Local News Articles

Smithville Police Department Crime News

March 12, 2010
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has released it's crime report for the week.

37 year old Sara R Grizzle of 406 Todd Road, Woodbury was arrested on Sunday, March 7th for an eighth offense of driving on a revoked license and criminal impersonation. Corporal Travis Bryant saw a vehicle fail to stop at a stop sign on Hayes Street and Short Mountain Highway. He initiated a traffic stop at Green Brook Park and requested personal information for a citation. As he was writing the citation Ms. Grizzle informed him that she had lied and given him someone else's name because she knew that he would have arrested her for driving on a revoked license. A driver's license check of her real name revealed her license to be suspended. Ms. Grizzle was placed under arrest. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in General Sessions Court on March 18th

47 year old Edward Lee Judkins of 4762 Jefferson Road was cited on Tuesday, March 9th for possession of drug paraphernalia. Officer Matt Farmer received a call of drug traffic at Advanced Auto. As he was speaking to the complainant, Officer Farmer was informed that the vehicle in question was seen on West Bryant Street traveling east at the intersection with South Congress Boulevard.. The vehicle pulled into the parking lot of the Dollar General store. The man in the automobile got out. Officer Farmer recognized him as Edward Judkins. He also had knowledge that Judkins was on probation. After speaking with Judkins and confirming he was on probation, Officer Farmer asked for and received consent to search his person. Judkins asked if he could put on his jacket, which was in the car. Judkins told Farmer that he could look at it first. Officer Farmer found a hypodermic needle in the pocket. The court date for Judkins is April 8th.

47 year old Ricky Lynn Cantrell of 120 B Eckel Heights, Liberty was arrested on Thursday, March 11th for public intoxication. Corporal Travis Bryant received a call in regard to a possible intoxicated person at the courthouse. Corporal Bryant made contact with Ricky Cantrell who was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. Cantrell said that he had taken Xanax which was prescribed by his doctor. Bond for Cantrell was set at $1,000 and his court date is April 1st.

Meanwhile anyone having information on the following offense is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Saturday, March 6th Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to 1008 South College Street in reference to a suspicious person. Richard Lasser stated that he received a call from his mother who lives on South College Street. She informed him that she saw an unknown person looking around his house. Upon inspecting his home he discovered that someone had attempted to kick in his side door and basement door causing damage to the door and weather stripping. No entry was made and nothing was missing from his home.

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

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

March 12, 2010
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

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

Greetings! The General Assembly is in full swing and bills are being heard left and right. One such bill, House Bill 2789 was debated at length Tuesday evening in the House Judiciary Committee. This bill, the Juvenile Sexual Offender Registry, would strengthen the state’s sexual offender laws and ensure that we as a state are completely in compliance with the federal government’s Adam Walsh Act. It would require violent juvenile sexual offenders age 14 years or older to register on a sexual offender registry.

An amendment was added to the bill due to concerns raised regarding juveniles who may not reoffend. Currently, juveniles are assessed by mental health professionals after being adjudicated for a violent sexual crime. The Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organizations agreed to assess the juveniles as “high-risk” and “low-risk,” with only those assessed as “high-risk” being required to register.

In addition, the bill states that a person must stay on the registry for 25 years before applying for removal. However, if the person is convicted of an additional offense, they must stay on the registry for life. These are the minimum requirements that keep the legislation in compliance with the Adam Walsh Act.

The federal government signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act into law in 2006. The state’s fiscal analysts say that Tennessee is eligible to receive over $50 million in grant funding, but that 10 percent of that is in jeopardy unless House Bill 2789 passes. State compliance with the Adam Walsh Act is tied to the grant money.

Thirty-two states have some form of a violent juvenile sexual offender registry. Offenses that would qualify a violent juvenile sexual offender for the registry are: aggravated rape, rape, aggravated sexual battery when coercion is involved, rape of a child with a victim at least four years younger, and aggravated rape of a child or the attempt of any of these.

After four and a half hours of discussion, the bill was deferred for one week. The legislation will be heard again in the Judiciary Committee next week and is expected to be voted on at that time.

House Bill 262 will require the written portion of the driver’s license exam to be administered strictly in English passed out the House Public Safety Subcommittee this week. The legislation was last run in 2007, and the Senate was successful in passing it with an overwhelming 22-5 vote. However, some House members blocked the measure in a House subcommittee, and the bill died on a tie vote.

