Local News Articles

Officer Matthews Cleared for Light Duty Work, but Remains on Leave

October 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

She has apparently been given a medical clearance to perform light duty work, but Smithville Police Officer Callie Matthews remains on leave.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson says there are currently no light duty police officer jobs in the department and he has not yet been instructed by the Board of Aldermen to put her back to work.

And while a reconstruction accident report has been compiled by the Tennessee Highway Patrol's Critical Incident Response Team, the city's liability insurance carrier will likely seek a second opinion with another independent reconstruction of the accident

Matthews was responding to a prowler call on April 23rd at around 11:30 p.m. when her patrol car collided with an oncoming car, driven by Andrew Ferris. The crash killed Ferris and seriously injured Officer Matthews and a passenger of Ferris' car, Brian Webber.

The following is the report by Sergeant Keven Norris, C.I.R.T. member and reconstructionist with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

"The following conclusions were drawn after examination of all known physical evidence and review of witness accounts of the event that occurred on Foster Road in DeKalb County."

"On the above date, (April 23rd, 2007), at approximately 11:30 p.m., Officer Callie Matthews with the Smithville Police Department was responding to a call and traveling north on Foster Road in a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria police unit."

"Andrew Ferris was operating a Kia Rio passenger car southbound on Foster Road with Brian Webber as a front seat passenger."

"The road surface was dry asphalt with no pavement markings"

"Matthews, upon topping a slight hill crest, locked the brakes on the Ford allowing it to veer to the left of center where it collided with the Kia passenger car."

"The approach angle of the pre-impact skid indicated the Kia was approaching from the center of the roadway when the impact occurred. The skid length is approximately 15 feet."

"Skid marks from the Ford Crown Victoria were approximately 91 feet in length leading up to the impact and were at an angle from the north bound side of the roadway to the southbound side."

"A minimum speed was calculated for both vehicles. The Ford Crown Victoria had a minimum speed of 66 miles per hour, while the Kia was at 16 miles per hour."

"The Ford Crown Victoria was a marked patrol unit and was utilizing its blue lights as emergency equipment."

"Blood samples were taken from the deceased and analyzed for drugs and alcohol. Alcohol tested negative and only drugs administered by emergency medical personnel were present."

"Based on what is known, it is my opinion that the Ferris vehicle was in the center of the roadway, and when the Matthews vehicle came into view, this resulted in a reaction by Matthews which caused her to lock the brakes and go into a skid. The Ford vehicle driven by Matthews was not equipped with an anti-lock braking system, therefore the steering ability of the vehicle would have been inhibited. Ferris was traveling at a slower speed and steered back into the southbound lane before being struck. The Matthews vehicle was traveling at a speed greater than the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour for this particular section of roadway which was also a contributing factor to this crash.'

Sometime before he resigned, former Police Chief Tom Stufano wrote a memorandum to Mayor Hendrixson concerning the accident. In it, Stufano wrote that "The original THP investigation states that Officer Matthews was not using her siren which is mandated by law."

"In review of the preliminary information, although Officer Matthews was acting in good faith during her response, the investigation will show that she has violated both City of Smithville Police Policy and State Law due to her excessive speed and non-compliance and usage of emergency equipment while in emergency response. As a result of her actions, a resident of our city was killed."

"It is my recommendation that upon final conclusion and submittal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Accident Report, a review board be established so that a review of the totality of the accident can be formulated, and if the findings are conclusive that Officer Matthews did violate emergency response policy, she be discharged from the City of Smithville Police Department."

A Circuit Court lawsuit was filed in June against the City of Smithville, the Police Department, and Police Officer Matthews.

Ferris' mother, Angela Ferris, is suing individually and as next of kin to her son.

Ferris basically claims that the officer was negligent in following city policies and state laws regarding public safety and that the city has failed to properly train and discipline it's officers, including Matthews.

She is seeking a judgment for compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury, as well as attorney fees.

Ms. Ferris claims that Officer Matthews failed to follow established departmental policies regarding the use and operation of that vehicle and it's safety/emergency equipment and that she was traveling at a very high rate of speed.

