Local News Articles

The “Just Say No To Drugs” Party a Success

November 12, 2008
Participants at JUST SAY NO party
Participants at JUST SAY NO event

The DeKalb County Children’s Service Council, Sheriff Patrick Ray and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Old El Paso Taco Company, and Smithville Wal-Mart had their “Just Say No To Drugs” party for the Students of the DeKalb County High School. The Students enjoyed tacos, chips, brownies, and cokes. Students had the opportunity to view videos about the different types of drugs and the effects that drugs have on their lives. Students also experience how alcohol can impair people’s vision by wearing “Fatal Vision Goggles” which mimics the effects that alcohol has on people’s vision.

This year’s sponsors were: Dr. Pepper Bottling Company, Frito-Lay, Bumpers, El Rancho Restaurant, DeKalb County Board of Education, Smithville Review, Middle Tennessee Times, W.J.L.E., DeKalb County Official’s: Trustee Sean Driver, Road Supervisor Kenny Edge, Judge Bratten Cook, County Court Clerk Mike Clayborn, Prichard’s Grocery, Amvet’s, Smithville Kiwanis Club, Old Fashioned Freewill Baptist Church at Blue Springs, and all of the many volunteers.

Donations are still being accepted for future projects for the children of DeKalb County. You may contact Clata Redmon at 597-7991 or Merril Harris at 536-5287.

State Representative-Elect Terri Lynn Weaver to Speak at Chamber Prayer Breakfast

November 12, 2008
Suzanne Williams

There’s no better way to begin the holiday season than attending the Chamber Prayer Breakfast. This special event will be held on Tuesday, November 25th at 7 AM at the Smithville Church of God Fellowship Center. State Representative-elect, Terri Lynn Weaver, will be our keynote speaker. Special music will be performed by Tomomi McDowell, Representative Weaver, and First Baptist Church’s signing group “Signs of Love.” Prayers for our community, our leaders, and our children will make this a meaningful and memorable experience. A delicious breakfast will be catered by Jason Evans, head chef at The Inn at Evins Mill. Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the Chamber office or from the Chamber Board of Directors. The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2009 will serve the beverages. Doors open at 6:30 AM.

The Christmas season is nearly upon us which means it’s almost time to celebrate Christmas on the Square! This wonderful holiday event will be celebrated on Thursday, December 4th from 5 PM to 8 PM on the Smithville Public Square. Activities include the Courthouse Open House, Children’s Train & Inflatables (if weather permits), wonderful music, great downtown shopping, a special program at the Justin-Potter Library, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Clause, delicious food & hot chocolate. The night of special music includes Thea Tippin and will be held inside the newly renovated building on the north side of the square next door to the Chamber office. If you or your group would like to perform, call the Chamber office at 597-4163 ASAP. Beginning at 6 PM, the Justin-Potter Library will present “A Magical Christmas” with a performance by magician Bruce Amato & his “Holiday Magic” show and a special visit from Santa. Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Clause are by Double J Photography from 5 PM to 7 PM in the yellow building next door to the Chamber.

The Chamber is in great need of generous supporters to help fund this non-profit event. We invite businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals to be a part of the holiday extravaganza by participating or becoming a sponsor for this well-attended festival. If you would like to make a donation toward the expense of the flyers, postage, signs, advertisements, mail-outs, decorations, and other costs, our county and the visitors of this heart-warming celebration would definitely be the benefactors. This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in our community in a positive way and to enjoy the true blessings of the Christmas season. We sincerely hope that you will be a part of this heartwarming experience –Christmas on the Square! For more information, call the Chamber office at 597-4163.

The Chamber Milestone Award was recently presented to New Frontiers celebrating 20 years of service in DeKalb County. According to owners Larry and Lori Nellist, "New Frontiers ministers to people throughout the world teaching them to think metaphorically, to live intentionally and to seek the emergent truths that God speaks to them." New Frontiers is located at 3939 Old Snow Hill Road in Dowelltown. You can visit their website at www.newfrontiers.org.
The Chamber presented a Community Improvement Award to Ronnie & Ruth Hobbs, 814 So. College Street, Smithville. Home improvements include a new fence, shutters, and storm doors as well as a beautifully manicured lawn and cleaned fence rows. If you would like to nominate a residence or business for a Community Improvement Award, call the Chamber for a nomination form.

