Local News Articles

FBLA Students Seek Support for Trip to National Conference

April 24, 2015
by: 
Marilyn Roberts
FBLA Students Seek Support for Trip to National Conference

DeKalb County High School Chapter of Future Business Leaders of America students have qualified to compete at the national level based on their performance at the recent Tennessee FBLA State Leadership Conference. The chapter also has a young lady who was elected to serve as state secretary on the FBLA Executive Council.

These top Business and Technology students from DeKalb County High School will be attending the Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference and Institute for Leaders. They will join over 5,000 other conference delegates from across the nation to participate in national-level business skill competitions, workshops, business sessions, and the national officer candidate campaigns and elections.

Future Business Leaders of America is a national organization for high school, college, and middle school students preparing for careers in business and information technology occupations. The organization's activities and programs compliment classroom instruction by giving students practical experiences through application of the skills learned at school.

The local chapter is seeking sponsors to help fund the FBLA students' trip to the National Conference, which will be June 27-July 2 in Chicago, Illinois. The following students are eligible to attend this National Leadership Conference:

•Keely McKay, Anna Malone, and Hailey Walker: Community Service Project
•Nicole Atkins: Securities and Investments
•Hannah James: Tennessee FBLA State Secretary
•Aspen Flarity: Social Media Campaign

The cost of the trip is approximately $875 per student. This is the first time in several years that students locally have qualified for nationals. Unfortunately, there are no chapter funds available for these students and they are responsible for the cost of the trip. If you would like to help you may donate by accessing Gofundme.com/s7erpg or contacting Marilyn Roberts at DeKalb County High School.

Man Arrested After Threatening Officers and a Judge

April 23, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Marty Brent Tallent

Smithville Police arrested a man twice last week after he allegedly threatened officers and a judge.

48 year old Marty Brent Tallent is charged with aggravated assault and retaliation for past actions. His total bond is $35,000 and he will be in court again May 1.

According to police, Sergeant Travis Bryant and Officer Joey Myers responded to Tallent's residence to do a welfare check at 3:26 a.m. on Monday, April 13. Upon arrival the officers identified themselves and asked to speak with him. Tallent told the officers he wanted them to leave or he would get his shotgun and use it against them. Tallent then turned off all lights both inside and out and ran back into the house making loud noises causing officers to be in fear for their safety. After Tallent refused all the officers legal commands, a warrant for aggravated assault was taken against him. He was arrested on Wednesday, April 15.

The next day, Thursday April 16 Tallent appeared in General Sessions Court . According to police, Tallent made a threatening remark as Judge Bratten Cook, II increased Tallent's bond from $10,000 to $25,000 on the aggravated assault charge and suggested Tallent seek legal counsel. Judge Cook noted in the court recordings that Tallent's actions were to be considered threatening toward the court causing officials to be in fear for their safety.

Corporal Chip Avera arrested 31 year old Johnny Lynn DeVault for Violation of Bond Conditions and Violation of an Order of Protection on Wednesday, April 15. Corporal Avera received information that DeVault was at the residence of the victim who has an active no contact bond condition against him. Another victim was also at the residence who has an Order of Protection against Devault. His bond is $10,000.

Officer Matt Farmer arrested 58 year old Tim Eugene Mullins for aggravated assault on Saturday, April 18. Police reported that Mullins produced a handgun and a stick displaying them in a threatening manner toward another man causing him to fear serious bodily injury or death. Mullins' bond is $10,000 and he will be in court May 7.

Lieutenant Matt Holmes cited 20 year old Ashley Nichole O'Conner for criminal trespass on Tuesday, April 21. The day before on Monday, April 20 Officer Andy Snow took a trespassing and vandalism report at the Smithville Golf Course. It was reported that on Saturday, April 18 at approximately 8:40pm two people were spotted on video surveillance entering the Smithville Golf Course after hours and staying approximately one hour. As the intruders were leaving, one of them damaged two holes on the practice green. This case remains under investigation and charges are pending against the other person observed on the video. O'Conner will make a court appearance on May 7.

Officer Lance Dillard cited 38 year old Lynda Michelle Neville for theft of merchandise at Dollar General Store on Wednesday, April 22. Upon arrival Officer Dillard spoke with Neville who was found to have items concealed in her purse she had not paid for. Her court date is June 11.

Neville was arrested again on Thursday, April 23 for a second offense of driving under the influence and cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. At approximately 12:33am Officers responded to Mapco Express in reference to a possible DUI. Upon arrival Officer Joey Myers spoke with Neville who had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person. Neville's speech was slurred and she was unstable on her feet. Officer Myers asked Neville to perform sobriety tasks. She performed poorly. A computer check revealed that Neville was convicted of DUI in 2005. Neville was believed to have been operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and she was placed under arrest. A probationary search of the vehicle was performed and glass pipes commonly used with marijuana were found. Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court on May 14.

