Local News Articles

Crash Victim Receives GHSO "Saved by the Belt" Award

March 20, 2011
Dwayne Page
THP Sgt Mark Dial, Brandyn Wright, and Trooper Dewaine Jennings
Brandyn Wright's 2000 Ford Focus

A seatbelt may have saved the life of a 30 year old Smithville man or at least prevented him from suffering serious injuries after being involved in a three car crash on Highway 70 near Alexandria in January.

For choosing to buckle up, Brandyn Wright has received the "Saved by the Belt" Award from the Governor's Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

THP Sergeant Mark Dial and Trooper Dewaine Jennings presented the award to Wright on Saturday morning.

The award states "The Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office commends Brandyn Wright for your lifesaving choice and for the strong example you provide to others on the importance of wearing safety belts. You are living proof that safety belts save lives."

On January 6th, Wright was traveling east on Highway 70 toward Smithville in a 2000 Ford Focus when another vehicle traveling west tried to pass a car on a double yellow line. The vehicle that pulled out to pass struck Wright's car nearly head-on and then hit the car it was trying to pass. Wright's car spun around and came to rest facing north on the shoulder of the roadway. The car trying to pass broke into two pieces from the crash and the two occupants were ejected because they were not wearing their seatbelts.

THP officials say Wright's decision to wear his seatbelt not only saved his life but also kept him from sustaining more serious injuries in what proved to be a very serious accident.

A Look at the Tennessee Legislature

March 20, 2011
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a weekly legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver:

Governor Gives First State of the State Address, Outlines Ambitious Plans to Reduce, Transform Government

In a 34-minute speech that focused on reducing the size of government, balancing the budget, and reforming education, the Governor laid out a clear vision for remaking Tennessee. The Governor urged Members of the General Assembly to continue working together to find solutions for the problems voters highlighted last year.

The Governor stated, "The people of Tennessee told us to roll up our sleeves, find consensus on a responsible and realistic spending plan, educate our children, encourage great teachers, create more jobs — and do it now." Along with the annual Address, the Governor provided his budget blueprint for scaling back State spending.

The Governor’s budget proposes an average reduction throughout state government of 2.5 percent. Most executive branch agencies funded with general funds will be reduced. These cuts will save Tennessee taxpayers millions of dollars. The plan calls for reductions in the State workforce but not in the quality of services provided to Tennesseans. In fact, the Governor called for all levels of government to become leaner and more efficient to better serve citizens of the Volunteer State.

Immediately following the speech, many Members applauded the Governor for his proposal. This budget illustrates what Tennesseans have said loud and clear. It illustrates fiscal restraint and stays true to our principles. This is an opportunity for us to manage government differently in the years to come. These are common sense measures that look past partisan lines to get Tennessee back on track. His call to action transcends the political divide and transforms the way our government operates. Tennessee has a strong leader in the Governor and I look forward to working with him to create an environment where job growth is a lasting reality for Tennesseans and government is more accountable to our citizens.

General Assembly Plans to Exempt Itself from Government Pay Raise

Several Members highlighted the fact the Governor included a small raise for State workers after a four year freeze. The Governor found significant savings in many areas for taxpayers but also discussed the fact the State should be competitive in salary for its workers. While several Members were encouraged by the news, some Members of the General Assembly are proposing an amendment to the budget to exempt legislators from the raise so further savings could be realized for taxpayers.

The sponsor of the Amendment for the exemption remarked, “I am delighted the Governor has produced a budget that has made significant and responsible reductions to the overall amount of spending in our State. This is a principle we campaigned on last fall and I am proud to say Tennessee is leading the way for fiscal restraint. That said, I believe we can already go a step further. While there are many hard workers serving our State who deserve a raise—including educators and service professionals—I believe Members of the General Assembly should forego this raise and lead by example.”

A New Way Forward To Empower Teachers Emerges from Education Subcommittee

On Wednesday, a new plan emerged from the House Education Subcommittee to give a voice to every teacher and reward those educators who embody excellence in the classroom. The amendment to House Bill 130, passed by a vote of 8-5, was a collaborative effort and provides a new path for reform in an area that is key to the long-term success of education in Tennessee.

The plan allows for equal access to all education associations for teachers and calls for restrictions on what can be discussed by unions in education. Overall, the plan removes politics from the classroom and enables teachers to focus on student achievement—the State’s number one priority in education.