Congratulations and many thanks to Bro. Glenn Burks and the First Assembly of God Church for allowing the Chamber to participate in their groundbreaking ceremony for their new building.

Chamber Administrative Assistant, Lou Ann Sanders, and I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and to express how grateful we are to all our Chamber members – the volunteers, businesses, organizations, county and city officials, community leaders, and churches that help us in our collective goals to continue positive growth and improvement to our beautiful county.

Upcoming Events:
• WJLE Chamber Radio Program - 1st Wednesday of every month at 8:30 AM
• Tuesday, November 25th – Chamber Prayer Breakfast, 7 AM, Smithville Church of God annex, 801 West Broad Street, Smithville – Guest Speaker: State Representative-elect, Terri Lynn Weaver & Special Entertainment by First Baptist’s “Signs of Love”
• November 28th, 29th, 30th - Appalachian Center for Craft Annual Holiday Festival – Craft Demonstrations, Exhibitions, Live Music, Shopping in the Gallery, & great food at the Walkway Café – For more info, stop by the Chamber or visit their website at www.tntech.edu/craftcenter
• December 4th – Chamber “Christmas on the Square” & Courthouse Open House” Downtown Smithville
• December 6th – Smithville Christmas Parade – 1 PM -- To participate, contact John Poss at 597-1135.
• December 7th - Liberty Parade – 2 PM
• December 13th - Alexandria Parade – 2 PM

Please let us know about your local events. Please call or e-mail your event information at dekalbtn@dtccom.net or bring flyers by the Chamber for us to help distribute.

Join our efforts in working together to promote our great county and its businesses. For a Chamber membership application, community improvement nomination form, to serve on a committee, or to give us your ideas and comments, call the Chamber at 597-4163 or visit us at 301 North Public Square, Smithville under the green / white striped awning.

Veterans Day Celebrated in DeKalb County

November 12, 2008
Dwayne Page
Major Jerry Parker
Scene from Veterans Day Parade
 Community Chorus Performs at Veterans Day Program

Patriotism was on display Tuesday in DeKalb County as the community recognized Veterans Day with a parade and a special remembrance program.

Following the singing of the National Anthem by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and a program of patriotic songs by the Community Chorus, guest speaker Major Jerry Parker paid tribute to veterans, past and present, who served our nation and particularly those from DeKalb County. "Military veterans have fought and defeated all of those who would do us harm. America's veterans taught our enemies that harming America brings with it a very high price."

"The freedoms we enjoy today and our way of life are the direct result of the service of our veterans. The blood of veterans runs very deep in DeKalb County. This great county has an Historic legacy of it's citizens answering the call to serve in the armed forces during times of peril. That legacy began in the Revolutionary War and continues today in the War on Terror."

"The Apostle Matthew quotes the Lord saying, ‘you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars for nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom'. If there will be more wars, there'll be more veterans and more DeKalb Countians will be added to the honor roll of veterans."

"Today, we honor those who served our nation at war. To the veterans still with us, we look you in the eye and say thank you, and we salute you for your service to our country. For those veterans who lived a full life and died in old age, we bury them with all the respect and full military honors they so richly deserve. Then there are other veterans that we honor today, who gave their lives in battle. Most of them were in their late teens or early twenties. Some of them were married but they never saw their children grow up and they never played with their grandchildren. They never lived to experience all the joys and troubles of life."

"Veterans Day is a day for all Americans. It's a day to remember our veterans and what they fought for. It's also a day when we renew our commitment to them to make sure that America's freedoms continue for future generations. Let us honor all of them by living the freedoms they protected. Thank you for honoring our veterans today."

Major Parker, who was born and raised in Chattanooga, graduated from UT Chattanooga and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, assigned to the 4th Infantry Division. He served a year in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious service in combat. He later entered the active Army Reserve for six years and served as a Company Commander and as a Brigade staff officer with the rank of Major. He is also a retired Vice President of American General Life and Accident Insurance Company.

