Local News Articles

Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival Only Five Weeks Away

June 1, 2012
Dwayne Page
Jack Barton

In a little over a month, downtown Smithville will come alive as thousands of tourists flock to town for the 41st annual Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival, Friday and Saturday July 6th & 7th.

(Click the following link for the 2012 Fiddlers Jamboree schedule)

Jack Barton, President and Coordinator of the festival, and members of the Jamboree committee meet regularly throughout the year making plans, but they will become even busier over the next five weeks.

In addition to hundreds of crafts displayed along many of the downtown streets, the Fiddler's Jamboree will once again offer plenty of delicious foods for sale at local food booths, lots of shade tree picking, and great on-stage music and dancing competitions.

Over the years, the Fiddlers Jamboree has allotted twelve food booth spaces to non-profit groups, for a fee. That number was expanded to fourteen spaces last year and the application fee to rent a space was raised from $350 to $500. But since only seven of the fourteen available spaces have been booked by non-profits this year, the Jamboree committee is looking to bring in a few for-profit or commercial food booths to fill the remaining spaces.

The fee to for-profits will be $1,000, while the fee to non-profits will be dropped back to $350. "We have fourteen spaces," said Barton. " Traditionally we always had twelve, but last year we expanded it to fourteen spaces. As of our deadline in March, we only had seven local non-profits apply. So we have seven empty booths that the Jamboree was faced with trying to fill. Given our rules, we couldn't fill them with local non-profits so we went straight to contractors. But in fairness to those non-profits who have tried to abide by the rules, and who had success last year as far as sales, we decided to take the $500 fee back down to $350. Those seven booths who have applied for this year will actually be getting a refund because they paid $500 for this year and we're going to drop it back to $350," said Barton.

With the large crowds that attend the festival each year, food booths have historically proven to be a good means of raising funds for local charities and other causes and Barton said the goal remains to give non-profits the first opportunity " Our goal has always been to have local and area non-profits as our food booths and to try and retain as much revenue in the county as possible of what's gathered during the Jamboree," said Barton. "Over time, we had realized that some booths were contracting with for-profit food booths and a lot of the money was escaping or leaving the county and the local non-profit was actually not getting very much of the profit. Two years ago we began to put into place that we did not want the local charities to actually contract with any for-profit booths so all the proceeds stay here. If there was any contracting to do, we, the Jamboree being a non-profit as well, would go directly to a contracted food booth, should the need arise. So new for 2012, we voted to change our food booth rules for the next year. The first right of refusal on all fourteen booths that we have would go to our local non-profits. If we don't receive enough applications to fill all fourteen booths to serve the Jamboree crowd, we would then take the excess booths that are not filled and go to contracted food booths at a much higher rate," said Barton.

As for craft booths, Barton said the Jamboree expects to be at about the same number this year as last, but a few spaces may be opened up to government or non-profit groups for information only booths. "It remains a challenge to draw people here since our rules are strictly for handmade crafts. I think as time evolves, its harder and harder to find people that are truly hand making their product," said Barton. "We have opened it up this year, where we will do a few information only booths as long as they are government or non-profit. So the Corps of Engineers may very well have a booth. We're going to approach the TWRA and others like those that set up at the DeKalb County Fair," he said.

"We have the full capacity of 220 craft booth spaces. Last year we had 185 craft booths," said Barton. " This year, so far we're at about 135. That's on par with where we were last year. It seems like a lot of people, more and more are last minute. They try and plan with how expensive fuel is or how far they travel and some people wait til the last minute to register to have a booth," he said.

Barton said the line-up of competitive events on stage will remain virtually unchanged this year. "The only thing that we've made a concession on. I think we changed the schedule two years ago to have youth square dancing on Friday night. Since Friday is typically a work day for most families, we are going to push the youth square dancing a little bit later so the parents have the opportunity to travel here with their children to participate in that. As our events timed out, we were seeing that the youth square dancing was sometimes needing to be started at three o'clock in the afternoon but that being a work day for most parents, the children weren't here yet. Last year, we manually on the fly moved the event later. This year we're actually going to move it in the rotation a little bit later," he said.

The Fiddlers Jamboree also is always looking for volunteers who want to pitch in and help. "We're always looking for volunteers and people who would like to come out," said Barton. No matter in what capacity. It could be somebody who helps during the event or somebody that helps during the year on our committee," said Barton.

