Kenny Martin: Be visible while cycling, running, walking

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Out of serious care and concern for our citizens, I felt compelled to remind everyone of the importance of visibility when walking, biking, jogging or running along our city and state streets and roads.

While driving at night recently, I nearly struck two pedestrians walking along the side of the road.

There was another car travelling the other direction, and with the glare of the lights and the fact that the two walkers were wearing dark clothes, I simply didn’t see them until the last second or so. Quite honestly, it scared me immensely, and thankfully, I was driving the speed limit and was able to see them just in time.

With that said, if you decide to use the streets and roads for walking, jogging, running or biking, please dress accordingly with all proper safety gear and appropriate clothing that can be seen both during the day and at night.

Most of us saw on the news recently where a cyclist was struck by an automobile in the middle of a sunny day. Thankfully that cyclist is going to be OK, but unfortunately many pedestrians and cyclist are seriously injured or killed every day as a result of pedestrian versus vehicle incidents all across our great country.

With Mt. Juliet’s rapid growth comes an even greater need for all citizens to use various safety measures while traveling and utilizing our roadways. For example, with the increasing Mt. Juliet population, there will definitely be an increase in vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle traffic and an even greater need to share the roadways safely.

Daily complaints are received about both vehicular and pedestrian safety and the need for more citizen awareness. Many citizens have reported concerns about pedestrians walking, jogging or riding bikes along the roadways and streets and have asked if a law could be passed that would require or mandate that all walkers, runners, joggers and/or bike riders be required to wear reflective clothing at night and highly visible clothing during the daytime hours. Citizens have also suggested these individuals be required to use lights and flashlights at night for proper illumination and visibility.

I have advised all that I would spread the word and assist in educating as many citizens as possible about both pedestrian and bicycle safety and the need to be highly visible at all times when in or near the roadways.

Therefore, I would like to urge any citizen using the roadways for walking, jogging, running or riding bikes to please wear proper safety equipment when in or near the roadways.

Here are just a few tips to keep you and your family safe and visible when walking, jogging, running or bicycling:

• Walkers, joggers and runners are encouraged to use flashlights and wear highly       reflective and visible clothing at all times.

• Bicyclists are encouraged to wear proper safety equipment as well, including helmet, gloves, eye protection and highly reflective and visible materials on both the clothing and bicycle.

• If walking, jogging or running with your pets don’t forget to include them in your safety plan, as well. They won’t need a helmet, but they will need to have highly visible and reflective markings. Note: most pet stores carry reflective collars and vests for pets.

• If you have a cellphone, carry it in case of an emergency.

• Other safety materials include reflective armbands, vests and ankle straps, just to name a few.

As you can imagine, these are only a few safety measures that you can use to make yourself safe while walking, jogging or riding a bike in or near the roadway. Our roadways are becoming busier everyday and we must do all that we can to make sure that we are safe and visible at all times. The sooner a motorist spots you while driving down the roadway the sooner that motorist can process the needed information in order to make a safe maneuver around you.

Far too many pedestrians are struck and either seriously injured or killed because a motorist didn’t see them until it was too late. We must do all that we can to prepare and protect ourselves. So please be safe and visible out there. We care about you and want to keep you safe.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Kenny Martin: Burglars and thieves simply need to get a job

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Right this moment, a thief or burglar prepares to steal property that belongs to hard-working and honest citizens who believe if you need something, you get a job and work hard to make the money and pay for it yourself.

On the other hand, a thief or burglar believes it’s much easier to simply steal what someone else has worked hard to pay for rather than get a job and earn it honestly themselves. Wow, these criminals are real winners.

A thief or burglar, in my opinion, is someone who justifies his or her actions by believing the victim somehow deserves to be victimized. A thief or burglar finds it easier to deal with his or her dirty deeds by convincing themselves you, the hard-working honest citizen deserves to be victimized. Go figure. So, in other words, they make excuses to justify their criminal behavior so they feel better about themselves. You’ve got to be kidding?

They make excuse like, “They’ve got more than they need or deserve.” “They probably didn’t need it anyway.” Or, “I need it more than they do.” How convenient. This is what is commonly called living without a conscious or having little or no moral and ethical beliefs.

Call it what you will, but a thief is a thief, and stealing is stealing, period. So to the thieves and burglars, if you’re thinking about stealing property because you or someone you know is in need of food, shelter or clothing, just ask. There are programs set up and in place with lots of good people wanting to help you.

On the other hand, if you are just a plain old thief out stealing property that belongs to hard-working citizens of this community, trust me your luck will eventually run out. And by the way, eternity is a long time to pay for the actions you committed in your lifetime. Now is the time to turn over a new leaf in your life and get a job and earn an honest living.

Trust me. There are plenty of jobs and companies begging for employees, so you can work instead of stealing. And that goes for all the shoplifters, as well. If you are willing to work, there are jobs. When you work, they will pay you.

Here is how it works. You work, and when you get paid, you take the money from where you get paid and buy things. It’s just that simple, and it saves those honest citizens who work and pay for stuff lots of money, as well.

Shoplifting puts businesses out of business. And for the businesses it doesn’t put out of business, they have no choice but to pass the costs of stealing and shoplifting onto the folks who actually pay for stuff. So give us a break and get a job.

In closing, making a living causing others grief, sorrow and pain out of laziness, criminal behavior and excuses is no way to make a living. So if you are a thief, burglar or dishonest person looking for a way to turn your life around, look no further. You simply need to get a job and earn your keep honestly like honest law-abiding citizens do each and every day of their lives. It’s that simple and entirely up to you. The ball is in your court.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Randall Hutto: Help with suicide is available

Randall Hutto
Wilson County

As county mayor, I feel my primary purpose is to help the citizens of Wilson County in any way that I can. Whether it is through safer laws, employment opportunities or access to quality education, I strive to work on behalf of citizens from all walks of life to make Wilson County the best place to call home.

