Local News Articles

DTC Members Reject Proposed Bylaw Amendments

September 15, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
DTC Directors Bennie Buck Curtis, Ronnie Garrison, and Randy Campbell

Members of DTC Communications (DeKalb Telephone Cooperative) voting during the annual meeting Saturday soundly defeated three proposed bylaw changes which were on the ballot. The meeting was held at the fairgrounds in Alexandria.

By a vote of 231 to 62, voting members said no to making those three changes in the bylaws as recommended by the DTC board of directors.

Meanwhile, the three incumbent DTC board members running without opposition, were each re-elected to a new three year term Saturday.

Ronnie Garrison of the Smithville exchange received 231 votes. Randy Campbell of Liberty had 207 votes, and Bennie Curtis of Alexandria garnered 197 votes.

Had the proposed bylaw amendments been approved by the membership, former employees and close relatives of current employees and directors would not have been eligible to serve as a member of the DTC Communications Board of Directors. Another proposed amendment sought to hold the annual meetings at such location within the service area as the Board of Directors may designate before each and every meeting. All three proposed bylaw changes were defeated together in one vote.

In addition to Garrison, Campbell, and Curtis, other members of the DTC board are Charles Dwight Vinson of Milton, Roy Nelson Pugh of Auburntown, Greg Rogers of Woodbury, James Dillard, Jr. of Gordonsville, Terry McPeak of Norene, Jimmy Oakley of Temperance Hall, and David Parker of Woodland.

Brentwood Arts to Assume Lease of Lakeside Resort

September 15, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lakeside Resort

The Corps of Engineers has agreed to allow Brentwood Arts to assume the lease of Lakeside Resort on Center Hill Lake

In a recent memo sent to UCHRA board members, Executive Director Luke Collins, wrote that the transaction on the lease will be finalized once Rural Development approves a loan to Brentwood Arts.

Meanwhile, Collins wrote that efforts continue to sell Lakeside Resort. "As promised, it is my desire to keep the Board members informed on a regular basis about activities and issues affecting UCHRA. One issue of great concern to many Board members is the proposed sale of Lakeside. While the process is taking longer than we had hoped, progress is being made toward that goal. On Wednesday, September 12, James Starnes, Pat Callahan and I, traveled to Nashville to meet with representatives of the Corps of Engineers. Also present were Jim Himelrick and Bob Pierce, current managers of the facility, and George Williams, Board member of Brentwood Arts. The Corps has agreed to allow Brentwood Arts (a non-profit 501C3) to assume the lease. At this point we await Rural Development's approval of a loan to Brentwood Arts before the transaction can be finalized," wrote Collins.

The mission of the Brentwood Art Society is to encourage, support, and develop art and cultural programs.

In April, Himelrick and Pierce, partners in American Modus, laid out their vision for Lakeside Resort in a power point presentation during a UCHRA policy council meeting in Cookeville. The UCHRA later voted to pursue an agreement with them.

Himelrick and Pierce proposed entering into a management contract with UCHRA as they worked toward acquiring their own land lease on the property with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and assuming all UCHRA loan obligations on the resort by January 1st, 2013

The 2012 objective was to restore the property to the 2010 level of cash flow, increase bookings through extensive marketing and high level of service, and carefully manage expenses and maintain the property at a high level.

The 2013 objectives are to make property improvements, upgrade landscaping, make unit interior improvements to lodging facilities such as adding flat screen TV's, carpeting, and other cosmetic upgrades. Increase amenities and family activities, add lake inflatables and cabins, pool amenities, etc.

American Modus Partners, LLC,. is a Brentwood based company which was organized in 2010. Himelrick and Pierce were part of the Investors Equity Holdings group that put $1.5 million worth of improvements into Nashville Shores before its sale in 2011.

UCHRA acquired Lakeside Resort several years ago, securing a 25 year lease at a dollar a year from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who owns the property.

Lakeside Resort, consisting of 139 acres on the banks of Center Hill Lake off of the Cookeville Highway, created problems for UCHRA financially, apparently being unable to support itself or to service the debt on the note owed on property there.

On other matters, Collins' further wrote in his memo, "On August 30, the Policy Council and Executive Committee approved a motion made by the Personnel Committee on August 23 for UCHRA to create a position for a Grant Writer. The job was posted in-house and three current UCHRA employees applied. We are pleased to announce that Kelly Dishman has been selected to fill that position."

