Local News Articles

City's Proposed New Public Records Access Ordinance To Undergo More Revisions

July 3, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen Monday night delayed passage of a proposed new ordinance governing access to public records, until some changes are made in it, as requested by Alderman Tonya Sullivan.

The new ordinance, reviewed by the Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service, basically sets fees for making copies of records requested by the public.

All the proposed changes recommended by Sullivan are contingent upon a legal review by City Attorney John Pryor and MTAS.

Questions have arisen concerning the legality of certain portions of the city's existing ordinance. That ordinance is expected to be repealed, upon passage of a new ordinance. Sullivan is asking that all fees that have been charged to citizens under the existing ordinance be refunded, upon it's repeal.

Under the proposed new ordinance, \"Copies of open records that are requested during regular business hours are required to be provided the requester, within a reasonable time at a cost of twenty five cents per page, unless otherwise excepted in the ordinance. Fees for items such as, but not limited to, cd roms, computer disks, and audio/video cassettes, will be charged at the rate paid for such items by the city. All fees and charges for records shall be due and payable at the time such costs are incurred. City staff may require pre-payment of fees and charges for copies where the fees and charges would exceed twenty dollars.\"

Sullivan wants to change that paragraph in the ordinance by defining \"reasonable time\" as \"one business day\", deleting the passage of the ordinance that makes reference to \"copies being twenty five cents per page, unless otherwise excepted in the ordinance,\" and inserting a new sentence that states \"all copies should be twenty five cents per page, no exceptions.\" Sullivan also wants the ordinance to be specific as to the fees to be charged for cd roms, computer disks, and audio/video cassettes and she suggests that the fee be one dollar per item

The proposed new ordinance states \"Removal of original open records, including personnel records, from the offices of the city is strictly prohibited.\"

Sullivan wants a section added to the ordinance stating that the Code, Charter, Resolution, and Ordinance books should be readily available and in visible sight to the public. She says an area should be designated so that citizens would be encouraged to get involved. Sullivan says these items should never be concealed in a drawer and the public be denied access.

The proposed new ordinance further states \"If copies of personnel records of city employees are requested, the City Recorder, or other city staff authorized by the City Recorder, shall notify the employee, for whom the records are requested, which documents have been copied, and to whom they have been provided. The employee shall be notified that the information has been requested within 48 hours.\"

Sullivan says the City Recorder (Burnace Vandergriff) should not bear the responsibility of notifying employees that personnel records have been requested. She says the Mayor should be the person completing this task. Sullivan says the City Recorder has no authority over this task.

According to the proposed new ordinance \"Accident Reports provided by the Smithville Police Department shall be provided to anyone requesting the reports at a cost of four dollars per report. The city has determined that this is a reasonable charge, inasmuch as it is the same amount that is charged for such reports by the Tennessee Department of Safety under state law, and other cities in Tennessee.\"

Sullivan doesn't agree with charging the public $4.00 for copies of accident reports. She says accident reports should be the same twenty five cents per page as all other public city documents. She adds that Cookeville charges two dollars for accident reports but that they are free in Gainesboro, Shelbyville, Watertown, and Lebanon.

Under the proposed new ordinance, \"It shall be the policy of the City of Smithville to cooperate fully with any Tennessee resident requesting the right to inspect and/or receive copies of open records at a reasonable charge; however, the city staff is prohibited from undertaking research projects to place records requested in any other form than normally maintained by the city, unless the requester agrees to pay for changing the form.\"

The proposed new ordinance states that \"The law provides that the city may stipulate that requests be received during regular business hours, and the city staff shall have a reasonable time to comply with requests for information.\"

\"The City may not provide copies of public records that violate an individual's right to privacy as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.\"

\"The City has the right ti charge a reasonable charge for reproducing or copying records.\"

\"The City has the right to verify that the requester of information is in fact a Tennessee resident.\"

Mayor Hendrixson Names Members To Various City Boards

July 3, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson made several appointments to various city boards during Monday night's city council meeting.

Donnie Driver was appointed as a citizen member to the Smithville Planning Commission and Aldermen Steve White and Jerry Hutchins' Sr. were appointed as the city's elected representatives on the planning commission.

Jimmy Walls was appointed as a citizen member to the Smithville Board of Zoning Appeals and Alderman Tonya Sullivan was appointed as the city's representative on the board.

Annette Greek was appointed as a citizen member to the Smithville Beer Board and Alderman Willie Thomas was named the city's representative on the board.

John Bill Evins was reappointed as a citizen member to the Smithville Electric System Board and Alderman Cecil Burger was reappointed as the city's representative on the board.

The Board of Aldermen approved Mayor Hendrixson's appointments.

