Local News Articles

Annual All Day Gospel Singing in Alexandria May 20

May 13, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
The King's Way
Three Parts Grace
David Turner and Friends
Calvary Trio
Terri Lynn Weaver
Right On Time

The Annual All Day Gospel Singing will be Saturday, May 20 at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. WJLE will broadcast LIVE.

The lineup is as follows:

*Malone's Chapel Baptist Church: 10 a.m.

*Bethany Harrison: 10:30 a.m.

*Jim Bishop: 11:00 a.m.

*Jason Sanders: 11:30 a.m.

*David Turner and Friends: Noon

*Tristan Pope on the piano: 12:15 p.m.

* The King’s Way: 12:30 p.m.

*Terri Lynn Weaver: 1:00 p.m.

*Short Ridge Sisters: 1:30 p.m.

*Truly Blessed: 2:00 p.m.

*Right on Time: 2:30 p.m.

*Calvary Trio: 3:00 p.m.

*Kaylee Baker: 3:30 p.m.

*Three Parts Grace: 4:00 p.m.

*Faith Singers: 4:30 p.m.

*Dessa Ray: 5:00 p.m.

*Amanda Crawford: 5:30 p.m.

*Glory 2 God- Doug Collins and Family: 6:00 p.m.

*Spence and Friends: 6:30 p.m.

TDOT Rebids College Street Bridge

May 13, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page

Mid-State Construction Company, Inc. is again the bidder on the repair project of the Veterans Memorial Bridge on South College Street in Smithville.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation let bids for the project Friday, May 12 and Mid-State submitted a bid of $222,894. 68. There were apparently no other bids.

The question now is will Mid-State get the bid for that price?

In the February 10 letting, Mid-State bid $238,600.58 but there were no other bids and TDOT rejected it as too high.

The bridge has been closed since Monday, June 27, 2016 when a county landfill truck hit it causing major damage.

DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball MVP Signs with Chattanooga State

May 12, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hanah Panter
DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Standout Hanah Panter signs to play basketball next season for the Chattanooga State Lady Tigers. She is joined by members of her family for the signing Friday
DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Standout Hanah Panter signs to play basketball next season for the Chattanooga State Lady Tigers. She is joined by her teammates for the signing Friday

DeKalb County High School basketball MVP Hanah Panter will be trading one Lady Tiger team for another next season.

Panter, a senior, will continue her basketball career at Chattanooga State Community College, having signed with the Lady Tigers on Friday at the DCHS library. Members of her family, teammates, and coaches joined her for the signing.

“I’ve always wanted to continue to play basketball and this is a great opportunity and I love the campus. Right now I don’t know if I want to be a nurse or a physical therapist but they offer both of those so that is very good,” said Hanah.

Panter was named Most Valuable Player and Best Offensive Player for the DCHS Lady Tigers at the team banquet in March and she made the District 8AA 2nd team All-District.

“Hanah is a good player, great kid, and a great student and she really improved for us this year throughout the season. We’ve seen that happen over her four years here at DeKalb too. She has really matured into a nice kid and nice player. She shot the ball really well and led us in scoring. She is going to do well at Chattanooga State. Hanah is very athletic. She can defend and shoots the three ball very well. Hanah went down to Chattanooga State for a workout and they really liked her. I am very happy for Hanah. She worked very hard for us,” said DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Coach Danny Fish.

Chattanooga State Community College is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association and the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association.

Joe Pat Cope Named NEW Lady Raider Basketball Coach at Coffee County Central High

May 12, 2017
Joe Pat Cope and his daughter Reagan

Former DCHS Girls Basketball Coach Joe Pat Cope was announced as the new girls’ basketball coach at Coffee County Central High School in a Friday morning press release. Coach Cope met with the returning members of the Lady Raider basketball team on Friday morning at CHS. Cope comes to Coffee County after serving as an assistant coach at Ole Miss for the last year under Matt Insell. Prior to his stint at Ole Miss, Cope served as an assistant girls coach at Riverdale High School and the head girls’ varsity coach at DeKalb County High School. Cope also served as an assistant boys’ basketball coach at Lebanon High School. Cope is a two-time graduate of Tennessee Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Arts degree.

When asked about his reaction upon getting the call with the job offer, Cope could not hide the excitement in his voice. “I am very excited,” said Cope. “Coffee County can be a very prestigious program again. With the talent that is there, and the talent that is coming, this is a special opportunity.” Since his interview on May 5th, Cope has been gathering information about current middle school and high school players in the Coffee County and Manchester school systems. “I expect us to begin competing this summer” added Cope.

