Local News Articles

Public Responds to Plea for Pledges to Replace Stolen Bronze Stars from Veterans Monument

June 5, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Photo shows missing bronze star from veteran’s memorial monument at Green Brook Park
Veterans Memorial Monument and Cannons at Green Brook Park

More than $1,400 in pledges have been made to replace six bronze stars stolen off the veteran’s memorial monument at Green Brook Park last fall.

Joyce Poss championed the cause and announced the fundraising effort last Monday during the Memorial Day program at the county complex and through a local news story on WJLE. Within two days, Poss said the public had responded with pledges totaling $1,475. The cost of the project was expected to be between $1,200 and $1,500.

Pledges and donations are still being sought.

Poss said if more money is collected than needed to replace the bronze stars then the extra money will likely be used to repair and clean the monument and to add to it names of other fallen soldiers from DeKalb County including US Army Sergeant Shannon D. Taylor who was killed in the line of duty while serving in Iraq in 2005 and US Army PFC Billy Gene Anderson who died while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. A fence with barbed wire will also be placed around the monument with a locked gate to hopefully prevent another theft.

“I need names of those wishing to make a pledge and the amount you are willing to pledge. The city will take care of getting the bronze stars ordered. All I need at this time is input and help getting this done. Any amount you can give will be appreciated,” said Poss.

Call 615-597-5164 and leave a message including your name and telephone number and Joyce will return your call.

An off duty city employee discovered the theft last September.

According to City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson, the employee was in the park and noticed that the stars were missing from the monument. Its not known exactly when the theft occurred. City officials believe whoever committed the theft used a pry bar to remove the stars .

The monument and two cannons, once located on the grounds of the former VFW Howard Gill Post 7623 on the Sparta Highway, were relocated to Green Brook Park after the Post was closed three years ago. The six sided monument stands in tribute to those from DeKalb County who lost their lives during the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Iraqi Freedom.

Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins said the Police Department is seeking tips from the public. If you have information that may help solve the crime contact Crime Stoppers at 615-464-6199.

Murphy Charged with Committing Burglary and Theft at Same Home Twice

June 5, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tyler Wayne Murphy
Darrell Luis Salinas
Tamara Michelle Dodson
Scott Green Pedigo
Brian Bronson Roberts
Christy Jean Martin
Jacob Randall Stacy
Regina Carol Valdez
Joseph William Knuff

A Smithville man has been arrested after allegedly breaking into and stealing from the same home twice.

21 year old Tyler Wayne Murphy of Dearman Street, Smithville is charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, theft of property under $500, and theft of property under $1,000. His bond is $15,000 and his court date is June 28.

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_5.pdf (2.05 MB)

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, May 21 Murphy allegedly broke into a home on Whorton Springs Road and stole a Springfield XD 40 caliber pistol valued at $500, two Springfield XD clips valued at $60, and a 20 gauge Mossberg Maverick shotgun valued at $200. The total value of the stolen items is $760.

Five days later on Saturday, May 26 Murphy allegedly broke into the same home again and stole a Bulldog holster valued at $31, nine millimeter federal ammunition valued at $15, and 40 caliber federal ammunition valued at $21. The total value of the stolen items is $67. The detectives investigating the case recovered the guns and some of the ammo and holster.

44 year old Darrell Luis Salinas of V.L. Wilson Loop, Smithville was arrested on Wednesday, May 30 after being served with a grand jury sealed indictment charging him with selling drugs. He is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug, possession for resale (2 counts), and violation of a drug free school zone (3 counts). His bond is $75,000 and he will be arraigned in criminal court June 19.

45 year old Billie Jo Morris of Foster Road, Smithville is cited for simple possession of schedule VI and II drugs. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 19 a deputy was called to Neal Drive on a trespassing complaint and upon arrival found Morris on the property. A subsequent consent search of her purse turned up 0.3 grams of methamphetamine and 1.8 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Her court date is June 14.

18 year old Riley Cade Sexton of McMinnville Highway, Smithville is cited for simple possession/casual exchange. According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy was dispatched to County House Road on Monday, May 28 due to cars blocking the roadway. Upon arrival the officer spotted a white Nissan car in the roadway. The officer stopped and spoke with the driver, Sexton. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, the deputy found a Swisher Sweets container which held a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Sexton’s court date is June 28.