Meanwhile, Mayor Hendrixson presented plaques of appreciation to the three former members of the city council whose terms have just expired.

Paul Young served as Alderman for six years from 2001 until 2007; Aaron Meeks for four years from 2003-2007; and W.J. (Dub) White for four years from 2003 until 2007.

Smithville Police Make Several DUI Arrests

July 5, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have been busy with Selective Traffic enforcement of city streets for the upcoming Fiddler's Jamboree. Police have made numerous arrests for Driving under the Influence, Driving on Suspended Licenses, Leaving the scene of an accident and Domestic assault.

Chief Tom Stufano says \"On July 1st, Smithville Police stopped 58 year old Ismael Solis of 1700 Jacobs Pillar Road, Smithville for driving erratically and running off onto the shoulder of the road. Further investigation disclosed that Solis was heavily intoxicated as indicated in his performance of a field sobriety test. Officer's determined that Solis was impaired and should not have been driving. He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,500 bond.\"

A second person, 37 year old Jose Luis Cervantes Gallardo of 223 East Bryant Street, Smithville was charged with DUI, Domestic Assault, Driving on a Suspended Driver's License and Resisting arrest. Chief Stufano says \"Officers responded to the address to answer a reported 911 call of a fight. Upon arrival they met with a female victim who advised that her husband, Gallardo, the suspect, had just left. The victim reported that Gallardo had pushed her down and repeatedly slapped her, ripped the phones out of the wall and kicked in a bedroom door. The victim was advised of her domestic assault rights and officers left the scene to go find Gallardo. Shortly afterwards, officers received a second 911 call from a cell phone advising that the suspect had returned and was sitting outside with the motor running. A Smithville Officer responded back to the original scene and found Gallardo in the vehicle with a half full beer container between his legs. The cab of the vehicle was also littered with empty beer cans. A heavy smell of alcohol was noticed on Gallardo's breath and he was asked to step out of his vehicle. Further investigation by the officer noted that the suspect was very unsteady on his feet and could not perform a sobriety test. He was placed under arrest for Domestic Violence and DUI. Gallardo stated he was not going to jail and began fighting with the officer. Additional officers were summoned to the scene to help make the arrest. A computer check noted that Gallardo's license was also suspended for failure to pay a previous traffic citation. Gallardo was transported to the DeKalb County Jail under an $8,000 bond.\"

Smithville Officers investigating a Hit and Run accident at Bumpers Drive-In on July 2nd found that a U-Haul truck had recently pulled up and damaged the building roofline with the overhang of the cab. The manager of the restaurant saw the mishap and approached the two men in the truck advising he was calling the police. A tag number was obtained as the truck with the two men inside drove off. A short time later DeKalb County Constable Mark Milam found the vehicle sitting on Page Drive. He made contact with the two subjects in the vehicle and they were escorted back to the scene of the accident. Investigating officers found a total of four witnesses who stated that the driver and passenger had switched places. Officers conducting the investigation noted that 19 year old John D. Anderson of 2175 Tramel Branch Road, Smithville, who was now driving the vehicle, was DUI. Upon performing the field sobriety tests, Anderson fell to the side numerous times and after being placed into the rear of the police vehicle , he passed out. Anderson was charged with DUI and Leaving the scene of an accident. The investigation continues and additional charges are possible against the second occupant in the vehicle. Anderson was transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $2,000 bond.\"

Chief Stufano says another DUI arrest was made when Smithville officers responded to a citizen's complaint of a possible drunk driver in the Walmart parking lot. \"Upon arrival officers found 40 year old Roy Colburn of 232 Tamikay Road, Smithville passed out in his vehicle. The vehicle was running and the windshield wipers were on. Colburn was awakened and he began pressing down on the accelerator revving the engine as if he were driving away. The officer reached into the vehicle and turned the key off. Colburn was given a field sobriety test which he performed poorly. He was arrested for DUI and transported to the Dekalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.\"

On July 4th at approximately 1:00 am Officers arrested 26 year old Michael Chad Owens of 186 Shady Drive, Smithville. Chief Stufano says \"Owens was a patron in Mapco Express when officers found him highly intoxicated with either drugs or alcohol. Owens was very unsteady on his feet with slurred speech and could not keep his eyes open. He was arrested for Public Intoxication and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.\"

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police are continuously looking for suspicious activity in our city neighborhoods and streets. Residents are encouraged to report any such activity. Neighborhood Watch has shown to be highly effective in our community's efforts to combat drugs and crime.
Officers will be out on selective traffic enforcement over the weekend in participation with the Governor's Traffic Highway Safety Council.\"

\"The Police Department wises to extend our gratitude in helping make our community safer. Have a safe and sound July 4th and Jamboree holiday.\"

DUI Arrests Made by Smithville Police over July 4th Holiday

July 6, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police working in conjunction with the Governor's Highway Safety Council made arrests for DUI and Revoked Driver's license over the 4th of July.

