Local News Articles

Emergency Food and Shelter Program Funding Available Through the Alexandria Senior Center

May 24, 2018

Alexandria Senior Center Director, Sandy Brown, has announced the receipt of funding for DeKalb County residents through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP).

Program funds are used to provide food, in the form of served meals or groceries, lodging in a mass shelter or hotel, one month's rent or mortgage payment, and/or one month's utility bill.

The original authorizing legislation, the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (P.L. 100-77), signed into law on July 24, 1987, specifies "sensitivity to the transition from temporary shelter to permanent homes and attention to the specialized needs of homeless individuals with mental and physical disabilities and illness and to facilitate access for homeless individuals to other sources of services and benefits."

Also in accordance with the legislation, the EFSP National Board encourages Local Boards, the decision-making local bodies, to place special emphasis on identification of, and assistance to, the elderly, families with children, Native Americans and Veterans.

For more information, or to apply for assistance, call the Alexandria Senior Center Director, Sandy Brown, at 615-529-2928. If you know of someone who might benefit from this program, please call! Referrals are always welcome.

TDOT to Host Design Public Meeting on Highway 56 Improvement Plans Thursday

May 23, 2018
Dwayne Page
TDOT Map of Highway 56 Corridor

Anyone interested in a proposal to improve Highway 56 from State Route 287 in the Green Hill area of Warren County to East Bryant Street in Smithville is invited to a Design Public Meeting hosted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.


TDOT Plan for Highway 56_0.pdf (454.48 KB)

The meeting will be held on Thursday, May 24 from 5-7 p.m. at the DeKalb County Complex at 712 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville to share information and to answer questions about the nine mile project corridor which will be done in three construction segments.

Project plans will be presented for State Route 56 from south of the Warren County line to near Magness Road and for State Route 56 from south of State Route 288 near Magness Road to East Bryant Street in Smithville. A preliminary project display will be presented for the portion of the project on State Route 56 from near State Route 287 in Warren County to near the DeKalb County Line.

The proposed cross sections for the project are as follows:

*From south of State Route 287 to north of Bessie Gribble Road-two 12-foot travel lanes with a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, four-foot shoulders and ditches.

* From north of Bessie Gribble Road to Vaughn Lane-two 12-foot travel lanes with 12-foot shoulders and ditches. There will be left turn lanes at intersecting roadways.

*From Vaughn Lane to north of Morgan Branch-two 12-foot travel lanes with a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, 12-foot shoulders and ditches.

*From north of Morgan Branch to East Bryant Street- four 12-foot travel lanes with a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, four foot shoulders, two-foot curb and gutter, a sidewalk within a 10 foot utility strip on either side.

The meeting will include a presentation followed by a question and answer session. The public is invited to ask questions and make comments during the meeting. Representatives of TDOT will be present to answer questions on any aspect of the project.

Plans are available for public inspection at the offices of:
Robert Rodgers
7512 Volkswagen Drive
Chattanooga, TN 37416
Phone 423-510-1138

or Fredrick Miller
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN. 37243
Phone 615-741-0835

The meeting will also request public input on the environmental document. Anyone with questions regarding the environmental document should contact:
Ms. Sharon Sanders
Environmental Division
James K. Polk Building 9th Floor
505 Deaderick, Nashville, TN 37243
Phone 615-741-3655 or email Sharon Sanders@tn.gov

Webb to Graduate Cum Laude from the Webb School in Bell Buckle

May 23, 2018
Dwayne Page
Thomas Hunt Webb

Thomas Hunt Webb, a resident of Smithville, will graduate Saturday, May 26 from The Webb School.

He enrolled in ninth grade at Webb in 2014. While at Webb, he was a member of the cross-country and football teams. He has also been involved as a prefect for three years to boarding students. Thomas has made the Honor Roll all four years, Vice President of Student Council, and Homecoming football king Senior year. Thomas just earned his Eagle Scout Award; the highest achievement attainable in Boy Scouts of America. Thomas is the son of Alan and Lora Webb. Thomas plans to attend Belmont University and major in Bio Chemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Spanish.

