Local News Articles

Senator Mae Beavers Announces Her Decision to Run for Re-Election to the State Senate

March 11, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

Senator Mae Beavers, surrounded by her Senate colleagues, announced today that she is running for another term for the State Senate seat representing Wilson, Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale counties. The decision came after much deliberation and prayerful consideration. There had been discussion that Senator Beavers could possibly be running for the Wilson County Mayor position; however, at the insistence of many colleagues and a multitude of constituents, Beavers has declared her desire to continue her work in serving the people of the 17th District.

“This decision is based upon my desire to serve the state,” Beavers stated. “I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish in the state legislature in the past eight years, and I’m looking forward to what we can accomplish in the next four years, especially if we have a Republican Governor and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. My work here is not done.”

Senator Beavers has a Bachelor of Science degree from Trevecca Nazarene University. She has worked as a court reporter and paralegal before being elected to the county commission, and more recently worked as a financial advisor. In the Tennessee Legislature she was a leader in the fight to stop the passage of a state income tax. Since being elected to State Senate, she has taken a leadership role, serving the past two sessions as the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Beavers began her public service as a Wilson County Commissioner from 1990-1994 and represented West Wilson County in the Tennessee State House of Representatives from 1994-2002. She was elected to the Tennessee State Senate in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.

DeKalb Jobless Rate for January Increases to 11.7%

March 11, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for January increased to 11.7%, up from 11% in December. The rate for January, 2009 was 11.3%.

The Labor Force for January was 9,620. A total of 8,490 were employed and 1,130 were without work.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for January was 10.7 percent, unchanged from the revised December rate of 10.7 percent. The national unemployment rate for January 2010 was 9.7 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for January 2010 show that the rate increased in all 95 counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 8.3 percent, up from 7.3 in December. Marshall County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 20.3 percent, up from 18.7 in December, followed by Henderson County at 19.9 percent, up from 18.5 percent in December.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 8.6 percent, up from 8.1 in December. Davidson County was 9.6 percent, up from 9.2 in December. Hamilton County was at 10.0 percent, up from 9.2 in December, and Shelby County was 11.4 percent, up from 10.6 in December.

Fire Destroys Trailer Home

March 11, 2010
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Trailer Home on Adcock Cemetery Road

A fire Thursday morning destroyed the trailer home of Shawn Pyles at 563 Adcock Cemetery Road. Pyles was renting the trailer from the owner Billy Tisdale.

Central dispatch received the call at 4:25 a.m.

Pyles and his girlfriend Melissa Genzak awoke to smoke and escaped from their burning home unharmed but three of the family pets perished.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says the fire apparently started in the kitchen area but the exact cause is undetermined, although it appears to have been accidental.

Members of the Midway, Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, Main Station, and Tanker truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department.

Governor Candidate Mike McWherter Makes Campaign Stop in Smithville

March 10, 2010
Dwayne Page
Governor Candidate Mike McWherter with Local Democratic Party Chair Jim Judkins

Mike McWherter, Democratic candidate for Governor, made a campaign stop in Smithville Wednesday.

During a town hall style meeting at the courthouse, McWherter, son of former Governor Ned Ray McWherter, laid out his vision for the state and why he wants to be the next Governor of Tennessee. During the question and answer session, McWherter was asked about his stand on education, roads and bridges, and elected versus appointed school superintendents among other issues.

Following the meeting, local reporters asked McWherter about specific issues. The following are the questions and his responses.

How is the campaign progressing?
"We've been visiting all 95 counties across the state and I've found we have a lot of family friends in all these counties and it's up to our campaign to build a winning organization around that."

Why do you want to be Governor?
"As you look across Tennessee we have seen literally thousands of jobs disappear. Our state unemployment is running right at eleven percent. That's the highest it's been in my working lifetime. I believe Tennessee needs a Governor who will put the retention and creation of jobs front and center on the agenda and that's why I'm running for Governor."

Won't that be a difficult task given the state of the economy?
"Everybody who pays taxes in Tennessee right now has an investment in three big signature industries, Hemlock, Wacker, and Volkswagen that have located in this state and are under construction right now. I think for all of us to get the return on our investment we have in those industries, the next Governor has got to go after the supplying industries for those companies, if it's seatbelts, head lights, or solar parts, we've got to go after those companies and get them to locate here in Tennessee. But to do that we've got to have our infrastructure in place. As a businessman, I well understand what it's going to take to be able to attract those industries and get the return on our investment."

