Local News Articles

DeKalb County Schools Art Exhibit Set for Saturday

May 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
Last year Leah Payton Clark won first place and “Best of Show” in the 9th through 12th grade division of the DeKalb Art Exhibit

The DeKalb County Schools Art Exhibit featuring art from the students of DeKalb County will be Saturday, May 27 from 1-3 p.m. at the DeKalb County Complex, 712 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville.

According Susan Hinton, Art Chairman, 211 pieces of art will be on display. For more information contact Susan Hinton 615-597-9300. The event is sponsored by the Smithville Study Club.

Last year Leah Payton Clark won first place and “Best of Show” in the 9th through 12th grade division of the DeKalb Art Exhibit

Applications Available for Emergency Food and Shelter

May 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
Applications Available for Emergency Food and Shelter

The DeKalb County Senior Center, 718 Congress Blvd., Smithville, TN has received funding to assist eligible residents in DeKalb County with emergency food and shelter. Pam Redmon, the Senior Center Director is taking applications Monday thru Friday, 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. If you have questions, please call (615) 597-7575.

Valedictorian Rachel Fuson to Address Class of 2017 Hoping to Inspire Fellow Grads

May 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
Rachel Fuson

Rachel Fuson has received her share of honors at DCHS but perhaps none is more special than being the Class Valedictorian.

Tonight, she will deliver an address during the commencement that she hopes will inspire the grads.

Fuson said being the Class Valedictorian is a high honor. She earned the distinction by having the highest grade point average of any student in her class. “They look at your GPA after fall semester of your senior year. The spring semester this year didn’t count toward class rank. They look at your GPA and whoever has the highest GPA is the Valedictorian. Mine was 5.016 as of December,” said Fuson.

Rachel explains how the GPA is calculated. “Your regular classes are just four points toward your GPA. Your honors and dual enrollment classes which are taken mostly through Motlow State Community College also count as honors credits and those are worth five points. And then your advanced placement classes count toward the GPA. You have to take a test at the end of the year to get college credit through AP. Those are more accelerated in the learning rate and those are worth six points toward your GPA,” she said.

During her senior year, Rachel has served as a captain of the DCHS Football cheerleading squad, the Vice President of the BETA and Climate Crew clubs, President of the Science Club, and was named Miss DCHS.

She has received thousands of dollars in scholarships and will be attending the University of Tennessee at Knoxville this fall. “ I am planning to study Biology when I arrive there. I am hoping to get my degree in three years because I have done several classes through Motlow. I want to study abroad while I am in college and then I am hopefully going on to optometry school in Memphis,” she said.

Fuson has already earned 12 hours of college credit through dual enrollment (equivalent to one semester of college work).

Rachel is the daughter of Joe and Melissa Fuson.

DCHS Senior Class President Madison Butler Excited about Graduation

May 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
Madison Butler

Excited but a little nervous!

That’s how Madison Butler describes her feelings at this moment.

As President of the Class of 2017 at DeKalb County High School, Butler will be standing before her classmates and hundreds of proud parents and other relatives and friends to deliver introductory remarks during tonight’s commencement on the football field.

“Tonight is the night that we have all been waiting for but I have been nervous because in all honesty the word “speech” scares me. So I just want to talk to them about something that might inspire them a little,” said Butler.

Madison said its been an honor to have served as class president.” The way you’re chosen as class president is you turn in an essay to the teachers and administration of the school and they read it. They look at your transcript and take everything into consideration and then they make their selection”.

“ My duties included making sure everybody was doing what they were supposed to be doing as far as Project Graduation and other activities. I ran a lot of social media sites and let all the seniors know about everything that was going on. Of course I have a speech at graduation and I will be in charge of the class reunions,” Butler continued.

Madison has received a scholarship from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and will be attending there this fall. I’m a pre-med major and as soon as I finish under graduate school I am applying to medical school for plastic surgery,” she said.

Butler has already earned 12 hours of college credit through dual enrollment (equivalent to one semester of college work).

Madison said she enjoyed her senior year and will miss the high school experience. “I loved senior year. I know we joked that we ruled the school but we had a lot more freedom. I think they treat us like adults when you are seniors and I liked that part”.

