Local News Articles

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Republican Members of Election Commission

July 9, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lisa Peterson
DeKalb County Election Commission- (Front Row Left to Right- Nolan Turner and Walteen Parker. Back Row Kenneth Moore, Jim Dean, and Barbara Vanatta

Attorneys on behalf of former DeKalb County Election Administrator Lisa Peterson have filed a civil action in federal court against the Republicans on the local election commission who voted Peterson out of the job on April, 24th and voted in Dennis Stanley, a Republican.

The suit names as defendants, James Dean, Walteen Parker, and Barbara Vanatta, acting under color of state law and in their official capacity as members of the DeKalb County Election Commission, and individually.

In addition to Peterson, the attorneys, W. Gary Blackburn and John Ray Clemmons of Blackburn & McCune, PPLC in Nashville are representing seven other current and former county administrators in Tennessee, naming as defendants, Republican Party appointees to the county election commissions in Cannon, Henry, Loudon, Putnam, Rhea, Rutherford, and Weakley counties, along with DeKalb County.

Peterson, who had been election administrator for DeKalb County since 1998, also has a lawsuit pending in DeKalb County Chancery Court, claiming the local Republican controlled election commission violated the Open Meetings Act, State law, and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee "by a majority of its members' meeting, communicating, and deliberating in private, secretly decided and agreeing to terminate Ms. Peterson's employment, and secretly deciding and agreeing to appoint a Republican to the position of administrator of elections prior to the April 24th, 2009 public meeting of the commission."

In a prepared news release, Blackburn says ‘The civil action (in federal court) seeks to redress the politically motivated and unconstitutional actions of the Republican county election commissioners, who, at the apparent instruction of state and county Republican Party officials, terminated or threatened to terminate highly qualified and experienced administrators of elections across the state of Tennessee."

"It is irresponsible to threaten the facilitation of free and fair elections by using a political test to terminate highly qualified and experienced public servants who are responsible for protecting the very essence of our democracy. The Republican Party and its officials' politically motivated attempts to simultaneously replace administrators of elections across this state from a position which requires a great deal of institutional knowledge and understanding of the law is adverse to the very ideals on which our republic was founded. Tennesseans, like all Americans, expect and deserve to vote in well organized and legal elections and have their voice counted by someone who values democracy more than party politics."

The lawsuit alleges the rights of Peterson and the other former county administrators were violated under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article One of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, namely the right to exercise freedom of speech and equal protection under the law.

Peterson and the other plaintiff's are asking the federal court to declare that the defendants have violated their constitutional rights; that the defendants acts are unconstitutional; and to declare that the administrators of elections are county officials or employees, rather than state employees.

Peterson and the other plaintiffs are asking the court to order their reinstatement to the position each held at the time of their termination, or in the alternative, order that they receive front pay for a reasonable amount of time. They want full back pay and a judgment for compensatory damages and punitive damages against the defendants jointly and severally in each county, in their official capacity as members of their respective county election commissions, and individually with prejudgment interest. The Plaintiffs are further seeking an award for reasonable attorneys fees, costs, and expenses of this action, along with any other such relief the court deems equitable and appropriate.

The lawsuit alleges that "On December 20th, 2008, Debra Young Maggart, State House Republican Caucus Whip and member of the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee, published a memo to elected Republican members of the Tennessee legislature setting forth a requirement that an individual be a "bona fide Republican" for appointment to positions such as election commissions."

"Unlike the state election commission and the county election commissions, a political test may not be the basis for termination of an individual employed as administrator of elections, because the office is protected by article 1, section 4 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee which states as follows: That no political or religious test, other than an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this State."

"Upon information and belief, prior to each defendant's appointment as a county election commissioner, defendants met with members and officials of the state and county Republican Party and certain elected Republican members of the state legislature and committed, as a condition of their appointment, to terminate Plaintiff's employment and appoint a member or supporter of the Republican Party to replace Plaintiffs."

"Defendants' acts of meeting with and promising state and county Republican Party officials to vote to terminate their respective county election commission constitutes a conspiracy to terminate Plaintiffs solely because of their actual or perceived political party affiliation."

