Local News Articles

DeKalb County Fire Department Gets Fire Equipment Grant

December 17, 2010
County Fire Chief Donny Green

Donny Green, DeKalb County Fire Chief, announces that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have awarded a $118,091 Assistance to Firefighters Grant to the DeKalb County Fire Department. Chief Green says that the Federal share is 95 percent and the local share is 5 percent.

The award will be used to purchase personal protective equipment for the department’s 73 volunteer firefighters. The grant will help meet the needs of DeKalb County's growing, rural fire department. The Department has eleven stations responsible for protecting 305 square miles and responds to an average of 325 fire-related calls per year. DeKalb County Fire Department is one of the few county-wide departments in Tennessee.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is designed as an opportunity for the United States Congress to work with DHS to enhance basic fire service delivery across the United States.

Chief Green says that DeKalb County is fortunate to receive federal funding to help offset the high cost of these equipment purchases. “Without such grants, DeKalb County taxpayers would be shouldering the entire cost of purchasing this necessary firefighting equipment”, says Chief Green. DeKalb County Fire Department also expresses its appreciation to County Mayor Mike Foster and the DeKalb County Commission for supporting the department by allowing the application for such grants.

Renovation Begins on County Owned Shopping Center Building

December 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster
Town and Country Shopping Center Building
Town and Country Shopping Center Building

Construction on the renovation of the former Town and Country Shopping Center has begun and what will become an office complex and recreation center is expected to be completed by late summer of next year.

County Mayor Mike Foster said the project was bid in two phases and Cambridge Constructors of McMinnville was the low bidder at $1.6 million on the first phase and $726,000 on the other for a total of $2.3 million. Under terms of the agreement, Foster said at least 40% of the labor must be from DeKalb County and 25% of the materials must be purchased locally. "The county commission unanimously voted to recommend to the purchasing committee that Cambridge be awarded the contract. We had four bidders including Cambridge, Lee Adcock Construction, J&S, and another company out of Cookeville. Cambridge was $407-thousand dollars cheaper than the others. We compared all the equipment and everything in the specs and they awarded the contract to them (Cambridge). The first thing we were concerned about was the roof. So this will include a new roof on the entire building, a new roof and insulation, an all new central heat and air system for the entire building, and a new facade on the front of the building."

"The project was bid in two phases because we didn't know what the estimate was going to be. We set it up so we could winterize and weatherize the entire building, get the heating and air done, get the facade done and get the southern portion of the building from the old food store all the way down to and including where the old Pizza Inn was located. All of that was in one part of the bid. The other part of the bid was for where the senior citizens and recreation area will be. It (bid) came in under the amount we were expecting. The first part (bid) was for $1,611,000 and that's for an all new roof, all new central air and heat, facade, painting the exterior building, and doing all the interior walls from food center down to Pizza Inn. The other part (bid) was $726,000. It will include all the remodeling for the entire building, including adding desks and work stations for the four offices that are being moved from the courthouse."

According to Foster, the county can afford this project without having to raise property taxes. In fact, he said the county's debt service payments will actually be less than they are now, due to a better bond rating and a re-structuring of the county's debt."We (county) had some notes. Some of them had been here a long time, some were short term and some for a longer term but the payments on them were $465,000 a year. By re-doing the structure and by getting a new bond rating of A plus from Standard & Poors, even adding this new building, the payments are now $406,000 a year. That's nearly $60,000 a year less. Plus we're renting two parts of the building that's going to bring in about $57,000 a year so our debt service is going from $465,000 to $349,000. That's a tremendous savings, enough to do the utilities and everything on the entire building."

Again Foster said the work has begun on the building and it should be ready for use by next summer. "By contract, they have to be done by eight months or they start paying a penalty. The part where UCHRA is moving into, they have to have it done within four months."

Foster said when completed, the building will offer public use for a variety of purposes. "We all know that we want to have something for our young people to do and there are a lot of things incorporated into this building. There's absolutely no new costs to any taxpayer. We're going to be moving four offices out of the courthouse. We'll have a drive-thru window for the county clerk. You'll be able to drive up and get your car tags and never have to leave your car. That will be a good thing for people who have trouble negotiating the steps at the courthouse. So the county clerk, trustee, property assessor, and register of deeds which are all interconnected will be moving there (shopping center), moving to the south end of the building. Plus we've built in two storage areas, several hundred feet each, where we can have archives."

