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DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 9.7% in July

August 25, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for July dropped to 9.7%, down from 10.3% in June. The rate for July, 2010 was 9.4%

The Labor Force in DeKalb County for July was at 10,150. A total of 9,160 were employed and 980 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for July was third lowest among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland region as follows:

Pickett County- 14.8%
Overton- 12.7%
Van Buren- 12.2%
Clay- 12%
Fentress- 11.7%
White- 11.5%
Warren- 11.4%
Jackson- 10.6%
Macon- 10.6%
Cumberland- 10.5%
Smith-9.8%
DeKalb-9.7%
Cannon- 9.3%
Putnam-9.2%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for July show that the rate decreased in 90 counties. Five counties increased including Houston, Obion, Overton, Smith and Weakley.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for July was 9.8 percent, unchanged from the June revised rate. The national unemployment rate for July 2011 was 9.1 percent, down from the June revised rate of 9.2 percent.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.2 percent, down from the June rate of 6.7 percent, followed by Williamson County at 6.7 percent, down from 7.2 percent. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 19.8 percent, down from 20.8 percent in the previous month, followed by Pickett County at 14.8 percent, down from 15.0 percent in June.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.5 percent, down from 8.0 percent in June. Hamilton County was 8.4 percent, down from 9.2 percent the previous month. Davidson County was 8.5 percent, down from 9.1 percent in June, and Shelby County was 10.6 percent, down from the June unemployment rate of 11.1 percent.

Saturday Is Free Hunting Day in Tennessee

August 25, 2011

All Tennesseans are reminded that Saturday, Aug. 27 is Free Hunting Day in Tennessee when state residents may hunt without a license. The annual event coincides with the opening day of squirrel season.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provides the free day in hopes of increasing interest in hunting. Squirrel hunting is one of Tennessee's oldest and favorite traditions. The day serves as an excellent opportunity for persons to experience the enjoyment of the sport. Regular hunters are encouraged to introduce friends and family members (young and old) to the outdoors sport. It is also an excellent opportunity for those folks who have not tried hunting in a while to get back into the woods.

On Free Hunting Day, state resident hunters are exempt from hunting licenses and WMA permits requirements. Many of the WMAs are open to hunters seeking public access on Aug. 27. Hunters are asked to check the information for particular WMAs in the newly-published 2011 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide which is available online at www.tnwildlife.org or copies are available at any TWRA regional office or at most outlets where licenses are sold.

Hunter education requirements have not been waived for Free Hunting Day. Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1969 is required to have successfully completed a hunter education course. A one-time, one-year apprentice license is required for those born on or after Jan. 1, 1969 if the hunter education course has not been completed.

Hunters are allowed to harvest up to 10 squirrels a day from this Saturday through Feb. 28, with each hunting day beginning a half-hour before sunrise and ending a half-hour after sunset.

In addition to squirrels, those species that have a year-round season will be open as well. The year-round species are armadillo, beaver, coyote, English sparrow, groundhog, nutria, pigeon, starling, and striped skunk.

For more information about hunting in Tennessee, visit TWRA's website at www.tnwildlife.org or contact your nearest TWRA Regional Office.

Now Recruiting for Leadership DeKalb Class of 2012

August 24, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

Leadership DeKalb is seeking participants for its 14th class to run September 2011 – June 2012. The first class is Tuesday, September 20.

The program's mission is to develop a diverse pool of business and community leaders, and to provide them with the information and tools needed to become more effective and active leaders in creating positive change in DeKalb County.

Anyone who lives or works in DeKalb County is encouraged to join the upcoming class. For more information, please contact Jen Sherwood at 615-464-0645 or the chamber office at 597-4163

Leadership DeKalb is an adult leadership enhancement program. This program is for individuals who are or show the desire for the role of community trustees. Participants study the county in-depth, strengthen leadership skills and build a network of fellow leaders through the Leadership DeKalb classmates and alumni. Leadership DeKalb shapes our county's future with knowledgeable, effective and active leaders.

