Kenny Martin: Beware road-raged drivers

 

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

With road-rage incidents on the rise across the country and many high-profile incidents like the one caught on tape recently where two drivers literally jumped from their vehicles and began wildly shooting at one another, I felt it important to remind everyone on the importance of road-rage issues.

Most of us have, at some point, encountered a road-raged driver. Actually, as you drive daily, you share the road with literally thousands of these got to be there now, and you are in my way, drivers. Road-rage drivers range anywhere from a simple case of someone running late for work or an event to a driver who thinks everyone else on the roadway is in his or her way and can’t drive.

Road-rage drivers can be seen daily on our streets and highways. Here are just a few signs to look for in a road-rage driver:

• constantly tailgating other drivers even though you’re traveling the speed limit.

• changes lanes erratically and often without signaling.

• slams their brakes when someone tailgates them.

• uses profanity and improper hand gestures when agitated at other motorists or pedestrians.

Some road-rage drivers will go so far as to force you off the road, follow you to a certain point, including your home or work, and start a verbal or physical altercation or even brandish a weapon and shoot at you.

Here are a few tips to use when you encounter a road rage driver:

• don’t aggravate them, pull into another lane if possible and allow them to pass.

• maintain the proper speed.

• do not tailgate.

• always use your turn signals.

• never make eye contact with a road rage driver. It doesn’t help and only serves to enrage them even more.

The best thing to do is forgive, forget and move on.

We have, all at one time or another, suffered a little road rage while driving or sitting in traffic. However, we must use common sense, not to mention courtesy, patience and respect, on our roadways and streets. Remember, the streets and roadways belong to all of us, and we must share them.

Becoming hot headed and angry while driving a 3,000-pound weapon is not a wise decision. If you encounter a road rage driver call the police or local law enforcement immediately. If you are followed by an aggressive or road raged driver, drive to a safe, well-lit and occupied location and call the police. Never exit your car when approached by a road-raged driver, and always travel with your doors locked.

If you are encountered by a road-rage driver and have already called for the police, activate the video on your cellphone and document the activity if you can.

In closing, lets make the most dangerous thing we do daily a little safer. In other words, let’s be careful and respectful to one another out there.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Make good decisions while driving

 

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Most everything we do in life requires some type of decision. Even getting out of bed at a certain time of day or night requires a decision. What your attitude will be upon getting out of bed and what you will wear are also regular decisions.

My wife and I regularly debate such things as what to wear, what to eat and what movie to see. These decisions sometime lead to debates for which my wife always seems to win. I’ve yet to figure that one out, and I guess it’s probably in my best interests to not figure it out or understand it.

Decisions are most often based on right and wrong decisions like do I need to speed to get somewhere on time or quicker. Most decisions lead to questions we usually ask ourselves. For example, you would want to ask yourself if speeding to get to a ballgame or social event is worth risking your life.

Most of us would agree that it’s simply not worth the risk. But there are those out there that routinely, if not on a regular basis, risk life and limb to make up a little time here or there by speeding. This begs the question, is it worth the price that could be paid by yours or someone else’s bad decision?

Far too many citizens will never get a second chance or opportunity to make a decision or ask a question because of a tragic fatal car crash. Automobile driving and committing traffic offenses is one of the most common things we as humans do in our day-to-day lives while driving.

For most of us, the violations are not intentional. It’s like second nature to most of us, and because we’ve done it for so long and gotten away with it we normally continue the action until something stops us.

Unfortunately, that something usually involves blue lights. This can serve as a temporary deterrent, but with time tends to fade. Neither blue lights, traffic accidents, injury or death should ever happen. As everyone knows, driving requires one’s full attention at all times. Even the slightest of distractions could lead to serious injury or death.

So please make good, safe and practical decisions in your life at home and on the road. Your decision not only affects your life, but others, as well.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Make some New Year’s resolutions

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Now that the New Year is nearly upon us, I thought now would be the best time to tell you to keep up the great work and stay the course with your 2018 resolutions.

Every New Year seems to bring many new resolutions and challenges. Keeping resolutions can be tough, if not impossible. As we all know, most only last about eight weeks or so.

Some resolutions include quitting the smoking of cigarettes and the consumption of alcohol or starting an exercise program and so on. When reviewing current resolutions and considering future resolutions, I thought I might offer a little suggestion that might help you increase your chances of succeeding with your resolutions.

Senior citizens can give you many good ideas for resolutions. As the old saying goes, our senior citizens have been there and done that and probably know better than anyone which resolutions work and which ones simply don’t work.

I once had the opportunity to sit down and chat with one of our wise local senior citizens. During that conversation, I discovered some vital and informative information concerning New Year’s resolutions that I will never forget. As someone who had lived many years, this fine lady went on to tell me about the many resolutions she had either succeeded at or failed at over the many years of her life. She discussed the many failed attempts at exercise with a chuckle, stating she just didn’t understand all the fuss over working for nothing by exercising.

She said she had worked way too hard in her lifetime to spend countless hours exercising. She then asked, “Do I look like a lady who needs exercise?” After a short pause, I replied, “of course not.” She then laughed and said, “When you’re as gorgeous as me, who needs exercise?” I then said, “That’s right.”