"Adjoining that (courthouse offices) will be the UCHRA. They will be leasing approximately 4,700 square feet. They will be moving their facility in there. Motlow Junior College and Tennessee Tech will be having some extended classes there so they (students) don't have to drive to Motlow or Cookeville for extended classes. We'll have six classrooms for that, one of which will be set up as a training center for computer literacy. A lot of industries are needing that. Other people also need it. It's to help create jobs and increase the productivity of people with jobs and give them a better opportunity for employment and maybe allow them to get a better job than what they have right now. We'll also have another meeting room in that area (of the building)."

"Second Harvest Food Bank will have an area in the back (of the building) where they can store their food and distribute it in a much better way. In the (food center) store part, there's about 3,500 square feet for senior citizens. Adjoining that area is an exercise room of about 2,000 square feet and then there's a museum area for things that are pertinent to the county. Adjoining that will be a game room, and then an auditorium with a stage area which will also include an overhead projector which could be used by industries for training. It could also be used as a mini-theater, seating about 230 people. We'll have a scaled down gym with basketball goals where kids can go and play along with two other exercise areas."

"We already have some grants and we've applied for others where we can get things we really need without it being an additional cost to the county."

In October, 2009, the county commission voted to purchase the 62,000 square foot complex for about $750,000. The property covers 5.21 acres and includes a large paved parking lot.

Sheriff's Department to Cease "Flagging" Operations at Hurricane Bridge as of January 1st

December 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
County Funded Flagging Operation to Cease as of January 1st
Solar powered road sign near Hurricane Bridge
Solar powered road sign near Hurricane Bridge

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will cease "flagging" operations at Hurricane Bridge beginning January 1st due to a new TDOT requirement.

Since April 15th, the sheriff's department has posted a "flagger" on each end of the bridge to monitor traffic across the bridge, which has state posted weight limits. The county commission authorized the "flaggers" last January and appropriated the funds to pay for it with the understanding that the county would apply for state grant funds to help recoup the costs.

At the time, County Mayor Mike Foster said posting "flaggers" at the bridge would help school buses, fire trucks, and industries with heavy loads get across the bridge without violating the state's posted weight limits of 10 tons for a straight truck and 18 tons for a semi. Flaggers were to be posted there Mondays through Fridays from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

On November 29th, the county received a notice from TDOT commissioner Gerald Nicely about a new training requirement for TDOT, the result of the Federal Highway Administration's updated regulations for work zone safety.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the new requirement states that all uniformed law enforcement officers who work on a TDOT project shall have training from a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified police training academy within the state of Tennessee. Furthermore, these officers must have an additional four hours of FHWA approved work zone training by December 31st, 2010. The "flaggers" being used by the sheriff's department at Hurricane bridge are part- time employees, who are not POST certified. "This is not something that the county commission, the county mayor, or myself has done", said Sheriff Ray. "This is a requirement from Nashville from the Tennessee Department of Transportation."

"TDOT has revised it's requirements for the use of law enforcement in the highway safety work zones. This will become effective on December 31st. This is a new requirement that is a result of the federal highway administration's work zone safety. What we have to do is, if we have officers down there, they have to be full time law enforcement officers that has the training from the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) in Nashville. Without that training they will not be able to do any of the flagging work at the bridge. If we use our regular deputies or certified deputies that are on shifts, those deputies would have to be taken off the road in order to go down there and do that (flagging) or the county would have to pay overtime fees to those deputies for doing that so I don't think that would be cost efficient for the county or us. So on January 1st, 2011 the weight restrictions on the bridge will go back to what they are and there will be nobody there to flag traffic. We will not be able to send officers down there to stop traffic on the bridge or let any kind of semi- truck, including loaded school buses, to go across the bridge. Any vehicle that's overweight will have to take an alternate route."

Sheriff Ray said since April the "flaggers" have been working at the bridge, but there have been occasions when they could not work due to poor weather conditions or times when the state's solar powered flashing road signs could not function. "Some of the requirements at the bridge that we have had to adhere to are if the weather is bad, such as during heavy rain or ice and snow, then we're prohibited by the state from flagging during those times. Also within the last thirty days we've had trouble with the solar powered signs. If the sun is not shining then the signs will not power up so we're having to get our local TDOT people to go to Cookeville to get a generator that's big enough to come back and charge those batteries. This week, there's not been anybody there (flaggers at the bridge) because of either the weather or the signs. We're still having problems with the signs. We'll get back to it (flagging) just as quick as TDOT can get to us. They've been busy with the road work trying to get it done."