"Upon each Defendant's appointment to a county election commission by the state election commission, each individual swore to and filed an oath of office, as required by (state law). The oath states, in part, that each county election commission swears or affirms to support the Constitution and laws of the State of Tennessee...faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of (their) office."

"When each Defendant swore or affirmed his or her oath, he or she acted with full knowledge of swearing falsely, because he or she had already vowed to officials of the state and county Republican Party and certain elected Republican members of the state legislature to violate the Constitution and laws of the State of Tennessee and not to act impartially."

"Upon information and belief, prior to public meetings of each county election commission, Defendants in each county met in private and communicated, deliberated, and agreed to vote to terminate Plaintiff's employment and elect a specific individual who is a member or supporter of the Republican Party to the position of administrator of elections."

"Defendants' acts of meeting, deliberating, and agreeing to terminate Plaintiffs constitute a conspiracy to terminate Plaintiffs solely because of their actual or perceived political party affiliation."

According to the lawsuit, "Prior to public meetings of the DeKalb County Election Commission, Defendant Walteen Parker communicated directly to Plaintiff Ms. Peterson on multiple occasions and informed Ms. Peterson that she would be terminated as a result of her political party affiliation. On one occasion, Ms. Parker informed Ms. Peterson that she would be replaced by a specifically named individual who is a member or supporter of the Republican Party. Ms. Parker stated that the termination was strictly political."

"At the public meetings of the county election commissions on which Defendants respectively serve, save Rutherford County, Defendants elected a new administrator of elections who is a member or supporter of the Republican Party, thereby terminating the employment of Plaintiffs solely because of their actual or perceived support of the Democratic Party."

Parker, Chairman of the DeKalb County Election Commission, explained during the April 24th meeting that since the administrator position was "open" with a new election commission, Peterson was not being fired, just not re-hired. She added that the administrator serves at the pleasure of the election commission. " I don't look at this as a dismissal, but simply as not a re-hire. The position is open with the new commission and therefore the commission has spoken for Mr. (Dennis) Stanley."

Parker also denied assertions, during the meeting, that the Republican majority violated the open meetings law. "I would like to go on record as saying there have not been any secret meetings among anybody about what is going on."

The lawsuit alleges "At the public meetings of the county election commissions, Defendants failed to consider the knowledge and experience of such prospective appointee in the following areas: administrative, managerial, instructional, communication, budgetarial, purchasing, promotional, legal, and general office skills and other related skills necessary to fulfill the statutory requirements of administrators when evaluating its prospective appointee as mandated by state law."

However, Chairman Parker, during the April 24th meeting, stated that "Mr. Stanley is qualified I think in his managerial and all the duties he had to perform at the newspaper (Smithville Review)".

The lawsuit further alleges "At the public meetings of the county election commissions, at which Plaintiffs were terminated, Plaintiffs were individually praised for the quality of their work as administrator of elections, and no criticisms of Plaintiff's job performance, relating to their administrative, managerial, instructional, communication, budgetarial, purchasing, promotional, legal, and general office skills and other related skills were stated."

"But for the political affiliation, Ms. Peterson (and the other plaintiffs) would still be employed as administrators of elections."

"Defendants made a subjective determination based upon Plaintiff's private political speech to terminate Plaintiff's public employment or to take steps to terminate their employment."

"Plaintiffs' protected speech was a substantial or motivating factor in Defendants' terminating Plaintiff's employment."

"Public employees such as Plaintiffs do not surrender their First Amendment rights by reason of their employment as administrators of elections. The First Amendment protects a public employee's right to political speech and his or her right to support the political party or candidate of their choice."

"Defendants' policy is unconstitutional because it reaches more broadly than is reasonably necessary to protect legitimate state interests or promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the county election commissions at the expense of protected First Amendment freedoms.'

"Plaintiff's actual or perceived membership or support of the Democratic Party did not warrant the termination and threat of termination of their public employment."

"Defendant's outrageous, reckless, and wanton actions and omissions have violated Plaintiff's constitutionally protected speech, caused Plaintiff's emotional distress, lost wages and income, and substantially affected Plaintiff's earning capacity and potential."

The federal court lawsuit was filed Wednesday, July 8th in Nashville.

