Local News Articles

Signs Available to Help Promote "Read 20" Initiative

June 14, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby with Central Office Staff

Have you read with a child today?

It's the most important twenty minutes of your day.

Just 20 minutes a day reading aloud with young children strengthens relationships, encourages listening and language skills, promotes attention and curiosity, and establishes a strong reading foundation. These skills are essential for success in school and in life.

The DeKalb County School System seeks to heighten awareness of the importance of reading with a young child over the summer break so they will be better prepared for the start of school in the fall.

Signs are now available for businesses to help spread the word.

"A few work sessions ago we introduced the "Read 20" Initiative and we have had a couple of partnership community meetings. We have had such a good response. We're so excited to see an effort from our community support education and reading. We did write a Hometown Help Grant to help fund our kick-off. We now have signs for businesses to put throughout the community. We would also like to remind businesses that have access to a marquee to please put "Read 20" on their marquee or put them on their billing statements in order to help us spread the word that "Read 20" is so important each and every day. If you would like a sign, give us a call," said Dr. Danielle Collins, Federal Programs Supervisor during Thursday night's school board meeting.

Summer Reading Days have been scheduled at Northside and Smithville Elementary Schools. During the following dates and times, the schools will be open for parents to bring their children to school and read with them:

Northside Elementary School:
Monday, June 16: 9:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 17: 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Smithville Elementary School:
Monday, June 16: 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 17: 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Wednesday, June 18: 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

"Every year 40% of children walk into kindergarten one to three years behind. But there is something you can do about it," said Gina Arnold, Special Education Supervisor. "We do honor parents as a child's most influential and most loved teacher so for this reason we want to call your awareness to some statistics about early literacy. Students who are not prepared for school usually struggle for years to catch up and many never do. In fact, 50% eventually drop out. However, the single most important activity for building knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. This is especially so during the pre-school years. How young boys and girls spend their time at home predicts success in school. Not your income or your family's background. Effective parents talk and read with their children. They spend time daily sharing learning activities and they limit television and computer games," said Arnold.

It's also a good idea to communicate with the child about what you're reading. "As you read with your child, talk about the characters and what they are doing," said Dr. Collins. "Nudge comprehension skills by asking simple who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Emphasize the meaning of a story. This is a good age to use books about numbers, colors, geometric shapes, and classifications. Your child will comprehend these concepts more easily when encountering them again," said Collins.
Vocabulary matters too.

"Five year olds typically understand about five thousand words. Yet some children know only a thousand words when they start school," said Arnold. "Vocabulary is an essential pre-reading skill because it links directly with a child's comprehension. Reading many short stories and talking about them helps young children build strong vocabularies," she said.

"Make books a part of your daily routine. The more that books are woven into the children's everyday lives, the more likely they will be to see reading as a pleasure and a gift. This can be incorporated at meal times, in a car, at the child care drop off, at the doctor's office, at a grocery store, at nap time, at the day's end, at bath time, and at bed time," Collins said.

"Read with your child. It's the most important twenty minutes of your day," said Arnold. "Studies show that children must hear and share in hundreds of stories before they are ready to learn to read in school. It is also important for them to talk about what they see every day and to say the sounds of letters that they are learning. For read aloud tips, visit www.readingfoundation.org\parents. Also we will have a link on our www.deKalbschools.net website for summer activities that you can share with your child for reading improvement," Arnold continued.

"Parents you do make the difference. Imagine a kid who practices batting and pitching a ball for an hour every day all summer from the time the child is three until he is eight. Imagine a second child. No practice. No training. He or she has never slipped his or her hand in a baseball glove. Has never ran the bases. Has never swung a bat. Has almost never seen a full game played. Imagine that they turn out the same day for Little League tryouts. The skill level between these two young ball players is like the skill level in reading readiness for our incoming kindergarteners," said Dr. Collins.

Parents are asked to involve your children in summer reading programs at local libraries. Local businesses are also urged to help spread the Read 20 message on their signs and marquees. "As parents are caregivers, you want your children to be happy and successful in school," said Arnold. We ask the community to consider on your marquee for your business or your news letter, please encourage parents and remind volunteers to Read 20. When you see Read 20 throughout our community, that is going to remind you how important it is for young children to talk and to read books and to spend time with an adult. We ask that you would consider to read 20 minutes to your child on your business memo. Perhaps on the memo section of your billing. Anything that you can do to help us raise awareness. If you would like to have a yard sign for Read 20 or a chart to hang in your business, please contact the DeKalb Board of Education. Remember, Stop, Drop, and Read to a Child," Arnold concluded.