Construction is expected to begin soon on Hurricane bridge.

TDOT opened bids on the project October 29th and the low bidder was OCCI, Incorporated of Fulton, Missouri with a bid of $26.9 million. The contract was officially awarded to OCCI.

TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn said last month that "it's not yet known when construction will begin but OCCI has until October 31st, 2013 to complete the project. "It will take about a month to get all the paper work done. As soon as that happens, then the contractor will hold the pre-construction conference where representatives from the contractor's office and TDOT representatives from the construction field office, the regional construction office, and any utilities that might be involved on the project, will meet at a pre-construction conference and determine how the work is going to be done and how they will approach the job. As soon as that is done, they can get to work on the project. The completion date for this project is on or before October 31st, 2013. "

Willoughby Says Ole Man Winter Could Interfere with End of Course Assessments

December 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

With the winter break set to start after an abbreviated day Friday and the possibility that DeKalb County Schools might be closed again Thursday, school officials say state mandated end of course assessments may not be administered until January.

Mark Willoughby, Director of Schools, said the state requires students to take those tests on their first day back in the classroom. Willoughby said if schools are back in session Thursday, the exams will be given then. If not, it'll have to be after the holidays "The end of course tests are not school decisions. On our first day back in school, the state says we have to give end of course tests. We have English IX and Algebra II left to give so that means if we're in school tomorrow (Thursday), those students need to come to school ready to take those two tests. Also there'll have to be a makeup day for anybody that misses those tests."

According to Willoughby, the state will not require the tests to be given on Friday, the abbreviated day, should schools be back open then. "We talked with the state Tuesday and they will not make us give those tests on the abbreviated day on Friday. But if we show up Thursday for a full day or two hours late or whatever, we have to give those end of course tests. Assuming the worst and we can't go at all this week, we will have to consult with the state and hopefully we will not have to give those tests on the first day back in January. We would hope they would be a little lenient on that and give us a few days after we get back."

As far as the regular final exams, Willoughby said a decision on those is left up to the schools." The finals that our schools have scheduled, those can be a school decision on what they're going to do about finals. One option is to take the first nine weeks grades and the second nine weeks grades and average them together to get the final grades, but that's a school decision."

Meanwhile with the unexpected December winter weather, the allotted snow days in the school calendar is already beginning to dwindle. Willoughby said DeKalb County Schools have already been closed three days this week with seven snow days remaining and two stockpiled days. "We have ten days built into the calendar and three stock piled days. We have already used up one stock piled day (November 2nd) with two of those remaining, January 3rd and March 18th. If we did not have any stock piled days then we would have thirteen snow days."

Willoughby explained that on stockpiled days, students are out of school but teachers attend for staff development. "Several years ago, school systems, including DeKalb County, started extending the school day in order to build up to thirteen additional days, which could be taken off for inclement weather. Most school systems chose to do that, therefore they wouldn't have to make up those days at the end of the year. By choosing to do that, school systems could take a stockpile day as one of those thirteen days for staff development where we work with teachers on new teaching strategies, training, and things like that. We scheduled three stock piled days this school year."

Medigap law change Eligibility has expanded for TennCare disenrollees

December 15, 2010
Dwayne Page

The Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) wants Tennessee insurance consumers to be aware of changes in the law relating to the regulation of the sale of Medicare Supplement insurance products ("Medigap") in this state. This week it has posted a bulletin addressing eligibility expansions for the State-required offer of Medigap policies to persons under 65 eligible for Medicare due to disability or end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

“Beginning January 1, 2011, as a result of an amendment to State law,” says TDCI Commissioner Leslie A. Newman, “insurance carriers who offer Medigap plans to individuals 65 and older must also offer those same plans to eligible individuals under 65. “An individual under 65 must be eligible for Medicare due to a disability or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) to enjoy this expanded mandated offering of coverage,” she says.