In addition to being Class President, Butler also served this year as a baseball manager, a member of HOSA, Student Council, FFA, and the National BETA Club at DCHS.

Madison is the daughter of Ronda Butler McAbee and Dennis Butler.

“My parents have been very supportive of me and I am very blessed to have them,” Madison concluded.

DWS Student Nominated for the John W. Harris Leadership Award

May 25, 2017
Bill Conger
Photo provided:  Garrett Hayes, a regular volunteer at the Webb House, plays piano for the residents there. He led the Junior Betas in playing Christmas carols for the residents.

DWS Junior Beta President Garrett Hayes was the local nominee for the Beta Club’s Most Valuable Player trophy. Unfortunately, the 8th grader
didn’t make the final cut for the John W. Harris Leadership Award at the national level, but he still stands as a worthy contender. Not only has Garrett excelled academically, the gifted student also consistently demonstrates outstanding character with his compassion, dedication, and reliability in his service to others.

Garrett’s compassion is evidenced in part by his service to the Webb House Retirement home in Smithville where he volunteers twice monthly. “He has taken the time to get to know many of our residents, learning what they enjoy,” said Jenny Abernathy, Webb House Retirement Center Activities Director. “He spends time in our memory care unit with a lady who enjoys his piano playing and being read to. For our residents who have dogs, he lends a hand by taking their pups for a walk around the building. He helps the puzzle group with their latest jigsaw puzzle and even assists the kitchen staff by clearing tables after lunch. His service has not only been welcomed but greatly appreciated.”

Garrett’s dedication is displayed at his church home, Prosperity Baptist Church, where he performs with the group’s drama team as part of his service. “We can always depend on Garrett for cooperation, faithfulness, and dependability,” says Youth Leader Linda Hayes. “It is immediately clear that he has compassion for others and is always willing to raise his hand to answer, pray , or help another member of the group. Hayes says Garrett displays courage and loyalty among his peers and demonstrates “good Christian morals and leadership traits”

Garrett has shown initiative at school, helping to start our first-ever STEM Club. He assists with the care of younger students prior to the start of the school day. He regularly helps with Beta service projects and with outside projects like volunteering for the setup for the county fair and working during the county fair.

Besides Garrett’s academic talents, he has a flair for the creative. Entering the Visual Arts category for two years at the Tennessee Junior Beta State Convention, he placed second in Color Photography this school year, qualifying him to be the school’s first contestant to compete at the national level. He’ll be competing next month at the Junior Beta National Convention in Orlando, FL.

DeKalb County Insurance Again Earns Erie's "Founder's Award"

May 25, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Insurance Again Earns Erie's "Founder's Award"

For the 2nd consecutive year, DeKalb County Insurance, Inc. is one of a select group of agencies honored by Erie Insurance Company with the Founder's Award. Erie's Founder's Award is a measure of quality agency performance and service to customers.

DeKalb County Insurance, Inc. offers a full line of property & casualty products, as well as business, farm and life insurance.

The agency is located at 307 N. Public Square, Smithville. To learn more call: 615-597-0660

DCHS Graduation Friday Night (VIEW CLASS OF 2017 SENIOR PHOTOS HERE)

May 25, 2017
Dwayne Page
Valedictorian-Rachel Fuson
Class President Madison Butler
Salutatorian-Hunter Robinson

Graduation for the Class of 2017 at DeKalb County High School will be Friday night at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.


The commencement program will feature the presentation of the White Rose and Citizenship Awards to members of the Class, a performance by the DCHS Chorus, and remarks by the Class Valedictorian Rachel Fuson and Class President Madison Butler.

