Local News Articles

Georgia Contestant Wins Jamboree Fiddling Championship for Beginners

July 7, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Georgia contestant took home this year's top Jamboree award as the best fiddler in the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners.

Alex Thomlinson of Suches, Georgia was crowned the Grand Champion fiddler Saturday and won the coveted James G. \"Bobo\" Driver Memorial Award, named for the man who started the children's competition during the 1980's as part of the annual Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival.

Meanwhile, Grant Rigney of Normandy, Tennessee received the \"Entertainer of the Year\" Award, which is presented to the best overall instrumental entertainer among winners in the dobro guitar, mandolin, five string banjo, and flat top guitar competition.

The National Championship for Country Musician Beginners showcases the talents of children up to age twelve in seven categories of competition.

This year's winners are as follows:

Fiddle: First Place-Alex Thomlinson of Suches, Georgia. Second Place- Cole McCracken of Floyds's Knob, Indiana. Third Place- Ruby Jane Smith of Columbus, Mississippi.

Buck Dancing: First Place- Rachel Huddleston of Livingston. Second Place- Ty Jackson of Springfield. Third Place- Caroline Dean of Springfield.

Clogging: First Place- Caroline Dean of Springfield. Second Place- Kelsey Tomlin of Springfield. Third Place- Sierra Tomlin of Springfield.

Dobro Guitar: First Place-Grant Rigney of Normandy, Tennessee. Second Place- Wesley Keckritz of Tullahoma. These were the only two contestants in this category.

Mandolin: First Place-Grant Rigney of Normandy. Second Place- Ruby Jane Smith of Columbus, Mississippi. Third Place- Bethany Ward of Columbia.

Five String Banjo: First Place- Aaron Thompson of Benton, Kentucky. Second Place- Alex Thomlinson of Suches, Georgia. Third Place- Dallas Gaynor of Apison, Tennessee.

Flat Top Guitar: First Place- Tyler Sellers of Springfield. Second Place- Grant Rigney of Normandy. Third Place- Abigail Ward of Columbia.

Ped Scruggs Named Grand Champion Fiddler of 36th Jamboree

July 8, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Grand Champion Fiddler of the 36th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival is Ped Scruggs of Hartsville.

Scruggs won the Berry C. Williams Memorial Award early Sunday morning after the Grand Finale Fiddle-Off between the best Junior and Senior Fiddler.

Scruggs made it to the fiddle off by winning the Senior Fiddling competition and he won the Grand Championship by beating the winner of the Junior Fiddling contest, Aerin DeJarnette of Snellville, Georgia.

The two day festival came to a close at 12:50 a.m. Sunday morning.

Other winners in the Saturday session of the Fiddler's Jamboree are as follows:

Junior Fiddlers (Ages 13-39): First Place- Aerin DeJarnette of Snellville, Georgia. Second Place- Bill Jones of Chapel Hill. Third Place- Eric Vick of Lyles.

Junior Old-Time Appalachian Flatfoot Dance (Ages up to 39): First Place- Justin Frazor of Smyrna. Second Place- Jacob Campbell of Murfreesboro. Third Place- Devon Stewart of Lebanon.

Senior Old-Time Appalachian Flatfoot Dance (Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Thomas Maupin of Murfreesboro. Second Place- Danny Campbell of Murfreesboro. Third Place- Tommy Scruggs of Hartsville.

Senior Buck Dancing (Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Stanley Reece of Whitleyville. Second Place- Michael Oliver of Hartsville. Third Place- Darrin Stryker of Crossville.

Senior Clogging (Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Michael Oliver of Hartsville. Second Place- Tammy Scruggs of Hartsville. Third Place- Tommy Jackson of Franklin.

Bluegrass Banjo: First Place- Jayce Crook of Toney, Alabama. Second Place- Brian Blaylock of Hixson. Third Place- Sarah Ward of Columbia.

Bluegrass Band: First Place- Crosswind of Olive Hill. Second Place- The Grasscutters of Cookeville. Third Place- The Ward Family of Columbia.