This fine lady then said out of all the resolutions she had attempted in her life, the best resolutions to follow were to always put God first, family second and work third in your life. She further said this was a resolution many people make every year but for whatever reason end up putting work first and don’t leave much, if any time for God and family. 

After this informative and enjoyable conversation, I found myself reflecting upon the experience and how it could possibly help not only me, but others, as well. Listening to this wise senior citizen made me realize that there are many good and bad New Year’s resolutions, some obtainable and some not. I also found succeeding and failing at a New Year’s resolution wasn’t always good or bad, but resolutions were pretty much something most people discussed around the New Year.

I also discovered resolutions could be implemented at any time, not just New Years. So if you fail during the first couple of months of the New Year with your resolutions or simply can’t think of any in December, don’t worry, you have the whole year to come up with one. And if you can’t come up with one this year, there’s always next year. Happy New Year.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Protect against crime during the holidays

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

With the holiday season upon us, we should take advantage of and use any and all extra crime prevention, safety and security measures available to prevent becoming the victim of a crime. One such measure is to be on the lookout for drunk drivers. The number of drunk or drinking drivers increases around the holiday season.

If one intends on drinking, he or she should plan ahead and get a ride to and from an event, if for some reason you end up drinking and didn’t plan on doing so, simply either stay where you are and call either a friend, family member or a taxi cab to carry you home. Taking these measures will save you money, accidents, injuries, jail time and even your life.

Another measure to take is to use common sense. During the holiday season, thieves and burglars scope out local subdivisions and parking lots looking for Christmas gifts stored in vehicles or left on front porches. When shopping or storing gifts in your vehicle, always either cover the gifts or store them out of sight or in the trunk of your vehicle.

Never leave gifts in your vehicle overnight, unless locked away and out of sight. Preferably never leave valuables or weapons in your vehicle when unlocked and never when the vehicle is unlocked. Preferably never leave anything of value and especially weapons when the vehicle is unattended.

Another thing to consider is the day after Christmas. Drive through any subdivision or community the day after Christmas, and you’ll notice lots of empty boxes at the curb of people’s yards and driveways. These boxes usually have things like 70-inch high-definition televisions, hi-fi stereos and sound systems or any other expensive brand name you can think of on the box.

This is a bad practice that should be avoided if at all possible. This practice simply advertises to any thief or burglar that you just received more valuables for him or her to steal. If you have boxes the day after Christmas, simply break down the boxes and place them in trash bags. This may seem like quite a bit of work, but it is well worth the effort.

In closing, don’t make burglarizing your home or automobile easy for a thief or burglar. Who knows, maybe if we make it tough enough on them, they’ll actually get jobs and buy the gifts themselves like the rest of us.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Mt. Juliet woman named Goodwill achiever of the year

Lynn Starks

NASHVILLE – A young Mt. Juliet woman who lost her eyesight but found a renewed sense of purpose, a group of people with intellectual disabilities who inspire everyone around them and a woman who is proving she can excel in what many consider a man’s field – these were among the stories of achievement celebrated by Goodwill at its Impact Luncheon awards ceremony last Thursday in Nashville.

Outstanding Goodwill employees, Career Solutions clients and community partners were recognized during the event at the Music City Center. The luncheon was emceed by NewsChannel 5 anchor Rhori Johnston and sponsored by American Paper and Twine.

Lynn Starks – an achiever of the year recipient – was in her early 30s when she learned her eyesight was failing because of diabetes. After several years and two failed surgeries, she was completely blind. Starks’ vision troubles forced her to leave her job as the head cook for a nursing home. She was unemployed for a full year.

Making matters worse, friends stopped coming to see her, and she felt increasingly isolated and, she said, it was like God had forgotten her.

But then, Starks submitted an application at the Mt. Juliet Goodwill store. Soon, she was working as the store’s greeter.

At 39, Starks’ life is coming back into focus. Her job allows her to talk to dozens of new people every week. It fills her with a sense of accomplishment, and her manager says she constantly exceeds expectations. “If it wasn’t for this job – I don’t know,” Starks said. “I love working here.”

Lisa Young – an achiever of the year recipient – had once worked in retail, and it wasn’t a good experience. So, in February 2013 when she came to the Goodwill Career Solutions center in Jackson for help finding a job, her only request was that she not work in retail.

At Career Solutions, she created a resume and completed classes in computer basics and online job search. But her options were limited because she had trouble passing a background check.

And then, her father died unexpectedly, leaving the single mother with no help supporting her four children. So she gladly accepted a job at Goodwill’s store in north Jackson. Soon, Young fell in love with Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through education, training and employment.

Four years later, she “absolutely loves” her job, has received a promotion and hopes to one day work at Goodwill’s corporate office.

Staff Reports

Kenny Martin: Don’t take life’s precious moments for granted

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

As you awake each and every day, do you have a routine or plan for your day? Most of us sort of go through the motions each and every day, Monday through Friday, without really truly thinking about it. We seemed to become programmed to our routines.

Let me explain. Most people work a Monday-through-Friday job. Your routine, more than likely, sounds something like this. You awake in the morning and either exercise, shower, set out the clothes you will wear for the day, eat breakfast at home, in the car or at work. After your first four hours of work, you take a lunch break for either 30 minutes or an hour. Sometimes you take more, but we won’t tell. You then work another four hours or more before leaving work. You either stop to pick up the children, or they are now driving. You then either pickup dinner or you go home and cook.

