September 15, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
A young dancing fiddler from Shelbyville who served as an inspiration for a portion of a new mural at the law office of Gayla Hendrix downtown will be making an appearance at the official unveiling Sunday, September 20 at 2 p.m.
Hillary Klug is a well-known professional musician & dancer with roots from the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree.
Klug is featured on the mural by artist Scott Shaw of Breakthrough Murals. Scott had a bold and unwavering vision for this mural which includes aspects of Center Hill Lake and the Jamboree, along with the “Fiddling Dancer”. The mural was commissioned by Gayla Hendrix as a way to further support beautification projects across the downtown area.
The public is encouraged to join in honoring Klug at the office on the corner of North 4th Street in Downtown Smithville.
Following her visit to Smithville on Sunday, Klug will head to the Smokey Mountains to begin her new performance schedule at Dollywood for the fall season.
Local Attorney Gayla Hendrix and local Muralist Scott Shaw unveil Hometown A new mural on the side of Hendrix’s law office buil from dwayne page on Vimeo.
The following is a WJLE feature story on the mural and a video interview with Gayla Hendrix and artist Scott Shaw in the first unveiling last month.
DeKalb County is known for tourist attractions such as Center Hill Lake and the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival and those scenes are captured in a “Hometown” mural which is now complete on the exterior west wall of the Gayla C. Hendrix Law Office building on the public square.
Hendrix came up with the idea for the mural and turned to local muralist Scott Shaw of Breakthrough Murals to create the design. They invited WJLE down for the unveiling of “Hometown” on Monday morning.
“I had the idea of utilizing this wall space for quite some time and traveling to other towns I had seen where a lot of people had done murals . I thought those looked really cool and promoted their small towns. One day I was at the Button Willow Coffee Shop downtown and ran into Scott who was doing a mural for them inside. I introduced myself and told him you are just who I am looking for. I want something like this mural on my building. Scott gave me his business card and we got together and I started sharing ideas I had. I wanted to incorporate scenes from all around our small town including the lake, the Fiddlers Jamboree, and Storytelling. I gave him my ideas and showed him some pictures from the Fiddlers Jamboree website and told him of scenes from the lake that I liked and he came up with the design. We tweaked it a few times and this is the end result” said Hendrix.
Originally from New York, Shaw said he relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in 1994 before settling in Tennessee. Over the years Shaw has dabbled in creating murals for others and was excited to be able to showcase his talents in downtown Smithville.
“I am originally from northern New York. I have been dabbling in murals for probably 20 years part time. I moved to Phoenix in 1994 and worked in child care and did small murals for friends on the side. I was later blessed to be able to come to Tennessee. I work at Federal Mogul here in Smithville. I happened to be at the coffee shop one day and showed a patron some of my work and Joe and Angela Brown of Button Willow asked me if I would be interested in doing a mural for them. I started a mural there and then ran into Gayla who told me about her great idea for this mural. She asked me if I would be interested in doing it. I was so excited to work with Gayla to create this amazing mural for the wall and town,” said Shaw.
The Mural appears to actually break through the brick wall in sort of a 3D image and depicts a man whittling as a pastime, a young man with his arms raised holding a banjo over his head facing a lake view, a young lady fiddler, a youngster playing a bass fiddle, and a woman sharing a story with a child.
Hendrix said she hadn’t thought much about giving the mural a name until people began asking about it.
“A lot of people would drive by and stop to ask questions because they were curious about it. They would ask what the painting was called. Scott and I thought about it and I talked to my sister and we came up with the idea “Hometown”,” said Hendrix.
Early Voting Hours Set for Presidential Election (View Sample Ballot Here)
September 15, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
Due to increase interest in the upcoming election, the DeKalb County Election Commission has voted to slightly expand the normal early voting hours.
Early voting for the Presidential Election begins October 14 and runs through Oct. 29. The commission voted Monday night to set the hours as follows:
Mondays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursdays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (except the last Thursday, Oct. 29 when the hours will be 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (except the last Friday, October 23 when the hours will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Saturdays 9 a.m. to Noon.
“Thursdays have always been a heavy turnout-out day and in August there was an increase in Friday voting, so it was only natural that the commission vote to extend the hours on the last of those respective days,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. “Early voting is so convenient, and the commission wanted to make it even easier for November when historically the voting numbers are much larger than other elections.”
Meanwhile, the official ballot for the November election has been released (can be viewed here).
In addition to Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, there are seven Independent candidates for President. There are 11 candidates for U.S. Senate including Republican Bill Hagerty and Democrat Marquita Bradshaw. Sixth District Congressman John Rose, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Christopher Martin Finley and Independent Christopher B. Monday.
Incumbent State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-40th District) is being challenged by an Independent candidate, Paddy Sizemore. Incumbent State Representative Cark Boyd (r-46th District) is unopposed.
Also, the local commission wants to remind voters than October 5th is the registration deadline for the November election and the last day to request an absentee is October 27th.
Local and state election officials are warning voters to be aware of misleading information regarding the upcoming November 3, 2020 Presidential election.
“There are various organizations (and sometimes individuals on Facebook) that try to help people with voter registration and provide information about absentee voting,” said Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections. “Sometimes that information is not completely accurate or may refer to other states. Each state’s rules and regulations can be different.”
“The best way to avoid misleading information is to go straight to the source,” Stanley said.
Information regarding the November election can be found at www.dekalbelections.com, the local election commission website, and the state website at https://sos.tn.gov/elections. Residents may also call the local election office at 615-597-4146. Voters can also check their status by downloading the GoVoteTn app, available in the App Store or Google Play.
County Awarded CDBG Grant for Fire Department Tanker Truck
September 14, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
The DeKalb County Fire Department will have the opportunity to purchase another tanker truck thanks to a Community Development Block Grant through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development which has been awarded to the county.
State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) and Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) announced Monday that DeKalb County will receive $279,518 through the grant. Pody and Weaver made the announcement after receiving the information from the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD).
The county’s local grant match is $70,000 making the total project $349,518
“These funds will help tremendously in advancing fire protection for our citizens,” said Pody and Weaver in a joint statement. “We are very pleased that these funds are forthcoming, especially because there was intense competition for limited grant money. I also appreciate the excellent work by our local officials in helping to secure the funds and the department’s attention to this needed project.”
The funds were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly. ECD administers the grant program based on priorities set at the local level where community needs are best known.
This was the county’s second try for this grant project. In January, 2019 the county applied for the grant but learned in October that the application was denied because the county did not score high enough to qualify for the grant. The county re-applied for the grant in January, 2020.
With the purchase of this truck, the county fire department will have two tankers in the fleet to haul water to fire scenes in rural parts of the county.
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