31 year old Tamara Michelle Dodson of Obie Adcock Road, Smithville and 51 year old Scott Green Pedigo of Page Lane, Smithville were arrested on Thursday, May 31.

Both are charged with the possession, manufacture, sale, or delivery of methamphetamine. Pedigo is also charged with driving under the influence and was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $5,000. Dodson was further cited for possession of a schedule V drug (Lyrica). Dodson is under a $3,500 bond. Both will make a court appearance on June 28.

Sheriff Ray said that deputies were called to a market on McMinnville Highway where the driver of a Toyota 4Runner parked at the gas pumps was observed passed out. A passenger was also in the vehicle.

Upon arrival the deputy found the driver, Pedigo slumped over onto the passenger side of the vehicle. After waking Pedigo, the officer asked him to submit to field sobriety tasks but he could not complete them due to his condition and a pelvic injury. Pedigo refused to give blood in violation of the implied consent law. Before conducting a pat down search, the deputy asked Pedigo if he had any drugs or paraphernalia on him and Pedigo produced a small baggie containing a crystal like substance believed to be methamphetamine which weighed one gram. Pedigo also handed over a glass pipe he had in his left front pocket. Pedigo was then placed under arrest.

While speaking with Pedigo’s passenger, Dodson the other officer noticed that she was holding in her right hand a small baggie containing a white crystal like substance. The officer retrieved the baggie and the contents field tested positive for methamphetamine. She too was taken into custody.

41 year old Brian Bronson Roberts of Hopewell Road, Silver Point is charged with public intoxication; resisting stop, frisk , halt, arrest, or search; and vandalism under $1,000. His bond totals $7,000 and his court date is June 14.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 26 a deputy was dispatched to Midway Road due to complaints of a man dressed in a white shirt and blue jeans who was lurking behind homes in the area. Upon arrival the officer found the man, Roberts near Midway Road. The deputy observed Roberts fall into a ditch several times as he was unsteady on his feet. While being placed under arrest, Roberts resisted by trying to pull himself away from the officer. Roberts had to be taken to the ground.

Five days later on Thursday, May 31, Roberts broke a sprinkler head off the fire sprinkler system while being housed in the jail annex holding cell which flooded the cell and a portion of the booking room.

33 year old Christy Jean Martin of Frosty Point, Dowelltown is charged with an accident resulting in damage (hit and run). She was arrested on Thursday, May 31. Martin’s bond is $2,500 and her court date is June 14. Sheriff Ray said that on March 2 a deputy was dispatched to New Home Road due to a hit and run accident. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the victim who reported traveling down New Home Road when another automobile sideswiped her vehicle. According to the victim, the driver responsible for the accident, Martin got out of her vehicle and she (victim) recognized her. Martin then got back into her automobile and left the scene.

18 year old Jacob Randall Stacy of Cordell Hull Circle, Carthage is charged with assault. He is under a $3,000 bond and his court date is July 5. Sheriff Ray said that on April 11 while incarcerated at the jail, Stacy assaulted another inmate, hitting him on the head and face with his fist causing multiple bruises and abrasions. The assault was captured on the jail’s video surveillance system.

45 year old Regina Carol Valdez of Holmes Creek Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $3,500 and the court date is June 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, June 3 a deputy responded to a residence on Holmes Creek Road due to a physical domestic in progress. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a man who reported that he and his wife, Valdez had been in an argument which became physical when she hit him on his left arm causing redness and scratch marks. Valdez was placed under arrest.

36 year old Joseph William Knuff of Alexandria is charged with a fifth offense of driving on a revoked license. He was further cited for driving on roadways laned for travel. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is June 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, June 3 a deputy stopped a white Ford pickup for failing to maintain its lane of travel twice on Highway 70 west in Alexandria. The officer stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, Knuff. A check of his license through central dispatch revealed them to be revoked for a DUI in Wilson County from April 12, 2012 to April 12, 2013 with no reinstatement. Knuff also has three prior driving on revoked charges in Wilson County along with one DRL charge in Smith County with no reinstatements.

Sandra Wall to Succeed Her Father on SES Board

June 4, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sandra Wall

Sandra Wall has been named to the Smithville Electric System Board of Directors.