Sheriff Pleased with Expanded SRO Program

June 14, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray
Sheriff Ray with SRO Officers

Having completed the first year of the expanded School Resource Officer Program, Sheriff Patrick Ray is pleased with the results and believes it has been a positive influence among students

"It has been a busy year for the School Resource Officers. The SROs have met with many students and parents this past school year. From what I have seen this school year, I believe the SROs are a positive example for our children. In the past, I witnessed children, especially children at the elementary school level who had a fear of law enforcement officers. During this school year, I have visited with all of the schools and watched the children interacting with the SROs. This is a great thing when children can talk with law enforcement officers and feel protected while they are attending school. I am proud the DeKalb County Commission, the DeKalb County School System, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department can all see the importance of the School Resource Officer Program and what benefits it can obtain from having it in our school system," said Sheriff Ray in a prepared statement emailed to WJLE.

Prior to the 2013-14 fiscal year, the county had been funding only one School Resource Officer and that was for the high school. The other four schools in the county had never had an SRO.

Last July when the county commission adopted the budget for 2013-14, funding was included in the county general spending plan for two of the new School Resource Officers (salaries and benefits) while the other two new SRO's (salaries and benefits) were to be paid for out of the school budget. Money to equip and train all four new SRO officers was added to the county general budget and the four extra used patrol cars for the officers were paid for out of the county general's capital projects fund. The officers were hired by the sheriff and work out of his department.

The SRO officers assigned at the beginning of the school year were Officer Terry Cowart, Jr. at Smithville Elementary School, Officer Roger Whitehead at Northside Elementary School, Officer Chris McMillen at DeKalb Middle School, Officer Kenneth Whitehead at DeKalb County High School, and Officer Lewis Carrick at DeKalb West School. The SROs were new to all schools except DCHS where officer Kenneth Whitehead has worked as an SRO for several years.

The following is a list of some of the SRO's activities this school year:

DeKalb West:
Assist Deputies-8
Advisory Sessions with Students-35
Advisory Sessions with Parents-12
Advisory Sessions with Teachers or Staff-12
Classroom Lectures-10
Special School Events (Ballgames, meetings, etc)-140
Meetings attended-2
Offense Reports-3
Juvenile Activity Reports-4
Vandalism Incidents-1
Conflict Reslutions-15
Court Appearances-1

Smithville Elementary:
Assist Deputies-14
Advisory Sessions with Students-420
Advisory Sessions with Parents-59
Advisory Sessions with Teachers or Staff-167
Meetings attended-14
Offense Reports-1
Classroom Lectures-98
Medical Assists-11
Motorist Assists-35
Special School Events (Ballgames, meetings, etc)-167

Northside Elementary:
Juvenile Petitions and Citations-7
Court Appearances-5
Assist Deputies-20
Advisory Sessions with Students-455
Advisory Sessions with Parents-19
Advisory Sessions with Teachers or Staff-500
Classroom Lectures-45
Special School Events (Ballgames, meetings, etc.)-51
Medical Assists-2
Motorist Assists-6

DeKalb Middle School:
Juvenile Petitions and Citations-12
Assist Deputies-14
Advisory Sessions with Students-291
Advisory Sessions with Parents-55
Advisory Sessions with Teachers or Staff-78
Advisory Sessions with Public-6
Classroom Lectures-12
Special School Events (Ballgames, meetings, etc.)-53
Meetings attended-2
Offense Reports-3
Juvenile Activity Reports-4
Vandalism Incidents-1

DeKalb County High School:
Juvenile Petitions and Citations-35
Assist Deputies-56
Advisory Sessions with Students-515
Advisory Sessions with Parents-95
Advisory Sessions with Teachers or Staff-228
Advisory Sessions with Public-21
Classroom Lectures-40
Special School Events (Ballgames, meetings, etc.)-61
Medical Assists-3
Motorist Assists-25

BOTTOM PHOTO: Left to Right: Officers Lewis Carrick, Terry Cowart, Jr. Roger Whitehead, Chris McMillan, Kenneth Whitehead, and Sheriff Patrick Ray)

New State Trooper Assigned to DeKalb County

June 13, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Trooper Christopher Delong

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer today served as the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony for the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s trooper cadet class in Hermitage. Fifty state troopers earned their badges at the Hermitage Hills Baptist Church this morning.

