Local News Articles

Neil Dudney Day Observed at Fiddlers Jamboree

July 4, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Taft Hendrixson, Neil Dudney, and Mike Foster

"Neil Dudney Day" was observed Friday, July 3rd at the 38th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival.

Dudney, longtime President and Coordinator of the Jamboree and a founding member, received special recognition on-stage Friday night.

County Mayor Mike Foster presented a plaque to Dudney inscribed with a resolution adopted by the county commission earlier this year. Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson joined Foster in making the presentation to Dudney who was surrounded on stage by members of his family and close friends.

The resolution states "Whereas, it is appropriate that the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor should announce their pride, respect, and admiration for people who so ably serve DeKalb County."

"Whereas, those who volunteer their time and abilities to unselfishly serve our communities should be recognized for the positive work they do."

"Whereas, Mr. Neil Dudney and many volunteers helped establish, nurture, and expand the Smithville Jamboree into a nationally recognized music and crafts event. The two-day gathering is honored as one of the top tourist events in the country."

"Whereas, the Jamboree helps perpetuate our local mountain music and craft history. This event also helps finance many of DeKalb County charities, volunteer organizations, county functions, and churches from food booth sales and sales tax receipts."

"Whereas, DeKalb County's many attributes are presented to a National TV audience because of the Jamboree committees' and Mr. Dudney's years of work,"

"Now, therefore, be it resolved by the DeKalb County Commission that July 3rd, 2009 be officially named ‘Neil Dudney Day'"

"Be it further resolved that this resolution and a presentation be also given to Mr. Neil Dudney as part of the opening ceremony of the Smithville Jamboree on July 3rd, 2009."

"Be it further resolved that this resolution of appreciation be spread across the records of this meeting and preserved as a lasting part of our respect and pride in the Smithville Jamboree and Mr. Neil Dudney."

Due to his health, Dudney has had to step down as Coordinator of the Fiddler's Jamboree.

Ready for Some Pickin' and Grinnin'?

July 2, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Community Chorus Performing at 303 Building-

The 38th annual Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival is in progress downtown Smithville.

(Click link at the bottom of the page to see photos from the Friday session of the Fiddler's Jamboree)

The program officially kicked off at 9:00 a.m. this morning (Friday) but some shade tree musicians, who couldn't wait, got together to do a little pickin' and grinnin' on the courthouse lawn Thursday evening

But they weren't the only ones getting in on the fun. Over at the 303 building beside the Chamber of Commerce Office, the Community Chorus performed a stirring rendition of patriotic songs before a packed house, in celebration of the Independence holiday weekend.

Preliminaries are being held in the following categories:

Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (solos and duets); Flat Top Guitar; Junior Clogging (ages 13-39); Junior Buck Dancing (ages 13-39); Dobro Guitar; Mountain Dulcimer; Hammer Dulcimer; Novelty Event; Youth Square Dancing, Old Time Fiddle Band; Autoharp; Gospel Singing (solos); Country Harmonica; Old Time Banjo; Gospel Singing (duets, trios, and quartets); and Mandolin. Youth Square Dancing will be a new event this year.

The top three acts in each category will be called back for the finals on Friday night and a first, second, and third place will be awarded.

Almost every street around the public square area will also be lined with craft booths/

WJLE is broadcasting the on-stage music LIVE.

Click here to see photos from the Friday session of the Fiddler's Jamboree
http://www.wjle.com/node/7877

Chamber Awards "Project Welcome Mat" Winners

July 2, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
 DeKalb Community Bank Awarded for Best Worded Sign
 First Free Will Baptist Church Awarded for Most Original Sign
Liberty State Bank Two Sided Sign Receives Award for Peoples Choice
Liberty State Bank Two Sided Sign Gets Peoples Choice Award

The Smithville- DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce honored the winners Wednesday in "Project Welcome Mat".

"Project Welcome Mat" awards three categories, "Most Original", "Best Worded", and "People's Choice"

DeKalb Community Bank received the "Best Worded" award for their sign "Fiddlers Food & More is What's in Store at the Fiddlers Jamboree July 3 & 4".