The Webb School is a private co-educational college preparatory boarding and day school in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, founded in 1870. It has been called the oldest continuously operating boarding school in the South. Under founder Sawney Webb's leadership, the school produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other secondary school in the United States.

Florence & White Ford Presents Check to DCHS Softball Program

May 23, 2018
Dwayne Page
Jimmy White of Florence and White Ford presents check to Tigerette Softball Coach Danny Fish

The DCHS Tigerette Softball Program recently received a check from Florence & White Ford of Smithville in the amount $4,200.

The check was presented to DCHS Softball Coach Danny Fish by Jimmy and Adria White of Florence & White Ford. The funds were raised in a Ford Test Drive Event held in March.

“The "Drive for your school" fundraiser was very successful and we would like to thank everyone that came out to help us in this event. Thank you to Florence and White,” said Coach Fish.

For every person who test drove a new Ford vehicle Ford Motor Company donated $20. These funds will go to buy necessary equipment and the Facility Fund.

"We are very blessed to have such a wonderful community, and very thankful for the continued support,” added Coach Fish

DCHS Project Graduation Held at Dave & Busters

May 23, 2018
Dwayne Page
DCHS Class of 2018 President Tyree Cripps receives Project Graduation donation from Phillip Cantrell of Cantrells the home of Fluty and Fluty's Shoes
DCHS Class of 2018 President Tyree Cripps receives Project Graduation donation from Rhonda Caplinger and Casey Midgett of Liberty State Bank
Southern Landscape Supply – Bad boy Lawnmowers supported DCHS Project Graduation
DCHS Project Graduation Committee President Blake Cantrell receives donation from Chad Colwell of Wilson Bank & Trust
DCHS Class of 2018 President Tyree Cripps stands beside Jackson Kayak donated by Caney Fork Outdoors to benefit Project Graduation

For the first time, the DCHS Project Graduation was held off campus.

Following the commencement program last Friday night, members of the Class of 2018 headed for Dave & Busters in Nashville for an overnight of entertainment.

Blake Cantrell, president of the 2018 Project Graduation Committee, said all went well and the group is very appreciative for all the support shown during the year.

“Project Graduation would like to thank everyone involved in making this year a great success. We were able to take participating Seniors to Dave & Busters in Nashville. The Seniors played unlimited arcade games, ate, and bowled the night away. We had unlimited arcade play and bowling, plus each student had 96 credits of play where they could get tickets to redeem for prizes. We were fed plenty of food with unlimited soft drinks. We had hourly drawings for prizes ranging from $10 subway gift cards to a Jackson Kayak donated by Caney Fork Outdoors,” said Cantrell.

“We would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the local businesses that made donations helping to make this event possible.

Southern Landscape Supply – Bad boy Lawnmowers
Wilson Bank & Trust
Liberty State Bank
Caney Fork Outdoors
Belk Grocery & Sporting Goods
Saint Thomas Hospital
A Degree Above Heating & Cooling
Johnson & Sons Cabinets
Shiny Rock Market
Blessed Again Farms
Florence & White Ford
Fluty’s Clothing
Harmony Lane Farm & Creamery
Love Cantrell Funeral Home
Star Manufacturing
ABTS Tax Service
Dekalb County Florist
Optimus Pest Solutions
American Service Contractors

“We would also like to thank The DeKalb County Board of Education for allowing us to use busses for transportation,” Cantrell continued.

“I would also like to personally thank the team involved this year that made all this possible. The students that sold items, worked at various fundraisers, or just turned in a recipe for a cookbook. The parents that helped their senior by working or selling items, and some that stayed up all night giving away prizes and making sure everyone was ok. This has been a wonderful experience that we hope will continue for years to come,” added Cantrell.

