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

Firefighters show off tactics, tips

The Mt. Juliet Fire Department held a demonstration day Saturday at Stoner Creek Elementary School to showcase its firefighting procedures and educate residents on fire safety practices and tips.

Mt. Juliet fire Chief Jamie Luffman said Deputy Chief Chris Allen spearheaded the event, which included fire behavior demonstration, house fire rescue demonstration, injury crash response extrication demonstration and more.

“It was a chance to show the Mt. Juliet elected officials, administration and citizens that we are working diligently to train our people on how to handle new technology to help prevent and limit fires,” Luffman said. “In construction, materials are constantly upgraded and changed and we have to stay on the cutting edge of fire suppression.”

The Mt. Juliet Fire Department celebrated its fourth birthday Sept. 30, and Luffman said Saturday’s demonstration symbolized the city and fire department’s dedication to the city.

“For us to come this far in four years and be able to do something like this for the public is impressive,” Luffman said.

Mt. Juliet commissioners James Maness and Brian Abston joined the department in some demonstrations, and city manager Kenny Martin also attended.

“The turnout was really good,” Luffman said. “We had a nice crowd filled with some older folks and quite a few children.”

The department’s demonstration kicked off National Fire Prevention Week.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

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

Mt. Juliet fire opens interim station

The Mt. Juliet Fire Department began operations out of its new interim station Friday morning.

Green Hill Church on Lebanon Road let the department move there after it lost its space at Environmental Science Corp. due to ongoing expansion.

Ladder 111 is housed at the interim station and is staffed by volunteer personnel for structure fires and times of high call volume.

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

Make-A-Wish foundation to grant two local girls’ wishes

Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish of Middle Tennessee
Catharine Beall, 6, of Mt. Juliet, will receive a wish from Make-A-Wish of Middle Tennessee and visit Walt Disney World in early October.

Two Wilson County girls will get their wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the coming months.

Catharine Beall, 6, of Mt. Juliet, has craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumor that happens most commonly in children. Beall will visit Walt Disney World in October with her family.

According to Emily Gray, communications manager for Make-A-Wish of Middle Tennessee, Beall and her family will spend about a week at a special resort.

“They’ll be staying at Give Kids the World Village,” said Gray. “They try to make each day like a party. They have like karaoke nights and different themes throughout the week.”

Give Kids the World Village is an 84-acre, nonprofit resort in central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Hilda Rosalez, 17, has leukemia and will receive a camera and a laptop in December.

“We don’t have it all fleshed out yet, but we want to connect her with a local photographer,” said Gray, “hopefully someone who can teach her a lot about her new camera. We’re also going to try to get a bunch of programs installed on her computer.”

The Make-A-Wish foundation in Middle Tennessee is privately funded and receives no government support in funding the wishes they grant.

According to Gray, the majority of the funds come from individual and corporation donations, as well as fundraisers and events.

“We try to get the community involved,” said Gray. “We hold a gala in January and a Walk for Wishes event in April. We try to make the walk as family friendly as we can, like we invite businesses to sponsor teams and families come out there, too, with young kids, so it’s a pretty good family event.”

The organization recently held an event at Mt. Juliet High School called Kids for Wish-Kids, where students at the school raised money to grant the wish of a local girl.

Gray said fulfilling wishes for children has been “fantastic.”

“Getting to see firsthand the impact a wish experience can have on a family in the throes of battling a critical illness is incredibly inspiring,” said Gray. “Our organization has the privilege to create a life-changing experiences for children at one of their darkest times. We are well aware that we wouldn’t have that opportunity if it weren’t for dedicated volunteers who give their time, diligent health care professionals and community members who refer children and generous individual and corporate donors who provide valuable resources. Catharine and Hilda are just two of the more than 150 local children who are waiting for their wishes to be granted. We’ve had the honor of granting more than 1,500 wishes in Middle Tennessee, but there is still a lot of work to do.”

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

County to pick new school board member

Larry Joe Inman

Larry Joe Inman announces resignation from board Thursday night

The Wilson County Commission will choose the next Zone 7 school board member after Larry Joe Inman resigned his position Thursday night.