I believe, along with some of my colleagues, that the law is needed for safety. Drivers who cannot read highway warning signs, traffic signs, hazard signs on other vehicles, or who cannot communicate with police or public safety personnel in the event of a serious accident or emergency are a danger to themselves and others. The bill passed out of the House Public Safety Subcommittee for the first time and will next be heard in the full House Transportation Committee.

House Bill 3221 was approved by the Senate and House Judiciary Committees this week to attack a major source of illegal drug activity in Tennessee. The bill would stiffen penalties against those who get prescriptions in another state and return to illegally distribute drugs in Tennessee.

Action on the bill follows a 96.6 percent increase in drug-related deaths, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Some Tennessee law enforcement officers attribute that increase to the misuse of prescription drugs by those who obtain them legally from out-of-state “pill mills.”

The most common drugs found are: OxyContin, Darvon, and Vicodin. However, drug busts in Tennessee have also included Xanax and Roxicodones. The legislation would increase the penalties for the illegal trafficking of out-of-state drugs from a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a 30-day jail term and up to $50 in fines, to a Class D felony, with 2 to 12 years in prison sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.

As we all know, every ten years the federal government takes the census. The government counts every resident in the United States as required by the Constitution. This data is then used for identifying certain communities to receive funding and to redistrict legislative and congressional seats based on population. Every household in the United States and Puerto Rico will receive a census form that residents are asked to fill out and return. If a household does not return the form, a census worker is then dispatched to the household to gather the needed information.

The Census Bureau recently sent out information regarding the types of questions that will be asked, and warning citizens to be on alert for people posing as census workers. When a census worker visits a home, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Citizens can refuse to take part, but the most important question is simply regarding the number of people who live at the address. The federal government has advised the census forms will be mailed mid-March, and ask that the forms be returned by April 1, 2010.

In Brief
House Bill 3105 passed out of the House Education Committee this week and would require local boards of education to give preference to a parent’s request in classroom placement of multiple birth siblings.

House Bill 3063 which would prohibit physicians who are on the sexual offender registry from treating children under the age of 18 years old passed out of the House Judiciary Committee this week. It will now be heard in the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
House Bill 2768 which would require certain DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle moved out of the House Judiciary Committee and will be heard in the House Budget Subcommittee.

The Appalachian Center for Crafts visited us up here at the capitol this week for “Arts Advocacy Day on the Hill”. It is always wonderful to see groups from my district take an active interest in the politics that affects our daily life. As I am a big believer of the arts I was especially happy to speak to these fine folks and discuss the importance art plays in the lives of our children specifically and culture in general. We also discussed plans to bring more art awareness to the capitol by making “Arts Day on the Hill” larger in the future.

In closing, it was a delight having teachers from Northside Elementary, in Dekalb County, attend both full and sub Education Committees. I am truly impressed at the dedication these teachers have demonstrated to educating our children and find myself both grateful and honored to serve them as a Representative. Please feel free to come by my office as well. It is an honor to work for the 40th District.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver has announced that the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has distributed $5,100 in Arts Build Communities grants and $1,500 in Student Ticket Subsidy grants to DeKalb County institutions to nurture artists and help students experience arts and cultural events.

In partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission and funded by the Tennessee General Assembly, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee facilitates the Arts Build Communities (ABC) and Student Ticket Subsidy grant programs.

The ABC grant program aims to strengthen communities by funding projects that nurture artists and arts organizations. The following DeKalb County organizations were awarded ABC grants: Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft of Tennessee to provide seventh-grade students eight intensive, hands-on craft activities at the Craft Center; and the Smithville Fidders’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival to design and produce a promotional packet for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree.

“This grant program is designed to ensure that Tennessee’s public school students have access to live performances and arts and cultural events, and I think the students of DeKalb County will really enjoy these events,” said Representative Weaver.

The Student Ticket Subsidy grant program is designed to ensure that Tennessee's public school students have access to live performances and arts and cultural events, and reimburses ticket costs for students in 35 counties The Community Foundation serves.

In DeKalb County, 600 students are participating in arts and cultural events with the help of Student Ticket Subsidy grants. The following schools received grants: DeKalb West School has received a Student Ticket Subsidy grant for students to attend Tennessee Theater Company. Smithville Elementary School has received a Student Ticket Subsidy grant for students to attend Arts Center of Cannon County.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees more than 720 charitable funds. In the past 18 years, The Community Foundation has distributed $460 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tennessee 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit www.cfmt.org.

