Local News Articles

School Board to Conduct Annual Evaluation of Itself and Director

January 3, 2011
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education will conduct an annual performance evaluation of the Director of Schools and a School Board self evaluation on Thursday night, January 6th at the Board of Education Building.

Director Mark Willoughby's current contract with the board is scheduled to expire June 30th, 2011. His
original contract with the board took effect July 1st, 2006. The board must notify Willoughby by March 31st if it intends to extend or renew his employment contract.

The same basic instruments for making the evaluations will be used as in the past. A workshop evaluating the director will begin at 6:00 p.m. followed at 7:00 p.m. by a special called session to conduct the school board self-evaluation.

At the workshop, the school board members will evaluate Director Willoughby on his relationship with the board, community relationships, staff and personnel relationships, educational leadership, business and finance, and strategic planning skills. Board members are to make a check mark on the four page evaluation form in each of 52 areas, if they believe expectations have been met. Spaces are also provided on the form for board members to write comments.

Willoughby's contract states that the evaluation of the Director shall occur no later than January 31 each calendar year during the term of the contract. The board will review the Director's performance, progress toward established goals, and the working relationship between the two parties.

In the self evaluation, each board member must rate the board's performance on a scale from one to six in team building, decision making, governance, school improvement, community, planning, communications, motivation, influence, and policy. A score of "one" is the lowest and a score of "6" is the highest. They must rate themselves on how much is being done now in each of 46 areas and how important those issues are to them.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson has also called for a board workshop on Saturday, February 12th at 8:00 a.m. to set future goals. "In taking into consideration how we evaluate ourselves and our director and what we want to achieve for the next school year in trying to remain a board of distinction, we will have workshop to address our strengths and weaknesses and how we can improve."

With Schools Scheduled to Re-open, THP Urges Motorists to Exercise Caution Near Buses

January 3, 2011
Dwayne Page

With schools set to re-open on Tuesday, January 4th in DeKalb County, the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) reminds motorists of the importance of school bus safety awareness and education.

"Riding the school bus is one of the safest modes of transportation; it's when children get on or off the bus that causes concern," said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. "That is why it is critical for parents, teachers, and school administrators to stress the importance of crossing in view of the school bus driver, and to instruct children on other safety tips that will keep them out of harm's way."

Each day, some 480,000 school buses transport more than 26 million children to and from school and school related activities, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. An average of 19 school-age children die in school transportation-related traffic crashes each year – five occupants of school buses and 14 pedestrians. Most of those killed are children five to seven years old.

The "danger zone" for a school bus is the area 10 feet around the vehicle; the two most dangerous places are the front and the right rear tire area of the bus. Children must take care when boarding or leaving the school bus by following these simple rules:

·Always remain in direct eyesight of the bus driver;

·Be alert to traffic. Check both ways before stepping off the bus;

·Make eye contact with the bus driver, and wait for the bus driver's signal before crossing the street;

·Walk in front of the bus; never walk behind the bus to cross the street;

·Never go under the bus to retrieve something you've dropped;

·Get to the bus stop in plenty of time.

"Educating children on school bus safety is a top priority, but we also want to remind drivers to slow down in school zones and obey the stop arm," said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. "Our troopers work diligently to enforce traffic laws in the school zone, and will penalize those who blatantly disregard laws designed to protect children."

In Tennessee and in every state, drivers must stop when the stop arm is extended and red lights are flashing.

Between August 1, 2010, and September 30, 2010, State Troopers wrote 343 citations to drivers as part of THP's Back to School Enforcement Campaign. A total of 126 of those drivers were ticketed for speeding in a school zone. In 2009, Troopers issued 5,445 citations in school zones across the state. Of those citations, 973 were speeding violations, while one citation was handed out for passing a stopped school bus.

All school bus drivers in Tennessee must attend an annual training course in order to receive and maintain the school bus endorsement on their Driver License. During the 2009-10 academic year, more than 12,000 school bus drivers received training from the THP Pupil Transportation Unit. Additionally, THP also inspected 10,595 buses to ensure they were in compliance with the established safety requirements.