Senior Fiddlers ( Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Ped Scruggs of Hartsville. Second Place- Carl Franklin of Hendersonville. Third Place- Delmer Holland of Waverly.

Square Dancing: First Place- Rocky Top Revue of Franklin. Second Place- Rhythm-N-Motion Xplosion of Cookeville. Third Place- Little Harpeth of Franklin.

Liberty Man Severely Burned in Suspicious House Fire

July 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Liberty man was severely burned in a suspicious house fire around 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Adam Reynolds is in the burn unit of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. County Fire Chief Donny Green says sources have told him that Reynolds suffered third degree burns over 80% of his body.

According to Sheriff Ray, a witness reported that he noticed an orange glow and went to Reynold's house on Mauldin Lane, off College Street, Liberty. As the witness pulled into the driveway, he saw Reynolds, badly burned, coming off the back porch. The witness assisted Reynolds until help arrived.

Sheriff Ray says Reynolds was rushed from the scene to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS. He would have been flown by helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt, but because of foggy conditions at the time, the helicopter could not fly. Reynolds was then transported by ground ambulance.

County volunteer fire fighters, who found the house completely engulfed in flames upon their arrival, could not save the structure. It was destroyed.

Because the fire appears to be of a suspicious nature, Sheriff Ray says the Tennessee State Bomb and Arson Team was called to assist the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department in the investigation.

Members of the Liberty Fire Station and the Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded.

Ten People Arrested by Sheriff's Department Since Last Monday

July 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Ten people have been arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department since last Monday on charges ranging from DUI and other traffic offenses to public intoxication, forgery, theft, and drug charges

38 year old Kelly Ann Gibbs of Evins Mill Road, Smithville was charged with forgery on Monday, July 2nd. Sheriff Ray says the checks were stolen from a residence on A.B. Frazier Road. Gibbs passed the checks at a business in DeKalb County. Both checks totaled over $250. Other charges are pending in Warren County where Gibbs allegedly passed more of the stolen checks.

35 year old Patsy Estes McCoy of Restview Avenue, Smithville was charged with Theft of Property over $500 on July 2nd. Sheriff Ray says Estes and 48 year old Ricky Eugene Reece of Restview Avenue, who was also charged, were found to have in their possession, a stolen camera valued at over $500. Sheriff's department detectives, through an investigation, found a camera that was believed to be stolen. The camera had been stolen from a residence on Vaughn Lane. Estes and Reece later went to a residence in DeKalb County and sold the camera for $25. Reece's bond was set at $1,500. Due to McCoy's extensive background involving burglaries and thefts; her bond was set at $10,000. Their court date is July 19th.

25 year old David Allen Cobb, Jr. was charged with Public Intoxication on July 4th. Cobb was arrested on Cecil Hale Road after an altercation with another person. As deputies arrived, Cobb ran off in an attempt to avoid arrest. Cobb was taken into custody a short time later. His bond is $1,000 and his court date is July 26th.

28 year old Bobbie Sue Wilson of Crest View Drive, Sparta, was charged with DUI first offense on July 4th. Wilson was involved in a one-car accident on Highway 70 West. Wilson was East Bound in a 1993 Ford Escort when the vehicle dropped of the roadway. She over-corrected causing the vehicle to hit head on into a guardrail. Sheriff Ray says Wilson was very unsteady on her feet and incoherent of verbal commands. Wilson's bond was set at $1,000 and her court date is July 26th.

36 year old Jeffery Vincent Overall was arrested on July 6th for possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) and possession of a schedule IV drug (valium). Overall and 37 year old Donna Blankenship of Corinth Church Road, Rock Island were found prowling around a house on Walker Road. Blankenship was charged in a State Warrant out of Rutherford County. Overall's bond was set at $5,000. His court date is July 26th.