Four Year Old Child Seriously Injured in Dog Attack

October 7, 2007
Dwayne Page

A four year old child was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga Saturday night after being attacked by a neighbor's dog in Liberty.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says his department received a call around 6:15 p.m. that a child had been mauled by a dog, a blue heeler mix, at a residence on Greenhill Road in Liberty. The four year old boy reportedly suffered serious facial injuries, especially around his left eye.

The child, Joseph (Joey) Hall, is the son of Alan and Teresa Hall of Highway 53 near Liberty.

Mrs. Hall spoke by telephone with WJLE this morning (Sunday) from the hospital. Several stitches were required due to head and facial lacerations but Mrs. Hall says Joey's eye is going to be okay and he is expected to be released from the hospital today (Sunday).

According to Mrs. Hall, her children were with the kids at the next door neighbor's home of Tony and Carol Stevens, when the incident occurred. She says the other children went inside the house to do something, and asked Joey to stay outside for a minute, and when the children came back out moments later, they found him injured and bleeding.

Mrs Hall says according to Joey, as he was waiting for the other children to come back outside, he gave the dog a loving stare, when the animal attacked him. No one else was injured.

She says the dog is a stray animal that the neighbors have kept for about eight months, and Joey had been around him before.

Local authorities and EMS were notified and arrived on the scene. The child was later airlifted on site to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

The dog is now in the custody of the Sheriff's Department, being kept at the local dog pound.

Sheriff Ray says the investigation continues.

Richard Jennings Named Smithville Chief of Police

October 5, 2007
Dwayne Page

Almost four years after a previous city council demoted him from Chief to Lieutenant for the "betterment of the department", Richard Jennings has been returned to the position of Police Chief, a job that six different men have held since 1994, five within the last four years.

The Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen met in special session Friday evening and voted to make Jennings the next Police Chief. The vote was 3 to 2.

The position has been vacant since the resignation of former Chief Thomas J. Stufano last month. Sergeant Steven Leffew has been serving as Officer in Charge of the department.

Jennings told WJLE after the meeting that he is honored to once again serve the citizens of Smithville as Police Chief. "It's a humbling experience to be given this opportunity again to serve my community. I want to thank everybody who supported me. I want to thank the people who came to the meetings to support me, who talked to me on the street and supported me, and to those who called me at home, and I had some who wrote me letters. I really appreciate that and I certainly will try to do the best job that I possibly can for this community. I will work closely with the board of mayor and aldermen and together I think we can bring this department up to the level that the citizens deserve and expect."

Jennings took over from Tom Hopkins as Chief in 1994, after Hopkins resigned. Jennings served until November, 2003 when the city council demoted him to the rank of Lieutenant. Jennings was succeeded by Jim Baker as Chief, but Baker was demoted back to the rank of patrolman in July 2004. Sergeant Sam Dunbar followed Baker as Chief, but Dunbar resigned in January 2006 under a cloud of controversy after being accused of falsifying documents. Augustine (Gus) Clemente was hired to replace Dunbar in March, 2006 but he resigned five months later, accusing city officials of interferring in police operations and making racial slurs against him. Stufano was named Chief in November, 2006 and resigned in September, 2007.

Alderman Jerry Hutchins Sr. made the motion Friday evening to hire Jennings as Chief. Alderman Willie Thomas offered the second to the motion. Alderman Tonya Sullivan joined them in voting for Jennings.

Aldermen Cecil Burger and Steve White voted against Jennings.

Burger, who is also a former Mayor, said "I'll agree that he (Richard) is certified. He's capable of doing it but he won't. If he couldn't do it before, how could he do it now? He's spent money and started programs that he never would finish. I don't think he's capable of doing it any more now than he did then. I was here when he came here and we've worked together all these years. I don't have to be told about Richard. We've never had no problems or trouble. His operation just don't fit the project."

Hutchins responded, saying "I think Richard has done a good job with the police department. He's been with them a long time."

White claims that Jennings remains under investigation based on allegations of misconduct made against him several weeks ago (concerning removal of weapons from the police department) and suggested that the case could be presented to the Grand Jury for indictment in December. (Jennings had been terminated by a three man disciplinary hearing board but he appealed the decision to the entire board of aldermen and was re-instated as Lieutenant following a hearing in August). According to White, "The investigation over when we had a hearing here awhile back is still open and on-going with Richard."

In response, Hutchins said " He has not been convicted of anything".