Pursuant to the 2010 Tennessee Public Acts, Chapter 978, the following persons are eligible for a six-month open enrollment period under the new law:

•A person who has been enrolled in Medicare Part B since before January 1, 2011, will have until June 30, 2011 to purchase a policy;

•A person who becomes enrolled in Medicare Part B after January 1, 2011, will have six months from the date of enrollment to purchase a policy;

•A person who becomes retroactively enrolled in Medicare Part B due to a retroactive eligibility decision made by the Social Security Administration will have six months from the date of the notice of retroactive enrollment to purchase a policy;

•A person who loses access to alternative forms of health insurance coverage such as accident and sickness policies, employer-sponsored group health coverage or Medicare Advantage plans due to termination or cancellation of such coverage because of the individual's employment status, or due to an action by a health insurer or employer that is unrelated to the individual's status, conduct, or failure to pay premiums will have six months from the date of loss of that coverage to purchase a policy; or

•A person who is involuntarily disenrolled from Title XIX (Medicaid) or Title XXI (State Children's Health Insurance Program) of the Social Security Act will have six months from the date of disenrollment to purchase a policy.

The bulletin can be found on the Insurance Division web page at http://tennessee.gov/
commerce/insurance/documents/120110.pdf. Consumers with questions should contact the TDCI Insurance Division at 615-741-2176, www.tn.gov/commerce/insurance/ or by mailing correspondence to:

TDCI Insurance Division, Fourth Floor
Davy Crockett Tower, Fourth Floor,
500 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243

The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/

Two Escape from DeKalb County Jail- One Captured

December 13, 2010
Dwayne Page
Gilberto Acuna
Devin Anson French

One of two escapees Sunday night from the DeKalb County Jail is back in custody.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said 24 year old Devin Anson French of Gallatin was apprehended Monday afternoon in Wilson County. The other escapee, 23 year old Gilberto Acuna of Foster Road, Warren County, remains at large.

According to Sheriff Ray, the two inmates are believed to have escaped from the DeKalb County Jail Annex Sunday night around 11:00 p.m. The discovery of their escape was made Monday morning around 11:00 a.m. "We discovered some time around 11:00 a.m. that two people had escaped from the jail annex. We think they got out around 11:00 p.m. Sunday night. A couple of the other inmates assisted Acuna and French by lifting them up on the air conditioner vents, located near the ceiling of the dormitory cell. Acuna and French then busted out a corner of one of the fiberglass skylights, and were able to squeeze between a corner of a metal grid and the skylight to make their escape."

French has been in jail for probation violation for contributing to the delinquency of a minor while Acuna has been incarcerated for driving on a suspended license. Both have now been charged with felony escape. Bond for each is $50,000.

This is the first escape from the DeKalb County Jail Annex since October, 2007 when four inmates broke through a skylight and fled. They were arrested a short time later.

After the October, 2007 incident, Sheriff Ray had sheets of tin installed over the skylights from the outside to guard against further escapes. But he said the state asked that they be removed to keep the facility from being de-certified. Sheriff Ray complied and had the sheets of tin removed. Instead, he had metal grids installed across the bottom of the skylights, as recommended by the state, as a measure to prevent further escapes.

Acuna is 5 feet tall and weighs 150 pounds. He has short brown hair, brown eyes, and medium complexion. If you have information that could lead to the arrest of Acuna, contact the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

Sheriff Ray said more arrests are pending.

Sheriff's Department Receives Award from GHSO for Fatality Reduction

December 13, 2010
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray
Kenny B. Stults
William Andrew Cantrell
James Mitchell Johnson
Richard Andrew Scruggs

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has received an award from the Governor's Highway Safety Office for fatality reduction during the year 2010.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said his department received the award on Thursday, December 2nd . "we are very proud and honored to have received this award. We work with the Governor's Highway Safety Office in obtaining grants where we can get out and do sobriety checkpoints, where we can road block. They help us buy our equipment. So we are real fortunate to have those grants and we're very honored to receive this award for the reduction of fatalities for the year 2010."

Meanwhile, in this week's crime news, 51 year old Kenny B. Stults of Pine Creek Drive, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500. He was arrested on Tuesday, December 7th.

Sheriff Ray said on November 30th, Stults allegedly went to a residence on Cookeville Highway and took numerous shelving items without the owner's consent. He then allegedly took the shelving to a business on New Home Road and sold it. The value of the property taken was approximately $200. His court date is December 16th and he is under a $2,500 bond.

48 year old Connie Gail Chapman of Sycamore Road, Woodbury was issued a citation on Tuesday, December 7th for simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance. Chapman will be in court on January 13th. The deputy, assisting the probation office on a search of Chapman, found in her purse, an orange pill, believed to be suboxone.

