Community Calendar and The People’s Agenda

Community Calendar

POLICY: Items for the Community Calendar may be submitted via email at editor@lebanondemocrat.com, in person at The Democrat’s office at 402 N. Cumberland St., by mail at The Lebanon Democrat, 402 N. Cumberland St., Lebanon, TN 37087 or via fax at 615-444-0899. Items must be received by 4 p.m. for the next day’s edition. The calendar is a free listing of nonprofit events, community club and government meetings. The Democrat reserves the right to reject or edit material. Notices run on an as space is available basis and cannot be taken over the phone. Include a name and phone number in case of questions.

Oct. 12

Lebanon Allergy and ENT 30th Anniversary

5 p.m.

Dr. Bancroft O’Quinn Jr. and the staff at Lebanon Allergy and ENT will celebrate their 30th anniversary Thursday, Oct. 12 from 5-7 p.m. at the office at 1405 W. Baddour Pkwy., Suite 106, in Lebanon. To RSVP, call 615-444-6500.

Oct. 13

Free Dentistry Day

7 a.m.

Free Dentistry Day will be Oct. 13 from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Lebanon Dental Care at 1715 W. Main St. in Lebanon. It will include a free cleaning or extraction per patient. For more information, visit freedentistryday.org or call 615-784-4330.

Mt. Juliet Chamber Community Development Meeting

7:45 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce will present a community development meeting Friday, Oct. 13 from 7:45-9 a.m. at the chamber office. Online registration is required at mjchamber.org.

Centerstage Theatre presents “Father of the Bride”

7:30 p.m.

Centerstage Theatre will present the play, “Father of the Bride” on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 14 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Winfree Bryant Middle School at 1213 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students and may be purchased at Iddy & Oscars on the Lebanon Square or at brownpapertickets.com.

Oct. 14

Cedar Seniors Pancake Breakfast

7:30 a.m.

The annual Cedar Seniors pancake breakfast will be Saturday, Oct. 14 from 7:30-11 a.m. at Cedar Seniors at 226 University Ave. in Lebanon. Plates will be $5 per person. For more information, call 615-444-0829.

Ride for Deputy Earl Dyer

10 a.m.

The second annual Ride for Deputy Earl Dyer will be Saturday, Oct. 14 with registration at 10 a.m. and kickstands up at noon at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. Use Peyton Road to enter. Donations of $20 per bike and $5 per passenger will be accepted, and all proceeds will be donated to Dyer. It will feature a scenic ride in and around Wilson County and return to the fairgrounds. Post-ride festivities will include a deejay, raffle and 50-50 cash raffle. A barbecue sandwich lunch will also be available for a donation. For more information, call Rob Bates at 615-210-9570 or Scott Lorden at 615-394-9302.

U.S. Military Vets Fall Poker Run

10:30 a.m.

The U.S. Military Vets Fall Poker Run will be Saturday, Oct. 14 at Coach’s Eastgate Grill in Lebanon. Registration will be from 10:30 a.m. until noon with kickstands up at noon. The cost is $15 pet bike and $5 for each additional hand. A cash prize will be awarded. The run will end at the U.S. Military Vets clubhouse in Lebanon. For more information, call 615-585-9925.

Centerstage Theatre presents “Father of the Bride”

2:30 p.m.

Centerstage Theatre will present the play, “Father of the Bride” on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Winfree Bryant Middle School at 1213 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students and may be purchased at Iddy & Oscars on the Lebanon Square or at brownpapertickets.com.

Mt. Juliet Hot Air Balloon Festival

4 p.m.

The first Mt. Juliet Hot Air Balloon Festival will be Saturday, Oct. 14 from 4-7:30 p.m. at Charlie Daniels Park. The event will include live music, a children’s zone, craft vendors, food trucks and a hot air balloon glow at dusk.

Rocky Valley Baptist Church Fish Fry

5:30 p.m.

Rocky Valley Baptist Church will hold its annual fish fry Saturday, Oct. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the church at 5745 Old Murfreesboro Road in Lebanon. A gospel singing, featuring Mercy Road, will begin at 7 p.m. in the church auditorium.

Oct. 15

Suicide Prevention Seminar

2 p.m.

West Hills Baptist Church, in partnership with Youth Villages, will hold a suicide prevention seminar Sunday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. at the church at 1240 Leeville Pike in Lebanon.

Oct. 16

Blood Drive

10:30 a.m.

A Blood Assurance blood drive will be Monday, Oct. 16 from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. at F&M Bank at 225 W. Main St. in Lebanon. To schedule an appointment, visit bloodassurance.org/sportsvillage or call Trudy Cody at 931-239-9411 or email trudycody@bloodassurance.org. Donors will be given a “One Cool Donor” T-shirt and pair of “I Bleed” socks and be entered in a drawing for a $250 Walmart gift card.

Oct. 17

Jerry Houston Memorial Golf Tournament

1:30 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet Breakfast Rotary Club will present the annual Jerry Houston Memorial Golf Tournament on Oct. 17 at 1:30 p.m. at Old Hickory Country Club. For more information, contact Phil Smartt at 615-773-0161 or psmartt@southernbankoftn.com.

Oct. 18

Mt. Juliet Chamber Connection Luncheon

11:15 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce will present its chamber connection luncheon Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 11:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at Rutland Place. Registration is $18 by Oct. 17 at noon or $23 for late registration at mjchamber.org. The guest speaker will be Wilson County Veterans Services director Michael McPherson. Online registration is required.

Oct. 19

Wilson County Veterans Museum Grand Opening

4 p.m.

The Wilson County Veterans Museum will hold its grand opening Thursday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. at the museum at 304 E. Main St. in Lebanon. Refreshments will be provided. Those who plan to attend should RSVP to 615-444-2460 or robertsl@wilsoncountytn.gov.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5015 meeting

6 p.m.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5015 in Lebanon will meet Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. and on the third Thursday of each month in the Veterans Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. Any veteran who has been awarded a campaign medal or combat medal for any hostility is eligible for membership, verified by the veterans’ DD 214 Form. Presently, Post 5015 is having success in rebuilding its post and becoming active in district and local events. It is not a Lebanon post, but a countywide post. To learn more, contact Post Commander John Marshall at jtmarshall2@icloud.com; Senior Vice Commander Ken Kackley at hkenkjr@aol.com or Junior Vice Commander Harold W. Weist at grnmarine@tds.net.

Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club

7 p.m.

The Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club will meet Thursday, Oct. 19 and each third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Fiddlers Grove Train Museum at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. This is an all-scale model railroad club. During the meeting, everyone will share their knowledge and introduce the hobby to folks new to the interest. The Train Museum has an extensive O-gauge layout and a small HO-scale layout with plans to expand the HO track. The club is open to anyone interested in model train railroads. For more information, contact Ron Selliers at trainslayer53@gmail.com.

Oct. 20

Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center Spaghetti Day and Bake Sale

11:30 a.m.

The annual Spaghetti Day and Bake Sale will be Friday, Oct. 20 from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. at the Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center. Advance tickets are $10 or $12 at the door. For more information, call 615-758-9114.

Lebanon-Wilson County, Mt. Juliet and Donelson-Hermitage chambers Business Card Exchange

Noon

The Lebanon-Wilson County, Mt. Juliet and Donelson-Hermitage chambers of commerce will hold a business card exchange Friday, Oct. 20 from noon until 1 p.m. at the Nashville Shores event center at 4001 Bell Road in Hermitage. Lunch, door prizes and networking will be featured. For more information or to RSVP, email pkays@nashvilleshores.com.

Oct. 21

Empower Me Emporium

8 a.m.

The Empower Me Emporium, a super sale for special kids, will be Saturday, Oct. 21 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Lebanon First Presbyterian Church at 304 W. Main St. in Lebanon. Proceeds will benefit Empower Me. Donation arrangements may be made through the church office, and pick-ups are available by calling 615-444-1360.

Halloween in the Park

11 a.m.

Halloween in the Park will be Saturday, Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Charlie Daniels Park. A scarecrow contest will be featured this year. Register a scarecrow by Saturday, Oct. 14 with no entry fee at the Mt. Juliet Community Center.

Healing Broken Vessels’ A Season of Elegance Fashion Show

2 p.m.

Healing Broken Vessels will present its annual A Season of Elegance Fashion Show on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. at College Hills Church of Christ at 1401 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. This year’s theme is the bold and the beautiful. It will feature entertainment, food, a silent auction and door prizes. Admission will be $20 per person. Healing Broken Vessels is a ministry that helps women and children in Wilson County.

Lebanon Breakfast Rotary Club Fish Fry and Aviation Heritage Day

4 p.m.

The Lebanon Breakfast Rotary Club’s fifth annual Fish Fry and Aviation Heritage Day will be Saturday, Oct. 21 from 4-7 p.m. at the Lebanon Municipal Airport at 760 Franklin Road. Admission will be $15 at the door. For advance tickets or to become a sponsor, email bonesuanne5@gmail.com.

Shine for Shelby 5K Glow Run and Walk

5:30 p.m.

The Shine for Shelby 5K Glow Run and Walk will be Saturday, Oct. 21 at Winfree Bryant Middle School on Leeville Pike in Lebanon. Parking will be at College Hills Church of Christ at 1401 Leeville Pike. Registration will open at 5:30 p.m., and food and drinks will be available for purchase. The fun run begins at 6:30 p.m. with a live auction and other activities at 7 p.m. The 5K will start at 7:30 p.m., and winners will be announced at 8:30 p.m. during a closing ceremony with lanterns. To register, visit shineforshelby.org.

Oct. 22

Spooky Stroll

4 p.m.

Spooky Stroll will be Sunday, Oct. 22 from 4-8 p.m. at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. A $35 ticket will include admission for one adult and two children 12 and younger, a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt, a pumpkin for the first 500, a meeting and photo opportunity with favorite princesses, a Halloween outdoor movie classic on a 34-foot screen, popcorn, 10 ounces of fresh apple cider, hay bale dance party, bluegrass picking band and professional jugglers. It will also feature trick-or-treating goodies and other entertainment.

The People’s Agenda

POLICY: Items for the Government Calendar may be submitted via email at editor@lebanondemocrat.com, in person at The Democrat’s office at 402 N. Cumberland St., by mail at The Lebanon Democrat, 402 N. Cumberland St., Lebanon, TN 37087 or via fax at 615-444-0899. Items must be received by 4 p.m. for the next day’s edition. The calendar is a free listing of government meetings and government-related events. The Democrat reserves the right to reject or edit material. Notices run on an as space is available basis and cannot be taken over the phone. Include a name and phone number in case of questions.

Oct. 12

Lebanon City Council work session

6 p.m.

The Lebanon City Council will meet in a work session Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

Oct. 16

Wilson County Education Committee meeting

5:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Education Committee will meet Monday, Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse. This is a rescheduled meeting from Oct. 5.

Wilson County Budget Committee meeting

6 p.m.

The Wilson County Budget Committee will meet Monday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse. This is a rescheduled meeting from Oct. 5.

Wilson County Finance Committee meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Finance Committee will meet Monday, Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Minutes Committee meeting

6:40 p.m.

The Wilson County Minutes Committee will meet Monday, Oct. 16 at 6:40 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse. This is a rescheduled meeting from Oct. 5.

Wilson County Steering Committee meeting

6:45 p.m.

The Wilson County Steering Committee will meet Monday, Oct. 16 at 6:45 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse. This is a rescheduled meeting from Oct. 5.

Wilson County Commission meeting

7 p.m.

The Wilson County Commission will meet Monday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Oct. 17

Wilson County Ag Extension Committee meeting

5:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Ag Extension Committee will meet Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the Wilson County Extension office in Lebanon.

– Staff Reports

Road projects continue

Local continuing road projects could cause delays for motorists in the coming days.

According to Tennessee Department of Transportation officials, resurfacing on State Route 171 from Interstate 40 to Division Street will cause a temporary lane closure daily from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. to allow workers to mark pavement. One lane will remain open.

Also, resurfacing on State Route 109 from Interstate 840 to I-40 will cause a temporary lane closure daily from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. to allow workers to mark pavement. One lane will remain open.

Staff Reports

Two wrecks in same day on Highway 109 prompts discussion on widening project

Jacob Smith • Mt. Juliet News
A wreck on Highway 109 at Laguardo closed the road for about two hours last Tuesday morning. A road-widening project for the area is currently at a standstill due to battles in court.

Two separate wrecks closed down Highway 109 last Tuesday, both at the same place, the intersection of Highway 109 and Laguardo Road.

