Local News Articles

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.

One Candidate Drops Out And Another Gets Back In Alexandria Alderman Race

June 28, 2007
Dwayne Page

First he was in, then he was out, now he is back in again.

The DeKalb County Election Commission comfirms that James R. Walker, who had withdrawn his candidacy for Alderman in the Alexandria City Election September 6th, has now decided to get back in the race.

The other candidate who had withdrawn, Henry Walker, is still out of the race.

In a prepared news release, Administrator of Elections Lisa Peterson, writes \"Yesterday, June 27th, Mr. James Walker and Mr. Henry Walker filed withdrawal notices indicating they did not wish to be a candidate in the September 6th Alexandria Municipal Election.\"

\"Today, June 28th, Mr. James R. Walker has filed a statement with the DeKalb County Election Commission requesting that his name be placed back on the Alexandria ballot.\"

\"Today (June 28th) at noon was the deadline for anyone to withdraw as a candidate for the Alexandria Election.\"

\"Those slated to be on the ballot are Derrick Baker, Shelia Clayborn, Maureen Tubbs, and James Walker.\"

\"The deadline for new registrations for those living in the city of Alexandria is August 8th.\"

\"The city charter allows property rights voting, which means if a person lives outside the city but owns property within the city limits, they may register and vote. Property rights voters are required to register at the election commission office and bring proof of ownership by the registration deadline of August 8th.\"

\"If anyone has any questions please call the Election Commission Office at 597-4146 or stop by the office. The Election Commission office is open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.\"

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.

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.

Smithville Aldermen Take Oath Of Office

June 30, 2007
Dwayne Page

The three Smithville Aldermen elected on June 19th were sworn into office to begin their two year terms Saturday during a special meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at city hall.

General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook II administered the oath of office to Aldermen-elect Jerry Hutchins, Sr., Tonya Sullivan, and Willie Thomas.

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

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

City Council to Consider Passage of New Ordinance Governing Access to Public Records

July 1, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen Monday night will consider passage of a new ordinance governing access to public records.

The new ordinance basically sets fees for making copies of records requested by the public.

Questions have arisen concerning the legality of certain portions of the city's existing ordinance. That ordinance is expected to be repealed, upon passage of a new ordinance.

Under the proposed new ordinance, \"Copies of open records that are requested during regular business hours are required to be provided the requester, within a reasonable time at a cost of twenty five cents per page, unless otherwise excepted in the ordinance. Fees for items such as, but not limited to, cd roms, computer disks, and audio/video cassettes, will be charged at the rate paid for such items by the city. All fees and charges for records shall be due and payable at the time such costs are incurred. City staff may require pre-payment of fees and charges for copies where the fees and charges would exceed twenty dollars.\"

\"Removal of original open records, including personnel records, from the offices of the city is strictly prohibited.\"

\"If copies of personnel records of city employees are requested, the City Recorder, or other city staff authorized by the City Recorder, shall notify the employee, for whom the records are requested, which documents have been copied, and to whom they have been provided. The employee shall be notified that the information has been requested within 48 hours.\"

\"Accident Reports provided by the Smithville Police Department shall be provided to anyone requesting the reports at a cost of four dollars per report. The city has determined that this is a reasonable charge, inasmuch as it is the same amount that is charged for such reports by the Tennessee Department of Safety under state law, and other cities in Tennessee.\"

\"It shall be the policy of the City of Smithville to cooperate fully with any Tennessee resident requesting the right to inspect and/or receive copies of open records at a reasonable charge; however, the city staff is prohibited from undertaking research projects to place records requested in any other form than normally maintained by the city, unless the requester agrees to pay for changing the form.\"

The proposed new ordinance states that \"The law provides that the city may stipulate that requests be received during regular business hours, and the city staff shall have a reasonable time to comply with requests for information.\"

\"The City may not provide copies of public records that violate an individual's right to privacy as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.\"

\"The City has the right to charge a reasonable charge for reproducing or copying records.\"

\"The City has the right to verify that the requester of information is in fact a Tennessee resident.\"

If the ordinance is adopted on first reading, second and final reading passage will be scheduled at the July 16th city council meeting.

County Gets a Bargain on Travel Trailers from Federal Surplus

July 1, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Government has purchased three travel trailers from federal surplus for one thousand dollars each to be used by the Sheriff's Department, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and a county garbage collection convenience center.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the travel trailers were originally obtained by the federal government for Hurricane Katrina victims but are no longer needed. \"We gave one thousand dollars a piece for them. The estimated total value of all three of them new is $65,000. These trailers have heating and cooling capabilities, along with restroom facilities. We will remove the bed area from the trailer, install some radio equipment, and make it a critical response unit. We'll use it in the events of tragedies, such as murders, drownings, missing persons, or any kind of rescues. That way we can do on the scene interviews with victims and witnesses. We'll also use it for weather related disasters, such as flooding and tornadoes. That way we'll have a place where all the emergency personnel can coordinate with the volunteers. We also want to use it for crime prevention and education for citizens and we'll take it to the schools and let children walk through it so they can see what it looks like. We'll also be sharing our trailer with the City of Smithville, the City of Alexandria, and any county department that needs any kind of help with anything, along with state agencies and surrounding counties for any command post or whatever they need.\"

County Mayor Mike Foster says one of the trailers will be used at a local garbage collection convenience center. \" We're going to use ours at one of our convenience centers. We've been buying these little portable buildings, and by the time we insulate them, put a commode in them, and all that, we've got about four thousand dollars in them. We'll have a thousand dollars in this one and all we'll have to do is take it there, level it, and hook it up. It's got heating and cooling, it's already wired, and it's got plenty of space. We'll take the bedroom out of it and use that for office space. If we can get two more of these trailers, we can use them at other convenience center locations where we have buildings that need replacing. This one will probably wind up serving the convenience center on the south side of town out on Highway 56 because we'll soon have to move that location (because of the state highway improvement project) and that little building there now will probably never stand the move because it's in pretty bad shape.\"

County Fire Chief Donny Green says one of the trailers will be for the County Volunteer Fire Department. \"We got this for the fire department but we'll be sharing it with the 911 Communications Center. I've talked with the director and we're going to install some backup equipment, such as radios and lines that we can hook up to the telephones in the event that there's a catastrophe at the 911 center such as a fire or something that would prevent them from dispatching temporarily. This would then become a mobile type backup center that we would use for that. In addition, we also plan to do some prevention and education type activities out of it for the schools and senior citizens and offer more outreach in the communities, such as showing how smoke alarms work and the importance of having them installed in homes.\"


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