Local News Articles

Five Candidates To Seek Three Alderman Seats in Alexandria City Election

June 22, 2007
Dwayne Page

Five candidates are in the race for Alderman in the Alexandria City Election, which is set for September 6th. Three will be elected.

The candidates are Derrick Baker, Sheila Clayborn, Maureen Tubbs, Henry R. Walker, and James R. Walker.

Thursday (June 21st) noon was the qualifying deadline.

Meanwhile, the last date to register to vote in the Alexandria City Election is August 8th at 4:00 p.m.

The deadline to register as a property rights voter is also August 8th and proof of ownership is required.

Early voting begins August 17th and ends September 1st.

Anyone wishing to qualify as a write-in candidate must file a notice with the Election Commission Office no later than 50 days prior to election day. The last day to file as a write-in candidate is July 18th. Anyone with any questions may call 597-4146 or stop by the election office between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Alexandria Mayor and Board of Aldermen is currently made up of Mayor David Cripps and Aldermen Charles Griffith, Sarah Walker, James Keys, Eddie Tubbs, Jimmy Mullinax, and Jim York.

New Smithville Lions Club Chartered

June 23, 2007
Dwayne Page

The number of Lions in Tiger country climbed on June 2nd and is still climbing. Smithville officially chartered a new Lions Club to join the Alexandria Lions Club in serving the needs of Dekalb County and beyond. Twenty-one men and women charter members celebrated the formation of the Smithville Lions Club at the Smithville Church of God Annex on a rare rainy evening during a drought plagued spring. Following a great meal catered by The Gourmet Café, Lions District Governor Shirley Staats presented the members of the new club with their official charter, which all present signed. \"I am extremely proud and honored to welcome these fine men and women as fellow Lions. Smithville will also be proud to have such a fine group serving the community,\" said Shirley Staats. The charter will remain open until August 31, 2007, and any new member who joins during that time will be counted as a charter member. The club has already added to the roster since charter night and welcomes more.

A host of Lions from across Tennessee gathered to help mark the occasion. Members of the McMinnville Lions Club, who sponsored the formation of the Smithville Lions Club, were on hand to congratulate the new club; these included Past District Governor James McBee, President Inez Nunley and Guiding Lion Evelyn Northcutt. The Officers and Directors of the new Smithville Lions Club were officially inducted by Past International Director Billy Pearson. The keynote address on Lionism was given by Past International President and Woodbury Lion Austin Jennings.

Internationally, the Lions primary activity is service to the blind and visually impaired. They are also very involved with youth initiatives. Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.35 million members in nearly 200 countries and geographical locations.

Locally, the Smithville Lions will have a booth set up at this year's Fiddlers Jamboree and are already scheduled to screen eyesight for the Head Start Program and at the First Day of School Celebration. The Smithville Lions Club is conducting a needs analysis to assess areas that need to be addressed in our community and will develop activities to meet them. They are also already planning on participating in the District 12-S White Cane effort that raises money for projects such as Leader Dog for the Blind, Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic, the Middle Tennessee Lions Sight Service, Tennessee School for the Blind, District Hearing Aid Program and many more. Anyone interested in learning more about being a part of this community service should contact either Smithville Membership Chairman Vester Parsley at 597-7200 or Guiding Lion Cliff Swoape at 597-0518

The Smithville Lions Club would like to extend a very special thanks to the Smithville Church of God for the use of their building and to Evelyn Underwood for all of her assistance. They would also like to thank the many Lions of Tennessee who sent gifts to get the Smithville Lions Club started strong.

Members of the club are Jeff James (Tail Twister), Phillip Cripps (2nd Vice-President), Jim Wall, Mike Foster, Vester Parsley (Membership Chair), Mark Willoughby, Jeremy Trapp (Lion Tamer), Rhonda Caplinger, Kevin Latta, Randy Tramel, Cliff Swoape (Guiding Lion & Affiliate Member), Evelyn Northcutt (Guiding Lion), Pam Curtis, Deanna Johnson, Stephanie Walls (Director), Starla Meigs (Treasurer), April Patrick Gray (Director), Jackie Smith (1st Vice President), Inez Nunley (McMinnville Club President), Tony Charley (President), Kate Poss (Secretary), Jayson Johnson, Meshia Price, and Charles Atnip

Stella Luna Gallery Kicks Off Summer Series

June 24, 2007
Dwayne Page

Stella Luna Art Gallery launches its summer schedule of “Hot Artists - Cool Visions” with a gallery showing for Stan Rodriguez and Robert Carlson June 30th through July 19th. A reception for the artists will be held Saturday, June 30th from 6 until 9 pm at the gallery on College St. in Smithville.