31 year old Lafael Murrillo of Short Mountain Highway was issued a citation on Tuesday, December 7th for having an expired drivers license and violation of the financial responsibility law. Murrillo was involved in a two car wreck on Highway 56 and couldn't show proof of insurance. His license had expired on December 6th, 2006.

42 year old William Andrew Cantrell of Redman Road, Smithville was arrested on Thursday, December 9th for evading arrest. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court on December 16th. He also has two other warrants against him for violation of probation. He is being held without bond on those offenses. A deputy driving down New Home Road noticed Cantrell in a vehicle that was pulling into a business. The officer, having knowledge of warrants against Cantrell, also pulled into the business to confront Cantrell. When Cantrell saw the officer, he got out of the vehicle and took off running. The officer called for Cantrell to stop. Cantrell was placed under arrest.

52 year old Gregory Scott Redmon of Midway Road, Smithville was issued a citation on Thursday, December 9th for two counts of simple possession. An officer stopped Redmon's vehicle for suspicion of driving under the influence. Upon a search of the vehicle, the officer found a red pill crusher. Inside the pill crusher were six pink oval pills believed to be xanax, a schedule IV controlled substance, and an orange pill believed to be suboxone, a schedule III controlled substance. Redman will be in court on January 6th.

36 year old James Mitchell Johnson of Fancy Farms, Kentucky is charged under a grand jury sealed indictment for forgery. He is under a $5,000 bond.

31 year old Richard Andrew Scruggs of Highland Avenue, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. He was arrested on Friday, December 10th and he will be in court on Thursday, January 6th. His bond is $1,000. While on routine patrol on Allen Ferry Road, a deputy saw a man walking in the roadway. The man was very unsteady on his feet. The officer stopped and spoke to the man, Scruggs, and noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he had slurred speech. According to the officer, Scruggs was a danger to himself and for his safety, he was placed under arrest.

33 year old Bridgett Nicole Judkins was issued a citation for possession of a schedule II controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. She will be in court on January 6th. On Sunday, December 12th, Judkins was a passenger of a vehicle. In her lap was an open glasses case. Inside the case was a hypodermic needle and two glass pipes containing residue. Also inside the case was a pill container that held a baggie with a powdered substance which field tested positive for methamphetamine, a schedule II drug.

TCAP Achievement Test Results to Comprise a Percentage of Students Final Grades

December 11, 2010
Dwayne Page
Jonathan Fontanez (Previous Photo)

Beginning with the spring semester, TCAP Achievement test scores in the third through eighth grade will comprise 20% of a student's final grades in the subjects of Math, Reading/Laguage Arts, Science, and Social Studies. The percentage will increase to 25% next school year.

Meanwhile, the End of Course test grades for high school students will count for 25% of their final grades beginning next school year, 2011-12. The percentage is currently 20%.

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night adopted this new policy based on a recommendation by Jonathan Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for Grades 7-12.

Fontanez explained that beginning with the 2011 spring semester, the state is requiring that each local board of education develop a policy by which scores on the TCAP achievement tests administered to third through eighth grade students comprise a percentage of the students final grade for the spring semester in the subjects of Mathematics, Reading/Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. According to Fontanez, the percentage shall be determined by the local board of education within a range of 15%-25%. The policy must be developed and implemented by the spring semester of 2011.

According to state policy, High School End of Course test grades count for 20% of the final course grades in End of Course assessed subjects. Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year and the subsequent years following, the End of Course test grades for those assessed courses will count 25% toward a student's final grade.

Fontanez recommended that the board make the percentage for grades 3-8 coincide with the high school requirement already in place so as to help establish a measure of continuity across grades within the district.

Under the new policy as recommended by Fontanez, for the initial semester of this policy implementation (Spring 2011), the percentage will be 20% for grades 3-8 which is the same percentage currently used for the high school End of Course grade calculations . The percentage will be adjusted for the 2011-2012 and subsequent years to increase to 25% of a students final grade in class.

Smithville Woman Arrested for Shoplifting also Found with Drugs

December 11, 2010
Dwayne Page

A Smithville woman was found with some drugs after police arrested her for shoplifting last Saturday.

