Local News Articles

Education Celebration Scheduled for July 27

June 14, 2018
Dwayne Page
Students getting free school supplies from Dowelltown Baptist Church booth last year at First Day of School Education Celebration
Free School Supplies at DeKalb Middle School Tent last year at First Day of School Education Celebration

The Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Friday, July 27 starting at 6:00 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square.

This year’s event is being held a few days prior to the actual first day of school. Registration for students will be Wednesday, August 1 and the first full day of classes is set for Thursday, August 2.

Anyone planning to set up a booth for the Education Celebration this year is asked to wait until after 1 p.m. that day, Friday July 27 because early voting for the August elections will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-Kindergarten to 6th Grade, said the event is free and all parents and students are urged to attend to help kick off the new school year. "Our goal is to provide an evening of activities, education, and enjoyment for the residents of DeKalb County. We will be having information booths, passing out school supplies, refreshments, and various activities for the students to participate in while promoting education."

"This will also provide a time for our teachers and parents to come together to build a foundation for new and positive relationships, right from day one," said Burklow

"Our First Day of School Celebration is an opportunity for our schools to take a leadership role in re-enforcing and improving relationships among parents, teachers, students, and the community. This is the one day each year when it is both easiest and most important to enlist families as partners in our children's education. This is a great time for us to engage our families and make them feel welcome into our schools."

"So come out and join us. Everything is free that evening. We'll have free school supplies, free food, snacks and lots of community people coming together to make this event possible", said Burklow.

"There are many volunteers, churches, and organizations that come together to make this event possible for our children so they are able to start school with new supplies and a great positive attitude."

If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 615- 597-4084. Volunteers are needed.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join the fun downtown Smithville on Friday, July 27 starting at 6:00 p.m.

Blue Blaze Award Winner Michael Cleveland to Perform at Fiddlers Jamboree (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

June 14, 2018
Michael Cleveland
Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper

Award-winning fiddle player Michael Cleveland has been named the 2018 Blue Blaze Award Winner for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival. This most recent honor will be added to a rather impressive collection of accolades among his musical peers.

Cleveland has won more IBMA awards than any other fiddle player including 10 wins for Fiddle Player of the Year, six wins for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year, and fronts their 5-time Instrumental Group of the Year. On March 30th, Michael was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Together with Flamekeeper members Josh Richards (guitar), Nathan Livers (mandolin), Jasiah Shrode (banjo) and Tyler Griffith (bass), Cleveland makes his way around the country performing and delighting audiences, while leaving them with jaws dropped in complete amazement.

Cleveland will be accepting the Blue Blaze Award on Saturday, July 7th, 2018 during the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival at 5pm followed by a mini-concert by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper.

“Michael Cleveland embodies what we look for in a musician when choosing a recipient for the Blue Blaze Award,” said Sam Stout, President and Coordinator of the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival, “He started performing at the Jamboree as a young boy, and grew his talent to an impressive career in bluegrass music. The purpose of the Blue Blaze Award is to recognize a group or individual who keeps the embers of bluegrass music glowing for future generations. Michael Cleveland certainly does that, and more. He is an inspiration to all of us. We invite the public to come out and support Michael, while enjoying the best that bluegrass has to offer.”

Cleveland has a very loyal fan base, along with an amazing story. Michael was born blind, along with many additional health complications. He has endured over 20 reconstructive surgeries including brain
surgery. In addition to these challenges, he lost 80% of his hearing in his left ear. But Michael Cleveland is not a ‘glass half empty’ kind of guy. He prefers to focus on his goals, his love of music, and being the best in his field. Although only in his mid-30’s, Michael Cleveland, a 2018 Grammy Nominee, has reached plenty of those goals.