Prior to his remarks, Major Parker presented certificates to Edward and Edsel Frazier for their service during World War II. The certificates, issued by the U.S. Naval Institute, recognize the Frazier's for their participation at the Battle of the Bulge in the European Theater and for their contributions to that victory.

Tiger Quarterback Hunter Poteete Among Nominees for Mr. Football Awards

November 12, 2008
Dwayne Page
Hunter Poteete

DeKalb County High School Quarterback Hunter Poteete is among three Class 3-A Back finalists named Tuesday for the 2008 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Award.

A lineman and a back will be presented with a Mr. Football trophy for five classes in Division I and two classes in Division II. There will also be one kicker of the year.

The winners will be announced Dec. 1 at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro.

The names of the finalists were published in the Wednesday, November 12th edition of the Tennessean.

Poteete has thrown for 2,572 yards and 34 touchdowns, this season, while adding 842 rushing yards and nine more touchdowns. Poteete was the passing leader in Region 4-3A, and the third leading rusher. His passing totals are the most for any quarterback in DCHS football history, and the junior also holds the career passing mark for the program.

>> 1A: Brent Ford, Trousdale Co.; Preston Gilbreath, Mt. Pleasant; Tyler Richardson, Grace Chr.

>> 2A: Michael Baker, Westmoreland; Tyler Robinson, Alcoa; Mason Sharp, Lewis Co.

>> 3A: Blaine Boone, White House; Daniel Hood, Knox Catholic; Evan Webb, David Lipscomb

>> 4A: Romario Cathey, Maplewood; Kevin Revis, Rhea Co.; Justin Smith, Maryville

>> 5A: Will Jackson, Farragut; Tim McAdoo, Oakland; Jacques Smith, Ooltewah

>> DII-A: Blair Arrington, Davidson Acad,; Don Gant, First Assembly; Will Rikard, Harding Acad.

>> DII-AA: Wesley Johnson, MBA; Austin Long, Briarcrest; Thad McHaney, Brentwood Acad.

>> 1A: David Jones, South Pittsburg; James King, Manassas; Colton Speed, Union City

>> 2A: Kane Crowell, Lewis Co.; Ben Cunningham, Goodpasture; Jake Overbey, USJ

>> 3A: Demario Carter, Sheffield; Hunter Poteete, DeKalb Co.; Zach Rogers, David Lipscomb

>> 4A: Will Gilchrist, Hardin Co.; Eric Gordon, Hillsboro; Marsalis Teague, Henry Co.

>> 5A: Tausean Holmes, Millington; Graham Nichols, Franklin; Chaz Scales, Centennial

>> DII-A: Marlon Brown, Harding Acad.; Ryan Dubois, SBEC; Justin Williams, Davidson Acad.

>> DII-AA: Barry Brunetti, MUS; Tavarres Jefferson, Ensworth; Spencer Wise, MBA

>> Josh Davis, Rhea Co.; Danny Kim, Camden; Jared White, Trousdale Co.

2008 Report Card Reveals School System Meeting Necessary NCLB Benchmarks

November 10, 2008
Dwayne Page

The 2008 Report Card on the DeKalb County School System from the Tennessee Department of Education reveals that it is in "Good Standing" for No Child Left Behind AYP (Average Yearly Progress) status as every school in the system met the necessary benchmarks in all demographic subject areas as well as the additional indicators.

Dr. Carol Hendrix, Supervisor of Instruction for Grades 7-12., in a prepared statement, says "The 2008 Report Card reflects strong overall gains in student academic achievement. The DeKalb County School System is moving in the right path giving students the tools they need to succeed."

"There are a number of reasons that the system is improving year after year: Strong emphasis placed on quality instruction. Through federal programs, teachers are provided professional development helping teachers polish their skills."

"There is a continuous use of student data as a tool to track student progress and determine when focus is needed in particular areas. Teachers are able to identify when help is needed and put interventions in place."

"Each school is providing time for teachers to collaborate and share best practices as well as discuss specific needs of students and deficits in teaching and the curriculum."

"Through differentiated instruction, teachers are tailoring instruction to meet a variety of learning styles and level of understanding."

