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Police Charge Man with Aggravated Arson for Setting Fire at Courthouse

June 15, 2016
Dwayne Page
Gary Wayne Ponder

Smithville Police have charged a man with aggravated arson for intentionally setting a fire in the courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

Police Chief Mark Collins told WJLE that 52 year old Gary Wayne Ponder of 7851 Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown is under a $75,000 bond and he will appear in General Sessions Court on June 30. Ponder was taken into custody by Smithville Police at his home Wednesday morning.

Chief Collins said Ponder could also be facing federal charges since the fire was set in the courthouse.

Initially authorities speculated that someone had discarded a lit cigarette into a newspaper recycling bin causing the fire. But today, police viewed video from a surveillance camera in the courthouse which showed that Ponder grabbed newspapers from the recycling bin and started the fire by lighting them with a cigarette lighter. The fire damaged the wall behind the recycling bin and cracked a window in the vestibule near the first floor entrance to the courthouse.

The warrant states “on Tuesday, June 14, Gary Ponder did intentionally set a fire in the 1st floor of the courthouse by grabbing newspapers out of a recycling bin and lighting them on fire with a cigarette lighter. The fire did cause severe damage to the courthouse, thousands of dollars worth of damage. Mr. Ponder did put several lives at risk who were at the courthouse at the time of the fire. The incident occurred at approximately 2:25 p.m. Mr. Ponder was seen on camera committing the offense.”

Arby's to Open Restaurant in Smithville by Thanksgiving

June 14, 2016
Dwayne Page
Arby's to Open Restaurant in Smithville by Thanksgiving
Future Home of Arby's Restaurant on South Congress Boulevard

An Arby’s Restaurant will be opening in Smithville possibly by Thanksgiving.

The future home of the business is at 276 South Congress Boulevard next to the Kwik-N-Ezy property across the street from McDonalds.

In an interview with WJLE Tuesday, Jewell M. Hale, the owner and developer of the property said site preparation is in progress for the 3,060 square foot building. According to Hale, a building permit and water and sewer taps have already been obtained and a retaining wall is being put in place on the back side of the property. Once the wall is finished, Hale said the lot will be graded. Framing should begin by mid July. Hale said he has 150 days from June 6 to have the facility ready for Arbys to start doing their interior décor work. Hale added that if all goes well, the restaurant should be ready to open by Thanksgiving.

The Smithville Arby's will be a corporate operation rather than a franchise and Hale will continue to own the property and be Arby’s landlord.
Hale said he would like to express his appreciation to city officials who have been so good to work with during the project.

Arby's Restaurant Group Inc is a chain of fast food restaurants in the United States of America and Canada. The company was founded in the year 1964 and has its headquarters situated in Sandy Springs, Georgia, United States. The company has more than 3,600 restaurants in United States, Canada, Turkey, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The restaurant menu includes roast beef sandwiches, curly fries, chicken sandwiches, appetizers, salads, wraps, and submarine sandwiches. The company ranks third position in the largest sandwich chain while Subway and Quiznos topping the list.

The parent company of Arby's Restaurant Group Inc is Roark Capital Group and Wendys Company.

Kefauver Named New DCHS Baseball Coach

June 14, 2016
Dwayne Page
Jon Adam Kefauver

DeKalb County High School has a new baseball coach.

Jon Adam Kefauver of Crossville has been named to replace former coach Tracy Slone. He comes to DeKalb County after serving three years as head baseball coach and as a Wellness and Physical Education teacher at Stone Memorial High School in Crossville.

“I’m extremely excited to have this opportunity. I knew about DeKalb County’s rich baseball tradition but being there for the interviews I could get a feel for the pride, passion, and excitement about sports. I think this will be a really great fit for me. The people I have met so far have been extremely great to me and I’m just excited to get started,” Coach Kefauver told WJLE.

After graduating from Sequoyah High School in Madisonville, Kefauver attended Carson Newman College at Jefferson City where he played collegiate baseball. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education there in 2007. In 2010, Kefauver earned a Master of Arts Degree in Instructional Leadership at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville.

Kefauver became head baseball coach in 2007 at Sequoyah High School where he also served as a Wellness and Weight Training Teacher, Stand-In Principal, and Assistant Principal.

During the summer of 2008, Kefauver was Summer League Baseball Coach for the Chattanooga Cyclone program.