I am often made aware of problems that plague citizens throughout our county by community leaders that care enough to step forward and ask for help. Barbara Payne came into my office recently and discussed with me the devastating effects that suicide has on our society.

Suicide doesn’t discriminate between the wealthy and the poor, the young and the old, the healthy and the sick. It’s a unique pain that is often associated with depression or devastating circumstances. Suicide prevention isn’t just a national, state or county responsibility. It’s a human being responsibility.

It is my mission that Wilson County is the best place to call home in all of Tennessee. Part of that mission is ensuring that citizens are safe. Another part of that mission is ensuring that citizens have an opportunity to live a full life. Suicide robs individuals of life. It steals potential. It buries hope. It’s never the last option. It’s never the only way out. It is my hope that the information put together by Payne not only shines much-needed light on the subject of suicide, but also shines a light for someone battling with suicidal thoughts.

Wilson County cares. You are not alone. You always have hope.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness in today’s society. Darkness is prevalent in our home, jobs, schools, politics, etc.  Hope is the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burdens behind us,” said Wilson County sheriff’s Lt. Scott Moore.

Suicide doesn’t distinguish between the young and the old; the rich and the poor; male or female. Lives are never lived, among the youngest of suicide victims; and families are forever changed. Among the suicide victims for whom life has been lived; suicide is a sad close to productive lives.

The causes of suicide are many and complex.  Among the causes are depression, financial worries, bullying, social isolation, health issues, a perception of inferiority, fear, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder and holidays that should be joyful trigger angst and sadness.

Do you know the warning signs?

• Threatening or talking about wanting to hurt or kill himself or herself.

• Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide.

• Displaying hopelessness.

• Expressing rage or uncontrolled anger.

• Acting in a reckless manner; or engaging in risky activities.

• Feeling of being trapped with no way out.

• Exhibiting anxiety and/or agitation.

• Disturbances in sleep patterns.

• Dramatic mood changes.

• Giving away prized possessions.

• Having a history of previous suicide attempts.     

Take the time to observe and communicate with your family and friends; or, someone you trust. Unlike any other time in the history of our country, the use of technology has an impact on every phase of our lives. Be vigilant and be aware of trends and threats to our community through the internet. If you’re a novice with the internet, ask questions of those more experienced with navigating the internet.

Locally, Cumberland Mental Health Services serves the community for help to gain better mental health. Professionals are available with a mobile crisis unit to respond to adult suicide situations seven days a week and 24 hours a day. Call 877-567-6051.  Crisis services for children and adolescents are not part of VHHCS. Call 866-791-9221 for assistance.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is “saving lives in Tennessee.” TSPN is a national model for suicide prevention. TSPN offers a wide range of resources tools and training for suicide awareness and prevention and for survivors of suicide loss. 

QPR training is provided through TSPN. The QPR mission is to save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. Quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.

Our veterans have served and sacrificed for our Nation.  Veterans may have special needs, and there are resources for assistance through Vet Centers. Vet Centers provide readjustment services in an environment of understanding, compassion and confidentiality.  If you’re experiencing feelings of guilt, isolation, rage, depression, anxiety, lack of structure, relationship problems; or medical or financial hardship the Vet Center can help. Call 615-366-1220.

The hotline number is staffed by combat veterans and spouses with 24 hour a day and 365 days a year access.  In Middle Tennessee, the Vet Center is at Airpark Business Center I, 1420 Donelson Pike in Nashville.

“At the end of the day, remember to have hope, be strong, laugh loud, play hard, live in the moment, smile often and dream big,” Moore said. “Remember you are loved and never give up. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Randall Hutto is mayor of Wilson County.

Kenny Martin: Seeing more clearly as time marches on

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Can you remember as a child or teen thinking that your parents were old and out of touch, and they didn’t know what they were talking about? I know I sure can. As a matter of fact, I know first hand how it feels saying to yourself, “This is exactly what mom and dad said would happen if I did something dumb or stupid.”

Oh, if I just had those many embarrassing moments, classroom timeouts, speeding citations and groundings to do over again, I’d do what mom and dad said to begin with and avoid putting myself in those situations in the first place. I can even remember the point in my life when the lights of common sense and reality finally came on. I can remember suddenly realizing my parents weren’t old out of touch people trying to rule my life, but they were actually people who loved me and only wanted to help.

I finally realized they were the people who had the battle scars and years of experience; the people who had been there and done that and the people who got the T-shirt for all the mistakes and regrets made in their lives. Being an adult means opening your eyes and realizing that life doesn’t revolve around you. Life offers lots of opportunities from which to learn from. One crucial part of growing older and wiser takes all human beings listening and looking out for one another. Just because someone tells you something you don’t understand or don’t want to hear, doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.

And to the young children and teens out there who think getting older means getting dumber, hear this. Getting older may mean slowing down physically, but it has nothing to do with slowing down mentally. Just because your eyes get older and the wrinkles in your face get deeper, doesn’t mean you can’t see any clearer. Seeing and realizing things clearer and sooner doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with vision. Getting older normally means getting wiser and seeing and understanding situations clearer because of life experiences. 

Things don’t necessarily get worse with time. Like wine, wisdom comes with time and experience. Take time to listen and learn from someone with wisdom and experience, especially from your parents. They may not be able to get you there quickly, but they can get you there in one piece.

In closing, coach John Wooden, the former coach of the men’s UCLA Bruins basketball team, used to tell his team “to be quick, but don’t hurry.” Take time to smell the roses. Going 1,000 miles per hour will only cause you to miss many of life’s experiences and lessons.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Did you know family, friends more important?