"Each school has developed a school improvement plan identifying areas of need and developed strategic plans to meet these needs."

"Development of strong parental involvement through various parent groups and programs."

"Quality after school and summer programs are in place to provide tutoring and enrichment activities to enhance student performance."

K-8 Non-Academic Indicators:
The school system average attendance for K-8 for 2008 was 94.1%, which is above the state goal of 93%

The promotion rate for 2008 was 98.8%, again above the state goal of 97%

9-12th grade Non-Academic Indicators:
The attendance rate for grades 9-12 was 93.3%, slightly higher compared to the state's attendance average of 93%

The graduation rate for DeKalb County High School is 83.4%, above the benchmark goal of 75% for the DeKalb County School System and above the state graduation rate which is 82.2%

The event dropout rate is 2.9%, significantly below the state goal of 5%.

K-8 Academic Indicators Math and Reading/Language:

Math 2008 Target 86%

DeKalb County exceeded the math target of 86% by 6% with a proficient and advanced average of 94%, which is 4% higher than 2007 and 3% higher than the state average.

Reading/Language 2008 Target 89%

DeKalb County exceeded the reading/language target of 89% by 4% with a proficient and advanced average of 93%, which is 3% higher than 2007 and 1% higher than the state average.

The most significant gains were realized in specific demographic groups with double digit gains in both math and reading/language

In math, students with disabilities gained 26% from 2007. Reading/Language revealed four demographic groups with double digit gains including Students with disabilities 15% gain, Hispanic 17% gain, African American 10%, and Limited English Proficient 12%.

9-12 Academic Indicator Math and Reading Language

No child Left Behind requires a separation of student achievement data by content area (Math and Reading/Language plus Writing) which identifies proficient and advanced percentages for grades 9-12. DeKalb County met AYP as well as increasing the advanced categories in both math and Reading Language.

Students with disabilities increased math proficient/advanced scores to 83% in 2008 from 68% in 2007.

Student Academic Achievement results for grades 3 to 8, show that the DeKalb County School System outperformed the state in all subject areas and made continuous gains from 2006 to 2008.

For 2008, DeKalb County earned an "A" in both Math and Reading/Language and Science and a "B" in Social Studies.

Actual 2008 scores were as follows: 61 in math, up from 59 in 2007; 58 in Reading/Language, up from 57 in 2007; 57 in Social Studies, up from 56 in 2007; and 61 in Science, up from 58 in 2007.

The DeKalb County School System outperformed the state in both 5th and 8th grade Writing Assessment for three years in a row while maintaining an A average each year.

For 2008, DeKalb County earned an "A" in 5th and 8th grade writing, the same as 2007 with scores of 4.3 in each category

DeKalb County High School improved on average ACT scores from 2007 to 2008 but fell slightly behind the state three year average.

The ACT results in grades 9-12 for 2008 (individual year) show that the composite score was 19.8, up from 19.3 last year; 20 in English, up from 19.3 in 2007, 18.2 in Math, up from 17.9 last year, 20.5 in Reading, up from 20.2; and 19.9 in Science/Reasoning, up from 19.5 last year. The 2008 state three year averages are 20.7 composite, 20.8 in English, 19.8 in Math, 21.1 in Reading, and 20.3 in Science/Reasoning.

DeKalb County High School received a 4.1 in writing assessment which was an A average in 2008, slightly below the state average.

The DeKalb County School System made great gains in value added on the grades (3-8) 2008 report card over the past three years. Value Added measures student progress within a grade and subject, and demonstrates the influence of in-school factors on student's achievement. Value added measures the impact the teacher and school have on student improvement/ability levels.

DeKalb County earned a B in math, up from a C last year, and an A in Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science, the same grade as last year.

Math has an A average in grades 5th, 7th, and 8th
Reading/Language has an A average in grades 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th
Social Studies has an A average in grades 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th
Science has an A average in grades 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th.

The state set a predicted score of the high school Gateway and End of Course test which compare the school progress with the progress of students across the state. DeKalb County High School was at the state average or above average in all subject areas.