Director Presents School Board Requests to County Budget Committee (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 22, 2018
Dwayne Page

The Board of Education won’t know until at least next week whether it’s proposed budget for 2018-19 which includes a $3,000 pay raise for teachers will meet with the approval of the county commission’s budget committee.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps met with County Mayor Tim Stribling and members of the budget committee Monday evening at the courthouse to formally make the request on behalf of the board. Even if the committee recommends the proposal, the county commission would have to approve it in July.

The budget committee will meet again Thursday, May 31 at 5:30 p.m. at the courthouse to crunch the numbers with the county’s financial consultant Steve Bates before giving the school board an answer.

During a brief special called meeting last Wednesday, May 16 the Board of Education approved a proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year which includes pay raises for teachers and support staff.

If approved, the actual local increase for the 228 teachers would be $2,400 each since the state is funding a $600 raise per teacher. Non-certified staff would get a $1,500 pay raise, all funded by local dollars.

In his meeting with the budget committee Monday night, Director of Schools Cripps said DeKalb County is not keeping pace with other counties in the rate of pay for teachers and they (teachers) are getting harder to come by.

“We didn’t just throw out a $3,000 figure. When we got our preliminary (Basic Education Program) BEP money, the April statement showed that we are right at $1,800 below the average state salary. The average is $44,024 and we are at $42,287. We all know that last year our insurance went up tremendously across the board and everyone (teachers) was wanting big help in their insurance but when you look long range what is going to help their retirement it is their highest five years of salary. That is what their retirement is based on. With the increase in salary that will help offset some of their costs as far as insurance with the $3,000 per teacher and $1,500 for non-certified employees,” said Director Cripps.

Budget committee member Jerry Adcock said he figured the school board’s request for salaries and other new spending if approved could require a property tax rate increase of more than 37 cents. Adcock said he had concerns about the burden such an increase might place on taxpayers living on fixed incomes.

Director Cripps said he is aware that the board’s request comes at a price but he has to also look out for teachers.

“I want to take care of my teachers because here is my fear. There is a shortage of teachers anyway. Three years ago there were 12,000 teachers coming out of colleges. Now it’s like 6,000. With Wilson County and Cookeville booming, we can’t compete with their salaries or their benefits. I’ve got to let them (teachers) know I am fighting for them. I know it’s a huge amount to ask for but to get the best people in here we’re going to have to start paying better,” said Director Cripps.

Asked about how many teachers the school district employs above the BEP requirements, Director Cripps it is about 30. “We’re around 30 positions above BEP but you never know what is going to happen. We had three kids to enroll with hearing issues and we had to hire three interpreters ,” he said.

In addition to asking for pay raises for personnel, the Board of Education wants more money to purchase Chrome Books for the 3rd through 5th grades at a cost of $240,000. Students from the 6th grade through high school already have Chrome Books. Extra funds ($20,000) would be included to repair and replace existing Chrome Books.

Cripps said $215,000 is needed to buy new textbooks. “This is a big change in our budget. This year is science adoption and that is K-12. We have to get new books for every student. The average book is $150,” he said.

New funding ($25,000) is also requested to implement a Dyslexia Program to help children at the elementary school grade level in reading. “The state is really pushing for testing of dyslexia and they are going to start holding us accountable for identifying our students that may have this issue. That program would be in K-2. It will help with reading and identify struggles kids may have,” said Director Cripps.

The proposed budget includes $10,000 in new spending for meeting mandates of state evaluation and testing.

“The state mandates that we have a Response to Intervention (RTI) to see where students skills are as far as remediation in math, English, and reading and what we need to do to meet those students needs. With that you have to buy materials to test them. A universal screener. That costs $12 for each student per test in grades K-8 and that’s three times (per month). We check them throughout the month in between those three times to see the progress they are making,” Director Cripps said.

Due to the increasing demands of technology, the board wants to make a current half time computer tech position full time ($16,000 in new money) which would give the school system three techs.

One new bus is usually purchased each year. The board wants to buy two new school buses this year. That would be an extra expense to the system of $100,000.