While at Sequoyah High School, the baseball program earned regular season and district tournament championships in 2011, 2012, and 2013 as well as a region championship in 2013. Kefauver was named District Coach of the Year all three years. His win/loss record there was 117-59.

“It was a program that was down when I went in there but over a three year period my assistant and I turned things around. We were blessed with some good players and we won some championships that had never really been done there in the history of the school,” said Coach Kefauver.

In his years at Stone Memorial, Kefauver oversaw facility improvements as well as the development of a feeder program from the middle school in Crossville.

Coach Kefauver said his objective is “to impact the lives of kids through teaching and coaching. I feel honored to have the opportunity and privilege to use teaching and coaching as a tool to help in the maturity and development of students and student athletes. In my program and classroom students and athletes will learn discipline, hard work, integrity, and perseverance”.

In addition to his coaching duties, Kefauver will be a wellness/PE teacher at DCHS.

Kefauver and his wife Ferran are the parents of two sons, 3 year old Jack, and Grover who is nine months old.

(UPDATED) Fire at Courthouse

June 14, 2016
Dwayne Page
Smithville Firefighters help clear smoke from fire in newspaper recycling bin (Photo by Norene Puckett)
Heat from fire in newspaper recycling bin scorches wall and cracks glass window
Newspaper recycling bin pulled outside after fire
Quick Reaction by Local Attorney Jim Judkins Helps Put Out Fire at Courthouse

The DeKalb County Courthouse was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a newspaper recycling bin caught fire in the vestibule near the first floor entrance.

It is believed someone dropped a lit cigarette in the bin which sparked the fire.

*The DeKalb County Courthouse is OPEN except the first floor which will be closed to the public on Wednesday, June 15 to allow SERVPRO to do cleanup after the fire Tuesday. General Sessions Court will be held Wednesday. The DeKalb County Election Commission Office will be closed all day Wednesday but will re-open Thursday. Although the fire was contained to a recycling bin and the wall behind it on the first floor the smoke spread and the smell of smoke could be detected on all floors. SERVPRO arrived at the courthouse Tuesday evening to begin the process of ventilating the first, second, and third floors of the courthouse. The public is asked to use the side entrances to enter the courthouse. To access the elevator, use the ramp on the northeast side of the courthouse.

No one was injured but heat and smoke from the fire scorched the wall behind the recycling bin and cracked a glass window. Smoke spread through the first floor and into the upper floors. The fire was contained to the area of the bin.

Local attorney Jim Judkins was the first to spot the blaze. He tried to activate the fire alarm and accessed a fire extinguisher which he used to try to put out the blaze.

"I was going into the basement of the courthouse to file a notice with the court and noticed there was a fire about waist level in the recycling bins located in the front of the basement area. I tried to find if there was a fire extinguisher or a fire alarm. An individual had already pulled a fire alarm and it wasn’t working. I then went over to the election commission office and told them to call the fire department. I was looking for anything to put it out. I grabbed a coffee pot and some drinks off their desks (election commission office) and threw that on it (fire). That put it down a little. I then tried to activate another fire alarm but it too did not go off. Someone then brought me a fire extinguisher and I got it put out. It had burned part of the wall (behind the bin) and there was a ton of smoke to the point that I had to get down on my knees to finish putting the fire out," Judkins told WJLE.

Members of the Smithville Fire Department were notified and quickly responded.

Judkins later discovered that he had not completely extinguished the fire himself. " I talked with Smithville Fire Chief Charlie (Parker). I thought I had the fire put out but when they (city firefighters) took over he (Chief Parker) said it was smoldering and they had to empty another extinguisher," said Judkins.

Woman Arrested After Firing Shots

June 14, 2016
Dwayne Page
Amanda Lynette Pedigo Davis
David Everette Phillips
Jeremy Patrick Bandy
Justin Glynn Vandergriff
Wesley Lynn Chandler

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department arrested 36 year old Amanda Lynette Pedigo Davis Sunday after she allegedly threatened another woman and fired shots from a handgun into her vehicle.

Davis, a resident of Seven Springs Road, Smithville, is charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and vandalism. Her bond totals $20,000 and she will be in court on June 30.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Davis pointed a handgun at another woman and warned that she would die if she didn’t leave the premises. Davis then allegedly fired several shots outside the residence including some which penetrated the victim’s 2016 Chevy Equinox and then exited in close proximity to neighbor’s homes. Damage to the Equinox from the gunshots was estimated at $10,000.