After dinner, you help with homework, do homework or do chores before finally getting in some television or relaxation time hopefully. At the end of the night, you get ready for bed, go to bed and finally awake from bed to do it all over again.

When Friday and the weekend arrives, you feel somewhat rejuvenated but wonder what you will do for the weekend. Not sure what there is to do, you settle on dinner and a movie.

Saturday arrives, and again you find yourself wondering what to do. More than likely you will settle on dinner and another movie. Sunday arrives, and you go to church. After church, you have lunch before returning home the remainder of the day to rest up for a new workweek.

This may not sound exactly like your life, but for the most part our days can feel as though they are turning into a routine or carbon copy of the day you had the day before and so on. We sometimes feel as though we are just going through the motions and wonder what life is really all about. Life will never be easy. There are peeks and valleys in lives that everyone goes through. Life is a gift that should be enjoyed. There are some that even wish the weekdays away in order to get to the weekend sooner.

Think about it. There are 365 days in a year, 12 months in a year, 52 weeks in a year, seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute and 86,400 seconds in a day. What are you going to do with your 86,400 seconds today and tomorrow?

Life is not dull, life is not routine and life is not guaranteed. We all have one life to live and as each second passes we lose yet another precious moment of life that we can never, ever get back.

Let’s all start making a better effort to make this community, this country and this world better. Let’s better unite because together we can do so much good. Please remember the seconds pass quickly so please enjoy each and every one of your 86,400 seconds each and every day with those you love, those you cherish and those that love and cherish you.

Life is much too precious to waste, so please live life to the very fullest for it is never dull, routine, boring, meaningless or guaranteed. Life is precious so let’s use these precious moments to make life more precious and enjoyable for all. Big parts of that start with unity, goodwill, harmony, kindness, forgiveness and so on.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

In a perfect world with only honest people, we wouldn’t have to worry about this, but since we do have criminals to deal with, I felt it appropriate to advise all residents, especially our seniors, about scam artists. Many, low-income elderly Americans are targeted by scam artists who use high-pressure tactics to sell unneeded and overpriced home improvements.

Often these scams bilk our senior citizens, our friends and neighbors out of life savings, leaving them unable to pay their bills. And with a majority of our seniors on fixed incomes, this is something we must make every effort at stopping.

In an effort to fight such scams, the city would like to recommend the following crime prevention measures.

Several basic steps one can take which can prevent a problem from arising include:

• never deal with any door-to-door salesman, contractors or buy repairs advertised on television. Deal with local trades people recommended by friends or reputable businesses.

• before agreeing to hire any home improvement contractor, get a second estimate for the same work from another contractor.

• get a written contract or estimate describing the work, the price, the materials, the responsibility for cleaning up and the hourly rate for any additional work.

• get references for the contractor and speak to those references. Ask about satisfaction and any problems that arose. Call the local Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau.

• take a look at other work performed by the same contractor.

If problems have developed with a contractor’s work, you should immediately take steps to protect your interests, such as:

• get an estimate from a professional detailing how much damage was done by the contractor and the value of what services were rendered.

• take detailed pictures of the work or damage left by the contractor and date them. These photos can be used in court to show the nature and extent of the problem.

• hire an expert such as an architect, reputable contractor, etc. to look at the work for quality and compliance with specifications. The expert can also provide an estimate regarding the fairness of the price for work completed, the extent of physical damage and its cost to repair.

• call your local law enforcement agency and report the incident.

We must do all we can to protect ourselves and our seniors. In the meantime, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: It’s time to say, ‘thank you, teachers’

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

wanted to take a moment to thank all our wonderful teachers for the great and wonderful work you do. Many times we don’t say thank you enough to our wonderful teachers, or we wait until after the end of the school year to do so.

Be it teaching at home, in a daycare or in the school system, our teachers do a wonderful job of teaching children. Teaching children can, at times, go without much notice or fan fair. However, I felt compelled to say thank you for all the hard work performed by teachers.

Teaching children is a calling that requires lots of love, heartache, patience and understanding. Teachers become close to and attached to the children they teach. They know when the children are happy, and they know when the children are sad.

They also carry the burden and heartache of the children who are hurting. These are the children who may not have slept the night before because of domestic situations in the home, the children who didn’t have breakfast before coming to school because of monetary reasons, or the child who doesn’t live in a household filled with love and happiness.

For the most part, children appear the same on the outside. They appear to be happy, healthy children. When in reality, many are hurting on the inside and just begging for help. Unfortunately, many children aren’t sure who to turn to for help. But luckily, we have great teachers who take on the huge responsibility of guiding not only happy children, but those suffering, as well. Teachers get to know their children well beyond names, addresses and telephone numbers. They get to know every little thing about the children they teach.

In this day and time, teaching is a harder profession than it has ever been, which is why I am so thankful to our teachers. I can’t imagine how hard your jobs are, but please know you are appreciated immensely.

To my friends and neighbors, please help me in thanking and honoring our wonderful teachers and school staff. Please know we honor and appreciate the wonderful work you do and respect you for everything you do.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Realtor, salon owner, abuse survivor speaks at Leading Women luncheon

Jacob Smith • Mt. Juliet News
Lisia Tucker, owner of Aqua Bella Day Spa, spoke at the Leading Women luncheon Thursday about her path to where she is today.

