Local News Articles

DCHS Class of 1964 to Celebrate 50th Year Reunion

September 29, 2014
by: 
Kaye Fedak

The Class of 1964 will commemorate the proud distinction of being the first graduating class of the current DeKalb County High School, with a day of celebration on October 4, 2014. The festivities will include a tour of the high school; a “meet and greet” at the home of Don and Rita Cripps (Don was the president of the senior class); and dinner, entertainment, memorials, etc. at the First Methodist Church Christian Fellowship Center.

This (1963-64) was the year of Consolidation and Integration -
On September 2, 1963, the schools at Liberty and Smithville were consolidated into a new DeKalb County High School. This began the first year of consolidation as well as the first year of integration.

In 1964, the new school was an example of modern design and conveniences, including air conditioning, television, modern laboratory facilities for science and language, new home economics equipment, an additional workshop, individual lockers, and an intercommunication system, which provided music before school and in the cafeteria and provided more effective communication throughout the building.

School History -

Smithville -
In 1923, a new high school was built in Smithville. It was originally named Pure Fountain High School, but within a few years, it was renamed DeKalb County High School; however, it was usually called Smithville High School. The building had ten classrooms and an auditorium that seated six hundred. It accommodated eight elementary grades as well as all high school classes. The high school faculty consisted of only three teachers and only fifty students, with a graduating class of two pupils. The building had two things rarely found in a school during that time period, indoor plumbing and an indoor gymnasium. Until that time, the boys played basketball outdoors. With the construction of the new gymnasium, girls were allowed to play basketball for the first time. In 1926, football was introduced in Smithville, as an interscholastic sport. In addition to the limited athletic program, there were other activities, consisting of plays and dramatic presentations, music recitals, field days, a junior-senior reception, picnics, and literary societies, which promoted school spirit and enthusiasm among the students.

The number of pupils continued to grow and in 1939, a new elementary school was built. Further growth in the student body occurred in 1948, when the first public school buses went into operations. In the same year, a new gymnasium seating two thousand people was constructed. In 1956 the boys’ basketball team went to the state tournament. Then in 1959 both the boys’ and girls’ teams went to the state tournament, with the girls achieving the runners-up position.

The school had grown to include sixteen teachers and approximately 420 students by the time the building burned on January 7, 1962.

Makeshift classrooms were used for high school classes until the new school opened in the fall of 1963.

Liberty -
When the old wooden school burned in Liberty in 1917, a new school was built the following year. Constructed of solid stone, the two-story building contained four large classrooms downstairs, with two smaller rooms and a three hundred-seat auditorium upstairs. Also the upstairs was used as a meeting place for the Masonic Lodge. With only approximately twenty high school pupils, this building served as both elementary and high school and was adequate for both at the time. The first graduating class in 1920 consisted of two pupils. The school had only one high school teacher. In 1918, boys’ basketball was played on an outdoor court. A few years later a girls’ basketball team was formed and also played outdoors. Around 1934, a gymnasium was constructed on the Liberty campus. Basketball was the main form of athletics, but literary societies were organized in the 1920’s, to provide other types of activities. By 1939, the number of pupils had grown to a level that required a new school to be built for the elementary grades. The campus was expanded further in 1958, when a new gymnasium was constructed with a seating capacity of approximately eight hundred.

In 1962, the last year a high school was operated at Liberty, there were eight teachers and approximately 150 students in the high school.

October 6 is Deadline for Voter Registration

September 27, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The deadline is only days away for those who wish to become registered to vote in time for the November 4 elections.

Monday, October 6 is the last day to register to vote in person and by postmark with the local county election commission office, according to Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley.

DeKalb County currently has 13,079 registered voters.

Here's how the number of registered voters break down by district:

First district: 1,921
Second district: 1,908
Third district: 1,872
Fourth district: 2,140
Fifth district: 1,895
Sixth district: 1,723
Seventh district: 1,620

A total of 7,190 DeKalb County voters turned out for the November election in 2008, including 4008 early voters and absentees combined and 3,182 on election day.

In November, 2010 a total of 5,009 people voted in DeKalb County including 2,008 early voters/absentees combined and 3,001 on election day.

Two years later, in November 2012 a total of 6,479 voted in DeKalb County including 3,217 who voted either early or by absentee and 3,262 on election day.