The first wreck, which happened at about 11:50 a.m., involved five vehicles, one of them an 18-wheeler.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol, the wreck may have happened when one of the drivers dropped their cellphone and reached down to pick it up. When he took his eyes off the road, he turned into the other lane, hitting another car.

Both lanes of traffic were closed for about two hours because of the first wreck as cleanup crews worked to get all of the vehicles and rubble cleared away.

At about 4:40 p.m., another wreck at the same location shut down Highway 109 again. 

According to state Rep. Susan Lynn, the project to widen the road between Highway 70 and Laguardo is fully funded but tied up in court.

“When a road gets widened, some land has to get taken,” said Lynn. “The government goes in and appraises the land and offers the owner a figure. Some people don’t like the appraisals, and they think their land is worth a little bit more due to factors unknown by the appraiser. When a price can’t be agreed on, the only option is to take it to court, and that’s where we are right now.”
The project was fully funded since August, but due to the court battles, is not expected to begin until February.

“Just by coincidence, I ran into one of the guys who is fighting it in court this morning,” said Lynn. “He wasn’t happy. He’s probably not going to get what he wants, and I can see his frustration. It’s hard to give up property. This is a dangerous road, though, and it’s going to continue to be a dangerous road until the construction is done.”

Lynn offered a few tips to stay safe on Highway 109 until the road is widened. 

“What we can do is slow down, put down our cellphones and look straight ahead,” said Lynn. “There are going to be people turning into their driveways, and we need to be paying attention to make sure we don’t hit them.”

Two separate wrecks closed down Highway 109 last Tuesday, both at the same place, the intersection of Highway 109 and Laguardo Road.

The first wreck, which happened at about 11:50 a.m., involved five vehicles, one of them an 18-wheeler.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol, the wreck may have happened when one of the drivers dropped their cellphone and reached down to pick it up. When he took his eyes off the road, he turned into the other lane, hitting another car.

Both lanes of traffic were closed for about two hours because of the first wreck as cleanup crews worked to get all of the vehicles and rubble cleared away.

At about 4:40 p.m., another wreck at the same location shut down Highway 109 again. 

According to state Rep. Susan Lynn, the project to widen the road between Highway 70 and Laguardo is fully funded but tied up in court.

“When a road gets widened, some land has to get taken,” said Lynn. “The government goes in and appraises the land and offers the owner a figure. Some people don’t like the appraisals, and they think their land is worth a little bit more due to factors unknown by the appraiser. When a price can’t be agreed on, the only option is to take it to court, and that’s where we are right now.”
The project was fully funded since August, but due to the court battles, is not expected to begin until February.

“Just by coincidence, I ran into one of the guys who is fighting it in court this morning,” said Lynn. “He wasn’t happy. He’s probably not going to get what he wants, and I can see his frustration. It’s hard to give up property. This is a dangerous road, though, and it’s going to continue to be a dangerous road until the construction is done.”

Lynn offered a few tips to stay safe on Highway 109 until the road is widened. 

“What we can do is slow down, put down our cellphones and look straight ahead,” said Lynn. “There are going to be people turning into their driveways, and we need to be paying attention to make sure we don’t hit them.”

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

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.

Mt. Juliet Animal Control, shelter operations renamed

Photo courtesy of Mt. Juliet police
Pictured are Will Sellars, president of Friends of Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter; Karen Franklin, volunteer coordinator; Stephanie Cox, animal care and control director; and Michael Mullins, Mt. Juliet deputy police chief.

Mt. Juliet’s animal control and facility operations received a new name and look after the city hired a new director.

Stephanie Cox took the helm as the director of the Mt. Juliet Animal Care and Control, formally Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter, and she will plans to place an emphasis to provide homes for animals, work in partnership with volunteers, rekindle relationships with local rescue groups and proactively enforce animal control laws.

Services at Mt. Juliet Animal Care and Control will not decline, and they will focus on enhancing operations to include increased visibility through roaming patrols, having better response times to complaints and providing more opportunities for the public to visit the facility.

Their primary function will always be about the protection of the community and care for the animals.

Mt. Juliet’s animal control operations has one of the lowest in euthanasia rates across the state, with zero animals euthanized due to overcrowding since their existence, and Mt. Juliet Animal Care and Control plans to keep up that goal.

The continued success would not be possible without the Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter volunteer organization that continues to give extra funding and volunteers who help three full-time staff members.

Animals available for adoption can be viewed online at mjpd.org/197/animal-care-control or by scheduling an appointment at 615-773-5533.

Staff Reports

Local attorney Carfi seeks state Senate seat in special election

Mary Alice Carfi

Wilson County attorney Mary Alice Carfi announced her candidacy recently in the Democratic primary for the District 17 state Senate seat in the upcoming special elections.

“We need some common sense in the Senate,” Carfi said. “Republicans have held the majority since the 2010 elections. They have had ample opportunities to improve the lives of working families in our state, but instead have put party interests before improving the health care, jobs and education for our citizens.”

An attorney in a solo-practice in Mt. Juliet, Carfi can relate to the issues that affect the small business owners throughout District 17, which includes Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith and Wilson counties.

“I understand struggles with health care costs,” Carfi said. “The Republicans missed the boat when they failed to expand Medicaid. As a result of their failure to act, the 10th rural hospital in Tennessee announced Saturday that it is closing its doors.

“All of the counties in District 17, except for Wilson, are entirely rural, and if one of them lost their hospital, it would have a devastating impact not only the health care of its citizens but on that county’s economy. This is just one example of how the failure to apply common sense to our health care issues has hurt working families in District 17 and across the state.”

When it comes to jobs and the economy, Carfi said in five of the six counties in District 17, an average of 20.6 percent of all households receive food stamps, which is almost 4 percent higher than the state average.

“We need jobs that pay a living wage, so no one who works a full-time job has to rely on public assistance to survive,” she said. “It’s sound common sense to raise the minimum wage, because Tennessee’s economy runs on consumer spending. If working families struggle to pay their rent and put food on their table, then how can they afford to buy anything else?”

Last, Carfi wants to make sure all students in District 17 have a quality public education “because it’s the best investment we can make in our state and nation’s future.”

“Common sense tells us that we need to fully fund Tennessee’s Basic Education Plan so that a child in smaller, less affluent counties like Clay or Cannon County can be assured of getting access to the same quality education as a child in Wilson County,” Carfi said.