Lisia Tucker, a salon owner, realtor and abuse survivor, spoke at the Leading Women luncheon Thursday at the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce office.

Tucker owns Aqua Bella Day Spa in Mt. Juliet and works for Bob Parks Realty. At the luncheon, she shared the path that took her to where she is today.

It began in New York with a father who was in and out of jail her whole childhood.

“My life changed Dec. 1, 1980,” said Tucker. “That day [my father] hit a lady head-on, drunk, and he left the scene of the wreck, like he did every time. I was 17, in the 11th grade. The next morning, we got up, my father and I, and we drove to Nashville, Tennessee to run from the cops.”

In Nashville, Tucker didn’t attend school, because her father believed anyone older than 16 years old should be working, so she worked several jobs for the next couple of years.

Later, Tucker’s sisters, who stayed in New York with their grandmother to finish school, came to Nashville to be with their father. One night, while drunk, their father started beating them, and the police were called.

Officers discovered Tucker’s father had an outstanding warrant, arrested him and put the three girls in state custody.

The girls eventually found a home in a place called Richland Village, where Tucker stayed until she graduated beauty school.

“I have to say, to this day, that place has been a blessing,” said Tucker. “The problem is in the state of Tennessee, when you turn 18, you age out. Well, in our circumstance, these counselor people were just amazing. They fought for us. They went to court and asked the courts if I could stay until I graduated beauty school.”

In 1992, Tucker got her GED, as well as her hair license, and got a job at a salon called Just Hair.

“I worked there, and I had an opportunity to buy it,” said Tucker. “So, in 1991, I became a salon owner. It was an awesome stepping stone for me.”

Tucker got her realty license when she took a realty class to learn more about the business, so she and her husband could be more knowledgeable about buying a home themselves.

“I said, ‘You know what? I want to take a real estate class, because my husband wants to buy a house,’” said Tucker. “So, I end up taking a six-week class.”

A few years later, a customer at her salon asked her if she ever took her real estate exam, because a change in the law qualified her for a license.

So she did, and got a job at Parks Realty, where she currently works.
Tucker said despite her past problems with her father, who since died, she’s happy with where she is today, and she has forgiven him.

“I’m a forgiver; I forgive,” said Tucker. “My father died in 1991, and he’s buried right off Gallatin Road. He walked me down the aisle. I forgave. At the end of the day, I believe he was sick in the head. I just forgave him, I guess.”

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Little Free Library dedicated in Providence Landing

Resident Madison Brito-Woodall, 9, comes up with idea

Angie Mayes • Mt. Juliet News
Madison Brito-Woodall, who came up with the idea of building a Little Free Library in Providence Landing in Mt. Juliet, talks to her mom, Tracey Woodall, while Bailey Gilmore watches.

A second Little Free Library in Mt. Juliet was dedicated Saturday afternoon in Providence Landing on the south side of the city.

Subdivision resident 9-year-old Madison Brito-Woodall brought the idea for the Little Free Library to the community’s homeowner’s association. The HOA approved the idea.

Residents can take a book to read and return or they can take a book to keep. If they choose to keep a book, Brito-Woodall asked they bring a book to replace the one kept. The new give-a-book, take-a-book facility was donated and constructed by several Providence Landing residents and was placed by the community’s pool house for easy access.

“We’re really excited because one of our homeowners actually built it,” said Barbara Ladner, Providence Landing HOA president, before the unveiling. “We have it covered so no one can see this beautiful work of art, but we’re going to be dedicating it in a little while, and we’re very excited about this.”

Resident Russ Wiles built the three-tier until which can house books for everyone.

“I’ve coached baseball and football for about 25 years, and I love kids,” Wiles said. “Kids are our future. And, you can’t deny Madison. She’s a sweet little girl and is just wonderful to be around.”

He said because there are about 206 homes in the neighborhood, the library can be used for a number of children of different ages.

Brito-Woodall is a voracious reader, and when she learned about the Little Free Library program, she wanted one in her community. When she was younger, she was taken to the library almost every day. She even had a birthday party there.

“That was just the beginning of my love for books,” she said in a prepared speech. “I heard of this program called the Little Free Library about six months ago. With lots of help and hard work, we have the first one in our area.”

She said her dream is to have the Little Free Library “all over Mt. Juliet and all over Tennessee. How cool would it be to have one of these in every neighborhood?”

A Buddy Bench will eventually join the library, with hooks for a dog’s leash, so neighborhood children can sit and read and meet other children in the neighborhood.

To fill the library with books Saturday, residents brought multiple children’s books that area residents can read and enjoy.

The Little Free Library is a worldwide idea. There are more than 50,000 Little Free Library book exchanges worldwide.

By Angie Mayes 

Special to Mt. Juliet News

Larry Woody: Mt. Juliet fisherman Cash(es) big-cat double

Adam Cash hoists a 42.5-pound flathead catfish, one of two monsters he recently caught in Old Hickory Lake.

When Mt. Juliet fisherman Adam Cash wrestled in a 31-pound, two-ounce flathead catfish from Old Hickory on Oct. 7, he thought he’d landed a fish of a lifetime.

