Local News Articles

Smithville Police Charge Two Men with Theft

July 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police charged two men with theft of property after a witness saw them take a woman's pocket book she had left in a shopping cart in the parking lot of Save-A -Lot last Thursday.

James Lee Adcock and John A. Judkins of Jefferson Road will be in court on the charge July 31st.

Officer Matt Farmer, in his report, states that " A woman had purchased groceries and after loading them in her vehicle, she forget to get her purse from the cart. A witness observed Adcock and his passenger, Judkins, take possession of the purse. The witness said Judkins got out of a vehicle and took a black and white purse from a shopping buggy. He took it back to the vehicle, put it in the floor board between his feet, and began going through it. The purse contained $50 in cash, a payroll check in the amount of $439, a debit card, credit cards, checkbooks, driver license, and social security card. One of the cards was used to obtain $62 in gas."

Bond for both men is $3,500.

Meanwhile, in another case, 32 year old Michael O. Bly was charged with criminal impersonation on Friday.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr., in his report, states that Bly, who was wanted for violation of probation, was seen at Greenbrook Park. When Officer Travis Bryant made contact with Bly, he stated his named was Bryan Bly and that his birth date was December, 1986. Officer Bryant identified him by comparing his tattoo's to a previous booking sheet and upon asking him again, Bly gave his correct name.

Bly's bond is $5,000 and his court date is July 17th.

Meanwhile, 25 year old Yesuandy Aramda of Miller Road, Smithville was arrested Saturday for a first offense of driving under the influence.

His bond is $1,500 and his court date is July 3rd.

Sergeant Joey Jones, in his report, states that "I responded to Royal Oak Apartments to a complaint of loud music. Upon arrival, I found the music coming from a blue vehicle in the parking lot and a male subject was behind the wheel. The car was running and he was passed out. Upon getting the subject awake and speaking to him, I noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. The man stated that he had drank only two beers. Inside the vehicle were one- 12 ounce container of beer between the front seats and a 12 pack with only three containers left and another 12 pack with four left. All containers of beer were cold. The man could not stand alone due to his unsteadiness. No field sobriety tasks were performed but he did submit to a blood alcohol test."

37th Annual Fiddler's Jamboree Kicks Off Friday Morning

July 1, 2008
Dwayne Page

The 37th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, July 4th & 5th.

The musical competition kicks off on Friday morning 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 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 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.

New Sex Offender Registry Laws Take Effect

July 1, 2008

The Tennessee Sex Offender Registry will begin collecting new information on July 1, 2008 to be in compliance with the state's legislation that was passed during this year's legislative session.

Overview of Sex Offender Registry law changes:

• Sex offenders will provide electronic email addresses along with instant message, chat or any other internet communication name or identity to their registering agency (this information will NOT be available to the public)

• Sex offenders who fail to provide an address (such as the homeless) will be required to report monthly rather than quarterly or annually

• All aliases, including previous married names, are required to be reported

• Every sex offender on the Registry will provide a DNA sample (current law only requires sex offenders who committed offenses after July 1, 1998)

• There will be tighter restrictions on sex offenders spending time at schools

• Offenders, whose crime was against a minor, will not be allowed to work where the offender is in direct, unsupervised contact with a minor or operate a vehicle for the purpose of attracting minors.

Additional changes to the Sex Offender Registry will take effect January 1, 2009. At that time a physical description of the offender, text of the law describing the criminal offense, and a criminal history of the offender will be added. TBI will also set up a system where the public can register their email addresses and be notified if a sex offender moves into their area.

Fullillove Charged in Aggravated Robbery and Assault

July 1, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 20 year old man in connection with the assault and robbery of another man two weeks ago.

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings says Phil D. Fullilove of Alexandria is charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, theft of property under $500, and vandalism under $500.