The program is as follows:

Invocation by Luke Green, member of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes)

Alma Mater by the DCHS Band and Chorus

Music by the DCHS Chorus

Introduction by Class President Madison Butler

Address to the Class by Valedictorian Rachel Fuson

Recognition of Honors and Distinction students by Guidance Counselor Lori Myrick

Recognition of Top Rank and Service by Guidance Counselor Shelly Painter

Presentation of White Rose and Citizenship Awards by Principal Dr. Kathy Bryant

Presentation of diplomas by Principal Bryant and Director of Schools Patrick Cripps

Benediction by Steven Jennings, FCA member

Recessional by DCHS Band

The DCHS Class of 2017 includes the following students:

Shelby Nicole Abreu, Jacob Eli Adams, Nikolas Blake Agee, Matthew Thomas Alderman, Destiny Nicole Ambrose, Savannah Michelle Anderson-Howell, Calen Douglas Arnold, Jonathon Aaron Avalos,

Myranda Gail Bailiff, Kacie Brooke Bain, Shaun Devin Bain, Haleigh Michelle Bass, Zackrey Lynn Bass, Alexis Kay Bates, Brady William Bates, Colby Gene Bates, Caitlin Michelle Beaty, Brittany Nicole Bennett, Erica Lyn Birmingham, Madison McKay Bouldin, Jordon Elese Bowman, Rebekah Marie Brandt, Kaylee Cheyanna Braswell, Alec Camren Bryan, Jeron Ray Burton, Courtney Madison Butler,

Cody Fisher Caldwell, Chloe Angelina Cantrell, Kayley Faith Caplinger, Logan Alan Carter, Benito Drew Castorena, Kaleb Joshua Chabarria, Nicole Lynn Coffey, Cassidy Gayle Cook, Elliott Stone Cook, Jaqueline Cortes-Trejo, Kaitlyn Nicole Cox-Harn, Callie Ryann Cripps, Chloe Mae Cripps, Elizabeth Marie Cripps, Caelin Riley Crips, Elijah Luke Cross, Hannah Elizabeth Culwell,

Miranda Nicole Davis, Seth Garrett Dawson, Savannah Elizabeth Derrick, Karlee Madison Dickens, Lynzi Diane Downey,

Makayla Anne Easterwood, Christian Michael Ellis, Eli Travis England, Megan Erica Evans, Neely Danette Evans

Chyanne Nicole Fagan, Cheyenna Hope Farless, Cheyenne Faith Favaro, Michael James Ferrarie, Adam Wayne Ferrell, James Alan Ferrell, Rachel Aline Ferrell, Jason Scott Foil, Nicholas Jerod Fontana, Regan Jack Foutch, Payton Earl France, Destiny Danielle Franklin, Peyton Shay Frazier, Joshua Houston Freeman, Spencer Ross Friedsam, Rachel Olivia Fuson,

Jasmine Garza, Dylan Brady Gill, Xavier Gene Glenn, Jairo Godinez, Ashley Brooke-Goodman, Lucas Kyle Green, Ricky Austin Gunter,

Dalton Blake Halfmann, Dustin Thomas Harn, William Gentry Harpole, IV, Maegan Ashley Harris, Tristan Sawyer Haynes, Peyton Faith Hensley, Moses Jonathan Hernandez, Ashley Ann Hibdon, Brooklyn May Hosse, Jesse Tyler Houser, Clayton Darin Hoyle,

Tyson Elique Jackson, Steven Donald Jennings, Karen Lynn Johnson, Isaiah Mitchell Jones, Benito Juarez-Garcia, Matthew Dillon Judkins,

Austin Taylor Kebert, John Benjamin Kelly, Alex Michael King,

Sahara Bethany Lafever, Caitlyn Nicole Lawrence, Noel Taylor Lee, Sean Tyler Lee, Preston Rollice Joe Lemons,

Eileen Arale Marquez, Issac Charles Martin, James Edward Mathis, Ariel Nichole Maxwell, Cynthia Rose May, Diamond Jean McClanahan, Ricardo Monsivais, Ethan Riley Morton,

James Neubacher, Brandy Lynn Newby, Tayvian Delmarrece Nokes, Madison Hope Noyola,

Morgan Mae Odom, Olivia Grace Odom, Christian Dakota Orellana, Brandon Oziel Ortega-Guevara,

Donald Shannon Pack, Dorannda Lynette Pack, Hanah Alexis Panter, Jacob Lee Parker, Katherine Erica Parsley, Kristen Emily Parsley, Zachary Tyler Parsley, Daniel Neil Patterson, Rachel Irene Patterson, Rosa Maria Payne, Skylar James Pease, Alex Quinton Pedigo, Robert Brock Pedigo, Seth Allen Pedigo, Jason Anthony Perricone, Justin Timothy Perricone, Kallie Brianne Petty, Baylee Nicole Phillips, Walter Chase Phillips, Jayra Plattenburg, Lane Madison Poss, Matthew Landon Poss, Christian Odin Pruitt, Connor Orion Pruitt,