Are Jobs and Roads going to be your top priority?
"In my administration, it'll be about job creation, but I don't ever want to imply that I don't take educational issues very seriously in this state. As a matter of fact, I think the two go hand in hand. One of the main things Industry is looking for is training and development for their work force at all times. You just can't go out and get a job today, a good paying technical job, and not expect to have updated training, so that's got to be a key component in developing jobs in this state as well as infrastructure."

Does the state's tax base need to change to create more revenue?
"If I can get Tennessee back to work and I'll be doing that with the help of the legislature and my cabinet, we will create consumers and consumers will create revenue. It was just three years ago that this state was running at a surplus, of course we had low unemployment in those days, but there was such a surplus that legislators voted for block grants for their districts giving money to various needy organizations. If we can get people back to work we'll have that kind of surplus again. We're making some tough budget decisions this year and as this economy turns around I don't want to see us go on a spending spree. I think once we get some of these cuts under our belt we need to evaluate how we spend any surplus money we will have in the future and make sure we build back our rainy day fund and any excess revenue we have, make sure it's utilized in such a way that it helps build this economy for the future."

Should state government be downsized?
"I don't know that state government has to be downsized dramatically. There are a lot of services that state government provides that are essential services. I believe we've done a pretty good job under Governor Bredesen of controlling the growth of state government and that's something I want to continue doing is to watch every penny and make sure we're getting the maximum bang for our buck. So I'm not so much worried about the size of state government as I am efficiency. I want to make sure that state government is efficient."

Do you support expansion of the Pre-K program?
"I think the pre-K program in this state has been a home run. It is a model for the rest of the country. If you can get these students to foster a love of learning at an early age, it will carry them through their entire education career. That's what we have to do. It's a voluntary program. A lot of people don't want to be in it because they'd rather have their kids at home. But it's a program that helps a lot of disadvantaged youth and fosters a love of learning in them early on and it's a whole lot cheaper to educate than it is to incarcerate."

Should Pre-K be mandatory rather than voluntary?
"I would want it to continue to be voluntary. As I said some people want to keep their kids at home at that age so I think it should totally be a voluntary program all across the state. There is a huge waiting list so as revenue returns that's one area where I would like to see us expand upon".

Why do you oppose elected School Superintendents?
"Teachers are accountable to principals. Principals are accountable to Superintendents. Superintendents are accountable to an elected school board. There is voter accountability in our school system through electing our school boards. I think it is a terrible mistake for superintendents to have to go out, take time away from the school, to raise money and then they have to go out and campaign."

What are your thoughts about the Hurricane and Sligo Bridges?
"I know the Hurricane Bridge and the Sligo Bridge are both big issues in this county. As the next Governor if I'm going to be successful in helping to recruit industry into these areas then you're going to have to have the infrastructure in place. I want to be very careful that I don't go out and start making a bunch of campaign promises but If I'm able to fulfill my vision for the state of Tennessee it's going to involve having the infrastructure in place so that we can go out and really sell these areas, recruit jobs, and get people back to work."

What is your business background?
"I'm a small businessman in Jackson, Tennessee. I own an Anheuser-Busch distributorship there. A lot of people think I went into a family business. I did not. My father has his company and I have mine. I borrowed the money and I remember paying it back so I know it's mine. I serve on the Jackson Energy Authority Board, which is our local utility there and it provides everything from wastewater to electricity and natural gas, to water and broadband services and I think that working with JEA has given me a unique background in what it takes to keep industry in your area and what it takes to recruit industry in your area. Industry today has to compete on a global basis and as a utility we constantly have to be mindful of the infrastructure that we have in place there so that our industries can be competitive on a global basis and we have to be mindful of what industry is looking for to come and locate in that area. I think it's important that we maintain our state as a low tax state. It makes us very attractive to industry all across the country and if we can be a low tax state and at the same time be mindful of building our infrastructure I think we are a natural location for industry to come."