One of the new Troopers, Christopher Delong has been assigned to DeKalb County in the Cookeville District of the Tennessee Highway Patrol

“Congratulations to the graduates of Cadet Class 614 and to your families who have supported you through the 19 weeks of training. Being a state trooper is a great honor, and an even greater responsibility,” Commissioner Schroer said.

Seventy-two prospective troopers reported to the THP Cadet Academy on February 2, 2014. After more than 1,000 hours of extensive classroom and law enforcement training, 50 state troopers began their service to Tennessee today.

“I am proud to welcome 50 new members to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Of the graduates, 26 individuals have previous law enforcement experience, 17 have higher education degrees and eight are military veterans. They truly are Tennessee’s finest,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. Gibbons heads the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

Cadet Class 614 exhibited their class motto, “Do Justly, Love Mercifully, Walk Humbly,” by participating in several community service projects during the five-month training. The trooper cadets donated over $750 to the Butterfly Fund, which supports research, treatment and services dedicated to the defeat of childhood cancers; held two blood drives and collected and shipped care packages to military service members.

“The heart of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is of service,” Colonel Trott said. “I am pleased at the work they have done as trooper cadets and am looking forward to the impact they will make as state troopers in Tennessee. My message to them is to strive for greatness in their assigned districts, serve the public with pride and to stay safe,” he added.

Trooper Brandon Rogers was named the top cadet and presented the Calvin Jenks Memorial Award for Excellence for his leadership, work ethic and academics. The award was named in honor of the late Trooper Jenks, who was killed in the line of duty in January 2007. Trooper Rogers will serve in Shelby County in the THP Memphis District.

The new graduates will now advance to a maximum of 10 weeks of field training.

State Library and Archives to Preserve Original Files of Historian Tommy Webb

June 13, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Library and Archives to Preserve Original Files of Historian Tommy Webb

Starting almost 70 years ago, DeKalb County Historian Tommy Webb began devoting his life to learning everything possible about DeKalb County and its people and documenting that information. As a means of preserving those historical papers, Webb is donating his files to the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Charles (Chuck) Sherrell, State Librarian and Archivist, his assistants, members of the local library board, and friends met at Webb's home on College Street Thursday for a formal announcement followed by a luncheon.

Although Webb's original papers will be kept at the State Library and Archives, copies will remain at Justin Potter Library. "I am donating to the Tennessee State Library and Archives all the historical material that I have collected about DeKalb County over the past 70 years. I'll be 83 in July. I started when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I got a very early start. I have what amounts to two- four drawer filing cabinets full of material about DeKalb County and its families, churches, schools, civil war battles, and everything else about DeKalb County. We have copies at the library of all this material. The originals are going to the state library and archives. They wanted the originals and that's what they're getting. But we have copies of everything at Justin Potter Library so we're not really letting anything go. And I am at Justin Potter Library from 9:00 a.m. until Noon every day except Sunday to answer any questions people may have," said Webb.

Sherrell said the State Library and Archives is honored to receive such an impressive collection of historical material. "We're excited today to bring the collection of Mr. Webb back to the state library and archives for permanent preservation and to make it available to researchers. A collection like this accumulated over a lifetime, carefully tended and representing many of the people who came from this part of the state, is a rich treasure for researchers, both historians and genealogists. We're excited about the potential for that as part of the collections at the state library and archives. For the last 60 years that the state archives has been in its building, we have brought in maybe seven or eight collections like this so it's a rare opportunity to find a collection of this depth and breadth. I had known of Mr. Webb for a long time even before I became state librarian but after I took the job he wrote me a letter and asked me to come down and take a look at his collection and to discuss with him what might be the best options for preserving it and making it available. We did that about four years ago and recently he contacted me again and said he thought it was time to make the transfers so that's why today is such a special day," said Sherrell.

"The originals will always be preserved. One of the services we have to offer is careful temperature and humidity controls so that the paper will be preserved in acid free folders and boxes. We will also microfilm the collection. A lot of people today say why would you still microfilm now that we have digitalization. But microfilm is the preservation media. We know that microfilm will still be here and still be readable without specialized equipment 500 years from now. We will also be able to make digital copies from the microfilm. Digital is the access medium. Digital files degrade over time. We know that we can create a digital copy and make it available perhaps on the Internet but we will always have that microfilm backup to go to in order to make a new copy when its needed," said Sherrell.