Patrick Roy Ray, Bailey Ashton Redmon, Julianne Abigail Richardson, Destiny Paige Roberts, Jacob Hunter Robinson, Jose Juan Rodriguez, Allison Ann Rogers, Alexis Louise Roller, Kaitlyn Elizabeth Roller, Caleb Eli Rowland,

Kyle Satcher, Jacob David Self, Alyssa Michelle Sewell, Makayla Allynn Shuttleworth, Rebecca Paige Snyder, Ricardo Nathan Solano, Taylor Ann Spare, Caitlin Alexia Spry, Caleb Datel Stanley, Renee Nicole Starnes, Alexander Michael Steel,

Casey Jackson Taylor, Reagan Kory Taylor, Jaqueline Aglae Tierranegra, Jesus Alejandro Torres, Jayrah Elizabeth Trapp, Maggie Delaine Turner,

Jordan Christopher Vallem, Casey Elizabeth Vickers, Chandler Lee Vincent,

Jeremy Wayne Wagner, Nichole Faith Walker, Emily Elizabeth Wallace, Michael James Warren, Julian Claire Webb, Susan Marie Webb, Tristan Nichole West, Laradon Raine Wiggins, Brandon Tyler Williams, Dillon Taylor Wilson, Justin Ryan Winchester,

Tori Cheyenne Young, Tristen James Young, Nena Rhea Youngblood,

Devin Alexander Zaderiko and Carlos Antonio Zavala-Alvarez

Vehicle Registration Fees to Increase July 1

May 25, 2017
Dwayne Page
James L. (Jimmy) Poss

The cost to register a vehicle in Tennessee will increase beginning July 1, 2017.

The registration fee for passenger motor vehicles (standard, disabled, military, motorcycle, specialty) will be increased by $5. The registration fee for commercial motor vehicles for transporting passengers for hire (buses, taxis) will be increased by $10. The registration fee for commercial and freight motor vehicles (semis, tractor trailers) will be increased by $20.

There will be a new fee for electric vehicles beginning July 1, 2017. The registration fee for electric vehicles will be $100. The electric vehicle registration fee is in addition to the standard registration fee.

These fee increases are part of the 2017 IMPROVE ACT which has been signed into law by the Governor to help shore up funding for roads and bridges across the state. 100% of these fee increases go to the highway fund.

DeKalb County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss advises individuals with upcoming renewals to take advantage of the current fees by renewing eligible vehicles prior to July 1, 2017. Previously, the county clerk’s office has been able to complete renewal transactions within a period of 60 days or less prior to the expiration date.

Meanwhile, County Clerk Poss has announced other changes that either have taken effect or are soon to take effect.

“After attending a three-day training last week our office has several updates to share with our citizens in the county,” said Poss.

These updates include the following:

•Fines from the law requiring insurance will now generate new fees in the county clerk’s office. Each fine of $25 will generate $5 to local clerks and the remainder to the state. The $100 fine will contribute $10 to local clerks with the remainder going to the state.

•To qualify for an antique plate, the vehicle must be over 25 years old and have a non-modified engine and body. It can be used for participation in or transportation to and from club exhibits, activities, tours, parades and general transportation on Saturday and Sunday. Also, it can be used on any day for the purpose of selling, testing or obtaining repairs to maintain the vehicle (Recently Federal Holidays were added to days of operation).

•Effective, April 4, 2017 ALL constables are eligible for Emergency tags.

•You may now go online to pay your state fee for reinstatement of a driver license. Also, an unrestricted intermediate driver may go online to upgrade that license.

•Hand Gun Permit Holders are not eligible to complete transactions on the Kiosk; However, you can now go online to renew or replace lost or stolen. In addition to this new feature, as before you may mail in your renewal or visit a full-service DVM to renew a hand gun carry permit.