Cleveland began his love affair with music by taking violin lessons at only four years old. This passion for the stringed instrument led him to bluegrass music. His teachers quickly labeled him a musical prodigy. “When I started taking lessons at age 4,” he remembers, “I told the teacher right up front that I wanted to learn how to play bluegrass and I wanted to play ‘Orange Blossom Special.'" Reluctant as they were, his teachers quickly found reason to his rhyme, helping him progress to the point when, at age 9, Michael was invited to sit in with the legendary Bill Monroe at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. During this time, he visited the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and competed alongside fiddle players of all ages and skill levels. Soon after, he brought his virtuosic style to the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Alison Kraus, and was hand-picked for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Bluegrass Youth All Stars before he was 14. His blistering prowess and technical fluency have since marked him as a sought-after musician, leading to performances with Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Tim O’Brien, J.D. Crowe and the New South, Andy Statman, and The Kruger Brothers in recent years. However, it wasn’t until 2006, when Michael formed his own band Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, that he found the right vehicle for his musical vision, and he hasn’t rested since, constantly looking for new ways to push himself and his music forward.

One would think that with all of his life-long accolades, his own award-winning band, a concert tour, and celebrity performances at the Opry, that Cleveland would have no more goals to shoot for…but we know him better than that. ‘Flamekeeper - The Michael Cleveland Story’ is a feature length documentary film coming in 2018. To follow Michael Cleveland’s journey, go to www.flamekeeperband.com or follow his facebook page.

Alexandria Senior Center Celebrates Flag Day

June 14, 2018
Dwayne Page
Members of Boy Scout Troop 347 conducted a flag retirement ceremony as part of a Flag Day observance

Members of Boy Scout Troop 347 conducted a flag retirement ceremony as part of a Flag Day observance Wednesday at the Alexandria Senior Citizens Center.

“The scouts brought about 40-50 flags to retire. Each flag was carefully folded into the formal triangular shape, prior to burning. It was very touching and respectful. The service was led by Jonathan Birmingham, Committee member; Darren Waggoner, scout; Ben Waggoner, cub scout; and Miranda Waggoner, Committee member", said Sandy Brown, Director of the Alexandria Senior Citizens Center.

The United States federal law provides that the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display should be destroyed in a dignified way preferably by burning.



Write-Ins to Decide Alexandria Mayor Race August 2

June 13, 2018
Dwayne Page
Bennett Armstrong
Donna Davis

The Alexandria Mayor’s race will be contested on Thursday, August 2 during the Municipal Election although voters will find no name on the ballot.

Incumbent Mayor Bennett Armstrong will be seeking re-election to a second term but this time he is running a write-in campaign. He will face a challenge from Donna Davis, who is also a write-in candidate for mayor.

The term of office is four years.

Meanwhile three aldermen are also to be elected in Alexandria but only one name for alderman appears on the ballot, Lloyd Dale Dyer. Two other persons will be mounting a write-in campaign for alderman including Shane Blair, an incumbent, for a full four-year term and Bridgette Rogers, for a two-year term that fills a vacancy.

Noon Wednesday, June 13 was the deadline for write-in candidates to make their intentions known to the election commission for the August 2 elections.

State Primaries to Feature Several Contested Races

June 13, 2018
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Democratic and Republican Primaries on August 2 will feature several contested races for state offices.

Six Republicans and three Democrats are in the race for Governor.

Seeking the Republican nomination for Governor on August 2 are Diane Black, Randy Boyd, Beth Harwell, Bill Lee, Basil Marceaux, Sr. and Kay White.

Democrats in the hunt for their party’s nomination for Governor are Karl Dean, Craig Fitzhugh, and Mezianne Vale Payne.

Two Republicans and three Democrats are looking to succeed Bob Corker as U.S. Senator

Candidates in the GOP primary for the US Senate are Marsha Blackburn and Aaron L. Pettigrew.

Democrats seeking the nomination for the US Senate are Phil Bredesen, Gary Davis, and John Wolfe

For the US House of Representatives,6th District, contenders for the GOP nomination are Bob Corlew, Judd Matheny, Christopher Brian Monday, John Rose, and Lavern “Uturn Lavern” Vivio.

Democrats looking to be nominated for Congress are Dawn Barlow, Christopher Martin Finley, Peter Heffernan, and Merilee Wineinger.

In the race for State Senate, District 17, the candidates are Republican Mark Pody and Democrat Mary Alice Carfi. They are each running unopposed for the nomination of their respective parties on August 2.

For the State House of Representatives in District 40, Terri Lynn Weaver and Chad Z. Williams are vying for the GOP nomination. There is no Democratic candidate.