Each year, twelve individuals who live and/or work in DeKalb County are selected to participate in the September to June program. Selection into Leadership DeKalb is competitive, based upon a written application. The selection committee considers candidates' involvement in the community and demonstration of their current or future leadership potential. The overall diversity among the class participants - including occupation, age, heritage, gender, education and geography -- plays a significant role in the selection process. Tuition is $175 and is expected to be paid at least in part by the participant. Tuition scholarships are available.

The following dates provide the selection schedule for the Class of 2012:

September 1 - Deadline for application

Class of 2012 Program Schedule

Program Meeting Days Time Topics

Tuesday, Sept 20, 2011
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Opening Retreat (full attendance required)

Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Team building-Being a Change-Agent (Health Care & Quality of Life)

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Networking (Local Government)

Thursday, Dec 15, 2011
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Cooperation- (Justice System)

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Resource Allocation-(Economic Development)

Thursday, Feb 16, 2012
7:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Decision Making- (Education)

Mon-Tues, March 12-13, 2012
2 p.m Monday - 5 p.m. Tuesday
Advocacy (State Government)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Visioning-(Community & Communications)

Monday, May 14, 2012
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Implementing Your Passion (CHL)

Thursday, June 19, 2012
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Graduation

Participants must be committed to attending all sessions, and a maximum of only 10 excused hours may be missed throughout the year in order to successfully complete the program. Opening retreat and graduation are required.

For questions or more information, contact the chamber office at 597-4163 or Jen Sherwood at 615-464-0645.

Alexandria City Election Upcoming with Only One Name on Ballot

August 24, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria City Election is set for Thursday, September 1 but only one name is on the ballot.

Darrell Dixon, a current alderman, was the only person to qualify to run in the election. Three aldermen were to be elected.

According to the DeKalb County Election Commission, no one else can be elected that day in this election, even by write-in. Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, said persons attempted to be elected by write-in ballots had to complete a notice requesting his/her votes be counted no later than NOON July 13. Since no one met that deadline, no write-in votes can be counted on election day.

Members of the Alexandria council are Aldermen Pat Jackson, Tony Tarpley, Addie Farley, Derrick Baker, and Darrell Dixon. One position remains vacant. The Mayor is Ria Baker.

Howard Charged with Evading Arrest

August 23, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Johnny Michael Howard

A 48 year old man had a run in with the law last Saturday, August 20

Johnny Michael Howard of Billings Road, Sparta is charged with two counts of evading arrest, one count of resisting arrest, one count of public intoxication, and one count of criminal impersonation. His bond totals $7,500 and he will be in court on September 1.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on Saturday, August 20, a deputy was called to respond to a possible assault at a location on Highway 70. When he arrived, the officer spotted Howard but when Howard saw the officer, he began to run. A few minutes later, Howard returned, but when the deputy identified himself as an officer, Howard ran away again. The deputy went after Howard but lost him in the woods. Later, another officer showed up and made contact with Howard. When the deputy identified himself as an officer, Howard ran but this officer caught him within some thirty yards. Howard said the reason he ran was because he is on probation in White County.

Howard was charged with resisting arrest after refusing the deputy's commands to remain flat on the ground and to place his hands behind his back. He kept trying to get up off the ground.

The criminal impersonation charge was filed against Howard after he told the arresting officer that his name was Jimmy Bain. After further questioning, he admitted that his real name was Johnny Howard. Howard was also charged with public intoxication after the officer found that he had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet

Meanwhile, 25 year old Kaitlyn Ann Snuffer of Cookeville is charged with driving on a suspended license. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on September 7. She was also issued a citation for having an expired tag on her vehicle and for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance).Snuffer will appear in court on the citations on September 28.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Monday, August 15, Snuffer was pulled over by a deputy on Highway 70 for having an expired license tag. A computer check revealed that her license were suspended on September 4, 2010 in North Carolina for failure to appear.

County Commission Soon to Act on Redistricting Plan

August 22, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission, which also makes up the redistricting committee, is working on a plan to better equalize the population count among the seven districts of the county based on the results of the 2010 census. What that means is that some residents who are currently in a particular district now will find themselves in another district once a plan is adopted, which also means they will have different school board, constable, and county commissioners representing them than those who currently serve them.

The committee met last Thursday night at the courthouse for the first time to review proposals with David Tirpack, GIS Manager for the State Comptroller of the Treasury Office of Local Government. In addition to all fourteen members of the county commission, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley also serve on the committee.