Students Go Back to School Tuesday

January 3, 2011
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County students will be heading back to school Tuesday after taking over two weeks off for the winter break.

The rest of the school calendar is as follows:

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 17th and for President's Day, Monday, February 21st.

Schools will be closed for spring break March 21st-25th and for Good Friday, April 22nd.

Students will not attend on Wednesday, May 25th. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Thursday, May 26. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held Tuesday, March 15th at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, March 17th at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Thursday, January 6th, and Monday, March 14th.

AYP-EOC/Gateway Testing at DCHS will be May 3rd-5th at DCHS and a make-up AYP-EOC/Gateway Test will be May 6th.

ACT Test for the 11th grade will be Tuesday, March 8th

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 1st. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 2nd..

TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 13th-20th

(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Monday, January 3rd, and Friday, March 18th. Students will not attend on those days.

Teenager Airlifted After Thursday night Traffic Accident

December 30, 2010
Dwayne Page
Passenger of Kia Spectra Injured in Traffic Accident
Driver of Chevy Trailblazer Escapes Injury in Crash

A 16 year old girl was airlifted Thursday night after being involved in a two vehicle traffic accident on South Congress Boulevard in front of Jewel's Market.

Laura Ann Sullivan was airlifted from the scene by a Life Flight helicopter ambulance and apparently flown to Vanderbilt Hospital.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:25 p.m.

Corporal Travis Bryant of the Smithville Police Department said Sullivan was a passenger of a 2009 Kia Spectra driven by 20 year old Andrea Ottinger. 16 year old Austin Wilmore was also a passenger.

According to witnesses, Ottinger was south on Highway 56 when she turned left attempting to enter the parking lot of Jewel's Market. As she turned, Ottinger's car crossed into the path of a northbound 2005 Chevy Trailblazer SUV, driven by 57 year old Edith Ella Lasser.

Neither Ottinger, Wilmore, or Lasser were seriously injured and apparently did not have to be transported to the hospital.

In addition to Smithville Police, members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb EMS, and local tow truck services were all on the scene.

Shelton Arrested on Drug and Theft Charges

December 30, 2010
Dwayne Page
 Jeremy Silas Shelton
Dorian Soza Hernandez
Claude Patrick Trimble

Smithville Police arrested a 21 year old man on Tuesday, December 28th on drug and theft charges after checking out a shoplifting complaint at Save A Lot.

Chief Randy Caplinger said Jeremy Silas Shelton of Jacobs Pillar Road was taken into custody by Officer David Phillips and charged with sale and delivery of a controlled substance and theft of merchandise. Officer Phillips responded to Save A Lot to investigate a shoplifting complaint. Upon arrival he found that Shelton had taken two bottles of Ibuprofen, put them in his pocket and attempted to leave the store without paying for them. Upon receiving verbal consent to search his person, police found in Shelton's left jacket pocket two plastic wrappers of a white powdered substance believed to be methamphetamine. Bond for Shelton is $3,500 and his court date is January 27th.

22 year old Brandon Wayne Hutchings of Sparta was cited by Officer Scott Davis on Christmas eve for shoplifting at Dollar General Store. Hutchings was observed by a store employee placing merchandise on his person and walking out the door without paying for the items. His court date is January 6th.

20 year old Dorian Soza Hernandez of McMinnville was arrested on Christmas Day by Officer James Cornelius for simple possession of paraphernalia, resisting arrest and public intoxication. Officer Cornelius responded to 713 West Broad Street where a fight was taking place in the roadway. Upon arrival the officer found both persons in the parking lot of Bridgeway Motel. Hernandez was intoxicated and upon being placed under arrest, he became very belligerent and began resisting, pulling away, and refusing to comply. A search of his person revealed a hypodermic needle in his right front pocket. Bond for Hernandez is $3,500 and his court date is January 20th.