Gallery owners Louis and Christine Colombarini say the current exhibit is first of three in the series Stella Luna will host this summer. The goal, Louis explains, is to “create more awareness and exposure for the featured artists and give art enthusiasts of the area an opportunity to meet and view the work of nationally recognized, award winning American artists.” All works displayed in this exhibit and gallery will be available for purchase.

Rodriguez, a resident of Cookeville and California native, comes from a family of traditional painters. He carries that tradition forward in works he calls digeographs. “I use the mouse as if it were a brush or pencil, and paint on the computer screen to express the beauty and exuberance of life,” he explains. His work has been featured at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art.

Carlson, who lives in Hannibal, MO, specializes in fine art claywork and painting. He is a frequent presenter of workshops, including several held at the Appalachian Crafts Center. Carlson has been an “artist-in-residence” at the center and was honored as Artist of the Year by the Cookeville Arts Commission in 1999. His work has been featured in many shows celebrating contemporary clay, including the Smithsonian Crafts Show in Washington, D.C.

Since opening in 2004, Stella Luna has showcased an eclectic mix of contemporary American fine art and craft in all media. One third of the more than 90 artists featured are residents of Tennessee. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:30 through 5:50. For additional information, contact Louis Colombarini at 615.597.4004 or visit them on the web at www.cosmic-clay.com

Smithville Police Arrest Three on Various Charges

June 25, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have made three arrests over the last few days on various charges including DUI, Drugs and Driver's License Revocation.

Chief Tom Stufano says \"On June 22 Smithville Police arrested 23 year old Wallace Rackley of 515 North Congress Boulevard in Smithville for Driving on a Revoked Driver's License. Police originally responded to a reported violation of restraining order between Rackley and another party. During the investigation Rackley was seen driving in the immediate area. A computer check disclosed Rackley had his license revoked and should not be driving. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,500 bond.\"

Meanwhile, 28 year old Michael Billings of 115 Higginbottom Road in Smithville was arrested for DUI. Chief Stufano says \" Billings was originally stopped at 4:00 am for speeding on East Broad Street. Smithville Officers detected the smell of an alcoholic beverage on Billing's breath and he performed poorly on a sobriety test. He was arrested and booked into the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,500 bond.\"

Chief Stufano says \"A second party in the incident, 20 year old Latisha Jones of 268 Rock Island Road, Smithville, was also arrested for drugs and underage alcohol consumption She was charged with being in possession of 2 hypodermic syringes concealed in her clothing, and additional charges were placed when officer's found marijuana and a blue pill (Xanax) that she tried to conceal in the back seat of the police vehicle as she was transported to jail.. She was transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $6,500 bond.\"

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police will be vigilant for drunk drivers for the upcoming Fiddler's Jamboree scheduled for July 6 & 7th and ask our citizens to report any suspicious activities. Your help in reducing this type of crime is keeping our children and community safe.\"

Fiddler's Jamboree to Feature Many New Crafts

June 25, 2007
Dwayne Page

The 36th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, July 6th and 7th.

Emma Jean Dudney, Chairman of Crafts, says this year's Fiddler's Jamboree will feature many new crafts. \"As of this date we have 86 new crafters and a few spaces left to fill. We are pleased to have a large number of local and area artists/craftsmen participating the the Jamboree Crafts Festival this year.\"

Dudney says this year's fine arts participants are a very impressive group. \"You will find a great variety of artisans with drawing, paintings, prints potography and etc. Tim Arnold of Lebanon will be doing beautiful freehand cut silhouetts of children. Dave washburn of Lawrenceville, GA will be drawing caricatures of people on the spot. Charcoal portraits will be done by Phillip Eastep of Athens Alabama. Joe Certo of Nashville will be returning with his metal sculptures. A new participant is Michael Ulschak of Silver Point with blown glass and wheel carved vessels. Joseph Vick of Lyles TN will bring his rustic style prints and do Quick Portraits. Doug Walpus of Lebanon TN brings beautiful original wildlife paintings, prints and sculptures. We also have a good number of people doing some wonderful pottery items; raku pottery,hand thrown one of a kind pottery, pottery baskets as well as pottery and ceramic sculptures. Space will not permit mentioning everyone.\"