DeKalb County Wins Queen Supreme at State Fair

September 27, 2014
by: 
Shan Burklow
Tyra Graham (third from left) and Shan Burklow
Addison Oakley (third from left)

Girls from across the state gathered at the Tennessee State Fair recently to compete to see who was the fairest of them all. Many contestants traveled from DeKalb County to participate in the fair’s festivities in Nashville, TN with hopes of winning a crown. Contestants from Alexandria, Liberty and Smithville, TN were among some of the coveted top winners from over 150 awards and titles. Tyra Graham of Smithville, TN was named Queen Supreme Overall for the 16 to 20 age category. Tyra is the 16 year old daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham and also received an optional award for prettiest hair.

“I was thrilled when Tyra was named Queen Supreme Overall,” says Tyra’s Mom, Doris, “She was a little nervous about the interview and wasn’t sure how the judges would score. We are so very proud of her.”

The judges, accredited by the Miss America Association, apparently scored Tyra very well as she received the highest overall score in the supreme optional. Additional DeKalb County awards and titles went to the following contestants: Addison Oakley was awarded Junior Tennessee Top Model, Junior Fair Princess third runner up, and prettiest smile. Addison will receive a one year modeling contract with Dan Talent Group in Franklin, TN. Addison is the 13 year old daughter of Clark and Lisa Oakley of Liberty, TN; Alexis Grace Atnip of Smithville, TN was awarded first runner up, prettiest eyes and prettiest hair. She is the 11 year old daughter of Veronica Atnip; Shelby Clayborn of Liberty, TN was awarded Jr. Fair Princess Miss Congeniality. Shelby is the 13 year old daughter of Brian Clayborn and Holly Clayborn; Grace Howland was named Miss Sweetheart Congeniality and Miss Sweetheart third runner up. Grace is the 11 year old daughter of Rick and Nikki Harris of Alexandria, TN; Brylee Key was awarded first runner up and best personality. Brylee is the 32 month old daughter of Holly and Shannon Key of Alexandria, TN.

For 2014, the state fair added a pageant designed especially for girls with disabilities called, Miss Sparkle. Twenty-four girls participated in the Friday evening event provided free to contestants sponsored by Studio Six Limited, The TN State Fair and Metro Parks Disabilities of Nashville. Mrs. Tennessee Rachael Neudecker came out and took photos with each of the girls along with 2013 TN State Fairest of the Fair Mary Grace Walkonowski.

“We were so very proud to see DeKalb County come out and compete at the Tennessee State Fair,” said Shan Burklow- Tennessee State Fair Pageant Director, “The girls helped us raise money for the kids at The Monroe Carrell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and had a great time in the process. DeKalb should be very proud of these girls. They represented their county with good-sportsmanship and character. The old saying, ‘It takes a village’ is very true. The state fair pageants could not be a success without the help of many of our friends and family. The baby and toddler pageants are directed by Smithville Review’s own, Angie Meadows, and her excellent staff, along with our Pageant Producer Beth Chandler and her crew of loyal volunteers and workers from DeKalb County and across the state. Thanks to everyone who had a part in making this year better than ever.”

Toddler Show- 1st Runner Up: Brylee Key, 32 month old daughter of Holly & Shannon Key of Alexandria
Toddler Show- Best Personality: Brylee Key

Miss Sweetheart-3rd Runner Up: Grace Howland, 11 year old daughter of Rick & Nikki Harris of Alexandria
Miss Sweetheart-Congeniality: Grace Howland

Jr. Fair Princess- Jr TN Top Model: Addison Oakley, 13 year old daughter of Clark & Lisa Oakley of Liberty'
Jr. Fair Princess- 3rd Runner Up: Addison Oakley
Jr. Fair Princess- Prettiest Smile: Addison Oakley
Jr. Fair Princess- Congeniality: Shelby Clayborn, 13 year old daughter of Brian Clayborn & Holly Clayborn of Liberty

Miss Sweetheart- 1st Runner Up: Alexis Grace Atnip, 11 year old daughter of Veronica Atnip of Smithville
Miss Sweetheart- Prettiest Eyes: Alexis Grace Atnip
Miss Sweetheart- Prettiest Hair: Alexis Grace Atnip

Fairest of Fair- Queen Supreme: Tyra Graham, 16 year old daughter of Kyle & Doris Graham of Smithville
Fairest of Fair- 2nd Runner UP: Tyra Graham
Fairest of Fair- Prettiest Hair: Tyra Graham

For more photos of winners, participants, and fun fair moments, join the Tennessee State Fair Pageants facebook page.

TOP Picture: Tyra Graham of Smithville, TN (THIRD FROM LEFT) was named Queen Supreme Overall at the Tennessee State Fair recently.

BOTTOM Picture: Addison Oakley of Liberty, TN (THIRD FROM LEFT) stands amongst additional winners as she is crowned Junior Tennessee Top Model. Oakley will receive a one year modeling contract with Dan Talent Group in Franklin, TN.