Math Algebra I: NDD (Not detectably different)
Science Biology: Above Average
English II: NDD
Math Foundations: NDD
English I: Above Average
Physical Science: Above Average
US History: NDD

Highlights of the 2008 report card on DeKalb Middle School are as follows:

The school met the No Child Left Behind Average Yearly Progress for 2008
In Math, all students scored above 2007 levels
In Reading/Language, all students scored above 2007 levels
All Achievement Scores were above last year's average
Highest Writing Assessment Scores in the county and were above the state average
In Value Added, Math students had an A average in 7th and 8th grade
In Reading/Language, students scored an A average in 6th and 8th grade
In Social Studies, students earned an A average in 7th and 8th grade
In Algebra I, 8th grade students scored above the state average
100% of the teachers were deemed highly qualified and the school had a 94.8% attendance rate

The report card on DeKalb West School reveals the following;

The school met the No Child Left Behind Average Yearly Progress for 2008
In Math, all students scored above the 2007 level
In Reading/Language, all students scored above the 2007 level
Students overall earn A's in both Academic Growth and Value Added in Math, Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science
All subject were above the state averages
Students earned an A in both 5th and 8th grade in Writing Scores
In Value Added, students had A's in 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th grade Math
Students earned an A in 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th grade Reading/Language
Students in 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th grade Social Studies scored A's
Science students scored A's in the 4th and 5th grade
100% of teachers were deemed highly qualified and the school met the attendance (94.8%) and promotion rates and were above the state averages.

Highlights of the report for Northside Elementary School are as follows:

The school met the No Child Left Behind Average Yearly Progress for 2008
In Math, all students scored above 2007 levels
All students in Reading/Language were above 2007 levels
Students in Math and Reading Language scored above state averages
All Achievement Scores were above last year's averages
Students earned an A average in the Writing Assessment Score exceeding the state average
In Value Added, students earned an A average in 5th grade Math.
In Reading/Language, students earned an A average in 4th and 5th grade
Social Studies students scored an A average in 5th grade
Science students earned an A average in 4th and 5th grade
100% of the teachers were deemed highly qualified and the school had the highest attendance rate in the county at 95.7%

The report card on DeKalb County High School reveals the following:

The school met the No Child Left Behind Average Yearly Progress for 2008
In Math, students scored the same as 2007, but exceeded the state average
Students earned an A in Writing Assessment for the year 2008
The ACT score was above the 2007 levels in composite, English, Math, Reading, Science/Reasoning.
Academic Growth was all average or above the state average
The graduation rate was 83.4% meeting the benchmark set for DeKalb County and exceeding the state graduation rate average 82.2%.

Based on the Average Daily Attendance in the DeKalb County Schools for 2008, the per pupil expenditure was $7,093, which is below the state average of $8,345.

Local funding is at 21% of the total system budget which is approximately one half of the 41.3% spent by the average school system in Tennessee.

Dr. Hendrix says "The DeKalb County School System is providing an education for all children while narrowing the gap that once existed between different demographic groups, providing students with the necessary tools to be successful. We are not exactly where we want to be, but we are certainly making progress in the right direction."

"The DeKalb County School System with the School Board, Director of Schools, Central Office Administration and staff, Principals, Teachers and all other personnel including cafeteria staff, custodial staff, educational assistants, secretaries/bookkeepers and bus drivers are meeting the challenge in providing quality service for the most valuable asset this county has, our children."

Smithville Man Charged with Making Harassing Telephone Calls to African-American Families

November 10, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a Smithville man with making harassing telephone calls to two African-American families in Alexandria.

58 year old Clessie George Jones also known as Bobby Jones of Fall Creek Drive, Smithville was charged Wednesday with four counts of telephone harassment.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says through an investigation, detectives found that Jones had called two African American families in Alexandria and had made threatening racial slurs to the callers. Jones was brought in for questioning by Sheriff's Detectives and he admitted to the offenses. Jones' bond was set at $4,000 and he will appear in court on November 20th.

Meanwhile, in other cases, deputies responded to Eckels Heights in Liberty to a domestic violence call on Monday, November 3rd.