Police Chief Randy Caplinger said 34 year old Tracie Lyndal Godsey of Andrew Street was arrested by Officer David Phillips on Saturday, December 4th for theft of property and simple possession of a schedule II drug. Officer Phillips was called to check out a complaint concerning a shoplifter at Rite Aid Pharmacy. By the time Officer Phillips arrived the suspect had left the scene. After the clerk provided a description of the suspect and the vehicle she was driving, Officer Phillips located the automobile at East Side Citgo. Ms. Godsey was placed under arrest for theft. Godsey also had a schedule II drug on her person at the time of her arrest. Her bond is set at $2000 and her court date is January 27th

47 year old Robert Jeffery League of Smith Road was arrested by Officer James Cornelius on Friday, December 3rd for domestic assault. League allegedly held the victim down on a bed and threw her in a closet, leaving marks on her arms and breaking the closet door. Bond for League is $2500 and his court date is January 27th.

36 year old Angel L Brown of Brown Lane was cited for shoplifting on Friday, December 3rd by Lieutenant Steven Leffew. Wal-Mart managers stated that they saw Brown conceal property in her purse and jacket. Lt Leffew stopped Ms. Brown outside of Wal-Mart where she produced the items. Her court date is December 16th.

28 year old Joshua Key Alford of Morrison was arrested by Officer James Cornelius on Saturday, December 4th for driving under the influence. Alford, operating a motor vehicle, was stopped for a traffic violation. He had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet. Bond for Alford is $1000 and his court date is January 6th.

28 year old Amanda Leigh Alford of Manchester, a passenger of Joshua Alford's vehicle, was cited for simple possession. Officer Cornelius spotted a hand rolled cigarette in Ms. Alford's hand containing a brown leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Her court date is January 6th.

35 year old Milford Michael Stewart of Page Drive was arrested by Sergeant Randy King on Sunday, December 5th for criminal impersonation and being a fugitive from justice. Sergeant King was dispatched to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital to check out a suspicious person. A man there had given more than one name, different social security numbers and different dates of birth. Sergeant King informed the man of why he was there and told him that if he were untruthful, he would be charged with criminal impersonation. The man gave Sergeant King personal information which, upon further investigation, was found to be untrue. The man was later identified as Milford Stewart. Police learned that he had lied to Sergeant King in an attempt to prevent the officer from finding out that he (Stewart) is wanted in several states. Stewart is wanted in Ohio and is being held here, pending extradition for assuming the identity of another person in that state. Stewart is under a $1,500 bond for criminal impersonation and his court date is December 16th.

Meanwhile, 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 Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Bailey T. Hayes is a Winner!

December 11, 2010
Bill Conger
Bailey T. Hayes

Bailey T. Hayes is a Winner!

This is exactly how I wanted the headline to read after leaving the Tennessee Junior Beta Convention in Nashville, Tenn., November 22 and 23. Bailey T. Hayes is a winner. The President of the Junior Beta Club was the first-ever candidate from DeKalb West School to run for state office. Hayes, the son of Alan and Lesa Hayes of Liberty, was one of three candidates vying for Secretary. He and his campaign skit participants gave an outstanding effort to earn the post, but when the winner was announced on Tuesday afternoon, it wasn't Bailey's name that was read.

Despite what the final vote tally determined, there is no doubt in my mind that Bailey T. Hayes is still the winner. How could he not be? Bailey T. Hayes is a winner because he did something no one else at DWS had ever done. He tried. For weeks, he practiced and practiced his campaign speech, giving 110% effort. Bailey T. Hayes is a winner because he faced the fear--public speaking-- that even adults rank as number one above death. He stood in front of 7,000 of his peers at the Opryland Hotel and delivered a confident, no flaws speech. Bailey T. Hayes is a winner because he pulled out an impromptu question from a bag in front of a crowd of thousands and gave an answer straight from his heart that any parent would be proud to hear. Bailey T. Hayes is a winner because he gracefully accepted defeat with his chin held high regardless of how disappointed he might have been in the moment. Bailey T. Hayes is a winner because he is the kind of remarkable student and child that I am thrilled to have witnessed take on a challenge and from start to finish give it a Grade A commitment. Bailey T. Hayes is a winner because he has two parents who gave sacrificially in this campaign to help see their son be the best he can be, just the way they've always performed for him since his birth. His campaign theme was "Stand For Something (or you'll fall for anything)." Service to others, Trustworthy, Appreciative, Never Say Never Attitude, and Dedication/Determination are just a few of the character traits this young Christian man demonstrates continuously. It's little wonder that Bailey T. Hayes has turned out to be a winner. Congratulations!


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