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.

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.