Chief Tom Stufano says officers stopped 43 year old Tony Joe Corley of 6676 Lower Helton Road for speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road. A records check of the driver noted that he had a Revoked Driver's License for DUI. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.

A second arrest for DUI Second Offense was made when officers stopped 50 year old Rex Graham of 728 New Bildad Road, Smithville. Officers running radar on Broad Street saw Graham traveling at a high rate of speed. Further investigation noted that Graham was under the influence while driving and was arrested. Graham was transported to the DeKalb County Jail. His bond was set at $2,000 bond.

Smithville Police also arrested 37 year old Kathy Jo Massengail of 4702 Pearlie Lane, Myrtle Beach South Carolina for DUI second offense. Officers saw Massengail run over a curb in the Hardees' parking lot at approximately 3:30 am. Upon a further interview with the driver, Officers found that Massengail was both very unsteady on her feet and had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her breath. A field sobriety test was administered and Massengail performed poorly. Records indicated that Massengail had a prior arrest recently for DUI in Cookeville. Officers transported Massengail to the DeKalb County Jail. Her bond is $2,000 bond.

Chief Stufano says \"In a continuing drive to eradicate drinking and driving on our roadways, Smithville Police in cooperation with partnering agencies are actively patrolling for both suspicious activity and driving under the influence violations. Citizen support in these efforts has shown to be making a substantial difference in these types of activities.\"

Friday Session Of Fiddler's Jamboree Ends Saturday Morning

July 7, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The first day of the 36th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival ran non-stop from about 9:00 a.m. Friday to 12:50 a.m. Saturday morning

Preliminaries were held in fifteen categories of music and dance competition followed by the finals featuring the top three acts in each event.

The following are the winners in each category:

Old Time Appalachian Folk Singing (Solo/Duet): First Place- Susie Coleman of Pegram, Tennessee. Second Place- Ty Jackson of Springfield. Third Place- Jack Horner and John Conner of Nashville.

Flat Top Guitar: First Place-Matthew Wingate of Lacey Springs, Alabama. Second Place- Rob Pearcy of Smyrna. Third Place- Will McMeans of Lester, Alabama.

Junior Clogging (Ages 13-39): First Place- Amanda Herron of Algood. Second Place- Joey Jonte of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Third Place- Emily Dean of Springfield.

Junior Buck Dancing (Ages 13-39): First Place- Kory Posey of Murfreesboro. Second Place- Justin Frazor of Smyrna. Third Place- Amanda Herron of Algood

Dobro Guitar: First Place-Rob Pearcy of Smyrna. Second Place- Will McMeans of Lester, Alabama. Third Place- Charles Butler of Nashville.

Mountain Dulcimer: First Place- Rob Pearcy of Smyrna. Second Place- Eric Vick of Lyles. Third Place- Isaac Vick of Lyles.

Hammer Dulcimer: First Place- Agene Parsons of Ooltewah. Second Place- Beth James of Newport. Third Place-Michael Brown of Beechgrove.

Novelty Event: First Place- Aerin and Emma DeJarnette of Snellville, Georgia. Second Place- Rob Pearcy and Heather Curry of Smyrna and Joelton. Third Place- Red and Jenny Denton of Joelton.

Old Time Fiddle Band: First Place- Blue Creek Ramblers of Waverly. Second Place- Slim Chance Band of Smyrna. Third Place- Coon Branch String Band of Murfreesboro.

Autoharp: First Place-John Dalton of Longview, Texas. Second Place- Bobby Nobley of LaGrange, Georgia. Third Place- Bill Rothe of Estill Springs.

Gospel Singing (Solo): First Place- Sydni Perry of Franklin. Second Place- Ty Jackson of Springfield. Third Place- Emily Dean of Springfield.

Country Harmonica: First Place-Ronnie Murphy of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Second Place- Lewis Taylor of Ringgold, Georgia. Third Place- Rob Pearcy of Smyrna.

Old Time Banjo: First Place- Rebekah Weiler of Murfreesboro. Second Place-Ben Bateson of Murfreesboro. Third Place- Eric Vick of Lyles.

Gospel Singing (Duet, Trio, & Quartet): First Place- Wildberries of Springfield. Second Place- The Greens of Ripley, Mississippi. Third Place- Eastern Sky of Morrow, Ohio.