DUD Gets Eleven Bids on Water Plant Construction Project

September 26, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
DUD Board of Commissioners

The DeKalb Utility District Board of Commissioners opened bids Thursday on the proposed water treatment plant project.

Eleven bids were submitted from companies interested in the work.

Bids include construction on the water plant, the raw water intake, and 18 inch raw and finished water transmission lines.

DUD's engineering firm will review all the bids and meet with the DUD board during its regular monthly meeting next Thursday, October 2 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss the next move. The board may also decide at the meeting whether to have a workshop to discuss the project bids in more detail.

October is Fire Prevention Month in DeKalb County

September 26, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling Proclaims October Fire Prevention Month with Brian Williams and Donny Green

County Mayor Tim Stribling has designated October as Fire Prevention Month in DeKalb County.

Fire Chief Donny Green and Lieutenant Brian Williams of the DeKalb County Fire Department joined County Mayor Stribling for the signing of a proclamation on Thursday.

The department will be focusing on educating DeKalb County citizens concerning the installation, testing, and maintenance of smoke alarms and developing and practicing home fire escape plans.

Lt. Williams, the department's fire prevention officer, said that the DeKalb County Fire Department will gladly make arrangements to make presentations to any group that would like to learn more about fire prevention and safety. He emphasized that fire prevention and safety should not be limited to just a week or month during the year. These issues should be addressed every day of the year. He said the DeKalb County Fire Department uses the month of October to place special emphasis on these issues because October is typically the start of the residential fire season. Approximately 80% of DeKalb County’s accidental home fires are the direct result of home heating appliances such as wood stoves, wall heaters, and space heaters.

The DeKalb County Fire Department will be visiting DeKalb County schools, senior citizen’s events, churches, and other interested groups to promote fire prevention and safety during the month of October. During these visits, members of the Department will be delivering presentations and handing out educational materials that focus on fire prevention and safety. Groups that would like to arrange a presentation on fire prevention and safety can contact Lieutenant Williams at 615-330-4066. The Department encourages everyone to visit the DeKalb County Fire Department’s web site at : www.dekalbfire.com to learn more about the Department and fire prevention and safety measures.

City Opens Bids for Sewer Project

September 26, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville will soon be extending sewer services to an area annexed into the city limits earlier this year.

A bid opening was held Thursday at city hall on a contract to provide low pressure sewers for the area. Bids were received from three companies, Madewell Construction Inc. of Spencer for $163,825; John T. Hall Construction, Inc. of Sparta for $162,445; and Flo-Line Contracting, LLC of Monticello, Kentucky for $141,650.

J.R. Wauford & Company Consulting Engineers, Inc., the city's utility engineer, will evaluate the bids to make sure they all meet specifications for the project and will make a recommendation at a meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

The sewer project will serve the six parcels of property and a portion of another parcel which were annexed on the west side of the city earlier this year. The properties were zoned and a plan of services was adopted for the area, in accordance with state law which establishes a timeframe within which city services and/or amenities are to be provided.

County Firefighters Called to AEI Recycling

September 26, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Firefighters Called to AEI Recycling

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were summoned to AEI Recycling on New Home Road Wednesday morning.

Lieutenant Brian Williams said the call came in as a structure fire. When they arrived, firefighters found a car up on a rack outside the building that was ablaze. An employee of the business was reportedly working on the vehicle's gas tank when the fire started. No one was injured.

According to Lieutenant Williams, firefighters quickly put out the flames. Most of the damage was to the car and an electrical service box but there was some minor smoke and heat damage to the building.

The Main Station, Liberty, and Short Mountain Highway Stations responded along with the tanker truck

Election Commission Unveils New Website

September 25, 2014
Dennis Stanley

In an effort to better serve the voting public, the DeKalb County Election Commission has a new, very user-friendly web site and one that is more compatible with today’s smart phones and electronic tablets.

The site, which can be viewed at www.dekalbelections.com, was developed by Karen Bennett of Peregrine Concepts, who worked closely with Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections.

“This site quickly provides answers to most election questions, either through text or links, and the ease of navigation for both desktop computers and smart phones makes this site much more user-friendly than the older version,” Stanley said. “In simple terms, more information is there and it is easier to locate, regardless of the electronic device you are using.”

The desktop version features a full menu on the left side of the homepage along with an announcement section on the top right. For smart phones and tablets, there is a shorter menu option at the top of the page and a full menu as the user scrolls toward the bottom of the homepage. Both versions also feature a “search” option.

“The new site is far and above better than the older version and there may be more changes in the future,” Stanley said. “In the meantime, we hope that voters (and potential voters) will visit the site, take a look around and become familiar with all the informational options available.”