Realizing that many people want to know more about how the Fiddlers Jamboree operates, Barton said a news release has been prepared that will hopefully address any questions they may have concerning the festival.


2012 Jamboree Press Release FINAL.pdf (190.87 KB)

DeKalb County Boys compete with Tournament Winning Baseball Team

May 31, 2012
Clark Oakley
Franklin AA Champs

Three local residents of DeKalb County competed in the USSSA Memorial Day NIT Tournament in Franklin, Tennessee over Memorial Day Weekend.

A.J. Mooneyham, Cason Oakley and Sam McMillen are part of the Mid-South Mayhem Travel Baseball team that went a perfect 5 and 0 in the tournament and captured the 1st place trophy.

Other players on the team include: Logan Fields and Bailey Kemp from Smith County, Luke Turner, Bronson Bell, Jackson Vance, Drew Trice and Matthew Dillon all from Wilson County, Ethan Roberts from White County and Weston Burris from Rutherford County. Caleb Dillon is the batboy.

The Mid-South Mayhem is coached by Paul Fields from Smith County and Chad Vance and Kenny Dillon, both from Wilson County. This was the Mayhem’s 2nd Title in 3 tournaments. They also won the USSSA NIT in Columbia, Tennessee the 2nd week of May.

4-H Members Competed at the Regional Wildlife Judging Competition

May 31, 2012
April Martin
4-H Wildlife Judging Team Members

Recently several 4-H members competed at the Regional Wildlife Judging competition.

For the last two months, these 4-Hers learned to identify 45 wildlife species and to determine appropriate wildlife management practices.

The coaches for the team were TWRA officer Mike Beaty, Army Corp. of Engineers Ranger Terry Martin, and Extension Agent April Martin.

The Junior High Team members included: Caitlyn Lawrence, Wyatt Martin, Eli Oliver, Casey Taylor, Morgan Vickers, and Casey Vickers. The team placed 7th in the region and Caitlyn Lawrence was 12th high individual.

The Senior High Team members included: Brooke Reffue, Crystal Vickers, Justin Bass, and Lydia Trail. The team placed 7th in the region.

4-H judging teams is just one of the many activities offered through 4-H to teach important life skills. The University of Tennessee Extension offers all its programs to everyone in the county.

(This is for the photo caption)
4-H Wildlife Judging Team Members: front row (l-r): Crystal Vickers, Casey Vickers, Casey Taylor, Eli Oliver, and Wyatt Martin. Back row: Lydia Trail, Justin Bass, Brooke Reffue, and Caitlyn Lawrence. (photo by April Martin)

451 Vote Early in City Election

May 31, 2012
Dwayne Page

Four hundred fifty one people have voted early to date in the Smithville Municipal Election with four days to go.

Here's how the voting breaks down each day:
Wednesday, May 30, 48 voters
Thursday, May 31, 55 voters
Friday, June 1, 45 voters
Saturday, June 2, 24 voters
Monday, June 4, 38 voters
Tuesday, June 5, 40 voters
Wednesday, June 6, 27 voters
Thursday, June 7, 58 voters
Friday, June 8, 23 voters
Saturday, June 9, 47 voters
Monday, June 11, 22 voters
Tuesday, June 12, 24 voters

Voting continues through Thursday, June 14 at the DeKalb County Election Commission Office on the first floor of the courthouse.

Hours for early voting are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m,
Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until Noon.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 19, each to serve a two year term, beginning July 1. The candidates for mayor are Taft Hendrixson and Jimmy Poss. Candidates for alderman are Scott Davis, Jason Judd Murphy, Tim Stribling, and Steve White.

The ballot will also include a referendum on liquor by the drink in city restaurants. Voters will have the opportunity to vote either "yes" or "no" on whether to "authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in the City of Smithville."

Election day voting, June 19 will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. in the basement courtroom of the courthouse.

Fire at Large Hay Barn Keeps Firefighters Busy Tuesday

May 30, 2012
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Rolls of Hay and Damages Large Barn on Evins Mill Road

A fire Tuesday damaged a large barn and destroyed more than 200 rolls of wheat hay belonging to Frank Colwell on Evins Mill Road.

County Fire Chief Donny Green told WJLE that Colwell was feeding cattle on his farm when he saw a puff of smoke coming from the barn, a 200 x 75 foot structure, which once served as a dairy barn, now used for hay storage.

Colwell phoned Chief Green to report what he saw. Green then called for firefighters to get enroute. Central dispatch received the call at 10:33 a.m.

