Local News Articles

DeKalb Student Among Pre-professionals to find path to health school programs at Tech

May 11, 2017
 Zachary Martin, left, and Lana Ngo, right, are among the growing number of students from Tennessee Tech being accepted to professional health school programs. Both Martin and Ngo are spring 2017 graduates of Tech headed to pharmacy school.
 Lana Ngo, concentrated on pre-professional scieneces during her time Tennessee Tech and has been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Florida. Zachary Martin has also been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis following his work at Tech.

The steps Zachary Martin takes across the stage at Tennessee Tech’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6 will not be his last as a scholar. He has been accepted to pharmacy program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and is among a growing number of Tech’s pre-professional health sciences students getting accepted into professional schools.

Martin, a DeKalb County resident, will earn his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, but he knew he wanted to be a pharmacist and a bachelor’s degree is not required for admittance to pharmacy school. However, once Martin got to Tech and became involved in all that the pre-professional health sciences concentration had to offer, he chose to see his bachelor’s degree through at Tech.

“I worked with a couple pharmacists who had been to Tech, and they said among professional schools Tech is recognized for producing well-prepared students,” Martin said. “That gave me confidence to know that if I could do this, I could be accepted anywhere.”

And when it comes to getting into professional schools, the application and interview process can be tough.

Marina Naguib, who will also receive her bachelor’s degree on Saturday before heading to the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, remembers the feelings she had before her optometry school interview.

“I was very nervous,” Naguib said, “but I talked with my advisor, who told me what to expect and did a practice interview with me. That was so helpful and made me feel so much better.”

Naguib knows that it’s easy to become discouraged or be intimated by the idea of applying to tough professional programs, but she says she felt encouraged by everyone she encountered at Tech.

“Through the Chem-Med Club, I got to meet with an optometrist who talked about how she struggled through getting into school,” Naguib said. “She gave me hope that even if I didn’t make it the first time, I could do it.”

Shikha Amin will take her degree in chemistry from Tech with her to dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina, but it is more than just her degree that she will carry with her.

“I think classes have prepared me to do well,” Amin said. “I have had such great relationships with all of my professors. That’s what I love about the chemistry department. It is like one big family. The faculty and staff really see the good in you.”

Add that to the undergraduate research and teaching assistant opportunities that she’s had and Amin says she is confident moving on to dental school.

Like Martin, Lana Ngo didn’t have to have her bachelor’s degree to get into pharmacy school.

“I wanted to it,” Ngo, who has been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Florida, said. “Especially here, being in the chemistry department, the relationships and encouragement I have had is worth all of the hard work I have put into it.”

Health sciences at Tech is not a degree granting program, though many students in the program earn degrees. It is designed to allow students to follow a curriculum path that meets their interest and ultimately makes them well-rounded candidates for professional health schools.

“The professors here are totally on your side,” said Emily Carney, who is headed to the pharmacy program at Belmont University after finishing this semester at Tech. “They want you to learn and to be able to share that knowledge in your future job. They are here to be your teacher but it’s more than that. They take so much pride in your education and it is extremely encouraging.”

Health sciences students get personalized advisement within the chemistry department to ensure that the work they are doing at Tech will take them to where they want to go.

“They make sure you get the classes you need in. They remember your name. They know you. They remember what your major and concentration is,” Martin said. “I never felt like I was doing this alone.”

And they have a reputation of doing that well.

“When I went to my two interviews for pharmacy schools, the first thing they would say is, ‘I see you went to Tennessee Tech. We like Tech students,’” Martin said.

Tech student Elizabeth Trainham has also been accepted to the pharmacy program at UTHSC and Whitley Pollard has been accepted to the School of Optometry at the University of Alabama Birmingham. As this semester ends, other Tech students will be headed to professional health programs at South College, University of Kentucky in Pikeville, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University, the University of Cincinnati, Meharry University and the University of California Davis.

While the classes were tough and the interview process for their next steps was intimidating, the students agree that the faculty and staff at Tech did right by them.

“They start you out running and if you never stop running, you don’t know that you could’ve ever walked,” Martin said.
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Cutlines

Zachary Martin, left, and Lana Ngo, right, are among the growing number of students from Tennessee Tech being accepted to professional health school programs. Both Martin and Ngo are spring 2017 graduates of Tech headed to pharmacy school.

Lana Ngo, concentrated on pre-professional scieneces during her time Tennessee Tech and has been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Florida. Zachary Martin has also been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis following his work at Tech.