“The election commission and I want to thank Karen Bennett for all her hard work on this improved site,” Stanley added. “She put in a number of hours and was very dedicated to the task. Her expertise was invaluable.”

Meanwhile, the election commission also announced today a “Sample Ballot” for the November 4 election is now online at www.dekalbelections.com and at wjle.com.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW SAMPLE BALLOT)

DekalbTN-G14-NewspaperInfinity.pdf (28.79 KB)

Tennessee voters will elect a Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressmen, State Representatives, and State Senators on November 4.

The General Election Ballot also includes four proposed Tennessee Constitutional amendments.

Amendment #1 inserts constitutional language empowering the legislature to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion.
Amendment #2 empowers the Governor to appoint judges subject to confirmation by the General Assembly
Amendment # 3 prohibits the legislature from levying or permitting any tax upon payroll or earned personal income
Amendment #4 empowers the legislature to permit lotteries for events that benefit 501 (c)(3) or 501(c)(19) organizations.

Requirements to Adopt the Proposed Constitutional Amendments:
In order for an amendment to pass and become part of the Constitution, two things must happen:

1)The amendment must get more "yes" votes than "no" votes; and

2)The number of "yes" votes must be a majority of the votes cast in the
gubernatorial election.

To determine the votes needed, all votes for all candidates for governor are added together. This number is divided by two or halved. The number of "yes" votes must exceed that number. If the number of "yes" votes exceeds the number, the Constitutional amendment passes and becomes part of the Constitution.

The City of Smithville has two referendums on the ballot on November 4.

The Retail Package Store Referendum asks city voters to either vote "To permit retail package stores to sell beverages in Smithville" or "not to permit retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in Smithville".

The Consumption on the Premises Referendum asks city voters to either vote "for legal sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in Smithville" or "against legal sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in Smithville."

A simple majority vote is required for passage of the referendums.

Early voting will begin October 15 and run through October 30.

Hours are as follows:
Mondays 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursdays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturdays 9 a.m. to Noon.

All Early Voting will be in the first floor courtroom of the courthouse.

Probation Officer Charged with Forgery and Theft

September 24, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ashley Lasser

A probation officer has been arrested for using a client's money order to commit forgery and theft.

29 year old Ashley Lasser, who worked for CPS Community Probation Service is under a $51,500 bond and will be in court on October 2.

According to the warrant, Lasser passed a forged money order in the amount of $50 to the Dollar General Store in Smithville on Thursday, September 18. The money order was made out by a client of CPS as payment to Life Savers of Tennessee, which is a probation service where Lasser worked. She allegedly marked out the name Life Savers of Tennessee on the money order, wrote in Dollar General Store, and then passed the forged money order to the clerk.

The probation client, a defendant in a criminal case, had made out the money order to life Savers of Tennessee as payment for attending an anger management class.

Lasser allegedly used the money order at the Dollar General Store to purchase a soft drink and then received change back in cash.

Lasser has reportedly been terminated from her job as probation officer.

The case was investigated by Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes and Chief Randy Caplinger of the Smithville Police Department.

County Clerk Implements New Services

September 24, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Clerk James L. "Jimmy" Poss

Two new services, Real Time Titles and the Electronic Submission of Documents, have been implemented at the County Clerk's office.

"On Monday, September 8, our office began processing Real Time Titles," said County Clerk James L "Jimmy" Poss during Monday night's county commission meeting. "A duplicate certificate of Title for a vehicle replaces a lost, stolen, mutilated or altered Title. Real Time instantly allows customers to leave our office with a new title in hand. Prior to Real Time, these titles were taking a minimum of four business days before availability to pick up in our office or for us to mail them out. In the event a duplicate title is issued, the lost, stolen, mutilated, or altered title becomes void and may not be used to transfer ownership or encumber the vehicle," said County Clerk Poss.

Meanwhile, the County Clerk's Office has also joined 74 other counties in Tennessee who are now electronically submitting documents to the state. "On Monday, September 8, our office joined this program, which became available in January 2013," said County Clerk Poss during the county commission meeting. " These documents are scanned during daily transactions and submitted directly to the Department of Revenue. By participating in this program, the state will reimburse our office $150 a month. It is estimated to save approximately $107.04 a month in postage alone and does not include expense of other mailing material such as envelopes, etc. Annually, this will save in spending and gain in reimbursement more than $3,000. Although we began scanning September 8 with the month already in progress, we were not eligible for reimbursement this month. Our first full month of transmissions will be in October and reimbursement should follow the next month," said County Clerk Poss.

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