Extra funds are also included for employee matching benefits and $2,500 to help schools cover their phone bills. “We have added $500 per school to assist with phone charges at the schools since they have to pay for their own phone bills,” said Director Cripps.

The proposed new spending for schools in this budget comes to more than $1.7 million dollars over expenditures budgeted this past year. Unless cuts are made or more money is taken from the school system’s fund balance/reserves to balance the budget, a significant property tax hike might be needed to fund the school board’s request.

Eleven DeKalb West Students Awarded for Perfect Attendance

May 22, 2018
Bill Conger
Pictured left to right are Levi Reynolds, Allie Pedigo, Shianna Townsend, Autumn Crook, Ben Driver, Chase Young Emily Young, Hunter Cannon, Noah Evans, Luke Driver, and Summer Crook. (Bill Conger Photo)

Eleven students at DeKalb West finished the school year with perfect attendance. At yesterday’s (May 21) awards ceremony, Hunter Cannon, Autumn Crook, Summer Crook, Ben Driver, Luke Driver, Noah Evans, Allie Pedigo, Levi Reynolds, Shianna Townsend, Chase Young, and Emily Young were honored for not missing a single day in the 2017-18 school year. Six of the students won a drawing for a new bicycle while the remaining five took home 20-dollars in cash.

Summer Crook hasn’t missed a full day of school since 1st grade and only missed two days total during her days at DWS. Emily Young and Hunter Cannon have not missed one day the last two years of school.

Pictured left to right are Levi Reynolds, Allie Pedigo, Shianna Townsend, Autumn Crook, Ben Driver, Chase Young Emily Young, Hunter Cannon, Noah Evans, Luke Driver, and Summer Crook. (Bill Conger Photo)

DeKalb West Holds 8th Grade Recognition

May 22, 2018
Bill Conger
DeKalb West School students who earned the Academic Achievement Awards for highest averages are (Left to right) Brayden Antoniak, Breanna Cothern, Hagen Waggoner, Victoria Rodano, Malayna Nokes,  Jonathan Littleton, Summer Crook, Alley Beth Cook, and Cameron Kempton (BILL CONGER PHOTO)
On the Principal’s List for earning all A’s during the school year were Brayden Antoniak, Jathan Willoughby, Alley Beth Cook, Nathaniel Crook, Summer Crook, Cameron Kempton, Malayna Nokes, Rebecca Lawrence, Victoria Rodano, Dawson Bandy, Breanna  Cothern, Hagen Waggoner, and Jonathan Littleton. (BILL CONGER PHOTO)
Students who had the distinction of remaining on the A/B Honor Roll all year were Cordell Collier, Josie Ketchum,  Lucas Hale, Kenzie Hayes, Kayla Hight, Ariel Patterson, Lydia Willoughby, Makayla Cook, Allen Curtis, Allison Eastes, and  (Not Pictured) Kaia Howard (BILL CONGER PHOTO)
Makayla Cook and Jon Lawson were given the Making Tracks Awards for Most Improved.(BILL CONGER PHOTO)
 Peers chose Kenzie Hayes, Cordell Collier, Rebecca Lawrence and Brayden Antoniak for the Citizenship Awards.(BILL CONGER PHOTO)
Summer Crook (left) and Kayla Hight (right) were chosen for the 4 PAWS character award. (BILL CONGER PHOTO)
Lesa Hayes presents Hagen Waggoner with the Georgia Young award named in honor of Hayes' mother, the late DWS Kitchen Manager (BILL CONGER PHOTO).

Family, faculty and friends watched May 22 as the 8th grade classes at DeKalb West School were formally recognized before moving on to high school next year. Students with the highest averages were honored. Brayden Antoniak dominated academically in all subjects.