Walk Across Tennessee Contest to Kick-Off March 27

March 12, 2010

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 Saturday, March 27, 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 Greenbrook Park under shelter #1, on the Walk across Tennessee website, and other community areas.

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. According to Extension Agent April Martin, “The exercise must be intentional. For fairness, exercise cannot be counted while at work.”

There is a $3 fee per person to participate in Walk Across Tennessee. The money will be put into a “kitty” fund and the winning team will get to share the prize money.
The Walk Across Tennessee kickoff for DeKalb County is set for Saturday, March 27 at Greenbrook Park at 9:00. “Teams will keep track of their miles, which will be posted at the park under shelter #1, at other places around the community, and on the website which is http://eteamz.active.com/WalkAcrossTennesseeDeKalbCounty. Teams can be composed of coworkers, teachers, students, neighbors, etc.” Teams composed of primarily runners and/or bicyclists are limited to four team members. The eight week competition will end on Saturday, May 22.

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 together. Biking and jogging teams are limited to four people. Choose a team captain and name your team. Team captains need to download a captain’s packet, available at the DeKalb County Walk Across Tennessee website which is http://eteamz.active.com/WalkAcrossTennesseeDeKalbCounty/ in the handout section or stop by the DeKalb County U.T. Extension Office, 115 West Market St. Smithville, located right off the courthouse square. 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. Individual as well as team forms should be returned to the Extension office.

“Competition kicks off on March 27, 9:00 A.M. at Greenbrook Park under pavilion one, but if people are unable to make it, they can still participate” Martin said. 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.

SHIP Program Seeking Eligible Participants Needing Help with Medicare Costs

March 12, 2010
Meghian Moore, SHIP Coordinator

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) has recently received information from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding 515 people who reside in DeKalb County who may qualify for additional help with their Medicare costs. This is the number of residents who may not currently be paying low co-pays at the pharmacy as well as get assistance paying their Part B premiums. The Extra Help Program (also called Low-Income Subsidy) is a program that is processed by Social Security Administration which helps certain low-income beneficiaries by paying zero dollar monthly premiums, no deductibles and very low cost share at the pharmacy. This program also eliminates the coverage gap, or as most calls it, the “donut hole.” The extra help program is valued up to $3,900.00 per year per beneficiary as well as the possibility of getting back the Part B premium which is $96.40 (for most individuals) and deducted out of SSA checks automatically.

The SHIP program can assist any beneficiary with Medicare by helping with the application process electronically. Many people in DeKalb County already qualify for the “extra help” due to the fact that they already receive TennCare or SSI benefits and therefore do not need to apply each year. For others who meet certain income and asset guidelines, the application process is easy and submitted to Social Security electronically through www.ssa.gov. The great thing about applying online is that once the application is reviewed by SSA, it is then sent to the state Medicaid office with the individual’s permission to see if they qualify to get assistance paying the Part B Premium which is called a “Medicare Savings Program.”

Many people who debate applying should do so anyway. Most people automatically assume they do not qualify because they have always been denied for other programs for making a little too much and have become tired of being told no for the smallest benefits. There are no estate recovery or recapture penalties to this benefit. An individual must have a monthly income of $1,354 or less (1,821 for a married couple) to qualify for the extra help. Having additional family members may make this amount higher. Resource (asset) limits are below $12,510 for single and $25,010 for a couple. Please note that a person’s home, car and personal possessions are not looked at. Resources, or assets, can include other properties, savings or checking accounts, certificates of deposits and cash value of any IRA’s or annuities. Due to new MIPPA laws, (Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008), the application can no longer ask for cash value of life insurance policies nor ask for value of any help provided by others to help pay monthly expenses.

If you think you may qualify for the extra help paying Part B or Part D costs, or, you know someone who may, please call SHIP for free assistance in applying at toll free 1-877-801-0044. SHIP is a non-profit program which is administered locally at Upper Cumberland Development District in Cookeville. SHIP provides free, non-biased information on all Medicare topics to beneficiaries and their caregivers throughout the Upper Cumberland fourteen counties. We are currently seeking volunteers to help us with the challenge of helping find the 310 individuals in DeKalb County. Please call (931) 432-4111 ext. 247 if you are interested in volunteering with the SHIP Program.