33 year old Scotty Wayne Neisz and 29 year old David Allen Neisz, Jr. of Green Pasture Road Alexandria were charged with Theft of Property over $1,000 on July 7th. Sheriff Ray says the Neisz brothers stole a 1997 Chevy Van from a residence on Green Pasture Road in Alexandria. In addition, David Allen Neisz Jr. was charged with Violation of the Tennessee Sexual Offender Law. Neisz was registered in Cheatham County for a 1996 Statutory Rape conviction. Neisz failed to Register with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department of his new address. Bond for David Neisz Jr.was set at $20,000 and bond for Scotty Neisz was set at $10,000. Their court date is July 26th.

23 year old Kevin Bly of Beasley Court, Carthage was charged on July 8th with 3rd Offense Driving on a Suspended License. Bly was stopped for a traffic offense and was found to have a suspended license for failure to satisfy citations. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is August 2nd.

Smithville Police Make Four Arrests Over Jamboree Weekend

July 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police made four arrests over the weekend for drugs, DUI, hit and run, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Chief Tom Stufano says \"It was a very successful Jamboree and the number of arrests were relatively small based on the large crowds that attended. The safety of the festival was a huge success due to the planning of the Jamboree Committee. The Jamboree atmosphere was very calm, family valued and enjoyed by all. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency was also on hand coordinating contingency plans just in case emergency conditions were required. Only one significant event occurred , a drunk driver, but with the help of concerned citizens, authorities were able to keep that person from driving onto the crowded streets.\"

On Saturday afternoon, Chief Stufano says numerous 911 calls were placed simultaneously about a vehicle driving in an erratic manner along Church Street and that it had hit two other automobiles parked along the roadway. The vehicle then drove around a barricade and entered a parking lot on Church and 4th Street striking another automobile. The vehicle then drove around a second barricade and entered 4th Street heading toward the public square. Patrons at the festival saw the vehicle trying to enter the crowded area and were able to surround the car and pull the keys out of the ignition. Smithville Police were on the scene immediately and placed into custody 39 year old Robin Howard Russell of 861 Ward Mill Road, Baxter. Further investigation noted that Russell had been drinking from a gallon bottle of whiskey, which police found opened and in his lap at the time of arrest. A computer check disclosed that Russell had just been released from a neighboring county jail the day before for DUI. Additionally, Russell was driving on a Revoked Driver's License. Charges against him included; DUI (3rd) offense, Reckless Endangerment, Leaving the Scene of an Accident (3 times) and Violation of the Open Container law. Russell could not perform a field sobriety test due to his inebriated state. His bond was set at $49,500.

Meanwhile, Smithville Officers responded to the BP Gas Station on Saturday afternoon after the manager reported that a female had locked herself in the facility bathroom for over a half hour. Officers found 37 year old Aimee Jobe of 7694 Holmes Creek Road, Smithville in the bathroom and after some coaxing she opened the door and came out. Jobe, upon opening the door, immediately stated to the officers \"I know it smells like marijuana in there but I didn't do it\". Officers did detect a strong odor of Marijuana emanating from the bathroom. Jobe then tried to push her way through the officers to leave. Upon detainment she became very irate screaming and yelling within the store. She was subsequently arrested for Disorderly Conduct and transported to the DeKalb County Jail for processing. Once there, officers also found that she had a used syringe along with an unmarked bottle of 44 ½ pills known as Flexril and 16 other various pills concealed in her purse. Jobe was charged with Possession of Legend Drugs for sale and Delivery. Her bond was set at $41,000.

Officers working the Jamboree arrested 31 year old Christopher Gibbs of 221 Sims Street, Smithville for Public Intoxication. While directing traffic a Smithville Officer observed Gibbs stumbling into traffic along North College Street. Upon contact with the officers, Gibbs stated that he had just drank 4 beers. Based on the volume of traffic and his condition, he was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.

Police made a second arrest for public intoxication after receiving numerous complaints that a person camping along Main Street and Highway 56 was highly intoxicated. Officers contacted 47 year old Christopher Barnes of 101 Trebble Lane, Lebanon and found him lying on the ground passed out. He was awakened and found to be under the influence. For his safety and those camping around him he was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.