Kathy Hendrixson, Director of Justin Potter Library, said this is a special moment, not just for Mr. Webb but for the county as well. "I think it's important for the library and for the county because this is a great honor. How many people do you know that has their papers and their life's work put in the state library and archives? I think it's a big deal. Our library board is really enthused and proud of it. In fact, they fixed a luncheon for everyone who came today. Mr. Webb is just a treasure. He's there (library) from 9:00 a.m. until noon every day. There's hardly a day that goes by that we don't have two or three people who come in. He's in there helping them trace their family history. He knows so many things and a lot of it is off the top of his head. It's not something he has to go to a file for. For example, he'll say "so and so is buried over there. They lived there. The house stood there." And he is related to everybody. We are so proud of Mr. Webb and his accomplishments and we are thankful for him and all the things he does for the county and especially for the library because if he wasn't there during the day, we would have to be doing all these little things. For example, if somebody calls from California and says my great great granddaddy lived there in 1840, do you have any information on that? I'd have to say Mr. Webb is not here today. Wait and call back tomorrow. He can generally find that information. We are really pleased that Chuck Sherrell from the Tennessee State Library and Archives has come to collect these for the archives. It's an honor for us and for Mr. Webb. We're just so proud of him," said Hendrixson.

At an early age, Webb acquired an interest in local and family history and as he grew older, that interest became an obsession."My mother and daddy both, but particularly my mother always talked about her family and who we were kin to and how we were related. She knew a good bit of the family history because she had lived with her grandmother for a good while so I had heard her talk and decided I'd like to find out more. It became an absolute obsession. When I was in high school I would go down to the register's office after school and read the deed books. I started with the first one and read them all the way through. When I was in college, if I were bored in class I would sit there and draw a map of the Caney Fork River and put in every loop and turn. I'd put in the school houses where they belonged and that sort of thing. I didn't watch TV. I didn't care a thing about TV. I'd much rather dig into the history of DeKalb County. And I might add, I found out a lot about family history. I was interested in mine first and when I found what mine was like I thought Lord have mercy, I wonder what everybody else's is like so I dug into everybody else's (family history). I found out that they are all about alike. They all have some really fine people that you're proud of and you hope everybody knows you're kin to them. And they all have some that are just awful and you hope nobody knows you're kin to them but you are. People come into the library from places like Texas, California, and DeKalb County and they want to know where great grandpa is buried and why he doesn't have a tombstone and things like that and I can tell them. It's a pleasure to them and it's a pleasure to me," said Webb.

(PICTURED ABOVE: Jan Thomas of DeKalb Library Board (seated), Tommy Webb, State Archivist Charles (Chuck) Sherrell, and Bobby White of DeKalb Library Board (seated); Standing behind Webb are Genrose Davis of DeKalb Library Board, Director Kathy Hendrixson of Justin Potter Library, an Assistant of Mr. Sherrell, Susan Hinton, Assistant of Mr. Sherrell, Joe Webster, and Brenda Hooper of DeKalb Library Board)

Professional Personnel Hired for Next School Year

June 13, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has signed contracts with the Professional Personnel for the 2014-2015 school year.

Willoughby presented a list of the employees to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Certified personnel at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-
Angie Anderson, Charlotte Blaylock, Danny Bond, Amanda Brown, Kathy Bryant, Kevin Burchfield, Kelley Burgess, Amee Cantrell, Jeanine Cantrell, Todd Cantrell, Gary Caplinger, Mary Anne Carpenter, Joe Pat Cope, Patrick Cripps, Bethany Davis, Deborah DePriest, Andrew Dixon, Brittany Dixon, Donna Emmons, Marshall Ferrell, Tina Fletcher, Amanda Fuller, David Gash, Josh Gulley, Sara Halliburton, Susan Hinton, Sonja House, John Isabell (LOA), William Jennings, Natasha Judkins, Dylan Kleparek, Brad Leach, Lynus Martin, Taylor McDaniel (Interim), Lori Myrick, Rolando Navarro, Jenny Norris, Scott Odom, Nallely Ortega-Prater, Shelly Painter, Walteen Parker, Linda Parris, Leslie Parsley, John Pryor, Mary Anne Puckett, Jane Rice, Marilyn Roberts, Melissa Ruch, Daniel Seber, Michael Shaw, Tracy Slone, Steve Trapp, Chris Vance, Dianne Werth, Michael Whitefield, Shea Wiegele, and Sara Young.