•Until now the county clerk office has been in full compliance transferring all documents and certain payments electronically to the state. Recently, the state made a new request for Sales & Use Tax along with taxes collected from boat purchases to be transferred electronically. The county clerk office will be entering this ACH payment request to be completed and submitted electronically in the near future. Currently as few as 4 counties have complied and this request has no deadline as of yet.

•Effective July 1, 2017 the state will be offering a choice of two state plates. The current plate in use and a second very similar plate adding “In God We Trust” printed above and below the current state emblem.

•Heavy Vehicle Use Tax exemption: Reminder, if a registrant declared the vehicle is driven less than 5,000 miles (or less than 7,500 miles for agricultural vehicles), they do not have to pay HVUT (Heavy Vehicle Use Taxes); however, they must still have form 2290 stamped and dated by the IRS showing they are listed as “tax suspended”.

•The state attorney reminded all county clerks who have any type of “motor vehicle races” to ensure that any person, firm, or corporation operating or conducting any such event possess $100,000/$300,000 liability insurance. Accordingly, these statues apply to “any contest of speed among self-propelled wheeled conveyances not running on rails. This encompasses “all races of all vehicles that depend on a moor of propulsion, other than railroads. Such violation is a class A misdemeanor. A copy of this policy should be maintained in the county clerk’s office.

•Insurance Automobiles: Insurance requirements applicable to off-highway vehicles. Summary: Clarifies that off-highway vehicles operated on public roads are covered under the definition of “uninsured motor vehicle” for purposes of being covered under an uninsured motorist policy effective July 1, 2017.

•Also, a feasibility study is underway to determine if the state will start requiring titling of boats.

Kent Takes Final Bow

May 25, 2017
Bill Conger
DeKalb West School Principal Sabrina Farler poses with 2nd Grade Teacher Regina Kent who is retiring from DeKalb County Schools.

After devoting her life to education for 40 years, Regina Kent is retiring from her professional passion. When the longtime educator walks out the door for the final time on May 26, she will be leaving behind an impressive legacy. During her four decades of teaching, Kent has taught hundreds of children the building blocks of education no doubt, but she also has been a comforter for crying children, an encourager to the downtrodden, and a motivator to the uninspired.

“For the better part of my life, this school has been my second home,” Kent said. “It is finally dawning on me what a big piece of my life I’m leaving behind. It means more to me than words can express, and my life will not be the same without it,” she added.

The second grade teacher has been a beacon, leading children to the next level in their academic development while inspiring a love for learning.

“Mrs. Kent has a long, valuable history with our school,” says Principal Sabrina Farler. “I don't know what it is, but among her many talents, she has always had the ability to motivate her students to be voracious readers. She has been a great asset. We'll miss her, but her retirement is richly deserved.”

“The last day of school will be a bit different for “Miss” Kent this year, for when she closes her classroom door on the last day of school, she will also be closing the door on a successful teaching career,” said Donna Davis, who, until her retirement, taught second grade alongside Mrs. Kent for many years.

“I always admired “Miss” Kent's artistic abilities; with her guidance her students were able to complete many artistic projects which enhanced and supplemented the curriculum and, just as importantly, which the students enjoyed. I'm sure that in the homes of many of her former students who are now adults there may be one of those coffee-can Santas which they made in her room at Christmas! As we worked side-by-side and collaborated and commiserated, we also developed a friendship. Our tradition of attending the Southern Women's Show each year became a bit of West School lore! So I say to “Miss Kent” as you close that classroom door this year and open the door to the next chapter in your life, “Welcome to the world of retirement! You're going to love it! Grab your passport and let's go!”

Kent began teaching in 1977. Friends, family, and colleagues will honor Mrs. Kent at a reception in her honor May 24.

“It has been a blessing to have had the opportunity to work at such an outstanding school as DeKalb West,” Mrs. Kent said. “I know I am going to miss it, but I am looking forward to retirement and starting a new chapter in my life.”