Smithville Police Make Arrests in Armed Robbery

July 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has made two arrests in an armed robbery Sunday night at the BP Station on Highway 70.

Chief Tom Stufano says a third person has been identified and another arrest is pending.

Most of the money, including the weapon, have been recovered.

No other details were available.

Chief Stufano says more information will be released Tuesday morning.

Dates Set For Fair Pageant Entries

July 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Entries will soon be accepted for the pageants at the DeKalb County Fair.

The Junior Fair Princess Pageant will be held Monday, July 23 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair at the Lion's Club Pavilion.

Registration for the Junior Fair Princess Pageant will be Saturday, July 21 at 10:00 a.m. followed by rehearsal at 10:30 a.m. Contestants must be 13 through 16 years of age. Participants must not be over age 16 by the date of the pageant. Contestants may wear any type of dress (short or long).

Registration for the Fairest of the Fair will be Saturday, July 21 at 10:30 a.m. followed by rehearsal at 11:00 a.m.. This pageant is only open to DeKalb County residents. Contestants must be age 17 and not over age 20 by December 31, 2007. Participants must not be, nor have ever been married. The winner must also agree to participate in the State Fairest of the Fair Pageant in January, 2008. Contestants should wear any type of dress (short or long). The Fairest of the Fair pageant will be Monday, July 23rd following the Junior Fair Princess Pageant.

The Little Mister and Little Miss contest will be held Tuesday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lion's Club Pavilion. Registration will be Saturday, July 21 at 12:00 noon. Little Mister contestants will practice Saturday, July 21st at 12:30 p.m. and the Little Miss participants will rehearse at 12:45 p.m. Contestants in both pageants must be 4 and not over 6 years of age by the pageant date. Girls should wear any type of dress. Boys should wear Sunday attire..

The Little Miss Princess Pageant will be held Wednesday, July 25 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Contest at the Lion's Club Pavilion. Registration for the Little Miss Princess Pageant will be Saturday, July 21 at 9:00 a.m. followed by rehearsal at 9:30 a.m. Contestants must be 7 and not over 9 years of age by the pageant date. Meanwhile, registration for the Miss Sweetheart Pageant will be Saturday, July 21 at 9:30 a.m. followed by rehearsal at 10:00 a.m. Contestants must be 10 and not over 12 years of age by the pageant date. Contestants may wear any type dress. Contestants for the Miss Sweetheart Pageant are to bring a photo (snapshot) of themselves to registration.

The entry fee for each of these pageants is $15.00 per contestant, (cash only) payable at the time of registration and practice for each category at the Lion's Club Pavilion on the fairgrounds. There will be a queen/king first and second place awarded in each category. Only one contestant per entry. Contestants must be residents of DeKalb, Smith, or Cannon Counties with the exception of the Fairest of the Fair contest which is open only to DeKalb County residents. Previous winners are not eligible in the pageants in which they won. Prizes will be awarded in each pageant.

For more information visit www.dekalbcountyfair.us

Freshman Success Academy Kickoff Set for July 26

July 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

All incoming freshman for the 2007-2008 academic year at DeKalb County High School and their parents/guardians must attend the kickoff orientation set for Thursday, July 26, 6:00 pm at the high school.

The Freshman Success Academy teachers will be on hand to meet and greet students and their parents/guardians. Everyone will meet their teachers, be given a class schedule, a campus tour, an information packet, and complete the registration process.

Freshmen who complete the registration process at this time will not be required to attend school on Monday, August 6. The first full day of school for the 2007-2008 school year is on Wednesday, August 8.

The Freshman Success Academy team is excited to share the opportunities available to the incoming class at DeKalb County High School. For further information or questions, contact DeKalb County High School 597-4094.

DeKalb Schools Open August 6th for Registration

July 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Schools will open next month.

Registration for all students will be Monday, August 6th from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. That will be an abbreviated school day.

Tuesday, August 7 will be an administrative day at all schools and all teachers must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Students will not attend.