Mandolin: First Place- Rob Pearcy of Smyrna. Second Place-Jesse Daniel of Toney, Alabama. Third Place- Will McMeans of Lester, Alabama.

State Senator Mae Beavers presented a United States flag to a member of the audience from China and a Tennessee State flag to a visitor from Seattle, Washington.

The flags go to the persons who travel the greatest distances, both from inside and outside the country, to get here.

Fire Damages Local Business

July 7, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fire Friday afternoon damaged Shamrocks on East Broad Street.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, who were dispatched to the scene, found the blaze coming from the rear of the building.

The business was closed and no one was there.

Firefighters contained the blaze to the rear portion of the building, but smoke and water spread to other parts of the structure.

The cause of the fire was undetermined at last report. No one was injured.

Georgia Contestant Wins Jamboree Fiddling Championship for Beginners

July 7, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Georgia contestant took home this year's top Jamboree award as the best fiddler in the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners.

Alex Thomlinson of Suches, Georgia was crowned the Grand Champion fiddler Saturday and won the coveted James G. \"Bobo\" Driver Memorial Award, named for the man who started the children's competition during the 1980's as part of the annual Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival.

Meanwhile, Grant Rigney of Normandy, Tennessee received the \"Entertainer of the Year\" Award, which is presented to the best overall instrumental entertainer among winners in the dobro guitar, mandolin, five string banjo, and flat top guitar competition.

The National Championship for Country Musician Beginners showcases the talents of children up to age twelve in seven categories of competition.

This year's winners are as follows:

Fiddle: First Place-Alex Thomlinson of Suches, Georgia. Second Place- Cole McCracken of Floyds's Knob, Indiana. Third Place- Ruby Jane Smith of Columbus, Mississippi.

Buck Dancing: First Place- Rachel Huddleston of Livingston. Second Place- Ty Jackson of Springfield. Third Place- Caroline Dean of Springfield.

Clogging: First Place- Caroline Dean of Springfield. Second Place- Kelsey Tomlin of Springfield. Third Place- Sierra Tomlin of Springfield.

Dobro Guitar: First Place-Grant Rigney of Normandy, Tennessee. Second Place- Wesley Keckritz of Tullahoma. These were the only two contestants in this category.

Mandolin: First Place-Grant Rigney of Normandy. Second Place- Ruby Jane Smith of Columbus, Mississippi. Third Place- Bethany Ward of Columbia.

Five String Banjo: First Place- Aaron Thompson of Benton, Kentucky. Second Place- Alex Thomlinson of Suches, Georgia. Third Place- Dallas Gaynor of Apison, Tennessee.

Flat Top Guitar: First Place- Tyler Sellers of Springfield. Second Place- Grant Rigney of Normandy. Third Place- Abigail Ward of Columbia.

Ped Scruggs Named Grand Champion Fiddler of 36th Jamboree

July 8, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Grand Champion Fiddler of the 36th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival is Ped Scruggs of Hartsville.

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

Scruggs made it to the fiddle off by winning the Senior Fiddling competition and he won the Grand Championship by beating the winner of the Junior Fiddling contest, Aerin DeJarnette of Snellville, Georgia.

The two day festival came to a close at 12:50 a.m. Sunday morning.

Other winners in the Saturday session of the Fiddler's Jamboree are as follows:

Junior Fiddlers (Ages 13-39): First Place- Aerin DeJarnette of Snellville, Georgia. Second Place- Bill Jones of Chapel Hill. Third Place- Eric Vick of Lyles.

Junior Old-Time Appalachian Flatfoot Dance (Ages up to 39): First Place- Justin Frazor of Smyrna. Second Place- Jacob Campbell of Murfreesboro. Third Place- Devon Stewart of Lebanon.

Senior Old-Time Appalachian Flatfoot Dance (Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Thomas Maupin of Murfreesboro. Second Place- Danny Campbell of Murfreesboro. Third Place- Tommy Scruggs of Hartsville.

Senior Buck Dancing (Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Stanley Reece of Whitleyville. Second Place- Michael Oliver of Hartsville. Third Place- Darrin Stryker of Crossville.

Senior Clogging (Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Michael Oliver of Hartsville. Second Place- Tammy Scruggs of Hartsville. Third Place- Tommy Jackson of Franklin.

Bluegrass Banjo: First Place- Jayce Crook of Toney, Alabama. Second Place- Brian Blaylock of Hixson. Third Place- Sarah Ward of Columbia.

Bluegrass Band: First Place- Crosswind of Olive Hill. Second Place- The Grasscutters of Cookeville. Third Place- The Ward Family of Columbia.

