School Back Pack Program Helps Feed Needy Children During Holidays

The DeKalb County School System is helping to ensure that needy children have plenty to eat during the holidays while they are at home.
Through the”BackPack” program, children receive food they can take home for the holidays. This year, through the efforts of School Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague, several children will also get a four to five pound cooked ham, donated by Prichards Foods and packs of peanut butter lunchables and fruit cups donated by Larry’s Discount Grocery, according to Dee Anna Reynolds, School Health Coordinator. “We’ve added something extra to our Back Pack program for the Christmas program and we have Mr. Jimmy Sprague to thank for that. He has stepped up to the plate, volunteered, and opened the door for a lot of our kids to have a better Christmas. This year we are going to be delivering hams starting on Monday, December 19 to homes for our needy children and we’re very excited about that. These are cooked hams so those babies (children) can go in there and eat and we won’t have to worry about them being able to fix the food. The kids that go home with the back pack (foods), they’ll go home on the bus on Thursday, December 15 with those (back pack foods). The hams that we’re delivering won’t necessarily all be for the same kids. There may be some overlap but we’ll also have some extra food that we’ll be able to take with those hams to those families. The food that we send home with the kids, when we purchase that food and receive that donated food, we try to make sure that its food that a child as young as pre-k or kindergarten can go home, open, and feed themselves. This time, they’re going home with a fruit cup, a lunchable, oatmeal, animal crackers, Ramen noodles, bagged peanuts, slim jims, boxed cereal, fruit snacks, and of course the cooked hams that we’ll deliver on Monday, and this year we’ll put some blow pops in there to give them a little extra treat. It’s a good bag. It’s a bag that’s large enough that the kindergarten students can carry it. Its not too heavy. They can make it last them a good week. We try to make sure that the food is healthy because that’s probably the only food that some of those kids are going to eat. But it is healthy food for the most part,” said Reynolds.
Sprague said he is thankful to the vendors for donating the hams and other foods. “I got with some vendors and friends of mine who wanted to donate but they didn’t want to donate for any recognition. They’re like me. Its all about the kids. The vendor that donated the hams this year is Prichards Foods in Alexandria. We’ve received fifty five hams for our under privileged children. That means a lot not only to the children but the parents, knowing that the children will have something to eat, especially over the school break during Christmas. A lot of parents work and the children are at home and there’s nothing really for them to cook or eat so this (donation of hams) will coincide with the Back Pack program to give them something good to eat. I also want to thank Larry’s Discount Grocery for helping us with a donation to the Back Pack program. I really appreciate all that they’ve done,” said Sprague.
Reynolds said the children served through the Back Pack Program have been identified through referrals by teachers and faculty staff. “We went with teacher/faculty staff referrals and that’s what we’ve kind of continued with. That seems to work better. We’ve been able to feed the children better and provide them with better food. That has given us the opportunity to save a little more money and feed the kids better. We also have another partnership through a company called Well Child, Incorporated. They come into our school, set up on-site and do well child exams for our children. Through a partnership with them, we’ve also been able to receive the funds to buy additional food. So along with those hams and the food that’s been donated the kids will go home with a really good goodie bag of food,” said Reynolds.
The Back Pack program was started in DeKalb County a couple of years ago, according to Reynolds. “We’ve tried a different approach every year. We started out the first year just feeding the kids during Christmas break and spring break. The second year we added fall break, Christmas break, and spring break. Last year we added Thanksgiving. This year we weren’t able to get the ball rolling for fall break but we will feed the kids during this Christmas break and we have plans to feed them during spring break. With the work that Mr. Jimmy (Sprague) has done it has opened a door for us to be able to feed those kids. We’re actually looking for some more partners who might be interested in helping us maybe by picking up a school. Just help us pick up a school and kind of take that school under their wing and feed those kids, volunteer to pack food, donate the food, we are open to anything anybody wants to help us with,” said Reynolds.
The BackPack Program concept was developed at the Arkansas Rice Depot, after a school nurse asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomachaches and dizziness. The local food bank there began to provide the school children with groceries in non-descript backpacks to carry home.
In addition to providing nutritious food to school children in need, some BackPack Programs provide extra food for younger siblings at home and others operate during the summer months when children are out of school and have limited access to free or reduced-priced meals.
The BackPack Program became a pilot program in 1995. The National Council of Feeding America approved the BackPack Program as an official national program of the Network in July 2006.
More than 140 Feeding America members operated more than 3,600 BackPack Programs and served more than 190,000 children in FY2009.