"On Friday, September 7, the sealed bids from firms seeking to be our new auditor were opened. A representative from the Comptroller's office was in attendance. The firm that successfully bid for the job is Jobe, Hastings & Associates, located in Murfreesboro, TN. The Comptroller's office will be reviewing the audit as well."

"Last week the annual TAHRA convention was held in Pigeon Forge, TN. Three UCHRA staff members attended the full convention. Agencies from other regions sent many more attendees. By sending only three, we kept expenses well below amounts spent on this convention in the past."

"Yesterday, Willie Kerr, Frank Smith, Mike Nesbitt and I traveled to Nashville to meet with representatives of Governor Bill Haslam's office. We were also able to meet with several State Senators and Representatives. We advocated for continued support of our programs and increases in funds wherever possible. In general the response was positive."

Tigers' Record Still Perfect After Big District Win Over Owls

September 14, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

After blowout wins in the their first four games, the DeKalb County Tigers faced their toughest test of the season Friday night and passed with flying colors against the Smith County Owls, winning 32 to 13.

It was the 500th football game in school history for DCHS and the first victory over the Owls since an 18-0 shutout in 1995 at Carthage. The last time the Tigers beat the Owls in Smithville was 1981. Smith County still leads the series 22-8. Because of district realignments, the two teams have not always played each other every year. The annual rivalry was renewed in 2009.

Smith County scored first with 9:52 left in the opening quarter on a pass reception to Jalen Manning covering 52 yards for a touchdown. The P.A.T. by Jared Kent was good and the Owls led 7-0.

The Tigers answered with 8:29 left in the first period on a six yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Lucas Phillips to Will Molander. Ben Driver's P.A.T. was good and the game was tied at 7-7.

Late in the first period, the Tigers had a first and goal on the one yard line but lost yardage back to the 22 yard line in the drive on a high snap over the head of quarterback Lucas Phillips. Ben Driver was called upon to try a 39 yard field goal, but the kick was no good.

After recovering a DC fumble at the Tiger 39 yard line, the Owls cashed in a couple of plays later when Jalen Manning scored on a 31 yard touchdown run. The P.A.T. try failed but Smith County led 13-7 with 8:48 left in the second quarter.

After a Smith County turnover, the Tigers drove to the Owl one yard line and quarterback Lucas Phillips capped it on a quarterback sneak for a touchdown with 21 seconds left in the half. The P.A.T try by Driver was no good but the game was tied at 13-13.

The Tigers blew the game open in the second half. With 2:39 to go in the third period, Devonta Milan scored on a 70 yard punt return. Driver's P.A.T. kick was good and DeKalb County had its first lead of the night 20-13.

With 8.3 seconds left in the third period, the Tigers jumped out front 26-13 on a three yard touchdown pass from quarterback Lucas Phillips to Sonni Fullilove. The P.A.T. try by Driver was no good.

After a 38 yard Chris Chapman interception return, the Tigers scored their last touchdown with 9:55 left in the game on a two yard pass from quarterback Lucas Phillips to Will Molander. The P.A.T. try by Driver was no good but DeKalb County was up and went onto win 32 to 13.

With the win, the Tigers improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in district play. Smith County drops to 3-2 on the season and to 0-2 in the district.

Next Friday night, the Tigers will host Hixson for Homecoming. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

Lattimore Named School Board Chairman

September 13, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Johnny Lattimore, second from left, named School Board Chairman (older photo)

Seventh district school board member Johnny Lattimore was elected Chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night.

The school board reorganizes each September, naming a chairman, vice-chairman, and an assistant secretary.

Lattimore's name was placed in nomination for chairman by sixth district member Doug Stephens. Third District member Kenny Rhody then nominated second district member Charles Robinson for re-election as chairman "for the outstanding job he's done this last year," said Rhody. "A lot of research goes into that role. It's a tough role when you do it the right way. There's a lot of research and I think he performed an excellent job as chairman," added Rhody.

M2U00829 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Robinson thanked Rhody for the kind words and the nomination but said he was removing his name from consideration. First district member John David Foutch then moved that the nomination cease and that Lattimore be elected as chairman by acclamation. All voted in favor. Fourth district member Billy Miller was absent.

After the vote, Chairman Lattimore said "I would like to reiterate what Mr. Rhody was saying that Mr. Robinson has done an outstanding job over the last few years as chairman. We appreciate all of his hard work and dedication. He put a lot of time into being chairman of the board and we appreciate that," said Lattimore.