White answered "No, but remember what happened not long ago with another Chief (apparently referring to Tom Stufano concerning allegations made against him in a federal court lawsuit by Roy Ray over a traffic stop). The reason we're in this process to begin with is because allegations was put forth and the chief was voted out.(Stufano was placed on administrative leave with pay pending an independent investigation but he was returned to office on a mayoral veto of the council's decision) According to White, "his (Jennings') case is not over or closed. So remember that and the legality of it."

Sullivan says Jennings had the most experience of any of the applicants for the job and she has been assured by the proper authorities that Jennings will not be charged with a crime. "I made some phone calls and I took a look at his files and contacted the proper authorities to ask if there was going to be any charges against Mr. Jennings. I was told there would be no charges."

Sullivan then asked White, "Do you have different information that says that he will be charged versus the information that I have received directly?"

White replied, "I don't know where you got your information, but it's supposed to come up in December(Grand Jury), the last that I heard."

Sullivan asked, ‘What are the charges"?

White answered, "I'm not really for sure, all of it is in the D.A.'s hands but the prosecutor has not been notified that anything has changed and that he was still going to be subpoenaed to go in December"

Sullivan replied, "I was told by those authorities that there would be no charges".

Sullivan then added, "After interviewing, I didn't see anyone in the interviews that was more qualified than Mr. Jennings, or had more years of service."

Prior to the vote on Jennings, White made a motion to hire Kenneth D. Smith of Watertown as Police Chief. Smith, one of the seven applicants for police chief, is currently employed with the Mount Juliet Police Department. He worked for the Lebanon Police Department from 1986 to 2006. Burger seconded the motion, but the vote to hire Smith failed on a 3 to 2 vote. Aldermen Hutchins, Thomas, and Sullivan voted against Smith.

Jennings began his law enforcement career with the City of Smithville in 1976. He joined the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department in 1977 working for then Sheriff Dwight Mathis until he left office in 1986. Jennings rejoined the Smithville Police Department in 1986 and was appointed Police Chief in 1994, a position he held for nine years before being re-assigned by the city council in November, 2003.

Meanwhile, Hunter Hendrixson has been hired as Secretary/Treasurer and Financial Officer for the city while Kevin Robinson is the new Public Works Director. The aldermen voted unanimously, 5 to 0, to hire them.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson says Hunter Hendrixson will be paid $37,500 per year until he becomes certified as the state requires. He must complete certification in a timely manner. Once he becomes certified, Hendrixson will be paid $42,500 per year.

As Public Works Director, Kevin Robinson will be paid at $15.38 cents per hour or $32,000 per year. Mayor Hendrixson says this job will require some mandatory overtime because Robinson will be called out on holidays, weekends, and nights due to water or sewer line breaks, etc.

Hendrixson and Robinson will replace Burnace Vandergiff, who was paid $52,000 per year.

Man Threatening Officers with a Meat Cleaver Arrested for Aggravated Assault

October 3, 2007
Dwayne Page

A 37 year old man, allegedly causing a disturbance, was arrested Tuesday afternoon by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Richard Scott Adams of Redman Road, Smithville is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, public intoxication, resisting arrest, and evading arrest. His bond is set at $96,000 and his court date is October 18th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the Sheriff's Department received a call from someone, where Adams resides, reporting that the man was creating a disturbance, tearing up things in the home, and making threats.

Upon arrival, the officers confronted the man on the front porch of the home. According to Sheriff Ray, the man was swinging a meat cleaver at the officers in a threatening manner.

After Sheriff Ray arrived on the scene, Adams surrendered the meat cleaver, but ran back inside the house when told he was under arrest. Deputies followed Adams into the house and he grabbed a gallon bottle of vodka and began swinging it in a threatening manner toward the officers.

He was eventually brought under control and placed under arrest.

Trustee Announces Changes in Property Tax Relief Program

October 3, 2007
Dwayne Page

As the tax season rolls around, DeKalb County Trustee Sean Driver reminds you of changes in the property tax relief program.

Tennessee's tax relief program is a state-funded program that provides a rebate of credit for all or a portion of the property taxes on residential property owned and occupied by low-income elderly, low-income disabled, and disabled veteran homeowners and their surviving spouses.