School Board Calls Special Meeting on Director Selection Procedure

April 23, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
School Board
 School Board Members

The DeKalb County Board of Education will have a special called meeting on Monday, April 27 to establish a procedure for selecting the next Director of Schools.

The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Board of Education building. A work session is scheduled prior to the meeting at 6:00 p.m.

As WJLE first reported last week, the board's policy states that the board must develop a procedure for selecting a new director before it begins a search. "Prior to conducting a search to fill the position, the Board shall initially develop the following:
* A job description
* A timeline
* A process for accepting and reviewing applications
* Selection procedures

Dr. Danielle Collins currently serves as Interim Director.

The policy gives the school board the option of allowing an interim to be a candidate but a board member cannot apply. "An interim director of schools appointed during the time of a search shall not become a candidate unless the Board expressly permits such inclusion in the selection procedures. A board member may not apply for or in any other way be considered for the position of director of schools," the board policy states.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Voters Prohibited from Using Cell Phones Inside Polling Place Except for Informational Purposes

April 23, 2015
Dennis Stanley

The Tennessee Legislature has passed a law prohibiting the use of cell phones inside the polling place, except for informational purposes.

“This is something that needed to be addressed by the legislature and codified into law,” said Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator
of Elections. “Until this law passed, local election commissions could or could not adopt a similar policy, which the local commission did two years ago. Now, the issue is addressed in state law and there is conformity state wide.”

The legislation states a county election commission cannot prohibit a voter from using a mobile electronic or communication device at the polls “for informational purposes to assist the voter in making election decisions.”

However, the measure goes on to say a voter “shall be prohibited from using the device for telephone conversations, recording or taking photographs or videos while inside the polling place.”

The law also gives election commissions the authority to “require that any mobile electronic or communication device be silenced while in use at the polling place.”

“Election commissions all across the state are charged with protecting the integrity of the ballot and this law will help them do that,” Stanley added.

The bill calls for the law to go into effect January 1, 2016.

DeKalb County to Participate in Great American Cleanup Campaign

April 23, 2015
Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, Drug Court Coordinator Norene Puckett, Sheriff Patrick Ray, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, County Mayor Tim Stribling

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce and the DeKalb County Mayor’s office would like to invite residents across the county to participate in the DeKalb County Clean Up campaign on Saturday, May 16th. This event will be held in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful initiative going on across the country. This organization’s mission revolves around a core belief that beauty is a silent but powerful force that makes communities safer, healthier and more livable.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, would like to remind everyone that DeKalb County’s peak tourism season is about to begin, so now is a great time to start getting things spruced up for our coming visitors. According to Williams, “I think we are all aware of the value and importance of beautification in our communities to attract newcomers and tourists to our area and to maintain a stable and growing economy.”

To get a head start on clean up, dumpsters will be set up at highly visible and convenient locations a few days prior to the main event. Dumpster locations will be at the Dowelltown Community Center, Liberty Community Center, Alexandria City Parking Lot (behind square), and the County Complex parking lot.

County Mayor Tim Stribling says, “We invite people to come out and help clean up around our communities and highways. Folks are welcome to pick up litter at places of their choice, or we will be glad to assign a safe place for you.”

DeKalb Clean Up volunteers are asked to come to the County Complex, 732 So. Congress Blvd., Smithville on May 16th between 9 AM and 10 AM to sign-in and pick up the provided trash bags, rubber gloves, and bottles of water. We will be taking a group picture at 9:30 AM for the media if you like to participate in that.

For early sign-up, you can stop by the Chamber, located in the Courthouse, Room 201, anytime during regular office hours by May 15th to pick up supplies. Or if stopping by is not convenient, call the Chamber office at 597-4163 to be counted as a DeKalb Clean Up volunteer -- just give your name and the general area where you will be working. Whether you’re beautifying your street, a highway, a park, ball field, a stream, or your own home, what a difference we can make through working together!

Tanya Howard Named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year

April 21, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
SES Principal Julie Vincent, Teacher of Year Tanya Howard, and Assistant SES Principal Karen Knowles
Dr. Danielle Collins, Tad Webb, Lori Pryor, Jennifer Griffith, Tanya Howard, and Sonja House
Danny Parkerson, Steve Officer, Doug Stephens, and W.J. (Dub) Evins, III

A kindergarten teacher at Smithville Elementary School was named " DeKalb County Teacher of the Year" and received the "John Isabell Memorial Award" Tuesday night during the eighth annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

The award was presented to Tanya Howard by Interim Director of Schools Dr. Danielle Collins.