In the District 46 race for the State House of Representatives, the GOP candidates seeking the nomination are Clark Boyd and Menda McCall Holmes.

Democrats seeking the nomination for District 46 are Mark Cagle and Faye Northcutt-Knox

For GOP State Executive Committeeman, District 17, the candidates are Jerry Beavers and Dwayne Craighead.

Two candidates are running for GOP State Executive Committeewoman, District 17, Terri Nicholson and Jennifer Franklin Winfree.

Aubrey T. Givens is in the race for Democratic State Executive Committeeman, District 17 while Carol Brown Andrews is seeking the position of Democratic State Executive Committeewoman, District 17.

Winners of the primaries will face off in the November Tennessee General Election

Smithville Mayor and Aldermen to Consider Passage of New City Budget

June 13, 2018
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen: Seated Mayor Jimmy Poss and Alderman Gayla Hendrix. STANDING: Aldermen Danny Washer, Jason Murphy, Josh Miller, and Shawn Jacobs

The Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen are expected to get down to business on passage of the city’s 2018-19 fiscal year budget Thursday night.

A work session will be held at 6 p.m. to hash out what extras if any are included in the new spending plan from this past year based on requests from the aldermen and city department supervisors. A special meeting will follow the workshop to act on first reading passage of the budget. If it is approved second reading action will follow at a special meeting next Thursday, June 21 at 6 p.m.

For the past 12 months, the city has been operating under a $6.3 million budget funded partly by a property tax rate of 64.9 cents per $100 of assessed value (the same as previous years). The city property tax rate generates $884,000.

Water and sewer rates increased this past year. City water customers now pay $7.25 per thousand gallons of usage. Rates for customers outside the city limits are now $10.88 per thousand. City sewer customers pay $6.75 per thousand gallons plus a flat usage rate of $3.62.

City officials said the rate increase was needed to help make up the difference in the loss of revenue due to the departure of the DeKalb Utility District as a water customer.

FSA County Committee Nominations Begin June 15

June 12, 2018
Dwayne Page

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages America’s farmers and ranchers to nominate candidates to lead, serve and represent their community on their local county committee. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept nominations for county committee members beginning Friday, June 15, 2018.

Producers across the country are already serving on committees where they play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA, making important decisions on programs dealing with disaster and conservation, emergencies, commodity price loan support, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

“Our county committees make decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally to best serve the needs of agriculture in their community,” said Acting FSA Administrator Steve Peterson. “We strongly encourage all eligible producers to visit their local FSA office today to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. There’s an increasing need for representation from underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers.”

Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated farmers and ranchers serve on FSA county committees, which consist of three to 11 members and meet once a month, or as needed. Members serve three-year terms.

Producers can nominate themselves or others. Check your local USDA service center to see if your local administrative area is up for election this year. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, may also nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program and reside in the area where the election is being held.

To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms for the 2018 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2018. Visit farmers.gov for more information.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 5, 2018. Read more to learn about important election dates.

Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree & Crafts Festival Launches New Website

June 12, 2018
Dwayne Page
Square Dancing

Fans of the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival are sure to be impressed with a brand new website promoting the annual event which was recently launched and is now available at www.fiddlersjamboree.com.

Members of the James G. "Bobo" Driver family, long-time supporters of the Jamboree, funded the new Fiddlers Jamboree website which features beautiful photos with easy to navigate information and a LIVE Twitter feed on the home page.

Mr. Driver founded the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners portion of the Fiddlers Jamboree during the 1980’s to showcase the talents of children up to the age of 12 in seven categories of music and dance competition.

Although tens of thousands attend the festival each year, the new website is designed to broaden its appeal to musicians, artisans, and tourists alike throughout the country and the world.

Read about the story and history of the Fiddlers Jamboree as well as State and Congressional Resolutions paying tribute to the festival. Check out the photo gallery with special memories of past years; a section devoted to previous winners; a schedule of events for this year as well as contestant rules and regulations, along with photos and information about the crafts show and downloadable registration forms. There’s even a listing of lodging locations and more!