Then he went back three days later and caught an even bigger one – a 42-pound, five-ounce bruiser that took over eight minutes to land.

“It was something to catch two cats that big so close together,” says Cash, who wasn’t even fishing for catfish – he was casting for bass.

He caught the first flathead on a Senko soft plastic and the other on a Strike King lure. He was using a standard bass outfit with 17-pound-test line.

“I’ve caught a lot of catfish – my boys and I enjoy jug-fishing for them — but none anywhere this size,” Cash says. “They really fought on that light tackle.”

As big as Cash’s cats were, he says they are nowhere the lake record for flatheads, which is around 80 pounds. The state record flathead caught on sporting tackle is an 85-pounder hauled from the Hiwassee River in 1993.

Blue cats grow even bigger. A 92-pound blue was caught in Old Hickory Lake a couple of years ago, and the state-record blue cat weighed 112 pounds. It came from the Cumberland River Lock C area.

Cash, who teaches special education at Lillard Elementary School in Nashville, is a veteran angler who fishes almost daily.

“I keep my boat on the lake and I try to get in a little time every day, including after work,” he says. “I seldom miss a day.”

Cash fishes primarily for bass. His biggest Old Hickory largemouths are a couple of six-pounders.

He caught a spotted bass that weighed 5.22 pounds, which is close to the state record (6.1 pounds).

He releases all the fish he catches, expect for some smaller catfish taken while jug-fishing.

Cash was casting his Senko plastic lure along a rocky rip-rap bank near some submerged trees when he hooked the 31-pound flathead. Flatheads are known to lurk around submerged timber.

The second one caught three days later was about 500 yards from where the first one came from. That means the fish could have been a pair, which is not unusual for flatheads.

Flatheads are hard fighters, but their flesh is softer than the flesh of channel cats and blue cats and generally considered not as delectable.

Also, the bigger the catfish of all species, the more contaminates accumulate in their flesh over the years. For that reason, large cats are seldom kept for food.

“The fun is in the catching,” Cash says.

Cash says he likes knowing that the two big flatheads he released are still finning around in lake.

“Maybe I or someone else will catch them again,” he says.

By then they’ll be rested up and ready for another battle.

By Larry Woody

Kenny Martin: How alcohol affects someone

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

The key number involved with DUI cases is .08 percent or above when you blow into the intoxilyzer or take a blood-alcohol test.

Technically it will mean that you have .08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. That’s often confused with .08 percent of alcohol in your blood, but that’s not it. Most of the alcohol consumed goes through the digestive system and into the blood stream. But a small amount, about 5 percent, is eliminated through perspiration, breath and urine.

Here’s how you get that way. The type of alcohol in alcoholic beverages is ethanol. Ethanol affects the central nervous system and acts as a depressant. One study of the affects of alcohol on the human body showed when alcohol is consumed, it makes its inevitable way through the digestive system and into the bloodstream. And then it works its way into the brain.

In low concentrations, blood alcohol affects the brain’s frontal lobe and reduces inhibitions. As the concentration increases, the parts of the brain that control speech, vision and voluntary muscles are affected. Response time decreases markedly. If it gets high enough up, around .30 percent, a person can pass out. Much higher than that and death from respiratory arrest is a real possibility.

There are many factors that affect blood alcohol concentration on the body. Given the same amount of alcohol, a small person will have a higher alcohol level than a larger person, simply because the alcohol is more concentrated. A muscular person can consume more alcohol than an overweight person of the same body weight because muscle contains more water than fat and, again, the alcohol is more diluted.

And, as most people know, food consumed with alcohol lowers and delays the peak impact of alcohol by slowing down the absorption of alcohol. A 180-pound man who drinks five beers in two hours would have a level of .066 percent, but a sixth beer puts that at .087 percent, which is above the soon-to-be legal limit for driving. A 130-pound woman who has four glasses of wine in two hours would be at .071 percent, but if those glasses were consumed in 1½ hours, it’s up to .086 percent.

These figures were put together to educate those who may drink and drive. The only true soberer is time. Cold showers and food consumption will not sober a person. So when thinking about drinking and driving, please remember these stats and choose wisely. Please use a designated driver or call a cab, family member or friend for a ride. The chances of getting arrested, injured or even killed are just not worth the chance.

Many a person or innocent victim has endured serious injury and death because an impaired driver chose to drive anyway. Please choose wisely and make the right choice. Please don’t drink and drive.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Please come to your census

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Most everyone should receive your census form in the mail soon if you have not already received it. Please take the time to fill it out and mail it in.

I am as picky and hesitant as anyone. I know when it comes to giving out personal information about my family and me, but when it comes to the census, we need to make sure we are counted.

The many benefits and reasons to fill out your census card include:

• It’s important: Census data determines funding for your community, your community’s representation in local, state and federal government and your community planning decisions.

• It’s easy: The Census questionnaire takes only a few minutes to complete, answer and return.

• It’s confidential: Your responses are protected by law. All census bureau employees have taken an oath to protect confidentiality and are subject to a jail term, fine or both for disclosing any information that could identify a respondent or household.

• It’s required by law: The information you provide is combined with responses provided by your neighbors and other households across the country to provide summary statistical data that are used by various local, state and federal agencies.