Replace smoke alarm batteries, as you spring forward

March 12, 2010

As clocks move ahead this weekend for daylight saving time, Tennessee State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Leslie A. Newman would like to remind Tennesseans to change their homes’ smoke alarm batteries, as well.

“ ‘Change your clock, change your battery’ is an easy phrase to remember and practice, when you update your clocks this weekend,” says Newman. “Smoke alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and be tested monthly to ensure you have the protection you need,” Newman says. “Use this time to protect your home and family.”

A working smoke alarm will double your survival chances during a home fire by giving you the critical time needed to escape. Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases from a fire can cause you to sleep more deeply, diminishing the chances of survival.

More than 90 percent of all American homes have smoke alarms, but as many as one-third of them don’t work – because of old or missing batteries. It is critical to replace batteries regularly – even if they appear to be working fine. Twice a year is recommended. This helps prevent the warning, low-battery “chirp” emitted by alarms. All too often, alarm batteries are removed but not replaced, putting home occupants at risk. There is no way to predict when a fire will occur, and just one night in a home without a working smoke alarm can prove dangerous. Replacing batteries for daylight saving time is just one fire safety step. Here are a few more:

•Smoke alarms should be put inside and outside every room where residents sleep, and on each home level. All residents should know how the alarm sounds and what it means.

•Smoke alarms need to be cleaned and maintained according to their instructions.

•Have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room; teach it to everyone in the home, especially children.

•When the smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to a pre-planned meeting place.

Many local fire departments have supplies of donated smoke alarms, and departments will help install them in the homes of the elderly and disabled. Visit www.tn.gov/commerce/sfm/. The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee.

Senator Mae Beavers Announces Her Decision to Run for Re-Election to the State Senate

March 11, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

Senator Mae Beavers, surrounded by her Senate colleagues, announced today that she is running for another term for the State Senate seat representing Wilson, Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale counties. The decision came after much deliberation and prayerful consideration. There had been discussion that Senator Beavers could possibly be running for the Wilson County Mayor position; however, at the insistence of many colleagues and a multitude of constituents, Beavers has declared her desire to continue her work in serving the people of the 17th District.

“This decision is based upon my desire to serve the state,” Beavers stated. “I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish in the state legislature in the past eight years, and I’m looking forward to what we can accomplish in the next four years, especially if we have a Republican Governor and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. My work here is not done.”

Senator Beavers has a Bachelor of Science degree from Trevecca Nazarene University. She has worked as a court reporter and paralegal before being elected to the county commission, and more recently worked as a financial advisor. In the Tennessee Legislature she was a leader in the fight to stop the passage of a state income tax. Since being elected to State Senate, she has taken a leadership role, serving the past two sessions as the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Beavers began her public service as a Wilson County Commissioner from 1990-1994 and represented West Wilson County in the Tennessee State House of Representatives from 1994-2002. She was elected to the Tennessee State Senate in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.

DeKalb Jobless Rate for January Increases to 11.7%

March 11, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for January increased to 11.7%, up from 11% in December. The rate for January, 2009 was 11.3%.

The Labor Force for January was 9,620. A total of 8,490 were employed and 1,130 were without work.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for January was 10.7 percent, unchanged from the revised December rate of 10.7 percent. The national unemployment rate for January 2010 was 9.7 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for January 2010 show that the rate increased in all 95 counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 8.3 percent, up from 7.3 in December. Marshall County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 20.3 percent, up from 18.7 in December, followed by Henderson County at 19.9 percent, up from 18.5 percent in December.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 8.6 percent, up from 8.1 in December. Davidson County was 9.6 percent, up from 9.2 in December. Hamilton County was at 10.0 percent, up from 9.2 in December, and Shelby County was 11.4 percent, up from 10.6 in December.

Fire Destroys Trailer Home

March 11, 2010
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Trailer Home on Adcock Cemetery Road

A fire Thursday morning destroyed the trailer home of Shawn Pyles at 563 Adcock Cemetery Road. Pyles was renting the trailer from the owner Billy Tisdale.

Central dispatch received the call at 4:25 a.m.

Pyles and his girlfriend Melissa Genzak awoke to smoke and escaped from their burning home unharmed but three of the family pets perished.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says the fire apparently started in the kitchen area but the exact cause is undetermined, although it appears to have been accidental.