In the Chancery Court lawsuit, filed on June 19th, Peterson is asking the court to declare the action of the election commission terminating her as arbitrary, illegal, and void.
Peterson is further requesting that the court, pursuant to state law and upon a final hearing, order the election commission to immediately reinstate her to the position as administrator of elections and award her back pay, compensatory damages in the amount of $500,000 and the penalty allowed by law, and that the court grant all other relief it deems equitable and appropriate.

Sales Tax Holiday Provides Big Savings For All Tennesseans

July 9, 2009

The fourth annual Sales Tax Holiday is scheduled for Friday, August 7 and continuing through Sunday, August 9. The Department of Revenue reminds Tennessee shoppers that the Sales Tax Holiday provides three full days of tax breaks on clothing, school and art supplies, and computer purchases.

The holiday begins Friday, August 7 at 12:01 a.m. and ends Sunday, August 9 at 11:59 p.m. During the designated three-day weekend, consumers will not pay state or local sales tax on select clothing with a price of $100 or less per item, school and art supplies with a price
of $100 or less per item, and computers with a price of $1,500 or less, a savings of nearly 10 percent on exempt items. Visit www.tntaxholiday.com for more information on the holiday.

“During tough economic times, this tax-saving initiative provides savings for Tennessee shoppers and a much needed boost for Tennessee retailers,” said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr. “We are hopeful that all Tennessee shoppers will enjoy the immediate relief of the 2009
Sales Tax Holiday.”

Please visit the Sales Tax Holiday Web site at www.tntaxholiday.com to learn more about the items exempt from sales tax. The Tennessee Department of Revenue also assists consumers via e-mail, Salestax.Holiday@TN.gov, and through its toll-free statewide telephone hot line, (800) 342-1003. Staff is available to answer questions Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. (Out-of-state and Nashville-area callers, please dial (615) 253-0600.)

Examples of exempt items include:

● Clothing: Shirts, dresses, pants, coats, gloves and mittens,
hats and caps, hosiery, neckties, belts, sneakers, shoes, uniforms
whether athletic or non-athletic and scarves
● School Supplies: Binders, book bags, calculators, tape, chalk,
crayons, erasers, folders, glue, pens, pencils, lunch boxes, notebooks,
paper, rulers and scissors
● Art Supplies: Clay and glazes; acrylic, tempera and oil paints;
paintbrushes for artwork; sketch and drawing pads; and watercolors
● Computers: Central processing unit (CPU), along with various
other components including monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect
components and preloaded software (Note: While the CPU may be purchased
separately, other items must be part of a bundled computer package in
order to be eligible.)

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 92 percent
of total state tax revenue. During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the department collected $11.2 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, $1.9 billion of local sales tax was collected by the department for local governments during the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government.
To learn more about the department, log on to www.TN.gov/revenue.

Man Busted for Selling Drugs

July 9, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Shannon Ray Herman

A 24 year old man, believed to be a drug dealer, was arrested Tuesday in an investigation by the Sheriff's Department.

Shannon Ray Herman is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid) for resale. Bond for Herman was set at $50,000 and he will appear in court on July 23rd.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives, who had knowledge of Herman selling the highly abused drug Dilaudid, were able to take down Herman and two other persons in the parking lot behind a bank in Smithville. Herman is believed to have sold at least 15 Dilaudid pills to a female in the parking lot. After Detectives took the trio down, Herman was found to be hiding a glass bottle under his shoe that contained five more Dilaudid pills. Detectives plan to seek grand jury sealed indictments against others in this case.

Sheriff Ray says "Dilaudid or Hydromorphone is used to treat moderate to severe pain and is thought to be 8-10 times stronger than morphine. The sale of Dilaudid pills ranks in the top two most abused drugs here in DeKalb County. Drug dealers that sell Dilaudid here in the county will charge anywhere from $25.00 to $55.00 per pill depending on the quantity that is available to them." Sheriff Ray asks if you have any drug tips to please call the Sheriff's Department's Crime Tip Line at 464-6400 or contact him at his office.

DeKalb County School Registration Set for July 30th

July 8, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County students will be going back to school in three weeks.

Registration for all students will be Thursday, July 30th. That will be an abbreviated school day.