In addition to Chairman Lattimore, the board re-elected Rhody as Vice-Chairman and First district member Foutch as assistant secretary without opposition.

In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly personnel report to the board.

Those employed since the last meeting are:
Katie Goolsby, teacher at DeKalb West School
Tommie Pilgrim, substitute maintenance
Michael Merriman, bus driver
Tenile Rowland, Educational Assistant at Northside Elementary School
Jennifer Benton,, JoAnn Vanatta, and Mary Mathis, substitute cooks
Wade Ferrell, substitute school nurse
Mary Margaret Tripp, classroom assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Donna Knowles, Educational Assistant at Northside Elementary School
Sara Halliburton, teacher at DCHS
Shirley Mathis, substitute bus assistant
Michelle McManus, substitute cook
Gentry Underhill, bus driver

Transfers:
Suzanne Gash, transferred to a teaching position at DeKalb Middle School

Meanwhile, Sue Driver, a teacher at Smithville Elementary School and Bethany Rigsby, teacher at Northside Elementary School, were both granted a leave of absence as requested.

Joy Parker, a teacher at DeKalb Middle School is retiring as of October 26 while Janice Patrick Tanner, substitute school nurse, resigned as of August 15th.

The board, upon the recommendation of Director Willoughby, authorized the signing of a contract with Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet for the proposed re-roofing projects at Smithville Elementary, DeKalb Middle, and DeKalb West Schools after an attorney has reviewed it.

The board adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring bus drivers.

The resolution states Whereas, school bus drivers have an opportunity to ensure that a student's school day begins and ends in a positive manner by the way they greet each student in the morning and bid them farewell in the afternoon; and

Whereas, school bus drivers must assure the safety of the students to and from school every day; and

Whereas, bus drivers must be ready to handle any emergency situations that might occur; and

Whereas, bus drivers are valuable employees. Without them, the school system would not run properly and smoothly because many of our students could not get to school; and

Whereas, school bus drivers spend many hours learning new rules, regulations and safety procedures to keep our transportation system great; and

Whereas, the superintendent and school board greatly appreciate the commitment and dedication of our school bus drivers and wish to honor them for their service to our school system.

Therefore, be it resolved, that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby establishes September 20, 2012 as Bus Driver Appreciation Day in DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that the Board encourages students, parents and staff in each school to join us in expressing appreciation to the bus drivers for all they do".

Chairman Lattimore also congratulated Director Willoughby for being named Director of the Year in the Upper Cumberland and for being in the running for Director of the Year in Tennessee. Willoughby was among nine directors of schools across the state up for that honor which went to the Bradley County director.

In other action, the school board voted to provide a bus to transport anyone, especially elderly or handicapped persons from DeKalb County to the Dailey and Vincent Concert in Gainesboro on Saturday, September 29 if there are enough people interested in riding a bus there.

Dailey & Vincent are set to host their third concert for their Helping Hands Charity, on Saturday, September 29 at the Jackson County High School Gymnasium in Gainesboro. The show starts at 5:00 p.m.

Since its inception, The Dailey & Vincent Helping Hands Fund, administered through the Cookeville Regional Medical Center Foundation, a 501©(3) organization, has raised over $60,000. It exists to provide financial assistance to disadvantaged children of Jackson and DeKalb counties to meet immediate medical, nutritional and educational needs not covered by insurance or other means.

Funds raised by the concert will be divided evenly for use in Jackson and DeKalb counties.

Concert tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and are available in Smithville at Cantrell Furniture or Mapco Express or by calling Julie Vincent (615-418-5759). Tickets are also available online at www.daileyvincent.com.

TDOT Announces Possible Overnight Closure of Hurricane Bridge

September 13, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hurricane Bridge

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has announced that a possible nighttime bridge closure may occur on Hurricane Bridge next week to allow the contractor to pour a portion of the deck.

TDOT officials say this closure may be held either on Tuesday or Wednesday, September 18 or 19 between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. depending on progression of work. (The work will more likely take place during the week of September 24th, but there is a chance that it could be done during this report period).

Whenever these closures are scheduled, variable message boards will be used to inform the public and local media will be notified. The marked truck detour route will be used to reroute traffic.

The bridge currently is down to only one lane of traffic, and it is being maintained and controlled by a temporary signal for the safety of the traveling public. The current weight postings of 10 tons for two-axle vehicles and 18 tons for vehicles with three or more axles will remain in effect and will be strictly enforced. This will allow for work adjacent to the north side of the bridge to continue. Further temporary lane shifts may be implemented by flaggers on an "as needed" basis to facilitate work as it progresses.