She will succeed her father, the late John Robert Nixon as a member of the board. He passed away in April.

During Monday night’s monthly city council meeting, Mayor Jimmy Poss recommended that Wall be appointed to fill the remaining three years of Nixon’s unexpired term. The aldermen gave their approval. Mayor Poss said seven persons expressed an interest in the position but he did not disclose the names.

Mr. Nixon, a founding member of the Smithville Electric System Board of Directors, was reappointed to a new four year term last July.

Nixon had been a member of the SES board since it was established in 1969 and served until his death. He had been the only chairman of the board until he stepped down from that role last year.

Smithville Electric System paid tribute to Nixon by naming the new sub-station on College Street after him. The dedication was held last October.

Original members of the SES board in 1969 along with Nixon were Dr. W.E.Vanatta, John Bill Evins, Bill Maffett, and Clarence Braswell.

Members of the board today in addition to Wall are Walter Burton, Hilton Conger, Tony Hagen, and Mayor Jimmy Poss.

Pea Ridge Kids Fishing Rodeo Set for Saturday on Free Fishing Day

June 4, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Free Fishing Day Saturday

The annual Pea Ridge Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held at the big pond in the Pea Ridge Wildlife Management Area on Saturday, June 9 from 7:00 a.m. until noon as part of Free Fishing Day in Tennessee. Kids through age fifteen may participate in the Pea Ridge Kids Fishing Rodeo. Snacks, soft drinks, and prizes will be available for the kids.

Free Fishing Day in Tennessee is Saturday, June 9 when anyone may fish free without a license in Tennessee’s public waters.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provides the annual free day in hopes of increasing interest in fishing. The day allows anyone the opportunity to try this great outdoor sport, especially children to celebrate fishing as a wholesome and healthy recreational option. In addition, children ages 15 and younger may fish without a license beginning on Free Fishing Day through the following Friday (June 15).

The day and week are annual events in Tennessee and are great opportunities to introduce children to the enjoyment and excitement of a day on the water catching fish. The TWRA is among several organizations planning special fishing events, primarily for youngsters. The TWRA annually stocks several thousand pounds of fish for various events.

For a list of the events, visit the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org and the For Anglers section. Anglers and potential anglers should check the events list often since special events are frequently added.

Free Fishing Day and Week apply to Tennessee’s public waters, TWRA owned and operated lakes, and state park facilities. Some privately owned pay lakes and ponds continue to charge during this special day and week. Anglers will need to consult with those operators if there are any questions about a particular facility.

Volunteer Firefighters and Rescue Squad Members May Obtain Free License Plate

June 4, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss

If you have been an active volunteer firefighter or rescue squad member in the State of Tennessee for at least a year, you are eligible to obtain one free license plate thanks to a new state law which went into effect Tuesday, May 15.

As enacted, the new law exempts certain active, volunteer firefighters and rescue squad members from payment of the regular registration fee at the time of renewal for a license plate issued to the volunteer firefighter or rescue squad member. The offer is good for only one motor vehicle per firefighter or rescue squad member upon the certification or sworn statement from the fire chief or local rescue squad captain confirming the person is an active, volunteer firefighter or rescue squad member.

The law also authorizes the county commission to waive the local issuance fee for motor vehicles receiving the exemption from the state registration fee, if the waiver is approved in the same manner as the adoption of the motor vehicle tax.

The price for a standard firefighter or rescue squad plate is $26.50 (state fee) along with $2.50 issuance fee for a total of $29.00.

Since the law has already gone into effect, County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss said his office can issue the plates without charging the state fees but is not yet authorized to waive the local issuance fee for the plates until the county commission takes action.

Firefighters and rescue squad members wishing to take advantage of the free plates are urged to wait until the county commission acts on waiving the local fee before trying to obtain one.

Smithville Man Killed in Rutherford County Motorcycle Crash

June 4, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
William Popejoy

A 55 year old Smithville man was killed after the motorcycle he was driving ran into the back of another vehicle in Rutherford County Friday afternoon, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

William Popejoy of Smithville was identified as the person killed in a fatality report.

The crash occurred at the intersection State Highway 96 and Highway 266 in Lascassas, the report states.

According to the report, the motorcycle hit a vehicle that was stopped in traffic going westbound. The motorcycle then continued into the eastbound lanes and struck another vehicle.

