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Article Calendar

July 2018
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River City Ball 2019 Benefitting Cause applications now available

The River City Ball Cause and Scholarship Committee is now accepting applications for consideration as the 2019 Benefiting Cause. 

The River City Ball was created to benefit local non-profits working to improve the quality of life in Smith County through tourism, preservation, and commerce. Each year the River City Ball will benefit a local project or non profit and also provide a $1,000 scholarship to one graduating high school senior at both Gordonsville High School and Smith County High School.

Filling out an application will place your non-profit or community project in consideration to benefit from the 2019 River City Ball proceeds.

Applications can be picked up at the Smith County Chamber of Commerce and are due back by September 1, 2018. 

Completed applications will be reviewed by a panel, and those meeting the required standards will then be invited to present their cause to the River City Ball Board by the 2nd week of September.

Please fill out the application completely and provide any necessary documentation in order to be considered for the 2019 River City Ball Benefitting Cause.

Contact Erika Ebel, Cause and Scholarship Chair, with any questions or to receive an application. Erika can be reached by phone at 615-739-3649 or by email at erikaebel@gmail.com.


Woman arrested for child neglect, public intoxication

April D. Thompson

(Smith County Insider Press)—April D. Thompson (37, Lancaster) was arrested on June 28, 2018, after Officer Frank Maynard responded to a report that a child had been left unattended in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Carthage Walmart.

According to the police report, when Maynard arrived at Walmart, he found a small child restrained in a carseat in a white pickup truck. The child’s guardian was not present in the immediate area.

Walmart employees directed Maynard’s attention to Thompson, who was sitting several yards away in the parking lot. They reported that she had been acting strangely for a little over half an hour. 

When Maynard approached Thompson to question her, he noticed her slow responses and disoriented behavior, as well as the smell of alcohol on her person.

According to the police report, Thompson initially denied that the vehicle and the child belonged to her, but she admitted responsibility after Maynard performed a vehicle registration check.

Thompson refused to comply with requests to perform a field sobriety test, and she was subsequently taken to the Smith County Jail for booking.

Thompson is charged with one count of child abuse/neglect of a child under 18 years old and one count of public intoxication. 


Community KidZ Choir concert scheduled for July 21, 2018

The Community KidZ Choir of Smith County held its annual Music Camp this week, July 16-20, 2018, for children in 1st through 6th grades. Campers will showcase their hard work and talent during a concert at the Smith County Ag Center at 6:00 p.m. on July 21, 2018.

The KidZ Choir will perform Camp Wallaballa: A Kid’s Musical about God’s Promises, which members have been learning and practicing throughout the week. 

Children who participate in Music Camp will also have several other opportunities to perform throughout the year. Past performances have included the Jamie Evitts Scholarship Auction, Relay for Life, Upwards Basketball Games, and the Smith County Fair. 

Music Camp is a unique summer opportunity for kids to discover their talents in music and drama, encounter musical instruments in a new and exciting way, and make incredible crafts and new friends galore.

To learn more about the Community KidZ Choir, email communitykidzchoir@twlakes.net or call (615) 489-2296.


Benefit Ride planned to raise funds for child with cancer – July 21, 2018

A benefit ride for a two-year-old named Coen who is battling cancer will take place at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Gallatin, Tennessee, on Saturday, July 21, 2018. Registration for the ride will begin at 11:00 a.m.

The ride is open to all cars, trucks, and motorcycles, and a $20 entry fee will be collected from all participants.

The ride will begin at Buffalo Wild Wings and end at Keller’s Restaurant in Hartsville, where an auction will be held to raise money for Coen.

Buffalo Wild Wings will also be donating 10% of its sales for the day to the benefit. Customers should be sure to mention Coen when they order.

Please direct any questions to Vanessa at (615) 557-2928 or Angie (615) 561-0355. Donations to the auction and the benefit ride are greatly appreciated.

Buffalo Wild Wings in Gallatin is located at 1109 Nashville Pike.