Danny Fish Named District Softball Coach of Year, Tigerette Pitcher Kayley Caplinger District MVP

May 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Coach Danny Fish
Kayley Caplinger

First year DCHS Tigerette Softball Coach Danny Fish has been named the Coach of the Year in District 8AA.

Coach Fish, who succeeded longtime coach Danny Bond, has guided the Tigerettes to a record of 27-5 and 13-1 in the district this season. The program claimed another District regular season and Tournament championship and will host Sequatchie County Monday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the first round of the Region Tournament.

Other All-District and All Tournament selections from DeKalb County have been announced.

Tigerette pitching sensation Kayley Caplinger has been named the District’s Most Valuable Player, District Tournament MVP, and Pitcher of the Year.

Regular season District awards:

All District:
Lexie Bates
Myranda Bailiff
Kenzie France
Emme Colwell
Allison Maynard

All Freshman team:
Megan Walker

All District Tournament Awards:
Joni Robinson
Allison Maynard

City Employee Involved in Wreck

May 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
The Pontiac Grand Am, driven by 38 year old Bonnie Harris of Smithville, was traveling west on East Broad Street (Highway 70). 28 year old Ronald Harris of Smithville was a front seat passenger.
60 year old Jimmy Taylor of Smithville, a city employee, was driving a 2007 Chevy Silverado

Three people, including a City of Smithville employee, were involved in a two vehicle accident Wednesday morning at the intersection of East Broad Street and Bright Hill Street.

Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 60 year old Jimmy Taylor of Smithville, a city employee, was on duty driving a 2007 Chevy Silverado. As Taylor crossed East Broad from Bright Hill Street heading north, he struck a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am in the driver side door. Taylor, blinded by the morning sun, said he failed to see the car approaching.

The Pontiac Grand Am, driven by 38 year old Bonnie Harris of Smithville, was traveling west on East Broad Street (Highway 70). 28 year old Ronald Harris of Smithville was a front seat passenger.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were on the scene to provide extrication services. They removed the driver side door of the car to have better access to Ms. Harris.

The Smithville Police Department were also there to provide assistance with traffic control.

Taylor and Ms. Harris were taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

DCHS Class of 2017 Thanks Community for Support of Project Graduation

May 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Madison Butler

Members of the DCHS Class of 2017 wish to thank you for your support of Project Graduation.

More than $33,000 has been collected through various fundraisers since the beginning of the school year.

Madison Butler, a DCHS Senior, urges you to stop by any DeKalb County branch office of Liberty State Bank to make a donation. “I am the 2017 Senior Class President, a baseball manager, a member of HOSA, Student Council, FFA, and the National BETA Club at DCHS. More importantly, I am a member of the 2017 graduating class. I would like to express a huge heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has supported our efforts in raising money for the Project Graduation event to be held the night of graduation, Friday May 26. Without the help and support of our families, friends, co-workers, churches, and local businesses we would never have been able to reach our goal. We still have our account at Liberty State Bank if you would like to stop in and make a donation. We look forward to our futures and we thank you very much,” said Butler.

Project Graduation will offer food and fun activities for the graduates. It is designed to keep them safe from the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol.

Legislation to Force Lisa Peterson Off Election Commission Stalls

May 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Democratic Party Chairman Jordan Wilkins with Democratic members of the DeKalb Election Commission Jackie Smith and Lisa Peterson (right)

Proposed state legislation apparently intended to prevent Lisa Peterson from continuing to serve as a member of the DeKalb County Election Commission has failed to get through the Tennessee General Assembly.

State Senator Mae Beavers initially sought legislation to bar anyone from serving on a county election commission if he or she has ever been in litigation against that particular election commission and lost the case. The amendment to Senate Bill 0925 stated that “no person may serve as a member of a county election commission if the person has been a plaintiff in litigation against the county election commission on which the person seeks to serve and the court ruled in favor of the county election commission”.

DeKalb Democratic Party Chairman Jordan Wilkins cried foul accusing Beavers of targeting one person, Peterson, in seeking such action

Peterson, a former Administrator of Elections in DeKalb County, mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge after she lost her position when Republicans took control of the election commission in 2009.

Wilkins recently recommended Peterson for a term on the local election commission to replace Richard Hearon Puckett, who resigned. The Tennessee Election Commission, which has the final say, approved Peterson’s appointment.

After Senator Beaver’s proposed amendment stalled in the House, the measure was sent to a conference committee for changes a majority of lawmakers could support. Versions the committee considered were as follows:

* A former administrator of elections appointed pursuant to § 2-12-116 shall not serve as a member of the appointing county election commission.

