Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton were the favorites Tuesday in the Tennessee Presidential Preference Primary including in DeKalb County where each candidate carried every precinct.
Trump carried DeKalb County in the Republican Primary with 1,240 votes. Ted Cruz was a distance second place finisher locally with 600 votes followed by Marco Rubio with 344 , Ben Carson 175, and John Kasich with 88.
Clinton defeated challenger Bernie Sanders in DeKalb County 641 to 286.
Meanwhile in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary Incumbent Assessor of Property Scott Cantrell received 805 complimentary votes to claim the Democratic nomination. Cantrell was unopposed Tuesday but he will face Republican nominee Shannon A. Cantrell in the August 4 DeKalb County General Election.
Democratic nominees for Constable and their vote totals Tuesday are as follows:
FIRST DISTRICT: Jason C. Taylor 82
THIRD DISTRICT: Travis Bryant 90
FOURTH DISTRICT: Paul Cantrell 133
FIFTH DISTRICT: Mark Milam 121
SIXTH DISTRICT: Carl Lee Webb 105
SEVENTH DISTRICT: Johnny King 85
Taylor will face Republican nominee Lee Plummer for First District Constable in the August 4 General Election.
Republican nominee Tom Theriaque will be unopposed for Second District Constable in August.
A total of 3,500 DeKalb County voters cast ballots in the Primaries Tuesday including 2,524 on election day and 976 either during early voting or by absentee. Republican Presidential Primary Voters outnumbered Democrats 2,495 to 971.
Improving student reading comprehension, beefing up technology in the classrooms, and addressing overcrowding with a building plan are goals Director of Schools Patrick Cripps would like to see accomplished as part of a five year plan for education in DeKalb County.
Director Cripps shared his vision with members of the Board of Education and County Commission's Education Committee last Tuesday night, February 23.
The issues were raised during Cripps' annual performance evaluation by the school board. "They (School Board) asked about what in a five year plan I would like to see," said Director Cripps. " While giving priority to reading initiatives and improved technology, Cripps said a building program must also be considered. "I'd probably do the reading (initiative) as number one (in a five year plan), technology, and then we really do need to start looking at the feasibility of building a school or schools," he said.
The purpose of Tuesday night's meeting was simply to share ideas among school board members and county commissioners on meeting existing and future school needs without any specific commitments. "This is just a planning process. We want to see what you guys think about schools and building projects and what you've heard from constituents in your community. I think it's important we get their feedback as well," Director Cripps said.
"We want to open some channels and doors with the county commission and start working together. We welcome any suggestions or anything to move forward," added School Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III.
While the consensus of the committee was for a feasibility study to be done at some point in developing a building plan, members expressed their opinions on what they believe is needed in meeting needs.
"We're growing. Our active school population right now is at 2,958 students. We know Smithville Elementary School is overcrowded. It is probably the oldest school in the system. We're looking to improve facilities. What I would like to see within the next few years is for us to be able to start the building process. Getting a school added to our district. I am not saying what we want right now because I think it's got to be a joint process involving the community because we can't do it alone. When you look at the number of K-5 students, you're looking at Northside with 620 students and Smithville Elementary has 595. Northside actually takes some of the second graders from Smithville Elementary," Cripps said.
Anita Puckett, Assistant Principal at Smithville Elementary School and a Fifth District County Commissioner said she prefers building a new Pre-K through 5 school and also converting SES and Northside into Pre-K through 5 schools . According to Puckett, DeKalb County needs to be prepared for an influx of new students if the state funds mandatory pre-kindergarten in the years ahead. "I feel more confident in the K-5 schools and from what I'm hearing from State Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen be prepared for more Pre-K because (when it comes) it's going to be mandatory county wide and statewide. There are more spaces that will need to be filled. I'd much rather see another Pre-K through 5 being built and changing Smithville Elementary and Northside Elementary to pre-K through 5th grade. All three schools would then be Pre-K through 5," said Puckett.
Seventh District County Commissioner Larry Summers said he would like to see a new Pre-K through 8th grade school built and for Northside to be expanded to Pre-K through 8th. This would give the county three Pre-K through 8th grade schools including DeKalb West School and Smithville Elementary School could be closed. " I think one of our shining stars is the West School and the continuity of students going in at the first grade and staying with their friends all the way through 8th grade. There is no changing schools every few years. Why don't these kids and parents up here (Smithville) deserve the same thing we have down there?. I'm willing to vote to build a new K-8 school. I think that's the way to go. To have three of them and get the hometown school system," said Summers.
"The ideal model would be the West School because its 400 students and it's K-8. But if you do one K-8 school up here you're looking at 1,700 kids in one school. You can't do that. But if we do two K-8 schools it would be an average of 870 students without growth," said Director Cripps.
Infrastructure needs at the high school will also eventually have to be addressed according to Director Cripps. "We're going to have to look at that (high school) on down the road. It was built for 400 people. If you come in the hallways (between classes) now you had better be going the same direction the kids are going or you're going to get trampled."
