Photo courtesy of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation Amanda Nuckoles, of Mt. Juliet, was announced Tuesday as a member of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s 2018 class of Dole Caregiver Fellows. Nuckoles, a mother of three, cares for her husband, who was wounded in 2007 as a soldier in Iraq.

Charis Health Center currently offers well-woman exams each Wednesday through Friday at the Mt. Juliet clinic and physical therapy each Tuesday at its satellite clinic at the Glade Church.

Charis expanded its hours in January to be open Monday through Friday at one of the two locations in Mt. Juliet and Gladeville.

“As our hours and services continue to expand to serve the growing number of our neighbors in the health care coverage gap, we are in need of medical and non-medical volunteers who want to have an impact on our community,” said Lea Rowe, executive director of Charis Health Center. “Anyone who has ever thought they might want to go on a medical mission trip can help us serve physical, mental and spiritual needs right here in our own backyard as we’re #BringingTheMissionHome.”

Charis Health Center is a nonprofit faith-based primary care clinic with no political affiliation. Its mission is to provide effective and affordable primary health care to the medically uninsured in Middle Tennessee.

Medical and non-medical volunteer opportunities are available, including:

• clinic operations for non-medical front office staff who greet patients, set appointments, answer phones and collect payments.

• clinic nursing for certified nursing assistants, medical assistants, nurses, phlebotomist, and nurse practitioners who perform patient intake, vitals, blood draws and work alongside the medical staff.

• board of directors for those unable to volunteer at a clinic, there are opportunities to serve on the board of directors, particularly individuals with a background in finance and accounting, marketing and business, as well as the medical profession.

For more information on becoming a Charis Health Center volunteer, call 615-773-5785.

Charis Health Center provides routine examinations, assessments and basic laboratory testing. There is a $25 copay for an office visit. A well-woman exam, including a free mammogram referral, is $40. Appointments are required. 

In Mt. Juliet, clinic hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and well-women checkups, PAP smears and mammogram referrals are available Wednesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

In Gladeville at the Glade Church, clinic hours are Tuesdays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.  

For more information about Charis Health Center, call 615-773-5785 or visit

Staff Reports

Rock Bottom Brewery donates to Veteran Hills Farms

Jacob Smith •  Mt. Juliet News
Rock Bottom Brewery in Nashville donates $10,000 to veteran Ray Russell’s project to create a farm for wounded veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rock Bottom Brewery in Nashville donated $10,000 to a local veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder with plans to start a farm for other disabled veterans with PTSD.

The brewery pledged in October to donate 25 cents for every Hoppy Tonk IPA sold, as well as 15 percent of the store’s sales Nov. 11, to Veterans Hill Farm.

Ray Russell, formerly of Mt. Juliet, who now lives in Gainesboro, founded Veterans Hill Farm and presented Rock Bottom Brewery brewmaster Tomas Mercado with a certificate of appreciation for their donation.

Russell started farm work as a way to keep himself occupied. Little did he know how much relief the work would give him.

“I just really busted my rear end and started getting the barn set up,” said Russell. “In that process, you know, every time I went down to feed the chickens they would all line up and come up to me, and I would interact with them. I haven’t been working since I was diagnosed. My late wife passed away four years ago and it really hit me with my PTSD. So, while I was working the farm and everything I saw how much it was helping me. I had been seeing a therapist but I hadn’t really been feeling good, and I noticed what the farm was doing for me, so I thought, I got to make other people feel the way I do.”

What Russell came up with was a project called Veterans Hill Farm, a 30-acre piece of land he’s currently in the process of converting into a refuge for veterans like himself who suffer from PTSD.

What Russell hopes will happen is that those who suffer can come work and live on the farm, where they will learn skills such as yoga, martial arts and cooking and hopefully find the same peace that Russell himself was able to find.

“We have a farm-fresh chef who wants to come over here and teach how to make farm-fresh food, healthy and easy,” said Russell. “That’s a big thing right there, because people don’t realize how much health issues are attributed to PTSD. There’s a ton of heart attacks involved with PTSD, because anything stress related, we get multiplied.”

According to Russell, the project is still in phase one of a three-phase plan. Russell estimates it will cost about $100,000 to finish clearing the land for the farm, which he hopes to raise by the end of 2018.

Once the land is cleared, Russell wants to build tiny houses to house the veterans who live on the farm. He estimates it will cost a total of $500,000 to complete the project, money he is hoping to raise by July 2019.

“The biggest thing right now is exposure,” said Russell. “We just got to get the word out there. I want this to be a national thing.”

According to Mercado, the brewery is currently working on a partnership with Veteran Hill Farms which will allow the brewery to sell beer year-round and dedicate a piece of the profits to the project.

“It’s pretty awesome,” said Russell. “We’re very thankful to them for what they’re doing for us. I just want to get the word out there. People don’t realize how much help is needed for PTSD. Right now 22 of us are dying every day from suicide, and we only represent 1.3 percent of the population. We represent a higher percent of the population with suicide than any other group.”

More information about Veterans Hill Farm may be found at The GoFundMe page for the project is at, and Russell may be reached by email at

By Jacob Smith

Paws for a Cause 5K upcoming in Mt. Juliet

Registration for the Paws for a Cause 5K run or walk series opened this week.