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Have you really ever thought about how short our time on earth really is? It seems like we can just snap our fingers and 10 years have passed us by.

Life just seems to be moving at such a rapid pace these days, which should encourage each of us to live life to the very fullest. For example, so much of our lifetimes are spent on work and worry and not near enough time on family, fun and friends.

Think about it. Even when we’re with family and friends, we’re talking about work and worry. It’s like we can’t get work and worry out of our minds long enough to relax, rest, re-energize and enjoy a moment of peace.

As you can imagine, this can cause major stress and anxiety, which can eventually cause major problems in any family’s relationship.

With all this in mind, I’d like to encourage everyone to take a long hard look at your life to see if you’re spending enough quality time with the ones that you love. Not to be morbid or a stick in the mud, but none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

I want you to really think about your family and all the people you love. Now I want you to picture their faces, voices, mannerisms and smiles. Can you imagine never getting another chance to speak with them, visit with them or even touch them again? Pretty sad isn’t it?

Well, life doesn’t have to be like that. Our lifetimes here on earth aren’t that long. Think about it. How many of us have said it seems just like yesterday when I graduated from high school, got married or had our first child? And before you know it, your children are grown, you have grandchildren, you’ve been married 50 years and are retired and don’t know where your life has gone.

You find yourself asking, “Where did all the years and wasted opportunities go?”

In closing, don’t waste a single moment speaking or visiting with the ones you love for we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Our lives are much to short to have regrets for not living and loving to the very fullest we could have in our lifetime.

Pick up the phone and call someone you love each and every day. They’d love to hear from you.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Clark has big July

George Page
Page from
the Playbook

July has been special for former Mt. Juliet High Lady Bear Alysha Clark, who celebrated her birthday July 7, but that probably wasn’t her biggest feat accomplished this month.

Clark now plays professional basketball for the Seattle Storm of the WNBA league. On July 1, she scored her 1,000th-career point with a three-pointer against the Dallas Wings.

While at Mt. Juliet High School, she led the Lady Bears basketball team to the 2005 state basketball championship her senior season.

While at Mt. Juliet, she was named Midstate Player of the Year by The Tennessean and Class AAA Miss Basketball in Class AAA.

She averaged 24 points and 11.6 rebounds, while shooting 67 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the free throw line that season.

After graduating from Mt. Juliet, she played two years at Belmont University.

While at Belmont, she helped the Lady Bruins to their first ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2007.

Clark averaged 20.1 points per game, recorded 18 double-doubles her first season at Belmont, the second most in the nation that year by a freshman and was third in the nation among freshmen with 10.9 rebounds a game. She was named the Atlantic Sun Conference’s Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, the first player in league history to win both in the same season.

The next year, she earned player of the year honors again, averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds – the third most in the nation. She also became the fastest player in school history to reach 1,000 points, doing so in just 52 games.

Clark decided to transfer after her sophomore season to play at nearby Middle Tennessee State University. Her reason for transferring from Belmont after two years was, she wanted to be challenged more as a player and play against some of the best competition in the nation. She wanted to become one of the elite players in the country. And to do that, you have to play against the best. That is typical Alysha Clark and her competitive nature and work ethic.

She was originally drafted in the second round of the 2010 WNBA Draft by the San Antonio Silver Stars.

Now in her fifth season with the Seattle Storm, she has averaged playing 20.0 minutes per game, scoring an average of 5.9 and shooting almost 50-percent from the field.

In her 2016 season, Clark blossomed with the Storm, scoring a career-high 23 points on 7-of-7 shooting vs. New York on June 5, 2016.

She marked her fourth career three steals and first block of the season against San Antonio on July 20, 2016.

She dished out a career-high seven assists at Atlanta on Aug. 9, 2016, played a career-high 35 minutes against Washington on May 26, 2016, scoring 10 points and recording five rebounds and three assists.

She started in all 33 games she dressed for, missing one June 1, 2016 at Indiana due to a right knee bruise.

Happy Birthday and congratulations goes to Alysha Clark.

George Page is sports editor for Mt. Juliet News. Follow him on Twitter @pageplaybook.

Don’t put it off until tomorrow or next week

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

How many times have you said, “I’ll do that tomorrow or next week?” and before you know it, another day, month or year has passed. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and forget about the simple things.

The simple things in life can also be the things we take for granted. The things we unintentionally ignore or put off or aside. You know, the calls to grandma or grandpa, a relative or a dear friend. The visit we meant to make at the hospital or the card we meant to send for a birthday. These are just a few of the things that before you know it, tomorrow has come and gone.

The end result can often lead to missed opportunities and no opportunity for a second chance or redemption. As the old saying goes, ”Why put off until tomorrow, what you can do today?” We must take time to call a family member or friend. We must not leave home or go to bed upset or mad at a loved one. We must cherish what we have today, for we might not have it tomorrow. Second chances are hard to come by. Here is your chance to start living for today.

Don’t put your life on hold. Start living life to the very fullest. As we all know, life is very short and can be taken in the blink of an eye. So why rush it away or regret what we didn’t do yesterday?

Today is the start of the rest of your life. You know and I know that you deserve to be happy and healthy. The way to attain this very paramount goal is to start talking less about work and more about life, love, family, fun, living and more importantly God, who we all know has the answer to all our prayers and questions.

In closing, the answer to all of life’s questions can’t be found in Popular Mechanics, TV Guide, People or Cosmopolitan. The answer to all our questions can only be found in the Bible.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Did you know it takes a 50-50 partnership?

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Oh to be in love. Most everybody has been in love at one time or another in his or her lifetime. And what a wonderful feeling being in love is. It seems as if the person you love more than anything can do no wrong.