Warrior By the River Mud Run rescheduled for September 1, 2018

The Warrior By the River Mud Run/Obstacle Course has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 1, 2018, at 8:00 a.m. Registration will begin at 7:00 a.m at the Smith County Ag Center. 

This event was initially scheduled to take place on July 7, 2018, as a part of the Smith County Fair on the River. The Mud Run will continue to be a part of the fair in the future.

The Mud Run will feature 10 to 12 obstacles, and each warrior who completes the run will be awarded a medal.

A $30 entry fee will be collected from each Mud Run participant. To receive a t-shirt with entry, participants should register before August 17, 2018.

Click here to download the registration form.

Please mail forms and payment to: 

Smith County Fitness Center – 131 Pauline Gore Way – Carthage, TN 37030


Board of Education votes to give 3% raise to all employees

(Smith County Insider Press) South Carthage, Tenn. — The Smith County Board of Education voted to give all Smith County Board of Education employees a 3% salary increase for the 2018-2019 school year. The 3% raise is a reoccurring expenditure, and will be retroactive to July 1, 2018.

Food service will provide a 3% increase of all of their employees through Central Cafeteria Funds.

The Board discussed the possibility of giving another 3% raise for the 2019-2020 school year.

Tina Gantenbein, District 8, stated, “I think the 3% for this year is affordable and I think we can do this with the monies we have in the budget. The 3% for next year is something we will have to look into.”

Tommy Manning, District 5, expressed, “I agree, this is long overdue!”

Tina Gantenbein made the motion to give the pay increase and Tommy Manning seconded it. The motion passed unanimously. There were five of the eight board members present at the meeting, Brian Smith, David Apple, Joe Taylor, Tina Gantenbein, and Tommy Manning.

Watch the full meeting below:

July 2018 Meeting of the Smith County Board of Education

(Smith County Insider Press) South Carthage, Tenn. – The July meeting of the Smith County Board of Education meeting was held on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at 5pm at the Board of Education building in South Carthage.

Below is a copy of the agenda:

Consent Items

  • Board Minutes: Minutes of the Board – June 19, 2018 (regular meeting)
  • Request to Host the Special Response Team (SRT) Training for the Smith County Sheriff’s Department (NMS)

Superintendent Actions

New Business

  • Policy Amendment 6.319 – Alternative School Programs (Final Reading)
  • Policy Amendment 5.106 – Application and Employment and 5.118 – Background Investigations
  • Policy Amendment 5.305 – Family and Medical Leave
  • Special Education Contract School Year 2018-2019
  • New Middleton School Walking Track Fence Purchase
  • Bid Approval for Copy Paper
  • Bid Approval for Janitorial Supplies
  • Smith County Student Disciplinary Hearing Authority (SDHA)
  • Request Permission to Sell Two (2) School Buses by Sealed Bids
  • October Board Meeting Date Change
  • November Board Meeting Date Change
  • Employee Salary Increase Request


  • Bullying and Harassment SY 2017-2018 End of the Year Report
  • Request Permission for Construction of a Baseball & Softball Complex (GHS)

Committee Updates:

  • Building Committee
  • Safety Committee


Blackwell Realty and Auction breaks ground for new Smith County office

The Smith County Chamber of Commerce hosted a ground-breaking ceremony on June 8th, 2018, for Blackwell Realty & Auction, Smith County Office.

This fast-growing real estate company was established seven years ago by John Blackwell. This agency has grown to more than 130 agents, with offices at Leeville Pike in Lebanon and East Trinity Lane in Nashville.  Blackwell Realty services clients in a vast area of Middle Tennessee.  

Due to their rapid increase of Smithy County Customers and clients, Mr. Blackwell is constructing a new facility located on Upper Ferry Road in Carthage. 

“We are excited about this project. We are doing to provide the most effective service for home buyers, home sellers, and real estate investors. We are pleased to provide this convenience for our past, present and future customers of Smith County and surrounding areas,” Blackwell said. 

Mr. Blackwell and his team are hoping to have the facility open within the next 6 months.

There are several local agents who have serviced Smith County for several years. Judy Smith, a 28-year veteran realtor, will be the managing broker for the office. Josh Kirby and his team will be providing real estate service along with an auction service for Middle Tennessee property owners.  

“We are always available to assist you with your real estate needs. We can be reached at our Lebanon office by calling 615-444-0072. Come join the excitement at Blackwell Realty and Auction, Smith County!”

Attending the groundbreaking were Blackwell owners, John and Christy Blackwell; Blackwell Realty Agents- Judy Smith Lacey Crockett, Josh Kirby, Jennifer Haden, Harli Newman, John Wilhelm, Michael Woodard, Lisa King, Tammy Buie, Mike Eaton, Mike Kingery, Melissa Todd-Hughes, Jennifer Stroud, and Aletha James; Mark Dillon – Farm Credit Mid-America; Bill Woodard – Smith County Chamber of Commerce; Laura Piper – Wilson Bank & Trust; Smith County Mayor Michael Nesbitt; David Bass and Jeremy Hassler – Bass & Bass Attorney; Walter Glen and Helen Birdwell, Anthony Apple and David West – Citizens Bank; Matt Watts – Carthage City Council; Mark Jones, George Horn, Amie Blanchard, Jacqueline Carver – Sanderson Funeral Home; Rory Lithgow and Amie Blanchard – InterLinc Mortgage Services and Connie Cripps -DTC Representative


15/16 year-old Senior League All-Stars to compete in Southeast region tournament

Front Row (L to R): Seth Bingham, Tanner Coleman, Ethan Young, Evin Graber, Kobe Jones, Ashton Phillips, Cody Antoniak
Back row (L to R): Barry Preston- Coach, Matther Jones, Layton Cripps, Cody Williams, Cole Huddleston, Robert Preston, Chris McClanahan- Manager, and Tracy Mofield- Coach

The 15/16 year-old Senior League All-Stars from Smith County are preparing to compete in the Southeast region tournament for the second year in a row. The tournament is set to be held in Safety Harbor, Florida, on July 20-25, 2018.

The All-Stars’ journey began when they won the District 2 tournament, which took place here in Smith County. They then travelled to Clarksville, Tennessee, for the state tournament, where they also emerged victorious. 

The scores of the state tournament games are as follows:

Game 1 (W)- 

Smith County: 8

Maryville: 4

Game 2 (L)- 

Smith County: 4

Lexington: 7

Game 3 (W)- 

Smith County: 23

Bluff City: 1

Game 4 (W) – 

Smith County: 7

Maryville: 1

Game 5 (W)- 

Smith County: 21

Jefferson City: 1

Game 6 (W)- 

Smith County: 4

Lexington: 3

Championship Game (W)- 

Smith County: 19

Lexington: 7 

The Smith County Senior-League All-Stars always appreciate donations, especially as they now prepare for regional play. To make a donation to the team, please contact Tracy Mofield at (615) 735-7926 or Chris McClanahan at (615) 489-9724.


Smith County Heritage Museum to host second book signing event on July 20, 2018

A book signing event with local authors Robert Rogers Chaffin and Tom Falcone will be held at the Smith County Heritage Museum on Friday, July 20, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Mr. Chaffin will be signing his book entitled Pioneers, Preachers, and Patriots: The Chaffins of Roaring River, which chronicles the history of the Abner Chaffin family from Jackson County, Tennessee.

Mr. Falcone will be signing copies of A Place Called Pleasant Shade, a fictional account of two young lovers that takes place in rural Tennessee.

All proceeds from book sales will benefit the Smith County Heritage Museum.

The Smith County Heritage Museum is located at 107 Third Avenue East in Carthage, Tennessee. The museum is open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

This is the second book signing that has been held at the museum. Read Smith County Insider’s coverage of the first author event with Mr. James L. Bass here. 