Dudney says Some of the old-time and Applachian Crafts will be available as well. \"In the musical instrument class we have dulcimers, dulcimer-banjos and special finger picks. Leon Hoffman of Tilly Ark. will be back with old fashioned wood turned treen ware (kitchen utensils) ,biscuit cutters, rolling pins, pasta cutters and old fashioned toys. Many of the wood workers are doing turned wood bowls, vases, candle holders and primitive furniture. You will find a variety of oak furniture, small tables, cedar chests, adirondiak chairs, rocking chairs, and swings. Linda Stewart of Cumming GA will be demonstrating how to make old fashioned lye soap with the iron washpot, ashhopper, laundry day with wash tup and scrub board.\"

According to Dudney, many of the crafts will be of particular interest to women. \"Several crafters will be doing bath and body products such as: salt sea scrub, soaps, lye soap, lotions, handpainted glass nail files. A number of booths will have handmade or hand decorated items of clothing, hair accessories, aprons, cute purses and handbags, decorated sweat shirts , knitted pieces and painted hats.\"

\"Home decorating items will include; fused glass items, clocks, floral arrangements, wreaths, hand painted items, handwoven baskets, woven fabric items, gourd art, ceramics, pottery (bowls, dishes, containers) , pillows, quilts, framed items, Bonsai trees, soy candles, make your own candles, glass murials, stained glass panels,pressed flowers in glass, marble painted vases, blown glass items, painted antiques, hand blown glass sculptures.\"

Dudney says leather products will be available. \"Men and women may like the leather products such as; leather belts, buckles, wallets, hats and snake skin items ( belts, wallets, hat bands, guitar straps, rifle slings, knife cases etc.).\"

\"Children's Items include: Soft sculpture mobiles(butterflies,dragonflies,ect. cute for decorating a child's room) baby and children's clothing and quilts, diaper bags. children's jewelry , dolls, girls purses, costumes, hair bows, bow holders, toys, wooden push toys, puppets marionettes, children's furniture, doll furniture numerous toys from wood and cigarbox guitars.\"

\"Everyone can enjoy the yard and garden items to be found this year; swings, bird houses, bird feeders, copper garden art, wind chimes (metal, stained glass and recycled glass), signs, concrete statues, hammocks, hammock chairs and colorful children's swings and other yard items made from recycled tires.\"

Dudney says crafters from many states will be represented at this year's Fiddler's Jamboree. \"It is interesting to look at the various places and distances some of our crafters travel. At this point we have: One each from Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Louisanna, West Virginia and Michigan.; Two each from Kansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina; Three from Illinois; Four from Missouri; Five from Indiana; Six from Ohio; Eight from Florida; Eleven from Georgia; Ten from Kentucky; Twenty from Alabama and the rest from Tennessee.\"

\"Come out and enjoy the show.\"

B. Don James Granted Delay in Reporting to Federal Prison

June 25, 2007
Dwayne Page

B. Don James was scheduled to report to a federal prison facility Monday (June 25th), but that has been delayed until July 18th.

James' attorney, Hilton Conger, filed a motion last Monday, June 18th seeking a delay in James' reporting date.

According to Conger's motion, \"As of this date (June 18th), the defendant (James) has not been notified of the location of the facility to which he is to report.\"

The motion states that \"The defendant (James) has been advised by the U.S. Marshall's Service that as of today's date (June 18th, 2007), the Marshall's Service has not been notified of the facility and that due to the fact that the defendant (James) has medical conditions which need to be addressed and the court's sentencing order provides that the defendant's need for medical treatment be given consideration, it may take as many as 90 days to assign a facility.\"

\"Wherefore, the defendant (James) moves the court to grant a 90 day extension for his reporting to begin service of his sentencing.\"

U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell granted Conger's in motion, in part, denying a 90 day delay but granting him a 23 day extension. The judge's order states that \"The defendant (James) shall surrender for service of sentence at the institution designated by the Bureau of Prisons before 2:00 p.m. on July 18th.