Estimated project completion date is October 2013.

Kaylee Cantrell Named DCHS Homecoming Queen

September 12, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Homecoming Queen Kaylee Cantrell
DCHS Homecoming Queen and Attendants

The 2012 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School is Kaylee Cantrell.

A senior, Cantrell is the 17 year old daughter of Shannon and Tonya Cantrell of Smithville.

The Homecoming Attendants are:

Senior Attendant -Emily Webb, the 17 year old daughter of Alan and Lora Webb of Smithville.

Senior Attendant- Grace Webb, the 17 year old daughter of C.D. and Cindy Webb of Dowelltown

Junior Attendant- Elizabeth Mason, 16 year old daughter of Jim and April Mason of Dowelltown

Sophomore Attendant- Mariah Jones, the 15 year old daughter of Bill and Melissa Jones of Smithville.

Freshman Attendant- Jailyn Bolding, the 14 year old daughter of Bradley and Lori Hendrix of Smithville and Brad and Marcy Bolding of Rock Island.

Spirit week activities will be held September 17 -21 at DCHS. The Homecoming Parade will take place Friday afternoon, September 21 and the Tiger Homecoming Football game will be at 7:00 p.m. that night against Hixson. The crowning of the queen will be at 6:30 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the game.

(Pictured above: DCHS Homecoming Queen and Attendants: Seated left to right: Emily Webb, Queen Kaylee Cantrell, and Grace Webb; Standing left to right: Jailyn Bolding, Mariah Jones, and Elizabeth Mason)

Settlement Reportedly Reached in Federal Lawsuit Over Inmate's Death

September 12, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jackie Lee Snider

A settlement has reportedly been reached in a federal court lawsuit against DeKalb County and others over the death of an inmate while in the custody of the Sheriff's Department over two and a half years ago. Terms of the settlement have not been made public.

Doris Hullett filed the lawsuit over a year and a half ago in the death of her son, Jackie Lee Snider, who was arrested December 31, 2009 and died on January 30, 2010 after being taken from the jail to DeKalb Community Hospital. According to the lawsuit, "the medical examiner reported that Snider died of pancreatitis, which is an extremely painful and serious medical condition. If Snider's pancreatitis had been treated on or before the morning of January 30, 2010, Snider would have survived without permanent, long term consequences," according to the lawsuit.

A source confirmed this week for WJLE that the case has been settled but said that all parties involved have been instructed not to discuss it. WJLE placed a call Monday to the office of Cynthia Wilson in Cookeville, Hullett's attorney but she would not comment.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants violated Snider's constitutional rights when they denied him reasonable medical care for his serious medical condition, thereby causing him extensive pain and suffering and ultimately death

In the latest court filing in the case, Judge John Bryant granted a motion last month filed jointly by the parties to extend
deadlines, for a new trial date, and for order of mediation. As grounds for this motion, the parties stated that they had scheduled a private mediation of this case for August 20, 2012, and sought to defer current pretrial deadlines in the hope that a settlement at this mediation would eliminate the necessity for serving expert witness reports and other related costs.

Judge Bryant granted the motion but said that "the Court, however, notes that if this case does not
settle at the scheduled mediation or soon thereafter, the trial date will need to be rescheduled because of the local rule requiring at least 90 days between completion of briefing of a dispositive motion and the trial date. With a current deadline of December 20, 2012, for the filing of dispositive motions, the time required for filing responses and replies would not leave the required 90 days before the current trial date of March 23, 2012.

Hullett had originally asked for compensatory damages against all defendants, jointly and severally in the amount of $750,000; an award, including loss of consortium in the amount of $750,000; punitive damages in the amount of $1,250,000; attorney fees and litigation expenses in an amount to be determined at trial; and treble damages; plus such other and further legal and or equitable relief to which she may be entitled or the court deems proper.

Earlier this year, Judge Bryant granted a defense motion to dismiss certain claims in the lawsuit. Based upon a finding that the federal court lacked jurisdiction, Judge Bryant dismissed Hullett's claim under the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, her wrongful death claim, and her claim for medical negligence without prejudice but stated in the order that she could "pursue these claims in Tennessee Circuit Court". Hullett's claim under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act was also dismissed for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. The Court retained jurisdiction of Hullet's state law claims for civil conspiracy and outrageous conduct as well her claim for punitive damages.