Friday, July 31st will be an administrative day at all schools and all teachers must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

The first full day of school for all students will be Monday, August 3

A system wide professional development day will be Monday, July 27th at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

All teachers will report to their individual schools Tuesday and Wednesday, July 28th & 29th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each day.

This year the school system will operate on a 9-2, 9-2, 9-1 calendar, meaning students will be in school for nine weeks, then off for two weeks for fall break, back in school for nine weeks, off two weeks for winter break, in school for another nine weeks, and then off one week for spring break.

During the November, 13th 2008 board of education meeting when the 2009-2010 school calendar was adopted, Dr. Carol Hendrix, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, explained the reason for the change." It's a 9-2, 9-2, 9-1 calendar. We go to school nine weeks, we're off two weeks, we go nine more weeks and then we're off for two weeks, then we go nine weeks and we're off for one week. The reason we did that is because with the curriculum standards going up we realized that we need some time after nine weeks to work with our children who are at risk and behind. So one of those (two) weeks of the first 9-2, (when school is out) we'll be working with children in different areas and not only just the students behind. We'll also have some enrichment activities during one of those weeks as well that we're off. So school won't be completely out."

Dr. Hendrix said there's another change in the new calendar regarding TCAP's. " The federal government requires that we get our average yearly progress reports two weeks sooner this year than last year, so we had to back up TCAP testing. So TCAP testing will be March 24th-26th and March 29th-31st. The state will allow us to use six days which is going to be a tremendous advantage in testing"

Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 7th.

Schools will be closed for the fall break October 12-23

Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 25, 26, & 27 and for the winter break December 21 through January 1, 2010. Friday, December 18 will be the last day students attend before winter break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Students will return after the holidays on Monday, January 4th to begin the third nine week session.

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18th and for President's Day, Monday, February 15th.

Schools will be closed for spring break April 2-9

Students will not attend on Friday, May 21. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend.. The last day of school will be Tuesday, May 25. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 6 and Thursday, March 11 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 8 and Thursday, January 28th at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Monday, October 5th, Thursday, January 7th, and Tuesday, March 9th.

Competency testing at DCHS will be October 6-8 and February 9-11.

Gateway testing at DCHS will be December 1-3 and May 4-6. Gateway test makeup will be December 4th and May 7th.

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 2nd. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 3rd.

TCAP testing of elementary students will be March 24-26 and March 29-31

(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 2nd and Friday, March 5th

TDOH Reports Some Tick-Borne Illnesses on the Rise

July 8, 2009

Summer is the peak time for people to be bitten by
ticks and mosquitoes, which may carry diseases that can infect humans.
The Department of Health tracks cases of these diseases and has noted a
recent increase in human cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and
ehrlichiosis, both of which are transmitted through tick bites. TDOH
urges Tennesseans to follow commonsense precautions to protect
themselves and help reduce the risk of illness.

Statistics from the TDOH Communicable and Environmental Diseases
Services show a moderate increase of 65 confirmed cases of Rocky
Mountain Spotted Fever statewide for this year, compared to 46 for the
same period last year. CEDS also reports 17 confirmed cases of
ehrlichiosis statewide so far this year, compared to 14 for this time in
2008.

“Increases in these illnesses typically occur during the summer
months. The increased number of cases this year compared to last year is
a reminder of the importance of preventing tick bites and controlling
ticks around our homes,” said John Dunn, DVM, PhD, public health
veterinarian with TDOH. “If you do find a tick on your skin, removing
it promptly will reduce your risk of illness.”

Ticks are common in Tennessee, and can be found on lawns and in
household landscaping as well as wooded areas. These precautions can
help you protect yourself in environments where ticks are present:

●Wear light-colored clothing to help you spot ticks that may be
crawling on you.
●Tuck pants into socks to keep ticks off your legs.
●Apply EPA approved repellents to discourage tick attachment.
Repellents containing permethrin can be sprayed on shoes and clothing
and will last for several days. Repellents containing DEET can be
applied to skin, but must be reapplied every few hours. Follow label
instructions for repellents.
●Search your entire body for ticks upon return from a potentially
tick-infested area. Remove any tick you find on your body; grasp with
tweezers and pull straight back if the tick is attached.
●Check children for ticks, especially in their hair, when returning
from potentially tick-infested areas.
●Ticks may also be carried into your home on clothing and pets, so
examine both carefully.
●Reduce tick habitats around your home by removing leaf litter and
brush.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is the most serious illness caused by
ticks in the United States. Symptoms usually appear five to 10 days
after a tick bite, and may resemble symptoms of other diseases. Initial
symptoms of RMSF can include fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, lack
of appetite and severe headache. Later symptoms may include rash,
abdominal pain, joint pain and diarrhea. RMSF can be a serious illness,
and is best treated with antibiotics.