How active will your father, former Governor Ned Ray McWherter, be in your campaign?
"My father always has been and I guess always will be my number one advisor. I'm 54 years old and I have learned after 54 years that he is much more frequently right than wrong so I listen to him a lot. He has been really engaged in my campaign. He is still probably more familiar with the state budget than anyone else in the state except for maybe Governor Bredesen right now. But he is very engaged. You will see him out on the campaign trail. He is very interested. He told me before I ever decided to run that one thing he wanted to do is visit all 95 counties again because there's a lot of projects he got underway and a lot that have matured that he got started. He said he wanted to go visit all the counties and see those projects brought to completion or maturity so I told him when we started this campaign that he would get that chance."

School Board Adopts Resolution Honoring Professional Services Staff

March 9, 2010
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Tuesday night adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring professional services staff.

The resolution states " Whereas, special services critical to the success of children in our schools are provided by professionals who join the efforts of our teaching and administrative staff to help us meet the unique needs of each child; and

Whereas, these professionals including school nurses, guidance counselors, school resource officers, psychologists, speech therapists and others offer an invaluable contribution toward the well being, health and safety of students so that they can learn and grow in a safe and nurturing environment; and

Whereas, our professional service staff helps to build an environment that transitions students from youthful dependence to responsible independence; and

Whereas, this board, our staff and the community rely on these individuals to help guide students in making wise decisions that help them develop and enjoy a healthy lifestyle and practice good citizenship and responsibility; and

Whereas, the Board of Education wishes to honor the commitment and service of special services professionals in our schools and the valuable contribution they make in our schools every day;

Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby establishes March 11th,2010 as Professional Services Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that, the board expresses heartfelt appreciation and thanks to all who provide special professional services in our school system and encourages each school and community to recognize these individuals on this day for the vital role they play in the success of our school system and in the lives of students."

In other business the board adopted a policy regarding the selection of a student representative on the board.

The school board may make changes to the policy in a few months after the Tennessee School Boards Association finalizes a proposed policy on the issue..

The proposed policy states that "The DeKalb County Board of Education may select one high school student representative to serve in an advisory position to the Board. This student shall be designated by the DeKalb County High School Principal to serve for one school year. The student representative shall serve without compensation.

Some responsibilities of the DeKalb County Student Representative are as follows:

1.Attend the monthly meeting of the DeKalb County Board of Education

2. Communicate needs including questions, concerns, problems, updates, and suggestions to the Board of Education.

3.Help design a banner for the DeKalb County School System for the TSBA Fall Conference, as per TSBA guidelines, to be presented at the October School Board Meeting.

4.Attend the annual Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE) Conference if funding is available.

DCHS student Megan Sullivan is the current Student Representative on the board.

In his monthly update on personnel, Director Mark Willoughby announced that the following have been employed as substitute teachers: Tayla Turner, Cathleen Humphrey, Amanda Trapp, Meredith Lewis, Kelly Merriman, and Linda Dean.

Sharon Anderson, teacher at Smithville Elementary School- retired
Dwayne Cornelius, bus driver
Murinna Herman, custodian at DeKalb Middle School
Jerry Herman, custodian at DeKalb County High School

Leave of Absence:
Tera Mooneyham, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary, leave as requested
Linda Parris, teacher at DeKalb County High School, leave as requested
Jenny Elrod, teacher at DeKalb Middle School, leave as requested

LeAnn Frasier, transferred to Library Assistant at Smithville Elementary/Northside Elementary
Neal Brown, transferred to full time bus driver

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix briefly reminded parents listening on the radio about the parent teacher conference at DCHS on Thursday, March 11th from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.. Hendrix added that report cards were sent home Tuesday, March 9th so parents are advised to check them.

Board Vice Chairman Kenny Rhody, who presided over Tuesday night's meeting, thanked those involved in organizing the Project Graduation radiothon last Friday including DCHS teacher Chris Vance, parents Donna Mathis, Kelly Garrett, and Melinda Willoughby, among many others including WJLE. The radiothon raised over $5,300.

Sixth district member Bruce Parsley also commended the DCHS girls basketball team and coach Joe Pat Cope on their success this season, making it as far as the region tournament.

DeKalb West Principal Danny Parkerson, in a brief report to the board, mentioned that the DeKalb West baseball season is now underway, the last game having been played Monday night in Smithville in a loss to Walter J. Baird. He says the team is currently 1-1. Parkerson says the West School is hosting the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation review committee this week. "We're learning things from them and they're taking away things that we do at our school."