“We need less testing of our students, and we need to say no vouchers of any kind because they divert resources from already struggling schools.”

As a general practice attorney, Carfi often works with people who have differing opinions.

“It’s my job to bring these people together, to compromise when and where it’s necessary, so that a positive result can be agreed upon by all parties,” she said.

“It’s time for some common sense in Tennessee’s Senate, and I ask for your support and vote on Dec. 19, so I can bring this to our legislative body.”

Carfi grew up in Smith County, the daughter of Don and Phyllis Eckel, of Gordonsville. She is the granddaughter of the late Pete and Evelyn Watts, who owned Watts Angus Farm. Pete Watts was a well-known building contractor in Middle Tennessee and owner of Pete Watts Construction.

She has one daughter, Alexia, 9, and is a member of the Carthage United Methodist Church, where she sings in the choir. She and her husband, Jamie, are both members of the Bert Coble Singers in Lebanon. She also serves on the Bert Coble Singers Leadership Team.

Carfi is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the 15th Judicial District Bar Association. She is a graduate of Smith County High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from Middle Tennessee State University. She received her law degree from Nashville School of Law. She was chosen as the best attorney in Mt. Juliet in 2016 by another media outlet.

A campaign kickoff will be Oct. 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre at 110 W. Main St. in Lebanon.

Staff Reports

Month remains for special census

City leaders hope population increase results in more tax dollars

About a month remains for Mt. Juliet residents to submit information for the city’s special census with the hope of increasing the city’s share of Tennessee-shared tax dollars.

State-shared tax revenues are distributed to Tennessee cities based on population.

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

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

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

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

Residents who complete their portion of online will qualify for a $50 gift certificate in a drawing to be held after the Nov. 15 online deadline.

Postage-paid mail will be sent to residents who do not complete their portion online. Providing information online or by mail before Nov. 15 will eliminate contact from a door-to-door special census representative.

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

For more information, email 2018specialcensus@mtjuliet-tn.gov or call 615-773-6298.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Mt. Juliet OKs transportation plans

Mt. Juliet commissioners took the first step Monday to adopt an updated transportation plan for the city, although changes could take place before plans are officially adopted.

The group approved the comprehensive transportation plan on first reading Monday and will likely make changes to the plan before the second reading in November.

The comprehensive plan is designed to address the city’s transportation needs and establish the goals and objectives to improve access and circulation. The plan will guide decision making for the future by recommending improvements for all modes of transportation, including walking, cycling and vehicles.

“This pretty comprehensive, and if this is a guideline that we could veer away from in certain areas, then I wouldn’t have near as much problem, but I don’t want this set in  stone that we’re going to follow this step by step, because it’s not where it needs to be,” said Commissioner Ray Justice.

“One of the things that was in the workshop was that this is a guide,” said Commissioner Art Giles. “It’s something to look through and try to strive to.”

The plan analyzed crash areas, financing options and other areas. The core of implementing transportation recommendations is the development of partnerships that will allow Mt. Juliet to finance, design, build and maintain projects.

The plan categorized projects based on priority, with several characterized as “high” priority.

Sidewalks were identified as needs along Belinda Parkway from Stoner’s Creek to Mt. Juliet Road at a cost of $448,000; NW Rutland Road from Mt. Juliet Road to Hunting Hills Drive at a cost of $500,000; Pleasant Grove Road from Triple Crown Lane to Central Pike at a cost of $280,000; and Woodridge Place from N. Mt. Juliet Road to Golden Bear Gateway at a cost of $1.5 million.

Access management was identified as needs at Mt. Juliet Road from Providence Place to N.W. Rutland Road at a cost of $9.1 million; N. Mt. Juliet Road from W. Division Street to Lebanon Road at a cost of $1.9 million; and N. Mt. Juliet Road from N.W. Rutland Road to Division Street at a cost of $9.3 million.

The plan also highlights road widening, roadway median and intersection upgrade projects.

The comprehensive plan steering committee included elected officials, residents and city officials. The committee was made up of Tyler Chandler, Bill Robinson, Mark Hinesley, William Anderson, Art Giles, Mary Connelly, Pam Perry and Kelly Morgan.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Community Calendar and the People’s Agenda

Community Calendar

POLICY: Items for the Community Calendar may be submitted via email at editor@lebanondemocrat.com, in person at The Democrat’s office at 402 N. Cumberland St., by mail at The Lebanon Democrat, 402 N. Cumberland St., Lebanon, TN 37087 or via fax at 615-444-0899. Items must be received by 4 p.m. for the next day’s edition. The calendar is a free listing of nonprofit events, community club and government meetings. The Democrat reserves the right to reject or edit material. Notices run on an as space is available basis and cannot be taken over the phone. Include a name and phone number in case of questions.

Oct. 5

Masquerade Jewelry and Accessories Fundraiser Sale

7 a.m.

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Volunteer Auxiliary will hold a masquerade $5 jewelry and accessories fundraising sale Thursday, Oct. 5 from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 6 from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the hospital’s community cares classroom. The show will feature a wide variety of jewelry and accessories, all priced at $5. Profits from the sale will benefit patients and the local community.

Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency food giveaway

9 a.m.

The Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency USDA commodity food giveaway will be Thursday, Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at 104 Webster Lane in Lebanon for low-income families in Wilson County. The office will close from noon until 1 p.m. for lunch. For more information, call Desirre Starks at 615-444-4714.

Wilson County Retired Teachers Association meeting

10 a.m.

The Wilson County Retired Teachers Association will meet Thursday, Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. at First Church of the Nazarene in Lebanon. The community project for the month is supplies for the Wilson County Schools’ At Risk program. The supplies needed are Crayola crayons, markers, colored pencils, children’s scissors, glue sticks, white 1-inch binders, wide-ruled paper and composition notebooks. The speaker will present a discussion on the At Risk program. Members will update their handbooks and have an annual birthday party. For more information, call 615-444-0071.

Oct. 6

Treasure Hunt Yard Sale

7 a.m.

The Treasure Hunt yard sale will be Friday, Oct. 6 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 7 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Community parish at 14544 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. The yard sale is the largest fundraiser of the year, which benefits the parish and the many charities sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Ladies Auxiliary. It will feature furniture, kitchen items, books, movies, household items, linens, holiday decorations, luggage, toys, clothes and all shoes will be $1 a pair. Lunch and homemade baked goods will also be available.