Eligibility requirements for Elderly Homeowners are as follows:

Must be 65 or older on or before December 31st, 2007
Must provide evidence of age (i.e. birth certificate, marriage license)
Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence
Qualified applicants will receive property tax relief on the first $25,000 of their property's market value.
According to the deed of the property, Must have records of the combined 2006 income of all owners of the property not exceeding $24,000. Income (i.e. social security, SSI pension, etc)

Eligibility requirements for Disabled Homeowners are as follows:

Must have been totally and permanently disabled as rated by the Social Security Administration or any other qualified agency on or before December 31st, 2007
Must provide evidence of age (i.e. birth certificate, marriage license)
Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence
Must have records of the combined 2006 income of all owners of the property not exceeding $24,000

Eligibility requirements for Disabled Veteran Homeowners and/or widow or widower:

Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence.
Your disability must meet one of the following categories:
A service-connected disability that resulted in (1) Paraplegia, (2) Permanent paralysis of both legs and lower part of the body resulting from traumatic injury or disease to the spinal cord or brain, (3) Loss or loss of use of, two or more limbs, and (4) Legal blindness.

A total and permanent disability rating from a service-connected disability

A 100% total and permanent disability rating from being a prisoner of war.

The Veteran's Administration Office determines eligibility from the applicant's information in the Trustee's Office forwarded to the State of Tennessee.

If you meet these requirements you may apply in the Trustee's Office as soon as you receive your property tax bill. The deadline to apply is 35 days after February 28th, 2008 or April 7th, 2008.

If you have any additional questions concerning the tax relief program, come by the Trustee's office in the courthouse or call 597-5176.

Janney Issues Statement on Disclosure of Jamboree Tax Return Record

October 3, 2007
Dwayne Page

Local C.P.A. Tom Janney has issued a statement explaining his reasons for not revealing the tax return record of the Fiddlers Jamboree Committee to a third party private citizen.

During Monday night's Smithville City Council meeting, Chris Cantrell, in response to Jamboree attorney Frank Buck's assertion that records of the Jamboree are open to the public, stated "That's bantered around a lot Frank, but you know when you call Tom (Janney) as I did today (Monday), he said, I can't give you those records, Neal (Dudney) would get mad at me."

Tuesday, Janney issued the following statement, "In regard to the recent controversy regarding the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival, Inc. I would like to note the following:

"The only reason I even acknowledged to an outside party that I prepare the organization's tax return is because as a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, the Jamboree's tax return is readily available from the IRS by filing Form 4506-A. A copy of its tax filings can be obtained within a reasonable time by any member of the general public, and I am listed as the preparer of the tax return."

"It has been stated that I have refused to release the Jamboree records due to unspoken disapproval by the coordinator, Mr. Dudney. However, my "refusal" at that time, simply reflected the plain fact that I cannot release any client's information without their permission. Imagine if your tax preparer started giving out copies of your organization's records without prior approval."

"I think the analogy would be – say for example, I did the City of Smithville's audit (which I don't) – the general public must go to the City to get copies of its records and NOT the accountant's office. I want the public to know that Mr. Dudney understands that the Jamboree Committee has a public obligation, and he takes it seriously. He has asked me to provide a copy of the return to Mr. Frank Buck, attorney, and I have done so."

"However, I would like to ask that any requests for more copies be handled through the Jamboree office in the basement of the courthouse or by calling their number 597-8500. I am not on the Jamboree Committee, and I do not keep the Jamboree's books. I simply fill out the tax return based on the information that is provided to me."

"I hope that as a community we can work together on maintaining the Jamboree's mission over the long haul, and I'll do whatever I can to help."

City Employee Applicants to be Interviewed By Mayor and Aldermen

October 2, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen will conduct interviews of applicants for the positions of Secretary/Treasurer and Chief of Police tonight (Tuesday) at 6:00 p.m. at city hall.

Applicants for Public Works Director will be interviewed Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall.

Meanwhile, the Mayor and Aldermen will hold a special meeting Friday night, October 5th at 6:00 p.m. to hire persons to fill those positions.

Those who have applied for Police Chief are former Chief and now Lieutenant Richard Jennings, Danny Nelson Holmes of Baxter, Mike Dennis Foster of Winchester, Kenneth D. Smith of Watertown, John C. Lowe of Apple Creek, Ohio, Phillip Bruce Robinette of Rogersville, and Tony Jones of Smithville.