* A former administrator of elections appointed pursuant to § 2-12-116 shall not serve as a member of the appointing county election commission for a period of five (5) years after the person leaves office as administrator of elections.

*A former administrator of elections appointed pursuant to § 2-12-116 shall not serve as a member of the appointing county election commission for a period of ten (10) years after the person leaves office as administrator of elections.

Again the measure stalled but could be taken up again next year.

Alligator Snapping Turtle Found at Center Hill Lake

May 10, 2017
Measuring Carapace-Wildlife diversity biologist Chris Simpson and Putnam County wildlife officer Mike Beaty measure the overall length of the alligator snapping turtle.
Genetic Sample- Wildlife diversity biologist Chris Simpson takes a genetic sample that might reveal more information.
Skull-The hooked beak is just one of the identifying characteristics of an alligator snapping turtle.

When the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers received photos of what they thought was an alligator snapping turtle on Center Hill Lake, they quickly called Putnam County wildlife officer, Mike Beaty. Beaty, like all TWRA officers, holds a degree in wildlife and fisheries management and was quick to use his knowledge. He knew this was a species of greatest conservation need (GCN) in Tennessee and he quickly met the Corp and contacted his colleague TWRA, Region 3 wildlife diversity biologist, Chris Simpson.

Alligator snapping turtles are found primarily west of the Tennessee River in West Tennessee, with a few occurrences that stretch along the Cumberland River system. Populations declined because of overharvesting for consumption prior to protection. TWRA, Region 1 has been working with this species since the 1990’s with restorative efforts continuing today. The most recent sighting outside its current range occurred in Davidson County in 2016. Alligator snapping turtles prefer slow moving waters with soft substrate. These turtles are not as long lived as other large turtles such as ocean turtles. Males live an average of 26 years and females live an average of 23 years (Niemiller, Reynolds, Miller, 2013). The alligator snapping turtle is the largest turtle in Tennessee with an average carapace length of 20-24 inches.

Wildlife diversity biologist, Chris Simpson gathered data from the Center Hill Lake alligator snapping turtle, which included a carapace measurement of 19 and a half inches and an overall length of 48 inches. The turtle was fairly decayed and could not be weighed. It is thought to be a male. Genetic material was also collected for further analysis.

How the turtle came to be at Center Hill Lake could remain a mystery. Did someone illegally release the turtle and if so when? Center Hill Lake dam was built in 1948. The turtle would not have been in the area prior to the building of the dam. However, this species naturally occurred in the Cumberland River system prior to the building of the dam. Genetic testing might reveal the waterway of origin. For now, the mystery will continue. Simpson stated, “Dealing with these situations and cataloging information is truly enjoyable. Any information we can gain on a GCN species is valuable”.

Sightings can be reported by contacting TWRA

For more information on GCN species, including the alligator snapping turtle visit: http://tnswap.com/ Sightings can be reported by contacting your TWRA regional office.

Photo Captions:

Measuring Carapace-Wildlife diversity biologist Chris Simpson and Putnam County wildlife officer Mike Beaty measure the overall length of the alligator snapping turtle.

Genetic Sample- Wildlife diversity biologist Chris Simpson takes a genetic sample that might reveal more information.

Skull-The hooked beak is just one of the identifying characteristics of an alligator snapping turtle.

Liberty Woman Charged with Grand Theft

May 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jessica Jo Bates

A Liberty woman is in trouble with the law in Warren County after she was caught shoplifting more than $1,100 worth of merchandise from Walmart in McMinnville.

39 year old Jessica Jo Bates will make a June 27 court appearance in Warren County on a charge of grand theft.

Walmart security reported that Bates first paid for two loaves of bread and then put them in a shopping cart filled with other items she had not paid for. As she tried to leave the store with the merchandise, Bates was stopped.

According to a report in the Southern Standard, Bates allegedly tried to get away with 41 DVD movies, 20 infant shorts and 20 infant shirts, 36 two-liter bottles of SunDrop, 25 household cleaning items, two 50-pound bags of dog food, three cartons of ice cream, and two cases of herring and salmon.
Because she tried to steal so much merchandise, Bates was charged with the felony offense of grand theft which carries a penalty of one to two years in prison.

State Representative Mark Pody responds to the Passage of the IMPROVE ACT

May 9, 2017
Mark Pody

Members of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly have officially passed House Bill 534, the “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads, and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy (IMPROVE) Act.” Governor Bill Haslam introduced the Gas Tax in January in order to help fund the state’s $10 billion backlog of road construction projects.