The report states that "On June 17th at Smithville Electric System on Highway 70, Fullilove confronted Travis Tramel and stated to him that he wanted his money. When he didn't hand over his money, Fullilove started punching and kicking Tramel until he was unconscious. The person with Fullilove displayed an open knife at Tramel. Fullilove is also accused of taking a cell phone out of Tramel's pocket after he knocked him out. Fullilove and the other man also allegedly cut two tires on the pickup truck that Tramel owned."

Tramel, in his statement to police, said "I had been working on the Jamboree stage and had Phil Fullilove helping me. I was at Smithville Electric System getting some supplies from a storage unit behind the building when a green Chevy Lumina pulled up and Fullilove got out. The car had three other people in it. Fullilove came into the building and got a couple of things and put them in the truck. I was getting a sheet of plywood and when I turned my head to look at Fullilove, he hit me in the face. I fell down and when I tried to get up, Fullilove began hitting me again. The man from the back seat of the car got out and ran over and began kicking and hitting me as well. When I could not fight anymore, the man (from the back seat of the car) pulled out a knife and told me to give him everything in my pockets. They beat me again until I was knocked out. They went through my pockets, got my wallet, got $810 out of my front pocket, and got my cell phone that had fallen out when we were fighting. The man (from the back seat of the car) took the knife and punched holes in my rear tires. I got in my truck and went to a house next door and called 911."

Fullilove is under a $67,000 bond and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charges July 24th.

Charges are pending against another person.

The case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr.

Smithville Police have received another report of a counterfeit bill turning up at a local business.

Sergeant Steven Leffew, in his report, states that on Wednesday, June 25th, at 3:14 p.m. I responded to Bumper's Drive-In regarding a counterfeit bill. Upon arrival, an employee stated that a white female of medium build and dark hair gave her a counterfeit $20 bill. The employee noticed that the bill was counterfeit and told the customer that she could not accept it. The woman, who was purchasing a drink, gave the employee a dollar to pay for it and drove away.

The woman was driving a late 90's model small green car.

No arrests have been made.

Mayor and Aldermen-Elect Take Oath of Office

June 30, 2008
Dwayne Page
Mayor and Aldermen-Elect Take Oath of Office

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Stephen White and Cecil Burger, elected on June 17th, were sworn into office to begin their new two year terms Monday evening during a special meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at city hall.

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. administered the oath of office.

After the swearing in ceremony, Mayor Hendrixson appointed each of the alderman to oversee a city department.

The appointments are as follows: Steve White-Vice Mayor and Commissioner of the Police and Fire Departments; Jerry Hutchins, Sr.- Commissioner of Streets and Safety; Cecil Burger- Commissioner of the Water and Sewer Departments; Tonya Sullivan-Commissioner of Sanitation; and Willie Thomas - Commissioner of Finance and Taxation.

(Click on picture to see larger image)

Body of Drowning Victim Recovered from Center Hill Lake

June 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

The body of a 47 year old Gainesboro man was found by divers Monday afternoon near Cookeville Boat Dock on Center Hill Lake, the victim of an apparent drowning.

Dead is Jerry E. Stewart.

Stewart's body was located around 12:30 p.m. in about 20 feet of water approximately 300 to 400 yards from the no wake zone south of the boat dock.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Stewart was with two friends, 27 year old Doug Foster and 28 year old Jessica Harding, both of Gainesboro on a small boat jug fishing when the incident occurred late Saturday night. He says the man either fell or stepped off the boat and into the lake just before midnight.

Foster jumped in the water but was unable to save Stewart.

Foster and Harding returned to Cookeville Boat Dock to get help. Someone alerted Central dispatch around 11:55 p.m.

Members of the TWRA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were called to the scene and remained on the lake throughout the day Sunday and into Sunday night.

They returned to the scene Monday morning along with divers from the Putnam County and Jackson County Rescue Squads and the East Clay County Fire Department.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death. Sheriff Ray says it appears alcohol may have been a factor.