The Wilson County Commission is tasked with picking a replacement in case of a vacancy, according to state law. The commission will next meet Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

“This will be my last Wilson County school board meeting. I’m resigning my position,” Inman said. “We’re relocating out of state, and I just want to thank the constituents in Zone 7 for having enough confidence in me – as an individual and an educator – to allow me to be in the position I am on this board and be able to help so many kids,” he said.

Inman won his school board race last year after he defeated Chad Karl and Gwynne Queener for the newly created Zone 7 seat. Inman collected 717 votes, compared to Karl’s 693 votes and Queener’s 426 votes.

Inman resigned as the head women’s basketball coach at Tennessee State University in March, citing personal reasons. Inman spent five seasons at the helm of the women’s basketball program after coaching Lebanon High School the previous two years.

Inman also coached at Mt. Juliet High School, where he led the Bearettes to their first state championship in 1977.

Inman began his collegiate coaching career at Middle Tennessee State University in 1978 before spending 20 years at Eastern Kentucky.

“Thank you for your willingness to serve and all you’ve done for Wilson County over the years – basketball coach at Lebanon High School and Mt. Juliet High School and all the years you spent in the classroom and the young people you’ve touched,” said board chairman Larry Tomlinson.

By Xavier Smith 

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Local woman details Vegas shooting

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Ginger and Brad Raines, of Mt. Juliet, smile Tuesday in Las Vegas. The couple was near the Mandalay Bay hotel Sunday and joined thousands of others in chaos following the shooting attack.

Mt. Juliet couple witnesses chaos that ensues following concert shooting

A Mt. Juliet woman recalled the moments before, during and after the Las Vegas shooting that killed more than 50 people Sunday night.

Intrigue Athletics owner Ginger Raines and her husband, Brad, traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate her birthday, and although they did not attend Sunday night’s concert, they felt the impact and saw the chaos created by the shooting near where they stayed.

At least 59 people were killed and more than 520 others injured after a gunman opened fire Sunday night at a country music festival opposite the Mandalay Bay hotel and resort on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said.

Police said the suspect, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nevada, was killed after a SWAT team burst into the hotel room from where he was firing at the crowd.

10:08 p.m.: Shooting starts

“We were in the lobby of the Planet Hollywood,” Raines said. “Brad and I were sitting at a card table, and a lady came up to our table and said there is an active shooter at the Mandalay Bay. We not quite sure we heard her just right, and seconds later, a mob of people came running into our lobby,” said Raines, who said she could hear the gunshots.

Raines said some people were injured, and most people believed there was a gunman, or multiple gunmen, chasing people on foot.

“I don’t know if it was the way the buildings are or just because of the way it’s a strip, but you couldn’t tell where the gunshots were coming from. It sounded like they were coming from everywhere. We could smell smoke. In a panic, we thought these people were running from a gunman or two on foot,” she said.

Raines said Planet Hollywood staff told people to take cover. She said Brad fully covered her on the floor.

“He just kept saying, ‘Stay down. Stay down. Pray.’ We thought the man was running through our lobby,” Raines said. “I remember looking up and seeing all the people laying on the ground terrified just like me. I was crying and just thinking about my kids.”

About 10:15-11:30 p.m.: Raines and others hide from possible gunmen

Raines said staff ushered everyone toward the basement a few moments after they took cover. She said a scream and plea from a woman caused everyone to reverse their paths, thinking the gunman was in the basement.

Raines said the couple took cover in a hallway with six other people for about an hour. She said the group received misinformation while they waited in the hallway.

About 11:30 p.m.: The group joins others

“[A staff member] brought us up to this big hallway, and it was full of people just like us. There was every ethnicity you could imagine from every place. There were children and elderly up here – everyone in the same panic that Brad and I were in,” Raines said.

She said majority of people believed the incident was an organized terrorist attack that involved people going into hotels and killing people.

About 12:30 a.m.: Raines notifies loved ones

Raines said the couple started to notify their loved ones in fear of them panicking when they woke up and saw the news since Las Vegas is two hours behind Tennessee. She said she was confident Brad’s mother would wake up and see the incident.