• Census affects funding for your community: Census data directly affects how more than $300 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation and much more. That’s more than $3 trillion in a 10-year period. Spending just a few minutes to fill out your census form will help ensure your community gets its fail share of federal and state funding.

There will also be a door-to-door census process, as well, so don’t be alarmed if you see a smiling face at your door.

We have a wonderful community, and together we can make sure we get all the resources and representation we deserve and need for our future. So please join me in becoming a part to secure additional resources for our citizens and our community.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Did you know there are 86,400 precious seconds in each day?

 

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

As you awake each and every day do you have a routine or plan for your day? Most of us sort of go through the motions each day, Monday through Friday, without really truly thinking about it. We seemed to become programmed to our routines.

Let me explain. Most people work a Monday through Friday job. Your routine more than likely sounds something like this. You awake in the morning and either exercise, shower, set out the clothes you will wear for the day, eat breakfast at home, in the car or at work. After your first four hours of work, you take a lunch break for either 30 minutes or an hour. Sometimes you take more, but we won’t tell. You then work another four hours or more before leaving work. You either stop to pick up the children, or they are now driving, you then either pickup dinner, or you go home and cook.

After dinner, you help with homework, do homework or do chores before finally getting in some television or relaxation time, hopefully. At the end of the night, you get ready for bed, go to bed and finally awake from bed to do it all over again.

When Friday and the weekend arrives, you feel somewhat rejuvenated but wonder what you will do for the weekend. Not sure what there is to do you settle on dinner and a movie. Saturday arrives and again you find yourself wondering what to do. More than likely you will settle on dinner and another movie. Sunday arrives and you go to church. After church, you have lunch before returning home the remainder of the day to rest up for a new workweek.

This may not sound exactly like your life, but for the most part our days can feel as though they are turning into a routine or carbon copy of the day you had the day before, and so on. We sometimes feel as though we are just going through the motions and wonder what life is really all about. Life will never be easy. There are peaks and valleys in life that everyone goes through. Life is a gift that should be enjoyed. There are some that even wish the weekdays away to get to the weekend sooner.

Think about it. There are 365 days in a year, 12 months in a year, 52 weeks in a year, seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute and 86,400 seconds in a day. What are you going to do with your 86,400 seconds today and tomorrow?

Life is not dull, life is not routine and life is not guaranteed. We all have one life to live, and as each second passes we lose yet another precious moment of life that we can never, ever get back. Let’s all start making a better effort to make this community, this country and this world better. Let’s better unite because together we can do so much good. Please remember the seconds pass quickly, so please enjoy each and every one of your 86,400 seconds each and every day with those you love, those you cherish and those who love and cherish you.

Life is much too precious to waste, so please live life to the very fullest for it is never dull, routine, boring, meaningless or guaranteed. Life is precious, so let’s use these precious moments to make life more precious and enjoyable for all. Big parts of that start with unity, goodwill, harmony, kindness, forgiveness and so on.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Do you know how Old Glory got its name?

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Why is our American flag called Old Glory? Because Capt. William Driver received a flag he was immensely proud of and demonstrated this pride by taking the flag around the globe with him twice.

After surviving this incredible voyage, the flag also survived the Civil War and was championed as a local landmark until its story permeated the culture at large, and Old Glory became a household term for anyone proud of the flag. Driver is buried in Nashville and is one of the few places in the country authorized by Congress for a flag to be flown 24 hours a day.

Did you know Robert G. Heft designed the current flag as a school project when Hawaii and Alaska were discussed as possible states? He received a B minus for the assignment because his teacher said it lacked creativity. His teacher told him he would receive a higher grade if Congress adopted it, so he sent it on to his representative, where it eventually became the nation’s flag.

Official acts relating to the American flag include:

• June 14, 1777 – The Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act stating, “Resolved that the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” In 1949, President Harry Truman officially named June 14 as Flag Day in commemoration of the event.

• Jan. 13, 1794 – An act was passed, which said after May 1795 there would be 15 stripes and 15 stars.

• April 4, 1818 – An act was signed by President James Monroe that said there would be 13 stripes and one star for each state. New states’ stars would be added July 4 after their admission to the Union.

• June 24, 1912 – For the first time, flags became standardized with specific proportions and the arrangement of the stars into six rows of eight each according to an executive order from President William Howard Taft.

• Jan. 3, 1959 – An executive order from President Dwight Eisenhower said the stars would be arranged in seven rows of seven stars each.

• Aug. 21, 1959 – An executive order from President Eisenhower resulted in the stars arranged in nine rows staggered horizontally and 11 rows staggered vertically.

The official national colors of the United States – red, white and blue – can be seen on the American flag. Red is a symbol of valor and bravery. White symbolizes purity and innocence. Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Please proudly and properly display Old Glory daily everywhere you can. It’s much more than just a symbol or a flag, and it’s something every American citizen should respect and be proud of, as well. Lots of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters died and made many sacrifices so we can enjoy the freedoms we have, and so have their families. So any disrespect to flag is disrespectful to them, their families and our great country and its citizens.

God bless America.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Hold your head up, because life is great

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Times are indeed tougher now than many of us have ever known or seen before in our lives. But the tough times will pass, and we will all be better prepared for the future as a result.