Sheriff Ray says he wants to thank members of the TWRA, the DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their hard work in this effort and to the operators of Cookeville Boat Dock who provided food and drinks to those conducting the search.

Alexandria Man Arrested by Sheriff's Department in Theft Case

June 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested an Alexandria man in a theft case last week and charged a woman with DUI in a separate case on Sunday.

35 year old Richard Barry Edmonds of Liberty Hill Road, Alexandria was charged last Monday with theft of property over $500. Sheriff Patrick Ray says Edmonds was visiting a friend on Lonnie Cantrell Road in Smithville when he allegedly took a 308 rifle from the residence without the owner's consent. He says Edmonds has admitted to taking the weapon. Bond was set at $5,000 and he will appear in court on July 17th.

22 year old Tina Hatfield of Oakley Road Liberty was charged Sunday with driving under the influence. Sheriff Ray says a deputy spotted Hatfield's vehicle sitting in the roadway on Highway 56 South and when the deputy pulled up to the vehicle, it took off. He says the automobile was weaving all over the roadway and the deputy stopped it. Hatfield, the driver, was intoxicated, having an odor of alcohol on her person. She also failed field sobriety tasks. Hatfield's bond was set a $1,500 and her court date is July 24th.

Sheriff Ray and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July.

Here are some Fourth of July safety tips from Sheriff Ray.

Water safety at the pool and lake:

" If possible, swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present, and swim with others. Never swim alone.
" Enter the water feet first. Enter the water headfirst only when the area is clearly marked for diving and has no obstructions.
" Adults should never leave a child unobserved around water. Practice "reach supervision" by staying within an arm's length of young children and weak swimmers while they are in and around the pool, lake or ocean.
" Take frequent breaks (about once an hour) where everyone gets out of the water, drinks water, reapplies sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) and rests.
" If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
" Watch out for the "dangerous too's" - too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
" Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children into the pool.
" If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom, and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.

Firework safety:

There are nearly 9,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks a year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission. You can enjoy these Fourth of July staples safely by doing the following:
" Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
" Keep a supply of water close-by as a precaution.
" Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
" Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
" Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
" Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

Safe Grilling:

Nothing says summer quite like the smell of barbecue. Make sure safety is a key ingredient in your Fourth of July by reading the following tips for safer grilling:

" Use gas and charcoal barbecue grills outside only.
" Position grills far from siding, deck railings, overhanging branches and house eaves.
" Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
" Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
" Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using grills.
" Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use

School Board Seeks More Local Funding to Meet State BEP Requirements

June 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education is asking the County Commission for an additional $200,000 in funding for the school budget in 2008-09.

Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins III, during a special meeting Friday night, said the board has no alternative but to ask for the extra money. He says the state is requiring this local match under the Basic Education Program funding formula and if the county doesn't comply, state funds could be withheld. "There’s a formula the state uses with each county. It considers a county’s ability to pay their portion of the budget for the school system versus what they do pay. We’ve been paying less than what the state’s formula has been showing for a number of years."

"DeKalb County was a circuit breaker system and was protected from the full impact of the full funding formula for one year. That year has passed."

"In late May, 2008 the BEP estimates for 2008-09 were released. These estimates show that the required local match by the state at $3,921,000. This is more than the local revenue in the tentative budget as adopted by the DeKalb County Board of Education May 14th, 2008 and presented to the DeKalb County Commission."

The local revenues in the tentative budget were $3,731,015. The final BEP allocation was released on June 25th, 2008 and reflects the same required local matching funds of $3,921,000. At this time, the State of Tennessee will require the DeKalb County Board of Education to have an additional $200,000 in local revenue in the 2008-09 general purpose school budget."

Evins added "This is something beyond our control. The state has mandated this and we will either have to abide by that or they will pull all their state funding."

The total State BEP Funding allocation for DeKalb County for 2008-09 is $12,083,000 including instructional, classroom, and non-classroom funding. The total required local matching funds for DeKalb County is $3,921,000. The total BEP funding for DeKalb County including state and local funding is $16,004,000.