Defendants named in the lawsuit are DeKalb County; Sheriff Patrick Ray, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff; along with employees of the jail including the jail administrator and correctional officers, Kenneth Ray, Rick Smith, Jim Hendrix, Mark Nichols, Ernie Hargis, Kyle Casper, individually and in their official capacities; John Does 1-4; Renee Riddle, Licensed Practical Nurse, Robert Alan Stultz, Psychian's Assistant, and Southern Health Partners, Inc.

Southern Health Partners, Inc (SHP) is a company which performs the traditional state government function of providing health care to Jail detainees through a contractual relationship with the county.

Police Seek Tips from Public In Reported Robbery of Pizza Hut Employee

September 11, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Police Seek Tips from Public In Reported Robbery of Pizza Hut Employee

Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving a robbery of a Pizza Hut employee on Thursday night, August 30.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE that an employee reported to police that after she had closed the restaurant and was locking the doors at around 11:00 p.m. that night, someone came up behind her, grabbed the deposit bag she held, hit her, and then fled on foot. "She was walking away from the building toward her car when she heard someone jump off the concrete wall behind the restaurant," said Chief Caplinger. "When she turned around, the robber grabbed the deposit bag, hit her in the face with his fist, pushed her back, and took off running," he said. She said the person was wearing blue jeans, a dark long sleeved shirt, and a black mask. The robber got away with an undisclosed amount of cash from the days restaurant proceeds.

If you have information that could help solve the crime, call the Smithville Police Department's crime tip line at 464-6046.

Meanwhile, in other city crime news, Michael Teachman was arrested Thursday, August 30 on a sealed indictment returned by the Grand Jury charging him with sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance. His court date is September 17.

29 year old Michael Eugene Lattimore was arrested on Monday, August 27 for filing a false report. According to the warrant, Detective Matt Holmes interviewed Lattmore in regards to his vehicle that was reported stolen. Lattimore advised Detective Holmes that he had filed a false report and that the vehicle was loaned to someone instead of it being stolen. His court date is September 13.

44 year old William Andrew Cantrell was arrested on Thursday, September 6 for public intoxication and cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the warrant, an officer was at Kwik-N-Ezy and saw Cantrell passed out in a booth there. The officer woke Cantrell and found that he had very slurred speech and was very unsteady on his feet. Cantrell was arrested for his safety and the safety of the public. A search of his possessions incident to arrest revealed a small pill and drug paraphernalia. Cantrell's court date is October 11.

Again, anyone with information on criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Woodmen of World Salute America's Heroes In 911 Ceremony at DCHS

September 11, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Woodmen of World Presents Flag of Honor to DCHS
Smithville Fire Dept Honor Guard Participates in 911 Ceremony at DCHS

DCHS Seniors joined the Woodmen of the World in a 911 honor and remembrance ceremony Monday at the high school.

The program paid tribute to the heroes and victims of September 11, 2001 as well as the members of the military, both current and past, who selflessly protect America's freedoms and liberty. And on a local level, the ceremony extended gratitude to those who safeguard our community, the firefighters, law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, and other first responders who put their lives on the line for our safety.

M2U00828 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Wanda Poss, President of the local Woodmen of the World Family Fraternity, opened the ceremony with welcoming remarks followed by an Invocation from David Gash, Assistant DCHS Principal. The Smithville Fire Department's Honor Guard posted a new flag set (colors), presented to them by the local Woodmen members as Victoria Vincent sang the National Anthem.

"Since 2002, Woodmen of the World members across the country have been dedicating flagpoles and presenting flags, not only to honor the heroes and victims of September 11, 2001 but also the men and women of our Armed Forces serving in combat," said Regina Wilhite, Field Representative for Woodmen of the World. "In addition, these ceremonies pay tribute to the men and women in this community who risk their lives daily to keep us safe, police officers, fire fighters, and emergency rescue personnel and other First Responders. They all deserve our thanks and admiration," she said.

M2U00826 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
"Nearly 5,000 dedications to these individuals, in special ceremonies as this, have been held by Woodmen of the World. We can think of no more special way to honor these brave men and women than by the sight of the American flag flying proudly. Since 1947, we have presented more than 2 million American flags to community-based organizations across this nation," said Wilhite.