44 year old David Everette Phillips of South College Street, Smithville is charged with filing a false report. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on July 21. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, June 7 two deputies went to the residence of a woman to serve an arrest warrant on her. While knocking on the door, the officers noticed two persons inside the home moving toward a back room and one of them appeared to be the woman they were looking for. After Phillips answered the door and told them she was not there, the officers continued to monitor the house from outside and saw the woman through a window. Again they knocked on the door and Phillips answered. After the deputies told Phillips they knew she was there, the woman came out and was placed under arrest. When asked by the officers why he tried to keep her from being arrested, Phillips replied “I cannot give people up like that.” The woman said the reason she didn’t come to the door the first time when the officers knocked was because she was scared.

38 year old Jeremy Patrick Bandy of Lee Street, Sparta is charged with failure to appear. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 16. Sheriff Ray said that Bandy failed to appear at the sheriff’s office to serve his court ordered weekend sentence in July 2015.

24 year old Justin Glynn Vandergriff of Lee Braswell Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for violation of the implied consent law (not taking a blood test), violation of the light law, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a schedule VI drug. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on July 21. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 11 a deputy stopped a white Chevrolet truck due to a passenger side brake light which was not operating. The officer found that Vandergriff, the driver, had slow motor skills and glossy bloodshot eyes. When asked if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Vandergriff said he had smoked marijuana. He submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. During an inventory search of Vandergriff’s truck, the deputy found a marijuana grinder, a pack of rolling papers, and a cigarette pack containing three marijuana roaches.

39 year old Wesley Lynn Chandler of Page Drive, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 11, Chandler allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by attacking and throwing her to the floor causing scratch marks to her arms. The woman said she also feared that Chandler was going to beat her.

McMinnville Man Charged in Burglaries and Thefts on Cove Hollow Road

June 13, 2016
Dwayne Page
Dakota James Stith

Burglary and theft investigations by the Sheriff’s Department last month on Cove Hollow Road has resulted in the arrest of a McMinnville man.

23 year old Dakota James Stith of Northgate Drive is charged with three counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of theft of property, and two counts of vandalism. His bond is $45,000 and he will make a court appearance June 16.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, May 11 Stith either committed vandalism or burglary and theft at three separate homes.

In one case, Stith allegedly cut a back screen door, broke a Samsung surveillance camera system, and broke parts to a Rokon motorcycle causing $370 in damage.

At a second location, Stith allegedly entered the residence by force through the front door and broke a door frame valued at $250. He then allegedly stole $2,125 worth of items including a 20 gauge shotgun, 32 inch flat screen TV, Xbox 360, fishing tackle, jewelry, plastic storage container, food, jump box, and assorted power tools.

At a third residence, Stith allegedly entered through an unlocked door and took $8,310 worth of items including a 20 gauge shotgun, 22 caliber rifle, 38 caliber Derringer pistol, and assorted change. He also took from the property a 2013 Polaris Ranger.

Portion of County Complex Named “The Mike Foster Multi-Purpose Center”

June 13, 2016
Dwayne Page
Portion of County Complex Named “The Mike Foster Multi-Purpose Center”

A portion of the County Complex now bears the name of former County Mayor Mike Foster.

“The Mike Foster Multi-Purpose Center” lettering is now in place over the entrance at the north end of the building.

At the last meeting before Foster left office in August 2014, the county commission voted to rename the portion of the county complex in Foster’s honor which houses the exercise room, game room, gym and theater.

The motion, made by former sixth district commissioner Marshall Ferrell, was adopted unanimously.

At that meeting Ferrell said Foster was due much of the credit for the county acquiring the building and turning it into the facility it is today. "The new county complex would not exist if it were not for the efforts of the commission and Mike Foster. Mayor Foster's experience in building was a great asset. He worked endless hours to see the project was completed properly. Therefore, I would like to make a motion to name the north end of the complex that houses the exercise room, game room, gym, and theater, the "Mike Foster Multi-Purpose Center". I would also like to add to that motion that the appropriate signs to match the signs above the other entrances be in place," said Ferrell.