Applicants for Public Works Director are as follows:

Myron Rhody, Phillip Eugene Wilkey, Bobby Wayne Pinegar, Lewis Donald Cantrell, Avent Ray (Buck) Mooneyham, Gary Wayne Prater, Albert Lourn Rice, Clarence Bradley Trapp, Jimmy Randall Taylor, Kenny Waynon Dyal, Wallace Dale Caldwell, and Kevin Erbie Robinson all of Smithville.

Applicants for Secretary/Treasurer are as follows:

William Hunter Hendrixson, Robert Dennis Schafer, and Gary Wayne Prater all of Smithville, Jennifer Michelle Hight of Alexandria, and Lisa Carole McMillin of Watertown.

Mayor and Aldermen to Consider Lifting Ban on Sales of Fireworks in City

October 2, 2007
Dwayne Page

Should fireworks be sold inside the city limits of Smithville?

Jewel Redmon, owner and operator of Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard came before the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen Monday night asking that the ordinance be changed to allow for the sale of fireworks inside the city, at least seasonally.

Redmon says it isn't fair to keep Smithville businesses from selling them. "I'm not asking for more than anyone else. It seems like some people have an exclusive . Why not let everybody have a shot at it. You don't get rich from it and it won't make you or break you, but I think everybody should have a right to sell them if they want to. I'm one foot from the county line and I'll follow the rules like the others do."

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker was asked by Mayor Taft Hendrixson to comment on the proposal. Parker says the decision is for the Mayor and Aldermen to make, but they should keep in mind that some rules and regulations would have to be established, if they decided to change the ordinance, such as whether the fireworks are to be sold from permanent structures or tents, how much inventory could be stored, etc. Parker says it's a little more than a simple yes or no answer.

The existing ordinance prohibits sales of fireworks in the city limits. Fireworks apparently can be discharged anywhere in the city except in the central business district.

The city board has deferred action on Redmon's request until City Attorney John Pryor can do some more research on available options, such as what types of restrictions to place on the sale of fireworks, whether they are to be sold out of tents or permanent structures, and whether they should only be sold seasonally, etc.

Operation of Fiddlers Jamboree Explained to Mayor and Aldermen

October 2, 2007
Dwayne Page

Who is in charge of the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree?

That is a question that has been raised in recent weeks by concerned citizens who feel the Jamboree has become an annual event, run by a few, who no longer seeks or welcomes input from others in the community, particularly groups who helped organize it in the early 1970's.

The issue was brought up by citizen Sherry Bush at a recent city council meeting and the Mayor and Board of Aldermen agreed to ask officials of the Fiddler's Jamboree to appear before the board to answer questions.

Monday night, Nolan Turner, Co-Chairman of the Souvenir Booklet and Official Photographer, read a statement on behalf of the Jamboree Committee. The attorney for the Jamboree, Frank Buck, also made some comments.

In the statement, Turner explained that Neither the City of Smithville nor DeKalb County runs the Jamboree. "It is like any other civic club or organization. It is a self governing body. The Jamboree has a board of directors which is elected by the members of the Jamboree Committee. No member of this group receives any money for their work. It is an all volunteer group. Members are made up of volunteer workers who are voted into the organization. Members are appointed to head the various sections such as Tabulation, Registration, Crafts, etc. Each of the Chairmen selects a group of people who are willing to work with them on their committee. This adds up to about 60 to 65 people who work to put on the Jamboree. These people work for about 18 hours each day during the Jamboree with the exception of the Coordinator who is on the grounds for the entirety of the show."

"The Jamboree became a 501 (C) (3) in 1990 according to the Internal Revenue Service and has an Employer Identification Number on file."

"The Jamboree was chartered with it's by-laws in 1989 and was registered with the Tennessee Secretary of State in 1989. It has been reporting each year to the Secretary of State a list of the Officials (President, Secretary, and all other Board members)"

"The Jamboree reports to the IRS on a 990 Form as a 501 (C) (3) organization which is filled out by Tom Janney, CPA."

"The expense for putting on the Jamboree is about $60,000 to $62,000 per year. All of which is paid by the Jamboree out of funds they raise each year. Any remaining funds are used to start the next year's Jamboree.'