46 year old Claude Patrick Trimble of Tabernacle Road was arrested on Christmas Day by Officer James Cornelius for driving on a suspended license, evading arrest, possession of paraphernalia and DUI. Officer Cornelius was called to check out a vehicle that had run off the roadway. The same vehicle had also been traveling in the oncoming traffic lane on Highway 56 south. The officer saw a vehicle turn onto South Mountain Street from Meadow Brook Drive dragging approximately 20 feet of barbed wire. The automobile matched the description of the vehicle that had run off the roadway on Highway 56 south. As the officer activated his blue lights, the vehicle accelerated and then turned in at the trailer park on South Mountain Street. As the driver stopped and attempted to get out of his vehicle, Officer Cornelius approached the automobile and advised him to stay inside. He then requested backup from other officers. As Officer Cornelius spoke to the driver, Trimble, he noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he had slurred speech. Trimble was asked to step out of the vehicle. He was unsteady on his feet. Sergeant Joey Jones saw Trimble remove a hypodermic needle from his pocket and drop it on the ground. Bond for Trimble is $5,000 and his court date is January 20th.

32 year old Don Eugene Griffith Jr. of Murfreesboro was arrested on Sunday, December 26th by Officer Scott Davis for failure to appear in a Rutherford County court for domestic assault. Officer Davis became aware of the warrant against Griffith after investigating a burglary call on Gentry Avenue.

Meanwhile anyone having information on criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Donors Urged to Give Blood on January 4th

December 30, 2010
Dwayne Page

Winter weather is having a negative impact on the American Red Cross blood program.

Over the last couple of weeks, numerous blood drives were cancelled and those that did remain open experienced low donor turnout.

The winter months are a difficult time for blood collection. Snow and ice can cause blood drive cancellations; donors are more likely to suffer from colds and the flu, making them ineligible to give blood and people are busy with holiday planning and travel and either don't have the time or forget to give blood.

"We face a difficult situation each year because donations typically drop during the holiday season. However, the need for blood is constant," said Sean Armstrong, DeKalb County Blood Program Representative. "The Tennessee Valley Region needs 600 people to present to donate blood each day, no matter what the weather, to meet patient need at our 59 hospitals."

You can help by donating blood at the Smithville Community Blood Drive on Tuesday, January 4th from noon to 6:00 p.m. at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church located at 201 South College Street in Smithville.

All presenting donors receive a specially designed Elvis themed rock & roll T-shirt, while supplies last. Plus, all presenting donors are eligible to enter the "Ultimate Elvis Sweepstakes."

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Thank you for taking an hour out of your day to help save up to three lives.

McCowan Charged with Theft and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

December 28, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 25 year old man with theft and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Chief Randy Caplinger said Joshua Lynn McCowan of Morgan Drive was arrested by Officer David Phillips on Sunday, December 19th. Earlier that day, Sergeant Randy King took a theft report. The victim stated that he had given McCowan a ride to his residence and as McCowan exited the vehicle he took with him a .22 caliber bolt action rifle, belonging to the victim. The man tried to stop McCowan from taking the gun but was unsuccessful. Officers then went to McCowan's residence to interview him. He was asked to step outside with Officer Phillips as Sergeant King spoke with the other occupants. Upon stepping out on the stoop of the residence, Officer Phillips saw McCowan drop a syringe from his hand onto the concrete stoop. Police also recovered the gun. Bond for McCowan was $2,500 and his court date is February 27th.

In another case, 42 year old Kimberly Dawn Foster of McMinnville was issued a citation on Monday, December 20th for simple possession of a schedule III and IV controlled substance. Corporal Travis Bryant received a call of a suspicious vehicle at Mapco Express Upon investigation, Corporal Bryant made contact with Foster. Corporal Bryant confirmed that she was on parole. Foster consented to a search of her property. Found in her purse were schedule III and IV drugs. Her court date is January 6th.

Meanwhile while assisting Corporal Bryant at Mapco, Officer Scott Davis was given permission by the passenger of Foster's vehicle, 31 year old Terra Nadean Rippe of McMinnville to search her property. Found in Ms. Rippe's purse was a schedule III drug. Ms. Rippe was also cited into court on January 6th..