James was sentenced on May 25th in U.S. District Court in Nashville by Judge Campbell to a total of 97 months in federal prison on various counts of wire fraud.

Sheriff's Department Makes Eight Arrests on Charges from Driving Offenses to DUI, Thefts, and Drug Crimes

June 25, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made eight arrests within the last week on charges ranging from DUI and thefts to drug offenses.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 31 year old Cheri Herriott of Colvert Lake Road, Smithville was stopped on a traffic violation June 18th. She was charged with driving under the influence, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (Valium), possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone), possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (Xanax), and possession of drug parpahernalia. Her bond is set at $5,000 and her court date is July 18th.

22 year old Christy Martin of Colvert Lake Road, Smithville was also charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Cocaine), simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $55,000 and her court date is June 21st.

In another case, 40 year old Melissa Petty of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville was stopped on Highway 56 north June 20th. She was charged with driving on a suspended license. Her bond is set at $1,500 and her court date is July 5th.

48 year old Ricky Devault of Talphia Road, Dowelltown was arrested for DUI and driving on s suspended license on June 21st. Devault was stopped on Man Hill Road in Dowelltown on a traffic violation. His bond is set at $6,000 and he will be in court July 5th.

44 year old Edward Judkins of Sparta Highway, Smithville was charged with driving on a suspended driver's license on June 22nd after he was caught driving on Braswell Lane. His bond is set at $3,000 and his court date is July 5th.

29 year old Eddie Winnett of Forest Avenue, Watertown was stopped on a traffic violation on Johnson's Chapel Road June 22nd. He was arrested for simple possession of marijuana, simple possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended driver's license. His bond is $7,500 and his court date is July 5th.

26 year old Rickey Lynn Martin of Judkins Lane, Smithville was arrested for theft of property under $500 on June 23rd. He allegedly stole a Gameboy game machine and a game from a yard sale at a residence on Keltonburg Road.

A 17 year old juvenile allegedly stole a vehicle from Winter Drive, Dowelltown on June 24th. Sheriff Ray says after the juvenile took the vehicle, he drove it to a gas station and tried to buy cigarettes. The juvenile got scared, took the vehicle to Man Hill Road, Dowelltown, and set the vehicle on fire. The juvenile fled the scene but was spotted by a deputy on Old Snows Hill Road. The juvenile admitted to stealing the vehicle and was charged with theft over $5,000 and vandalism over $5,000.

Sumner Regional Plans to Give Up Operation of DeKalb EMS

June 25, 2007
Dwayne Page

Sumner Regional Medical Center, which has been operating the DeKalb County Ambulance Service for several years, will soon be ending it's agreement with the county.

County Mayor Mike Foster told the county commission Monday night that Sumner Regional is \"going out of the ambulance business\".

The decision the county commission will have to make within a few weeks is whether to contract with another entity to run the local ambulance service or for the county to once again assume the operation of it.

Sumner Regional Medical Center is currently under contract with the county to operate the ambulance service for $163,000 per year, and the county, which owns the ambulances, buys a new one each year. Sumner Regional rents the ambulance service building for $600 per month and had agreed to rent the new location for $1,500 per month.

Foster says the county will have ninety days to make a change once the official notice has been received from Sumner Regional, but the county commission may want to act sooner \"We've had conversations with two new groups (interested in the ambulance service). I have also requested the paperwork, including audits, etc of the Sumner General operation, of which we are entitled, to see how the expenditures and revenues were. Within the next 30 days we will need to decide either on a new contract (with some other group) or whether the county wants to go back into the ambulance business. I have talked with Smith County and Overton County. They are running their own (ambulance services). One of them is actually making a couple hundred thousand dollars a year on theirs. I know the ones of you who have been on the county commission a lot longer than I have been here don't want to revisit that (county operating the ambulance service) but we may want to look at that. All the ambulances that are here are owned by the county and the building is owned by the county, so we're in a good position. We can either negotiate a contract with another company or we can go into business. I don't yet have a strong feeling either way, but I think we need to look at it from all aspects and see what is the proper thing that we need to do. If we get the proper people to run it and the proper people to collect the bills, I think it might be a positive thing (for the county to run it). Otherwise, it might be a very negative thing.\"

The county commission, earlier this year voted to exercise an option to purchase the old Fina Market building at the corner of South Mountain Street and Meadowbrook Drive as the future home of the DeKalb County Ambulance Service. The purchase price of that building was $125,000.