"The Jamboree bought the stage and paid for it with a grant that was obtained by the late State Senator Tommy Burks and State Representative Frank Buck. The Jamboree organization has full control of the stage and how it is used. The Jamboree owns the equipment needed from electrical boards down to the trash cans on the streets."

"The Jamboree brings in tourists who spend money and help improve the local economy."

"The following clubs, organizations, or churches have benefitted directly by having food booths at the Jamboree: DeKalb County 4-H Club, Smithville Rotary Club, Smithville Church of God, DCHS Band Boosters, Boy Scout Troop 347, DeKalb Soil Conservation District, DeKalb County T-Ball/Coach Pitch Association, St. Gregory's Catholic Church, DCHS Football Cheerleaders, Legion of Confederacy, Volunteer Fire Department, and Smithville Lion's Club."

"The Jamboree provides an opportunity for these local groups to make a good sum of money. We allow only local non-profit groups to have food booths that are within the Jamboree grounds. There is a waiting list of groups desiring a booth space should another group decide not to retain their booth. We do not allow commercial food booths within the Jamboree boundaries."

Concerned citizen and former Smithville Mayor Waniford Cantrell questioned why representatives of the original sponsoring groups were no longer part of the Jamboree Board of Directors as is stated in the Fiddler's Jamboree Souvenir Program Booklet. Under Smithville Jamboree History, the Souvenir Program Book states that " The sponsoring organizations are the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Merchants Association, Rotary Club, and the Smithville Fire Department. A representative of each organization serves on the Board of Directors and the Jamboree Committee". Cantrell says the Jamboree was once sponsored and underwritten by all these organizations but "somewhere along the line this all got changed and nobody knows how."

Phillip (Fluty) Cantrell, who is President of the Downtown Merchants Association, says he has not been to a Jamboree Committee meeting in several years.

Buck suggested that if anyone has a concern, he or she should voice it with the Jamboree Committee at one of their meetings, and put aside personality conflicts. Buck says he was under the impression that some of this controversy now may be due in part to conflicts that have arisen because the community chorus was denied access to the Jamboree stage on the Thursday evening prior to the start of the Festival on Friday.

Faye Fuqua, director of the chorus, told Buck that she "objected" to that assertion. However, Fuqua did say that she believes some who want to be more involved in the Jamboree aren't treated right. "There's lots of issues that need to be worked through. We don't have a voice in this festival that many of us have worked long and hard in for some thirty years. We're apart of this too. We are not treated respectfully. It's killing the joy and the spirit of the Jamboree".

Steven Ashburn of Ashburn's Alley Café also registered a complaint about the booths which set up on the streets blocking the front of the downtown businesses. " My concern is bringing in the tents that block the store fronts of the local merchants, who bring in tax revenue, 365 days a year to this city. The merchants downtown need all the respect that the Jamboree and city can give them."

Sherry Bush, speaking again Monday night, says she wants to know who is accountable and liable in the event of a tragedy. Bush claims she became very concerned after hearing that someone got in their car during this year's Jamboree and tried to drive from the First Baptist Church parking lot down Fourth Street into the crowd. "We just want to be assured that there's some safety measures in place somewhere."

As for liability insurance, former Mayor Waniford Cantrell said at one time, the Jamboree function was added to the policy of the city. "If someone slips on a banana peel, they won't sue the Jamboree committee because that committee doesn't own the sidewalks. The city owns the sidewalks."

Cantrell also asked the city board to consider charging the Jamboree Committee to recoup the cost of the overtime the city is required to pay workers for extra time put in on Jamboree weekend. "Each year the police department, the sanitation department, and the public service people work overtime. As a taxpayer, I'd like to see the city council bill the Jamboree for those overtime costs."

Alderman and former Smithville Mayor Cecil Burger seemed to have a different point of view. "Our biggest problem is our men already have their 40 hours in before it (Jamboree) starts and we have to pay overtime or time and a half. It creates some expense but it's worth it in the long run I think."

Alderman Steve White says it would not be fair for the city to single out the Jamboree for this expense when other organizations also use the city's streets for special events. "If we're going to charge one, we need to charge them all." Plus, he says, thanks to the Jamboree, the city reaps the benefit of extra sales tax revenue from tourism each year.