THP Investigates Wreck on Short Mountain Highway

At least one person was apparently injured in a one car crash Monday night on Highway 146 near New Home Road, but whoever was in the vehicle left the scene after the accident.
The mishap was investigated by Trooper Darrell Knowles of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He told WJLE that the car, a 2001 GEO Chevy Prizm, was traveling north on State Highway 146 when it went off the left side of the road, overturned, and came to rest on its wheels in the ditchline.
The wreck apparently resulted in injury to someone because there was some blood in the car.

New DUI Law Takes Effect January 1st

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said a new state law is taking effect January 1st to crack down on drunk drivers.
As enacted, the law permits an officer to test the blood alcohol content of certain drivers regardless of whether they consent.
Under the current DUI law in Tennessee, a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe an individual is driving under the influence may request the person submit to a blood alcohol concentration test. If the person elects not to submit to the blood alcohol test they are to be charged with a violation of the Tennessee implied consent law and could lose their driver’s license for one year.
Chief Caplinger said the new DUI law, adopted by the Tennessee legislature, requires that anyone who has a prior DUI conviction, vehicular homicide due to intoxication conviction or aggravated vehicular homicide conviction or any person with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time, MUST submit to either a blood or breath test if they are believed to be driving under the influence.
Meanwhile, in his weekly crime update, Chief Caplinger reports that 40 year old Vickie Alvis is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on December 22.
According to Chief Caplinger, an officer was dispatched to an apartment complex on Foster Road Monday, December 5 to check out a report of an intoxicated female. Upon arrival, the officer found the woman at the lower level of the complex knocking on an apartment door. A half bottle of an alcoholic beverage was next to her. Alvis was unsteady on her feet and she had an odor of alcohol on her person. Alvis was belligerent and allegedly threatened the officer.
51 year old James Lynn Hale of Spencer is charged with public intoxication, simple possession of a schedule II and IV controlled substance, and unlawful possession of a weapon. He will be in court on December 22.
Chief Caplinger reports that on Monday, December 5 an officer was summoned to the public square to check out a suspicious person who was lying on a bench. The man was asleep. The officer awoke the man and found him to be disoriented. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. The man, Hale, told the officer he had taken some medication. He was found to have on him a bottle containing four pills believed to be Xanax, a bottle with two pills thought to be percocet, and a butcher knife. Hale told the officer that he was a convicted felon.
28 year old Ricardo N. Gutierrez of McMinnville is charged with a first offense of driving on a revoked license. He was also issued citations for no drivers license, violation of the registration law, and violation of the financial responsibility law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on December 15.
Chief Caplinger said that on Monday, December 5 an officer saw a Ford 150 spinning tires in the parking lot of Mapco Express. The truck turned onto North Congress Boulevard. The officer stopped the truck and found that the driver, Gutierrez, had no drivers license, no registration, and no proof of insurance. A computer check revealed that his drivers license were revoked for a DUI on January 8, 2009.
41 year old Jenna Sue Murphy is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on December 15.
Chief Caplinger said that an officer was called to the CPS probation office on Tuesday, December 6 to check on a possible intoxicated person. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with Murphy who was unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. She was arrested for her safety.
43 year old Karen Renee Hunter is cited for theft of property. She will be in court on December 22.
Chief Caplinger said that an officer was sent to Walmart on Friday, December 2 to check out a complaint of a shoplifter. Hunter allegedly had on her person several items taken from the store with a total value of $47.
34 year old Richard Brian Mason is charged with theft under $500 and evading arrest. His bond is $1,500 on each charge and he will be in court on December 22.
Chief Caplinger reports that an officer was dispatched to Walmart on a shoplifting complaint. Mason allegedly had left the store with a stroller containing items which he had not purchased. The officer chased him on foot to Anthony Avenue and placed him under arrest. The stolen items were recovered valued at $148.16
24 year old Lydia Renee Judkins is charged with criminal impersonation and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. Her bond is $1,500 in each case. She will be in court on December 22.
Chief Caplinger reports that police were called to the Dollar Tree on Friday, December 9 to check on two women in the store who were believed to be intoxicated. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with the women, one of whom was Judkins. She (Judkins) initially gave another name and date of birth to identify herself, but later admitted who she really was saying said she thought she had an outstanding warrant against her and feared arrest. She gave the officer consent to search her vehicle and he found seventeen pills believed to be xanax in a baggie. Another pill was found in her purse. The other woman was not charged.