Members of the Midway, Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, Main Station, and Tanker truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department.

Governor Candidate Mike McWherter Makes Campaign Stop in Smithville

March 10, 2010
Dwayne Page
Governor Candidate Mike McWherter with Local Democratic Party Chair Jim Judkins

Mike McWherter, Democratic candidate for Governor, made a campaign stop in Smithville Wednesday.

During a town hall style meeting at the courthouse, McWherter, son of former Governor Ned Ray McWherter, laid out his vision for the state and why he wants to be the next Governor of Tennessee. During the question and answer session, McWherter was asked about his stand on education, roads and bridges, and elected versus appointed school superintendents among other issues.

Following the meeting, local reporters asked McWherter about specific issues. The following are the questions and his responses.

How is the campaign progressing?
"We've been visiting all 95 counties across the state and I've found we have a lot of family friends in all these counties and it's up to our campaign to build a winning organization around that."

Why do you want to be Governor?
"As you look across Tennessee we have seen literally thousands of jobs disappear. Our state unemployment is running right at eleven percent. That's the highest it's been in my working lifetime. I believe Tennessee needs a Governor who will put the retention and creation of jobs front and center on the agenda and that's why I'm running for Governor."

Won't that be a difficult task given the state of the economy?
"Everybody who pays taxes in Tennessee right now has an investment in three big signature industries, Hemlock, Wacker, and Volkswagen that have located in this state and are under construction right now. I think for all of us to get the return on our investment we have in those industries, the next Governor has got to go after the supplying industries for those companies, if it's seatbelts, head lights, or solar parts, we've got to go after those companies and get them to locate here in Tennessee. But to do that we've got to have our infrastructure in place. As a businessman, I well understand what it's going to take to be able to attract those industries and get the return on our investment."

Are Jobs and Roads going to be your top priority?
"In my administration, it'll be about job creation, but I don't ever want to imply that I don't take educational issues very seriously in this state. As a matter of fact, I think the two go hand in hand. One of the main things Industry is looking for is training and development for their work force at all times. You just can't go out and get a job today, a good paying technical job, and not expect to have updated training, so that's got to be a key component in developing jobs in this state as well as infrastructure."

Does the state's tax base need to change to create more revenue?
"If I can get Tennessee back to work and I'll be doing that with the help of the legislature and my cabinet, we will create consumers and consumers will create revenue. It was just three years ago that this state was running at a surplus, of course we had low unemployment in those days, but there was such a surplus that legislators voted for block grants for their districts giving money to various needy organizations. If we can get people back to work we'll have that kind of surplus again. We're making some tough budget decisions this year and as this economy turns around I don't want to see us go on a spending spree. I think once we get some of these cuts under our belt we need to evaluate how we spend any surplus money we will have in the future and make sure we build back our rainy day fund and any excess revenue we have, make sure it's utilized in such a way that it helps build this economy for the future."

Should state government be downsized?
"I don't know that state government has to be downsized dramatically. There are a lot of services that state government provides that are essential services. I believe we've done a pretty good job under Governor Bredesen of controlling the growth of state government and that's something I want to continue doing is to watch every penny and make sure we're getting the maximum bang for our buck. So I'm not so much worried about the size of state government as I am efficiency. I want to make sure that state government is efficient."

Do you support expansion of the Pre-K program?
"I think the pre-K program in this state has been a home run. It is a model for the rest of the country. If you can get these students to foster a love of learning at an early age, it will carry them through their entire education career. That's what we have to do. It's a voluntary program. A lot of people don't want to be in it because they'd rather have their kids at home. But it's a program that helps a lot of disadvantaged youth and fosters a love of learning in them early on and it's a whole lot cheaper to educate than it is to incarcerate."

Should Pre-K be mandatory rather than voluntary?
"I would want it to continue to be voluntary. As I said some people want to keep their kids at home at that age so I think it should totally be a voluntary program all across the state. There is a huge waiting list so as revenue returns that's one area where I would like to see us expand upon".

Why do you oppose elected School Superintendents?
"Teachers are accountable to principals. Principals are accountable to Superintendents. Superintendents are accountable to an elected school board. There is voter accountability in our school system through electing our school boards. I think it is a terrible mistake for superintendents to have to go out, take time away from the school, to raise money and then they have to go out and campaign."