Remember the old sayings, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” by Joseph P. Kennedy, or “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” by Franklin D. Roosevelt?

When times get tough, we look for light at the end of the tunnel. Our goal should to be a part of that light at the end of the tunnel. I will list below other motivational quotes.

• “This too shall pass” — Abraham Lincoln.

• “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is courage that counts” —Winston Churchill.

• “Never, never, never, never give up” — Winston Churchill.

• “Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal” — E. Joseph Cossman.

• “No matter how difficult the challenge, when we spread our wings of faith and allow the winds of God’s spirit to lift us, no obstacle is too great to overcome.”

• “Difficulties should act as a tonic. They should spur us to greater exertion” — B.C. Forbes.

• “A desire can overcome all obstacles” — Gunderson.

• “It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get back up” — Vince Lombardi.

• “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” — Eleanor Roosevelt.

• “For every mountain there is a miracle” — Robert H. Schuller.

• “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” — Albert Einstein.

I hope that these inspirational quotes have helped in some way. Just remember to be thankful for the blessings you have, and to try and not focus on the ones you don’t have.

Hold your head up and keep on reaching for the stars. Life is great.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Did you know God doesn’t make any junk

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Have you ever wished you were someone else? If you have, you aren’t alone and you shouldn’t. We are all who we are and that is what makes each of us so special. If we all looked alike, acted alike, dressed alike and sounded alike, life would be dull and boring.

For example, there may be times in our lives when we feel as if we are complete failures. Please don’t fret; this feeling is natural and it happens to almost everyone. We all go through what are called peaks and valleys in our lifetime.

Think about it. One of our natural human tendencies is to be hard on ourselves. We are not built to go around bragging about what we do and how great and wonderful we are. We don’t normally go around going, “Look how tall, handsome, smart and fast I am.”

As a matter of fact, if we did that, most people would either laugh at us or refuse to have anything to do with us. As a result of being hard on ourselves, we can sometimes be guilty of hurting our own self esteem, which can then make us feel downright miserable at times.

We have all felt, at some point, we weren’t tall enough, thin enough, smart enough or pretty enough. It begs the question, who are the so-called experts when it comes to what is smart, tall, thin and pretty and how do you become an expert in these fields? Is there a college or school you attend for this? I know that it’s certainly not the media, magazines and television shows that we should be learning this from.

So here’s the deal. Life isn’t easy. We all know that? However, we cannot make life any harder for ourselves than it already is. Please remember that God doesn’t make any junk. We need to have more pride in ourselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying, “I’m a great dad, husband, father, worker, Christian and so on.” There is also nothing wrong with bragging on those around you and giving credit where credit is due. We all love to be bragged on.

In closing, please remember that we are all survivors. We all have worries, trials, tribulations, highs and lows. That is just part of life, and that will never change. So please keep your chin up, take more pride in who you are and never forget that God doesn’t make any junk.    

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Larry Woody: Fate of ‘pet’ raccoon remains in dispute

What happened to Rebekah the raccoon?

According to Gallatin resident Mark “Coonrippy” Brown, in 2013 his pet raccoon Rebekah was seized by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and euthanized.

That’s not true, says the TWRA. The Agency says the raccoon was taken away – as required by state law — and released unharmed.

“We don’t want folks to think we killed it,” says TWRA Communications Director Doug Markham.

That past controversy was reignited by a recent column I wrote for the Lebanon Democrat and Hartsville Vidette about a raccoon that frequently comes up on my deck searching for food. I wrote about feeding the raccoon bread, grapes, corn and watermelon, and how interesting it is to observe her behavior.

But, I said, I don’t consider her a ‘pet’ because she is free to come and go – she has a den in a tree behind my house – and pointed out that Tennessee law prohibits keeping any wild animal as a pet.

As an example I cited the famous case of Coonrippy and Rebekah.

Coonrippy – a one-time candidate for governor – attracted widespread attention by posting videos of him dancing and showering with the raccoon. Among the attention it attracted was that of the TWRA. An Agency officer came to Coonrippy’s home and took Rebekah away.

What happened next remains a matter of dispute.

In my column I said the raccoon was seized by the TWRA and released, which was my understanding at the time.

When Coonrippy read that account, however, he said it was inaccurate – he claimed Rebekah was euthanized by the TWRA. On numerous internet postings Coonrippy also claims the raccoon was euthanized by the Agency.

Coonrippy injected the issue into his political campaign. He said he collected over 60,000 signatures on a petition demanding the release of Rebekah and sent it to Gov. Bill Haslam, but Haslam failed to respond.

Coonrippy’s latest contention that the raccoon was euthanized was carried as a “correction” to my column in the Hartsville Vidette and the Lebanon Democrat. When TWRA officials saw it, they took issue. They said Coonrippy’s correction is not correct.

Communications Director Markham said, in an email: “That was a controversial story and we don’t want folks to think we killed it (Rebekah).”

Added Markham: “In Tennessee it is illegal for anyone to own or capture native wildlife. Sometimes folks get mad at us because we enforce the law, but it is dangerous to try to make pets out of wildlife, and it would be detrimental to wildlife if people constantly removed them from the wild.”

The TWRA’s concerns are supported by fact: wild animals – particularly raccoons – are known to carry diseases such as rabies which can be transmitted to humans through bites or scratches. And if owning wild animals were allowed, it would likely spark a commercial market that endangered such “cuddly” species as raccoons.