Masquerade Jewelry and Accessories Fundraiser Sale

7 a.m.

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Volunteer Auxiliary will hold a masquerade $5 jewelry and accessories fundraising sale Friday, Oct. 6 from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the hospital’s community cares classroom. The show will feature a wide variety of jewelry and accessories, all priced at $5. Profits from the sale will benefit patients and the local community.

Free Clothing Store

9 a.m.

The free clothing store will be open Friday, Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. until noon at Life Church at 3688 Hwy. 109 in Lebanon, across the street from Dollar General. There will be free clothes, accessories, toiletries, shoes and more for men, women and children. Free chiropractic adjustments will also be available. For more information, visit lifechurchfamily.com.

Blood Drive

10:30 a.m.

A Blood Assurance blood drive will be Friday, Oct. 6 from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Sports Village in Lebanon. To schedule an appointment, visit bloodassurance.org/sportsvillage or call Trudy Cody at 931-239-9411 or email trudycody@bloodassurance.org. Donors will be given a “One Cool Donor” T-shirt and pair of “I Bleed” socks and be entered in a drawing for a $250 Walmart gift card.

Centerstage Theatre presents “Father of the Bride”

7:30 p.m.

Centerstage Theatre will present the play, “Father of the Bride” on Friday, Oct. 6 and Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 14 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Winfree Bryant Middle School at 1213 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students and may be purchased at Iddy & Oscars on the Lebanon Square or at brownpapertickets.com.

Encore Theatre Co. presents A Trio of Radio Comedy

7:30 p.m.

Encore Theatre Co. will present A Trio of Radio Comedy on Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2:30 p.m. at the theatre at 6978 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. The trio will include Fibber McGee and Molly, Burns and Allen and the Radio Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Tickets will be $10 each at the door. For more information, call 615-598-8950 or visit encore-theatre-company.org.

Oct. 7

Watertown Mile-Long Yard Sale

7 a.m.

The fall edition of the Watertown Mile-Long Yard Sale will be Saturday, Oct. 7, beginning at 7 a.m. and continuing throughout the day in all areas of Watertown.

Treasure Hunt

7 a.m.

The Treasure Hunt will be Saturday, Oct. 7 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Community parish at 14544 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. The yard sale is the largest fundraiser of the year, which benefits the parish and the many charities sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Ladies Auxiliary. It will feature furniture, kitchen items, books, movies, household items, linens, holiday decorations, luggage, toys, clothes and all shoes will be $1 a pair. Lunch and homemade baked goods will also be available.

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1004 Breakfast

7 a.m.

Chapter 1004 of the Vietnam Veterans of America will meet for breakfast Saturday, Oct. 7 and the first Saturday of each month at 7 a.m. at Dairy Queen in Mt. Juliet.

Hazardous Household Waste Collection Event

8 a.m.

A hazardous household waste collection event will be Saturday, Oct. 7 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center at 925 E. Baddour Pkwy. in Lebanon. Participants should enter at Tennessee Boulevard. Acceptable items will include household cleaners, home maintenance chemicals, automotive products and miscellaneous chemicals. No medical or infectious waste, explosives, ammunition, radioactive waste, including smoke detectors, or any empty containers will be accepted. Waste from non-household sources such as businesses, schools, farms, churches, etc. will be accepted by appointment only. Call 615-643-3170 to request a price quote and schedule an appointment. Call 615-444-8360 for more information.

Goldwing Road Riders Association Motorcycle Chapter meeting

9 a.m.

The Lebanon Chapter of Goldwing Road Riders Association will meet Saturday, Oct. 7 at 9 a.m. for breakfast at Ryan’s at 405 S. Cumberland St. in Lebanon. The meeting will start at 10 a.m. The group is open to all motorcycle makes and models. Anyone interested in riding motorcycles with two or three wheels is welcome. For more information, call Andrew or Debbie Smith at 615-784-9772.

Hartsville Fall Festival

10 a.m.

The Hartsville Fall Festival will be Saturday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. at Trey Park at 105 Marlene St. in Hartsville. It will feature live music, a car show, hay ride, cake walk, carnival games, vendors, food, a live auction and face painting.

Book Launch Party

6 p.m.

Local author Amber Hurdle will have a book launch party for her book, “The Bombshell Business Woman,” on Saturday, Oct. 7 from 6-9 p.m. at Mo’Cara at 1331 W. Main St. in Lebanon. To RSVP to the come-and-go event by Sept. 27, visit bombshelllaunchparty.eventbrite.com.

Mt. Juliet American Legion Post Reverse Raffle

6 p.m.

The Tyler Cates American Legion Post 281 will hold its first reverse raffle fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. at Windtree Golf Club at 810 Nonaville Road in Mt. Juliet. A $100 ticket will include two barbecue buffet meals. There will be a $10,000 prize, and only 300 tickets will be sold. Cash, check, credit or debit cards will be accepted. All tickets must be present at the drawing to win. For tickets, contact, Warren at 615-754-7464, Will at 615-319-2179, Delmar at 615-364-3619 or Steve at 615-419-5009.

The People’s Agenda

POLICY: Items for the Government Calendar may be submitted via email at editor@lebanondemocrat.com, in person at The Democrat’s office at 402 N. Cumberland St., by mail at The Lebanon Democrat, 402 N. Cumberland St., Lebanon, TN 37087 or via fax at 615-444-0899. Items must be received by 4 p.m. for the next day’s edition. The calendar is a free listing of government meetings and government-related events. The Democrat reserves the right to reject or edit material. Notices run on an as space is available basis and cannot be taken over the phone. Include a name and phone number in case of questions.

Oct. 5

Joint Economic and Community Development Board Executive Committee

7:45 a.m.

The Joint Economic and Community Development Board Executive Committee will meet Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7:45 a.m. in the second-floor conference room at the new Lebanon Airport terminal building at 1050 Franklin Road in Lebanon.

Lebanon Airport Commission meeting

4 p.m.

The Lebanon Airport Commission will meet Thursday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. at Lebanon Municipal Airport at 1060A Franklin Road.

Wilson County Education Committee meeting

6 p.m.

The Wilson County Education Committee will meet Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Minutes Committee meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Minutes Committee will meet Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Steering Committee meeting

6:45 p.m.