2010 census figures show that DeKalb's population is now at 18,723. In order to make them equal in population, each of the seven districts would need a population of no more than 2,675. But the districts don't have to be exactly equal in population, as long as the overall population deviation of the county is not more than 10%.

Tom Fleming, Director of the Office of Local Government for the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, said in a phone interview with WJLE on Friday, that the overall 10% deviation range in population is the benchmark. DeKalb County's deviation range exceeds that by seven percent at 17%. The overall range is calculated by determining the difference between districts with the highest and lowest relative deviation. For example, if the highest and lowest deviations are +5% and -4% respectively, then the overall range is 9%. "You're (DeKalb County) in a deviation of 17% overall as it relates to the differential between the low and the high. The courts, in the past, have used what we call the 10% rule. The overall deviation between the low in a district and the high in the highest district. You want the relationship between the high and the low to be somewhere below 10% to be sure that you fall within those guidelines. Ten percent is the standard guideline," said Fleming.

In DeKalb County, the third district has a total of 2,890 residents while the seventh district's population totals 2,881, which makes each of those districts deviation over by +8%. The second district, meanwhile, has 2,428 residents, which puts it's deviation under by -9%. Adding the +8% to the -9% puts DeKalb County's overall deviation at 17%. Since the overall benchmark is 10%, the boundaries in at least some or all of the districts will need to be adjusted to bring the overall range down to 10% or below.

Fleming explained that in order to make the needed adjustments, the county will have to go by census blocks in shifting population groups from one district to another. "The county commission district lines must be on census block boundaries. Those are basically streets, rivers, and things like that. Visible features which have been set out by the census bureau. Each block has a population in it and the way you change the districts is you move each block from one district to the other as the redistricting committee directs. However, it is the function and responsibility of the county commission. What we do (State) is provide a service. We don't have the power to veto what they (county) do. We only provide a service and assistance to them. But the responsibility for the redistricting is with the county commission," said Fleming.

Voting precincts could also be affected by whatever decision the county commission makes on
redistricting, according to Fleming. "If there's very little change in the districts then that probably won't affect the voting precincts. It might affect a few voters. The thing I want to emphasis here is its not about voters, its about representation. Its about total population and the representation for the county," added Fleming.

Currently, the first district has a population of 2,517, a deviation of -6% or 158 persons fewer than 2,675.

In the second district, the population count is at 2,428, a deviation of -9% or 247 persons fewer than 2,675.

The third district population is 2,890, a deviation of +8% or 215 more than 2,675.

The fourth district's deviation is -7% or 193 fewer than 2,675 at 2,482

The fifth district's population is only off by -1% at 2,654, just 21 persons fewer than 2,675

The population in the sixth district is at 2,871, a deviation of +7% or 196 persons more than 2,675.

The seventh district has a population of 2,881, a deviation of +8% or 206 persons more than 2,675

Under the law, the county commission must adopt and have the new redistricting plan in place by January 1, 2012.

Victims of Boating Accident Now Identified

August 20, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Two persons Injured in Boating Accident Brought to Boat Ramp near Hidden Harbor
Two Injured in Boating Accident Boarded on Ambulance
TWRA Officer inspects boat that ran aground killing one and injuring two others

A boating accident on Center Hill Lake Saturday night claimed the life of one person and injured two others.

Dead is 41 year old Robert S. Schafer of Brentwood. Those injured were 36 year old Melinda M. McGee and 35 year old John Carter Collins both of Nashville.

911 received the call at 9:45 p.m.

TWRA Officer Tony Cross told WJLE that the boat, a 22 foot Cobalt runabout, was underway on the lake when it ran aground and overturned, pinning Schafer, the operator, underneath. He died at the scene. The crash occurred about three miles from Hidden Harbor Marina in the Raccoon Hollow area.