Members of the county commission at that time were David McDowell, Bobby Joines, Jimmy Poss, Mason Carter, Elmer Ellis, Jerry Adcock, Jerry Scott, Rick Cantrell, Marshall Ferrell, Bradley Hendrix, Jeff Barnes, Wayne Cantrell, and Larry Summers."

County Commissioner Charged with DUI

June 13, 2016
Dwayne Page
Jerry David Adcock

A 5th district member of the DeKalb County Commission has been charged with a first offense of driving under the influence.

65 year old Jerry David Adcock of Four Seasons Road, Smithville is under a $1,500 bond and he will make a court appearance on June 16. He was further issued a citation for driving on roadways laned for travel.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, June 9 a sheriff’s department deputy observed a Ford pickup truck failing to maintain its lane of travel on Sparta Highway. The officer stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, Adcock. While speaking with Adcock, the deputy noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. According to the warrant, Adcock admitted to having consumed four or five alcoholic beverages earlier in the evening. Adcock submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Adcock’s eyes were bloodshot. He was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slow. Adcock also submitted to a blood alcohol test.

Adcock is in his second four year term as a county commissioner from the 5th district. He has served since September 2010.

DeKalb County Fair Opens Monday, July 18

June 13, 2016
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Fair Opens Monday, July 18

The DeKalb County Fair begins its annual weeklong run Monday through Saturday, July 18-23

With the theme "Grandpa Fair of the South Celebrates 160 years of Burlap & Bling in 2016”, this year's fair will feature another fun filled week of activities along with rides by the Family Attractions Amusement Company and new events, Championship Wrestling and “ Lip Sync Battle”. Contestants will lip sync to their favorite song on Monday night for a chance to place in Friday night’s finale where the winner will take home the Lip Sync Battle trophy and $250 cash. First runner-up will receive $150 cash and the second runner up will get a $50 cash prize.

The catalog of premium rules for exhibit entries at the Kenneth Sandlin Center is now available. (Click Link Below)

Entry Dates and Times
*Non-Perishable Items Only will be accepted on Saturday, July 9 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Kenneth Sandlin Center
*Perishable Items ONLY will be taken in on Saturday, July 16 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Kenneth Sandlin Center

Entries are also being sought for the DeKalb County Fair's Decorated Hay Contest featuring three categories:
Decorated Round Bale
Decorated Square Bale
Decorated Display

Open to any youth or adult resident of DeKalb County

Hay can be entered Saturday July 16th - From 10:00 am till 2:00 pm

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Fair 5K and Fun Run will be July 16. Registration begins at 6:00 pm at the Fairgrounds. The Run will start at 6:30 PM. Pre-registration available through July 9 at Liberty State Bank and the Smithville Review or by contacting Matt Boss at 615-464-8627. Pre-registration guarantees a DeKalb County Fair 5K T-Shirt. The entry fee is $15 for youth and $20 for adults. Parking available behind Fair Office. For more info. contact Matt Boss at number above. Proceeds will go to Run Down, a local non-profit organization in DeKalb County supporting people with Down Syndrome.

Fair pageant applications are available for ages one day through 20. You may download applications from www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com. or CLICK THE LINK BELOW


Fair events each night are as follows:

Monday, July 18: Cattle Show at the Grandstand at 6:00 p.m.; Open Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 7:30 p.m.; Junior Fair Princess Pageant for contestants ages 13-16 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair Pageant for contestants ages 17 to 20 at the Lions Club Pavilion; Lip Sync Battle Round 1; and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 19: Little Mr. and Miss Pageant for contestants ages 4-6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; Corn hole Contest at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; Championship Wrestling at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 20: Little Miss Princess Pageant for contestants ages 7-9 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Pageant for those ages 10-12 at the Lions Club Pavilion; Go Cart Racing at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; Kiddie Tractor Pull at the Grandstand at 6:00 p.m. ; and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 21: Junior Goat Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly Barn; Baby Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion followed by a Vintage Variety Show; ATV/Motorcycle Racing at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Friday, July 22: Toddler Show for contestants 13 months to 48 months at 6:00 p.m. followed by Lip Sync Battle Finale at the Lions Club Pavilion: Mini-Rod/Outlaw Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 23: Horseshoe Tournament at the Tot Kelly barn at Noon.; Gospel Singing at the Lions Club Pavilion at 6:00 p.m.; Super Tractor and Truck Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena: and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Take a stroll down Memory Lane and enjoy nightly entertainment at the Memory Lane Stage in Memory Village.