The "Most Original" award went to the First Free Will Baptist Church for their sign "God is a Smiling Cause He Loves Jamboreers Too, so Come on Down and Worship with Us & Sing & Fiddle Too"

Liberty State Bank won the "People's Choice Award" for their two-sided sign "Picking, Grinnin', Cloggin', Oh How Great! See this and more at Jamboree 38; and "Cloggin', Fiddlin, Bring Your Mate. It's Time to Celebate Jamboree 38"

Project Welcome Mat Honorable Mentions include Community Probation Services on Church Street for their sign and Bumper’s Drive-In with their “Grab your Fiddles and Do-Si-Do, Come on in and Say Hello” sign.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, expressed her thanks to all the businesses, churches, and DeKalb County Middle School for using their message signs to welcome Jamboree visitors. "It’s vitally important to make sure that our guests know how appreciated and important they are. We also are grateful for the five businesses that allowed the Chamber to set up Jamboree Information & Welcome Centers. They include Eastside Inn/A&B Market, Premier Realty of Center Hill Lake, DeKalb Ace Hardware, The Real Estate Team, & Center Hill Realty’s Silver Point location.

(DeKalb Community Bank – Winner of Best Worded Sign:
Pictured from left: Chamber Director Suzanne Williams; DeKalb Community Bank employees – Tammy Crook, Cynthia Agee, Jerry Tramel; DeKalb Community Bank Manager/County President Gentry Barnes; Chamber President Robin Driver)

(First Free Will Baptist Church – Winner of Most Original Sign:
Pictured from left: Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, New pastor Bernard Houk, Church member Ann Hawkins, Chamber President Robin Driver)

(Liberty State Bank – Winner of People’s Choice Award: First Picture
Pictured from left: Chamber Director Suzanne Williams; Bank Employees Charlene Adcock & Linda Neal, Liberty State Bank Vice President Ronnie Goodwin; Bank Employee Nell Raymond, Chamber President Robin Driver)

(Liberty State Bank: Second Picture
Pictured from left: Chamber Director Suzanne Williams; Liberty State Bank V.P. Ronnie Goodwin; Linda Neal, Nell Raymond, Charlene Adcock, & Chamber President Robin Driver)

Governor Signs Bill to Extend Unemployment Benefits

July 2, 2009

Governor Phil Bredesen recently signed into law legislation extending unemployment benefits with federal funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Tennessee Extended Benefits Program adds a maximum of 20 weeks of benefits for claimants who exhausted their emergency unemployment compensation benefits on or after February 28, 2009.

"The extended benefits provided by the Recovery Act will help eligible Tennesseans who have exhausted their emergency unemployment benefits," said James Neeley, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. "And since the federal government pays 100 percent of the costs to extend the benefits, the money will not be drawn from Tennessee's unemployment trust fund."

Unemployed Tennesseans who believe they may be eligible for state extended benefits will file online by accessing the department's Web site at http://tn.gov/labor-wfd/. The extended benefit application will be available online beginning July15, 2009. No applications will be available before July 15. Unemployment claimants who are receiving benefits as of July 15 will automatically transition to the extended benefits and will not have to reapply.

Those who meet the requirements to establish an extended benefits claim will receive a notice of monetary entitlement that will be mailed within 28 days advising claimants of the amount of benefits. Benefits will not be paid until eligibility is determined. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development will contact individuals directly if additional information is required.

Individuals who do not have access to a personal computer may go to their nearest Tennessee Career Center where staff will assist claimants in accessing the Internet application. Paper copies of the applications may be requested; however mail-in claims will take longer to process.

State extended benefits differ from regular state unemployment and federal emergency unemployment in two major ways:

Claimants will be required to make a minimum of two tangible and documented work searches each week. Claimants will be required to keep a journal of these work searches that is subject to periodic inspection by the agency to verify compliance. An additional question will be added to extended benefit weekly certifications asking claimants if they have documented their work searches for the week.

The definition of suitable work has changed. If a claimant refuses a job where the weekly wage is greater than the weekly benefit amount of unemployment, the unemployment claim is stopped.

The extended benefit program ends on December 26, 2009.

38th Annual Fiddlers Jamboree Kicks off Friday Morning

July 1, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The 38th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, July 3th & 4th. The musical competition kicks off on Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Jack Barton, the new Fiddler's Jamboree Coordinator, says this year's event promises to be exciting and entertaining, and two new competitive events have been added to the lineup. "There is a lot of excitement building around this. I think when it lands on the Fourth of July, there's usually a lot more people in attendance. We've got a couple of new events that are great. We'll have youth square dancing on Friday night. We're letting the youngsters have their own category. We've also added a bluegrass fiddle category, which is more of a truer to Appalachian style category and that will be named in honor of Neil Dudney. It will actually be the Neil Dudney award and we're excited about it."