"I've had the privilege in the last six weeks of having a principal from one of the Cannon County schools and a school from White County come and visit our school, wanting to see some of the things we've been successful for regarding test scores. So academically and athletically we're on track."

Sabrina Farler, Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School, updated the board on activities at her school. "We had seventeen students about two weeks ago, who went to the History Day Project. They went to the regional and we had seventeen winners. They will be competing at the state level on April 17th. In the exhibit board area we had two different groups. One group placed second including Travis Ferrell, Chase Hoke, and Devin Summers. The third place group included Katelyn Jones and Brittany Wilkerson. In another category, the drama area, the first place group included Lauren Craig, Josh Davidson, Lauren Reed, and Ashley Barnes. We also got second place in this category with Karem Bain, Kelsey Evins, Elizabeth Mason, and Shauna Taylor. We had someone write an essay and he placed third, Jordan Wilkins. We had three who did a documentary and placed third, Cori Jennings, Taylor Cantrell, and Taneah Cantrell.. We also had a student represent DeKalb County at the spelling bee at Belmont University last week and she did a fabulous job. We're getting geared up for TCAP in about a month."

Dee Anna Persinger, School Health Coordinator addressed the board about the recent H1N1 clinic. "DeKalb County gave more vaccinations than any of the counties that the Upper Cumberland Regional Health Office worked with. Approximately 400 (vaccinations) were given. We have a tentative date set for April for the second dose. That'll be about another 100 students who'll need to receive the second dose. Coordinated School Health sponsored another successful diabetes education class tonight (Tuesday) with the partnership of the hospital and our registered dietician. That is free to the community and it was very successful. We hope to do it again in the fall. There was a diabetic supply representative there tonight who gave out free meters, test supplies, and educational materials to anyone who needed or wanted those. The registered dietician will also be at the high school tomorrow (Wednesday) and we invite you to come from 2:00 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. She will talk to all of our athletic teams about sports nutrition."

In other business, the school board granted the DCHS Junior Class request for permission to have the prom off campus on April 23rd at Stones River Country Club from 8:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m..

The board granted permission for the Tigerette Softball Team to participate in the Middle Tennessee Softball Coaches Association Tournament in Clarksville on March 26th. It's an overnight trip.

Permission was granted for 24 FFA students to attend the state convention in Gatlinburg March 28th-April 1st during spring break.

The board gave permission for 20 FBLA students at DCHS to attend the regional competitions at Cumberland University on March 11th. Permission was also granted for 35 FBLA students to attend the state leadership conference April 18-21 in Chattanooga.

The school board approved executive action taken authorizing the construction of dugouts at the DeKalb West baseball field. Funding for the project was provided by sponsors.

The board also approved a request for a school bus to transport 4-H students to State 4-H Congress. The event will be held March 28th through April 1st in Nashville.

McMinnville Man Arrested on Drug Charges

March 8, 2010
Dwayne Page
Brian Earl White
Coty Lynn McCormick
Ryan Lee Walden
Billy Huddleston

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a 37 year old McMinnville man Saturday after finding components of a meth lab in his car.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Brian Earl White of Old Shellsford Road McMinnville is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of schedule VI drug (marijuana), and simple possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine). White's bond is $4,000 and he will appear in court on March 11th. On Saturday, March 6th while on a patrol, a deputy stopped a vehicle on Highway 56 south for a traffic violation. Upon approaching the automobile, the officer saw the driver putting something in a CD case that was positioned above his sun visor. The deputy asked White for his vehicle registration and insurance card. White replied that it was in the trunk. When White opened the trunk, the deputy saw a small propane tank, a small stove, and a container of liquid in the trunk. Also found in the vehicle's floorboard area were two coffee filters that contained a white powdery substance. During a pat down search, the officer found two more coffee filters in one of White's sock and a small bag of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in White's other sock. Upon an inspection of the CD case, the officer found a coffee filter that contained a white powder that is believed to be methamphetamine. A set of scales was also found in a jacket that was lying in the passenger side seat of White's vehicle.