For all things related to the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival, visit often and see what’s new at www.fiddlersjamboree.com

Two Tigerettes Earn Honors from TSCA

June 12, 2018
Dwayne Page
Kristena Bain
Kenzie France

Two outstanding softball players for the DCHS Tigerettes have been honored by the Tennessee Softball Coaches Association. Kristena Bain was one of 15 seniors selected to play in the All Star game for Middle Tn. Also Kenzie France was one of 17 selected as ALL STATE for Class AA. Congratulations to these very talented ladies!!!

Early Voting Times Set for August 2nd Elections

June 11, 2018
Dwayne Page
Tim Stribling
Randy Paris
Patrick Ray
Michael Agee
Susan Martin
Nicole Wright
Danny Hale
Jimmy Sprague
Sean Driver
James L. (Jimmy) Poss
Jeff McMillen

Early Voting times have been set for the August 2nd elections.

The DeKalb County Election Commission met Monday evening to make it official.

Early voting begins July 13 through July 28 on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

The times are as follows:

Mondays—1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Tuesdays—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesdays—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursdays—2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Fridays—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturdays—9 a.m. to noon.

Four contested races for county-wide public offices will be settled with the DeKalb County General Election on Thursday, August 2.

Those races are for County Mayor, Sheriff, Road Supervisor, and Circuit Court Clerk.

The lineup of candidates as they appear on the ballot are as follows:

County Mayor: Democrat Tim Stribling and Independent Randy Paris

Sheriff: Republican Patrick Ray and Democrat Michael Jay Agee

Circuit Court Clerk: Republican Susan Martin and Democrat Nicole Wright

Road Superintendent: Republican Danny L. Hale and Democrat Jimmy Sprague

Others running unopposed are as follows:

Trustee: Republican Sean D. Driver

County Clerk: Democrat James L. (Jimmy) Poss

Register of Deeds: Democrat Jeff McMillen

The winners will take office September 1.

Each of the seven county commission district races will be contested in the DeKalb County General Election on Thursday, August 2.

The lineup of candidates in each district as they appear on the ballot are as follows:

1st district: Republican Tom Chandler and Democrats Dennis Slager and Julie Williams Young. Two are to be elected.

2nd district: Republican Sabrina Farler and Democrats Nora Harvey and Myron Rhody. Two are to be elected.

3rd district: Republican Renee Steff and Democrats Bobby G. Johnson and Jenny Trapp. Two are to be elected.

4th district: Republican Greg Matthews and Democrats Janice Fish-Stewart and Scott Little. Two are to be elected.

5th district: Republican Jerry D. Adcock, Democrats Lloyd F. Emmons and Anita Puckett, and Independent William Millard Rutherford. Two are to be elected.

6th district: Republican Matt Adcock and Democrats Betty Jean Atnip and Jeff Barnes. Two are to be elected.

7th district: Republican Bruce Malone and Democrats Beth Pafford and Larry Summers. Two are to be elected.

The winners will take office September 1.

The Smithville Municipal Election will feature a contested mayoral race on Thursday, August 2.

The candidates for Mayor as listed on the ballot are Josh Miller, Jimmy W. Poss, and Curtis L. Rust.

Two alderman candidates are running unopposed, Brandon J. Cox and Gayla C. Hendrix.

The winners will take office September 1. The terms are for four years.

The Liberty Municipal Election also has a contested Mayor race on August 2.

The candidates are Darrell W. Johnson and Dwight Mathis.

The five alderman candidates are unopposed including Dwayne Blair, J.D. Bratten, Derek Johnson, Jason H. Ray, and William Howard Reynolds, Jr.

The terms are for four years.

Three aldermen are to be elected in Dowelltown but only one name appears on the ballot, Ronald L. Griffith. The terms are for four years.

Three aldermen and a mayor are also to be elected in Alexandria but only one name for alderman appears on the ballot Lloyd Dale Dyer. Two other persons plan to mount a write-in campaign for alderman including Shane Blair, an incumbent, for a full four-year term and Bridgette Rogers, for a two-year term that fills a vacancy.

There is no name on the Alexandria ballot for mayor although two persons Bennett Armstrong and Donna Davis are planning a write-in campaign for that office.

The mayor’s term is for four years.


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