No other injuries were listed in the report.

Popejoy was born May 21, 1963 to his parents, William S. and Ruth Moyers Popejoy. He was preceded in death his sister, Melody Escue. Bill was a construction worker.

He is survived by his mother, Ruth Popejoy of Smyrna; sister, Lori (Gary) Anderson of Liberty; nephews, Gary Anderson, Jr. and Michael Anderson; companion, Valerie Laboe of Smithville; special extended family, Jason (Tosha) Stembridge and children, Brice and Cali Stembridge.

A graveside service and interment will be 2 PM Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at Anderson Cemetery in the Cottage Home Community of Liberty with Bro. Bernard Houk officiating. There will be no visitation at the funeral home. Family and friends will meet at the cemetery for the graveside service at 2 PM.

DeKalb Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

DeKalb Fair Returns July 16-21 (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

June 3, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fair Returns July 16-21
DeKalb County Fair
Spin-A-Tron was a popular ride in 2017
Tyra Grace Graham was the 2017 DeKalb County Fairest of the Fair
Cattle Show
Kiddie Tractor Pull

The DeKalb County Fair returns for its annual weeklong run Monday through Saturday, July 16-21

With the theme "Roars and More”, this year's fair, the 162 edition, will feature another fun filled week of rides by the Family Attractions Amusement Company and crowd pleasing events including the return of the Demolition Derby.

The 2018 DeKalb County Fair Premium Book is currently available and copies can be obtained at the following locations in Alexandria: Prichard's Foods, The Village, Alexandria Post Office, F.Z. Webb's and Sons Pharmacy, Alexandria Senior Center, City of Alexandria, Wilson Bank & Trust, Liberty State Bank, and Time and Again Antiques; and in Smithville at the UT Extension Office, USDA Farm services office, Smithville Senior Center, F.Z. Webb's and Sons Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, Liberty State Bank, Wilson Bank & Trust, Smithville Review, and DeKalb County Register of Deeds Office.

Non-perishable items for display in the Kenneth Sandlin Center will be accepted on Saturday July 7th and on Saturday July 14 for perishable entries.

Visit the DeKalb County Fair website at the link below for information about renting booth space, being a sponsor, entering pageants and shows, entering exhibits and events . The contact person and phone number for all of these is listed on website.

http://www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com/

Entries are also being sought for the DeKalb County Fair's Decorated Hay Contest featuring three categories:
*Decorated Round Bale
*Decorated Square Bale
*Decorated Display
Open to any youth or adult resident of DeKalb County
Hay can be entered Saturday July 14th from 11:00 am till 2:00 pm or Sunday, July 15 from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Fair 5K and Fun Run will be July 14. Registration begins at 6:00 pm. The Run will start at 7:00 PM. Pre-registration available by contacting Matt Boss at 615-464-8627. The entry fee is $25

The schedule of Fair events each night is as follows:

Monday, July 16:
*Snowbird: 5:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.
*Cattle Show at the Grandstand- 6:00 p.m.
*Bullwhip Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena- 7:30 p.m.
*Junior Fair Princess Pageant for contestants ages 13-16 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair Pageant for contestants ages 17 to 20 at the Lions Club Pavilion
*FEARLESS Dancing Firemen following Fairest of the Fair at the Lions Club Pavilion
*Lip Sync Battle (Round 1) following FEARLESS Dancing Firemen at the Lions Club Pavilion
*Cash Drawing-9:30 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion

Rodeo Highlight at Fair Monday Night from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 17:
*Little Mister for contestants ages 4-6: 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion
*Little Miss for contestants ages 4-6 following the Little Mister Pageant
*Demolition Derby: 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena
*Corn Hole Tournament: 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand
*Cash Drawing-9:30 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion

Wednesday, July 18:
*Kiddie Tractor Pull: 6:00 p.m. at the Grandstand
*Little Miss Princess Pageant for contestants ages 7-9: 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Pageant for those ages 10-12 at the Lions Club Pavilion
*ATV/Motorcycle Racing: 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena
*Cash Drawing-9:30 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion

Thursday, July 19:
*Senior Day: 9:00 a.m. at the Lions Club Building
*Junior Goat Show: 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly Barn
* Baby Show for contestants one day to 12 months: 6:00 p.m. followed by The Vintage Variety Show at the Lions Club Pavilion
*ATV/Motorcycle Racing: 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena
*Cash Drawing-9:30 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion

Friday, July 20:
*Toddler Show for contestants 13 months to 48 months: 6:00 p.m. followed by Lip Sync Battle (Finale) at the Lions Club Pavilion
*Antique Tractor Pull:7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena
*Cash Drawing-9:30 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion

Saturday, July 21:
*Horseshoe Tournament: Noon at the Tot Kelly barn
*Gospel Singing: 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion
*Super Tractor/Truck Pull: 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena
*Cash Drawing-9:30 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion

Take a stroll down Memory Lane and enjoy nightly entertainment at the Memory Lane Stage in Memory Village which features replicas of a gas station, telephone office, barber shop, banks, and a veterans building.

Rides on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available for $15.00 on Monday night; $16.00 on Tuesday night; $14.00 on Wednesday and $18.00 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Admission to the fair is $5.00 per person. Children age four and younger will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. The exhibit building is open from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Parking is Free!

GRANDPA FAIR SPONSORS:
A Degree Above Heating& Cooling
Adams Dental, PLLC – Drs John & Laura Adams
Cedar City RV
DeKalb Farmers Co-op
DeKalb Funeral Chapel
DTC Communications
Gina Denman – The Real Estate Team
Industrial Machine Service Inc.
Jackie Smith – State Farm
Janney & Associates, CPAs
Liberty State Bank
Middle Tennessee Electric
NHC Healthcare
Smith County Commission Company
St Thomas DeKalb Hospital
Wal-Mart
Wilson Bank & Trust

Bouldin is All-American Co-angler Champ

June 3, 2018
Matthew Bouldin of Smithville is All-American Co-angler Champ (FLWFishing.com photo)

A Smithville man is an All-American Co-Angler Champion and the recipient of $50,000.

Matthew Bouldin claimed the All-American Title Saturday by winning the three day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana. Bouldin had a final-day rally of 18 pounds, 4 ounces to snatch the win away from Jesse Parks of Avondale, Arizona., who led for the first two days, by a margin of only 4 ounces.

According to FLWFishing.com Bouldin caught limits each day while fishing with Pat Upthagrove, Nick Deering and Roger Fitzpatrick. He started Saturday’s championship round in third place, having weighed in qualifying-round limits of 16-9 and 9-11. But Saturday, Bouldin out-fished his pro partner to close a gap of more than 5 pounds and walk away a champion.

Bouldin said every day was a challenge. He relied heavily on a combination of shaky heads comprised of 1/8-, 3/16- and 5/16-ounce Buckeye Lures Spot Remover heads and either Zoom Trick Worms or Zoom Mag Finesse Worms, as well as two sizes of the River2Sea Whopper Plopper.

Bouldin fished the 1/8-ounce shaky head on spinning tackle, and the heavier heads on baitcasting tackle. He started out flipping the 5/16-ounce model, but midway through the tournament he realized the heft of the Mag Finesse Worm made it possible to flip and skip with the 3/16-ounce head.

That became his go-to “heavy” model for the final day. It was a big producer in the end because he could fish with baitcasting tackle more easily and efficiently in the wind or when his boater was covering water at a fast clip.

Bouldin, a minister is a student at Tennessee Tech where he is studying to become an accountant.

The 2018 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, advance to one of six regional tournaments where they compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. The 2018 BFL All-American was held May 31-June 2 at Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.

The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament season will continue Saturday, June 9, for Music City Division anglers with a tournament on Center Hill Lake. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day tournament.

Ribbon Cutting Held for New Story Book Trail at Edgar Evins State Park (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

June 2, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bruce Tunnicliffe and Skylar and Grace Chausse among the first to walk the Story Book Trail after the ribbon cutting Saturday
Tina Stout, Eli, and Blakely take a walk on the Story Book Trail Saturday at Edgar Evins State Park

Edgar Evins State Park celebrated National Trails Day on Saturday with a ribbon cutting marking the opening of a new kid friendly half mile Hillside Story Book Trail.