Rides on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available for $15.00 on Monday night; $16.00 on Tuesday night; $14.00 on Wednesday and $18.00 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Admission to the fair is $4.00 per person. Children age four and younger will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. The exhibit building is open from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Parking is Free!

For more information, call 615-529-FAIR or visit on-line at www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com.

45th Annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival Coming July 1 & 2

June 11, 2016
Dwayne Page
45th Annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival Coming July 1 & 2

Come one, come all to downtown Smithville for the 45th Annual Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival! This milestone event will be held Friday, July 1st and Saturday, July 2nd. The Festival begins at 9:00 am each day, and continues until the final competition has been awarded. With over 35 music and dance categories, streets full of hand-made crafts, and over a dozen food booths, there is something for everyone at the Jamboree. You have to experience it in person...come and see the Jamboree!

In 1975, a PBS film crew did a documentary on the Fiddlers Jamboree called "Showdown at the Hoedown". View the program by clicking the link below


Preliminaries will be held in the following categories on Friday, July 1:

Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (Solo); Junior Clogging (ages 13-39); Junior Buck Dancing (ages 13-39); Old-Time Appalachian Folksinging (Duet, Trio, Quartet); Dobro Guitar; Mountain Dulcimer; Hammer Dulcimer; Novelty Event (Spoon Clacking, Jug Blowing, Washboard, Tub, Saws-Appalachian Related Only); Autoharp, Gospel Singing (Solo); Country Harmonica; Old Time Banjo; Youth Square Dancing (4 Couples-8 Total Dancers); Gospel Singing (Duet,Trio, and Quartet); Mandolin; and Old Time Fiddle Band.

The top three acts in each category will be called back for the finals on Friday night and a first, second, and third place will be awarded.

All first place winners get $125, except the Old Time Fiddle Band, which gets $525 for first place and Youth Square Dancing which is awarded $300.

Second place winners get $100 and third place winners receive $75. The Old Time Fiddle Band second place winner gets $425 and $325 for third place. The Youth Square Dance second place team is awarded $200 and $100 goes for third place.

A United States flag and a Tennessee State flag will be presented on Friday evening. The flags, which have flown over the state capitol, go to the persons who travel the greatest distances, both from inside and outside the country, to get here. The flags will be presented by State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody.

Fiddler's Jamboree Craft Awards will be presented during the weekend for "Best of Show", "Best Appalachian Craft", "Best Newcomer", and "Best Craft Display"

On Saturday, July 2, preliminaries will be held in the following categories:

Junior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance (ages up to 39); Senior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance ( ages 40 and over); Senior Buckdancing (ages 40 and over); Senior Clogging (ages 40 and over); Bluegrass Banjo; Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39); Flat Top Guitar; Contest Fiddle for the Neil Dudney Award; Bluegrass Band; Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over); and Square Dancing (4 Couples-8 Total Dancers).

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be called back Saturday night to compete for first, second, and third place.

Prize money in most categories is $125 for first place; $100 for second place; and $75 for third place. Awards for Junior Fiddlers and Senior Fiddlers are $225 for first place; $175 for second place; and $150 for third place. Prizes for Bluegrass Band are $525 for first place; $425 for second place; and $325 for third place. Awards for Square Dancing are $400 for first place; $300 for second place; and $200 for third place.

The winners of the Junior and Senior Fiddling competition will square off for the Grand Champion Award, the Berry C. Williams Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the festival. The winner gets $300.

Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held Saturday afternoon, July 4 during the Jamboree featuring competitions for children, up to age twelve, in the categories of Buck Dancing, Clogging, Dobro Guitar, Mandolin, Five String Banjo, Flat Top Guitar, and Fiddle.

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be brought back to compete for first, second, and third place.

Prizes are $100 for first place, $75 for second place; and $50 for third place. One child will receive the Best Overall Instrumental Entertainer Trophy Award and $125 and the top fiddler will get the James G. "Bobo" Driver Memorial Trophy and $175.

In addition to the on-stage musical entertainment, the Fiddlers Jamboree will feature many crafts, plenty of delicious food; and lots of shade tree picking around the public square.
WJLE will broadcast most of the on-stage entertainment LIVE on AM 1480/ FM 101.7 and LIVE Streaming at www.wjle.com.

To learn more visit http://smithvillejamboree.com/


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