Sheriff Ray Releases Weekly Crime Report

Sheriff Patrick Ray has released his crime report for the week.
23 year old Homer Anthony Petty, II of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended license and felony evading arrest. He was also issued a citation for violation of the open container law, violation of the light law, and violation of the financial responsibility law. His bond totals $6,500 and he will be in court on December 15.
Sheriff Ray reports that a deputy stopped Petty’s vehicle for no tail lights on New Home Road Tuesday, December 6. When the officer approached the vehicle, Petty accelerated. He turned right onto Highway 146 and drove to Cecil Hale Road before he stopped. A computer check revealed his license were suspended on August 18, 2008 in Smith County for failure to satisfy a citation. He could not provide proof of insurance and he had an open 40 ounce container of beer in the vehicle.
40 year old Stanley William Morris, Jr. of Hodges Road, Smithville and 34 year old Thomas Bradley Hildreth of Oak Street, Smithville are charged with filing a false report. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will appear in court on December 15.
Sheriff Ray reports that both Morris and Hildreth failed to answer the door at an Oak Street residence on Thursday, December 8 in an effort to hide Leslie Love, who had a warrant against her for violation of probation in Warren County. ” Officers knocked and screamed for someone to come to the door, ‘ said Sheriff Ray. “A deputy saw Love and someone else run through the house. Officers again knocked and then made forced entry into the house. After entry was made in the living room, both Morris and Hildreth told the deputies that they did not know the whereabouts of Love. But according to Sheriff Ray, the men gave false information so that Love could evade law enforcement and not get arrested. Love was found in the home hiding in the attic space. She was arrested and transported to Warren County”, said Sheriff Ray.
23 year old Melissa Gail Andrews of Jackson Street, Smithville is cited for driving on a revoked license and violation of the light law. Her court date is January 11. Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, December 10, Andrews was stopped for having a headlight out. A computer check revealed her license to be revoked.

Ella Mae Harness

86 year old Ella Mae Harness of Smithville died Sunday at her residence. She was a homemaker and a Baptist. The funeral will be Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. (EST) at Jarnigans Chapel Baptist Church in Clinton, Tennessee. Eddie Bridges and Freddie Bean will officiate and burial will be in the Jarnigans Chapel Cemetery in Clinton. Visitation will be Tuesday from 2-8 p.m. at Love-Cantrell Funeral Home and Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. (EST) at the church in Clinton. She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Luther Harness; parents, William and Martha Brummett Huckaby; two sisters, Fannie Galbreath and Marie Bean; and two brothers, Walker and Ervin Huckaby. Survivors include seven sons, Levi Harness, Howard Harness of Smithville, Lynn Harness of Michigan, Curtis Harness of Smithville, Gary Harness of Michigan, Kenneth Harness of Smithville, and James Harness. One daughter, Patsy Raudenbush of Pennsylvania. Sixteen grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren survive. Love-Cantrell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Liberty Lodge #77 F&AM Installs Masonic Officers

The Liberty Lodge #77 Free and Accepted Masons installed their 2012 Masonic officers Saturday afternoon at a public
Brothers front row are, from left, Tommy Clark, installing marshal, Max Barney, treasurer, Kenneth Vanatta, Chaplain, Worshipful Master John C Gottlied, Jr., Corkie Mosley, junior warden, Michael E. Bilbry, senior deacon, John Dodd, installing officer.
Brothers in back row from are, from left, Clarence Neely, senior steward, Dr. R. R. Atnip, senior warden, Homer Hodges, junior deacon and Erbie France, junior steward.