Instead of settling for the status quo that benefits the few, this amendment allows for us to reach higher for the benefit of all. It gives us a distinct Tennessee solution to the hurdles we face. This legislation promotes accountability in our education system because it encourages and promotes the highest-performing teachers and rewards them for the amazing work they do with our children.

The Governor weighed in with his support on the plan by saying, “It gives superintendents greater flexibility in making personnel decisions and supports my central focus of doing what's best for children in Tennessee classrooms.”

First Lady Urges Parents to Get Involved in Education

Tennessee’s First Lady championed parental involvement in education and childhood development this week. The First Lady made her remarks at Children’s Advocacy Days 2011, an event hosted by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. The First lady will creatively seek out ways to increase and inspire parental involvement, both in Tennessee schools and during early childhood development.

“To help convey the message that a parent is a child’s first teacher, I want to encourage parents, engage communities and empower families in Tennessee,” Mrs. Haslam said.

The First Lady said she plans to travel the state and meet with parents in order to listen and challenge communities to set local objectives for parental engagement. Mrs. Haslam plans to work with parents to help meet their goals.

The First Lady also announced as part of her initiative, she will be focusing this first year on early childhood reading and plans to partner with Governor Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Education to raise the literacy rates for children.

SCORE Calls for Governor’s Tenure Reforms to be Passed

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) this week released a video, narrated by Dr. Bill Frist, Chairman of SCORE and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, on the importance of reforming Tennessee’s tenure system as a way to improve teacher effectiveness.

“Teachers are the most important factor in determining how much a student learns,” said Dr. Frist. “A crucial step in ensuring there is a great teacher at the front of every classroom is reforming the way Tennessee grants tenure. Tenure should be a reward for excellent teachers and an incentive for others to improve. The legislation proposed by Governor Haslam and currently moving through the General Assembly will make tenure for teachers meaningful by clearly tying it to classroom performance.”

During the various committee assignments and Bill presentations I made this week, I had the privilege to join Leadership DeKalb for lunch and a Q and A time as well. Having folks from the fortieth come to the Capitol to observe and take part in the process is always a highlight of mine and one I encourage my district to participate in. It is indeed such an honor to serve Macon, Smith and DeKalb Counties.

Walk Across Tennessee Kickoff for DeKalb County Set for April 4

March 19, 2011
Extension Agent April Martin
April Martin

Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to improve and maintain your health, yet nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t getting the activity they need. Consider taking up walking with friends or your family by participating in Walk across Tennessee, which is an eight-week program that will spark some friendly competitions in DeKalb County. Beginning Monday, April 4 teams of eight will compete to see who can log the most miles walking, jogging, biking, and other forms of exercise in their community. Biking or jogging teams can have a team of four. The miles walked are not literally across the state, but reported on a map posted at the UT Extension Office and Greenbrook Park.
Since everyone participates in a variety of sports, the Walk across Tennessee program also has an exercise conversion chart so that participants can count aerobics, swimming, weight lifting, etc. For example, 16 minutes of high intensity aerobics would equal one mile.

The Walk across Tennessee kickoff for DeKalb County is set for Monday, April 4 at Greenbrook Park at 5:30 P.M. “Teams will keep track of their miles and weekly results and team standings at the park, on the Walk Across TN website, facebook, and other places around the community. Teams can be composed of coworkers, teachers, students, neighbors, etc. While it would be great for teams to exercise together, this is not a requirement. This is an excellent team competition for the workplace and schools” said April Martin, DeKalb County Extension Agent

Many people are unaware of the positive benefits of exercise. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 problem in the United States. The risk of heart disease could be significantly reduced by regular exercise. According to the Center for Disease Control, the positive effects of physical activity are not limited to lowering the risk of heart disease. Not only does regular exercise help relieve stress and anxiety,” physically active people outlive inactive people. Participating in Walk across Tennessee DeKalb County is not only a great way to get involved with our community, it’s a healthy habit,” Martin stated.

To participate in Walk across Tennessee, first get a team of eight together. Biking and jogging teams are limited to four people. Choose a team captain and name your team. Team captains need to download up a captain’s packet, available at http://eteamz.active.com/WalkAcrossTennesseeDeKalbCounty/ in the handout section or at the DeKalb County Extension Office, 115 West Market St. Smithville, located right near the courthouse in Smithville. Each team member will need to complete a registration form which is included in the team captain’s packet or at the Walk across Tennessee website. “Competition kicks off on Monday, April 4, 5:30 P.M. at Greenbrook Park under pavilion one,” Martin said. “Come out and plan to have lots of fun.” For more information, call the Extension office at 597-4945 or visit the website.