The first full day of school for all students will be Wednesday, August 8

A system wide professional development day will be Wednesday, August 1 at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

All teachers will report to their individual schools Thursday and Friday, August 2 & 3 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each day.

Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 3rd.

Schools will be closed for the fall break October 12-19

Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 21, 22, & 23 and for the winter break December 20 through January 2, 2008. Wednesday, December 19 will be the last day students attend before winter break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Students will return after the holidays on Thursday, January 3rd to begin the third nine week session.

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 21 and for President's Day, Monday, February 18.

The spring break will be March 21st through 28th

Students will not attend on Thursday, May 22. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend.. The last day of school will be Friday, May 23. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be given to the students.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 9 and Thursday, March 13 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 11 and Thursday, January 31st at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Thursday, October 4th, Monday, January 7th, and Monday, March 10th.

Competency testing at DCHS will be October 9-11 and February 12-14.

Gateway testing at DCHS will be December 4-6 and May 6-8. Gateway test makeup will be December 7th.

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 5th. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 6th.

TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 14-18.

(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 5th; Friday, April 25th; and Friday, May 9th.

Three Charged with Staging Armed Robbery at Convenience Store including Night Manager

July 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

In less than 16 hours after a reported Sunday night Armed Robbery in progress at the BP Gas station on Highway 70, Smithville Police Detectives have arrested three individuals for the crime, including the night manager of the store.

Chief Tom Stufano says 20 year old Michael Dirden, Jr. of 437 West Main Street, Smithville has been charged with setting up the robbery and filing a false police report. He was taken to the DeKalb County Jail. His bond is $10,000.

Others charged include a 17 year old juvenile and the gunman, 18 year old James Wilber of 107 West Bryant Street, Smithville.

Chief Stufano says the incident began at 8:30 p.m Sunday night when Dirden, the night manager of the convenience mart, telephoned 911 to advise that a man brandishing a gun forced him to reopen the store as he was locking up. Video surveillance showed that a person dressed in camouflage, wearing a bandana and sunglasses and carrying a black pistol forced the manager into the store, stole the money bags and then hit the manager in the face as he exited the parking lot on foot. Dirden was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.

However, Chief Stufano says investigators, after reviewing video footage and crime scene evidence, found inconsistencies in the story. After numerous interviews, Investigators began to suspect possible employee involvement. Police were able to establish that Dirden had been involved with setting up the robbery and had been planning the incident for three months. Dirden had solicited the help of friends and gave them detailed information as to where the surveillance cameras were setup, how to approach and exit the store, staging how the robber would hit him in the face in front of the camera, and the exact script to be used in filing the police report.

According to Chief Stufano, the 17 year old juvenile picked up the gunman, Wilber, a block away from the store. Wilber was identified as the person who entered the store and allegedly pistol whipped and robbed Dirden, which led to a two and a half hour manhunt by local police. It was discovered that Wilber had used a realistic looking CO2 powered pellet pistol during the incident. The investigation revealed that Dirden, Wilbur, and the juvenile met back up together after Dirden returned from his hospital visit and then split up the cash proceeds. Approximately half of the money was spent in a matter of hours after the robbery.

Investigators found hundreds of dollars of stereo equipment in Dirden's car, and identified debt payoffs the three had made. Additionally, the juvenile had made an early morning bank deposit into his personal account. Detectives were able to retrieve the remainder of the cash and the gun from various locations in the city. The bandana Wilber had used was found in the woods next to the BP station. The remaining camouflage clothes, checks and credit card receipts were burned in a fire pit to conceal their evidence value. Wilber was arrested and charged with the crime with bail set at $10,000. The juvenile was released to the custody of his father and will be charged in a Juvenile Court petition.

Chief Stunfao says \"Although the case was lengthy and complex, Smithville Detectives and residents offering information were credited with a speedy resolution of the case. The partnership with the community in detecting illegal activity continues to show that violent crime will not be tolerated by this community. Police are also crediting the merchants in their active participation and security setups.\"

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