There’s nothing you won’t do for them and nothing anyone can do to keep you away from them. You’re on cloud nine and life is good. But suddenly, seemingly overnight, things start to change.

The little things that never seemed to bother you before start bothering you, the patience you once showed is starting to fade and your enormous flower and gift giving is a distant memory.

You ask yourself, what went wrong, we were once so happy, and now we’re acting just like everybody else. You’ve become just another ordinary couple surviving life and its daily events. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, we all know someone who’s been in love before; at first everything is great and wonderful but as time passes so does the love. It happens to most everyone who’s been in love before and I think I’ve found the perfect solution for lasting love and happiness.

After many years of close listening to my elders and speaking with many happy couples who have been married and happy for years, I’ve finally got it. The simple solution and way to stay and be happy is to think positive and be nice to one another.

In other words, don’t stop doing the things you did when you first fell in love and never forget that a happy and loving relationship requires a fifty-fifty partnership. It’s that simple.

Let me explain. When most people first meet the love of their life and fall in love they do everything together and for one another. They go out of their way to make each other happy and do special things just because they love each other. But for whatever reason that changes for most couples over time. Falling in love is sort of like buying a shiny new car, if you don’t wax and polish it the paint and chrome will begin to fade and chip away overtime time leading to a very dull and neglected vehicle. And the same holds true for a happy and healthy relationship.

So in closing, the solution to a happy relationship is to honor, cherish and adore one another each and everyday for life and not just when the relationship is new. Taking time to honor the ones you love will enable your relationship and love to stand the test of time all while maintaining that new love feeling.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Derek Mason sees Vandy football continuing Nashville’s sports surge

Joe Howell • Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt head football coach Derek Mason greets fans prior to the Commodores’ homecoming matchup with Tennessee State last October in Nashville.

NASHVILLE (TNS) – The Nashville sports scene has been humming in recent months, and now it’s up to Vanderbilt football to keep it going.

“With the jump we made last year and the Titans doing what they’ve done and our basketball season and what Coach (Bryce) Drew did and our baseball program doing what it’s always done — now you look at what just happened with the Predators,” Commodores coach Derek Mason said. “This town is on fire, and we just want to keep the energy and the synergy going. Our football team is fully prepared to give season-ticket holders and fans something to enjoy in 2017.”

The recent run by the Nashville Predators to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance capped an impressive athletic year in the Music City. The Tennessee Titans were just 5-27 during the 2014-15 seasons but went 9-7 last fall and added two top-20 draft picks in April, while Vanderbilt joined Florida and Kentucky as the only Southeastern Conference members this past school year to reach a bowl game, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and a baseball super regional.

Vanderbilt’s trip to the Independence Bowl last December was its fourth postseason journey in the last six seasons. The Commodores had made just four bowl trips in 120 years before James Franklin arrived as coach in 2011 and took the program to three bowls in three years.

“I think the perception of Vanderbilt football has changed,” Mason said. “I think James Franklin did a great job of changing the culture, and I actually think it started a little before that with Bobby Johnson. What we’re doing is trying to move the needle and get it back to where it was a few years ago. It’s been an intentional process that hasn’t been easy, but it’s been fun.

“We’re growing up. This football team is getting better, and the best is yet to come.”

The Commodores went 9-4 with bowl victories in each of Franklin’s last two years, sweeping Florida, Georgia and Tennessee in 2013 for the first time in program history. When Franklin left Nashville for Penn State after the 2013 season, Vanderbilt tabbed Mason, who was Stanford’s defensive coordinator, as his successor.

Mason’s debut could not have gone much worse, as a 37-7 home loss to Temple set the tone for a 3-9 season that was followed by a 4-8 mark in 2015. A bowl appearance seemed unlikely last year when the Commodores got off to a 2-4 start, but they pulled out a 17-16 upset at Georgia and concluded a 6-6 regular season with resounding triumphs over Ole Miss (38-17) and Tennessee (45-34).

Vanderbilt’s win over the Volunteers was its third in a five-year stretch, something the Commodores last achieved in the 1920s, but the late-season surge did not carry over in a 41-17 loss to North Carolina State in Shreveport.

“Any time you build momentum and then stop, what happens is that coaches can over-think the process of preparation,” said Mason, who was a guest earlier this week of “Press Row” on Chattanooga’s ESPN 105.1 FM. “You try to put everything into a month’s worth of work and then go out and play. Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong. I thought we actually prepared the right way, but the outcome was not what we wanted.

“We played a good N.C. State team, and when you turn the ball over, that doesn’t help you. We learned a lot from that experience, because we were a young team coming off our first bowl game in a couple of years. There was a lot that was new.”

The Commodores return 16 starters in Mason’s fourth season, more than any other SEC team other than Georgia and Kentucky, who have 17 apiece. Senior running back Ralph Webb, who rushed for 1,283 yards last season and already is the school’s all-time leading rusher, headlines an offense that could be effective and balanced with the return of junior quarterback Kyle Shurmur and senior receivers C.J. Duncan and Trent Sherfield.

Vanderbilt must replace inside linebacker Zach Cunningham, the first consensus All-American in program history, but Mason is counting on senior outside linebacker Oren Burks and senior cornerback and former East Hamilton standout Tre Herndon to move forward with leadership responsibilities.

“We’ve got a really good football team with an outstanding quarterback,” Mason said. “We open the season with MTSU, which has a pretty spectacular quarterback of their own. We play Kansas State and Alabama at home, so if you like what you saw at the end of last season and like watching great football, come out and see the Commodores, because the best is yet to come.”

By David Paschall

Chattanooga Times Free Press

Kenny Martin: Do you know senior citizens are full of life?