Freckles’ Friends Receives Two Grants For The Mobile Spay Station Program

Freckles’ Friends has received two grants to fund the mobile spay station program.
The first grant, in the amount of $4,200, came from the Tennessee Animal Friendly License Plate Program and funding began in July. The second grant, in the amount of $3,025, came from the Patricia & Edward J. McGavock Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee .This grant will help fund the program through August of 2012 provided the sponsorship fee remains $550 per monthly visit.
The spay station provides spay/neuter surgery for pets in low-income families who can prove financial need through participation in a government program such as Unemployment, Disability, SSI, Families First or Food Stamps. Clients are asked only for a donation of whatever they can afford and pets who are spayed or neutered will also be examined and receive needed vaccinations.
For those who do not qualify for the spay station program, Freckles’ Friends offers Spay/Neuter Assistance Vouchers in the following amounts: $50 for female dog spays, $40 for male dog neuters, $35 for female cat spays and $25 for male cat neuters. Vouchers expire in 30 days from issue and will not be issued retroactively so please have your voucher number prior to setting your appointment. Freckles’ Friends Vouchers are accepted at the following clinics:
Animal Clinic of Smithville (Dr. Mark Burke, DVM) – (615) 597-1726
DeKalb Animal Clinic (Dr. Scott Little, DVM) – (615) 597-1950
Wheeler Veterinary Clinic (Dr. Scott Wheeler, DVM) – (615) 597-3770
The voucher program is open to anyone, regardless of income. However, those who qualify for the spay station will only be issued vouchers if the schedule is full or there are safety issues to consider such as a pet that is high risk for surgery and chances of complications are high. This is because no grant funding is available for the voucher program and funds are limited to what the hard-working volunteers raise during fundraisers such as the DeKalb County Women’s Show, the fall yard sale, organized by Bea Garrison and Sommer Deebanks and the Freckles’ Fall Fundraiser organized by Rene’ Stufano as well as donations received from the Spay Partners and other donors. Funds are available now for vouchers so please email and let them know if you qualify for the spay station or need a voucher. They also need to know if you have a dog or cat and if your pet is male or female.
Please help reduce the number of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens in our communities. Be a responsible pet owner and set a good example for others by having your pets spayed or neutered. It is good for the health of your pet and your community and Freckles’ Friends would like to help.

Omega Sue Chapman Sanders

69 year old Omega Sue Chapman Sanders of Alexandria died Friday at DeKalb Community Hospital. She was born in DeKalb County. The funeral will be Monday at 2:00 p.m. at the Chapel of Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria. Glen Chapman will officiate and burial will be in the Brush Creek Cemetery. Visitation will be Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Monday from 10:00 a.m. until the service. She was preceded in death by her parents, Gentry Cantrell and Velvo Arnold.; her husband, Jackie Sanders; her children’s father, Jimmy Chapman; and several brothers and sisters. Survivors include her children, Jimmy Wayne Chapman of Smithville, Richard Chapman of Alexandria, and Lisa and husband Kevin Cox of Liberty. Grandchildren, Timothy Chapman, Jerry Chapman, Johnny Chapman, and Julie Chapman all of Smithville, Cory Chapman of Alexandria, Jamie Gibbs and Bubba Smith of Alexandria, Felicia and Allen Taylor of Smithville, and Takeshia and Robert Castillejos of Smithville. Step-grandchildren, Kevin, Jr. and wife Michelle Cox of Liberty, Eric and wife Charlotte Cox of Murfreesboro, and Angie Cox of Watertown. Several great grandchildren and a sister, Cleta Horn of Smithville. Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria is in charge of the arrangements. The family has requested that donations be made to Anderson Funeral Home to help with funeral expenses, in lieu of flowers.

Primitive Quartet and Right on Time to Sing for Toys

The third annual “Singing for Toys “will be held Saturday, December 17th at 6:00 p.m. at the DeKalb West School Gym in Liberty featuring the Primitive Quartet and Right on Time.
Sean Driver, a member of the group “Right on Time” said your admission is a donation of a small toy per person or a large toy per family. All toys donated will be given to needy children. All children served will also receive a Bible. “This is our third year to be a part of this Christmas Toy Drive. Mr. Chad Coppinger called us three years ago to ask us to be a part of this and we’re so fortunate to be involved in it this year. The date is Saturday, December 17 at 6:00 p.m. We’re glad that the Alexandria Lion’s Club is sponsoring us to use the DeKalb County West School Gym. We thank the principal for allowing this. Of course, I sing with “Right on Time” and we’re fortunate this year to be singing with the Primitive Quartet of Candler, North Carolina. They’ been singing the gospel for 38 years. There is no admission to get in as far as monetary but we ask that you bring a small unwrapped small toy per person or if you come as a family you can bring one large toy. Its not just set up for DeKalb County. Its for surrounding counties too for children in need to try to give them a great Christmas. We want them to have some sort of toy or multiple toys. We’ve already had a donation of over four hundred toys. Along with receiving the toys, we want each child to receive a Bible as well. We were able to do that last year for 350 children. We’re looking for a larger turnout this time. We’ve been asking churches to be a part of this. We want your presence there. We’ll collect those toys and then Chad has the list of all those children and he will disperse those where they need to be,” said Driver.
For more information, call Chad Coppinger at 615-563-2423

School Board Tries Again For Traffic Study

Members of the School Board are upset with city officials for turning down their request to seek a study of traffic flow patterns on highways at Northside, DeKalb Middle, and DCHS.
During Thursday night’s meeting, board members voted to try again. They will now ask the county attorney, Hilton Conger and city attorney, Vester Parsley to make contact with the County Technical Advisory Service CTAS and the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to request a traffic study on behalf of both city and county governments.