All of the programs of the University of Tennessee are open to all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or disability.. .

2010 Census Shows DeKalb Population Up 7.5%- Hispanic Count Almost Doubles

March 18, 2011

DeKalb County grew 7.5% to a population of 18,723 according to 2010 census results released by the government on Wednesday. That's an increase of 1,300 people from the 17,423 count in the 2000 census for DeKalb County.

The DeKalb County Hispanic population almost doubled going from 633 to 1,239

The cities of Smithville, Alexandria, and Dowelltown experienced some growth over the last ten years but Liberty's population decreased.

2010 census figures show Smithville's population at 4,530, an increase of 13.4%. That's 536 more people than the 3,994 counted in the 2000 census.

Alexandria's population is at 966, an 18.7% increase or 152 more people than the 2000 census count of 814

Dowelltown's population count grew by 53 people from 302 to 355, an increase of 17.5%

Liberty's population dropped from 367 to 310, a decrease of 57 people or 15.5%

The DeKalb County 2010 population breakdown by race is as follows compared to 2000:

17,352 (2010)
16,653 (2000)

250 (2010)
250 (2000)

American Indian, Alaskan:
35 (2010)
48 (2000)

49 (2010)
24 (2000)

Hawaiian, Pacific Islander
2 (2010)
3 (2000)

797 (2010)
282 (2000)

238 (2010)
163 (2000)

Hispanic Origin:
1,239 (2010)
633 (2000)

The numbers for the 14-county Upper Cumberland region were tabulated by Upper Cumberland Development District analyst Henry Bowman, showing an overall growth in the area of 10.9 percent or 338,158 total residents.

Cumberland County saw a 19.8-percent jump in population, from 46,802 to 56,053.

Putnam County, with the largest population of any county in the Upper Cumberland at 72,321, grew by 16.1% from the 2000 census.

Numbers for other counties in the Upper Cumberland include: Cannon County, which saw a 7.6-percent increase to 13,801. Clay County saw a 1.4-percent decrease in population, falling to 7,861. DeKalb County grew 7.5 percent to a population of 18,723. Fentress County also saw an 8-percent increase and now stands at a population of 17,959.

Jackson County saw a 6-percent population increase and now stands at 11,638 residents. Macon County saw a 9.1-percent increase to 22,248. Overton County now has 22,083 residents, a 9.8-percent increase. Pickett saw a 2.7-percent increase to 5,077. Smith County saw a 8.2-percent increase and has a population of 19,166.

Van Buren County, meanwhile, saw a slight 0.7-percent increase to 5,548. Warren County saw a 4.1-percent increase to 39,839; and White County saw a 11.9 percent increase to 25,841.

The Tennessee population grew by 11.5% to 6,346,105 and the United States count increased by 9.7% to 308,745,538.

4-H Camp Dates Set

March 18, 2011
Extension Agent April Martin
April Martin

Several camps are available to 4-Hers this summer. 4-Hers in grades 4 – 6 can attend Junior Camp in Crossville this summer the week of June 20 – 24 at the Clyde M. York Center. 4-Hers can participate in swimming, playing sports, kayaking and canoeing, the rifle range, campfires, and making crafts. Cost of camp is $235 (cash or check) or $245 (credit card).

Junior High 4-H Adventure Camp is for grades 7th – 8th. This camp will be held May 31 – June 3 and is located in Crossville at the Clyde M. York 4-H Center. 4-Hers can participate in swimming, playing sports, kayaking and canoeing, the rifle range, campfires, and making crafts. They will also get to choose one special adventure to do while at camp (horseback riding, skeet shooting, aerial design, ziplining, hiking, or a day at the lake. Cost of camp is $245 (cash or check) or $255 (credit card).

4-H Electric Camp for 4-Hers in the 6th and 7th grades will be held June 28 – July 1 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Campers will enjoy “hands-on” learning centers such as making an electric lamp, riding in an electric vehicle, electrical safety, and energy conservation. Cost is $185 and includes meals, transportation, lodging, and a trip to Dollywood. Two partial scholarships will be awarded to the top two winning essays submitted to the office by April 29. The essay should be on “The Future of Electricity” and should be a minimum of 500 words. It can be hand written or typed.