This raises the gas tax by 6 cents and the diesel tax by 10 cents over the next 3 years. Registration fees for most cars will also increase by $5, commercial automobiles by $10 and other large vehicles will be paying $15 extra. Electric cars will see a new $100 registration fee.

"I have always said we must find a dedicated source of funding in order to pay for our roads and bridges in Tennessee. After hearing feedback from our community voicing strong opposition to the plan and the tax increases it contains, I did not support the increase in gas taxes. Instead, I supported an alternative plan that also would have created a reliable funding source for infrastructure without raising taxes on any Tennesseans. However, a majority of my colleagues disagreed with my decision, the Gas Tax Increase passed, and Governor Haslam signed the bill last week," said Representative Mark Pody

"The passage of the new infrastructure funding bill means the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and our local governments will have more money to spend on road projects — TDOT will see increased revenue of $240 million per year. In total, counties across the state will receive $79 million and cities will see a revenue increase of approximately $35 million per year to use for local road and infrastructure projects. In DeKalb County alone, the county will receive an extra $146,539 thousand in Diesel Taxes and $409,103 thousand in Gasoline Taxes," Pody continued.

Breakdown below:

City/County Location Diesel Gasoline

DeKalb County $146,539 (Diesel) $409,103 (Gasoline)
Smithville $ 11,790 (Diesel) $ 32,729 (Gasoline)
Alexandria $ 2,514 (Diesel) $ 6,979 (Gasoline)
Dowelltown $ 924 (Diesel) $ 2,565 (Gasoline)
Liberty $ 807 (Diesel) $ 2,240 (Gasoline)

The legislation will help fund 3 projects identified by the state as needed for future development.

Route Project Description
0A095 Holmes Creek Road bridge over Fall Creek
0A330 Old Dry Creek Road bridge over Dry Creek
US70(SR26) Nashville Highway from West of Wilson County
Line to near SR-96 in Dekalb County

"The Gas tax bill does reduce taxes by more than $300 million annually. These tax breaks include a 1% reduction on the sales tax on food. The legislation will also help all Tennesseans by lowering some high taxes on Tennessee manufacturers. We need businesses that provide high paying, steady jobs here in this state. Finally this act adds a set schedule to eliminate the Halls Income Tax. I agree with all these reductions and have fought for them," said Representative Pody.

"Having all these different issues on the same bill is another reason for my opposition to the act. One big difference between Nashville and Washington, D.C. has been how Tennessee considers and votes on legislation. In Washington, they combine many issues and laws together. This makes it very hard to keep pork and special interest projects out of good pieces of legislation. We all have seen these silly and expensive projects come out of our nation’s capitol. Back home, we traditionally take up each issue individually. That process has set us apart from the rest of the nation. We did not follow that procedure on the Gas tax increase," Pody added.

"Even though we have some positive things that will come from the Gas Taxes — sadly, it also means increased taxes for each of us. The families of our community have been consistent expressing opposition to an additional tax increase throughout this entire process. In a year where we are experiencing a historic budget surplus, we should have chosen to fund our roads and bridges within our current budget and not raise taxes at the expense of Tennesseans across our state. As always, I remain committed to listening to the voice of our community throughout the remainder of the 2017 legislative session and the years ahead,"Pody said.

Mark Pody serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Subcommittee and House Insurance & Banking Committee. He lives in Lebanon and represents House District 46, which includes all of Cannon and part of Wilson and DeKalb Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Mark.Pody@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086.

Smithville Elementary School Recognizes Students of Month

May 9, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary School Recognizes Students of Month

Smithville Elementary would like to recognize our Students of the Month for May. These students were selected for their outstanding character, academics, and other traits that make them an all-around excellent student. Selected as Students of the Month for May are:

Pre-K: Luke Pedigo
Kindergarten: Misael Matuz
1st grade: Elijah Weigele

2nd grade: Allison Estes

David Turner and Friends to Entertain during Older Americans Day

May 9, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
David Turner and Friends

The month of May is recognized nationally as Older Americans Month, a time when the vast contributions older adults make to their families, communities, and the nation are acknowledged.

Justin Potter Library will partner with the Alexandria and Smithville Senior Centers in the national celebration by hosting Older Americans Day. The event will be held at the DeKalb County Complex Theatre area located at 712 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville on Wednesday, May 17 at 11:00 a.m. This year's theme is "Age Out Loud".

The featured entertainment will be local ventriloquist David Turner. There will be displays, door prizes, goody bags, and sack lunches for the older adults to enjoy. Everyone who is an older American is invited to this free event. The library will be closed from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. for the event.

For more information, call the library at 615-597-4359.

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