Northside Elementary School-
January Agee, Marla Beshearse, Kelly Birmingham, Mollie Bratten, Linda Bush, Regina Campbell, Megan Carroll, Wendy Colvert, Trent Colwell, Michael Crockett, Alisha Day, Ashley Dean, Tabitha Farmer, Danny Fish, Jerry Foster, Carrie Gottlied, Amy Green, Amanda Griffith, Jennifer Griffith, Melissa Hale, Cynthia Hale, Jessica Hale, Patty Hale, Jennifer Herndon, Greg Hibdon, Karen Jacobs, Shelly Jennings, Kristy Lasser, Lisa Mabe, Jama Martin, Amanda Mathis, Libby McCormick, Elizabeth Nolt, Josh Odom, Beth Pafford, Amy Raymond, Dr. Gayle Redmon, Ashley Reeves, Melissa Roysdon, Carol Sampley, Tammy Sims, Julie Styer, Carol Tripp, Kristen Van Vranken, Betsye Walker, Ginger Wenger, and Sandy Willingham.

DeKalb West School-
Doris Cantrell, Jenny Cantrell, Jeanna Caplinger, William Conger, Kim Crook, Martha Damron, Tonya Ellis, Janet England, Sabrina Farler, Lesa Hayes, Ricky Hendrix, Cathleen Humphrey, Kristen Kell, Regina Kent, Nadine Manganielle, Shelia McMillen, Diana Moon, Amanda Mullinax, Danny Parkerson, Tammy Payne, Debra Poteete, Cynthia Preston, Lori Pryor, Cynthia Pulley, Audrey Russell, Teresa Sullivan, Shelia Vanatta, Natasha Vaughn, Susan West, Vicki Wilson, and Amy Young.

Smithville Elementary School-
Misty Agee, Ashley Barnes, Renee Beaty, Kelly Birmingham, Lindsey Bouldin, Whitney Brelje, Beth Cantrell, Layra Crook, Vicky Duke, Tina Gash, Sydney Gremmels, Vicky Hawker, Bradley Hendrix, Holly Hendrix, Mary Henny, Tanya Howard, Kelly Huling, Lisa Hull, Lorie Isabell (LOA), Ana Jarvis, Amanda Johnson, Angela Johnson, Jennifer Judkins, Karen Knowles, Carrie Lee, Leah Magness, Kristen Malone, Adrienne McCormick, LeVaughnda Midgett, Hannah Mummert, Susan Palmer, Jane Ramsey, Amanda Rhoady, Allison Rigsby, Bethany Rigsby, Heather Shehane, Audra Stangeberg, Carol Tallent, Ashlee Thomason, Janet Trapp, Carol Tripp, Julie Vincent, Sherian Waggoner, Tiffany Wheatley, Kristy Williams, Janet Woodward, Christie Young, and Crystal Young.

DeKalb Middle School-
Joey Agee, Josh Agee, Lori Alexander, Suzette Barnes, Nancy Cowan, Margaret Coyle, Lisa Craig, Amanda Dakas, Tena Davidson, Courtney Davis, Jenny Elrod, Holly Espinosa, Amy Farler, Jason Farley, Suzanne Gash, Kerry Gibson, Lori Hendrix, Randy Jennings, Bryan Jones, Michelle Jones, Amy Key, Michael Lewis, Michael Littrell, Martha Melching, Debra Moore, Justin Nokes, Karen Pelham, Emily Phillips, Justin Poteete, Anita Puckett, Candice Scrabo, Penny Smitty, Tonya Sullivan, Kitty Thomas, Tad Webb, Jennifer West, Rebecca Whimpey, Kathryn Wisinger, and Alicia Wittenberg.

Central Office Staff-
Gina Arnold, Katherine Ballard, Lisa Bell, Michelle Burklow, Dr. Danielle Collins, Lisa Cripps, Stephanie Dyer, Amy Fox, Joey Reeder, Dee Anna Reynolds, and Lori Rogers.

Meanwhile, the Board of Education voted to grant tenure to the following teachers upon the recommendation of Director of Schools Mark Willoughby:

Courtney Davis, Elizabeth Nolt, Tiffany Wheatley, Tanya Howard, Susan Palmer, Adrienne McCormick, and Susan West.

According to Director Willoughby, these teachers have successfully completed the probationary period of five years and received evaluations demonstrating an overall performance effectiveness level of above or significantly above expectations as required for tenure.

The Board also approved the following teachers for a professional license upon the recommendation of Director Willoughby:

January Agee, Brittany Dixon, Justin Nokes, Ashley Reeves, Lindsey Bouldin, Joshua Gulley, Nallely Ortega-Prater, Kelley Burgess, and Jennifer Herndon.