Here’s a breakdown of how students performed. In English Language Arts, Antoniak scored 98 and Breanna Cothern, 97. There was a three way tie in History between Antoniak, Cameron Kempton and Hagen Waggoner with a 98 average. Antoniak had a perfect 100 average in Math followed closely by Cothern with 98. Seven students tied with a nearly perfect score in Science. Cothern, Antoniak, Alley Beth Cook, Summer Crook, Jonathan Littleton, Malayna Nokes and Victoria Rodano all had the highest averages with 99.

On the Principal’s List for earning all A’s during the school year were Brayden Antoniak,

Alley Beth Cook, Nathaniel Crook, Summer Crook, Cameron Kempton, Rebecca Lawrence,

Jonathan Littleton, Malayna Nokes, Victoria Rodano, Jathan Willoughby, Dawson Bandy,

Breanna Cothern, and Hagen Waggoner.

Students who had the distinction of remaining on the A/B Honor Roll all year were Cordell Collier, Lucas Hale, Kenzie Hayes, Kayla Hight, Kaia Howard, Ariel Patterson, Lydia Willoughby, Makayla Cook, Allen Curtis, Allison Eastes, and Josie Ketchum.

The award for Most Improved went to Jon Lawson in Karen France’s homeroom and to Makayla Cook in Cynthia Wilson’s room. The peer-chosen Citizenship Awards were presented to Kenzie Hayes and Cordell Collier in France’s homeroom and in Wilson’s homeroom--Rebecca Lawrence and Brayden Antoniak. Kayla Hight earned the PAWS Award from Mrs. France, and Summer Crook was selected in Wilson’s class. PAWS is the school’s positive behavior reward program.

DMS Teacher Lesa Hayes presented Hagen Waggoner with the Georgia Young award, named in memorial to the beloved late Kitchen Manager.

Junior Beta Sponsor Bill Conger awarded Brayden Antoniak with the Beta Club’s service award. Antoniak served the most volunteer hours of anyone in the club with 127.25. Service certificates were presented to Dawson Bandy with 70.25 hours, Alley Beth Cook, 15 hours, Makayla Cook 28.5, Nathaniel Crook 18.25, Summer Crook 53.5, Izzy Haugh 17.5, Becca Lawrence 44.75, Victoria Rodano 10, Jathan Willoughby 53, and Lydia Willoughby 46.

Special Wags awards were presented from Art, Computer, Library, Music, Guidance, and P.E. to recognize students who shine in the classroom. Parker Winfree and Rebecca Lawrence received a Guidance award, Marissa Clark and Jonathan Littleton were given the Art award, Computer awards went to Kaia Howard and Victoria Rodano, P.E. Wags went to William Harris and Lydia Willoughby while Allen Curtis and Jonathan Littleton were given Music awards.

The following students are members of the DeKalb West School 8th grade class of 2017-18. From Cynthia Wilson’s homeroom: Sean Antoniak, Savannah Chapman, Alley Beth Cook, Makayla Cook, Nathaniel Crook, Summer Crook, Allen Curtis, Allison Eastes, Carter Hale, William Harris, Rakell Hooper, Cameron Kempton, Josie Ketchum, Rebecca Lawrence, Jonathan Littleton, Malayna Nokes, Harmoney Patterson, James Pitman, Victoria Rodano, Jathan Willoughby, Jacob Wiloth, and Bailey Winfree; From Karen France’s homeroom: Dawson Bandy, William Buterbaugh, Alonna Christian, Marissa Clark, Khloe Cline, Cordell Collier, Breanna Cothern, Joseph Evans, Michael Fender, Lucas Hale, Isabella Haugh, Kenzie Hayes, Kayla Hight, Kaia Howard, Jonathan Lawson, Elizabeth Markham, Ethan Marshall, Ariel Patterson, Billy Rose, Sierra Sabatino, Hagen Waggoner, Lydia Willoughby, and Thomas Winfree.

Gurley Charged with Burglary and Theft

May 22, 2018
Dwayne Page
Darnell Gurley
Makenzi Rene Creasy
Jose Luis Padilla Vazquez
Mark Anthony Mason Jr.
Bobby Gene Anderson
Ashley Danielle Geekie
Sarah Elaine Percell

A local man is in trouble after he allegedly stole an automobile and later broke into the home of his victim.