What are your thoughts about the Hurricane and Sligo Bridges?
"I know the Hurricane Bridge and the Sligo Bridge are both big issues in this county. As the next Governor if I'm going to be successful in helping to recruit industry into these areas then you're going to have to have the infrastructure in place. I want to be very careful that I don't go out and start making a bunch of campaign promises but If I'm able to fulfill my vision for the state of Tennessee it's going to involve having the infrastructure in place so that we can go out and really sell these areas, recruit jobs, and get people back to work."

What is your business background?
"I'm a small businessman in Jackson, Tennessee. I own an Anheuser-Busch distributorship there. A lot of people think I went into a family business. I did not. My father has his company and I have mine. I borrowed the money and I remember paying it back so I know it's mine. I serve on the Jackson Energy Authority Board, which is our local utility there and it provides everything from wastewater to electricity and natural gas, to water and broadband services and I think that working with JEA has given me a unique background in what it takes to keep industry in your area and what it takes to recruit industry in your area. Industry today has to compete on a global basis and as a utility we constantly have to be mindful of the infrastructure that we have in place there so that our industries can be competitive on a global basis and we have to be mindful of what industry is looking for to come and locate in that area. I think it's important that we maintain our state as a low tax state. It makes us very attractive to industry all across the country and if we can be a low tax state and at the same time be mindful of building our infrastructure I think we are a natural location for industry to come."

How active will your father, former Governor Ned Ray McWherter, be in your campaign?
"My father always has been and I guess always will be my number one advisor. I'm 54 years old and I have learned after 54 years that he is much more frequently right than wrong so I listen to him a lot. He has been really engaged in my campaign. He is still probably more familiar with the state budget than anyone else in the state except for maybe Governor Bredesen right now. But he is very engaged. You will see him out on the campaign trail. He is very interested. He told me before I ever decided to run that one thing he wanted to do is visit all 95 counties again because there's a lot of projects he got underway and a lot that have matured that he got started. He said he wanted to go visit all the counties and see those projects brought to completion or maturity so I told him when we started this campaign that he would get that chance."

School Board Adopts Resolution Honoring Professional Services Staff

March 9, 2010
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Tuesday night adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring professional services staff.

The resolution states " Whereas, special services critical to the success of children in our schools are provided by professionals who join the efforts of our teaching and administrative staff to help us meet the unique needs of each child; and

Whereas, these professionals including school nurses, guidance counselors, school resource officers, psychologists, speech therapists and others offer an invaluable contribution toward the well being, health and safety of students so that they can learn and grow in a safe and nurturing environment; and

Whereas, our professional service staff helps to build an environment that transitions students from youthful dependence to responsible independence; and

Whereas, this board, our staff and the community rely on these individuals to help guide students in making wise decisions that help them develop and enjoy a healthy lifestyle and practice good citizenship and responsibility; and

Whereas, the Board of Education wishes to honor the commitment and service of special services professionals in our schools and the valuable contribution they make in our schools every day;

Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby establishes March 11th,2010 as Professional Services Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that, the board expresses heartfelt appreciation and thanks to all who provide special professional services in our school system and encourages each school and community to recognize these individuals on this day for the vital role they play in the success of our school system and in the lives of students."

In other business the board adopted a policy regarding the selection of a student representative on the board.

The school board may make changes to the policy in a few months after the Tennessee School Boards Association finalizes a proposed policy on the issue..

The proposed policy states that "The DeKalb County Board of Education may select one high school student representative to serve in an advisory position to the Board. This student shall be designated by the DeKalb County High School Principal to serve for one school year. The student representative shall serve without compensation.

Some responsibilities of the DeKalb County Student Representative are as follows:

1.Attend the monthly meeting of the DeKalb County Board of Education

2. Communicate needs including questions, concerns, problems, updates, and suggestions to the Board of Education.

3.Help design a banner for the DeKalb County School System for the TSBA Fall Conference, as per TSBA guidelines, to be presented at the October School Board Meeting.

4.Attend the annual Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE) Conference if funding is available.

DCHS student Megan Sullivan is the current Student Representative on the board.

In his monthly update on personnel, Director Mark Willoughby announced that the following have been employed as substitute teachers: Tayla Turner, Cathleen Humphrey, Amanda Trapp, Meredith Lewis, Kelly Merriman, and Linda Dean.