According to Director Willoughby, these teachers have successfully completed the statutory apprentice period of three years as required for license advancement.

School Support Staff Hired

June 13, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby announced Thursday night during the board of education meeting that he has employed the support staff for the 2014-2015 school year.

Those employed at DeKalb County High School are:
Rena Adcock, Wanda Bradford, Kathy Chapman, Kenderly Cripps, Debbie Eaton, Regina Estes, Beverly Ferrell, Darnette Hibdon, Melissa Hicks, Deborah Magness, Carl Malone, Thomas Maney, Charles Martin, Paulette McDonald, Rhonda Merriman, Sara Parker, JoAnn Pittman, Brian Reed, Denise Rutland, Vicky Sandlin, Carol Swope, Norman Underhill, Tiffanie VanWinkle, Jamie Wright, and Debbie Young.

DeKalb Middle School:
Sue Arnold, Jennifer Benton, Pauline Braswell, Anita Conley, Tammy Ferrell, Fay Gilreath, Doris Graham, Jeremy Haas, Connie Haggard, Angie Moore, Chris Moore, Lisa Norton, Angela Patrick, Paula Pinegar, Pauletta Ruffner, Mary Sanders, Teresa Spenser, Tammy Maynard, and Vicky Walker.

Smithville Elementary School:
Janis Barnes, Debora Cunningham, Brenda Beth Cantrell, Cindi Dias, Darlene Evans, Myra Fox, Jennifer Gay, Betty Griffith, Jean Hayes, Vicki Jefferies, Milinda League, Sara Lomas, Talitha Looney, Pat Milam, Tera Mooneyham, Ronda Northcutt, Holly Owens, Rebecca Parker, Rhonda Pelham, Amelia Phillips, Freeda Phillips, Lori Poss, Brenda Rigney, Amanda Trapp, Mary-Margaret Tripp, Tammy Tyler, and Celia Whaley.

Northside Elementary:
Pam Baines, Amy Buchanan, Sue Close, Evril Cubbins, Tena Edwards, Terrie Ford, Robbie Joan Frazier, Gary Good, Phyllis Hallum, Sherry Judkins, Deborah Knowles, Melinda Lattimore, Sunshine Martin, Thelma Martin, Rebecca Moss, Lynn Pichey, Jo Dean Redmon, Tenille Rowland, Ruby Thomason, JoAnn Vanatta, Kim Violet, Sharon Washer, Deneene Willingham, and Rita Young.

DeKalb West School:
Holly Bain, Brenda Bandy, Donna Driver, Dorothy Duggin, Ruth Frazier, Pauline Frazier, Stephanie Fuson, Shelly Gibson, Lisa Hale, Donna Hale, Jennifer Martin, Nancy Mulloy, Faye Nixon, Tina Paschal, Rhonda Pilgrim, Elizabeth Redmon, Beverly Starnes, Kristi Sullivan, and Rena Willoughby

County Wide Positions:
Chandra Adcock, Sandra Billings, Chance Bomen, W.C. Braswell, Rosalinda Cervantes, Cindy Childers, Tommy Clark, Christie Colwell, Billy Curtis, Bettye June Dodd, Christie Driver, Wade Ferrell, Julie Fitts, Greg Frasier, LeAnne Frasier, Yvonne Hale, Rebecca Hawkins, Terry Hicks, Earl Jared, Freda Johnson, Tammy Judkins, Amy Lattimore, Jenean Lawson, Debbie London, Marie Martin, Shirley Mathis, Brelle McCormick, Teresa Miller, Shelby Mulloy, April Odom, Shirley Ours, Angela Patrick, B.J. Patterson, Melissa Pirtle, Jo Dean Redmon, Joyce Robinson, Roger Sharp, Kimberly Turner, Barbara Vanatta, Jamie Vickers, Judy Wiggins, Polly Wilkins, and Joannie Williams.

Transportation:
Danny Bond, Dwayne Cantrell, Elaine Davis, Suzanne Dunn, Debbie Eaton, Ricky Edwards, Marshall Ferrell, Julie Fitts, Tina Fletcher, Linda Fowler, Bill Fowler, Lynn Griffith, Orlando Guzman, Donald Haggard, Darnette Hibdon, Melissa Hicks, Kathy Jacobs, Dwight Knowles, Daniel Lawson, Josh Lawson, Kimberly Lawson, Donnie Lewis, Bobby Martin, Michael Merriman, Ronald Merriman, Linda Gail Pack, Jimmy Poss, Myron Rhody, Eric Snow, Jimmy Sprague, Carol Swope, Ken Taylor, Bobby Taylor, B.J. Thomason, Tony Trapp, Danny Washer, Angela Wilkerson, and Donald Young.