"It happened Saturday night between 9:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m." said Officer Cross. "Most folks who are familiar with the lake know about the raccoon hollow area. They have a ski jump. Its been there for a long time in the back of the hollow. The downstream side of the mouth of Raccoon hollow has a shallow point or flat area that comes out. The boat was traveling out in the main channel and, we think, was heading back to a house boat which was back in the hollow where there were a few house boats tied up near each other. We think they (victims) did not see the land there. It wasn't a high bank or anything. It was just a shallow low lying bank, where you could look across and see the lights on the houseboats. We think they (victims) weren't familiar enough with the lay of the land there. They started across that point at a pretty high rate of speed. There were several big rocks on the outer portion of the bank there and when the boat hit, it sort of slid around to the side and then flipped once. The two occupants (McGee and Collins) were ejected from the boat and that's probably what saved their lives. The operator (Schafer) remained in the boat and was pinned underneath. The medical examiner will be able to tell for sure, but we believe (death) was instantaneous. It was very tragic. It was very dark (at the time of the accident) and they didn't have any headlights on the boat but you're not supposed to depend on your headlights to run on the water at night anyway. But you do need to be familiar with the area your traveling," said Officer Cross

The accident remains under investigation by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The two injured, McGee and Collins were brought by a TWRA boat to one of the ramps near Hidden Harbor Marina, where they were loaded aboard a DeKalb EMS ground ambulance and transported to a helicopter landing zone set up in a field on Hurricane Ridge Road. One of the victims was airlifted by Life Flight and the other by Life Force. They were reportedly flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. Their injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

In addition to the TWRA and DeKalb EMS, others either at the crash scene or at the marina boat ramp rendering assistance were members of the DeKalb County Rescue Squad, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb County Emergency Management Coordinator Charlie Parker, First Responders, among others.

DeKalb Jury Finds Two Men Guilty of Initiating Process to Make Meth

August 20, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page/WJLE NEWS STORY
Scott B. Carroll, Jr.
Francisco Bustamonte

A criminal court jury of seven men and five women handed down a guilty verdict Friday afternoon against two men charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine and reckless endangerment.

30 year old Scott B. Carroll, Jr. and 20 year old Francisco Bustamonte stood trial on the charges in DeKalb County Criminal Court. Judge David Patterson presided. The two men were accused of engaging in a process to make methamphetamine at a residence at 200 the Loop Circle in the Midway Community on January 23, 2011. The reason for the reckless endangerment charges was because the men were allegedly cooking meth in the presence of Carroll's sixteen year old sister-in-law, a juvenile, placing her in danger of serious bodily injury from the chemicals which produce a strong odor that is toxic. Another man, 19 year old Wesley J. Hayes, is also charged in the case but he did not stand trial Friday. His case remains pending in court.

After two hours of jury selection, the trial got underway shortly after 11:00 a.m. then broke for lunch at noon. The trial resumed at 1:00 p.m. and was completed shortly after 3:00 p.m. The jurors retired to the jury room to begin their deliberations at 3:20 p.m. and returned forty minutes later at 4:00 p.m. with a verdict.

In addition to Carroll and Bustamonte being found guilty as charged in the indictments, the jury imposed the maximum fines in the case, $27,500 against each man. That's $25,000 each for initiation and $2,500 for reckless endangerment.

A sentencing hearing for the two men has been scheduled for September 19th. Assistant District Attorney General Greg Strong told WJLE after the trial that Bustamonte faces a range of punishment of from 8-12 years as a range one offender while Carroll, who is classified as a career criminal, could get up to 30 years in prison.

The state called only three witnesses to testify in the case, Detective Jeremy Taylor and Deputy Caleb Meadows of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Patrick Ray. The case was prosecuted by Assistant D.A's Greg Strong and Gary McKenzie. Carroll was represented by Allison Rasbury, Assistant Public Defender. Bustamonte's lawyer was Smithville attorney Jim Judkins.

Detective Jeremy Taylor, who was a deputy at the time of the offense, testified that the sheriff's department was called to come to the residence at the Loop Circle on January 23. The officers were tipped off that someone in the home may be making meth. When officers arrived, Detective Taylor said that the man who was renting the home gave consent for the officers to enter the residence. Once inside the officers made their way toward a bedroom. After knocking twice, Detective Taylor said Carroll opened the bedroom door. Inside he could see Carroll and two other men, Bustamonte and Wesley J. Hayes near a bathroom. All three men were wearing gloves. Carroll's wife and 16 year old sister-in-law were in another part of the house and apparently not involved in the meth lab operation. Detective Taylor testified that he could see two propane burners in the bathroom sink that were still burning and on them were pyrex dishes. The bathroom, he said, also had a chemical smell consistent with that of a meth lab. When Carroll saw the officers, he placed his hands behind his head and said "It's all mine", according to Detective Taylor.