40 year old Darnell Gurley of 151 Cemetery Road was arrested by Smithville Police on Wednesday, May 9 for theft of property, burglary, and vandalism. According to a report filed on Friday, May 4, Gurley had gone to his victim's residence and stole a vehicle. The automobile was later found and returned to the victim. On Saturday, May 5, another report was filed by the same victim informing police that Gurley had sent her a text message stating that he was in her house while she was gone. The back door and a window had been broken where entry was made to the residence. On Wednesday, May 9 police found Gurley in an abandoned burned duplex on Estes Street where he was laying on a couch asleep. The victim's key fob was next to Gurley on the couch. He was arrested and taken into custody without incident. Gurley’s bond is $17,500 and his court date is May 24.

23 year old James Dillon Matthews of Sparta was cited for theft of merchandise on Saturday, April 28. A Wal-Mart employee observed Matthews open a pack of Gillette razors and put them into his pants.

25 year old Makenzi Rene Creasy of Hohenwald was arrested on Sunday, April 29 for disorderly conduct. Police responded to 398 East Main Street in reference to a disorderly person. Upon arrival officers learned that Creasy had been yelling at the staff of the halfway house. She had even put her hands on a roommate as she was walking through the room. Creasy acted belligerently toward the officers and accused Sergeant Travis Bryant of not being a real police officer saying she didn't have to listen to him or his directions. As officers attempted to place her in handcuffs Creasy began to physically resist but she was subsequently taken into custody without further incident. Her bond is $3,000.

39 year old Jose Luis Padilla Vazquez of 535 Cooper Street was arrested on Sunday, April 29 for domestic assault. Police were called to the residence and spoke with the victim who reported that when she arrived home Vazquez started yelling and arguing with her. He then punched her on the left side of the face and kicked her on the right leg. The victim had a mark/rise on her face consistent with a punch. Police found Vazquez later at the Discount Tobacco Store and he was taken into custody without incident. His bond is $3,500.

46 year old Mark Anthony Mason Jr. of 678 Redmon Road was arrested Wednesday, May 2 for domestic assault and violation of an order of protection. Police responded to 460 West Broad Street due to a fight and upon arrival observed Mason ramming his shoulder into his victim forcing that person into the side door of a truck. Mason was determined to have been the primary aggressor. A check with Central Dispatch revealed that Mason has an active order of protection against him by this victim. Mason’s bond is $6,000.

64 year old Bobby Gene Anderson of 764 Pine Orchard Road was arrested on Saturday, May 5 for public intoxication. Police were called to Bill Page Ball Park due to an intoxicated man passed out on the ground. Upon arrival, officers found Anderson walking around vehicles. He was unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred and he had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Anderson was taken into custody without incident. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is May 24.

34 year old Stephanie Nichole Eldridge of 434 Morgan Drive was cited for vandalism on Friday, May 11. Eldridge slashed 2 tires on her neighbor's vehicle after an argument between them. Her court date is June 14.

20 year old Ashley Danielle Geekie of 1012 Wright Bend Road was arrested on Saturday, May 12 for theft of property. Geekie was observed by a Wal-Mart employee putting items from the store in a purse and in her pant pockets. Once officers arrived and spoke with Geekie but she became loud and would not cooperate with them. Geekie was then taken into custody without incident and the stolen items were recovered and returned to Wal-Mart. Geekie’s bond is $2,500 and her court date is June 14.

28 year old Sarah Elaine Percell of Morrison was arrested on Saturday, May 12 for public intoxication. Police were called to Dearman Street to check on an intoxicated woman who was in the yard. Upon arrival, officers found the woman, Percell. She was observed to have pinpoint pupils and her eyes were blood shot. She also appeared to be dazed and confused as to where she was and how she got there. She was talking incoherently making statements that didn't make any sense. While questioning Percell, police learned that she had taken ICE (meth) earlier but she didn't know if it was that day or the day before. Percell was then taken into custody for her safety and that of the public. Bond for Percell is $3,000 and her court date is June 14.