Sheriff Ray says through an investigation by officers on the scene, 22 year old Shauna Faye Stringer of Alexandria Highway, Brush Creek was found to be intoxicated. Officers also learned that she had made up the allegation of domestic violence. Stringer was charged with public intoxication and her bond was set at $1,000. She will appear in court on November 20th.

22 year old Andrew Tyler Hall of East Main Street, Smithville was charged Tuesday, November 4th with driving under the influence after he was stopped for a traffic offense on Highway 56 South. Hall submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. He also refused a blood alcohol test. Hall's bond was set at $1,500 on the DUI and he was issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. Hall will appear in court on December 4th.

York Settling into his Role as District Attorney General

November 10, 2008
Dwayne Page
District Attorney General Randy York

District Attorney General Randy York is settling into his new job.

Governor Phil Bredesen, in September, appointed the Crossville attorney, as the District Attorney General in the 13th Judicial District. The vacancy was created by the resignation of William E. Gibson, which became effective in July. The 13th Judicial District is composed of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam and White Counties.

York says he has completed the reorganization of the staff including the addition of Mark Tribble, who is working as an Assistant D.A. in DeKalb County replacing Bill Locke who has joined the D.A.'s staff in Warren County. "We're pretty much settled on everyone that we have so any changes that I was going to make, I've already made those. We've got a really good, competent staff and I look forward to working with them. Bill Locke is an excellent prosecutor. He is from McMinnville and he was driving from McMinnville to Cookeville everyday. And there was a prosecutor that was in McMinnville that's from Cookeville who was driving from Cookeville to McMinnville everyday. So we basically just swapped those around. That way Bill can stay home and work in his home county in Warren County and Mark Tribble who is from Cookeville has assumed the duties in DeKalb County and also in White County."

According to York, longtime assistant D.A. Ben Fann will be retiring next month and he will be replaced by Bob Ramsey. "Ben will be leaving effective December 31st. He's been a great prosecutor for many years. He's retiring and we wish him the best. We'll all miss him. There's also a young prosecutor that was here in our office that did work in DeKalb County occasionally, Mr. Mark Gore. He has decided that he wanted to go into private practice and he has done that here in Cookeville. I brought two people with me that I practiced law with in Crossville, Bob Ramsey, who has a DeKalb County connection. Both of his children live in DeKalb County and so he will be working with Mark Tribble when he comes on the staff. Ramsey will fill Ben Fann's slot, starting on January 1st. In the meantime, Allison Watson, who I've worked with for 16 years will be working as well."

York says while he will be an active D.A., he will not micro-manage each case. He also hopes that the public will view him as a fair and reasonable district attorney general. "I hope I can describe myself as being fair. Someone who is reasonable. I think you have to look at each case individually and people who violate the law need to go to jail. Lots of the times, the biggest justice is to make sure that you don't indict somebody. Sometimes there's just false accusations. The power of the prosecutor and the power to indict is an awesome power and It's humbling. It's something that should be guarded and protected. But the people that need to go to jail, that's where I want to put them. I'd like to be hands on as a prosecutor, but I don't want to micro-manage each and every case. I certainly want to be involved and know what's going on in all of the counties but I don't pretend to try to manage each and every case that occurs."

One of the problems York found when he took office was a huge backlog of paper records that had never been properly filed away. York says a lot of progress has been made addressing that problem. "We're making an active attempt now to make sure that all the records are properly filed and properly kept and those records that we don't need anymore will be properly shredded. I think that under Tennessee law, we have to make an attempt and we have to be very guarded to make sure that people's social security numbers, dates of birth, criminal histories, and that type of thing are protected. All of that information, as it becomes stale, will be shredded and discarded appropriately."

York says while the position is somewhat different than what he imagined, he is looking forward to serving the district and encourages people to contact his office if they have a concern. "It's been different. It's amazing to see what's happening across the district. You know, being a defense lawyer you only see one side of it. But as a prosecutor, it's interesting to see how the entire process comes together. I'm really looking forward to continuing in this position and if there's a problem or anything like that, if somebody knows something, I would encourage them to contact my office. We really want to try to do the very best job that we can possibly do. So if there's a problem, I want to try to deal with it."