Foster says Page Brothers Construction has been doing the renovation work on the new building. \"The contract was awarded to Page Brothers to do the work on the ambulance service building that they're moving along with that. We hope to be ready to move in it in two or three months.\"

The ambulance service, for the last several years, has been located on Highway 56 north in Smithville but Foster says the building is too small for today's needs and is in need of repair.

Board of Education Adopts New School Budget

June 27, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Tuesday night adopted the tentative school budget for 2007-2008, subject to approval of the county commission.

The spending plan, with expenditures totaling $17.1 million dollars, is based on the same local property tax rate of 73 cents per $100 of assessed value for schools along with some money from the sinking fund (local option sales taxes). The school budget includes $3.8 million in local funding along with funds from state BEP reserves as well as other state and federal sources.

The budget includes a state salary increase for certified personnel of 3%; an increase for teachers based on their years of service as per state scale; an increase for those who have earned a degree advancement as per scale; and a local increase in the teacher salary as per scale. Teachers with six to ten years of service would get a local increase for the year of $150. Those with 11-15 years would get a local raise of $200. Teachers with 16-20 years can expect a $250 raise. Those with 21-25 years would get an increase of $300 and teachers with 26 years of service or more would get a local pay raise of $400. Elementary and Secondary Principals, Assistant Principals, and Supervisors would not get a local pay raise this year.

The budget includes a local 3% pay raise for support staff as well as a local step increase as per scale. One lead custodian per school would receive a 25 cent per hour increase and one lead maintenance worker would be paid based on the mechanics pay scale, giving him a pay raise. Support staff would be allowed to use two sick leave days per school year as personal days if needed. However, they would receive no additional days.

Golf and Tennis Coach positions at DCHS would receive an additional $1,000 in supplement pay.

Pay scales would be rounded, as presented.

Social Security and Medicare percentage rates will remain the same; the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System retirement percentage for certified staff will increase to 6.24%, with no increase in the retirement percentage for support staff.

Medical insurance costs are budgeted to increase by 10% and the cost to update the school web site would be $1,000.

The budget includes $80,000 for two additional teaching positions at DCHS for the freshman academy; $80,000 for two extra teaching positions if needed; $40,000 for one teaching position needed at Smithville Elementary School; $80,000 for two teaching positions needed at Northside Elementary School; and $20,000 to increase a half time English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching position to a full time position.

Under the special education program, the budget includes $40,000 for one additional teaching position at DCHS; one vision position retained in the budget; one speech language position retained in the budget; and additional costs have been included for anticipated Leave of Absences and possible degree advancements.

The budget includes $20,000 for one county wide Attendance Clerical position and an increase in benefits for a support staff position.

The spending plan includes a Coordinated School Health Grant of $90,000 for a coordinator, a clerical position, along with benefits and supplies.

An increase has been figured into the budget for increased utility costs, supplies, fuel, etc.

Thousands Expected For Fiddlers Jamboree

June 27, 2007
Dwayne Page

Thousands will be flocking to Smithville for the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival Friday and Saturday, July 6th & 7th.

The musical competition kicks off on Friday morning, July 6th at 9:00 a.m.

Preliminaries will be held in the following categories:

Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (solos and duets); Flat Top Guitar; Junior Clogging (ages 13-39); Junior Buck Dancing (ages 13-39); Dobro Guitar; Mountain Dulcimer; Hammer Dulcimer; Novelty Event; Old Time Fiddle Band; Autoharp; Gospel Singing (solos); Country Harmonica; Old Time Banjo; Gospel Singing (duets, trios, and quartets); and Mandolin.

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.

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.

On Saturday, July 7th, starting at 9:00 a.m., preliminaries will be held in the following categories:

Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39); 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; Bluegrass Band; Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over); and Square Dancing.

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 7th 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 hundreds of 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.


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