Come to the Party! National Trails Day at Edgar Evins State Park

May 22, 2018
Dwayne Page
First Sign –-: This colorful sign at the trail head sums up what to expect on the almost ½ mile trail.
Miss Teen Tennessee -–: Miss Tennessee’s Outstanding Teen, Mary Humphrey, Jackson, TN, will help Ramble, the Tennessee State Park mascot, cut the ribbon on the new trail. Miss Humphrey, whose slogan is “Pages With a Purpose”, has been campaigning across the state promoting literacy
2018 April Walk through on the Story Book Trail –-: A delegation of park staff and Friends of Edgar Evins State Park walked the trail in April to see what remained to be done. They are left to right: Fount Bertram, Bradyville. Lori Christensen, Woodbury, Kenny Gragg, Park Manager, Ranger Justin Vaughn, Anna Bertram, Bradyville, and Jason Cross, Maintenance Manager.

Edgar Evins State Park is celebrating National Trails Day on Saturday, June 2 with a new Hillside Story Book Trail, new aviary and a party and you are invited to join in the fun.

A ribbon cutting for a new kid friendly half mile story book trail will take place along with the unveiling of the newly built aviary next to the Interpretive Center at the park. Read, Exercise, and Explore. The new trail combines a children's nature story with the thrill of being in the great outdoors. Come see how one of nature's miracles grows from a tiny egg to a flying jewel as each sign posted at intervals along the trail reveals more of the story, based on the book, Where Butterflies Grow, by Joanne Ryder with pictures by Lynne Cherry.

Miss Tennessee’s Outstanding Teen, Mary Humphrey of Jackson will help Ramble, the Tennessee State Park mascot, cut the ribbon on the new trail. Miss Humphrey, whose slogan is “Pages With a Purpose”, has been campaigning across the state promoting literacy.

Guided and unguided hikes will be held from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on the Story Book Trail.

Giant pages of the book will be posted on signs at intervals along the trail for youngsters to enjoy. Guides on the tour will help children with their level of reading. The purpose of the Story Book Trail is to stimulate young readers as well as to encourage them and caregivers to enjoy an outdoor experience together. The trail was built by volunteers and park staff as a project of the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park.

The project is endorsed by the Governor's Books From Birth Foundation, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, Ready to Read, Tennessee State Parks, and Friends of Tennessee State Parks Conservancy. Representatives will be on hand to sign up children from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. to receive free books monthly from the Imagination Library. Refreshments and party favors will be available along with crafts to make and other activities for the children in addition to the trail and aviary.

The aviary is the Girl Scout Gold Award project of Smithville’s Neely Evans, Troop 1146.

“We are proud of Neely and what she has achieved! Come admire this outstanding aviary and enjoy the birds,” said Fount Bertram, President of Friends of Edgar Evins State Park.

“Spearheaded by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park with help from park staff, this trail has finally taken shape after over a year of planning and working together. We wish to thank the park staff and many others also for the opportunity to complete and present this trail to the children and families visiting the park. Among these are the Cookeville Children’s Museum, the Public Library Systems for DeKalb, Putnam and Smith counties for their help with games and activities for this event as well as the Friends of Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Trails Association for grants of money to help defray costs. Thanks also to the many volunteers of all ages who jumped in to help construct the trail from scratch on the hillside, including members of Tennessee Trails Association, Smithville Brownie Girl Scout Troop 3094 under the leadership of Tanya Hale, and the young men of the former Smithville Boy Scout Troop 875 under the leadership of Cameron Beal, and others,” added Bertram.

The Friends of Edgar Evins State Park is an all-volunteer organization with the sole purpose of helping the park. For more information about contributing money or time please visit our website at www.foeesp.com or Facebook at Friends of EESP.


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