York is married to the former Judy Dodd of Liberty.

Tramel Residence Destroyed by Fire on New Home Road

November 9, 2008
Dwayne Page
House Fire on New Home Road
Firefighter Battles House Fire on New Home Road (Photo by Callie Matthews)

An early Sunday morning fire destroyed the residence of Shelia Tramel at 4296 New Home Road.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says a neighbor spotted the fire and called 911 around 7:13 a.m. Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Keltonburg, Blue Springs and Main Stations responded along with a tanker truck, the Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS.

No one was at home when the fire started.

Chief Green says Tramel had left home around 5:30 a.m. to go to work in Murfreesboro. Three other members of the family who lived there were also away from home when the fire started.

The cause is undetermined, but Chief Green says it appears to have started in the kitchen area.

No one was injured but a cat perished in the fire.

(Bottom photo by Callie Matthews)

Tigers Defeat McMinn Central 28-14 in State Play-Offs

November 7, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers won their first ever State football play-off game with a 28-14 victory over the McMinn Central Chargers at Englewood Friday night.

The Tigers, now 9-2, will advance in the State Play-offs next Friday night to play Whitehouse while McMinn Central's season comes to an end at 9-2.

The Tigers got the ball to start the game but turned it over on an interception, and three plays later, McMinn Central scored on a 30 yard quarterback sweep by Zack Rayle. Jamin Godfrey converted on the P.A.T. and the Chargers led 7-0 with 10:43 left in the first period.

DeKalb County mounted an 80 yard scoring drive on their next possession, aided by a face mask and a pass interception penalty on McMinn Central for a total of 30 yards. On 4th and 8 , Abram Edwards caught a 10 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Hunter Poteete. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and the Tigers tied the game at 7-7 with 3:23 left in the first period.

On the ensuing kick-off, Josh Moss for McMinn Central returned the ball 90 yards for a touchdown. Godfrey converted on the P.A.T. and the Chargers led 14-7 with 3:12 left in the first quarter.

DeKalb County answered on another scoring drive. Matthew Lawrence caught an 8 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Poteete. Zach Taylor converted the P.A.T. and the Tigers tied the game at 14-14 with 1:42 left in the first quarter.

The score at the end of the first period was 14 to 14.

McMinn Central threatened twice in the second period but could not score. The Chargers, on a first and goal at the Tiger two yard line, went three and out. The Chargers attempted a field goal with 5:02 left in the second quarter but Jamin Godfrey's kick was wide left.

After picking off a DeKalb County pass, McMinn Central started a drive at the Tiger 35 yard line. The Chargers drove to the 29 yard line, but on a 4th and 4 play, Quarterback Zack Rayle fumbled the ball and DeKalb County recovered to stop the drive.

The score remained tied 14-14 at half time.

Neither team scored in the third quarter and the game remained tied at 14-14 as the fourth quarter began.

The Tigers took their first lead of the ballgame with 8:38 left in the fourth period on a 20 yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to J.J. Herriott. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and DeKalb County led 21-14.

DeKalb County expanded the lead on a 5 yard touchdown run by Matthew Lawrence with 1:08 left in the game. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and the Tigers led 28-14

The final, DeKalb County wins 28-14.

DeKalb County Trustee Mails Out Property Tax Statements

November 7, 2008
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Trustee Sean Driver

The DeKalb County Trustee's office mailed out the 2008 DeKalb County property tax statements Thursday.

DeKalb County Trustee Sean Driver says tax payers have until February 28th, 2009 to pay their tax bill. "Our tax notices have gone out, as of Thursday, November 6th. We had a time getting them in this year with the state being a little behind but we've got them ready to go. They are due and payable right now through February 28th, 2009. We are ready to go. Our computers are set up and ready to go with everything that involves collecting taxes."

Driver says those who still need to pay their 2007 property tax bill may do so at the Trustee's office in the courthouse. "I still have in the Trustee's Office the 2007 taxes and I will turn those over to the Chancery Court on April 1st, 2009. You can pay all of those taxes if you still need to pay those through that date. Of course, with the 2007 taxes, they are accruing a one and a half percent penalty per month if they're late."