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

With all the love I have for my senior-citizen community, I would like to remind everyone about our great senior citizens and why they are so important in our lives. I recently had the opportunity to visit and fellowship with a group of our wonderful seniors, and I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed our time together.

I found myself sitting in awe of the amount of wisdom and knowledge I was surrounded by, and it made me reflect about certain life issues. It made me think about the perception of our senior citizens. Some ill-advised perceptions are that our senior citizens are old worn-out people with nothing left to offer society, and I reiterate, ill-advised perceptions.

As a matter of fact, nothing could be further from the truth. There has never been a time that I didn’t learn something from my elders or a senior citizen. If we’re lucky, we’ll be senior citizens one day ourselves. But, I would seriously recommend that anyone reading this column to take time to visit and speak with a senior citizen. The experience will, indeed, be worthwhile and educational.

Time and the environment has a way of changing our physical appearance on the outside, but minus that and medical setbacks, our minds go relatively unaffected. Many a young person was 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 seniors are like fine wine, they just get better with time and age, or 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 know that each presents yet another day to pass on your many years of wisdom and life experiences. Your experience in life is invaluable. What makes us young at heart is our smiles, personalities, attitudes, families, friends and love. Being old in years doesn’t make you old at heart any more 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 no matter how old or young you are. Get to know a senior citizen.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Young racer Chase not ‘kidding’ around

Young Mt. Juliet racer Chase Johnson has been impressive in his first season of driving stock cars.

Chase Johnson, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy, says he knows what goes through the minds of some observers when they see him climbing into his stock car at Fairgrounds Speedway:

“They think I’m a kid in a driver’s suit.”

But it doesn’t take skeptics long to realize that the kid’s not kidding.

In this first season of driving full-bodied stock cars, Chase has come close to winning all three races he has run.

Racing against some seasoned veterans in the rugged Pro Mod division, Chase finished third in his first race and second in his second race.

In his third race he was leading with three laps to go when he was spun out by another driver, snatching away what would have been the biggest victory in his fledging racing career.

“It was really disappointing, and it made me mad,” Chase says. “But that’s part of racing. I’m going to win one before the season is over.”

“He’s doing great,” says his father Andy, a former Fairgrounds champion. “He works hard at it and he’s a fast learner. He’s a good little racer.”

Chase started racing quarter-midgets at age eight on the Music City Quarter-Midget track in Hermitage, where he continues to race when not involved with his Fairgrounds efforts. He won 32 races and three championships in three quarter-midget divisions last season, and is currently leading the standings in all three divisions this year.

Making the change from quarter-midgets to full-bodied stock cars is not difficult, Chase says.

“I did a lot of practicing in the Pro Mod car before the season, and I feel comfortable in it,” he says. “It hasn’t been a big adjustment. I thought that driving bigger, faster cars would be exciting, and it has been.”

Chase says he feels accepted by the older drivers.

“They’re all pretty nice to me around the track before the race,” he says, “and when the race starts they race me like anybody else, like I’m just another driver.”

As though his racing schedule is not crowded enough, Chase plans to run a Pro Mod event at Huntsville (Ala.) later this summer.

“I’m looking forward to it,” says. “It’ll be exciting to race on a different track against different drivers.”

Like all racers, Chase realizes his sponsors are vital to keeping him on the track, and he makes sure to tick them off in his media interviews: Universal Kia, Barrett’s Garage, Action Homes, Lynch Tree Service, Matt’s Transmissions, Skyline Manufacturing, Parker Brothers Windows and Hale’s Mobile Home Parts.

Then he double-checks his list.

“I don’t want to leave anybody out, because they’ve all been good to me,” he says.

Andy, one of the area’s top drivers during his heyday, sees a racing reflection of himself in his young son.

“He’s eat up with it,” Andy says. “He’s like me when I was his age — I couldn’t get enough of it. Once racing gets in your blood it’s hard to get it out.”

Andy ran a couple of races last year at the Fairgrounds, then sold his car and equipment to Lebanon’s Scott Fetcho for use by his son Dylan. After a couple of past semi-retirements he says he is now officially retired from driving and will devote his time to assisting his son.

Andy admits he misses the completion, but says, “I get a bigger thrill out of seeing Chase win than I did when I won.”

Fans can follow Chase’s exploits on Facebook at chasejohnsonmotorsports.


Fairgrounds schedule: Fairgrounds Speedway will hold a “Throwback & Past Champions Night” Saturday, June 24, honoring some of the past greats who have raced there over the past half-century. The full schedule, along with ticket information, is posted on the track’s website.


Rim running: Highland Rim Speedway races every Saturday night. The schedule and point standings, involving a number of local drivers, are posted on the track’s website.

By Larry Woody


Kenny Martin: Do you know the dangers of bullying?

Did you know that bullying is one of the biggest concerns of young people today? Bullying is a serious problem with 8-out-of-10 children bullied at some point in their childhood.

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Bullying happens at school, at home, on the streets and on every level of social media. A lot of young people don’t even realize they are making other people’s lives miserable. They think they are just joking in making fun of or bullying someone. The truth is it hurts to be bullied and can change someone’s life forever. Bullying has even led to self-harming, suicide and murder. 

Bullying happens when someone picks on someone and makes their life miserable for no real reason but meanness. Bullying can come in many forms from kicking, smacking, tripping, making fun of, threatening or sending out false messages and rumors about a person through the internet and so on.

People have been bullied because of their size, accent, weight, color of their skin, stance on certain issues, interests or just because they are the new kid on the block or at school. Bullies are often insecure and pick on others to make themselves feel more important and powerful.

The sad thing is what a bully doesn’t see. Their bullying can lead to low self-esteem, suicide, revenge and even assault or murder. These are all things that can be avoided.