Blasting Forced Closure of Highway 70 Near Sligo Bridge

June 12, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Highway 70 near Sligo Bridge was closed to all traffic Thursday due to blasting in the construction zone which caused material to accumulate in the roadway.

A TDOT official told WJLE the contractor blasted today and more material got into the roadway than expected. It happened on the Sparta side. The road will eventually be opened to one lane and flag traffic until they can get both lanes reopened.

DeKalb County Fair July 21-26

June 12, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Fair July 21-26

Members of the DeKalb County Fair Association are busy preparing for this year's edition of the Grandpa Fair of the South which is set for Monday through Saturday July 21-26.

With the theme " Twenty Years of Volunteers", this year's DeKalb County Fair will feature a fun filled week of activities including rides by the Family Attractions Amusement Company and new events, a Kids Pedal Tractor Pull and DeKalb's Kidnation Talent Showcase, a non-competative talent show for youngsters up to age eighteen.

The fair will be bringing back the Rodeo, ATV/Mini-Rod Outlaw Pull, Super Tractor and Truck Pull, Go Cart Racing, Four Wheelers and Motorcycle Racing, ATV Rodeo and many other popular attractions.

Fair goers are encouraged to take the time to enjoy lots of delicious foods from the food booths and stop by to see the many commercial, agricultural, and women's exhibits.

The Kenneth Sandlin Center will be open Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

All Non- Perishable exhibits ONLY will be accepted Saturday, July 12 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. All Perishable items ONLY will be accepted on Saturday, July 19 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Take a stroll down Memory Lane and enjoy nightly entertainment at the Memory Lane Stage in Memory Village, sponsored by DeKalb Community Bank.

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Fair 5K Fun Run will be July 19. Registration begins at 7 pm at the Fair Office. The Run will start at 7:30 PM. Pre-registration available by contacting Matt Boss at 615-464-8627. Pre-registration guarantees a DeKalb County Fair 5K T-Shirt $15 entry fee for youth and $20 for adults. Parking available behind Fair Office. For more info. contact Matt Boss at number above.

Fair events each night are as follows:

Monday, July 21: National Anthem at 5:45 p.m.; Cattle Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 6:00 p.m.; Junior Fair Princess Pageant for contestants ages 13-16 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair Pageant for contestants ages 17 to 20 at the Lions Club Pavilion and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 22: Snowbird from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.; Little Mr. and Miss Pageant for contestants ages 4-6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion followed by David Turner and Friends; Corn hole Contest at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; Go-Cart Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 23: Little Miss Princess Pageant for contestants ages 7-9 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Pageant for those ages 10-12 at the Lions Club Pavilion; 4 Wheeler and Motorcycle Racing at 6:30 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 24: Senior Citizen Day activities at 9:00 a.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; Junior Goat Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly Barn; a Baby Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by Kidnation at the Lions Club Pavilion; and ATV Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 7:00 p.m.; and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Friday, July 25: Toddler Show for contestants 13 months to 47 months at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; Kids Pedal Tractor Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; ATV/ Mini-Rod Outlaw Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 26: Horseshoe Tournament at the Tot Kelly barn at Noon.; Gospel Singing at the Lions Club Pavilion at 6:00 p.m.; Super Tractor and Truck Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena: and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Events subject to change without notice.

CASH GIVEAWAY: Two tickets for $500 each will be drawn each night at the Lion's Club Pavilion. Drawings will be held Monday through Saturday, each night at 9:30 p.m. Your gate admission ticket is your ticket for the cash drawing. You must be present to win. Tickets must be presented within three minutes. Tickets will be emptied each night. Fair board members and their spouses are not eligible to win.

Rides on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available for $15.00 on Monday night; $16.00 on Tuesday night; $14.00 on Wednesday and $18.00 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Admission to the fair is $4.00 per person. Children age four and younger will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Parking is Free!

For more information, call 529-FAIR or visit on-line at www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com.

Shiroki Adding Jobs with New Product Lines

June 11, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jeremy Givens, Gina Haley, and Dahynelai Grayson
Workers at Shiroki in Smithville
Shiroki Worker on the Job
Shiroki Employee at Work

Shiroki North America, Inc. of Smithville is hiring more workers to keep up with the production demand on a new product line for Subaru.