The Wilson County Steering Committee will meet Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6:45 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Budget Committee meeting

7 p.m.

The Wilson County Budget Committee will meet Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

– Staff Reports

State Route 109 work scheduled to begin this year

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said work would begin this year to help make the county’s busiest roadway safer for drivers.

Hutto said requests for proposals would go out in December and construction is expected to start in February on State Route 109. Upgrades to the road are set from Highway 70 north to the Sumner County line at Dry Fork Creek and is estimated at $18.5 million.

“They’re going to start with the Academy Road interchange, then go north to the bridge between Sumner and Wilson counties and work backwards,” said Hutto, who said the project could take four years to complete.

The project falls under the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s trade program, which is for routes critical to commerce. There are no possible actions listed in the trade program description, but it is noted roadways in the trade program should operate in an “efficient manner.”

The State Route 109 project is one of 10 Wilson County road projects funded through the IMPROVE Act. Another major project is the South Mt. Juliet Road project, which is estimated to cost $25.4 million and will address the area between Central Pike and Providence Way. 

Other projects include Highway 70 from Park Glen Drive to Bender’s Ferry Road; Hartsville Pike from south of Spring Creek to north of Lover’s Lane; and Hartsville Pike from north of Lover’s Lane to Highway 70. 

Those projects’ estimated total is about $98 million. 

A new interchange at Interstate 40 and Central Pike, which is estimated at $14.2 million, is also listed as a Wilson County project. 

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

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.

School board approves $3 raise for bus drivers

The Wilson County school board approved a $3 hourly pay raise for district bus drivers Thursday in hopes of attracting more drivers in the future.

Wilson County Deputy Director of Schools Mickey Hall said the increase totals $708,801 and would represent an average of 17.6 percent average pay increase for drivers. Hall said the starting pay for bus drivers would increase to $17 starting with the upcoming school year.

Hall said the money would come from within the district’s budget. He said the district is able to fund the raises at this point due to unfilled budgeted teaching positions and difference in pay of senior educators who left the district compared to new educators.

“It usually takes four to five weeks for those numbers to smooth out. We were able to find some money. This is what I think we can handle,” Hall said.

School board chairman Larry Tomlinson highlighted the funds would be reoccurring money and the pay increase would not be considered an absolute fix to district transportation issues.

The increase comes after the district held a special meeting earlier this month to discuss ongoing transportation issues in the district.

“We have to make it an attractive position. I was an educator for 45 years. Bottom line is you pay for what you get,” board member Larry Joe Inman said during the meeting.

Jerry Partlow, Wilson County Schools transportation director, said the district has 439 route assignments each day, which include regular morning and afternoon routes, special needs morning and afternoon routes and midday routes.

He said he would like about 30 additional drivers to cover routes that carry about 10,000 of the district’s 18,000 students.

“There’s never enough school bus drivers and that’s just the long and short of it. All of the dilemmas that our parents are facing, all the dilemmas that I face and my staff face are because of the lack of school bus drivers. They are the backbone of my end of the business and for you all, too,” Partlow said. “I wish there was one silver bullet that I could say, ‘You shoot this and all your problems go away.’ That’s not going to happen. There are a lot of things we need to do.”

Bus driver pay and benefits and discipline issues have emerged as the primary issues with bus driver attraction and retention during several meetings.

District leaders said they would continue to look for feasible solutions to alleviate transportation issues.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Urban talks state tourism with Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce

The state’s tourism efforts and successes came to the forefront during the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon.

Sara Beth Urban, Tennessee Department of Tourism Middle Tennessee division manager, discussed the department’s continuous focus on attracting visitors to the state and highlighting its vast interests.

Urban said the state’s attractions are divided into several categories, including music, nature, food, history and heritage and more.

“I’m huge a proponent of history and heritage. I would argue that, along with music, history and heritage is weaved through every story we tell. There is so much here in our state that we can talk about,” Urban said.

Urban said the state also works to preserve its history through groups and events such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the NAIA Pow Wow held annually at Long Hunter State Park.

Urban also discussed the state’s recent rise in the food world, particularly due to the recent popularity of Nashville hot chicken.

“Tennessee has become a major foodie destination in the past few years, Nashville in particular. I believe the people of Memphis would argue pretty hardcore that they are the barbecue kings,” she said.

Urban detailed the state’s efforts to attract new visitors, as well as returning visitors, and detailed new initiatives on the horizon. She discussed the upcoming Tennessee Music Pathway.

“It’s a new trail that’s coming out. It’s going to cross the entire state, and it’s going to catalog those seven genres of music that were born in the state,” Urban said. “The cool thing about that is we’re hoping the app will have a feature that will bring up locations as you come into contact with a live music venue, music pathway or heritage site.”

Tennessee tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached an all-time record high of $19.3 billion in 2016, up 4.7 percent from the previous year, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association.

For the 11th consecutive year, tourism topped $1 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, reaching $1.7 billion. All 95 counties saw more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures in the economic impact of tourism and 19 counties saw more than $100 million, with Wilson County seeing about $150 million in direct travel expenditures.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Mt. Juliet Fire Department to conduct multiple demonstrations

The Fire Department Mt. Juliet will conduct multiple demonstrations Oct. 7 from 9 a.m. until noon at Stoner Creek Elementary School.

The public is invited to see up close, but at a safe distance, the various skills needed for the fire department to handle a wide variety of emergency situations, from a structure fire to extrication due to a head-on collision.

The purpose of the event is to educate elected officials, Mt. Juliet department heads and the public about the special skills needed by firefighters to be an effective and efficient organization.

Attendees will be able to hear 911 calls dispatched for each demonstration, and the responses from Mt. Juliet firefighters as they respond to the scene. As each event develops, attendees will hear a narration for that event prepared and presented by a Mt. Juliet firefighter.

In addition to the four live demonstrations, there will be a static display of emergency equipment from Mt. Juliet Fire Department, Mt. Juliet Police Department, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency ambulances and Rehab 23’s Command Unit.

Water and coffee will be available at the event. From 10 a.m. until noon, Chick-fil-A at Providence will offer a chicken sandwich combo, and the proceeds will benefit Rehab 23, a nonprofit organization that gives support and resources such as food, water and energy drinks to Wilson County first responders.