If you are someone you know is being bullied, there is help. If you’re bullied, you should tell someone. It’s very important to get other people involved and to ask for advice or help.

If you are bullied, it can feel like the whole world is against you, and you are on your own. Not true. The worst thing to do is to sit back and accept it. It won’t get any better unless you do something about it. If you are the victim of bullying at school you should contact your teacher, the principal or the guidance counselor for help. If the bullying happens on the streets or away from home, you can contact your parents or the police.

And if the bullying takes place at home, you need to advise your parents. Bullying is also a problem with adults. Most child bullies simply grow up to be adult bullies. The only thing that changes is the age of the people they bully.

Bullying is not just a child’s game, and it’s a horrible practice that ruins lives no matter what age and causes scars that can last a lifetime. Bullying also isn’t just committed in person these days. It’s now done via social media and other forms and is totally unacceptable.

In closing, please know help, support, love, kindness and advice are out there. Don’t accept or participate in bullying. 

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Hats reign this week at rodeo

As thousands of visitors make their way through the Wilson County James E. Ward Ag Center this week for the National Junior High Finals Rodeo, there’s one thing visible in every direction – a cowboy hat.

Xavier Smith • Mt. Juliet News
Billy Treadwell with Heads or Tails Hats works on a custom cowboy hat Monday at the Wilson County Expo Center during the National Junior High Finals Rodeo. The group will likely make nearly 1,000 hats during the six-day event.

“The hat is the most recognized piece of apparel in the world. You can go to any country in the world and they recognize the cowboy hat. But, they are not just for fashion. They are for protection from the elements,” said Rick Phemister, owner of Heads or Tails Hats, based in Haskell, Texas.

Phemister started Heads or Tails Hats in 1980 as a full service western store before closing in 2003 and focusing on trade shows starting in 2006. He said he switched the focus solely to hats due the popularity of the apparel.

Phemister said cowboy hats were important to rodeo competitors and anyone involved in agriculture because they maintain heat in winter, while protecting people from the summer’s harsh elements.

“We learned that caps will not protect you from the sun. All it will do is keep the sun out of your eyes,” Phemister said.

Heads or Tails Hats specializes in custom hats made from flat brimmed and rounded hats, allowing options for customers. The group steams the hat to soften the material for shaping to the customer’s desired shape.

“That’s been our thing – making you a one of a kind custom hat,” Phemister said. “We’re all individuals, so everybody thinks they have to have something different. Straw hats in the last five years have just exploded with all kinds of different patterns, colors and designs.”

Phemister said some styles have made a return from previous generations, but there are still differences among age groups.

“The solid black from the 70s and 80s has come back in style because the kids thinks it’s retro because it was popular before they were born. They go all the way from black to rainbow and anything in between,” he said. “These kids are wearing different shapes than the 60-70 year old men. Even in their age groups, there are five or six different styles. They don’t all wear the same thing.”

Phemister said the group made an appearance at a Houston-area rodeo and sold about 1,500 hats. He said he expects to sell close to 1,000 during this week’s rodeo.

“With the area and country that some of these people are from, they don’t have western stores. They don’t have places they can buy hats. So when they come to events like this, they can buy shirts, jeans, saddle – whatever they need. Some don’t have source for that where they live. The trade show is just as important as the competition for some of these folks,” Phemister said.

By Xavier Smith

Auditions announced for Encore radio drama

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Gort is a large robot that accompanies Klaatu to earth in Edmund North’s ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’.

Encore Theatre Co. officials announced an audition call for its staged radio drama theatre production of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” on June 25-26 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. 

“If you like to perform but can’t devote the time to extensive rehearsals or have difficulty remembering all the lines, then these radio dramas are for you, “ said James Bealor, Encore creative director.

The phrase, “klaatu barada nikto,” has appeared repeatedly in fiction and in popular cultures and is one of the most memorable lines of the story for all sci-fi fans. Edmund H. North wrote the screenplay based on the 1940 science-fiction short story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates.

In “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” a humanoid alien visitor named Klaatu comes to earth, accompanied by a powerful 8-feet-tall robot, Gort, to deliver an important message that will affect the entire human race.

In 1995, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Performance dates will be Aug. 11-12 at 7:30 p.m. and directed by Don Breedwell. Live sound effects, along with historical trivia, will be woven through the storyline. Anyone interested in lights and sound should also apply at either the auditions or email the director directly.

About two-dozen roles will be available, some with two lines or fewer. Auditions will consist of a cold reading from the script. An actor can play more than one role with voice variation. The rehearsal schedule will be based upon cast availability after July 10.

Visit for a complete cast breakdown and additional audition details. For specific inquiries, contact Breedwell at

Staff Reports

Kenny Martin: Do you know the art of staying positive?

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

With all the major issues we face as human beings, you would think that some people would have better things to complain about. We’ve got human beings starving to death, dying in car crashes and suffering major illnesses, while others live blessed lives but can’t seem to do anything but complain.

They just simply can’t get past complaining long enough to see their many blessings.

We would all be better served if we truly began to count our many blessings. For example, simply waking up healthy is a major victory and blessing. There are many people who awake each and every day to chemotherapy treatments, blood transfusions and other medical conditions, which require surgeries and major hospital stays, but still manage to think positive and be happy. They turn negatives into positives. Complaining usually accomplishes nothing but further despair and gloom.

Nothing is more frustrating or irritating than to hear someone complain about nothing. These are the things we as humans refer to as hill of beans issues. You know, the complaints that don’t amount to a hill of beans.

Life is challenging and life is tough, but complaining won’t solve anything. We need more people thinking positive and talking positive. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to ignore facts and reality about life and its heartaches and hardships. Life is life and it’s not perfect, but it is what we’re given and we must make the most of it.