On the issue of the Jamboree's financial records, Buck insists that they are open to the public.

However, Chris Cantrell, local attorney, says CPA Tom Janney has refused him the Jamboree records, fearing it would anger the Coordinator of the Jamboree Neal Dudney.

Buck responded saying "If somebody would tell me what the records are being requested at a reasonable time, they are entitled to see them."

Chris Cantrell also seemed to suggest that the Jamboree's tax exempt status could be subject to a challenge but advised the city board to safeguard some things to preserve it. "I would ask for a copy of the tax return that is filed. They (Jamboree Committee) are required by law to list all the expenses they incur. I would also have some agreement that says you (Jamboree Committee) can use our streets. You (Mayor and Aldermen) have a responsibility to the people you represent. In this agreement, you would want to be named as an insured. That's just good business. All these things will help preserve the openness."

No action was taken Monday night, but Mayor Taft Hendrixson said " I will ask our city attorney to check on our insurance for these special occasions."

Alderman Tonya Sullivan added that "There's issues that cannot be resolved in front of this board. I think we can hold them (Jamboree Committee) accountable for liability insurance and things of that nature, and they are required to be open, but I think there are some direct issues that need to be taken up with the Jamboree committee. I think questions about the tax returns, an agreement between the city and the Jamboree Committee, the insurance issue, and the overtime billing, all of that can be worked on by our city attorney."

Delivery Employee Charged with Theft of Coins from Newspaper Stands

October 1, 2007
Dwayne Page

28 year old David Wayne Clark of Jessie Road, McMinnville was arrested Friday on eight counts of theft of property under $500.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the Sheriff's Department was notified of someone stealing coins from the Smithville Review Newspaper stands at four locations in Smithville. On Thursday night, officers from the Sheriff's Department set up four newspaper stands by using marked coins and staking out the stands. In the early morning hours of Friday, officers saw a vehicle, which belonged to Clark, going to the stands. Clark, who is an employee of the Southern Standard Newspaper in McMinnville was delivering papers and breaking into the Smithville Review stands. Officers stopped Clark and found the marked money. Clark had in his possession $111.93 and two change trays which were taken from the Review stands. Clark's bond was set at $8,000 and his court date is October 11th

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says deputies stopped a vehicle on Highway 70 West on Saturday and found 36 year old Amy Curtis of Morgan Drive, Smithville driving on a revoked driver's license. Deputies also found a hypodermic needle and a straw. A passenger in Curtis' vehicle, 30 year old Amy Janette Lawson of Haley Road Smithville was arrested. Deputies found five hypodermic needles, cut straws, and marijuana in Lawson's pocketbook. Lawson also had in her possession 48 dilaudid pills, 4 xanax pills, 8 hydocodone pills, and 2 soma pills. Deputies also seized $974 in cash believed to be proceeds from drug sales. Curtis was charged with driving on a revoked license and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $2,000 and her court date is October 11th. Lawson was charged with public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia (needles and straws), simple possession of marijuana, sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (dilaudid), sale and delivery of a schedule III drug (hydocodone), and sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug (xanax). Bond was set at $126,000 and her court date is October 11th.

Also on Saturday, deputies received a call about a person sitting in a vehicle on Highway 70 West. Upon arrival, officers found 19 year old David Arlen Studdard of Log Cabin Road Cookeville in an intoxicated state. Studdard was charged with public intoxication and under age consumption. Bond was set at $2,000 and his court date is November 1st.

28 year old Victor Guzman of Jackson Street, Smithville was charged Saturday with no driver's license and DUI. Deputies observed a vehicle driving in a reckless manner on Short Mountain Highway. After Deputies stopped the vehicle, Guzman was found to have no drivers license and was intoxicated. 40 year old Ricardo Gonzalez of Jackson Street, Smithville, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was also found to be intoxicated. Guzman was charged with DUI and driving without a driver's license. Bond was set at $1,000 and his court date is November 1st. Gonzalez was charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and his court date is November 1st.

42 year old Tonya Caldwell of Walker Drive Smithville was stopped Sunday on Highway 70 East for a traffic violation. Field sobriety tasks were administered and she was found to be intoxicated. Caldwell was charged with 2nd offense DUI. Her bond is $2,000 and her court date is November 1st.


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