligated to pay 10% of that which is around $150,000. To pay $150,000 to get $1.5 million is a pretty good deal," he said.

"We've got four police vehicles that we leased two years ago. We have a payment of $26,000 left on this budget and one more equivalent in the next budget," said Hendrixson

"That's just to give you a broad overview where the city finances are. The city is in pretty good, sound financial shape and has been for several years even way before I got here. I inherited a pretty good operation. The citizens should be thankful for that," he said.

(Pictured above left to right: Jake Odom, Connor Apple, Spencer Stanfield, Kevin Kijanski, Zack Vincent, Cole Parsley, Ethan Roller, Zach Taylor, Dylan Young, Travon Johnson, Alex Hall, Jason Judkins, Lucas Phillips, Chase Cantrell

Bottom roll McKenzie Poteete, Grace Webb, Mallory Sullivan, Johnna Roller, Camry White, Frankie Rice)


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