The men were then instructed to turn off the burners. In addition to the cookers and pyrex dishes, officers found other components used to make meth including a jar containing a tri layered liquid, a 20 ounce Sundrop bottle with a hole cut in the cap on the top which had a tube protruding from it, backpacks containing bottles with liquid, cooking heads, a zip lock bag of ammonium nitrate, propane cylinders, and baggies. Detective Taylor said it appeared the meth lab was in the "panning" or final stages of operation in which the liquids are converted to solids as finished product. A Hazmat company was later called to cleanup and dispose of the hazardous materials at the scene. Although no ephedrine was found, an essential ingredient in the manufacture of meth, Detective Taylor claimed it had already been added to the cook by the time officers arrived.

However attorneys for the defendants, Rasbury and Judkins claimed that without evidence of ephedrine, their clients could not be convicted of these crimes. During closing arguments, Rasbury said there was no testimony of any ephedrine pills or liquids having been found, nor any empty ephedrine boxes, nor was there any finished product of meth. Both she and Judkins also questioned why no testing was done on the liquids and components found at the scene to determine if they contained ephedrine.

Rasbury and Judkins argued that no evidence was presented to support the charge of reckless endangerment, putting the 16 year old in harms way. Rasbury questioned why only the one count of reckless endangerment, if officers were concerned about public safety since others were in the home at the time.

During his testimony, Deputy Caleb Meadows testified that as he arrived on the scene, he could smell a strong chemical odor which only became stronger when he entered the home. When asked by Rasbury if the chemical could have been an odor from a substance used by one of the women in the home who had been cleaning the floor, Officer Meadows said he did not see anyone cleaning the floor. Rasbury also asked why Officer Meadows did not make a written report.. Meadows said the policy of the sheriff's department is for the arresting officer to do the reporting. In any event, Officer Meadows said he felt comfortable in relying on his memory in recalling details of this case.

Sheriff Ray testified as an expert witness on meth labs and explained for the jury the different types of meth lab operations. As photos of the evidence collected at the scene were projected on a screen and shown to the jury Sheriff Ray explained how the components shown in those pictures are typically used in a meth lab operation.

In his closing arguments on behalf of Bustamonte, attorney Judkins explained to the jury that all of the items found by officers in this investigation could be bought almost anywhere and that these are products that many people use in their homes regularly for legitimate purposes. Judkins added that just because these components may be consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine, doesn't mean they were used for that reason in this case. Judkins further stressed that there was no proof that any of these components belonged to Bustamonte, pointing out that Carroll had claimed responsibility for them as officers arrived when he said "it's all mine".

In his closing remarks, Assistant D.A. McKenzie told the jury that since the defendants were indicted for initiating the process to make meth instead of being charged with manufacturing the drug, it was not necessary to test the chemicals, because the act of initiating makes it illegal for them to engage in what they were found doing. In addition, he said there was a safety concern about toxic gases from the chemicals. McKenzie also questioned why Carroll would put his hands behind his head and admit to these items belonging to him, unless he knew he had been caught doing something illegal.

Sheriff Ray told WJLE after that trial that he was very pleased with the outcome of this case. "I am very proud of my department and the work that they do. Cases like this are the example we want to set that we are very serious about the illegal manufacture and sale of drugs in our county. I want to see more of these cases where an offender with multiple convictions of serious crimes get extensive jail time for their continued illegal acts," said Sheriff Ray.

Bustamonte, already serving time in another case, was returned to jail after the trial while Judge Patterson revoked Carroll's bond, pending the sentencing hearing. Carroll had been free on bonding before the trial.

Luke Willoughby Member of Championship Speech and Debate Team at Carson-Newman

August 19, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Luke Willoughby

A DeKalb County student at Carson- Newman College is a member of the National Championship Forensic Speech and Debate team.