Staff Reports

Judge fed up with DCS leniency

Barry Tatum

Tatum orders boy sent to headquarters in Nashville

Wilson County Judge Barry Tatum sentenced a boy to be sent to the main Tennessee Department of Children’s Services’ headquarters in downtown Nashville after Tatum became fed up with the agency’s inability to find a secure facility for the boy.

The boy was taken into custody during the early morning hours of Sept. 15 after a Wilson County deputy saw a stolen vehicle at an abandoned house in Lebanon.

The deputy went around to the back of the house, where he saw the suspect run away. After a brief foot chase, the boy was arrested.

The incident was associated with a number of juveniles taken into custody in August who were linked to multiple car thefts. Two of the juveniles were escapees from the Department of Children’s Services when the auto thefts took place.

“Our patrol officers have been on high alert regarding the recent increase of auto thefts and responded accordingly to information that has been developed over a period of time by our investigators,” said Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan. “This juvenile has repeatedly escaped from the custody of the Department of Children’s Services within the past year, five times to be exact, and I have some concerns of the continuous problems that DCS is having on the number of juveniles that are escaping from their placements at an alarming rate. Citizens have been terrorized in their homes and their properties that otherwise could have been prevented.”

The boy was charged with multiple offenses that included six counts of theft of property worth more than $1,000, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, criminal impersonation, two counts of evading arrest, disorderly conduct and probation violation.

The boy pleaded guilty last Tuesday to all charges in juvenile court, and Tatum ordered him placed in a secured facility provided by DCS.

When DCS reported it didn’t have any open beds in a secured facility, Tatum ordered the boy sent to DCS headquarters to be kept until a bed opened. In sending the boy to the DCS headquarters, Tatum also sent the organization a message, Bryan said.

“We’re fed up,” said Bryan. “I’m fed up; the court’s fed up; the judges are fed up. We wanted to put this kid in a secure facility, but [DCS] told us they didn’t have any beds. So the judge decided to send him to the headquarters. Well, within an hour of us taking him over there, a bed opened up.”

Rob Johnson, director of communications with DCS said he understood Tatum’s frustration.

“In cases like these, when a youth has not responded well to treatment and services – or starts making bad decisions again after completing a program – the department must consider stronger options,” said Johnson.

Bryan cited the frequency of the problem as one of the main issues that led to the ruling.

“This is one of many of these incidents that we’ve been involved in,” said Bryan. “People are being terrorized by juveniles in DCS custody, and the county has to pay for it.”

Two days after Tatum’s ruling, Mt. Juliet police found a 16-year-old runaway in the parking lot of a Red Lobster in Greenbrier.

“We’re not doing them justice,” said Bryan. “These kids need help; it needs to stop.”

City leaders discuss Music City Star

Commissioners contend they are doing nothing wrong not paying city’s share

During the citizens’ comments portion of the bi-monthly Mt. Juliet City Commission meeting Monday, commissioners discussed a recent controversy that involved the city’s funding for the Music City Star.

Sally Robertson, a Mt. Juliet citizen and frequent rider of the Music City Star, brought up the issue.

“I ride the train. The train is a great amenity,” said Robertson. “I just want some answers, like they’re saying that Mt. Juliet is not paying their fair share of the subsidy. We were paying. I don’t know why we quit, except Kenny [Martin] says there’s like other things that the city has to pay and so they decided not to. Is it optional or is it required, because [Regional Transportation Authority] is saying it’s required?”

City Manager Kenny Martin was the first to respond to Robertson’s question.

“If anybody’s read in the media that the city of Mt. Juliet’s not paying its fair share for anything, that would be totally false,” said Martin. “There’s a voluntary contribution that the city could make if it chose to, but we put those monies toward the citizens of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee first, meaning that if there’s road projects and things of that nature, before we give away a complimentary $30,000 a year for any other service, we would provide that for things we need here.”

Mt. Juliet vice mayor and District 2 Commissioner James Maness then addressed Robertson’s inquiry about whether the funds were required or voluntary.

“The requirements for what the city gives to RTA is spelled out in state law,” said Maness. “We meet those obligations per state law. What they’re calling required, that’s just an opinion. Just because they put required on the document doesn’t make it a law. I don’t know if they’re not aware of the law, if they’re ignoring it, but the conversation has been very misleading. I want to apologize to all the riders of the Star. Not that I feel that we’ve done anything wrong to them but just for the misleading conversation that’s been going on for this.”

District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice was the last to comment on the question and spoke of the council’s unity on the subject.

“If you will notice, the answers that you get from all of us at this table are consistently the same,” said Justice. “We are on the same page.”

The Regional Transit Authority staff said last Wednesday at its board meeting it plans to meet with Mt. Juliet officials to discuss the city’s annual operating contribution shortfall. According to the group, Mt. Juliet has not paid its budgeted $30,000 Music City Star operating contribution since 2014.

“We really don’t want to do anything punitive to Mt. Juliet, but it’s become an issue, because this is an ongoing problem,” said Sumner County executive Anthony Holt. “If you look at it, Mt. Juliet has the largest ridership, as my understanding, in that entire corridor, but yet, if you look back on Page 11, they’re paying the least.”

Mt. Juliet annually budgets about $30,000 for Music City Star operation, which is about $25,000 less than Lebanon and $20,000 less than Wilson County.

“We’re not asking them to pay more. We’re asking them to really contribute their fair share,” Holt said.

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, RTA vice chairman, elaborated on the situation with Mt. Juliet.

“Mt. Juliet, for a while, did pay their fair share. Then, there was a situation that came up about the property around the station and the use of that. In conversations that happened between them and RTA, there was a difference of opinions of that. We’ve tried to get to the bottom of that,” said Hutto, who said the county also neglected its financial duties at one point.

“We will work to try and solve that. We enjoy the train in Wilson County, and we want everybody to pay their fair share and want to do everything we can to keep it alive and going.”

“This has the potential to undermine what we’re doing. This entire RTA has been a collaborative effort. We’ve all participated, and I think we’ve done so in good faith, and we’ve done so in an equitable way where everybody’s treated fairly,” Holt said.

Possible options discussed to remedy the issue included reducing service to the Mt. Juliet station, charging for parking, applying a ticket surcharge for riders who use the station or paying back the Federal Transit Administration the federal portion of the station value and stopping service.

The RTA ended bus service in Brentwood after the city did not fulfill its financial obligations. However, RTA CEO Steve Bland said the situation in Mt. Juliet differs.