40 year old Terry Lee King Sr. of Bybee Woods Drive was arrested on Monday, December 20th for criminal impersonation. While investigating a suspicious vehicle Corporal Travis Bryant made contact with a man who identified himself as Lee Knowles. He also gave a date of birth. Upon further investigation Corporal Bryant learned that he was actually Terry King and that he attempted to conceal his identity due to an arrest warrant out of Warren County for failure to appear. Bond for King is $1,500 and his court date is January 6th.

Meanwhile anyone having information on any criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrest in Recent Burglary and Theft

December 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Matthew Malachi Lawson
Claude Trimble

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a recent burglary.

27 year old Matthew Malachi Lawson of Haley Road, Smithville is charged with sale of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid), aggravated burglary, and theft of property over $10,000. He is under a $70,000 bond and his court date is January 6th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on December 8th, Lawson allegedly kicked open the back door of a residence on Antioch Road and took several items from the home including two jewelry boxes containing a gold waterfall ring, four leaf clover diamond pin, gold necklace with red, white, and blue charm and several other pieces of jewelry. All items were valued at over $10,000.

Meanwhile on July 7th, Lawson allegedly sold a schedule II drug (dilaudid) to a confidential source during an undercover drug operation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

In another case, 37 year old Christie Michelle Willoughby of South Chancery Street, McMinnville was issued a citation for failure to drive within her lane, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (xanax), violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance) and driving on a suspended license. Her court date is January 6th.

According to Sheriff Ray, Willoughby was stopped for failure to maintain her lane of travel on Highway 146 on Monday, December 20th. As the deputy walked up to the vehicle, Willoughby allegedly tried to swallow a pill and on the floorboard in plain sight, was a xanax (a schedule IV controlled substance). The officer searched Willoughby's purse and found another xanax. A computer check revealed that her drivers license were suspended and she did not have insurance.

46 year old Claude Trimble also known as Hoss Roller is charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. He was also issued a citation for failure to give immediate notice of an accident. He will be in court on January 20th.

Trimble is further charged with failure to appear in general sessions court in a separate case on September 20th. He will appear in court on this charge January 6th.

His bond totals $6,500.

Trimble also faces charges from the Smithville Police Department.

Sheriff Ray said that on Christmas Day, Trimble was involved in a traffic accident on Highway 56 south and left the scene. He was later stopped by Smithville Police. In the accident, Trimble's vehicle struck a fence, tearing down the top strand of barbed wire. When stopped by police, Trimble admitted to hitting the fence and not stopping after the accident

Christmas Eve Fire Leaves Liberty Family Homeless

December 25, 2010
Dwayne Page

A Christmas eve fire left a Liberty family homeless Friday night.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called to the home of Phillip and Natasha Waggoner at 270 Groom Street, Liberty at 9:40 p.m. after a passerby spotted the blaze and reported it to 911.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said the house was already engulfed in flames by the time firefighters were notified and they could not save the home. The family has a sick child in a Nashville hospital so the Waggoners were not at home at the time of the fire.

Neighbors salvaged a few items from the basement but most of the family's belongings were lost in the fire. The cause is undetermined.

Members of the Liberty, Short Mountain Highway, Temperance Hall, Main Station, and Tanker #1 responded along with DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department.

Honorees Named in ACS "Love Lights a Tree" Fundraiser

December 24, 2010
Dwayne Page
Love Lights a Tree Honorees
Support Love Lights a Tree

The DeKalb County Unit of the American Cancer Society seeks your support in the "Love Lights a Tree fundraising campaign." This annual event gives area residents the opportunity to honor a special person during the holiday season and aid in cancer research.

The "Love Lights a Tree" project is designed to raise money not only for research, but includes cancer education and patient services. Donations in honor of and in memory of a special person can be made throughout the holiday season. The persons you honor or remember do not necessarily have to have suffered from cancer.