"We are extremely busy right now. We're right in the midst of launching a new door line for Subaru. This is for the Subaru Outback and the Subaru Sedan. We have recently added 80-90 people but we still have open jobs and spots to fill. So far it is starting out with a bang," said Gina Haley, Plant Manager for Shiroki North America of Smithville in an interview with WJLE Wednesday.

"We have about 300 hourly employees out on the floor plus support staff here so there's about 500 at this location. We're working two shifts, more than eight hours a day, seven days a week," Haley said.

Workers will also be needed for another new line coming soon. "We have another door line. The Subaru Nissan Maxima door line is coming. The machines will be here in a couple of weeks. We'll be starting production on that early in 2015 and we are needing people to come right behind these current projects to start filling those jobs and start training," she said.

Shiroki North America is a premier manufacturer of automobile seat tracks and adjusters, in addition to door frames. " Our newest project is the steel door frame, which is the Subaru door. At the current time we make seating products, which is the slide mechanism that slides the seat back and forth on the front seat and also the reclining mechanism. All of those lines are current mass production. We also make the General Motors aluminum door frame. It goes in the Cadillac CTS," said Haley.

"The doors go directly to Subaru and General Motors in Lansing, Michigan. The seats go to another plant where they are assembled with the fabric and the foam and then go on to be made as a full seat," she said.

Applicants may apply at Shiroki in Smithville or on Tuesday's at the Career Center in Smithville from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. "We're looking for people who want the opportunity to move up, who are serious about working," said Haley. "There's lots of opportunity for growth here as far as group leader, team leader, and trainer type positions. Through the years we have proven to be a very stable employer. We have competitive wages. We have good benefits. We're not going anywhere. If you're looking for somewhere to call home. We're your place," Haley concluded.

For more information about job openings, call HG Staffing at 615-215-1482 or after 5:00 p.m. at 931-743-6627. HG Staffing is the staffing agency for Shiroki North America of Smithville.

In addition to Smithvile, Shiroki North America has manufacturing plants in Dalton, Georgia, and in Gordonsville, while continuing to support operations in Japan, China and Thailand.

(TOP PHOTO: Jeremy Givens, Area Manager for HG Staffing, Gina Haley, Plant Manager for Shiroki North America in Smithville, and Dahynelia Grayson, On-Site Manager for HG Staffing, which is a staffing agency for Shiroki)

Smithville Church of Christ Putting Faith into Action

June 10, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Church Group Building Handicapped Ramp for Resident on Bright Hill Road
Karen Jacobs at Work on Jackson Street
Young Worker Trimming for Local Resident
Janet Woodward Weedeating
Casey Midgett with Chainsaw

Dozens of people from the Smithville Church of Christ are rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to help show their Christian love for others during the congregation's second annual Work Camp being held this week.

"The Bible says Jesus went about doing good. We're trying to follow his example by doing the same thing to show the community how much we care. Hopefully, all the glory will go to God and not to us," said Shawn Jacobs, a church elder and one of the volunteers.

The church began the work camp last summer as a means of helping less fortunate residents of the county do some fix up and cleanup projects around their homes. "Many of them are economically disadvantaged and perhaps elderly and unable to do various types of work around their house that needs to be done. Things we're doing are pressure washing houses, clearing brush, trimming hedges, and things like that. We're building several handicapped ramps for folks who need them and need assistance in getting them built. We're going to build a porch for one family. We're doing some roof repair and a little bit of automotive repair, just various things like that," said Jacobs.

Last year's work camp proved to be quite productive and this year looks to be equally as rewarding. " It's been a tremendous success. Last year we had all we could do and this year it looks like it's going to be the same," Jacobs said. "We're doing this with the help of our congregation and especially our youth group. The Gregg Avenue Church of Christ in Florence, South Carolina has a group that has come up to help us. We used to go down and help them do Vacation Bible Schools when they were a smaller church. They have become more established now so they are helping us. We also have a contractor in from Lafayette who came last year for our first work camp, who is very skilled and very accomplished. He serves as an advisor for some of the more technical jobs. Some members of our church have taken their vacations this week just to help out with work camp. Others have taken sick days and holidays. We also have church members who aren't able to get out and actually do the physical labor. A lot of them are cooking meals for us. We all meet at church at noon for a meal and then go back to work," he said.

"We're not trying to draw attention to ourselves but to draw attention to Christianity and hopefully show the good influence Christianity can have in this community. There is a saying that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. We're trying to show people we care. We're doing this for free for these folks. We just try to lend a hand in any way we can," Jacobs concluded.

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