"Response To Intervention (RTI) is also being mandated now. They're making us put teachers in schools but we have no where to put them. We have seven teachers now at the high school that don't have a classroom. They go from classroom to classroom," said Cripps.
Fourth District County Commissioner Jonathan Norris said he favors a feasibility study to determine the overall infrastructure needs of the school system including the elementary, middle, and high school level. "I think the first step is going to have to be a feasibility study. Larry may be right. Anita may be correct. We are all going to have a different opinion. But we have to plan for more than one thing in a 10-15 year span. If we're already at 50% beyond our capacity at the high school and our middle school is already at max capacity, if we build all the Pre-K through 5 schools, they (students) still have to go somewhere (in later years) or we're going to be right back in this situation," said Norris.
" It begins with an honest non-agenda plan for what our needs are. I think we need an expert (to conduct feasibility study) but I guess I've always had a little bit of a problem with an expert being the same one that wants to do the contract to build the building. I really want somebody who can come in and analyze our needs, traffic flows, etc. and doesn't have a chip in the game as far as building a school," said Third District County Commissioner Jack Barton.
In addition to the building program, Director Cripps wants to get computers into the hands of more students within the next five years.
"We have a lot of technology in the school system but we're nowhere near where we want to be," said Cripps. "One of my goals would be for us to provide a one to one device (for students). Counties are using those now which helps with textbook costs. I've looked at the costs of books versus ipads and I've called other districts to see how they implemented their one to one devices. I know we can't do it all at one time but I would like to see us slowly begin to implement computers (one to one devices) for students to take their thinking above what it is now. What I have been told by other districts is that assignments can be created that can be done without the need of Internet at home. One of the coolest things I've seen from some of the districts is if you're a teacher you can actually video record your lesson and provide that to your students and if they are out they can do the lesson at home. That's another advantage of having the one to one device. We did a rough number for the high school on what it would cost to get every student a one to one device plus the charging carts and programs and it was about $280,000. That's where we would like to start is at the high school and then add the other schools as we go along because everything is computer based now. We keep a textbook for six or seven years but within two years it's out of date. This is one reason why schools are going away from textbooks and to computers," said Director Cripps.
In addition to Director Cripps and School Board Chairman Evins, others attending the committee meeting last Tuesday were School Board members Jerry Wayne Johnson, Jim Beshearse, Kate Miller, Doug Stephens and Shaun Tubbs, County Mayor Tim Stribling, and County Commissioners Puckett, Summers, Norris, Barton, and Jimmy Midgett.
Three people have been charged with filing a false report concerning a break-in which never occurred.
36 year old Carlos Lynn Godsey, 29 year old Lois Nicole Godsey, and their neighbor 40 year old Rickey Allen Sweeney all of Big Hurricane Road are each under a $5,000 bond and they will be in court March 10.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, February 24 the Godsey's and Sweeney prepared a written statement claiming that someone had broken into the Godsey's home. The deputy investigating later learned that the person falsely accused actually lives there and that the statements given by the Godsey's and Sweeney were false.
49 year old Richard Alvie Herman of Nashville Highway, Liberty is charged with Domestic Assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on March 3. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 22 Herman allegedly intentionally pushed his father and said that he would cut his throat causing his father to fear for his life.
38 year old James Allen Hesson of Big Hurricane Road is charged with violation of the sex offender registry. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance March 3.
Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 25 two deputies responded to a residence on Big Hurricane Road to do a welfare check on two children who were staying at this home. Upon arrival the officers observed a 13 year old boy coming out of a room where Hesson was sleeping. A two year old and a 14 year old were also staying at this residence. Hesson, a convicted sex offender is not to have minor children living with him. That's a violation of the sex offender registry.
54 year old Sabra Maurine Bussell of Halls Hollow Road, Smithville is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property under $500. Her bond is $6,500 and she will make a court appearance March 17.
Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 4 Bussell allegedly entered a home on Halls Hollow Road by breaking a window in a side door and stole property valued at $46.75 including a pair of blue jeans, a bag of rice, a bag of beans, laundry detergent, and a pair of Crocs. The case was investigated by a Sheriff's Department Detective.
24 year old Ryan Adam Kutrich of Lovell Road, Cookeville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court March 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, February 28 a deputy responded to Heritage Trail on a complaint of an intoxicated person passed out in the yard. Upon arrival the officer made contact with the man, Kutrich who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. His eyes were bloodshot. Kutrich said he did not know how he got onto the property, which does not belong to him. He was placed under arrest.
A DeKalb County High School student who allegedly placed a female classmate in a choke hold and grabbed her breasts at school Monday, February 22 has been charged with sexual battery and aggravated assault.