Ehrlichiosis is the general name used to describe several bacterial
diseases that affect animals and humans. In the U.S., these diseases are
transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. The symptoms of
ehrlichiosis are similar to those of many other illnesses. Initial signs
and symptoms generally include fever, headache, fatigue and muscle
aches. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough,
joint pains, confusion and occasionally rash. Symptoms typically appear
five to 10 days following the tick bite. It is possible that many
individuals who become infected with ehrlichiae bacteria do not become
ill or develop only very mild symptoms. Ehrlichiosis can be treated with
antibiotics.

For more information on preventing tick-borne illness, visit the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at
http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html.

Tennesseans should also take precautions to protect themselves from
West Nile Virus and other diseases transmitted by mosquito bites. Most
mosquitoes likely to transmit WNV bite at dawn and dusk. The best way to
prevent WNV infection is to avoid mosquito bites. These simple tips can
help.

●If you must go outside during dawn and dusk, use insect repellent or
wear long sleeves, long pants and socks.
●Eliminate standing water near your home, which can serve as a
breeding ground for mosquitoes. Many containers, even those as small as
a bottle cap, can hold enough water for mosquitoes to breed.
●Keep windows and doors closed or cover them with screens to prevent
mosquitoes from entering your home.
●Use insect repellent containing either DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon
eucalyptus or IR3535.

For more information about West Nile Virus, visit the TDOH Web site at
http://health.state.tn.us/ceds/WNV/wnvhome.asp.

Aldermen Approve Mayor Appointments

July 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

In the first meeting since the new aldermen took office July 1st, the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen convened Monday night at city hall.

The only business to be transacted was the mayor's appointments to various city boards and departments.

The following appointments were made by Mayor Taft Hendrixson and approved unanimously by the aldermen:

Commissioners:
Finance & Taxation- Alderman Shawn Jacobs
Streets & Safety- Alderman Cecil Burger
Water & Sewer- Alderman Steve White
Sanitation- Alderman W.J. (Dub) White
Police & Fire- Alderman Aaron Meeks

Smithville Electric System:
Walter Burton- citizen member to fill the unexpired term of the late John Bill Evins through June 30th, 2011
John R. Nixon- citizen member reappointed to a new term through June 30th, 2013
Alderman Cecil Burger- city representative reappointed to a new term through June 30th, 2010

Smithville Planning Commission:
Wade Smith- citizen member reappointed to a new term through June 30th, 2015
Alderman Shawn Jacobs- city representative appointed to serve through June 30, 2011

Smithville Beer Board:
Alderman Cecil Burger- city representative reappointed to serve through June 30th, 2010

Smithville Industrial Development Board:
Richard Judkins- citizen member reappointed to a new term through June 30th, 2013
Alan Webb- citizen member reappointed to a new term through June 30th, 2013
Tim Stribling- citizen member appointed to fill the unexpired term of Leon Stribling, who recently resigned.

Smithville Board of Zoning Appeals:
Jimmy Ervin-citizen member reappointed to a new term through June 30th, 2012
Wade Smith- citizen member reappointed to a new term through June 30th, 2012
Alderman W.J. (Dub) White- city representative appointed to serve through June 30th, 2011

Meanwhile Mark Violet of K & M Jewelry addressed the Mayor and Aldermen praising the Smithville Police Department for their work in solving a recent burglary and theft at his business. "On behalf of K&M Jewelry and my wife and family, we want to commend the police department for the hard work and effort in catching the burglar at our store. It was a weekend job. They did it quick, fast. If they hadn't done it, we wouldn't ever have gotten it (jewelry) back."