But emotion often clouds reality — as shown by the ongoing controversy over the fate of Rebekah the raccoon.

Kenny Martin: Did you know seniors are awesome?

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

With all the love I have for our senior citizens, I wanted remind everyone to please remember to check in on our senior citizens to make sure they are doing well.

A lot of our senior citizens live alone and don’t drive any longer, therefore they sometimes need errands ran or items picked up. If you know of a senior citizen, regardless of age, who is homebound, please stop by and check in on them periodically. You will sometimes find that they are in great need and simply don’t know who to turn to for help. You will more than likely find a sweet person full of life, smiles, laughter, kindness, wisdom, knowledge and even a little mischief.

Unfortunately, our senior citizen population sometimes gets overlooked or forgotten about, and we cannot let that happen. There has never been a time that I didn’t learn something from my elders or a senior citizen, and they have earned and deserve our respect, attention, love and support.

If we’re lucky, we’ll be senior citizens one day ourselves and get the support we need, as well. So I am asking anyone that may possibly read this column to please take time to visit and speak with a senior citizen. Please also spread the word to others. The experience will indeed be worthwhile and educational.

As we all know, time and the environment have a way of changing our physical appearance on the outside, but minus age and medical setbacks, our minds go relatively unaffected. Many a young person has been fooled into thinking they could outsmart, outrun and even out think a senior citizen, only to be fooled by the much-wiser senior citizen. Our senior citizens are like fine wine. They just get better with time and age. They are sort of like an old pair of jeans or shoes. The more and longer you wear them, the better they fit.

As for the senior citizens, please keep this in mind. Each day that you awake brings yet another day to pass on your many years of wisdom and life experiences. Your experience in life is invaluable. What make us young at heart are our smiles, personalities, attitudes, families, friends and love. Being old in years doesn’t make you old at heart anymore than being young in years makes you young at heart.

Having a positive attitude and a smile on your face will make you feel young at heart. Get to know a senior citizen, and please don’t forget about them.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Did you know driving is serious business?

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

I wanted to once again take a moment to remind all motorists and citizens of the importance of good driving techniques and seat belt use. As we all know, our roads grow more and more crowded every day.  As a result, the need for safer driving habits and techniques grows more and more apparent.

We now have more walkers, bicyclers and motorcycles to deal with on our roadways, and as a result, the need to be more aware has never been more important.

This time of year also seems to bring out more vehicles that are not permitted on state roadways, highways and city and county streets. You’ll see everything from go-karts and dirt bikes, to battery and motorized scooters. Although fun to ride, these devices are only permitted for off-road uses.

Because of the dangers of driving and the seriousness involved, we simply can’t afford the loss of any life. Life is much too precious to take chances while driving. Most drivers use safety belts, but as you can tell, the majority of drivers not wearing safety belts are either seriously injured or killed when involved in a wreck. Unfortunately, we focus on the number of lives lost and not the lives changed. Some lives are forever changed because of the loss of a loved one. Some lives are changed because of the life-altering injuries sustained from car crashes.

These are the lives you don’t hear about. When you aren’t directly affected by the loss of a loved one, the affects are short lived. Sort of like flipping through the channels on your television and hearing about a tragedy, you think about it for a short period of time and then move on with your life. But to those who are directly affected, the loss is forever and must be dealt with daily and forever.

As adults and parents, we must do all we can to prepare our families and ourselves to be safe while traveling the roadways. Driving an automobile is one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. It’s often taken for granted because we do it daily. We’ve all been in near-miss situations while driving. Most of us have been in life-or-death situations and didn’t even know it. For example, we’ve had drunk or drugged drivers behind, beside or in front us.

As we all know, driving an automobile is a serious business. We can’t afford to take any chances while driving. Just because we’ve done it for years or simply got away with near-miss situations, doesn’t mean the same will hold true the next time. Our lives are fragile and must be handled with kid gloves. Please don’t take chances while driving; your life means too much. And please remember that all that separates you from serious injury and even death is painted lines on the roadway.

Please also make sure your children’s car seats are properly installed. A small child just recently lost his life when his car seat came dislodged as a result of improper installation. Driving is dangerous, and there are so many things outside of your control.

And speaking of control, we are also seeing an epidemic in car crashes caused as a result of distracted driving for which many of those crashes are caused by drivers who are texting, emailing and even surfing the internet while driving. I know that sounds hard to believe, but in this day of technology and cars that parallel park themselves, we may unfortunately see even more human error crashes caused by human error decisions that could have been easily corrected. Simply put, we need to pay more attention to our driving and let the other far less important stuff wait until we are not operating a motor vehicle. During or after a motor vehicle crash is not the time to realize we shouldn’t be doing such dangerous things when driving.

Unfortunately there is no way to take back such an action once you are in the middle of it or after it had happened, so please be safe and always stay focused when operating a motor vehicle of any kind.

And if you noticed, I didn’t say accident. That’s because crashes caused by human error are not defined as accidents, but are classified as crashes. I just want to keep you safe, so please know I’m not fussing. It sort of sounds like the same stuff your parents and loved ones tell you all the time. Doesn’t it. That’s because they care about you, and so do we.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.