The names of honorees are as follows:

Kent Smithson, Mike Breeding, Polly Turner, Nadean Turner, Jimmy Taylor, Sandra Wall, Patsy Judkins, Violet Fuson, Margie Smith, Donald Smith, McKinley Jones, Ruth Pirtle, Linda Judkins, Carolyn Sheets, Ralph Curtis, Lisa Anderson, Willie Turner, Radley Hendrixson, David Terrell, Earl D. France, Georgie Willoughby, Macon Hale, Veronica Kay Atnip, and Emma Petty

In memory:

Jack Midgett, Velma Midgett, Frances Scramick, Dick Scramick, Joe Huffman, Judy Huffman, Shane Hawkins, Judy Hawkins, Lonnie Wilkins, Becky Wilkins, Peggy Roller, Rebecca Beason, Carl R. Cathcart, T.C. McMillen, Leonard Gwyn, Howard Stanley, Martha Cathcart, Will Allen Cathcart, William Doyle Thomason, William Paul Thomason, Ewin Sandlin, Sherman Love, James Gantzer, Barbara Page, Charles L. Redmon, Clara Carter, Frances Haley, B. Akin, Mai Akin, John D. Akin,

Buddy Cook, Bob Cook, Jessie Cook, Pam B. Cook, Lucille Cook Harris, Brownie Haley, Arzie Usrey, June Nixon, Len Judkins, Earl Judkins, Marie Judkins, Clyde Randolph, Mary Randolph, Ruth Elder, Jordon Steinbach, Brackett Luna, Nadean Luna, Margaret Freeman, Leonard M. Freeman, Sr., L.M. "Buddy" Freeman, Kevin Sanders, Houston Braswell, Eugene Braswell, Hattie Velma Braswell, Betty Jean Braswell, Courtney Pirtle, Nell Judkins,

Austin Vaughn, Linnie Johnson, Alfred England, Helen England, Paul Johnson, Dr. W.E. Vanatta, Kathy Crouch, Homer Lee Ellis, Green Wall, Maud Wall, Esker Harrison, Eva Harrison, Vada Pauline Herndon, Luther Fuson, Pearl Fuson, Lewis Cobb, Floyce Vaughn, Florene Sanders, Peggy Palmer, Ted Beck, Curtis Adams, Clyde Redmon, Foster Redmon, Tracy Cassidy, Glenn Smith

Lynn Duke, H.C. Duke, Kathy Foster, Gail Cripps, Emily Cripps, J. Van Walls, Jack G. Rhody, Charles L. Johnson, Angel Mahler, Mary L. Collins, Ruby Pinegar, Ewin Vanatta, Eveleen Walls, Donnie Edge, Helen Jones Mayo, Mallow Herndon, Sara Frances Herman, Nina Phillips, Vada Reeder, George Reeder, Bertie Reeder, C.T. Phillips, Sr., Edna Pauline Phillips, Sandra Willoughby, Billy J. France, James Alvie France,

Royce L. Givens, Jr., Dr. Jerry Puckett, Woodrow Frazier, John Larry Frazier, Billie Ann Frazier, Harold Hoover, Stanley E. Wallace, Virgil Smith, Nan Smith, Grady Crook, Eva Crook, Will Allen Crook, John Paul Grubb, Robert Joines, Johnnie Joines, Marvin Hutson, Lular Hutson, Edward Hobson, H.R. Rosson, Jewell Dean Alligood, Doris Janette Chapman, Chester Chapman, Walter Cubbins, Wilma Cubbins

Jim Truitt Hale, Jack Barnes, Dorotha Barnes, Donald Johnson Estes, Billy Estes, Sr., Marshall Estes, Lloyd Redmon, William Michael Murphy, Vera L. Davenport, Vanice King Davenport, Billy Cooper Pruitt, Sr., Bobby Carroll Pruitt, Leonard Nixon, Betty Nixon Vickers.

Love lights are $5.00 each. Forms are available at most banks in DeKalb County. The name of every person honored or remembered will be placed on a display board located on the south lawn of the courthouse through the holiday season.

For more information contact Iva Dell Randolph at 597-5296, Violet Fuson at 597-4483, Linda Luna at 597-5837, Barbara Ashford at 931-417-6563, Melanie Judkins at 597-1132, or Casey Midgett at 597-2089.


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