4-H News: Smith County 4-H’ers attend Junior Camp in Crossville

Submitted by Katie Martin – Smith County Extension Agent

57 Smith County Campers depart from 4-H Camp on Friday, June 15, 2017.

Fifty-seven excited and eager 4-H’ers departed from Smith County on Monday, June 11th to attend Junior Camp at the Clyde M. York 4-H Center in Crossville for the week. Assisting with camp activities during the week were teen leaders Grace Harville and Blake Shepherd, along with adult leaders, agents, and camp staff.

Junior 4-H Camp is for youth who have completed grades 4-6. Smith County attended camp with 4-H’ers and leaders from Putnam, Jackson, DeKalb, Bledsoe, Franklin, Macon, Cumberland and Moore Counties. Activities campers could participate in included zip lining, swimming, shooting sports, group sports, fishing, kayaking/canoeing, nature hikes, leather craft and woodworking, t-shirt airbrushing, skits, music, and more. 

Campers were able to participate in and watch a talent show, participate in cabin wars, and hear the camp ghost story of “Herman the German.” There was also dance and a movie night complete with popcorn. Several Smith County campers were even recognized with the Camp Spirit award and Camp Service award for the week. 4-H’ers spent the week trying new things, making new friends, and having fun.

We would like to especially thank our community partners who donated scholarships to help nine campers attend Jr. 4-H Camp this year. Thank you to Smith County Farm Bureau, Smith County FCE, and Smith County Cattleman’s Association for their generosity and support of our Smith County 4-H program.

The 4-H Youth Development Program delivers programs through cooperative efforts of the University of Tennessee, Tennessee State University, and public and private sector volunteers. 4-H educational programs are offered to all youth, grades 4-12, on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability. For further information concerning the many opportunities that 4-H has to offer the youth in Smith County, call (615) 735-2900.

The 57 Smith County students who attended this year’s 4-H camp are listed below:

  1. Phoeby Kees
  2. Vanea Reece
  3. Elias Keehma
  4. Kindra Keehma
  5. Lily Haggard
  6. John Rosales
  7. Lauren Gregory
  8. Kane McClellan
  9. Kyla Porter
  10. Sydney Raby
  11. Chloe Bryant
  12. Brooklyn Doss
  13. Lauren Carlyle
  14. Abby Brinkley
  15. Gabriel Harville
  16. Hannah Kirby
  17. Adyn Elliott
  18. Miley Thomas
  19. Jarrain Smith
  20. Landon Bush
  21. Amber Spivey
  22. Alissa Woodard
  23. Ellie Dillard
  24. Marshall Apple
  25. Mary Claire Watkins
  26. Colton Meadows
  27. Alex Spady
  28. Veronica Vaughn
  29. Ava Preston
  30. Aubrey Croslin
  31. Boone Paschal
  32. Kara O’Regan
  33. Mia Cook
  34. Payton Carver
  35. Jorja Summers
  36. Joshua Cross
  37. Maddy Sampson
  38. Reese Bamford
  39. Kaili Schwan
  40. Makaila Crocker
  41. Emily Kuhns
  42. Bonnie Beth Roe-McDowell
  43. Cody Windham
  44. Lucy Manor
  45. Dakota Dennis
  46. Kailey Plumlee
  47. Graceland Tisdale
  48. Camri Johnson
  49. Kelsey Fortunato
  50. Jeffrey Franklin
  51. Abby Harriman
  52. Brian Goodman
  53. Luke Elkins
  54. Michael Martin
  55. Riley Davis
  56. William Caceres
  57. September Stanley
  58. Kara Thompson 


Carthage Full Gospel Church Vacation Bible School

The Carthage Full Gospel Church invites the entire Smith County community to attend their upcoming Vacation Bible School, which will be held on July 29-31, 2018, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each night.

The theme of this year’s VBS is “Jesus: The Ultimate Superhero.”

The Carthage Full Gospel Church is located at 109 First Avenue West in Carthage, Tennessee. To learn more, you can visit the church website here or send an email to info@carthagefullgospel.org.