18 year old Benjamin Franklin Brooks, III of Dale Ridge Road, Smithville is under a $40,000 bond and he will make a court appearance on March 17.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, February 22 the female student, a juvenile, had just returned to her seat in the lunchroom after disposing of some trash when Brooks kicked her bag. When she asked him who he thought he was, Brooks placed her in a choke hold and grabbed her breasts. The girl repeatedly called for Brooks to get his hands off her but he continued the assault. He grabbed her by the neck with his left hand and started to choke her while continuing to grab her breasts with his right hand.
The School Resource Officer placed the charges against Brooks after reviewing the school's surveillance video to verify the girl's story.
The DeKalb County Republican Party will be hosting a County Convention on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at 10AM for the purpose of selecting a Republican nominee for the vacancy on the DeKalb County Commission, District 1. The Convention will be held in the County Commission Room at the DeKalb County Courthouse. The vacancy was created when Commissioner Elmer Ellis, Jr. recently resigned. The remainder of this term will be filled by election at the August 4, 2016, County General Election.
Interested candidates can contact Republican Party Chair Mingy Bryant at 615-597-2600 or Vice Chair Clint Hall at 931-201-6962. For more information, go to our Facebook Page at Dekalb County Republican Party.
The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex have again met minimum standards for certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said the TCI recently performed an inspection of the Jail and the Annex.
In a letter to Sheriff Ray, TCI Executive Director Beth Ashe, wrote " the TCI recently inspected the facilities. The inspection revealed that this facility meets all applicable minimum standards. This status shall be reported to the board of control at its next meeting. After approval from the board of control, you will receive a certificate of certification. You are to be congratulated for attaining this degree of professionalism in your organization," wrote Ashe.
Detention Facility Specialist Joe Ferguson, in the report wrote that " On February 10, 2016 I inspected the DeKalb County Jail and Annex. Sheriff Ray and Staff appear to be operating well within standards. Finding no deficiencies, I recommend continued certification for the year 2016," he wrote.
The DeKalb County Jail and Annex have a certified capacity of 102 beds including 78 for men and 24 for women. The average daily population is 79. There were 75 inmates incarcerated on the day of the inspection.
Sheriff Ray says the jail has maintained certification each year of his terms as sheriff and he gives credit to members of his staff for helping him achieve this accomplishment.
With over 200 more votes cast during the early voting period compared to four years ago, a heavy turnout could be the case Tuesday in DeKalb County.
Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said 956 votes were cast through Friday for Tuesday’s Presidential Preference Primaries and DeKalb Democratic Primary compared to only 719 for the same elections four years ago.
“Based on those numbers and the results statewide during the early voting period, I expect the turnout could be heavy Tuesday,” Stanley said.
To better help the process move more quickly on election day, Stanley encourages voters to study the ballot in advance. The Democratic Primary ballot has only 2 pages, but the Republican ballot has 9 pages due to the delegate selection process. “Be prepared, know who you want to vote for and know the location of those candidates on the ballot,” he said. Sample ballots will be posted at all voting locations and can also be found at www.dekalbelections.com or wjle.com.
Also, voters need to be aware of where they cast their ballots on election day. “You can look at your voter registration card to find your precinct location,” Stanley said, “or you can call our office for more information.”
The election day voting locations are as follows:
•1-1 Sandlin Building,102 Fairgrounds Rd, Alexandria -
•1-2 Temperance Hall Community Center, 2760 Temperence Hall Rd., Liberty -
•1-3 Edgar Evins State Park, 1630 Edgar Evins Park Rd., Silver Point -
•2-1 Liberty Community Center, 140 W. Main St., Liberty -
•2-2 Dowelltown Community Center, 141 Church St., Dowelltown -
•2-3 Snow Hill Community Centers, 821 Snow Hill Rd., Dowelltown -
•3-1 Smithville Church of God, 801 W. Broad St., Smithville -
•4-2 Rock Castle, Austin Bottom Fire Hall, 9430 Goff Ridge Rd., Baxter TN -
•4-3 Courthouse, 1 Public Square, Basement Courtroom, Smithville -
•5-1 Johnson Chapel Community Center, 1143 Johnson Chapel Rd., Sparta -
•5-2 County Complex, 732 S. Congress Blvd., Smithville, TN 37166 -
•6-1 Belk Community Center, 483 Wright Bend Rd., Smithville -
•6-2 Keltonburg Community Center, 3561 Keltonburg Rd., Smithville -
•6-3 Blue Springs Community Center, 3059 Blue Springs Rd., Smithville -
•7-1 Church of Christ Annex, 520 Dry Creek Rd., Smithville –
Two persons were injured Friday afternoon after their vehicles collided near the Walmart parking lot.
A 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by 26 year old Brian Bowman of Smithville, was heading up the entrance street toward Walmart from the traffic light on West Broad when he made a left turn into the path of a 2002 Chevy S-10, driven by 25 year old Barrett Holubek. Both drivers received injuries. Bowman was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital.
Patrolman Andy Snow of the Smithville Police Department investigated the crash. Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene