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Local News Articles

18th Annual Fiddler 5K & One Mile Fun Run Coming Saturday, July 2

June 25, 2016
Dwayne Page
Tecia Puckett Pryor
18th Annual Fiddler 5K & One Mile Fun Run Coming Saturday, July 2
New Fiddler 5K Race Shirt

The 18th annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County will be Saturday, July 2. All proceeds from the race will be used in building another Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County.


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The race will begin promptly at 7:00 a.m. RAIN OR SHINE. The course will continue along the same path as last year beginning and ending on Church Street in Downtown Smithville. "We will be able to run the same course as we always do down town hill, by the pool, and over by the hospital, and back up Main Street. The City of Smithville has been very accommodating to us. We will have a few little obstacles along the course that we don’t normally have but it will be the same 3.1 mile course. We are also being chip timed again by Tennessee Race Timing out of Cookeville. They do a great job with our results. Its a fun course. Its a challenging course to run with the hills but we were happy to keep the same course this year with city construction going on,” said Race Director Tecia Puckett Pryor.

“We encourage anybody who is interested in doing either the one mile fun run or the 5K to go to where you'll find a printable registration form that provides all the details of registration and a link to online registration," she said.

The deadline for online pre-registration is Wednesday, June 29 and paper registrations must be submitted no later than Monday, June 27. "If you want to register by paper go online and print out a registration form and mail it in or bring it by my office by Monday at 312 West Broad Street. By pre-registering you guarantee yourself a really neat race shirt. This year we have shirts with a little different fabric. Its a cotton and polyester blend. Its very light weight and popular.Its ice blue with a really nice design. So guarantee a shirt by pre-registering. Another perk of pre-registering is that you may come on Friday night to pick up your race packet early from 5-7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center. You may also pick up your packet on race morning. Those who haven’t pre-registered may still register on the morning of the race at 6 a.m. If you have pre-registered and didn’t pick up your packet come by about 6:15 a.m. We’ll be in the parking lot of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home which is where we do all our pre-race activities on Saturday morning and our post race activities,” Pryor continued.

Participants may sign up on race day but it costs a little more."The cost of race day registration is $30 and $25 for those age 18 and younger. Again, for early registration it's $25 for adults age 19 and older and for youth its $20 for ages 18 and younger so you save a little bit of money by pre-registering," Pryor said.

“We’re looking forward to a great 5K and Fun Run. We hope all you kids or adults who just want to walk the race will do the One Mile Fun Run which is all in town and really doesn’t have any of the hills that the 5K course has” .

“We encourage anybody who is interested in doing either the One Mile Fun Run or the 5K to go to where you'll find a printable registration form that provides all the details of registration and a link to online registration”.

"For our awards, we give an overall male award and a female award for the fastest runners. We also give a Masters award which is for the fastest male and female age 40 and older. We present the top three awards in the age categories of nine and younger, and then go up from there in five year increments. We give ribbons for those categories. For the Fun Run, we only give awards for children who are age twelve and younger. We give overall awards for male and female and then we do the top three. Everybody gets a nice ribbon and the overall winners get medals," said Pryor.

Funds raised through the Fiddler 5K support Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. "This of course is a benefit for Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. This is one of the main fund raisers for Habitat all year and we hope lots of people will come out and support us”.

“I want to say a special thank you to the race tee shirt sponsors. Our head line sponsors are DeKalb Dental Center and Dr. Mitchell Tatum, Wilson Bank & Trust, First Bank, Janney and Associates, Stonehaus Winery, CPA Glenda Davis, Tenneco, Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital, and Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church,” Pryor concluded.

Chamber Announces "Jamboree Project Welcome Mat" Winners

June 25, 2016
Dwayne Page
Winner of People’s Choice – Middle Tennessee Natural Gas
People's Choice Winner-Middle Tennessee Natural Gas
Winner of Most Original –Liberty State Bank
Most Original Winner-Liberty State Bank
Best Worded-Wilson Bank & Trust
Wilson Bank & Trust Awarded for Best Worded Sign

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of the 2016 "Project Welcome Mat" in time for the Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival July 1 & 2.

This year's winners are as follows: People’s Choice – Middle Tennessee Natural Gas; Most Original –Liberty State Bank ; and Best Worded-Wilson Bank & Trust.

"We want to thank all the businesses and churches for participating in the 15th Annual Chamber of Commerce “Jamboree Project Welcome Mat” contest and using your message signs to welcome Jamboree visitors. It’s vitally important to make sure that our guests know how appreciated and important they are," said Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.

Middle Tennessee Natural Gas received the Chamber’s “People’s Choice” award for helping to promote the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival with its “Jamboree 45” message and its encouragement for our leaving visitors to “turn around” and head back to the Jamboree.

The Chamber of Commerce presented the Jamboree Project Welcome Mat award for “Most Original” sign to Liberty State Bank for providing imaginative messages on both sides of their sign.

The Chamber of Commerce presented the Project Welcome Mat’s “Best Worded” award to Wilson Bank and Trust as they creatively promote the Jamboree, Fiddler 5K, and WCTE broadcast on their highly visible sign.

Winner of People’s Choice – Middle Tennessee Natural Gas
Pictured l-r:
MTNG Employees Becky Thompson & Eugene Adkins, MTNG Chief Executive Officer Mr. James E. Hodges, Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson, and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams

Pictured l-r:
Becky Thompson, Eugene Adkins, Mr. James E. Hodges, Kathy Hendrixson, Suzanne Williams

Winner of Most Original Sign – Liberty State Bank
Pictured l-r:
Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, Chamber Board Member Connie Tjarks, Liberty State Bank employees – Charlene Adcock, Lisa Garrison, Amanda Hasemann, Denise Barrett, Trena Graham, & Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson

Pictured l-r:
Kathy Hendrixson, Trena Graham, Amanda Hasemann, Denise Barrett, Lisa Garrison, Charlene Adcock, Connie Tjarks, Suzanne Williams

Winner of Best Worded – Wilson Bank and Trust
Pictured l-r:
Chamber Board Member Connie Tjarks, Wilson Bank & Trust employees – June Keith, Laura Stone, & Christal Pistole, Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams

Pictured l-r:
Suzanne Williams, Kathy Hendrixson, Laura Stone, June Keith, Christal Pistole, Connie Tjarks

Darvin Gill Named Head Girls Basketball Coach at Rhea County High School

June 25, 2016
Dwayne Page
Darvin Gill

DeKalb County native Darvin Gill has been named the head basketball coach of the girls program at Rhea County High School located near Dayton Tennessee at Evansville.

The longtime local radio and TV sports broadcaster and assistant girls basketball coach at DeKalb, Cannon, and White County told WJLE this week that he is thrilled to have this opportunity. “I am super excited. The new school building (at Rhea County) has only been built for three years. It has tremendous facilities. I have a young team and the middle school team, my main feeder program to the high school is the state sectional champs in the TMSAA. I’m excited to be part of a really strong Rhea County athletic administration and program,” said Coach Gill.

In addition to his basketball coaching duties, Gill will be an educational assistant at the school and may serve in other coaching positions. “It looks like I will be an assistant coach in a few of the other female sports, probably volleyball and softball. I’ll be asked to help and I’m glad to do so. That’s part of my work ethic. I want to be able to help where I can,” Gill continued.

From 2007 to 2015, Gill was an assistant to head girls basketball coach Michael Dodgen at Cannon County High School before the two of them left for White County High School in the same roles this past season. Prior to joining the Cannon County program, Gill served as an assistant to former DCHS girls head basketball coach Victor Harrison in 2004-05.

Gill is a 1994 graduate of DCHS and he furthered his education at MTSU earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies with concentrations in coaching and recreation administration.

Over the years Gill has been a play by play announcer and color commentator for high school sports on WJLE. He has also been part of the DTC TV Sports team covering area high school football games on Friday nights. And he has worked for his brother Darrell at DeKalb Tire and Service. But Gill’s first love is coaching and he has high expectations for his program. “This is really what I believe I was put here to do. That’s why I’m so excited. To be able to put my own stamp on a program. Rhea County is a community like what I’m used to. It’s a small tight knit community. They enjoy their athletics. They have a tremendous football program which is the standard bearer for all athletics there. I hope I can make the girls basketball program something as prideful for the community as the football program is,” said Coach Gill.

Bluegrass Pickin’ Preview to Kick-Off Jamboree

June 24, 2016
Clyde Nokes and the Short Mountain Boys

To kick off the Jamboree, the Bluegrass Pickin’ Preview will be on Thursday, June 30th from 6:00 to 8:30 PM at Evins Park (across from the Smithville Post Office and Justin Potter Library). The performance schedule is as follows:

*Community Chorus from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

*The Smithville Square Dancers and Cloggers led by Mary Ann Puckett from 7 PM to 7:30 PM

*The super-talented Clyde Nokes and the Short Mountain Boys from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Parking locations for the Bluegrass PIckin’ Preview will be provided after 5 PM by the Smithville Review, 106 So. 1st St., Smithville and Dr. Starla Meigs, OD, 107 N. Congress Blvd, Smithville. Bring a lawn chair, and come enjoy some great entertainment!

The Jamboree You Love Just Keeps Getting Better!

County Budget Committee Recommends New Salary Scale

June 23, 2016
Dwayne Page

Most county employees would get a pay raise under a new wage scale proposed by the county commission’s budget committee.

During a five hour meeting Wednesday evening, the budget committee came up with a new pay plan for employees who work under the county general department, except for the sheriff’s department (which has its own wage scale) and the ambulance service. The plan, adopted 5 to 0 by the budget committee, will be included in the proposed 2016-17 budgets to be presented to the county commission in July. Members of the budget committee are Wayne Cantrell, Larry Summers, Jack Barton, Jerry Adcock, and Jimmy Midgett.

Under the new plan, employees of the elected offices of Trustee, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, Assessor of Property, County Mayor, Circuit Court Clerk, and Non Elected Clerk and Master would get step raises at a percentage of what their employer earns. For the 2016-17 fiscal year, all these elected officials (Trustee, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, Assessor of Property, Circuit Court Clerk, and Non Elected Clerk and Master) will be earning a salary of $65,221 per year except for the Office of County Mayor whose salary will be $75,329.

According to the new scale, the step raises for employees of these offices would be as follows:

STEP 1: 39% of their employer’s salary -1 year of service

STEP 2: 40% of their employer’s salary-2 years of service

STEP 3: 41% of their employer’s salary- 3 years of service

STEP 4: 42% of their employer’s salary-4 years of service

STEP 5: 44% of their employer’s salary-8 years of service

Meanwhile the Library Director, Election Commission Secretary, and Soil Conservation Secretary would be on the same scale (as noted above) with their salaries being a percentage of $65,221 which is what the Trustee, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, Assessor of Property, Circuit Court Clerk, and Clerk and Master earn.

Full time library employees and the Senior Citizens Director would get a percentage of $65,221 based on the following scale for them:

STEP 1: 31% of $65,221- 1 year of service

STEP 2: 32% of $65,221-2 years of service

STEP 3: 34% of $65,221-3 years of service

STEP 4: 35% of $65,221- 4 years of service

STEP 5: 37% of $65,221-8 years of service

All part-time County General Employees would be paid $10.00 per hour excluding part time employees of the ambulance service.

Custodians would get a 2.158% increase in pay

The director of the Landfill would get a salary of $42,000 per year.

Landfill employees would get the following rates of pay:

Drivers with Commercial Driver Licenses (CDL):

$13.00 per hour for 1 year of service

$14.00 per hour for 3 years of service

$15.00 per hour for 5 years of service

$16.00 per hour for 7 years of service

Laborers would get the following rates of pay:

$12.00 per hour for 1 year of service

$13.00 per hour for 3 years of service

$14.00 per hour for 5 years of service

$15.00 per hour for 7 years of service

Convenience Center employees would get $8.50 per hour

Reappraisal Shows Drop in DeKalb County Property Assessments

June 23, 2016
Dwayne Page

The latest five year reappraisal cycle has been completed in DeKalb County and it shows an overall drop in assessments (property values). As a result, the new certified property tax rate, as established by the State Board of Equalization for the 2016-17 fiscal year will be increased from $1.78 to $1.83 per $100 of assessed value. Although the rate will increase, it will generate the overall same amount of property tax revenue for the county government as it did this past year prior to the reappraisal.

If approved by the county commission in July, the new $1.83 certified rate would break down as follows:
County General: 95 cents
Schools: 61 cents
Debt Service: 12 cents
Road Department: 4 cents
Capital Projects Fund: 11 cents

Since the state is fully funding BEP (Basic Education Program) Funding for Schools in the new budget, the county government has to fund a local match, which will result in the school system getting four cents more of the property tax rate than last year.

During Thursday night’s all-committees workshop, County Mayor Tim Stribling shared with the county commissioners the new certified tax rate calculations as determined by the state. The new calculation shows that the total tax base assessment in DeKalb County is now at $468,860,473, down from the prior year assessment by the state of $482,955,266.

Under state law, counties must reappraise every four, five, or six years. DeKalb County is on a five-year reappraisal cycle.

The main purpose of reappraisal is to arrive at current market value for real property throughout the county. Reappraisal is mandated by T.C.A. code 67-5-1601. Reappraisal is used to ensure that residents and businesses are not paying too much or too little taxes based on property values.

Although the certified tax rate is increasing to $1.83, it doesn’t necessarily mean that property owners will pay more. That depends on whether their property assessments went up or down.

The new certified tax rate will be formally established by the county commission when the 2016-17 year budgets are adopted in July.

Although the county commission has the authority to raise the property tax rate above the state certified rate, it is not expected to do so this year. A reduction in the certified rate, which also is not expected to occur, would mean the county commission would have to make budget cuts. Again, the new certified tax rate of $1.83 per $100 of assessed value, established by the state, is to generate the same amount of local revenue to fund county government as the $1.78 rate did last year.

Shaffer Sentenced to Six Years Probation on Forgery Charges

June 23, 2016
Dwayne Page
Jessica Lauren Shaffer

A Smithville woman who allegedly stole a debit card and forged the card holder’s signature to make transactions at five local businesses received a total sentence of six years in DeKalb County Criminal Court Tuesday, June 21.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

25 year old Jessica Lauren Shaffer, originally charged with nine counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and three counts of forgery, entered a plea by criminal information to three counts of forgery. She received a two year sentence in each case to run consecutively with each other for a total of six years. Shaffer has been granted TDOC probation and she is requesting judicial diversion. Shaffer must make restitution of $247.79 to Wilson Bank and Trust. She was given jail credit from June 3-21.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Shaffer forged the card holder’s signature in order to authorize the transactions at Walmart, Save-A-Lot, and at DeKalb Market on Tuesday May 31 and made purchases with the stolen debit card in amounts of $83.73 at Walmart; $22.49 at Save-A-Lot; and $13.15 at DeKalb Market.

The nine counts of fraudulent use of a credit card were for purchases made with the stolen debit card on Tuesday, May 31 at Walmart in the amount of $85.73; Kwik-N-Ezy for $24.74; Walmart for $29.10; Walmart for $40; DeKalb Market for $9.68; DeKalb Market for $3.17; Jewel’s Market for $20; DeKalb Market for $3.15; and Save-A-Lot for $22.49.

The case was investigated by a Sheriff’s Department Detective.

34 year Jerrod Curtis Sims entered a plea to domestic assault and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to supervised probation and judicial diversion. He must receive domestic violence counseling.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 Sims allegedly assaulted his wife by trying to strangle her about the neck. He further allegedly took from her a cell phone that she was using to contact law enforcement. The woman had physical marks on her neck.

42 year old Darlene Grisham entered a plea to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to supervised probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with her probation in a Putnam County case to be supervised by PSI in Cookeville.

33 year old Henry Turner entered a plea to vandalism over $500 and was given a two year sentence suspended to supervised probation and given credit for time served. He must make restitution of $1,100.

30 year old Clint Garrett entered a plea to worthless check and received a two year suspended sentence and must pay restitution of $1,460. He is seeking judicial diversion probation.

Morgan Vickers Receives Run Down 5K Scholarship

June 23, 2016
Morgan Vickers Receives Run Down 5K Scholarship from Clark Oakley

Clark Oakley with RunDown 5K for Down Syndrome Awareness recently presented Morgan Vickers of DeKalb County High School with a $250 Scholarship.

RunDown 5K and Fun Run was started in the Spring of 2015 by Addison Oakley, who at the time was an 8th grade student at DeKalb West Elementary in Liberty. “Addison and her family have been blessed with connections to Down Syndrome children, who are close friends and family members and wanted to bring awareness in rural areas to the need to provide resources to children with Down Syndrome and other special needs that are often missed by not living in a larger metropolitan area. We have worked with support in DeKalb & Smith County as well as the support of Down Syndrome Association of Middle TN (DSAMT) and would hope to reach out into other counties as well in the future. Through the help of friends, family, and strangers, we had over 200 participants and strong sponsors for our 2015 5K & Fun Run and were able to give $250 scholarships to DeKalb, Gordonsville, and Smith County High Schools, as well as over $1,000 to both the DeKalb County School system and the Smith County School system special needs programs for games, tools, and other educational supplies to benefit children with Down Syndrome and other special needs.

If you are interested in helping this cause, or would like to donate or become a sponsor, please contact us at or Clark Oakley @ 615-548-4624. Our 2016 5K and FunRun will be October 1st taking place at DeKalb West Elementary, 101 Bulldog Ln, Liberty, TN. Mark your calendars and look for more info to come!

Smithville Fire Department Called to Shiroki North America

June 23, 2016
Dwayne Page
Smithville Fire Department Called to Shiroki North America
Shiroki Employees Evacuated from Building

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to Shiroki North America Wednesday.

“A small fire was discovered in one of their welding machines,” said Fire Chief Charlie Parker. “It caused a little smoke. Everybody in the building was evacuated. No one was injured. The fire was contained within the machine,” he said.

DeKalb EMS and the Smithville Police Department also responded.

Smiley Gets Three Year Sentence in Meth Lab Case

June 22, 2016
Dwayne Page
Shana Nicole Smiley

A woman found with a meth lab during an April Smithville Police Department hit and run investigation appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court Tuesday, June 21.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

32 year old Shana Nicole Smiley entered a plea by criminal information to attempted initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine. She received a three year TDOC sentence which is to run consecutive to a Warren County sentence against her. Smiley was given jail credit for 70 days and she must make restitution of $2,000. Smiley was also ordered to forfeit her 1998 Gold Dodge Stratus.

Smiley and a co-defendant, 35 year old Marlin Ray Pinkard were arrested by Smithville Police on charges of initiation of methamphetamine during a hit and run investigation on April 11.

After obtaining a description of the car involved in the hit-and-run, officers tracked it down at Mapco Express. "After officers arrived at Mapco, they spotted Mr. Pinkard coming out of the store. When Pinkard saw them, he went back in the store and tried to empty his pockets. Officers confronted Pinkard and found pills in his possession believed to be Suboxone. Pinkard was then placed under arrest," said Police Chief Mark Collins.

Upon checking out Pinkard's car at Mapco, Chief Collins said police found a meth lab. "When we went to his car we found Shana Nicole Smiley sitting in the passenger seat. After she was asked to get out of the car we saw in plain view a plastic bottle containing a sludge like material consistent with the manufacture of meth. The substance was later identified as a one pot meth lab by the Tennessee Meth Task Force who came to the scene to assist in the investigation. Also found in the car was an opened cold pack, lithium batteries, and a glass pipe with residue. Smiley was then placed under arrest," he said.

Pinkard's case remains pending in court.


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