Sharon Anderson, teacher at Smithville Elementary School- retired
Dwayne Cornelius, bus driver
Murinna Herman, custodian at DeKalb Middle School
Jerry Herman, custodian at DeKalb County High School

Leave of Absence:
Tera Mooneyham, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary, leave as requested
Linda Parris, teacher at DeKalb County High School, leave as requested
Jenny Elrod, teacher at DeKalb Middle School, leave as requested

LeAnn Frasier, transferred to Library Assistant at Smithville Elementary/Northside Elementary
Neal Brown, transferred to full time bus driver

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix briefly reminded parents listening on the radio about the parent teacher conference at DCHS on Thursday, March 11th from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.. Hendrix added that report cards were sent home Tuesday, March 9th so parents are advised to check them.

Board Vice Chairman Kenny Rhody, who presided over Tuesday night's meeting, thanked those involved in organizing the Project Graduation radiothon last Friday including DCHS teacher Chris Vance, parents Donna Mathis, Kelly Garrett, and Melinda Willoughby, among many others including WJLE. The radiothon raised over $5,300.

Sixth district member Bruce Parsley also commended the DCHS girls basketball team and coach Joe Pat Cope on their success this season, making it as far as the region tournament.

DeKalb West Principal Danny Parkerson, in a brief report to the board, mentioned that the DeKalb West baseball season is now underway, the last game having been played Monday night in Smithville in a loss to Walter J. Baird. He says the team is currently 1-1. Parkerson says the West School is hosting the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation review committee this week. "We're learning things from them and they're taking away things that we do at our school."

"I've had the privilege in the last six weeks of having a principal from one of the Cannon County schools and a school from White County come and visit our school, wanting to see some of the things we've been successful for regarding test scores. So academically and athletically we're on track."

Sabrina Farler, Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School, updated the board on activities at her school. "We had seventeen students about two weeks ago, who went to the History Day Project. They went to the regional and we had seventeen winners. They will be competing at the state level on April 17th. In the exhibit board area we had two different groups. One group placed second including Travis Ferrell, Chase Hoke, and Devin Summers. The third place group included Katelyn Jones and Brittany Wilkerson. In another category, the drama area, the first place group included Lauren Craig, Josh Davidson, Lauren Reed, and Ashley Barnes. We also got second place in this category with Karem Bain, Kelsey Evins, Elizabeth Mason, and Shauna Taylor. We had someone write an essay and he placed third, Jordan Wilkins. We had three who did a documentary and placed third, Cori Jennings, Taylor Cantrell, and Taneah Cantrell.. We also had a student represent DeKalb County at the spelling bee at Belmont University last week and she did a fabulous job. We're getting geared up for TCAP in about a month."

Dee Anna Persinger, School Health Coordinator addressed the board about the recent H1N1 clinic. "DeKalb County gave more vaccinations than any of the counties that the Upper Cumberland Regional Health Office worked with. Approximately 400 (vaccinations) were given. We have a tentative date set for April for the second dose. That'll be about another 100 students who'll need to receive the second dose. Coordinated School Health sponsored another successful diabetes education class tonight (Tuesday) with the partnership of the hospital and our registered dietician. That is free to the community and it was very successful. We hope to do it again in the fall. There was a diabetic supply representative there tonight who gave out free meters, test supplies, and educational materials to anyone who needed or wanted those. The registered dietician will also be at the high school tomorrow (Wednesday) and we invite you to come from 2:00 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. She will talk to all of our athletic teams about sports nutrition."

In other business, the school board granted the DCHS Junior Class request for permission to have the prom off campus on April 23rd at Stones River Country Club from 8:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m..

The board granted permission for the Tigerette Softball Team to participate in the Middle Tennessee Softball Coaches Association Tournament in Clarksville on March 26th. It's an overnight trip.

Permission was granted for 24 FFA students to attend the state convention in Gatlinburg March 28th-April 1st during spring break.

The board gave permission for 20 FBLA students at DCHS to attend the regional competitions at Cumberland University on March 11th. Permission was also granted for 35 FBLA students to attend the state leadership conference April 18-21 in Chattanooga.

The school board approved executive action taken authorizing the construction of dugouts at the DeKalb West baseball field. Funding for the project was provided by sponsors.

The board also approved a request for a school bus to transport 4-H students to State 4-H Congress. The event will be held March 28th through April 1st in Nashville.


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