Rochelle Cordova, Fraternal Coordinator for Woodmen of the World, said the ceremony Monday also served as a rededication of the flagpole outside the school to the memory of the late Sergeant Shannon Taylor and Private First Class Billy Gene Anderson from DeKalb County who lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. "It is fitting that we rededicate the flagpole outside your school today to local heroes Sgt, Shannon Taylor and PFC Billy Anderson. Our nation's flag atop the pole serves as a symbol of the enduring spirit of all Americans," she said.

"It is with great pride that we rededicate the flagpole to Billy, Shannon, and to all of America's heroes and victims. The commemorative plaques at the base of the pole bears their names and the other reads: "In Honor and Remembrance of the heroes and victims in the fight against terrorism and to celebrate the enduring spirit of all Americans," said Cordova

A brief flashlight flag ceremony was then held in which bearers of an American Flag passed Old Glory over the heads of the seated senior class. Flashlight bearers in the class turned on flashlights and directed the light toward flag as it passed over them. " What you see here represents the past, present, and future," said Cordova. " The stripes of Old Glory stand for the original thirteen colonies. The stars represent the present 50 states. The light and warmth of the four lights you see shining remind us of the four great freedoms - Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Eliminate any one of these freedoms and our world would become darker and colder," she said. All then joined in the pledge of allegiance.

For their participation in the ceremony, Woodmen of the World presented the DCHS Senior class a new American flag for the school. In addition, a Flag of honor was presented to the school by Woodmen of the World, created from the names of those who perished on 911. "Hidden in the red and blue stripes, in tiny print so they would fit on this 3' x 5' flag, are nearly three thousand names of every victim that fell on 911," said Cordova. That day (911) impacted us all and its important that we remember the events of that day and that we continue to have that feeling of patriotism that we've had since 911," she added.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Sunday for Fourth Habitat Home in DeKalb County

September 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Melba Vinca Family Selected for Next Habitat Home

Another family will soon experience the dream of home ownership thanks to Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County.

The Melba Vinca family was chosen by the local Habitat board of directors on Tuesday, April 17th for the fourth Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County based on a recommendation by the Habitat family selection committee.

The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday, September 16 at 2 p.m. at 108 Hayes Street in Smithville.

Construction is scheduled to begin immediately. Everyone is invited to help. Skilled and unskilled volunteers are needed as well as groups to provide lunch for volunteers. Churches, organizations and individuals may leave a message at 615-215-8181 to volunteer.

Marie Blair, Chairman of the Family Selection Committee told WJLE that Vinca was among thirteen who applied to become the latest partner family. The committee, she said, felt that Vinca was the best choice. Some who applied did not meet all the criteria.

To qualify, applicants must be a DeKalb County resident for at least 1 year; be a U.S. Citizen or have permanent resident alien status; have a housing need; have an ability to pay. (applicants must provide proof of income and ability to pay a monthly mortgage); and be willing to partner in the construction of their own home.

Vinca and her three grandsons, 16 year old Bradley Mullican, 15 year old Cayton Lance, and 10 year old Justin Lance, will reside at the home on Hayes Street once its completed.

Vinca told WJLE in April that she is excited to have been selected. "I really felt like I had won a lottery. I just want to thank God for allowing me this opportunity to finally own my own home and to have my own bedroom more than anything. I can't wait to get out there and help,"she said.

"We're very, very happy to have Ms. Vinca as our fourth partner family for this year", said Nolan Turner, President of the local Habitat affiliate. "We're looking forward to getting the house built and getting her in there as soon as we possibly can," he said.

"We really need donations right now for the building. We've got enough to get it underway but we're looking forward to finishing the house and to possibly get enough (donations) to start another one," said Turner.

"This will be between an 1,100 to 1,200 square foot house. It'll be a three bedroom house with a bath and a half. Of course with a kitchen and dining room. It will be similar to the other (partner family) houses. A washer/dryer combination will be furnished with the house. It'll be a frame house. Most of the labor will be volunteer. Nowadays you've got to have a licensed contractor as far as electric and plumbing. We may have to employ someone to do that but most of the labor is going to come from volunteer help," said Turner.

The purpose of Habitat is to build houses and sell them at no profit and no interest to families who could not otherwise afford their own home. This Christian ministry is financed through private donations using volunteer labor and donated materials whenever possible.

(Melba Vinca Family Selected for Next Habitat Home: Left to right: Bradley Mullican, Melba Vinca, Cayton Lance, and Local Habitat President Nolan Turner. In front wearing orange shirt is Justin Lance)

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