Sitting around complaining won’t solve anything. Sitting around complaining will only bring others down with you. Therefore, I encourage all human beings to think positive to be positive. Medical studies further show that those who think positive are healthier, happier and more successful. Not to mention more fun to be around.

Here’s a list of a few famous positive quotes:

• “One person can make a difference and every person should try,” — John F. Kennedy.

• “Often our attitude is the only difference between our success and failure,” — Abraham Lincoln.

• “Happiness is not something you find, but rather something you create,” — Anonymous.

• “Our attitude determines our approach to life,” — John C. Maxwell.

In closing, life is so much more enjoyable when shared with laughs, smiles and happy people. So keep your chin up, a smile on your face and keep reaching for the stars and beyond.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Olympic Day celebration set

Universal Gymnastics to feature Olympic bobsledder

Photo by Joe Rimkus • Miami Herald • TNS
USA’s team No. 2 members Brian Shimer, Mike Kohn, Doug Sharp and Dan Steele begin a run during the 2002 Winter Olympics four-man bobsleigh competition at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. Sharp will be at Universal Athletics on Saturday.

Universal Gymnastics in Mt. Juliet will celebrate Olympic Day with a variety of activities Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the gym.

There will be an open gym to promote gymnastics, dance and urban movement as well as a full-scale American Ninja Warrior-style course.

American Olympic bobsled team champion Doug Sharp will be at the event. Sharp won bronze in the Winter Olympic Games in 2002.

Representatives from the Mt. Juliet Police Department and Fire Department of Mt. Juliet will also be there.

Booth space in the parking lot is available, and all proceeds will be donated to Wilson County Special Olympics.

Universal Gymnastics is at 5003 Market Place in Mt. Juliet.

For more information, call 615-758-4791 or visit

Schools plan classes on day of solar eclipse

Teachers already planning for rare event in Wilson County

Wilson County Schools and Lebanon Special School District officials have made plans to hold classes Aug. 21, when the area is expected to be the center of a national frenzy with a total solar eclipse.

“We will be in school that day, but it will be a learning experience. It will be a day planned around that, because there’s so much you can do with the eclipse looking at literature, math and science. We’ve already ordered 19,000 pieces of special glasses,” said Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright.

Lebanon Director of Schools Scott Benson said he’s had conversations with Wilson County Schools officials, along with Wilson Emergency Management Agency officials, and schools will be open for the eclipse. Benson said he had a meeting with principals this week, and some schools already started preparing for the event.

“We are going to take advantage of the great learning opportunity that comes with the eclipse,” Benson said.

NASA ambassador Theo Wellington addressed the solar eclipse with the Wilson County Commission earlier this year and said in August, the state will see its first total solar eclipse since 1869.

“If they’re home with families, that should be a wonderful thing, and I hope the schools will please bless all the absences. But if they don’t have a place to be, at school is going to be the best place for them to be where they can have a guided, safe experience,” said Wellington, who told the story of a teenager in India who rejected instructions and chose to stare at the eclipse.

“The doctor told him he had a cute little crescent-shaped scar on the back of his retina. Your retina does not have any pain receptors. You don’t know when you’re doing it damage. That will be the subject of many safety talks,” she said.

Wellington said half of the U.S. population is within a one day’s drive to the total solar eclipse path, which means areas along the path, such as Wilson County, will experience an influx of visitors.

Wellington said the total eclipse path is important, because it’s the path in which a total eclipse is visible. Other areas will only experience a partial eclipse, which doesn’t bring darkness.

“It’s a nationwide event. Everybody will see part of the sun covered up that day, but only those in the 70-mile wide path get to see the total eclipse,” said Wellington, who said the eclipse causes a night and day difference.

Wellington said the maximum amount of time the total eclipse can be viewed is two minutes and 40 seconds.

“The Wilson County [Fairgrounds] is only two seconds off the longest time,” she said.

By Xavier Smith

Two local women join forces

Mothers get together to help raise awareness for disease

Two ladies, both mothers, each face daily challenges but in different ways.

Maria Griego and Jessica Sanders, Mt. Juliet High School and Middle Tennessee State University graduates, have more in common than where they went to school. Their families united after Sanders and her husband, Jeremy, had their firstborn child born with arthrogryposis.

The Sanders live in Lebanon where they have since they had a set of twins, one of whom also has the condition. Griego shares in having arthrogryposis herself since birth. She is married to Levi Griego, and they live in Fairview with their two children.

Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita is a rare orthopedic condition that happens statistically in every one in 3,000 live births. Rather than a diagnosis, it’s more of a description of low-muscle tone and stiff joints from birth. There are multiple forms of arthrogryposis, and its cause is largely unknown. The level of assistance with daily living varies by the individual. Some require assistance by walking with leg braces and walkers. Others need wheelchairs to increase mobility. Most individuals grow into successful, contributing members of a community.

Three years ago, Maria Griego and Jessica Sanders started a gathering in Charlie Daniels Park where families affected by AMC come together each spring for a picnic.

“It’s a blessing to be in the company of people who are facing similar challenges and celebrating milestones while meeting new faces each year,” Jessica Sanders said. “There have been adults and children who have never met anyone else with arthrogryposis. That alone, is the reason we do it each year. Community makes the unknown less scary.”

On June 30, Maria Griego and Jessica Sanders will come together again for a common purpose. To bring awareness to the orthopedic condition known as arthrogryposis, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s office approved lighting of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge blue in Nashville to honor those with arthrogryposis. Gov. Bill Haslam also declared June 30 as Arthrogryposis Awareness Day in Tennessee.

“Each person brings different strengths and weaknesses to the table,” Maria Griego said. “All people are valuable. Many people with arthrogryposis can do many things; it just might be in a different way.”

To learn more, visit for further support, resources and information.