"I want to commend these guys on the job they did. I know they don't get the recommendation they deserve and some of them probably don't deserve it. But these gentlemen work tireless, effortless. We work together. The sheriff's department helped out in it. I can't say enough because that was a tremendous loss to us that we were able to recover. I want to just let the board know that we really appreciate these guys."

"This is the only way that we're able to even address the board because us not being a property owner here in the town, we can't vote. I would like to see that changed. If you own a business and pay city and county property taxes, we'd like to see something like that changed so we do have a bigger voice in what we have. Once again, Thank you. I appreciate it. We appreciate it and if there is any way we can help you, let us know."

In other business, Mayor Hendrixson reported that Greg Davenport of Wauford Engineering may have a set of plans on the water treatment plant renovation ready for the aldermen to review by the next meeting on July 20th.

Alderman Meeks expressed a special thanks to Fire Chief Charlie Parker and the department "for the work they did which made it possible for the Smithville Jamboree to be completed Sunday morning."

Mayor Hendrixson added "If it hadn't been for the fire department building, I don't know what they would have done. We appreciate Charlie."

The Saturday Finals of the Fiddlers Jamboree were held inside the Smithville Fire Hall for two hours from midnight to 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, after rains and lightning kept the competition from continuing on-stage.

Owen Arrested in Debit Card Theft and Fraud Case

July 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Thomas Keith Owen

A 20 year old man was arrested last week by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department after allegedly stealing a debit card and using it to make purchases for himself.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives arrested 20 year old Thomas Keith Owen on Wednesday, July 1st on two counts of fraudulent use of a credit or debit card and one count of theft of property under $500. In May, Owen allegedly went to a residence on Sparta Highway, took the owners debit card, and used it on June 1st to purchase $28.00 worth of gas at a business in Smithville. He also allegedly used the card that day at a department store to buy $20.85 worth of items. Bond for Owens was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on July 16th.

23 year old Shauna Faye Stringer of Alexandria Highway, Brush Creek was arrested Tuesday, June 30th for failure to appear when she did not show up at the DeKalb County Jail to serve her time. Stringer's bond is $1,500 and she will appear in court on July 16th.

On Wednesday, July 1st, a county deputy stopped a vehicle for erratic driving on Blue Springs Road and found 22 year old Martin Brionges Lazo of Greenhill Road, McMinnville to be driving without a license. Lazo was charged with no driver's license. His bond was set at $1000 and he will appear in court on July 30th.

Meanwhile on Sunday, July 5th, 49 year old Albert Manual Bedoy of Holiday Haven Road Smithville was arrested after being involved in an accident on Highway 56. Deputies noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Bedoy's person and that he was unsteady on his feet. Bedoy submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Bedoy was arrested for driving under the influence. His bond was set at $1,000. Bedoy was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. He will appear in court on July 16th.

Amateur Radio Special Event Station Conducted During Fiddlers Jamboree

July 6, 2009
KC4GUG -  Freddy Curtis    KJ4GCT – John Lester  and KF4QNT - Kevin Neely

The DeKalb County Amateur Radio Club conducted a Special Event Station at the 38th Annual Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Craft Festival on Saturday, July 4th. This year marked the tenth year that a special event station had been set up at the Jamboree.

The station was setup at the front entrance of the Justin Potter Library during the early morning hours on Saturday. Antennas were assembled, radios were properly checked, and transmissions were begun at 7:30 AM local time. Operations took place in the 20 meter, 40 meter, and 10 meter Amateur Radio bands, and the station was publicized in Amateur Radio magazine QST and the club website at http://www.dcarc.drivehq.com/.

The station contacted 226 total Amateur Radio Stations in 35 States, and Ontario, Canada. One interesting contact included the Ham Station on the World War II Submarine USS Requin (SS 481) anchored at the Carnegie Science Center - Pittsburgh, PA and now a museum.

Amateur Radio Operator Guests included the following: N4HKH – John Schorn – Oak Ridge, TN; AG4VF – Bruce Newberry – Pegram, TN; KG4BGM – Joey Barkley – Murfreesboro, TN; WB4HDM – Lynne Hamrick – McMinnville, TN; KJ4LNS – Walt Johnson – McMinnville, TN; KJ4JMS – Clifford Shelby – Crossville, TN; KJ4JMT – Michael Shelby – Crossville, TN; WB9RRQ – Bob Wilson – Boilingbrook, IL; KJ4JMS – Clifford Shelby – Crossville, TN; K9UT – Jerry Uhte – Richmond, IN; and KF4HAA – Matt Curtis – Smithville, TN.