Howard was among five local educators who were recognized during the banquet for being chosen by peers as "Teacher of the Year" at their schools. The others were Jennifer Griffith, a third grade math, science, and social studies teacher at Northside Elementary School; Lori Pryor a third grade self-contained teacher at DeKalb West School; Tad Webb a seventh grade math teacher at DeKalb Middle School; and Sonja House a ninth grade English/10th-12th grade Theatre Arts teacher at DeKalb County High School.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teachers; to stimulate interest in teaching as a career; and to encourage public involvement in education.

Principals introduced the Teachers of the Year at their schools, remarked on how they deserved the honor, and presented them with a school bell award.

Local community leader Steve Officer served as guest speaker for the banquet.

Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank, a sponsor of the banquet, was also an honored guest. School board members attending were Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, Danny Parkerson, and Doug Stephens.

The DeKalb County Teacher of the Year Award is now named for John Isabell, a long time educator and former President of the DeKalb County Education Association, who passed away last year after suffering from cancer.

Three Vehicle Crash Claims One, Injures Three Others

April 21, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
2007 Ford Expedition comes to rest in field after the driver Edgar Louis Madewell was ejected and died at the scene (PHOTO BY KEN UNDERHILL)
1997 Olds Bravada driven by Joshua Johnson of Smithville (PHOTO BY KEN UNDERHILL)
2008 Mazda SUV driven by Virginia Hendrixson. Neodia Cantrell was a passenger (PHOTO BY KEN UNDERHILL)
Scene of Fatal Crash (PHOTO BY KEN UNDERHILL)

A McMinnville man was killed and three other people were injured in a three vehicle crash Tuesday on Highway 56 just south of the Magness Road intersection.

THP received the call at 12:20 p.m.

Dead is 72 year old Edgar Louis Madewell of McMinnville. 33 year old Joshua Johnson of Smithville, 58 year old Virginia Hendrixson of Liberty, and 73 year old Neodia Cantrell of Dowelltown were all injured and transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Johnson was northbound on Highway 56 in a 1997 Olds Bravada and failed to stay in his lane of travel while negotiating a curve. Johnson crossed over into the southbound lane and struck an oncoming 2008 Mazda Tribute SUV, driven by Hendrixson. Cantrell was a passenger with Hendrixson. The impact of the crash knocked Hendrixson's SUV sideways before it came to rest in the southbound lane. Johnson's car continued northbound in the southbound lane and met an oncoming 2007 Ford Expedition, driven by Madewell, who was negotiating a curve. Madewell's vehicle veered left to avoid a head-on collision but was hit at an angle by Johnson's automobile. Madewell's Expedition was then knocked sideways into the northbound lane and yawed off the left shoulder of the highway before rolling over twice and ejecting Madewell, who was not wearing his seatbelt. Madewell's vehicle came to a final rest upright in a field. After impact with Madewell's Expedition, Johnson's car continued in the opposite lane and traveled off the left shoulder of the highway before coming to final rest on its left side in the ditchline.

All were wearing their seatbelts except for Madewell.

Johnson has been cited for failure to maintain lane of travel and failure to exercise due care. Criminal charges are pending.

The crash was investigated by Sergeant Eric McCormick and Troopers Tommy Cooper and Troy Withers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Others on the scene were members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department

DCHS Senior to Receive College Degree Through Dual Enrollment

April 21, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Leah Burchfield and DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps

Leah Burchfield, a senior at DCHS, is on track to earn a college degree less than two weeks before she gets her high school diploma.

On Saturday, May 9th, Burchfield will receive an Associates Degree at Motlow State Community College. Her graduation from DCHS will be thirteen days later on Friday, May 22. Burchfield's goal is to further her college education as she works toward becoming a General Physician.

Burchfield is not the first student at DCHS to receive a college degree while still in high school, but she is the first to have completed college courses in just two years.

Through a program called dual enrollment, high school students may take one or more college courses for which they may receive both high school and college credits. The college courses are available online. "It's an opportunity for students to get high school and college credit. We run through Motlow and Vol State Community Colleges. We have agreements with them. It's a good way for students to get a jump on their college career. There are a number of courses they can take. We started off many years ago with just two English courses (for college) and now it has ballooned to where students are able to take a variety of courses for college," DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps told WJLE Monday.

"My junior year I got really interested in taking dual enrollment because I wanted to get ahead. The end of the first semester of my senior year, Ms. Jamie (Wright) informed me that I already had 48 credit hours and I was really close to having 60. So I scheduled everything out to where I could go ahead and have my associates degree. It was kind of a shock to think I had done it in two years and last year it was done in four years," said Burchfield in an interview with WJLE Monday.

"The first semester of my junior year I took three classes and each one was for three hours. The next semester I took four classes and over the summer I took three classes. The first semester of my senior year I took five and this semester I have six classes," said Burchfield.