Chief Green said the fire, which is believed to have started from spontaneous combustion within the rolls of hay, was difficult to put out. Firefighters spent almost twelve hours on the scene, before leaving around ten p.m. Tuesday night.

According to Chief Green, the barn held more than 300 rolls of wheat hay and two thirds of it was destroyed. But Mr. Colwell was able to save 108 rolls, using a forklift to remove them from the structure. The fire also destroyed about a fourth of the barn.

Chief Green said about 38,000 gallons of water was used to extinguish the fire, most of it coming from an irrigation pond at Pirtle's Nursery.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Midway, Main Station, Keltonburg, and Blue Springs Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with manpower from other county stations. Members of the City of Smithville and North Warren County Fire Departments came to the scene with fire trucks and manpower to render mutual aid assistance, along with deputies of the Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS. No one was injured.

Chief Green said he wishes to thank the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and the North Warren Fire Department for their support.

Cantrell Gets Ten Years Probation in Meth Case

May 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
Justin Andrew Cantrell

A 24 year old man allegedly caught with meth lab components at City Walk Apartments near Smithville Elementary School last fall was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday, May 25.

Justin Andrew Cantrell of Adcock Cemetery Road stood before Judge Leon Burns, Jr. and pleaded guilty to initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. He received a ten year sentence, all suspended to probation, supervised by community corrections. He was fined $2,000 and must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. Cantrell was given jail credit from November 30, 2011 to May 25, 2012

Cantrell was arrested on November 30 and charged with violation of the drug free zone and initiation of a process intended to manufacture methamphetamine.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that detectives and deputies of the sheriff's department saw Cantrell in the parking lot of City Walk Apartments holding a bag. When Cantrell saw the officers he began to walk away from them. When the officers asked to speak to him, Cantrell put the bag down beside of some parked vehicles. One of the detectives went over and looked in the bag, which was partially open. He saw tubing and a plastic bottle containing a clear liquid and noticed it to be the one pot method of manufacturing methamphetamine. The officers also found in the bag a gallon of Coleman fuel, coffee filters, a plastic bottle containing acid, two plastic baggies (cold packs)containing ammonium nitrate, and an ice pack which had been cut open. In his pocket, Cantrell had a coffee filter and a hypodermic needle. Cantrell was taken into custody and charged in the case.

Meanwhile, 30 year old Kenny Bain pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule III controlled substance and received a three year sentence to serve at least 30% before his release eligibility date. Bain was fined $2,000. The sentence is to run concurrently with a probation violation against him. He was given jail credit of 92 days. Bain's probation was revoked for an earlier charge of sale of a schedule II controlled substance and he must serve the balance of his original three year sentence in that case. Again, the revocation is to run concurrently with the sentence he received Friday.

42 year old Wendy Whittemore pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule III controlled substance and received a two year sentence to run concurrently with a violation of probation against her. She was fined $2,000 and given jail credit of 91 days.

47 year old Steven Dale Osment pleaded guilty to hindering a secured creditor and received a two year sentence to serve at least thirty percent, but the term was suspended to probation. He must make restitution of $25,590.

Suspected Drug Dealer Gets Three Years Probation

May 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
Teresa Thomas

A suspected drug dealer, arrested by Smithville Police in a drug bust in January, was given three years probation in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Friday.

36 year old Teresa Thomas appeared before Judge Leon Burns, Jr. and pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule III and VI controlled substance with intent to sell. She received a three year sentence in one case and two years in the other, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentences are to run concurrently for one three year term. Thomas was fined $2,000 and was given jail credit from January 27 to May 25, 2012.

Thomas was arrested on Friday, January 27 in the housing projects on Morgan Drive.

Acting on numerous citizen complaints about suspected drug activity from this residence, Chief Randy Caplinger said Smithville Police conducted an undercover drug investigation, using an informant, who went to Thomas' home on Tuesday, January 24 and made the drug buy.

A search warrant was prepared and served on Thomas at the residence on Friday, January 27. According to Chief Caplinger and Detectives Matt Holmes and Brandon Donnell, police found in Thomas' purse nineteen baggies of marijuana each weighing one gram; ten baggies of pot each weighing two grams; and one baggie containing five grams of marijuana. Also found in her purse were twenty five and a half hydrocodone pills and two and a half suboxone pills. A further search of the home turned up another thirty grams of marijuana, cut straws with residue, a pipe, multiple prescription pill bottles without their labels, two pill crushers, two marijuana cigarettes, scales, two boxes of sandwich bags apparently intended for packaging drugs, and a notebook containing the names of people who allegedly owed Thomas money for drug transactions. An undisclosed amount of cash was also seized. Because children were present in the residence at the time of Thomas' arrest, the Department of Children Services was notified.