4-H Line and Design Camp is for 4-Hers in grades 6th – 8th. The camp will be held July 12 – 14 at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. 4-Hers will participate in sewing, modeling, and fashion design classes and will get to make a memory board, a scarf, and lotions and lip gloss. The cost for this camp is $100 and does not include transportation. This camp is very limited in the number that can go, so 4-Hers are urged to submit their application and payment as soon as possible.

All applications for these camps and other information can be found at http://dekalb.tennessee.edu or at the University of Tennessee Extension Office located at 115 West Market Street in Smithville. Additional information can be found at
http://www.utextension.utk.edu/4H/ under the summer camps.
Questions can be answered by calling 615-597-4945.

Million Dollar Lawsuit Filed in School Bus Accident

March 16, 2011
Dwayne Page
Million Dollar Lawsuit Filed in School Bus Accident
Million Dollar Lawsuit Filed in School Bus Accident

Attorneys for a local family involved in a traffic accident with a DeKalb County School bus almost a year ago filed a circuit court lawsuit Tuesday seeking a total of one million dollars in damages against the bus driver Walter Phillips, individually; DeKalb County, and Phillips' employer, the DeKalb County Board of Education.

Ashley Spivey is suing on behalf of herself and her minor children, Isaac Dyal and Alissa Dyal, asking for "a money judgment in favor of herself in the amount of $300,000; for a money judgment in favor of herself for loss of consortium in the amount of $100,000; for a money judgment in favor of her daughter Alissa Dyal, a minor, in the amount of $300,000; and for a money judgment in favor of her son, Isaac Dyal, a minor, in the amount of $300,000."

Spivey, who is represented by Nashville attorneys Blair Durham and Ben Winters of Durham and Dread, PLC., also wants a jury to try the case.

The accident occurred on Tuesday afternoon, April 27th, 2010 near the school zone at the intersection of North Congress Boulevard and Smith Road in front of Northside Elementary School. Phillips and the eighteen students aboard his bus (#3) escaped injury. However, Kenny Waymon Dyal, Jr., Ashley LeAnn Spivey, Alissa Dyal, and Isaac Dyal, who were in the 1992 Chevy Blazer that struck the bus, were injured in the crash and taken to the hospital.

After conducting the investigation that day, Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that bus # 3, driven by 81 year old Walter Phillips, had just left the school with the students and was on Smith Road, turning south on Highway 56 when a Chevy Blazer, driven by 23 year old Kenny Waymon Dyal, Jr. of Smithville, struck the bus. Dyal was traveling north on Highway 56 (North Congress Boulevard). The impact damaged the rear left side of the bus and detached the rear axle from the frame. The bus had to be towed away and the blazer was totaled.

Lieutenant Maynard said the three persons in the Blazer with Dyal were 23 year old Ashley LeAnn Spivey and their children, a two year old girl (Alissa Dyal) and a one year old boy (Isaac Dyal).

In the lawsuit, Spivey alleges that she and her children were passengers of the vehicle operated by Kenny Dyal, Jr. traveling north on North Congress Boulevard when Phillips, who was traveling westbound on Smith Road, turned left in front of Dyal's vehicle, causing the collision.

Spivey claims that Phillips was negligent and violated state laws in that he "failed to yield the right of way; was not paying attention; failed to keep his vehicle under due and reasonable control; and was driving in a reckless manner without regard for the safety of the public in general and the plaintiffs in particular."

The lawsuit further alleges that "DeKalb County and the DeKalb County Board of Education, employers of Phillips, are and should be vicariously liable to the Plaintiff for the acts and omissions of their employee pursuant to (state law)"

As a result of the accident, Ashley Spivey alleges that she and her two children have "sustained severe, permanent painful injuries from which they have incurred and shall continue to incur pain, suffering, emotional duress, and the loss of ability to participate in and enjoy the pleasures of life, for all of which they deserve to be compensated; and that they have incurred and shall continue to incur medical expenses for the treatment of these injuries, for all of which they deserve to be compensated."