Barton says more crafts are also expected this year. "Emma Adkins, our crafts director, and I have done a lot of reaching out to prior year craftsmen to see if they could come this year. We've been successful in filling every street but Third Street. We have 180 plus booths and about 149 crafters, some people have two booths, but it should be much more full than it was last year. Next year, we hope to fill all the streets."

Preliminaries will be held in the following categories on Friday:

Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (solos and duets); Flat Top Guitar; Junior Clogging (ages 13-39); Junior Buck Dancing (ages 13-39); Dobro Guitar; Mountain Dulcimer; Hammer Dulcimer; Novelty Event; Youth Square Dancing, Old Time Fiddle Band; Autoharp; Gospel Singing (solos); Country Harmonica; Old Time Banjo; Gospel Singing (duets, trios, and quartets); and Mandolin. Youth Square Dancing will be a new event this year.

The top three acts in each category will be called back for the finals on Friday night and a first, second, and third place will be awarded.

On Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m., preliminaries will be held in the following categories:

Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39); Junior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance (ages up to 39); Senior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance ( ages 40 and over); Senior Buckdancing (ages 40 and over); Senior Clogging (ages 40 and over); Bluegrass Banjo; Bluegrass Band; Bluegrass Fiddle, Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over); and Square Dancing. The Bluegrass Fiddle is a new event this year and the winner will receive the Neil Dudney Award, named for the longtime President and Coordinator of the Fiddlers Jamboree.

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be called back Saturday night to compete for first, second, and third place.

The winners of the Junior and Senior Fiddling competition will square off for the Grand Champion Award, the Berry C. Williams Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the festival.

Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held Saturday afternoon during the Jamboree featuring competitions for children, up to age twelve, in the categories of Buck Dancing, Clogging, Dobro Guitar, Mandolin, Five String Banjo, Flat Top Guitar, and Fiddle.

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be brought back to compete for first, second, and third place.

One child will receive the Best Overall Instrumental Entertainer and the top fiddler will get the James G. "Bobo" Driver Memorial Trophy.

In addition to the on-stage musical entertainment, the Fiddlers Jamboree will feature hundreds of crafts, plenty of delicious food; and lots of shade tree picking around the public square.

WJLE will broadcast most of the on-stage entertainment LIVE.

Newly Elected Smithville Aldermen Take Office

June 30, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Alderman W.J. Dub White Takes Oath of Office
Alderman Aaron Meeks Takes Oath of Office-
Alderman Shawn Jacobs Takes Oath of Office
Judge Bratten Cook Administers Oath of Office to Aldermen Elect

The three recently elected Smithville Aldermen were sworn into office during a brief ceremony held following Tuesday night's special city council meeting.

Judge Bratten Cook II administered the oath of office to W.J. (Dub) White, Aaron Meeks, and Shawn Jacobs. Their terms of office officially begin at midnight and expire in two years.

The new city council is made up of Shawn Jacobs, W.J. (Dub) White, Aaron Meeks, Stephen White, and Cecil Burger. The mayor is Taft Hendrixson. The terms of Aldermen Stephen White, Burger, and Mayor Hendrixson expire in 2010.

During the special meeting, plaques of appreciation were presented to the three aldermen, Tonya Sullivan, Jerry Hutchins, Sr., and Willie Thomas whose terms are expiring.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson, reading from the plaques, said "These plaques are presented in appreciation of two years of service to the Smithville City Council, the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen would like to thank you for your years of dedicated service as alderman for the City of Smithville. We appreciate the years of service that you have given to the citizens of Smithville."

Alderman Sullivan, in response said "I appreciate this board and the citizens for their support and I wish the new people good luck."

Alderman Hutchins added, " I also would like to wish the new ones coming in good luck, and congratulations to them. I hope they do a good job, and I know they will. I thank everyone who supported us."

The special meeting was held to adopt the new six million dollar budget on second and final reading and it passed unanimously following a public hearing, in which there were no public comments made from the audience.

Under the new budget, which takes effect July 1st, water and sewer rates will remain the same with no increases. Water and sewer tap fees will also remain at the same levels and property taxes will not be increased.

The budget includes a two percent pay raise for city employees and a five dollar increase per call for the volunteer firefighters, going from $15 to $20 per call.