The event will be March 3 at 10 a.m. at Charlie Daniels Park.

The Paws for a Cause 5K is a series that benefits local animal welfare shelters across the country. The money raised at the event in Mt. Juliet will go to New Leash on Life, a Wilson County animal shelter.

The event invites people to run or walk a 5K race with their pet.

“We ask that your dog, cat, ferret, iguana or other such pet be on leash and cats and dogs need to have proof of current rabies vaccine, per Tennessee state law,” said New Leash on Life executive director Angela Chapman. “A rabies tag, a rabies certificate or something from the veterinarian showing proof will suffice.”

Tito’s Handmade Vodka and its Vodka for Dog People program will sponsor the event.

“The event series brings communities together for a day of fun, all in support of our furry friends,” said Chapman. “The vision of the Vodka for Dog People is to unite with our friends, fans and partners to better the lives of pets and their families far and wide.”

The race will feature custom finishers medals, T-shirts, goodie bags, commemorative race bibs, awards and raffles and Flash Magnets will be on site to provide complimentary magnet photos from the race.

For participants 21 and older, there will also be an after party that will feature Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Registration through Feb. 24 costs $37; after that, it will increase to $42 until the registration deadline March 2 at 3 p.m. The entry fee includes a drink ticket from Tito’s Handmade Vodka for the after party.

For more information or to register for the event, visit

By Jacob Smith

The Hermitage receives famous Jackson equestrian statuette

Submitted to The Democrat
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage recently acquired a limited-edition 19th-century zinc statuette modeled from Clark Mills’ famed Andrew Jackson equestrian statue in front of the White House in Washington.

NASHVILLE – Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage recently acquired a limited-edition 19th-century zinc statuette modeled from Clark Mills’ famed Andrew Jackson equestrian statue in front of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Purchasing the prized collection object was part of a yearlong commemoration of Jackson’s 250th birthday.

The original 1853 equestrian statue is in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square. In addition to a replica at the Tennessee State Capitol, other full-size replicas are displayed in New Orleans’ Jackson Square and downtown Jacksonville, Florida.

“As a collecting institution, we are proud to house important historical artifacts that bring life and context to President Jackson. Clark Mills’ statue is the quintessential Andrew Jackson sculpture,” said Howard J. Kittell, president and CEO of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. “It represents Gen. Jackson as a valiant victor, who along with his troops, led a stunning defeat of the British army at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. We look forward to showcasing this statuette on-site for our visitors.”

The zinc statuette was one of 22 that were cast in the late 1850s. Of the 22 known statuettes, 18 are already owned by collecting institutions, with virtually no chance of their ever coming onto the market. The institutions include the New York Historical Society, the Smithsonian Institution, the White House, the Virginia Military Institute and the Tennessee State Museum. Of the remaining four, one was badly damaged, leaving only three as possible candidates for acquisition. It made the Andrew Jackson Foundation’s purchase even more significant.

The Hermitage’s acquisition of the piece was made possible by a contribution from Jackson National Life Insurance Co. in Jackson.

“At Jackson, we believe in supporting local nonprofits that provide opportunities for families to enrich their lives, and we support the Hermitage in its mission to provide quality historical and educational content,” said Emilio Pardo, chief marketing and communications officer at Jackson.

“We hope the Nashville community and visitors to The Hermitage will enjoy seeing the iconic Jackson equestrian statuette.”

The original Lafayette Square statue – along with its recasts and statuettes – features Gen. Jackson tipping his hat atop his horse. It is considered the first major bronze monument successfully cast in the United States. In addition, the statue is unusual in that the horse is rearing up and supported on its hind legs with both front legs raised. This is the first example of a self-supporting equestrian statue so posed. At the time of the statue’s creation, no other noted statue was successfully cast this way.

The original statue was commissioned by the Jackson Monument Committee in 1848 to commemorate Jackson’s distinguished military career. Mills, a self-taught sculptor, cast the statue in 1852, and it was dedicated in 1853.

On March 15 each year, the Hermitage pauses to remember the birthday and accomplishments of Jackson – the orphaned son of Irish immigrants who grew up to become a Tennessee pioneer, one of America’s foremost military heroes and political leaders and the seventh president of the United States. Jackson was born in South Carolina 250 years ago. While he spent his youth in the Carolinas, Tennessee was his adopted home. In 1804, Jackson bought the farm near Nashville that he would name the Hermitage and call home for the rest of his life. He was buried there in 1845.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President is one of the largest, most well-preserved and most visited presidential homes in the United States. Opened to the public in 1889, the Hermitage is one of America’s first presidential museums. The Hermitage is currently a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with 27 historic buildings, including Jackson’s mansion and tomb, restored slave cabins, a church and gardens. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as archaeology and the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of 200,000-plus annual visitors. In 2015, the Hermitage launched Andrew Jackson: Born for a Storm, a state-of-the-art exhibit that delves into the life of Andrew Jackson, including his military and presidential careers. For more information, visit

Staff Reports

Wilson jobless rate slightly increases

Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced Thursday unemployment rates in November remained low across the state and the vast majority of Tennessee counties continue to experience rates below 5 percent.

Davidson and Williamson counties tied for the lowest unemployment in the state with rates of 2.5 percent, a slight increase of 0.3 percentage points compared to October.

Eight of the 10 lowest county unemployment rates in November were in Middle Tennessee, with Knox and Sevier counties in East Tennessee rounding out the list. All counties in the top 10 had a rate below 3 percent and unemployment rates in 87 Tennessee counties remained under 5 percent in November.

“The economy remains strong in Tennessee, but we are not going to let up on our Drive to 55 to ensure our workforce is ready for the demands of employers in the years to come,” Haslam said. “And we’re keeping our focus on creating a business-friendly environment that will continue to attract jobs and make Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

Lauderdale County had the highest unemployment rate in November, at 5.5 percent, a 0.3 percentage point increase from the previous month. Rhea and Bledsoe counties both had rates of 5.4 percent, which represents a 0.1 percent increase for Rhea County and a 0.5 percent increase for Bledsoe County.

Wilson County’s unemployment rate in November was 2.7 percent, a 0.3 percent increase from October and a 1.1 percent decrease from the same time last year. Wilson County’s rate in November represented 1,880 unemployed workers compared to a 69,750-person workforce and does not include those who did not file with the labor department or no longer receive benefits.

Lebanon’s rate for November rose to 3.1 percent, a 0.2 percent increase from October. The city’s rate represented 460 unemployed workers compared to a 14,560-person labor force. 

Mt. Juliet’s rate for November landed at 2.6 percent, a 0.3 percent increase from October. The rate represented 450 unemployed workers compared to a 17,380-person work force.

The unemployment rate for Nashville-Murfreesboro metropolitan area, which includes Wilson County, remained at 2.3 percent in November. The rate represented 23,710 unemployed workers compared to a just more than 1 million-person workforce.

Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate in November was 3.1 percent – 0.1 percent higher than October, but two percentage points lower than it was in November 2016.

The rate represented 98,400 unemployed workers compared to a 3.2 million-person workforce.

The national unemployment rate for November was 4.1 percent, unchanged from October. The national rate represents more than 6.6 million unemployed workers compared to a workforce of just more than 160 million people.

By Xavier Smith

New business booms in 2017

Several projects expected to finish during 2018

Wilson County welcomed several new businesses in 2017, along with the start of some projects expected to finish in 2018.

Mt. Juliet

Konnector Woodfire Grille opened in Mt. Juliet in October at the same location as a former popular restaurant with a similar name.

The restaurant, owned and operated by Konnector Restaurant Group, is at 3950 N. Mt. Juliet Road, which formerly housed Woodfire Grille.

Konnector Grille in Mt. Juliet offers Nashville hot chicken and Southern-style cuisine in a family dining environment. The restaurant includes a private dining room that guests can reserve for meetings and other occasions.

Other Mt. Juliet businesses include:

• Burgerism – Burgerism opened in November in Providence Marketplace. The restaurant replaced Which Wich in Providence.

• Ashley Furniture HomeStore – Ashley Furniture opened in November at 56 Belinda Parkway in the former H.H. Gregg building.

• Hobby Lobby – Hobby Lobby will occupy the former Gander Mountain building on Belinda Parkway in the Providence Marketplace area. The store is expected to open in 2018.

• Nothing Bundt Cakes – Nothing Bundt Cakes will occupy the former Ace Hardware Store on N. Mt. Juliet Road, according to Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin. The business is expected to open in 2018.


Lebanon’s business and entrepreneurial spirit culminated with the Cumberland Ignite Lab, a central meeting space for businesses and business owners to share information, learn and work with other owners and professionals. The venture is a partnership with Cumberland University, the city of Lebanon and Historic Lebanon to create a co-working and entrepreneur space in an underutilized Lebanon Square building.

“Our hope is to connect people, resources and information together and help turn ideas into a reality,” said Sarah Haston, Lebanon economic development director.

The center is at 104 E. Main St.

Other Lebanon businesses include:

• Bojangles – Bojangles opened in November at 906 S. Hartmann Drive.

• Dean’s Hot Chicken and Waffles – Dean’s opened in September on the Lebanon Square, bringing the Nashville hot chicken craze to Lebanon.

• Dickey’s Barbecue Pit – Dickey’s opened in September at 115 S. Hartmann Drive and marks the Texas-based chain’s fifth location in Tennessee.

• NYNY Pizza – NYNY Pizza completed its move to the Lebanon Outlet Marketplace in September after 10 years in Mt. Juliet.

• Panera Bread – Panera opened in June at its South Cumberland Street location. The location offers a drive-thru.

By Xavier Smith

City manager talks 2017 success

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Martin looks to future growth in 2018

Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin talked about his excitement for the coming year, as well as the success the city had in 2017.

According to Martin, the city featured more than 40 new businesses open in 2017, including Culver’s, Dairy Queen, Kona Ice, Krystal, Sports Clips and more.

Martin said there are already several businesses scheduled to open in 2018. Some of the businesses that will be breaking ground will be Hobby Lobby, Jason’s Deli, Nothing Bundt Cakes, I-Hop and a Honda dealership.

“In order to maintain this wonderful trend, we must do all we can to support all of our local businesses,” said Martin. “Not only does this show the current businesses that we care, but it also shows any potential new businesses that we, indeed, support our local businesses on every level. Doing so also keeps our local sales dollars local. The sales tax dollars then go to cover the costs of out police, fire, teachers and other much-needed public services, which, in turn, also helps keep our taxes low.”

“I wish to thank all of the many business owners that have invested in and supported our great community. The services and products you provide are a big part of what makes our community so wonderful, and for that we are most thankful and blessed.”

The Eastern Connector, which connects the Beckwith Road interchange with Lebanon Road and reduced traffic issues on Mt. Juliet Road, opened in July. The road, just less than three miles, connects Lebanon Road to the Beckwith Road interchange at I-40.

“This project has been going on for about 10 years or so and there’s a lot of people who played a role in this – citizens, state, county and local government and our elected officials. There’s not enough we can say to show our true appreciation,” Martin said at the time the connector opened.

“This is such an exciting day. The city of Mt. Juliet was incorporated in 1972, so for 45 years, there has been one way in and one way out. As of today, we’re doubling the capacity of Mt. Juliet Road with this road right here,” said Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty when the connector opened in July.

The road features four lanes and a grassy median, along with a bridge to go over the Nashville Eastern railroad, which carries the Music City Star, and East Division Street.

Crews worked on the roadway since 2015. More than 283,000 cubic yards were excavated, 119,000 tons of base stone was placed, 3,227 cubic yards of concrete was used and more than 52,500 tons of asphalt was rolled.

Mt. Juliet split the cost of the project with the Federal Highway Administration, with oversight from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Andy Barlow, Mt. Juliet deputy public works director, said he believes the city will have other north-south connectors in the future, but none as big or impactful as the Eastern Connector.

Mt. Juliet officials dedicated two of the city’s newest parks in November after citizens donated land and worked to bring the parks to fruition.

The city dedicated Eagle Park on West Division Street on Nov. 13. The park was an Eagle Scout project for John Forth with Troop 150. It’s a bicycle park aimed at increasing safety and awareness for young cyclists. Children can learn to ride a bike at the park, as well as the rules of the road.

State Rep. Susan Lynn had the idea to build a guardrail along the street next to the park after she saw how nervous parents were about its close proximity to cars.

“At the time, I had five grandchildren, ad we enjoyed bringing them to this new park,” said Lynn at the time. “It’s absolutely wonderful, and the children love it, but coming here, even the first time, you could feel that traffic was swift. Parents were sort of helicoptering around their children just because they could feel the swift traffic.”

Lynn proceeded to put in a budget amendment for $10,000 at the General Assembly and used the money to build the guardrail.

Mt. Julier Mayor Ed Hagerty praised the community for coming together to get the park built.

“This is probably the best example of a true public-private partnership,” said Hagerty. “We had a private party, the Eagle Scout John who was involved, we had the [Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee] involved, we had the state of Tennessee involved and we had the city involved. That is the best way to get projects accomplished.

Eagle Park is 100 yards long, 40 yards wide and in the shape of a figure eight as a mini-road course.

The Robinson Park dedication also took place Nov. 13 at the corner of Mt. Juliet Road and Old Lebanon Dirt Road.

Bill and Phyllis Robinson with Robinson Properties donated 11 acres to the city to create the park. It features a half-mile wrap-around hiking trail and outdoor fitness equipment.

“I think parks are important, because sometimes you can just be going through a hard time in life, and you can just come to a park and walk around and think,” said Martin.

Girl Scouts with Troop 425 worked to turn the park into a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

The park offers homes to birds, bees, bats, ladybugs and butterflies.

“We hear a lot about how people want more parks and recreation areas,” said city Commissioner Brian Abston. “In the last three or four years, that’s the direction we’ve been going, and with these two parks today, we’re continuing to move in that direction.”

Martin said there are several city projects on schedule for 2018 he hopes will come to fruition. One such project is the addition of two new traffic signals at Highway 70 and Park Glen and Belinda Parkway and Providence Trail.

There are also plans to start a new city greenway along West Division Street and widen the bridge at Interstate 40 and Mt. Juliet Road.

“[These are] just a few of the projects we’d like to start and/or complete in 2018,” said Martin. “Happy New Year to all and [we wish] everyone a wonderful 2018.”

By Jacob Smith

IHOP, At Home coming to Mt. Juliet

Mt. Juliet will soon be home to IHOP and At Home, according to Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin, who announced the new businesses Friday.

IHOP, the multinational pancake house and diner-style table service restaurant, and At Home, a home décor chain, will be in the Paddocks at Mt. Juliet.

Martin announced last month Nothing Bundt Cakes and Hobby Lobby would also expand into Mt. Juliet.

Nothing Bundt Cakes will occupy the former Ace Hardware Store on North Mt. Juliet Road, according to Martin. Nothing Bundt Cakes, which specializes in hand-decorated cakes, has a few locations in Middle Tennessee, including Hendersonville, Murfreesboro and Nashville.

Hobby Lobby will go in the former Gander Mountain building on Belinda Parkway in the Providence Marketplace area. Ashley Furniture HomeStore recently opened in the former H.H. Gregg building, also on Belinda Parkway.

By Xavier Smith

Mt. Juliet Chamber gets networking demonstration

Xavier Smith • Mt. Juliet News
Kim Dryer, digital marketing consultant with RevLocal, describes her business Wednesday at the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon. The luncheon mirrored the Chamber Networks program, which introduces business owners and employees to one another in an interactive format.

Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce members got a taste of one of the organization’s programs, Chamber Networks, on Wednesday during its monthly luncheon.

Chamber ambassador C.J. Hutsenpiller led the program, which took members through a networks meeting, which introduces business owners and employees to one another in an interactive format.

Hutsenpiller said networks takes place every first and third Tuesday of the month from 11:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the Mt. Juliet Chamber office. He said each meeting features an icebreaker, commercials and information lesson at the end of the meeting.

“With commercials, you get to stand up and give us 60 seconds about your business,” Hutsenpiller said.

Hutsenpiller’s education lesson focused on business clichés and how to improve them heading into 2018.

“We’re all in sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re the front receptionist or you’re the person that answers the phone. We’re all in sales,” Hutsenpiller said. “We all use these clichés. Some are OK, but we’re going to put a spin on them.”

Hutsenpiller’s first cliché was, “We have the best prices.”

“You know what’s the problem with selling on prices? There’s always someone cheaper. If that’s the only thing you’ve given a customer is price, they’re going to hop on Amazon,” he said. “If you’re not bringing value, then price is the only thing you’re giving them, and that’s not a sustainable business model.”

Another cliché Hutsenpiller highlighted was, “We provide the best service.”

“The problem with that is that customer service is not the same for everyone,” said Hutsenpiller, who noted customer service could differ based on age, location and more.

“What we’re looking for is experience – client experience,” he said.

He highlighted his visit to Cracker Barrel’s corporate office during his time with Leadership Wilson as an example of experience-focused service.

“You know the one thing they don’t mention while we’re there? Not one time did they mention the food,” he said. “What they centered on was not the product they were selling. They centered on the experience they were giving the customer.”

For more information about Chamber Networks and other programs, visit

By Xavier Smith

Charis Health Center expands clinic hours

Charis Health Center will be open Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at its 2620 North Mt. Juliet Road location, beginning Jan. 10.

“Thanks to support from the community and our amazing volunteers, we’ve been able to expand our clinic hours,” said Lea Rowe, executive director. “Charis will now be open Monday through Friday at one of our two locations in Mt. Juliet and Gladeville.”

Charis Health Center is a nonprofit faith-based primary care clinic with no political affiliation. Its mission is to provide effective and affordable primary health care to the medically uninsured in Middle Tennessee.

“Many of our hard-working neighbors don’t have health care coverage for a variety of legitimate reasons, and the number of people in the coverage gap continues to grow,” Rowe said.

Charis provides routine examinations, assessments and basic laboratory testing. There is a $25 copay for an office visit. A well-woman exam, including a free mammogram referral, is $40. Appointments are required. 

At the Mt. Juliet location, new clinic hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and the second Tuesday of each month from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for well-women checkups, PAP smears and mammograms. To reach the clinic, call 615-773-5785.

At the Gladeville satellite clinic at 9000 Stewarts Ferry Pike, hours are Tuesdays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Contact the clinic at 615-444-2627.

“Often, patients are struggling with multiple life challenges in addition to their health,” Rowe said. “The Charis staff and volunteers, as servants of Jesus Christ the Healer, strive to meet physical, mental and spiritual needs. Charis Health Center is #BringingTheMissionHome.”

For more information on becoming a Charis Health Center patient or volunteer, call 615-773-5785 or visit

Staff Reports

Books-A-Million welcomes iconic fiddle player Charlie Daniels

Bobby Reynolds • Mt. Juliet News
Charlie Daniels greets fans in his hometown Saturday as he signed copies of his newly released memoir, ‘Never Look at the Empty Seats,’ at the Books-A-Million in Mt. Juliet.

Grammy award-winning musician Charlie Daniels signed copies of his newly released memoir, “Never Look at the Empty Seats,” on Saturday afternoon at the Books-A-Million in Mt. Juliet.

Guests received book signing and giveaway opportunities.

Few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Daniels. In his official memoir, “Never Look at the Empty Seats” from Thomas Nelson Publishing, fans will learn about his rise from a post-Depression era childhood to becoming a Grammy award winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee by focusing on the positives in life.

Spanning a career of nearly 60 years, Daniels shares inside stories, reflections, rare personal photographs, plus lessons learned and sage advice to those seeking a career in the music business.

Daniels is best known for his contributions to country, bluegrass and Southern rock music. As a multi-instrumentalist, lyricist and singer, Daniels’ won his first Grammy in 1979 for best country vocal performance by duo or group for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The award-winning music enthusiast was later inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. Daniels currently lives in Mt. Juliet. For more information about Daniels, visit

To attend the event, guests were required to buy an online ticket, which included a copy of “Never Look at the Empty Seats.” Daniels gave away a fiddle to one attendee during the event at random, and the first 10 people in line also received a Charlie Daniels Band 45th anniversary T-shirt.

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet teen the face of Books-A-Million ads

Mt. Juliet High School freshman gives familiar face

Photo courtesy of Tojuana Jordan
Jaxton Jordan, a freshman at Mt. Juliet High School, is featured in a series of national advertisements for Books-A-Million. Jordan also previously appeared in several national, regional and local ads and commercials.

Anyone doing their holiday shopping at Books-A-Million in Mt. Juliet might just see a familiar face among the holiday advertisements.

Jaxton Jordan, a freshman at Mt. Juliet High School, was selected to be part of this year’s Books-A-Million national Christmas ad campaign.

According to Jordan, a representative of the company contacted his agent and asked him to be a part of the campaign that was shot in Birmingham, Alabama earlier in the fall.

“My family and I drove down to Birmingham, and I got to miss a full day of school, which is always nice,” said Jordan. “Especially when I’m doing something to make money, it makes me feel kind of grown up in a way.”

This isn’t Jordan’s first taste of fame; he’s been doing commercials and performing since he was 4 years old.

Jordan has appeared in several national, regional and local ads and commercials for companies like Toyota, Russell Athletics, Dollar General and Hibbett Sporting Goods, among others.

“I’ve been in entertainment basically all my life. I enjoy it,” said Jordan. “Each experience is different ,and I get a chance to meet some really cool people.”

Most recently, Jaxton was featured in the music video for Danielle Bradbery’s song, “Sway.” Bradbery was the winner of season four of “The Voice,” and at the time was the youngest artist to have won. The song was the lead single for her second studio album.

Jordan said he enjoys the entertainment industry, but isn’t sure yet if he’ll pursue a career in it.

“I’ve had an opportunity to do some really neat things, but right now, football is my passion,” sad Jordan. “I have an opportunity to play for coach Trey Perry and the awesome football staff at Mt. Juliet High School, along with some other very talented athletes, so right now that’s my focus.”

Jordan’s Books-A-Million advertisements can be seen at the Mt. Juliet Books-A-Million until the end of the year.

“It’s always nice to see a project after it’s done,” said Jordan. “We don’t always get to see the things I do, but the Books-A-Million ad is up in stores locally, so my family and I went by the store to see it in person. It was fun.”

By Jacob Smith

St. Jude breaks ground on second Mt. Juliet Dream Home

Xavier Smith • Mt. Juliet News
St. Jude Dream Home sponsors and representatives share smiles during Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the second Dream Home in Mt. Juliet in the Jackson Hills subdivision.

Construction on the second St. Jude Dream Home in Mt. Juliet received its official kickoff Tuesday as program sponsors and representatives gathered in Mt. Juliet’s Jackson Hills subdivision.

Tickets for the home will be available in the spring, with the giveaway set for June.

The giveaway, which benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will give people the chance to win several prizes, including a home valued at $450,000, by buying a $100 raffle ticket.

Only a limited amount of tickets will be available, and all proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit St. Jude and its mission to treat and defeat childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. 

This year’s program is possible because of several sponsors, including WZTV Fox 17, Signature Homes, the BIG 98, Two Rivers Ford, Ashley Homestore, Wilson Bank & Trust and national sponsors Brizo, Shaw Floors, Trane, Bosch and others.

The St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway is one of the largest single-event fundraisers for St. Jude nationwide and has raised more than $383 million. All funds raised through the program will help ensure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.

Earlier this year, Alyssa Manfredi, of Hermitage, won a home in Mt. Juliet through the St. Jude Dream Home program.

“They said the house was in Mt. Juliet, and when we first moved from Pennsylvania three years ago, Mt. Juliet is where we really wanted to live,” Alyssa Manfredi said. “So I figured it would be good way to support St. Jude.”

For more information, visit

By Xavier Smith

Hypnotist opens business in Mt. Juliet

Gabriel Saunders does not make people cluck like chickens. He says hypnotism works only with the help of the person being hypnotized, so anyone that clucks like a chicken must first want to do it. 

Saunders recently opened Suggestive Lifestyle in Mt. Juliet and works as a consulting hypnotist. He says he can help people with personal development, weight management, smoking cessation and various ailments.

“There’s nothing I do that happens without your help,” Saunders said. “A consulting hypnotist is someone that consults you on a problem and will use hypnotism to try to alleviate or relieve a problem. I’m just a guide into your mind.”

According to the American Psychological Association, most clinicians agree that hypnosis can be a useful therapeutic technique. Though it’s portrayal in the entertainment industry colors it as little more than mind control, the practice today is commonly seen in the field of psychology as just another tool in the doctor’s bag.

“People differ in the degree to which they respond to hypnosis,” reads the APA’s website. “A person’s ability to experience hypnosis can be inhibited by fears and concerns arising from some common misconceptions. Hypnosis makes it easier for people to experience suggestions, but it does not force them to have these experiences.”

The roots of hypnosis trace back to sleep temples in ancient Egypt during the time of Imhotep. Someone with an ailment would visit the sleep temple of Imhotep, do a bit of ritual chanting, maybe take some herbs and go to sleep in the hopes that their dreams would bring them healing. Greeks also adapted sleep temples to their culture, but the practice faded from the pages of history until a man by the name of Franz Anton Mesmer popularized it again in the 18th century.

Mesmer practiced a pseudoscience that used magnets as conductors of the healer’s energy to miraculously cure patients. Many patients flocked to Mesmer in the 1780s for his showmanship, and although most saw him as a fraud by the end of his life, he caused ripples in the field of psychophysiological studies that led to further studies of “animal magnetism” and the practice of mesmerizing patients.

Mesmerists broke off into basically two camps that can still be seen today, those that believe in psychic phenomena and those that merely use the technique for therapy. A man by the name of James Braid changed the name to hypnotism sometime in the 19th century and referred to the processed strictly as a matter of suggestion. In 1959, the American Medical Association officially approved hypnosis as a therapeutic tool.

Saunders found his way into the practice of hypnotism after a 10-minute session helped him quit smoking.

“I smoked cigarettes for 20 years. I went to sleep for 10 minutes, woke up and I’ve never touched them again. No withdrawls. No cravings. It’s like I’ve never done it,” Saunders said.

After this experience, he decided to get training to practice hypnotism in order to share it with others. He went through 100 hours of training, both being hypnotized and practicing hypnotism on others.

He and his wife are both Christians, and he says he doesn’t use hypnotism for exploration of past lives or anything that he can’t prove.   

Saunders said what happens in a session with him is much like meditation but a deeper state of focus.

“You’re mind, the subconscious, is unlimited,” Saunders said. “Every habit we have has a positive intention. Your subconscious knows what you’re supposed to be doing, but no one ever told the younger you that started doing [the bad habit] that it wasn’t right.”

By Sinclaire Sparkman

Local church sends Christmas gift to all homes, businesses in city

Joy Church plans to send a Christmas gift in December to every household and business in Mt. Juliet.      

Each household will receive a free copy of the book, “Winning With Wisdom,” written by Jim Frease and published by Joy Church.

Frease, the senior pastor at Joy Church, shared why Joy Church sent the book to everyone in the community.

“I recently heard a statistic that more people take their lives during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas than all the other months of the year combined. When I heard that statistic, it really touched my heart,” Frease said. “We did not want anyone to fall through the cracks this Christmas. As a church, we wanted to give this book, ‘Winning With Wisdom,’ to every home and business in Mt. Juliet as a means of showing God’s love during this time.”

“Winning With Wisdom” is a compilation of many of the encouraging life principles taught at Joy Church. The book was printed locally and will be distributed to more than 22,700 Mt. Juliet home and business addresses by the U.S. Postal Service starting this week.

Joy Church International is a nondenominational church at 10085 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. Joy Church was founded in Mt. Juliet in 2003 with 18 members and has grown to more than 1,800 in attendance each weekend during three services. Weekend service times are Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. Mid-week services and RealJoy youth ministry services are Wednesdays at 7 p.m. For more information, contact the church office at 615-773-5252 or visit 

Staff Reports

Hobby Lobby, Nothing Bundt Cakes coming to Mt. Juliet

Businesses continue their migration to Wilson County as Hobby Lobby and Nothing Bundt Cakes have announced plans to move to Mt. Juliet, according to Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin.

Martin announced the businesses in an update on the city, distributed Wednesday morning.

Nothing Bundt Cakes will occupy the former Ace Hardware Store on N. Mt. Juliet Road, according to Martin. Nothing Bundt Cakes, which specializes in hand-decorated cakes, has a few locations in Middle Tennessee, including Hendersonville, Murfreesboro and Nashville.

Hobby Lobby will go in the former Gander Mountain building on Belinda Parkway in the Providence Marketplace area. Ashley Furniture HomeStore recently opened in the former H.H. Gregg building, also on Belinda Parkway.

Martin also announced census takers would begin door-to-door surveying Dec. 2 for the city’s special census.

Responding online, by phone or mailer will keep a census taker from coming to a resident’s home. To respond, visit, call 615-773-6298 or return a mailer in a postage-paid envelope.

Mt. Juliet currently receives state-shared tax dollars based on the population from the city’s special census in 2015, which revealed a population of 28,159, almost 4,000 more residents than the 2010 census showed.

Mt. Juliet leaders said the city has experienced tremendous growth since the 2015 census, and the next federal census is not scheduled until 2020. Leaders said additional income from the special census could help the city improve roads, parks, greenways, sidewalks, public safety, public works and recruit new industrial and retail businesses.

Information needed to complete the census are address and the first and last name of everyone living in a household, including any person who lives away from home such as college students or military personnel.

Information collected will be kept confidential and only used by the city for the special census. Information will not be shared, sold, rented or given to any other entity or business.

Forms will be sent in the mail to residents who do not complete their census information online.

Completed forms may also be returned to Mt. Juliet City Hall sewer billing department at 2425 N. Mt. Juliet Road.

For more information, email or call 615-773-6298.

By Xavier Smith

Local nonprofit to take fundraising to new heights

The Keith Edmonds Foundation, well known in Wilson County for its mission to assist and empower victims of child abuse, chose Giving Tuesday to take its fundraising efforts to new heights.

Keith Edmonds, child abuse survivor and director of the foundation, will don a Batman suit and spend the day atop the roof at Active Life Chiropractic on Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet.

Edmonds’ wife, Kelly, came up with the idea after she was advised to raise money, extreme and urgent needs should be made known.

“This will make it fun and get the attention of more people,” she said.

Those who know Edmonds well know he is extremely sensitive to cold temperatures and were surprised he agreed to spend an entire day in late November on a rooftop. 

“We need money to continue our mission,” he said. “I’m willing to do anything for these kids, even if it means being on a roof in a Batman suit.”

Batman will toss breakfast sandwiches down to those who come between 5-8 a.m.  Active Life Chiropractic joined the effort with plans to serve coffee, hot chocolate and a “gift of health,” a free first visit valued at $200 to anyone who makes a donation to the Keith Edmonds Foundation.

Edmonds hopes to raise at least $3,000 by the time he comes back down to earth at 5 p.m.

Giving Tuesday is a day of giving celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. It kicks off the charitable season when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

Staff Reports

Empower Me receives another big donation


Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Empower Me executive director Michelle Hill is pictured with Debbie Melvin, of Mt. Juliet.

Empower Me recently announced another donation from a Dream Launcher, a person or business that has contributed $100,000 or more to help Empower Me’s effort to build the Empower Me Center on South Hartmann Drive.

Empower Me received the $100,000 gift from Debbie Melvin, of Mt. Juliet.

“We are so grateful to Debbie and her family for this incredible gift. She is a true angel who has blessed our organization with her generosity,” said Empower Me executive director Michelle Hill. “She has not only made this generous donation, but her company, Re-Max Exceptional Properties, is the event sponsor for the sold-out Friday’s Dice and Dreams Singer Songwriters Round and Casino Night and has also sponsored other fundraising events for our organization.”

“When I visited Empower Me Day Camp and met Michelle Hill for the first time, my life changed. I knew right then I had to do my part and somehow help to make a difference. We visited at the end of the day when the parents were picking up their children, and everyone was so happy,” Melvin said.

“I remember thinking, it’s as much about giving the parents a few hours of time for themselves to do whatever they need or want to do, as it is about these precious children laughing, playing, forming bonds and having fun. Thank God there are people like Michelle Hill and this awesome new facility for Empower Me that will, for sure, change many lives. I am so honored to get to be a part of this wonderful organization. My prayer is that the Empower Me Center is blessed with the donations that they need to make this a state-of-the-art facility for these children to grow and develop.”

“We cannot thank Debbie enough for her contribution and for being a conduit to making the dreams of our participating individuals with disabilities and their families come true,” Hill said.

Empower Me has raised more than $2 million through cash contributions and in-kind gifts toward phase one of its campaign. It recently paid cash and bought 25.45 acres of land on South Hartmann Drive. Phase one includes the land purchase, building two cottages to operate programs and building a splash pad and adaptive playground.

Empower Me currently seeks people who might be able to help with sewer access to the property and perform necessary site work. Mandatory state and local approvals for sewer can take up to six months.

Empower Me’s goal is to hold its annual Fall Sports Festival on the property in 2018 as its first official year-round event.

The Empower Me Center will eventually consist of a community recreational building, a recreational sports complex and independent living cottages, all geared to meet the unique needs of individuals with a variety of disabilities. The building will allow Empower Me to increase their enrollment fourfold during the summer, have year-round recreational programs for adults and offer education classes and courses to health care and education professionals, as well as individuals in the community.

The recreational sports complex will consist of a splash pad, playground, Miracle League Baseball Field, soccer fields, the Garden of Dreams with outdoor musical instruments and an outdoor covered sports court. Year-round recreational sport leagues will be offered.

There will also be 16 cottages for independent living once the main building is built.

For more information about Empower Me, or how to get involved, visit

Empower Me also seeks individuals to serve on committees in 2018.

Staff Reports

City manager gives update on Ace Hardware building

Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin gave an update on what will go in the former Ace Hardware building Friday morning at the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce.

According to Martin, the owner unexpectedly closed all six of his stores in the Mt. Juliet area, and the city has since tried to find a replacement.

Martin gave an update Friday morning on where the city was in the process.

“We’ve got two tenants that are in the lease negotiation stage,” said Martin. “One for 10,000 square feet, and the other for 3,000. What’s exciting about that is they’ll renovate the building, and they’ll have to put a new store front on it.”

Martin wouldn’t reveal what businesses were looking at leasing the building, but he hoped an announcement would be made soon.

By Jacob Smith

Wilson County 911 Board talks renovation in work session

Jacob Smith • Mt. Juliet News
The Wilson County 911 Board held a work session Monday to discuss potential contractors for the renovation of its current building.

The Wilson County 911 Board discussed the proposals it received for architectural services for remodeling and renovation of the building at 1611 W. Main St. in Lebanon during a Monday work session.

The renovation in question is for potential co-location of emergency communications and dispatching by additional agencies. Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Mt. Juliet Police Department and Lebanon Police Department have all expressed interest in co-location.

The board is looking into the possibility of renovating its current building to make enough space to co-locate there.

The board received four proposals from companies that included background information, qualifications, experience and other information.

While a decision won’t formally be made until next week’s board meeting, there was much discussion about what the next step in the process would be. Of particular interest was the cost.

“The only thing I’m trying to do here is stay inside the money,” said former Wilson County sheriff and board vice chairman Terry Ashe. “Let’s see what we can do in our building. If we get in here and it’s jammed up really tight, then maybe we can get some help with the expansion project.”

The board won’t make a decision on how to go forward with the project until its monthly meeting Monday.

“I would hope that on Monday we can come in here with all hearts and minds clear and say, ‘Here’s who we are interested in; let’s now send to them our grocery list,’” said board chairman David Hale. “We need to find out how much it’s going to cost, and if we’re not satisfied with their contract they send us, we can always look somewhere else.”

By Jacob Smith