The board Friday night voted 5 to 0 to amend the tentative budget to make this request of the county commission. Board members Kenny Rhody and Linda Fuston were absent.

Orifice gate to be installed at Center Hill Dam

June 28, 2008

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently performing a large construction project to correct seepage problems at Center Hill Dam. As part of environmental mitigation to continue a minimum flow into the Caney Fork River, this project includes the construction and installation of an orifice gate. The orifice gate is a steel plate with open ports and will be placed over one of six sluice gates, located at the base of the concrete portion of the dam. This orifice gate will provide an approximate 200 cubic foot per second minimum flow through the dam and will provide cold water releases and improve dissolved oxygen downstream to maintain the fishery once the seepage is cut off.

Installation of the orifice gate is scheduled for Tuesday, July 8th from approximately 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Although long-term road closures are not planned, the roadway over the dam will be reduced to one narrow lane and brief interruptions to traffic lasting 15-30 minutes each are expected to occur to allow the use of a crane to lower the orifice gate into place. Although not planned, interruptions to traffic could last as long as one hour.

Travelers, especially those with vehicles exceeding approximately nine feet in width, are encouraged to seek alternate routes during this time. The closest alternate route to drive from one side of the dam to the other is to travel I-40 which is just north of the dam. From the east end of the dam, take Highway 96 to I-40, travel I-40 west for approximately 10 miles to exit #258.

At exit #258, travel south on Highway 53 for approximately one mile before turning onto Highway 141, which leads to the west end of Center Hill Dam.

Additional information on the Center Hill Dam Seepage Rehabilitation Project may be found on the Nashville District website at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/CenterHill/.

Willoughby to Sign New Contract with Board of Education

June 28, 2008
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has agreed to terms of a new employment contract with the Board of Education.

The board adopted the agreement Friday night during a special session. The new contract takes effect July 1, 2008 and expires June 30th, 2011.

Willoughby's original contract with the board took effect July 1st, 2006 and was scheduled to expire June 30th, 2009. Even though Willoughby still had a year left on his original contract, the board decided to make a new agreement with Willoughby.

Terms and conditions are basically the same as in the original agreement.

In this contract, "the Board shall pay the Director an annual compensation of $87, 348 in twelve equal installments in accordance with Board policy and any additional State or Local increases. The Board shall evaluate the Director annually and shall review the Director's salary annually. The Board shall increase the salary of the Director during the term of his Contract each time an annual evaluation reflects that the Director has exceeded the expectations of the Board as follows: for the second year (2009-2010) a three percent increase; and for the third year (2010-2011) a three percent increase."

Under the original agreement, the school system funded Willoughby's total family health insurance package, a benefit of $13,793 per year.

Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins III explained that in the new contract, Willoughby will pay an employee match for the coverage. The school system will initially pay Willoughby's matching share for coverage of $5,103 per year, but Willoughby will then pay back $425.30 per month for his part. The state portion is $517.26 per month and $206.90 locally. Officials say this arrangement is not really an increase in salary or benefits for Willoughby except for retirement and tax purposes. "There was a misunderstanding about his medical insurance. We put $5,000 in there. That's Mr. Willoughby's matching portion for his medical insurance just as every teacher has a matching portion that they pay. That $5,000 amount was put into Mr. Willoughby's salary but in return for that, Mr. Willoughby will reimburse the school system that money on a monthly basis. So there's no increase in revenues for Mr. Willoughby. That's just put in their for specific reasons. That is not considered a pay raise because he does reimburse the board of education for that. That's the only change that has been made. Otherwise, this is the same contract as before. It's just a renewal and it's a three year contract. There was one year left on his old contract. It's not an extension of the contract. It's a renewal because of this one change (insurance). So there's two years that's been added to a one year contract. What you have before you is a three year contract."

The vote was 5 to 0 for approval. All members were present except Kenny Rhody and Linda Fuston.


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