Seniors, be sure to check with the office on the state tax relief program. Income limit for 2008 is $24,790 for single or combined household incomes.

Trustee Driver says Tennessee's tax relief program is a state-funded program that provides a rebate of credit for all or a portion of the property taxes on residential property owned and occupied by low-income elderly, low-income disabled, and disabled veteran homeowners and their surviving spouses. "There are a few changes for the elderly and disabled homeowners. That being the income limit which is set by the state of Tennessee. For DeKalb County, the 2007 combined income limit, whether sole owner or co-owner, is $24,790. That includes social security benefits, any kind of bank interest, retirement and pension, any kind of veteran's benefits, or any kind of income you may have drawn in 2007."

"With elderly homeowners, you must be age 65 or older before December 31st, 2008. The law requires us to provide evidence of that age, whether it be through a driver's license, birth certificate, or marriage license. You must own this property to get tax relief and be under the income limit for eligibility."

"For disabled homeowners, the same stipulations apply as for the elderly homeowners, except for disability, we must have acceptable evidence of disability, that being a current letter dated for 2008 that specifies the type of benefits that you receive. You have to be 100% disabled as deemed by the Social Security Administration or another agency."

"With disabled veterans and widows or widowers, you must be 100% total and permanently disabled. That being through a service connected disability. That'll be deemed by the Veteran's Administration. We have a form to fill out to send to the Veteran's Administration so they can see that you are trying to apply for tax relief. They will then let the state or tax relief program know that you do qualify as being 100% total and permanently disabled."

"For disabled veterans and widows, income is irrelevant. I think that's tremendous since our service people have served our country so well."

" Let me mention something about deadlines. When you receive your tax cards and want to apply for tax relief. If you think you meet the requirements, you can bring in your tax bill. Here's the way tax relief works in our Trustee's office. Let's say your taxes are $200. You will pay that $200 in full and we will send your application to the state to see if you are accepted and meet the requirements. This year our county is offering $91 for tax relief. You will be reimbursed the first time that $91. We'll automatically give you that tax relief year after year, but for the first time you will be reimbursed the amount of tax relief back to your home. But on the first when you pay your tax, we will take in the total amount of tax and then send your application to the state and wait for approval. So anytime between now and April 6th, 2009 you can sign up for tax relief. The state allows 35 days after our last day to collect taxes, which is February 28th, 2009. So April 6th is the last day to sign up for tax relief for 2008"

Eligibility requirements for Elderly Homeowners are as follows:

Must be 65 or older on or before December 31st, 2008
Must provide evidence of age (i.e. driver's license, birth certificate, marriage license)
Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence
Qualified applicants will receive property tax relief on the first $25,000 of their property's market value.
According to the deed of the property, Must have records of the combined 2007 income of all owners of the property not exceeding $24,790. Income (i.e. social security, SSI pension, etc)

Eligibility requirements for Disabled Homeowners are as follows:

Must have been totally and permanently disabled as rated by the Social Security Administration or any other qualified agency on or before December 31st, 2008
Must provide evidence of age (i.e. driver's license, birth certificate, marriage license)
Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence
Must have records of the combined 2007 income of all owners of the property not exceeding $24,790

Eligibility requirements for Disabled Veteran Homeowners and/or widow or widower:

Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence.
Your disability must meet one of the following categories:
A service-connected disability that resulted in (1) Paraplegia, (2) Permanent paralysis of both legs and lower part of the body resulting from traumatic injury or disease to the spinal cord or brain, (3) Loss or loss of use of, two or more limbs, and (4) Legal blindness.

A total and permanent disability rating from a service-connected disability

A 100% total and permanent disability rating from being a prisoner of war.

The Veteran's Administration Office determines eligibility from the applicant's information in the Trustee's Office forwarded to the State of Tennessee.

If you meet these requirements you may apply in the Trustee's Office as soon as you receive your property tax bill. The deadline to apply is 35 days after February 28th, 2009 or April 6th, 2009.

If you have any additional questions concerning the tax relief program, come by the Trustee's office in the courthouse or call 597-5176.


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