Thirty-nine 8th graders graduate from DeKalb West School

May 25, 2017
Bill Conger
All A Honor Roll: Left to Right: Trevonte Alexander, Nick Cothern, Jordan Crook, Emma Damron, Lydia Davenport, Levi Driver, Lynsey Ellis, Gracie Griffin, Garrett Hayes, Jaden Johnson, Abby Lawson, Cassie Maxwell, Ashlin Maynard, Jaya Tramel, Parker Vantrease, and Cody Woodham.
A & B Honor Roll Left to Right are: Katie Bain, Kyndal Cox, Nathaniel Dace, Sydney Hendrixson, Lily Martin, Michael Martin, Lacey McMillen, Riley Overstreet, Megan Price, Janelle Rodriguez, and Hannah VanDyne.
TJ Alexander, Garrett Hayes, and Gracie Griffin won the A.R. Reading Achievement Awards
Junior Beta students were recognized for serving the community
T.J. Alexander and Cody Woodham picked up "Making Tracks, the most improved student award.
Garrett Hayes was presented with Mrs. Georgia Young award, named after his grandmother, the late DWS cafeteria manager.
The peer-voted Citizenship Awards: (Left to Right) Jaden Johnson, Hannah VanDyne, Gracie Griffin, and Nick Cothern.
Jaden Johnson received the Tennessee Tech Math competition award for ranking 9th place out of 61 other students state wide

Thirty-nine 8th graders graduated from DeKalb West School on Tuesday (May 23).

In addition to the presentation of their certificates of recognition, students were honored for academic achievements. In Karen France’s homeroom, Jaden Johnson swept the academic achievements, winning awards for English/Language Arts (97.5), History (98.5), Math (99), and Science (100). In Cynthia Wilson’s homeroom, Jordan Crook won the ELA award (98) and tied with Gracie Griffin (98.75) for the History trophy. Ashlin Maynard and Crook tied for the highest math average with 99.5. Wilson’s homeroom had a four-way tie with a score of 100 for Science with Crook, Maynard, Lydia Davenport, and Jaya Tramel.

Students selected Jaden Johnson and Hannah VanDyne in Mrs. France’s room for the Citizenship Awards and Gracie Griffin and Nick Cothern in Cynthia Wilson’s homeroom.

The following students made the All A Honor Roll for the entire school year: Trevonte Alexander, Nick Cothern, Jordan Crook, Emma Damron, Lydia Davenport, Levi Driver, Lynsey Ellis, Gracie Griffin, Garrett Hayes, Jaden Johnson, Abby Lawson, Cassie Maxwell, Ashlin Maynard, Jaya Tramel, Parker Vantrease, and Cody Woodham. Making the A & B Honor Roll all year long were Katie Bain, Kyndal Cox, Nathaniel Dace, Sydney Hendrixson, Lily Martin, Michael Martin, Lacey McMillen, Riley Overstreet, Megan Price, Janelle Rodriguez, and Hannah VanDyne.

Jaden Johnson received the Tennessee Tech Math Award for placing 9th out of 61 other 8th grade students statewide. In 6th grade Johnson placed 6th in that competition.

DWS Making Tracks awards for most improved went to Trevonte Alexander and Cody Woodham. Garrett Hayes received the Mrs. Georgia Young Award for his high academic ability and outstanding character, and the “4 PAWS” or teacher’s choice award went to Katie Bain and Nick Cothern.

Junior Beta students who earned a minimum of 10 service hours were honored at the ceremony. For the second year in a row, Emma Damron had the highest number of service hours followed by Jaden Johnson and Garrett Hayes.

Congratulations to the 8th grade graduates: T.J. Alexander, Jordan Bailiff, Katie Bain, Victoria Billings, Hailey Bogle, Kaileigh Brandon, Nick Cothern, Kyndal Cox, Jordan Crook, Nathaniel Dace, Emma Damron, Lydia Davenport, Levi Driver, Lynsey Ellis, Dakota Faulk, Gracie Griffin, Hannah Grisham, Vanessa Harn, Garrett Hayes, Sydnee Hendrixson, Jaden Johnson, Justin Johnson, Abigail Lawson, Harley Mace, Lily Martin, Michael Martin, Cassie Maxwell, Ashlin Maynard, Lacey McMillen, Riley Overstreet, Megan Price, Janelle Rodriguez, Arthur Sulivan, Damien Sullivan, Jaya Tramel, Hannah VanDyne, Parker Vantrease, Cody Woodham, and Ciara Young.


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