Luke Willoughby said that the team, of which he is a member, competes across the country and has earned many special honors. "I've been at Carson Newman for the past two years. I'm a double major in political science and financial economics with a minor in law and policy. I'm very involved on campus. I serve as a student body vice president. I'm one of the youngest they've had since the early 1990's. I'm also involved in the Carson Newman Forensics, which is not the CSI type of forensics, but the speech and debate type of forensics where I've been part of the National Championship team for the past two years," said Willoughby

"The Carson Newman Speech and Debate Team has won the National Championship and individual events for the past two years. At one point in time, I was named the seventh best debater in the nation. Throughout the whole process, we travel the country throughout the year from North Carolina to Los Angeles, California. We have competed in smaller tournaments, such as here in Tennessee to tournaments in Miami, Florida. We usually win most all of them. We travel about ten times a year to ten tournaments. At Carson Newman, we're expected to win at least eight or nine of them but when it comes to the big tournaments such as the state association tournament, which is like our conference tournament, we have won that for the past five years. This coming year the tournament will be held at Tennessee Tech University. As we travel we have a big time and learn a lot and that's what our coach drills in our heads. Its not about winning but building community, having a family environment, and learning how to communicate efficiently for the workforce," said Willoughby

"You compete as an individual. Its sort of like the golf team. Everyone is competing with their own individual score but at the end of the day everything is sort of combined. That's sort of how forensics works. You are allowed to compete in a certain number of events. I do a persuasive speech each year, an after dinner speech in which you examine an idea or topic by the use of humor. I do parliamentary debate which is where you have a partner and you're given fifteen minutes to prepare a brief and then you debate the opposing team. I do impromptu speaking which is where you're given a quotation and then you speak on whether you agree or disagree with it. I also do an extemporaneous speech which is a limited preparation event, like impromptu, where they give you a certain question whether it be a domestic, political, economic, or international topic and then you're given thirty minutes to prepare a speech with the research that you have on your computer. You cannot access the Internet. So its very important to be up to date on current events. I love it. Its something that has helped me as a student and also as a communicator," said Willoughby

Carson-Newman College is a Christian, private, Liberal Arts institution, located in Jefferson City, some 25 miles east of Knoxville.

From the Craft Center To The Smithsonian

August 19, 2011
Chris Shea

The Smithsonian American Art Museum recently acquired three furniture pieces from former Appalachian Center for Craft student Chris Shea. The museum wanted the forged iron and cast glass works for its permanent collection of notable American craft and decorative arts. The two cafe chairs and arthropod side table by Shea will be on exhibit at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. beginning Oct. 1.

According to Shea, “The two and a half years I spent at the Appalachian Center for Craft gave me a great foundation of skills and knowledge that I still draw on every day. I’m grateful to have studied metal and blacksmithing under Professor Bob Coogan, worked in wood with Professor Graham Campbell, and for the many hours spent in the glass shop with Professor Curt Brock.”

“Objects in the Renwick Gallery have been a source of great inspiration to me for many years, living and working as I do in the Washington, D.C. area. I'm very honored and excited to have my work included in the nation's premier craft collection.”

Smithsonian curator Nicholas Bell commented, "Over the past 15 years, Chris Shea has developed a compelling design language that combines traditional furniture forms, muscular ironwork and luminous cast glass in ways that are at once unexpected and oddly organic.”

The cafe chairs have become a signature piece for Shea, with a form derived from traditional bentwood furniture but executed in hot-forged steel, with joinery details more common to large architectural ironwork than fine furniture. The seats are cast in thick contoured slabs of translucent green glass set directly into the iron. The table is of similar design, with the name “Arthropod” referring to the phylum of creatures such as insects and crustaceans known for their hard, segmented organic structures.

Chris Shea designs and creates furniture, sculpture and architectural metalwork at his forge and studio outside Washington, D.C. In addition to the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Galllery, his work has been shown at Wexler Gallery in Philadelphia, Woodson Art Museum, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the National Ornamental Metals Museum and at SOFA Chicago with Maurine Littleton Gallery. A native of Marblehead, Mass., Shea studied at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee and at Penland School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Cornell University. Chris Shea's glass work is created in association with the Washington Glass Studio.

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