Miss Tennessee’s Outstanding Teen, Mary Humphrey of Jackson joined Ranger Ramble, the Tennessee State Park mascot, in cutting the ribbon on the new trail. Miss Humphrey, whose slogan is “Pages With a Purpose”, has been campaigning across the state promoting literacy.

The new trail combines a children's nature story with the thrill of being in the great outdoors. Come see how one of nature's miracles grows from a tiny egg to a flying jewel as each giant page is posted at intervals along the trail revealing more of the story, based on the book, Where Butterflies Grow, by Joanne Ryder with pictures by Lynne Cherry.

Guides on the tour help children with their level of reading. The purpose of the Story Book Trail is to stimulate young readers as well as to encourage them and caregivers to enjoy an outdoor experience together. The trail was built by volunteers and park staff as a project of the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park.

The project is endorsed by the Governor's Books From Birth Foundation, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, Ready to Read, Tennessee State Parks, and Friends of Tennessee State Parks Conservancy. Representatives were on hand Saturday to sign up children to receive free books monthly from the Imagination Library. Refreshments and party favors were also served along with crafts for youngsters to make and other activities for the children to enjoy.

“Spearheaded by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park with help from park staff, this trail has finally taken shape after over a year of planning and working together. We wish to thank the park staff and many others also for the opportunity to complete and present this trail to the children and families visiting the park. Among these are the Cookeville Children’s Museum, the Public Library Systems for DeKalb, Putnam and Smith counties for their help with games and activities for this event as well as the Friends of Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Trails Association for grants of money to help defray costs. Thanks also to the many volunteers of all ages who jumped in to help construct the trail from scratch on the hillside, including members of Tennessee Trails Association, Smithville Brownie Girl Scout Troop 3094 under the leadership of Tanya Hale, and the young men of the former Smithville Boy Scout Troop 875 under the leadership of Cameron Beal, and others,” added Bertram.

The Friends of Edgar Evins State Park is an all-volunteer organization with the sole purpose of helping the park. For more information about contributing money or time please visit our website at www.foeesp.com or Facebook at Friends of EESP

Dedication Held for New Aviary at Edgar Evins State Park Built by Local Girl Scout (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

June 2, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Fount Bertram, President of the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park presents plaque of appreciation to Girl Scout Neely Evans during a brief aviary dedication observance Saturday.
Girl Scout Neely Evans stands in front of new aviary she built as her Gold Award Project. Also pictured in Brad Halfacre, Park Ranger at Edgar Evins State Park holding "McKenzie", a barred Owl that will be housed in the aviary
The new aviary at Edgar Evins State Park is now home to this hawk

A local girl scout was recognized Saturday morning in conjunction with National Trails Day at Edgar Evins State Park for her efforts in building an aviary at the park’s interpretive center to house two birds of prey, an owl and a hawk.

Neely Evans, member of Girl Scout Troop 1146 in Smithville, made the aviary her Girl Scout Gold Award Project.

Fount Bertram, President of the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park presented a plaque of appreciation to Neely during a brief aviary dedication observance.

Evans decided on the aviary as her project after finding the park was in need of a home for birds of prey in the park’s educational facility. Along with the outdoor aviary, Neely also included a storage area for food and equipment. Rangers at the park will feed and care for the birds while park maintenance workers will provide upkeep for the facility.

“Edgar Evins State Park has a special place in my heart. I have been a member of the Edgar Evins State Park Friends group for over five years and spent hundreds of volunteer hours in the park. It is my home away from home. Building this aviary for them to bring a new program to the park was very important to me,” said Neely.

“I think my favorite part of the project was seeing it finally done. It’s one thing to see it on paper but when it’s in front of you it’s a good feeling. The challenging part was learning how to use the tools to build the cage. I had to learn to use the tools I’ve never used before,” Neely said.

“I feel proud to know I helped the State Park that feels like family to me. I can go there and see what I have accomplished,” added Neely.

“We are proud of Neely and what she has achieved! Come admire this outstanding aviary and enjoy the birds,” said Bertram.

The Gold Award is the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA, earned by Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts.

Park Ranger Halfacre explained that “McKenzie”, the barred owl shown in the photo and video above, is blind in both eyes from a train accident. She is believed to be between 12 and 15 years old. Barred owls have an average lifespan in the wild of 10 to 15 years. McKenzie weighs about 1.8 pounds.

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