"I wanted to get my basics out of the way because with wanting to be in pre-med I knew I had to look forward to eight years of college so I took my English, History, and some Biology and Chemistry and I did all my humanities like art and music," she said.

"I want to continue on and go to MTSU to finish up my pre-med. I haven't picked a medical school yet but I'm hoping for Vanderbilt or Meharry Medical. I want to be a general physician," Burchfield told WJLE.

Burchfield, a resident of Alexandria, is the daughter of William Burchfield and Glenda Eaton.

Jury Convicts Lawson of Burglary and Theft; Not Guilty of Intoxication

April 21, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Robin Lee Lawson, II

A McMinnville man allegedly caught breaking into an outbuilding on Bethel Road in September 2013 stood trial and was convicted Thursday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

A jury found 37 year old Robin Lee Lawson, II guilty of burglary and theft of property over $500. He was found not guilty on a charge of public intoxication. He will appear before Judge David Patterson for sentencing on Friday, May 22.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, September 5, 2013 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Bethel Road to a complaint of a theft in progress. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Lawson and another man (the victim). Lawson had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His eyes were bloodshot and he was unsteady on his feet. The victim said that Lawson had come to his residence and knocked on the door. When the victim did not answer the door, Lawson went to the victim's outbuilding and took a chainsaw and weedeater. Lawson was detained under officers arrived and he was placed under arrest.

During the trial Lawson allegedly testified that he knew the victim and that he was not stealing the items, but borrowing them.

Meanwhile, in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday April 13, 40 year old Sara Patterson pled guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule III drug and received a three year sentence in each case suspended to TDOC probation. The two sentences are to run concurrently and Patterson is seeking judicial diversion. She was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $70 to the Alexandria Police Department.

32 year old Tamer Jason Jones pled guilty to two counts of theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve in each case but to run concurrently with each other and concurrently with a Putnam County violation of probation he is now serving. He was given jail credit of 136 days and he is under a restraining order to keep away from Walmart.

35 year old Chris Mooneyham pled guilty to delivery of a schedule II drug and a first offense of driving under the influence. He received a total sentence of four years suspended to probation but he must serve 30 days for the DUI. He was given jail credit for one day. Mooneyham must also pay a $2,000 drug fine and a $350 fine for the DUI offense. He will lose his driver's license for one year and must perform 24 hours of service in litter removal. He will report to jail on May 8 at 6:00 p.m.

53 year old Richard Chapman pled guilty to attempted sale of a schedule III drug and received a two year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. He was fined $2,000.

TCAP and EOC Testing to Begin Soon

April 21, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lisa Cripps

DeKalb County students will be taking the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, Achievement Tests starting April 28.

TCAP Achievement testing for grades 3-8 will begin on April 28 with Reading/Language Arts; April 29 for math, and April 30 for Science with makeup testing on May 1.

SAT-10 (Stanford Achievement Tests) testing for K-2 Achievement will be April 28 .

Meanwhile a Social Studies online pilot test for grades 3-8 will begin May 4-8 for grades 3 and 6; for grades 4 and 7 on May 7 -13; and grades 5 and 8 on May 11-15.

End of Course testing at DeKalb County High School also begins in May. "As we approach the end of a school year final end of the year assessments start. DeKalb County High school just finished their online US History test Pilot last week," said Lisa Cripps, Supervisor of Instruction for 7th through 12th grades. " We will be starting our End of Course testing in May with the following tests each day as follows":

May 4 -English 3 and Algebra I
May 5 -English 1 and Algebra 2
May 6- English 2
May 7- Biology and Chemistry
May 8- Makeup test day.

Directly after EOC testing the high school we will be reviewing for their final exams, and then Graduation is May 22," Cripps continued.

"All testing will be under a secure testing environment. If you enter the schools at that time you may see signs letting you know that tests are in progress. That means the doors are shut and we are in a secure environment for testing," said Cripps.

For more information on testing check your school's webpage or call the school or central office.

Meanwhile, Kindergarten registration will be on May 6th at 9am- 1pm at DeKalb West and Smithville Elementary Schools

Children who plan to attend kindergarten must turn five years old on or before August 15, 2015 in order to enroll for the 2015-16 school year.

Parents, when you come for that registration, you will need to bring with you the following information:

*Child's Birth Certificate

*Child's Social Security Card

*Recent Kindergarten Physical.

*Current Immunization Certificate (shot record)

*Proof of residency for DeKalb County (i.e. gas/electric bill)

"Parents, please share with your child that he or she will be tested on registration day. This is an opportunity for your child to show the kindergarten teachers what he or she knows.

Registration forms may also be found online at www.ses.dekalbschools.net under news/information.

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