Dr. Joey Vaughn, Coffee County CHS principal, was ecstatic with Cope’s acceptance of the job. “I was very pleased with the number and quality of applicants that applied(for the position). During the interview process, Mr. Cope showed a genuine interest in our basketball program, community and players” added Vaughn. Dr. Vaughn went on to say “His experiences can help advance our program to the next level. He has experience at a great high school program, a strong AAU program and a quality SEC program. Coach Cope demonstrated a commitment to building and developing players through strong fundamentals and a tireless work ethic. He was also very familiar with the history and current state of Lady Raider basketball.”

Raider athletic director Ryan Sulkowski echoed many of the sentiments of Dr. Vaughn. “Coach Cope will bring great experience and excitement to the Lady Raiders and we are looking forward to him getting started.”

Cope will begin the transition from Ole Miss immediately and expects to be completely relocated to Coffee County by the end of the school year. “I will talk to Coach Insell and offer my assistance in helping my replacement” said Cope. “I expect to have tryouts as soon as school is out” added Cope. Cope also intends to begin the task of adding assistant coaches immediately. Cope is the proud father of a 12 year-old daughter, Reagan. Cope will also be a guest on the Coffee Coaches Show on Saturday, May 20th.

DCHS Seniors to Take 'Senior Walk' at Elementary Schools to Inspire Younger Students

May 12, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant

Graduation is two weeks away for DCHS seniors but next Friday, May 19 members of the graduating class will take a “Senior Walk” down memory lane, returning to Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West Schools where they once attended.

The seniors will stroll the halls of the schools in their caps and gowns as the elementary students look on. It will give the soon to be graduates a chance to reminisce, see their former teachers, and to inspire the youngsters to follow in their footsteps.

“On May 19 we will be traveling to Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West School. We are doing our first ever “Senior Walk”. Our seniors are going back to where they started with their caps and gowns and we are going to parade through the halls and let the kindergarten students see what graduation is all about. We are really excited about that,” DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant told the Board of Education Thursday night.

It's the first year for a DCHS Senior Walk but it may become a yearly tradition for each graduating class.

Meanwhile, Principal Bryant updated the school board on other important dates upcoming at DCHS.

"We have our final exams next week. On Tuesday, May 16 we will administer 5th & 6th blocks, Wednesday 3rd & 4th blocks, and on Thursday 1st & 2nd blocks," she said.

"We are also showing tonight and Saturday night our DCHS musical titled “The Little Mermaid”. That begins at 7 p.m. each night in the auditorium".

"I would like to congratulate our softball team. They are district champs and they will be hosting the regional tournament Monday night at 6 p.m.," Bryant continued.

"On Monday May 22 we will have our “Senior Award and Scholarship Night” at 6 p.m. in the gym and graduation will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 26 on the football field. We’re hoping and praying for fair weather," Bryant concluded.

Meanwhile in her report to the board, Assistant DeKalb Middle School Principal Amanda Dakas said the 8th grade musical is scheduled next week. "This coming Tuesday night, May 16 we will have the DeKalb Middle School 8th grade musical and we invite everyone in the community to come and be apart. It has a Disney theme this year and I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised. We have a lot of faculty involved in this year’s production as well. It will be lots of fun," said Dakas.

Karen Knowles, Principal at Northside Elementary School, said lots of activities are also set for next week there. "Wednesday, May 17 we’ll have our awards day. We’ve broken that up this year. It will be 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades at 8:15 a.m.. Fifth grade will be by itself with their DARE graduation. Kick-off for 5th grade activities will be at 9:45 a.m. On Thursday we will have our musical at 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. On Friday our talent show will be at 12:45 p.m. You can come out anytime Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and find something fun going on at Northside," said Principal Knowles.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps updated the board on personnel leaves of absences and resignations/retirements announced within the past month.

Leave of Absence: Connie Haggard.

Resignations: Jacob Parsley, James Porter, and Michael Shaw.

"I’d like to recognize three educators that are retiring and starting a new part of their life and we would like to thank them for everything they have given to our community. That is Lisa Cripps, Regina Kent, and Michael Lewis. Thank you for what you have done for DeKalb County and our educational system," said Director Cripps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they have a reputation of doing that well.

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

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

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

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

Cutlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regular season District awards:

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

All Freshman team:
Megan Walker

All District Tournament Awards:
Joni Robinson
Allison Maynard

City Employee Involved in Wreck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DCHS Class of 2017 Thanks Community for Support of Project Graduation

May 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Madison Butler

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

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

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

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

Legislation to Force Lisa Peterson Off Election Commission Stalls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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