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News 2012: the Year in Review
Top news stories July-December
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Members of the Joe Black Effort transported all the animals from the city shelter in October. - photo by Photo by Reed Vanderpool
JULYFor the first time in the history of the festival, a mother and daughter competed against each other for the coveted Berry C. Williams Award at the 41st annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree in July.Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro took the junior fiddling title Saturday and went on to clinch Best Overall Fiddler crown in a fiddle-off against her mother, Marcia Denton, also of Murfreesboro, who had won the senior fiddling competition earlier in the day.Jamboree Coordinator Jack Barton presented the award to the younger Denton at the end of the competition, around 10:45 p.m. Saturday.The Grand Champion Fiddler crown went to Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro in the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners, in which children up to age 12 compete in seven categories.Phillips won the coveted James G. "Bobo" Driver Memorial Award, named for the man who began the youth competition at the Jamboree during the 1980s.Phillips also won first-place awards for Beginner Buck Dancing and Clogging, and second-place honors in the Beginner Dobro Guitar.Kyle Ramey of North Vernon, Indiana, took the Entertainer of the Year Award for the second year in a row.Entertainer of the Year is presented to the entrant judged best overall among the winners of the dobro guitar, mandolin, five string banjo, and flat top guitar competition.Ramey not only received first-place honors in all four of those categories, he also placed second in fiddling as well. The Smithville Board of Aldermen voted in July to settle a lawsuit brought by two former city employees for $130,000.The two men, Kenny Waymon Dyal, Sr. and Christopher Derrick Ferrell, lost their jobs after being charged with theft for allegedly taking scrap brass from the water treatment plant and selling it to a recycler.Dyal and Ferrell filed the lawsuit against the city in DeKalb County Circuit Court on Feb. 17, 2011, asking for a jury trial.Dyal was the supervisor of the Smithville Water Treatment Plant and Ferrell was a city maintenance employee and water meter reader.Dan Rader, the attorney appointed by the city's insurance carrier, recommended that the aldermen approve an offer to settle the lawsuit for $130,000.The settlement included $100,000 in city funds, $30,000 from insurance funds, and up to $2,500 for mediator, discretionary, and court costs. AUGUSTThe body of 36-year-old Waylon Farless, a DeKalb County prisoner who managed to escape from the Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in August, was found about a mile from the spot where he jumped into the Tennessee River while evading Chattanooga authorities.Farless was arrested and charged with driving on a revoked license and theft of property over $1,000 after being accused of stealing a trailer from property just off New Home Road.According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Farless was transported to the Smith County Jail, where he allegedly tried to harm himself.Farless was then taken to the hospital in Smith County, underwent a mental evaluation, and was sent to Moccasin Bend.Chattanooga police said Farless jumped off a roof and climbed a fence and jumped into the Tennessee River in an attempt to escape the facility.Witnesses told authorities that they saw Farless swim about halfway across the river before calling for help, then going under.The body was recovered and identified as Farless.An Aug. 7 double murder resulted in a December indictment on the charges.The DeKalb County Grand Jury returned two first-degree murder indictments against 44-year-old David Howard Dixon of McMinnville.Dixon faces charges that he murdered Ervin Raymon Beacham, 55, and 43-year-old Jose Sagahon Ticante.According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Beacham was found shot to death on a couch inside his residence on Tommy Harrell Street on Aug. 7, and Ticante’s body was found hidden beneath a tarp in a pile of lumber behind the home soon afterward, also the apparent victim of a gunshot wound.Dixon was reportedly picked up after the murders, and has been held in the DeKalb County Jail without bond since then on violation of probation and failure to appear charges.Dixon was apparently already well known to local authorities, having been charged in the past with violations including manufacture and delivery of a Schedule IV controlled substance, possession of a handgun while under the influence, assault, aggravated assault, domestic assault, public intoxication, violation of an order of protection, theft and simple possession in this county.The voters of DeKalb County elected Scott Cantrell as Assessor of Property in August.A total of 2,444 voters took to the polls in the Aug. 2 election, with 1,525 casting ballots on election day and 919 during the early voting/absentee period.Cantrell clinched the Democratic Party nomination in March when he defeated 16-year incumbent Timothy “Fud” Banks 833 votes to 418.Cantrell faced Republican nominee Mason Carter in the general election, where he garnered 62.9 percent of the vote to win.Meanwhile, Kevin Hale gave long-time incumbent W.J. (Dub) Evins III a run for his money for the 5th District school board seat, but Evins held out for a win with 55.8 percent of the vote.Doug Stephens received 173 complimentary votes in his unopposed bid for the 6th District school board seat.In the five uncontested constable races, Wayne Vanderpool earned 232 votes in the 3rd District.