Six in the Race for Smithville Alderman

March 16, 2011
Dwayne Page
Gayla Hendrix
Cordell Walker
Danny Washer
W.J. (Dub) White
Shawn Jacobs
Aaron Meeks

The three Smithville aldermen up for re-election will be challenged in this summer's municipal election

Aldermen Shawn Jacobs, Aaron Meeks, and W.J. (Dub) White are seeking a new two year term in the city balloting on Tuesday, June 21st. All three were elected two years ago. Jacobs is completing his first term. Meeks served as alderman from 2003 to 2007 when he lost a bid for re-election. He ran again in 2009 and was elected. White served as alderman from 1993 to 2001. He served as alderman again from 2003 to 2007 when he lost a re-election bid. White ran again and was elected in 2009.

Others hoping to win a seat on the city council as aldermen this summer are Smithville attorney and former educator Gayla Hendrix and local businessmen Cordell Walker and Danny Washer.

All three are familiar faces on the political scene. Walker is a former Smithville alderman. Washer made a run for alderman in 2008 and Hendrix ran for state representative three years ago.

All six, Jacobs, Meeks, White, Hendrix, Walker, and Washer have qualified by petition with the DeKalb County Election Commission.

Three aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 21st. Each term is for two years. The terms of office for those elected will begin on July 1st.

Early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election will be June 1st through June 16th. Meanwhile, May 23rd is the voter registration deadline for the Smithville City Election.

Voters who don't live in Smithville but own property in the city may vote in the municipal election under certain conditions.

The Smithville Charter allows Property Rights Voting. The property must be a minimum of
7500 square feet and the person owning the property must reside in DeKalb County. Proof of ownership and residence must be shown by the following means: (1) A certified copy of the deed and the execution of an affidavit that the person still owns this property and (2) A copy of the most recent DeKalb County real property tax notice, and (3) Proof of residence in DeKalb County. Property rights registrants are entitled to vote but not to hold any municipal office or serve on any municipal board or commission. Proof of ownership and registration form must be provided to the Election Commission office by the May 23rd registration deadline.

Meanwhile, Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley reminds voters who have moved since registering to vote that the election commission office needs your current address on file.

"While checking the names of registered voters on some of the petitions returned recently, we noticed some voters have moved but have not informed the election commission office of their change of address," Stanley said. "Updating the record is a simple process. All the voter needs to do is fill out a change of address form, which is available at the election commission office. To see if you need to update your record, simply check the address on your voter registration card. If it is different than your current address, you need to update the information with the election commission."

"Updating the address will make your voting experience go much easier and quicker." Stanley said," and will not slow down the line at the polling place during early voting or election day."

For more information, you may contact the DeKalb County Election Commission Office which is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The phone number is 615-597-4146.

DeKalb Man Charged in Cannon County Burglary

March 16, 2011
Cannon Courier
Matthew Allen Baker

A DeKalb County man has been arrested in connection with a recent Cannon County burglary in which over $10,000 worth of items were stolen.

Cannon County Sheriff's Investigator Anthony Young said the burglary occurred on January 6th year at a home on Basham Ridge Road in Woodbury, according to a report on the Cannon Courier website.

Investigator Young arrested Matthew Allen Baker, 1022 Pine Grove Road, Smithville, on March 10.

"I received information in relation to the theft, and after a thorough investigation, determined Baker was allegedly one of the persons involved in the taking of the items," Investigator Young said.

The case remains under investigation and an additional arrest is expected, Young said.

Among the items taken were gold jewelry, guns, knives, a 42-inch flat screen TV, tools, video games and a laptop computer.

In addition to charges of aggravated burglary, theft over $10,000 and criminal trespass, Baker incurred additional charges while he was being booked at the Cannon County Jail. Baker was arrested by DeKalb County Sheriff's deputies and transported to Cannon County.

During that process, Corrections Officer Albert Summers discovered within Baker's personal property a black flashlight. Upon opening the flashlight, Summers observed that the batteries had been removed and replaced with a small plastic baggie. Inside of the baggie was a substance which tested positive for methamphetamine.

Additional charges of possession of a Schedule II drug and introducing contraband into a penal institution were levied against Baker.

Total bond was set at $30,000. Initial court date is May 3.

Department of Safety and Homeland Security to Issue New Driver Licenses, ID Cards

March 15, 2011
New Driver License Cards
New Driver License and ID Cards
New Driver License Card

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons on Tuesday announced the state will soon issue new and improved driver licenses and identification cards. The new license and its updated security features will help combat document fraud and protect the identities of Tennesseans by using the latest credentialing technology. This is the first major revision of Tennessee driver licenses and ID cards since 2003.