In October, the Board of Education voted to ask the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen to formally request the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to conduct a cost free study of traffic flow patterns and to make suggestions for relieving congestion on highways at Northside Elementary as well as DCHS and DeKalb Middle School in Smithville.
Mayor Taft Hendrixson denied the request in a letter dated November 16, stating that the school board could seek the traffic study through CTAS. “I have two concerns about this request and I have consulted our attorney about my concerns,” wrote Mayor Hendrixson.
“Even though in the Smithville city limits, Northside, Middle, and High School are all located on State highways, any physical changes to those highways would be the State of Tennessee’s decision. DeKalb County has access to the sister arm of MTAS. This is CTAS which does the same for counties as does MTAS for cities. Since this is a county organization requesting this to be done it is my and our attorney’s opinion you should make this request to the county’s technical service CTAS or maybe even to the Tennessee Department of Safety,” wrote Mayor Hendrixson.
“The City of Smithville is diligent in trying to keep all streets and roadways safe. The patrol division of our Police Department put special patrols on school zones for the safety of all citizens,” wrote Mayor Hendrixson.
School Board Chairman Charles Robinson, during Thursday night’s meeting, said he has contacted CTAS since receiving Mayor Hendrixson’s letter. Robinson said it is his understanding that both CTAS and MTAS would be willing to work together to do a traffic study as long as both the city and county request it. “I contacted CTAS and talked to the assistant director Mr. Robin Roberts and he reports that he has spoken to Mr. Rex Barton, who is the one who would do the traffic study with MTAS. Their recommendation is that Mr. Barton along with Mr. Roberts, the assistant director of CTAS, along with the CTAS people who make recommendations to county law enforcement, do a traffic study with the City of Smithville and the School Board. It would be of no cost to the county government or to the city,” said Robinson.
Fifth district board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said he can’t understand why the city is so reluctant to work with the school board on this effort. ” I don’t understand why this is such a hot potato and no one wants to deal with it. We (school board) are not in the policing business. We should be completely out of this. There are issues between the city and county that are of much more magnitude than what we’re talking about here. We’re asking the City of Smithville to ask for a free study and they are basically refusing to do that. Is that my understanding?, ” asked Evins
Board Chairman Robinson responded, “yes”.
Evins continued, “We had a right to request it (traffic study) but we should not have to request it. That should be something that the city should be willing and eager to do especially since its free. This is nothing. Its just asking for a study for the safety of our 2,800 students in this system and the thirty five buses that are coming in and out of there and the other parents that are bringing a thousand students to school each day. Out of the 2,800 there’s approximately 1,800 to 1,900 on buses. There’s another thousand that are being brought to school by their parents or driving themselves and we’re asking for a study to determine the safety of the transportation of these students. That should be quite simple,” said Evins.
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said this effort to get a traffic study has been underway for several months.”We made a request with MTAS. We were directed indirectly by some people from the Department of Safety to do this. We made that request and after making that request MTAS said since it was in the City of Smithville then the City of Smithville should make that request. We asked the mayor to make the request and we’re at the same place that we were. It needed to come through the city and we still don’t have our study done,” said Willoughby.
In August, Board Chairman Robinson wrote a letter to Rex Barton, Police Management Consultant for MTAS, requesting a traffic study at Northside Elementary, DCHS and DeKalb Middle School. “On behalf of the DeKalb County Board of Education, I am requesting a traffic study. We are experiencing congestion and difficulty entering and exiting three of our schools. The locations are Northside Elementary on North Congress Boulevard and DCHS and DeKalb Middle School on West Broad Street in Smithville.”
Barton responded in a letter to Robinson in September, stating that the request would have to come from the City of Smithville “An MTAS Public Works Consultant and I can review the infrastructure and traffic patterns to determine what physical or traffic flow changes might benefit the traffic issues around the schools”
“MTAS exists to provide consulting services to Tennessee cities. The schools you reference are in the city of Smithville, but the city will have to make the request for the traffic study. I am copying this letter to Mayor Taft Hendrixson to ensure he is aware of your request”, wrote Barton.
“I realize nobody wants anybody to get hurt and we want all of our children to be safe so surely we can get both entities to work together and say we want to do this study. Its going to be no cost to anyone. Now they might recommend something that’s going to cost some money and then we’ll have to decide if somebody is going to pay for it or not going to pay for it. But just getting a recommendation that’s free shouldn’t be a problem,” said Director Willoughby.
Fourth district member Billy Miller made a motion to “make a request of the attorney for the City of Smithville and the county attorney, asking that they sit down and contact CTAS to come up with such a study for the school system. I make that in the form of a motion to do so,” said Miller. The motion was amended to also request that the city and county attorneys respond to the school board within thirty days as to whether they will agree to make contact with CTAS.
In other business, Director Willoughby updated the board on personnel moves.
Those employed since the last meeting are:
Carl Malone, custodian at DCHS
Thomas Fitts, substitute bus driver
Pam Baines, cafeteria manager at Northside Elementary School
Melvin Young, teacher at DCHS will resign as of February
The board approved a request to offer new classes at DCHS for the 2012-13 school year in the Career and Technical Education area including Culinary Arts I, II, and III in the Family and Consumer Science Area; and Computer Applications, Interactive Multimedia Presentations, Web Design Essentials, Web Design Applications, and Banking and Finance under Business Technology; and Calculus 2, Linear Algebra, and Multivariable Calculus.
Lisa Bell, Data Analysis Leader for the school system, gave a presentation on the results of the state’s report card on DeKalb County Schools..
The new building trades house, which is now for sale, has drawn some interest from a couple of people, according to Director Willoughby but no one has yet committed to making the purchase.
The board will hold a special meeting on December 13 at 5:00 p.m. to act on a FEMA grant application which would provide funds for school systems affected by floods and tornadoes.
The board will have a yearly evaluation of the director of schools on January 12 at 5:30 p.m. followed by the regular meeting at 7:00 p.m.