Thomas was taken into custody and charged in the case. Police said during the interview, Thomas allegedly admitted to police that the drugs and paraphernalia found in the home belonged to her.

In addition to Chief Caplinger and Detectives Holmes and Donnell, Captain Steven Leffew, K-9 Officer James Cornelius and Officer Matt Farmer assisted in the case.

Meanwhile, two other people were sentenced in court Friday, as the result of drug investigations by the Smithville Police Department, 24 year old Ben Pascal and 41 year old Timothy Lawson.

Pascal pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a three year sentence. He was fined $2,000 and ordered to make $50 restitution to the Smithville Police Department. Pascal must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. The sentence is to run concurrently with a violation of probation against him. He was given jail credit of 213 days.

Pascal was one five people named in grand jury sealed indictments in December as the result of an undercover drug investigation by the Smithville Police Department. Chief Randy Caplinger said the investigations were conducted by Detectives Matt Holmes and Brandon Donnell with an informant making the drug buys. A TBI agent worked with the detectives in one case. Pascal was charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance. He was indicted with a co-defendant for allegedly selling and delivering dilaudid, a schedule II controlled substance on August 25.

Lawson pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received five years in each case to be served consecutively for a total of ten years. Lawson must serve at least thirty percent of the sentence before his release eligibility date. He was fined $2,000 and was given jail credit from November 28, 2011 to May 25, 2012. Lawson's probation was revoked for an earlier charge of sale of a schedule III controlled substance and he must serve the balance of his original three year sentence in that case. Again, the revocation is to run concurrently with the sentence he received on Friday.

Lawson was originally charged with three counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance in a drug free school zone. The indictments allege that Lawson sold and delivered morphine on July 27, August 4, and August 23. The alleged drug buys took place at the City Walk Apartments, located near Smithville Elementary School.

Detectives Donnell and Holmes went to City Walk Apartment Monday, November 28 to serve the indictments on Lawson but no one came to the door, even though they saw who they thought was Lawson inside. After forcibly entering, the detectives found Lawson who was hiding in the apartment.

Probation for 30 year old Mary Tanner Curtis was revoked Friday.. She must serve the balance of her original six year sentence for attempting to initiate a process to manufacture methamphetamine. She was given jail credit from February 2, 2010 to May 22, 2010 and from April 2, 2012 to May 25, 2012. Curtis may be furloughed to the "DC4" drug court but she must successfully complete the program. If so she may be placed back on probation.

Probation for 35 year old Andy Certain was revoked and he must serve the balance of his original sentence of two years for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He was given jail credit from December 4, 2011 to February 3, 2012 and from May 10, 2012 to May 25, 2012. Certain may be furloughed to an approved long term inpatient rehabilitation program.

Probation was partially revoked for 21 year old Ray Underwood. His original sentence was two years for promotion of the manufacturing of methamphetamine. He must serve 180 days in the county jail and then be released to probation again. He was given jail credit from March 1, 2012 to May 25, 2012. His probation will be extended by one year or until costs and fines are paid in full.

DeKalb Jail and Annex Again Meet Minimum Standards for State Certification

May 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Jail and Annex

The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex have again met minimum standards for certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the Tennessee Corrections Institute recently performed an inspection of the DeKalb County Jail and the DeKalb County Jail Annex.

In a letter to Sheriff Ray, TCI Executive Director Beth Ashe, wrote that "The inspection revealed that this facility meets all minimum standards. This status shall be reported to the board of control at its next meeting. After approval from the board of control, you will receive a certificate of certification. You are to be congratulated for attaining this degree of professionalism in your organization," wrote Ashe.

Inspector Joe Ferguson, in the report, wrote that "On May 22, 2012 the DeKalb County Jail and Annex were inspected. " There were no apparent violations found. I recommend continued certification for 2012," he wrote.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Ferguson " went around to all the cells, checked out refrigerators to make sure they were at the right temperature, checked the menu at the jail, and he went through all of our paperwork. After his review, Ferguson recommended the jail and annex for re-certification," he said.

The DeKalb County Jail and Annex have a certified capacity of 102 beds.