22 year old Coty Lynn McCormick of Mohan Drive McMinnville is charged with simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana) and simple possession of a schedule II drug (Oxycontin). Bond for him was set at $3,000 and will he appear in court on March 11th. On Monday, March 1st a deputy stopped McCormick's vehicle on Midway Road for weaving. After the stop, the officer asked McCormick, who was the driver, for consent to search. He gave consent and the deputy found in McCormick's pocket ½ of a pill that is believed to be Oxycontin. While searching McCormick's vehicle, the officer found a small bag of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

26 year old Ryan Lee Walden of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with theft of property over $1,000. He was arrested by detectives on Monday, March 1st. Sheriff Ray says on February 23rd, Walden took two diamond rings from a home on Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown valued at over $1,000 without the owners consent. Bond for Walden was set at $25,000 and he will appear in court on March 25th. Detectives recovered the rings.

42 year old Carlos Reyes of Skyline Apartments McMinnville is charged with a second offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is set at $2,000 and he will appear in court on March 11th. On Tuesday, March 2nd deputies received a complaint that Reyes, who has a revoked driver's license, was operating a motor vehicle. The officer spotted Reyes on Highway 56 South and stopped him.

27 year old Bradley Shane Redmon of Sparta Highway is charged with a first offense of driving on a revoked license. On Wednesday, March 3rd, a deputy stopped Redmon after spotting him driving on Highway 70 East. The officer had prior knowledge of his license being revoked. Redmon's bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on March 17th.

51 year old Billy R. Huddleston of Adcock Cemetery Road Smithville is charged with driving under the influence and possession of a schedule III drug (Hydocodone). On Thursday, March 4th, an officer spotted a vehicle weaving in the roadway on Highway 70 east. After stopping the vehicle, the deputy placed Huddleston, the driver, under arrest. The officer noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Huddleston's person and he had slurred speech. Huddleston submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Huddleston was also found to be in possession of two Hydrocodone pills. Bond for Huddleston was set at $3,500 and he will appear in court on March 25th..

48 year old Roy Douglas Atnip of Pea Ridge Road, Liberty is charged with public intoxication. On Wednesday, March 3rd, a deputy arrested Atnip on Highway 70 west for his own safety after he was found to be crossing the roadway in an intoxicated state. Atnip had an odor of alcohol on his person. He was belligerent and unsteady on his feet. Atnip admitted that he had been drinking beer. Bond for Atnip was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on March 18th.

21 year old Christopher Allen Summers of Dale Ridge Road Dowelltown was arrested on Sunday, March 7th after a deputy found him lying in a ditch on Dale Ridge Road. Summers had a smell of alcohol on his person. He was unsteady on his feet and he had slurred speech. When asked how much he had drunk, Summers replied "no more than normal." Summers was charged with public intoxication and bond for him was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on March 18th.

State Senator Mae Beavers Legislative Update

March 6, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers

Throughout my fifteen-year career as a Tennessee State Representative and Senator, I have prided myself on serving the people of Wilson, Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale counties. I have fought to preserve both the national and state Constitutions, in addition to fighting for limited government and individual rights. Yet, in my years of service, there has been another area that I have always been passionate about: reducing drunk driving in Tennessee.

Driving on public roads paid for by the state or federal government is not a right afforded by the Constitution; driving on such roads is a privilege, and a privilege I have no problem with restricting if that privilege is not respected. When it comes to a drunk Tennessean choosing to drive a deadly vehicle on a public road, a road where your and my children and grandchildren are driving, my “mom” instincts come out.

During my years in the state legislature, I have filed numerous bills to help keep our public roads safe and to protect the thousands of lives that are lost or injured as a result of drunk driving every year. Upon first arriving to the State House in January 1995, I carried the bill that lowered the legal intoxication level while driving to .08 BAC. I carried that bill every year until the legislature eventually passed it in 1998, in large part because the federal government required it. In addition, I have tried unsuccessfully almost every year to get the legislature to adopt a “pass the bottle bill,” legislation that says that a driver cannot simply pass an alcoholic beverage to a passenger whenever he or she is pulled over. Tennessee is one of only eleven states in the country who allow passengers to consume alcohol in a moving vehicle, and out of those eleven states nine are among the most deadly when it comes to alcohol-related deaths. In fact, Tennessee has been ranked by Forbes magazine last year as the 11th most deadly in the nation.