ICYMI: Smith County Mayoral Debate (HD Version)

The Smith County Mayoral Debate was held on Thursday, July 12, at the Historic Smith County Courthouse. The debate was hosted by Smith County Insider and sponsored by Bass Funeral Homes, Powell & Meadows Insurance Agency, R.M. McCaleb Transportation, Joey Nixon for District 7 County Commission, and Hackett’s Discount Drugs.

The debate consisted of 4 of the 5 candidates for Smith County Mayor, Ricky Slack, Jeff Mason, Mark Jones, and Billy Woodard. Smith County Insider was unable to get in touch with the 5th candidate, Willie B. Bane. The debate was moderated by Smith County Insider Reporter, JR Smith. See the HD version of the debate below: 

Jimmy Shane Gregory announces candidacy as a write-in for District 5 County Commission (Gordonsville)

I, Jimmy Shane Gregory, would like to announce my write-in candidacy for Smith Count Commissioner for District 5. That covers Gordonsville, Lancaster and Hickman areas. I have lived in Lancaster community for the past 20 years. I am married to Tina Gregory. We have three children, Jay, Josh and Kelli. We attend Gordonsville Church of Nazarene.

I have served in the military for almost 24 years now with 8 yrs. being active duty in the U.S. Army. I have worked for the Smith County Sheriff Office since 2009. I am currently Sergeant and night shift supervisor.

I have been a member of Gordonsville Volunteer Fire Dept for 14 yrs and serve as Lieutenant. Being able to serve my country and community is something I enjoy. I would like to humbly ask for you vote and support as a write in on election day August 2. Early voting begins July 13- July 28. May God bless our county and its residents.


Leadership group breaks ground on special-needs playground at local Smith County park

Submitted by Ashley Webster

CARTHAGE, Tenn. – The Smith County Adult Leadership Class of 2017 had numerous service project ideas to execute after the completion of their leadership program, but one stood out among the others…helping with the installation and some fundraising for the first special needs playground equipment in Smith County.

The idea all thirteen class participants agreed upon during their first outing together, a day-and-a-half retreat, was the group did not want to make their project revolve around fundraising.  Reason being, Smith County businesses and individuals are asked numerous times a year to donate money or items; the group didn’t want to put that burden or commitment onto our local community again.

Once the Smith County Leadership group established the overall baseline goal of their project, they did an anonymous vote amongst themselves where the project that got majority vote was the group’s service project.  That is how they became the workforce behind the installation of the first special needs playground equipment at Crump Paris Park’s playground Kidz Central!

The first groundbreaking took place June 2, 2018 with the help of Smith County Mayor Michael Nesbitt’s willingness to volunteer his time to be the group’s large equipment operator.

To date the group has disassembled and reinstalled the playground’s fencing for the equipment’s new area, leveled out and placed gravel which will become the base for the area’s rubber matting which is designed to allow wheelchair access.

The project’s completion date is projected for early Fall since the Leadership project’s to-do list is only a quarter of the way complete. Tasks to come after the installation of the matting are assembly and installation of equipment, designing and pouring of the sidewalk, and assembly of the fence pickets and gate.

For those of you who are familiar with the original phase of Kidz Central, personalized fence picket sales was the creative route utilized to help with the funding of the playground.  As mentioned before, the group did not want to make fundraising the center of their project and got lucky with the fact that Mrs. Lisa Hembree, Special Education Coordinator for Smith County, had the funding logistics for the playground equipment already worked out. Even though this is the case, the 2017 Leadership group would like to let the community know the sale of pickets has been brought out of retirement at this time to help pay for the new section of fencing and overall upkeep and maintenance for Kidz Central Park.

A personalized picket can be purchased for thirty dollars and is a great way to commemorate a person or event in your life.  An application can be obtained at the County Mayor’s office and payment can be dropped off or mailed into the same office at 122 Turner High Circle Suite 100 in Carthage.

Upon the completion of the special needs playground equipment project this fall, the Leadership group invites everyone to support this new asset whether you and your family will be actually using the equipment or by spreading the word about it with family and friends in our local community and neighboring counties.

Photograph Credits: David Anderson, Sharon Jendras, and Justin Mauldin


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