Meanwhile, in his latest report on crime news, Sheriff Ray said that 30 year old Halton Wayne Hicks of West Main Street, Dowelltown is charged with driving on a suspended license. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on June 7.

On Tuesday, May 15, an officer having prior knowledge that Hicks' license were suspended, pulled him over after observing Hicks driving on West Bryant Street. Hicks has two offenses of driving on a suspended license pending in court. He was arrested and brought to the jail.

54 year old Steve Edward Crutcher of Echol Heights, Liberty is charged with a sixth offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court June 7.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, May 24, a deputy having prior knowledge that Crutcher's license were revoked, stopped Crutcher after observing him driving on Highway 70. Crutcher admitted to the officer that his license were revoked. A computer check confirmed that his license were revoked for driving under the influence and other offenses in Trousdale, Rutherford, Wilson, and Sumner County.

30 year old Amber Marie Johnson of Gainesboro, named in a January grand jury sealed indictment, was arrested on Thursday, May 24. She is charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (cocaine) and introduction of contraband (cocaine) into a penal institution. Her bond is $60,000 and she will be in court on June 26.

33 year old Jack Mullican, Jr. of Meadow Brook Drive is charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on June 7.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, May 24, an officer having prior knowledge that Mullican's license were suspended, pulled him over after observing Mullican driving on Juniper Lane. A computer check confirmed his license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in April, 2011 in DeKalb County. Mullican has prior offenses in Wilson County and another case of driving on a suspended license pending in General Sessions Court here.

Sheriff Pleased with SRO Program

May 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Sheriff Patrick Ray has been pleased with the School Resource Officer program at DeKalb County High School and would like to see another one in the school system.

Sheriff Ray said grant funds have been sought in recent years for another position without success. "We tried to apply for another SRO two or three years ago, but we did not get that position. We would like to see another SRO in our school system. We would like to see one stationed at DeKalb West School who could also help with schools in Smithville We will probably try again for a grant," he said.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Whitehead, School Resource Officer at DCHS, has filed his year end report with Sheriff Ray.

In his letter to Sheriff Ray, Officer Whitehead reported " As you can see, it has been a very busy year. I have made many arrests and sometimes we tend to think the worst of our school system because of those arrests. Regardless of the numbers, I feel that the school resource officer program is a great asset to the DeKalb County school system. We should not look at only the arrests and evaluate the success or failure of the program, but the overall results both good and bad. I have met with many students and dealt with all kinds of problems throughout this school year. I feel that due to this contact that I have helped these students deal with some problems that the school system just does not have time to deal with. I also feel that just my presence at the school does wonders for the student body. I hope that the school system and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department continues to see the importance of the school resource officer program and what benefits it can obtain from having it. I have enclosed a copy of the 2011-12 school year SRO report. I hope that my reports will help show that there is a need for a second school resource officer in our school system," wrote Whitehead.

The report is as follows:

42 misdemeanor arrests at school (juvenile petitions)
9 drug arrests
27 assists with patrols or with detective divisions of the sheriff's department or police department
776 advisory sessions with students (six of those were with students families and three with law enforcement officers)
236 advisory sessions with parents.
382 advisory sessions with a teacher or staff member
37 classroom lectures
32 special school events attended
30 court appearances
28 motorist assists in parking lot of school
8 club meetings attended
46 cigarette citations
9 fights
Total value of reported stolen property $2,627, of which $2,415 in property was recovered.
Some alcohol, marijuana, pills, and bb gun seized from the school.
15 unruly juveniles dealt with

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 7.5% in April

May 29, 2012

DeKalb County's April unemployment rate dropped to 7.5%, down from 8% in March, and well below the 9.1% rate in April, 2011.

The local labor force for April was at 9,810. A total of 9,070 were employed and 740 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for April tied for third lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region with Cannon and Macon. Here's how they rank highest to lowest

Picket County- 12.1%
White- 10.6%
Van Buren-10.5%
Clay- 9.1%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for April show the rate decreased in 84 counties, increased in five counties, and remained the same in six counties.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for April fell to 7.8 percent, down from the March revised rate of 7.9 percent. The national unemployment rate for April 2012 was 8.1 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than the March rate.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 5.8 percent, up from 5.6 percent in March. Davidson County was 6.5 percent, down from 6.6 percent in the previous month. Hamilton County was 7.0 percent, down from 7.3 percent, and Shelby County was 8.3 percent, down from the March unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.


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