“The primary difference is there’s an investment of federal funds in the fixed asset in the city of Mt. Juliet,” Bland said.

Board to discuss Music City Star operator contract

The Nashville Regional Transit Authority is one step closer to officially naming an operator for the Music City Star after almost a yearlong process.

Last year, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, who also serves as the Nashville Regional Transit Authority vice chair, said the group is required to issue a request for proposals for RTA services every five years as a condition of state and federal funding. 

The Music City Star began service under contract with Transit Solutions Group on Sept. 18, 2006 and travels on 32 miles of track between Nashville and Lebanon, which is owned by the Nashville and Eastern Railroad Authority. 

According to Regional Transit Authority data, more than 2.2 million passenger trips were recorded as of August, and Hutto said feedback about the current operator was positive. 

Transit Solutions submitted a proposal to operate the service last year, along with First Transit.

Transit Solution’s proposal included a base bid of about $8.8 million for five years and about $19 million for 10 years. First Transit’s proposal included a base bid of about $9.8 million for five years and about $20 million for 10 years.

This week, the Regional Transit Authority finance committee recommended Transit Solutions Group for the service, not to exceed about $9.4 million for the first five years, including mobilization, monthly base fees, station utilities and special event train service.

The Regional Transit Authority will discuss the agreement, along with the group’s upcoming fiscal year budget, next week in Nashville.

Mt. Juliet became a talking point during this week’s meeting, according to Cheryl Lewis, of Lebanon, who attended the meeting.

According to Regional Transit Authority records, Mt. Juliet has not financially contributed to the Music City Star operation at least since 2016, although the city annually budgeted about $30,000, about $25,000 less than Lebanon and $20,000 less than Wilson County.

“The city of Mt. Juliet does contribute to RTA via all maintenance, upkeep, repair and emergency services to the train station/depot,” said Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin. “In past years, the city also contributed an additional annual $30,000 contribution to the RTA beyond our annual dues and bountiful in-kind services, but those contributions have been shifted in recent years to more pressing local infrastructure needs throughout our city.”

Martin said Mt. Juliet infrastructure projects, such as Golden Bear Gateway, an adaptive signals upgrade, lighting at the city’s Interstate 40 interchange and other road projects demanded the city’s attention and money.

“The city is very proud of the projects we are conducting and feel we have a wonderful relationship and partnership with RTA. Again, we’d like to contribute more but have to put all of our more pressing local infrastructure needs first on our priority needs list,” Martin said. “We will continue to work well with and support the RTA and all of our partners as we always have and always will.”

Music City Star service begins in the East Corridor and runs from Lebanon to downtown Nashville and includes six stations – Lebanon, Martha, Mt. Juliet, Hermitage, Donelson and Riverfront Station. 

For more information on the Music City Star, visit musiccitystar.org.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

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.

Wilson announces campaign for District 17 Senate special election

Steve Wilson

Conservative Army veteran Steve Wilson announced Friday his candidacy for the District 17 state Senate special election.

The seat opened when Mae Beavers decided to vacate her seat in the Senate to run for governor. Wilson qualified as a Republican, with primaries scheduled for Nov. 7 and General Election on Dec. 19.

“After much thought, family discussion and prayer, I have come to the point in my life that I’m able to give back,” said Wilson. “One of the best and most important ways to do that to help others and to assist others is to offer one’s self up for public service. The opportunity has arrived. It was a quick opportunity, but this has been a much thought-out situation that I’ve had for a long, long time.”

Wilson said he is a longtime member of Immanuel Baptist Church and cites his military experience as a good qualification for the job. He spent more than 40 years in the U.S. Army and the Tennessee National Guard and retired as a colonel of field artillery.

“I believe both my education and, maybe more importantly, my life experiences have given me the motivation to enter this race,” said Wilson. “I’ve always been a student of politics, and I can readily remember my grandfather and my father telling me at an early age, ‘there are two things that dictate our lives, whether we’re involved or whether we’re not.’ Those two activities are religion and politics.”

Wilson said he plans to use his personal experience in the job and put the needs of the district above his own personal needs.

Education and infrastructure are two topics Wilson said are important to him in the election. Wilson said he is a strong believer in the public education system and thinks teachers in the public school system shouldn’t have to go out of pocket to provide students with the tools they need to learn.

“Those needs of those children are identified, can be identified, can be quantified, and then we need to put the appropriate money in that school budget to pay for that child’s required education,” said Wilson.

As far as infrastructure, Wilson believes maintaining the infrastructure within the district can only serve to bring more jobs, as well as qualified workers, to the area.

“The roads and bridges, that in itself brings jobs but on a bigger basis, it provides access and it also improves the opportunities to recruit businesses and factories,” said Wilson. “When you have the proper infrastructure and you have the trained workforce, and they’re available and willing, and you have all the components necessary for company A and company B, you’re in the catbird’s seat.”

Wilson’s wife, Rita, currently serves in the Tennessee National Guard. The couple has two sons, Cory and Clint, who both serve in the National Guard. They also have three grandchildren.

Staff Reports

County opts not to appoint senator

Commission had its chance to name interim until election

The Wilson County Commission passed on its opportunity to fill the vacant seat in the state Senate on Monday after Mae Beavers resigned the seat last month.

Beavers submitted her resignation letter to Gov. Bill Haslam to focus on her run for the Republican nomination for governor in the 2018 election, which left a void in her District 17 seat.

The state Constitution allowed the commission to appoint a person to fill the vacant Senate seat until someone is elected in the special election, although the group was not required to appoint a replacement.

The replacement senator would have served in the position until Dec. 19, the day of the special election. 

Primaries will be Nov. 7, and the General Election will be Dec. 19. Both elections will be in Wilson, Cannon, DeKalb, Smith, Clay and Macon counties that make up the 17th Senate District.

The group also approved a $300,000 donation to Empower Me Center.

The Lebanon City Council approved to rezone about 26 acres of unaddressed land on South Hartmann Drive to commercial service at the request of Jim Agee on behalf of Empower Me Day Camp, which announced plans last year to build a state-of-the-art facility on about 16.5 acres to serve about 200 special needs children each week during summer and thousands more year round.

The new facility will consist of a 37,000-square-feet community recreational building, recreational sports complex and more. It will also house independent living cottages on the property.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com