Senior Fiddlers ( Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Ped Scruggs of Hartsville. Second Place- Carl Franklin of Hendersonville. Third Place- Delmer Holland of Waverly.

Square Dancing: First Place- Rocky Top Revue of Franklin. Second Place- Rhythm-N-Motion Xplosion of Cookeville. Third Place- Little Harpeth of Franklin.

Liberty Man Severely Burned in Suspicious House Fire

July 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Liberty man was severely burned in a suspicious house fire around 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Adam Reynolds is in the burn unit of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. County Fire Chief Donny Green says sources have told him that Reynolds suffered third degree burns over 80% of his body.

According to Sheriff Ray, a witness reported that he noticed an orange glow and went to Reynold's house on Mauldin Lane, off College Street, Liberty. As the witness pulled into the driveway, he saw Reynolds, badly burned, coming off the back porch. The witness assisted Reynolds until help arrived.

Sheriff Ray says Reynolds was rushed from the scene to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS. He would have been flown by helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt, but because of foggy conditions at the time, the helicopter could not fly. Reynolds was then transported by ground ambulance.

County volunteer fire fighters, who found the house completely engulfed in flames upon their arrival, could not save the structure. It was destroyed.

Because the fire appears to be of a suspicious nature, Sheriff Ray says the Tennessee State Bomb and Arson Team was called to assist the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department in the investigation.

Members of the Liberty Fire Station and the Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded.

Ten People Arrested by Sheriff's Department Since Last Monday

July 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Ten people have been arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department since last Monday on charges ranging from DUI and other traffic offenses to public intoxication, forgery, theft, and drug charges

38 year old Kelly Ann Gibbs of Evins Mill Road, Smithville was charged with forgery on Monday, July 2nd. Sheriff Ray says the checks were stolen from a residence on A.B. Frazier Road. Gibbs passed the checks at a business in DeKalb County. Both checks totaled over $250. Other charges are pending in Warren County where Gibbs allegedly passed more of the stolen checks.

35 year old Patsy Estes McCoy of Restview Avenue, Smithville was charged with Theft of Property over $500 on July 2nd. Sheriff Ray says Estes and 48 year old Ricky Eugene Reece of Restview Avenue, who was also charged, were found to have in their possession, a stolen camera valued at over $500. Sheriff's department detectives, through an investigation, found a camera that was believed to be stolen. The camera had been stolen from a residence on Vaughn Lane. Estes and Reece later went to a residence in DeKalb County and sold the camera for $25. Reece's bond was set at $1,500. Due to McCoy's extensive background involving burglaries and thefts; her bond was set at $10,000. Their court date is July 19th.

25 year old David Allen Cobb, Jr. was charged with Public Intoxication on July 4th. Cobb was arrested on Cecil Hale Road after an altercation with another person. As deputies arrived, Cobb ran off in an attempt to avoid arrest. Cobb was taken into custody a short time later. His bond is $1,000 and his court date is July 26th.

28 year old Bobbie Sue Wilson of Crest View Drive, Sparta, was charged with DUI first offense on July 4th. Wilson was involved in a one-car accident on Highway 70 West. Wilson was East Bound in a 1993 Ford Escort when the vehicle dropped of the roadway. She over-corrected causing the vehicle to hit head on into a guardrail. Sheriff Ray says Wilson was very unsteady on her feet and incoherent of verbal commands. Wilson's bond was set at $1,000 and her court date is July 26th.

36 year old Jeffery Vincent Overall was arrested on July 6th for possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) and possession of a schedule IV drug (valium). Overall and 37 year old Donna Blankenship of Corinth Church Road, Rock Island were found prowling around a house on Walker Road. Blankenship was charged in a State Warrant out of Rutherford County. Overall's bond was set at $5,000. His court date is July 26th.

33 year old Scotty Wayne Neisz and 29 year old David Allen Neisz, Jr. of Green Pasture Road Alexandria were charged with Theft of Property over $1,000 on July 7th. Sheriff Ray says the Neisz brothers stole a 1997 Chevy Van from a residence on Green Pasture Road in Alexandria. In addition, David Allen Neisz Jr. was charged with Violation of the Tennessee Sexual Offender Law. Neisz was registered in Cheatham County for a 1996 Statutory Rape conviction. Neisz failed to Register with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department of his new address. Bond for David Neisz Jr.was set at $20,000 and bond for Scotty Neisz was set at $10,000. Their court date is July 26th.

23 year old Kevin Bly of Beasley Court, Carthage was charged on July 8th with 3rd Offense Driving on a Suspended License. Bly was stopped for a traffic offense and was found to have a suspended license for failure to satisfy citations. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is August 2nd.

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