Staff Reports

Joines family continues rodeo involvement

Jeff Joines instrumental in bringing junior high rodeo to Wilson

Photo courtesy of Jeff Joines
Audrey Joines competes in a New Mexico rodeo competition. The Joines family has competed in rodeo competitions with the National High School Rodeo Association for two generations. The National Junior High Finals Rodeo will be June 18-24 in Wilson County for the second year at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.

Wilson County is home to several families involved with the National High School Rodeo Association, including the Joines family from Gladeville who has two generations of competitors and hopes for the tradition to continue.

The National Junior High Finals Rodeo will be June 18-24 in Wilson County, the second time ever for the National High School Rodeo Association to bring its annual event east of the Mississippi River. It is also the second time the event will be held at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.

Current grandparents Jeff and Debbie Joines began allowing their children to compete in National High School Rodeo Association events in 2003. Their children, Audrey and Cole Joines, continued competing until they both graduated high school in 2011.

“We told our kids, ‘this stuff is really expensive, so if we’re going to do this as a family, you’re going to practice hard, you’re going to try hard and you’re going to give 110 percent when you go out there,’” said Debbie Joines.

Audrey Joines, now mother of her own rodeo protégé, competed in all the girl’s events as a junior high and high school competitor. In 2007, she finished in the top 8 in Tennessee in four different events, qualifying her for the National High School Rodeo finals in each.

Cole Joines competed in barrel racing and team roping. In 2009, he qualified for the National High School Rodeo finals in team roping.

Audrey and Cole Joines both continued competing in local professional events after graduating from high school.

Audrey now has a 2-year-old son, Jackson Joines, who works leadline shows with his pony.

Leadline is a youth rodeo event where young children sit on their horses with the reins in hand while an adult or older child leads the horse with a rope.

“His mother is teaching him how to rope, too,” said Debbie Joines. “They were working on it the other day in the backyard. So we have a lot of plans for him if that’s what he wants to do.”

Jeff Joines was instrumental in bringing the National Junior High Rodeo Finals to Wilson County. He used his experience working in past rodeos as a selling point to get the event to come to Wilson County.

In 2015, he presented his idea to bring the rodeo to the James E. Ward Agricultural Center to the National High School Rodeo Association.

“He knew a lot of people in the association just from our previous years being there,” said Debbie Joines. “Jeff knew the capacity of the Ward center, so basically he went to the association in Dallas and gave them a presentation detailing what we had available here.”

Debbie Joines encourages anyone interested to come out to the event and check it out.

“People are going to be blown away by the talent of these young people. Many of them have been throwing a rope on a horse since they were little-bitty guys, and I think that’s the most amazing thing,” said Debbie Joines.

The opening ceremony for the National Junior High Rodeo Finals will be Sunday at 7 p.m. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, visit

By Jacob Smith

First career victory special for Hale

Photo courtesy of Larry Woody
Wilson County racer William Hale makes his first visit to Victory Circle at Highland Rim Speedway.

They say you never forget your first one:

First kiss.

First pay check.

First race victory.

“I guess that’s true,” says young Mt. Juliet racer William Hale, who last month won his first career major-division race at Highland Rim Speedway.

“Although, to tell you the truth, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. When I won the race I was so busy looking my rear-view mirror (at the second-place driver) that it was over before I knew it. We had a short victory celebration, then started getting ready for the next one. I’ve always heard that drivers are so busy they don’t have time to celebrate until the season is over, and I can see why.”

Hale captured his inaugural win after starting on the pole and leading 50 of the 75 laps, including the most important one – the last one.

That first taste of victory made him hungry for more.

“It was a great confidence-builder,” says Hale, whose race cars are maintained by his grandfather Alan out of their Mt. Juliet team headquarters.

“Even though the win came on the little track at Highland Rim, it was a great feeling to get it,” William says. “Now I’d like to win one on the big track at the Fairgrounds.”

Hale is in second place in the championship standings in Highland Rim’s premier Late Model division. Over the decades several young racers got their start at the historic Ridgetop track, and Hale hopes to continue the trend.

In addition to racing at the Rim and Fairgrounds, Hale plans to run some events at Huntsville (Ala.) Speedway this summer, and will enter this winter’s Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Fla., one of the nation’s premier short-track events.

“We’ve got several things planned and I’m looking forward to them,” Hale says.

Hale has been fascinated by race cars for as long as he can remember.

“When his was just two or three he liked to watch me change the oil and work on the cars,” says his grandfather.

Alan, a mechanic for some of the top area drivers in the 1980’s, started taking his grandson to the track about the time he started walking.

“I remember watching races at the Fairgrounds with my grandfather when I was about three years old,” William says. “I thought it was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen. One night Dale Earnhardt’s car was on display, and it made a big impression on me. Dale was my hero back then, and I always thought I’d like to be like him some day.”

Two people who have inspired William this season are his grandfather and Willie Allen. Allen is an active Fairgrounds driver who competed successfully in the NASCAR truck series and now assists young racers like William.

“William is very focused and a fast learner,” Allen says. “He takes his racing seriously, and is a pleasure to work with.”

Allen adds with a chuckle: “I tell him that the only way to get better as a driver is to learn from your mistakes, and I’ve made so many over the years that hopefully I can teach him how to avoid them.”

As for the assistance of his grandfather, William says:

“I wouldn’t be able to race without him. He’s been there for me ever since I was a little kid and I owe everything to him. I always said that when I started winning, I’d be winning for both of us.”

Superspeedway update: NASCAR has announced its 2018 schedules for its three touring series and, as expected, Nashville Superspeedway is not included. That means the Gladeville track is probably destined to continue to sit idle next year, despite reports that a prospective new owner has expressed interest in the facility.

By Larry Woody