Participants of the station included local Amateur Radio Operators:

KG4BTO - Joe Ferrell; KF4QNT - Kevin Neely; KJ4GCT – John Lester; KJ4BKQ – Carl Wachsman; KG4EWX – Josh Paris; W3HKG – Robert Mitchell; and KC4GUG - Freddy Curtis.

Pictures of the Special Event Station can be viewed at the club’s website at: http://www.dcarc.drivehq.com/.

The local club looks forward to operating another special event station at next years Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Craft Festival. The club would like to offer its thanks to Jamboree Coordinator - Mr. Jack Burton, Justin Potter Librarian - Mrs. Kathy Hendrixson, and Smithville Postmaster Mr. Michael Lynn for their support of this activity.

The DeKalb County Amateur Radio Club is an organization of Amateur Radio operators from DeKalb and Surrounding Counties and is an affiliated club of the American Radio Relay League. The next club meeting will be on Thursday, August 27th, 2009 - 6:30 PM at the DeKalb County Emergency Operations Center, 211 South Mountain Street at the E-911 Center. Any person interested in Amateur Radio is invited to attend.

(Pictured Left to Right - KC4GUG - Freddy Curtis KJ4GCT – John Lester and KF4QNT - Kevin Neely.)

Several Holiday Weekend Blazes Keep Firefighters Busy

July 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

County volunteer firefighters spent the better part of their holiday weekend fighting fires, some of them triggered by lightning.

Assistant County Fire Chief Roy Merriman says a fire was reported Sunday at 7:12 p.m. at the residence of Charles Jaco on the Allen Bend Road in the Belk Community. The residence is a rent home, belonging to Doug and Helen Smoot. According to Merriman, a neighbor, John Michael, spotted the fire, entered the residence, and assisted Jaco safely outside. Jaco had been asleep on the couch. Members of the Blue Springs, Keltonburg, Belk, and Short Mountain Highway stations responded along with the tanker truck. The fire caused extensive damage.

On Sunday afternoon, lightning struck a three story cedar lake home belonging to Dr.Jonas Sidrys on Austin Lake Road, sparking a fire in the basement. The Sidrys, who were home at the time, smelled smoke and discovered the blaze. They extinguished it with a garden hose as firefighters were enroute. Members of the Austin Bottom, Cookeville Highway, and Short Mountain Highway Stations responded along with mutual aid assistance from the Putnam County Fire Department. No one was injured.

Early Sunday morning, a fire destroyed a home, belonging to Frank Morris, on Gene Vaughn Road. The Belk, Keltonburg, an Blue Springs Stations responded.

A lightning strike Saturday night caused a fire at the residence of Jerry Cripps at Alexandria. Chief Donny Green says lightning ran in on a telephone line, starting a fire in an exterior wall of the living room. Firefighters opened up the wall and extinguished the blaze. The Cripps', who were home at the time, were not injured. The Alexandria Fire Department was first on the scene, providing mutual aid assistance to the county. Members of the Liberty, Short Mountain Highway, and Main Stations also responded.

Meanwhile on Friday at 10:32 p.m. DeKalb 911 dispatchers received a call of a house fire at 138 Holiday Haven Road. Lieutenant Bradley Mullinax says the home was rental property owned by Doug Stephens. The structure was reportedly fully involved with fire when fire crews arrived on the scene. The owner of the residence arrived and reported that the home was unoccupied. The DeKalb County Fire Department's Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain, and Main Stations were dispatched to render aid on the scene along with the department's tanker truck and manpower from additional stations. The house could not be saved. No one was injured in the incident and the cause of the fire is unknown.

Also, on Friday at 10:11 p.m. DeKalb 911 dispatchers received a call from Warren County 911 requesting a mutual aid fire response from the Keltonburg and Blue Springs stations of the DeKalb County Fire Department. Lieutenant Mullinax says Keltonburg's response unit and man power from the Blue Springs station assisted Warren County Fire Fighters with a structure fire on I D Adcock Road in Warren County.