Vance Charged in Burglary and Theft at K & M Jewelry

June 30, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Comer Vance

A 39 year old man has been arrested by Smithville Police in the recent burglary of K & M Jewelry on West Broad Street.

Comer Vance is charged with theft of property over $60,000, burglary, felony vandalism, and unlawful possession of a firearm. His bond is $250,000 and he will be in court on Thursday, July 2nd.

Investigator Jerry Hutchins, Jr. says sometime during the early morning hours of Thursday, June 25th, someone (believed to be Vance) entered the business by removing plywood covering a window. Once inside, a safe, containing jewelry, was taken from the store. The intruder also busted out glass in the display cases and removed more jewelry. The total value of the stolen jewelry was estimated at $100,000.

The owner of the business, Mark Violet, discovered the burglary and theft when he arrived to open up the store later that morning..

As a result of the investigation and with assistance from an informant, Vance was identified as a suspect in the crime. Police spotted Vance, who was as a passenger in a Ford Thunderbird, on West Broad Street Saturday, June 27th. The car was pulled over and Vance, also charged in warrants unrelated to the burglary case, was taken into custody. Police confiscated a stolen nine millimeter handgun, which was loaded. Most of the jewelry taken in the break-in at K & M. Jewelry has also been recovered.

Sergeant Joey Jones assisted in the traffic stop that led to Vance's arrest.

DTC Communications To Host Annual Meeting

June 30, 2009

DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (d/b/a DTC Communications) will host its annual meeting on Sept. 26, 2009, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in three exchanges, including the Alexandria (529), Liberty (536), and Smithville (215/597) exchanges.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 26. Thursday, Sept. 17, will be the last day to make changes to your membership for the 2009 election.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

Individuals interested in becoming a candidate for a director’s position must meet the qualifications as defined in the bylaws and submit a petition by 5 p.m. on August 12, 2009.
For questions regarding membership and voting guidelines, refer to the by-laws section included in the current DTC phone directory.

McMinnville Man Arrested in Undercover Drug Operation

June 30, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joseph Edward Mantz Jr

A 50 year old McMinnville man was arrested Monday in an undercover drug investigation by the Smithville Police Department.

Chief Richard Jennings says Joseph Edward Mantz, Jr. is charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (morphine). Mantz is to make his first court appearance on the charge Thursday, July 2nd.

According to Chief Jennings, the Smithville Police Department recruited an undercover agent to make a buy of morphine from Mantz, after receiving information that he was allegedly selling drugs in this area.

Mantz was arrested in the old Pamida parking lot by Chief Jennings, Investigator Jerry Hutchins, Jr. and Smithville Police Officers Nathan Estes and Bradley Tatrow.

Police also seized Mantz' 2004 Harley Davidson motorcycle along with some cash.

Chief Jennings says more cases stemming from this investigation will be presented to the August term of the Grand Jury and more details of the operation will be disclosed pending any grand jury indictments.

Department of Safety Begins Issuing Driver License with Easier to Read Date of Birth

June 30, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
New Drivers License

On July 1, the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS) will begin issuing driver licenses with the date of birth in larger red type designed to make it easier for retailers to read.

“We are pleased to announce that the type size of the date of birth on the Tennessee driver license has been enlarged to comply with the ‘Gus Kampas Act’, which was adopted by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Bredesen in 2008,” stated Department of Safety Deputy Commissioner Greta Dajani.

Public Chapter 638 of the Public Acts of 2008 required that the size of the type for the date of birth on the Tennessee driver license be the same size as the driver license number. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Tim Burchett and Sen. Doug Overby of Knoxville, Rep. Kent Williams of Elizabethton, Rep. Dale Ford of Jonesborough, and Rep. Eric Watson of Cleveland. Prior to the new law, the driver license number was already a larger font size than most other personal information on the plastic laminated card. Senate Bill 3116 of 2008 also requires that the date of birth be in red.

The Gus Kampas Act is named after the owner of Kampas Liquors on Alcoa Highway in Knoxville. The purpose of the legislation was to make it easier for retailers to see the date of birth on the Tennessee Driver License to quickly determine eligibility for the purchase of merchandise based on age requirements.

The provisions of the amendment to TCA 55-50-331(b) applies only to the issuance of new or renewed driver licenses. Public Chapter 638 does not require driver license holders to obtain a new driver license unless the person is applying for a new license, a replacement driver license or renewing an existing Tennessee driver license.

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