“A top priority of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security is safeguarding the identity of Tennessee citizens to prevent identity theft and document fraud,” said Commissioner Gibbons. “The new cards will be the most secure our state has issued to date.”

All current Tennessee licenses and IDs will remain valid until the expiration date; at that time, license holders will apply for a newly-designed card. New card production began on a pilot basis on Tuesday, March 15 in Gallatin. The new cards will begin to roll out across the state starting at driver license stations in the four metropolitan areas (Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, and Shelby Counties) later this month. Statewide implementation of the new card is expected to be completed at all locations within four to six weeks.

“Tennessee driver licenses have not been updated in eight years, and the technology behind them is eight years old,” Gibbons explained. “These new cards utilize the latest technology. They are more secure and are designed to be more difficult to counterfeit, alter, or duplicate,” he stressed.

The driver license and ID cards include several upgraded design and security features, including:

·new banner showcasing Tennessee landmarks and icons;

·new background design;

·enlarged organ donor symbol, when authorized;

·multiple date of birth placements on front and back of the card;

·vertical format to distinguish driving privilege from identification only cards;

·digital portrait and signature, both stored in a permanent database, to easily verify identification;

·lamination, with a tamper resistant coating and holographic designs;

·machine-readable barcodes for law enforcement purposes; and

·applicable class, endorsements, and restrictions printed on back of the card.

“The existing licenses are still valid. There is no need for citizens to get a new license before their existing licenses expire,” stressed Driver Services Director Michael Hogan. “But anyone applying for a new license or renewing an existing license will receive the newly designed format,” he added.

To help protect identities and prevent document fraud, the state of Tennessee requires all new applicants for a driver license or identification card to present the following:

·proof of lawful status in the United States to include U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency or authorized stay in the U.S.;

·proof of identity to include birth certificate, visa, or passport;

· verification of Social Security number with Social Security Administration; and

· proof of Tennessee residency.

Fees for the new driver license and ID will not change. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Driver Services Division annually issues 1.5 million licenses and ID cards to Tennesseans. For more information on the new driver license and ID card or to conduct business online, please visit http://www.tn.gov/safety/dlmain.htm.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County in Search of Next Partner Family

March 15, 2011

Looking for an affordable opportunity to put your family in your own home?

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is now searching for their next partner family and has begun accepting applications for the fourth house to be built. The location of the next home is on Hayes Street in Smithville.

An Informational Meeting and Application Fair will be held on Tuesday, March 29th at 6 p.m. in the basement of the DeKalb County Courthouse in downtown Smithville. During the meeting, families will receive help in completing the application and will be given information about the Habitat Program.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you may call the Habitat phone number 615-215-8181 and leave your name, address and phone number and a Habitat volunteer will contact you to provide additional information and perhaps mail an application to you.

To be considered, completed and signed applications must be postmarked by Thursday, April 21, 2011.

The purpose of Habitat is to build homes with families and sell the houses at no profit and no interest to families who could not otherwise afford a house. This Christian ministry is financed through private donations and utilizes volunteer labor and donated materials, if possible.

Habitat guidelines are basically 3 major qualifications: need for housing, ability to pay and a willingness to partner. In addition, partner families must have been a resident of DeKalb County for at least 1 year prior to March 2011 and must be a US citizen or have permanent resident alien status.

A Family Selection Committee will consider applications, based on those major qualifications as well as some other general guidelines as follows:

"Must have a housing need: For example, no indoor plumbing, poor heating, leaks in the roof, overcrowding ( 3 to a bedroom), unsafe or unsanitary conditions

"Ability to Pay

"For a family of 4, the maximum allowable annual income is $25,520, which is 55% of the median income for families in our community. If you are age 60 or have a special needs household member, the maximum allowable annual income level for a family of 4 is $27,840. The income levels vary according to family size. You may get detailed information specific to your family at the informational meeting on March 29.

"With your permission, we will verify employment and other income, verify checking and savings account balances, get a statement from your current landlord, have a credit check completed and and a criminal background check.

"Willingness to Partner

"If approved for a Habitat house, we will ask that you be willing to join in programs to learn and practice budgeting, home repair and home maintenance.

"If approved for a Habitat house, we require that all adult household members ( 18 years and older) be willing to work a combined total of 500 hours of "sweat equity", with 100 of those hours completed before construction. Children who are members of the household may help with "sweat equity" by improving their grades in school and having good attendance at school.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is very anxious to help another family have their dream of home ownership become a reality.


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