Florida Fiddler Crowned Champion of 38th Annual Jamboree

July 5, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gailanne Amundsen Receives Berry C Williams Award from Jamboree Coordinator Jack Barton
Sarah Twilley Receives Neil Dudney Bluegrass Fiddle Award from Brandon and Ethan Shaw

The Grand Champion Fiddler of the 38th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival is Gailanne Amundsen of Longwood, Florida.

She won the Berry C. Williams Memorial Award early Sunday morning after the Grand Finale Fiddle-Off between the best Junior and Senior Fiddler.

Amundsen made it to the fiddle off by winning the Junior Fiddling competition and she won the Grand Championship by beating the winner of the Senior Fiddling contest Scott Miller of Hanceville, Alabama.

The two day festival came to a close just after 2:00 a.m Sunday morning.

Rain and lightning forced a delay in the competition during the preliminaries of the square dancing and several hours later, as the weather continued to threaten, a decision was made to resume the festival but to move from the stage to inside of the Smithville Fire Hall, where the fire trucks are usually housed. All the contestants in the finals performed directly in front of a table of judges without microphones, and while there was no television or radio audience, a small crowd gathered in the fire hall to hear them.

All the preliminaries, except for the square dancing competition, were concluded before the rains came and six of the eleven square dance teams scheduled had already performed. The others apparently chose to withdraw during the rain delay, along with two of the teams which had previously competed. There was no finals competition for the remaining square dance teams. They apparently agreed to allow their scores in the preliminaries to determine how they would place.

Winners in the Saturday session of the Fiddler's Jamboree are as follows:
(Click here to see pictures of the Saturday session of the Fiddlers Jamboree)
http://www.wjle.com/node/7878

Junior Fiddlers (Ages 13-39): First Place-Gailanne Amundsen of Longwood, Florida; Second Place- Tori Huntley of Loretto, Tennessee; and Third Place- Austin Vick of Lyles, Tennessee.

Junior Old-Time Appalachian Flatfoot Dance (Ages up to 39): First Place- Chris Stewart of Lyles; Second Place- Matthew Campbell of White Bluff; and Third Place Jacob Campbell of Murfreesboro.

Senior Old-Time Appalachian Flatfoot Dance (Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Jay Bland of Kenneson, Georgia; Second Place- Thomas Maupin of Murfreesboro; and Third Place- Darrin Stryker of Crossville.

Senior Buck Dancing (Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Stanley Reece of Whitleyville; Second Place- Tammy Scruggs of Hartsville; and Third Place- Eileen Stewart of Nashville.

Bluegrass Fiddle (Neil Dudney Award): First Place- Sarah Twilley of Hermitage; Second Place- Chris Gray of St. Joseph, Tennessee; and Third Place- Tori Huntley of Loretto. This award was presented to Twilley by Brandon and Ethan Shaw, grandsons of Neil Dudney.

Senior Clogging (Ages 40 & Over): First Place-Tammy Scruggs of Hartsville; Second Place- Danny Campbell of Murfreesboro; and Third Place- Tommy Jackson of Franklin.

Bluegrass Banjo: First Place- Kurt Stephenson of Dyersburg; Second Place- Jeremy Stephens of Danville, Virginia; and Third Place- Andrew Rigney of Normandy, Tennessee.

Bluegrass Band: First Place- Rigney Family of Normandy; Second Place- Mountain Cove of Signal Mountain; and Third Place- The Ward Family of Columbia.

Senior Fiddlers ( Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Scott Miller of Hanceville, Alabama; Second Place- R.B. Scruggs of Hartsville; and Third Place- Chris Talley Armstrong of New Athens, Illinois (absent during the finals)

Square Dancing: First Place-Tennessee Toe Tappers of Hendersonville; Second Place- Rocky Top Revue of Franklin; and Third Place- Little Texas of Franklin.

Pages

Follow Us


facebook.jpg

News Feed
feed.png

WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166

Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net

Local News

6:30 A.M.
7:30 A.M.
8:55 A.M.
12:00 NOON
4:00 P.M.
9:45 P.M.

DTC Communications

Fiddlers Jamboree