I have never been able to understand why legislators will bow to the liquor lobby rather than protect law abiding Tennesseans, as one man woman or child is killed every thirty minutes in the United States. Think about that: one person is killed every thirty minutes in the United States due to an alcohol-related death. And if you think you or a family member is not at risk of such an incident, it is estimated that three out of every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash at some point in their lives.

With these statistics in mind, I have filed a bill for the past three years that incorporates a device that statistics show can be the number one source of protection from drunk drivers: ignition interlock. An alcohol ignition interlock is a small and sophisticated device with a breathalyzer tube that is installed into a vehicle that prevents the vehicle from being started until the driver blows into it and has no alcohol in his or her system. Currently, ignition interlocks are required for repeat offenders, those drunk drivers who have statistically driven hundreds of times before they are ever caught. My bill, SB 2965, is currently being debated in the state legislature, and would require interlock devices to be installed for a year in cases of aggravated first offenders (those who blow a 0.15 BAC which is almost twice the legal limit), people driving with children in the car, or those involved in accidents caused by alcohol impairment.

A TBI study shows that among the 137,183 people arrested in Tennessee for DUI between 2002 and 2007, nearly 21 percent of those were eventually arrested a second time for DUI. Out of those repeat offenders, approximately 50 percent were arrested within a year after their first conviction. Such statistics point to the fact that an ignition interlock device installed during that year for those most serious first offenders will do the most to keep those people from reoffending, and allow an innocent life that otherwise might have been killed in an alcohol-related crash to live another day.

In closing, I urge you to call your State Representative and Senator and ask them to support this life-saving technology. Such technology has been implemented in various other states, and the statistics overwhelmingly indicate a reduction of repeat drunk driving incidents. I often complain about the federal and state government encroaching on individuals’ rights, but I do so when a personal or Constitutional freedom is being violated. Driving on public roads is not a right; it is a privilege – and adopting this legislation will help ensure such privileges are afforded to more Tennesseans who might otherwise be killed by drunk drivers.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

March 6, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

Greetings! Tennessee was named a “Race to the Top” finalist this week. We are one of the 15 states that will move forward in the process. Final winners will receive a boost in education funding from the federal government. Tennessee is considered a top tier candidate for the funds.

Tennessee submitted its application to compete for up to $501.8 million in funds back in January. The program currently has $4.3 billion allocated to reward states which are implementing significant reforms in four education areas: enhancing standards and assessments; improving the collection and use of data; increasing teacher effectiveness and achieving equity in teacher distribution; and turning around struggling schools.

House Bill 2685 moved out of the Employee Affairs Subcommittee, and will next face the House Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee. This bill clarifies that it is not illegal for businesses to require English be spoken on the job moved forward this week. The proposed law is designed to protect businesses from frivolous lawsuits that emerge when private business policies are legitimately set.

This bill also serves as a safety precaution for workers. Businesses where employees continuously handle toxic products or food containers need to require English. Other businesses, such as most factories, have signs displayed in English that communicate critical safety information. The bill is designed to protect these business practices. To me it is a no brainer! You do not go to live in another country to be a citizen and then expect the citizens of that country to speak your language and not their own. Hopefully, more immigration bills will follow such as: requiring photo identification to vote or verifying citizenship before any benefits are distributed as my House Bill would require (House Bill 0841). We must continue to bring more immigration reform to Tennessee.

Representative Bill Dunn’s House Bill 2625, which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee this week, helps protect consumers from fraudulent contractors. This bill creates a criminal offense for a home contractor who defrauds a homeowner by not making substantial progress on a home improvement project within 90 days and then fails to refund money paid under a contract within 10 days of a written request. Consumers will be able to file complaints with the state’s Consumer Protection Division.

Violators will be punished based upon the value of the property or services and will be subject to punishment from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B felony. Within 30 days of a conviction, the Board of Licensing Contractors will be required to revoke a contractor’s license and to post their name, license number, and violation on the state’s website for three years. This will serve as a resource for consumers to check when selecting a contractor. Furthermore, the legislation will prohibit a contractor from receiving a new license during the term of their imposed sentence.

In brief...
House Bill 3063 prohibits physicians on the sexual offender registry from treating children.
House Bill 2438 will be heard in Judiciary Committee next week. This bill adds aggravated rape of a child to the list of offenses for which a juvenile may be transferred from juvenile to adult court.

House Bill 2552 clarifies the law on the purchase of used or secondhand items purchased by local government. As the law is currently written, local governments could not purchase equipment that is more than 10 percent above or below market value. This bill will mean that there is no floor on how much a local government may pay or save.

House Bill 3495 specifies that when someone commits a homicide or assault against a pregnant woman, the woman's fetus, regardless of viability, is also considered a victim of the offense. The legislation passed out of the Public Health and Family Assistance Subcommittee and will next be heard by the House Health and Human Resources Committee.

In closing, this week my office was busy with fabulous folks from the Fortieth District: Air-E-Vac Life Teams, the Upper Cumberland Tennessee Electric Co-op, and Girl Scout Troop1623 who spent Monday night on the House Floor during session assisting fellow House member as pages. Anyone from the 40th district is welcome to call my office or come to visit. I am honored to serve you and remain faithful to our values.

Smithville Police Department Crime News

March 6, 2010
Dwayne Page

In Smithville Police Department crime news this week, 44 year old Terri Lynna Hooper of McMinnville was issued a citation by Officer Scott Davis for shoplifting and criminal trespassing at Wal-Mart on Thursday, February 25th. She will appear in court April 1st

47 year old Berna D Barnes of New Home Road was arrested for public intoxication on Tuesday, March 2nd. Corporal Travis Bryant was advised that an intoxicated female was walking out of the courthouse and going to get in her car and drive off. After arriving on the square, Corporal Bryant saw the woman walking to the driver's side of her car with the keys in hand. It was at that point, that Corporal Bryant stopped the woman, identified as Berna Barnes and noticed she had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet.. Barnes was arrested. Her bond is $1,000 and her court date is March 18th.

23 year old Brandi Nichole Hale of 114 Highland Drive was cited by Detective Jerry Hutchins on Wednesday, March 3rd with shoplifting and criminal trespasssing at Wal-Mart. Her court date is March 11th.

51 year old Robert Morris Turner of 446 West Main Street was arrested by Sergeant Randy King on Thursday, March 4th for aggravated rape. Bond is set at $75,000. His court date is March 18th..

32 year old Stephanie Toi Williams of 1315 Buckner Road, Monterey was arrested on Thursday, March 4th by Detective Jerry Hutchins for a failure to appear warrant in Putnam County. Ms. Williams is to be held without bond pending her court date.

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

On Monday, March 1st Officer Matt Holmes took a report at the DeKalb County 911 Center where someone had vandalized a 1996 Jeep Cherokee. The damage appeared to have been caused by rocks striking the windshield.

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

Curtis Wins State Award

March 6, 2010
William Freddy Curtis

The Tennessee Council for the Social Studies has named Smithville resident and Cannon County High School Teacher, Mr. William Freddy Curtis, as one of the Tennessee Outstanding Social Studies Teachers of the Year for 2010. Mr. Curtis will be honored at a luncheon and recognition at the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies Conference on Friday, March 12, 2010 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Mr. Curtis was nominated by CCHS Principal Tim Knox and Assistant Principal Bonnie Patterson, which consisted of a detailed application. The application included: letters of support, a professional resume’, current teaching assignment, and a narrative describing the organization’s criteria requirements. The narrative demonstrated academic excellence, utilization of the National Council of Social Studies curriculum standards, inquiry based skill development, democratic beliefs and values, citizen and community participation by students, and evidence of professional involvement in education activities.

Curtis stated, “I am honored and truly humbled to be nominated for this prestigious award. My superiors and colleagues have encouraged me in this endeavor. I am truly “blessed” to be doing something that I deeply love to do – teaching students about US Government and Sociology!”

Mr. Curtis is a 24 year veteran of the Cannon County School System serving as a teacher and principal at West Side Elementary School from 1986 to 2008, and currently serving as US Government & Sociology Teacher at Cannon County High School. He is married to Trena Braswell Curtis, 2nd Grade Teacher at Smithville Elementary School, and has four sons – Matt, Trent, Casey, and Evan Curtis. They reside at 288 Dogwood Circle in Smithville, TN.

The Tennessee Council for the Social Studies is an association devoted to providing information, resources, and support for all those involved in social studies education. This includes K-12 teachers, supervisors of instruction, and college professors, in the various disciplines interested in and involved in the social studies.


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