“I knew she would turn on a news channel and see this. I knew she would, so I sent messages to her, my sister, my best friend and some of my coworkers that said we were OK,” Raines said.

The couple also sent messages to their children, Aidan and Halle. On Twitter, Aidan called the message from his mother the “best text I’ve ever received.”

About 3 a.m.: Raines watches the situation for the first time

Raines said the couple made their way back to their room around 3 a.m. and watched television to get an update on the situation.

“It didn’t ease any worries or any fear of what people were doing,” said Raines, who said she was glad to know it wasn’t an organized group attack.

Monday: Thousands show compassion

“[Monday] was a beautiful day here. It was about 70 degrees, the sun was out and there was a stillness here that I’ve never seen in Vegas. It was very quiet, and everybody kind of just looked up at the sky and looking around,” said Raines, who said it was her fourth time to visit Las Vegas.

She said the couple decided to give blood and witnessed an outpouring of compassion from others.

“There were literally thousands of people there to give blood. Then, there were hundreds more people volunteering their time to hand out water or give sunscreen or umbrellas. There was music playing. There was so much compassion in these people here,” she said.

Aftermath and what sticks out

Raines said two things would always stick out to her when she thinks about the incident – her loved ones and the compassion of strangers.

“When you’re fearing for your life, which we were, it is a life-changing experience to think that you’re not going to live to see another day. With all the things that go through your mind about your babies and your loved ones, you just hope that what you’ve done up to that point that people know how you feel about them,” she said.

She described Paddock as a monster and said his actions don’t reflect the compassion she saw following the attack.

“Even though there was a monster here, there is a lot of love here. There is a lot of human kindness that I saw here – compassion for each other and a unified need for peace. I saw that in that hallway,” she said. “This man is a monster, and what he did was horrible. There will never be a good explanation for it, but there are also a lot of wonderful people here. He’s not the majority. He is a small piece compared to what I know everyone to be like.”

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

Mt. Juliet police to participate in National Coffee with a Cop Day

Mt. Juliet police will join other departments across the nation and have Coffee with a Cop on Oct. 4 as part of National Coffee with a Cop Day.

The event will be from 7-9 a.m. at El Rey Azteca Mexican Restaurant at 1319 N. Mt. Juliet Road. The restaurant will introduce churros, a traditional Spanish pastry, at the event.

The public is invited to attend. Police Chief James Hambrick, his leadership team and officers will have coffee in hand and ready to enjoy conversation. Coffee with a Cop is an opportunity for the public to meet with officers in a relaxed environment and talk about anything – from crime issues to neighborhood programs, public safety management to how to join the force.

The Coffee with a Cop program is a non-traditional way to generate conversation between the police department and community it serves. This event allows the public to interact with police officers, including Hambrick, in an informal setting to ask questions or address concerns with local law enforcement.

Staff Reports

Police find meth lab during domestic dispute call

Photo courtesy of Facebook
Mt. Juliet police officers discover a small, one-pot-style meth lab in a car on Whitnell Drive during a response to a domestic dispute call.

During a routine response to a domestic dispute last Wednesday, Mt. Juliet police officers found a small methamphetamine lab.

Mt. Juliet officers were called to the 200 block of Whitnell Drive in reference to a domestic-related argument at around 10:40 a.m.

While investigating, officers found an active, one-pot-style meth lab in a minivan parked in the driveway of the home at 226 Whitnell Drive.

Hazmat units were called in to decontaminate the scene and properly dispose of the potentially dangerous materials.

A 32-year-old man, who was involved in the domestic dispute, had burns on his leg, which he received prior to Wednesday’s incident. After he was decontaminated, he was taken to an area hospital for treatment. 

According to Mt. Juliet police Lt. Tyler Chandler, no arrests were made Thursday in connection with the meth lab, but charges remained pending.

Staff Reports

Citizen, officer team to catch car burglary suspect

An apparent car burglar was caught after a citizen kept watch on his location and reported it to Mt. Juliet police.

A citizen spotted the suspect getting in unlocked vehicles in the parking lot of Academy Sports on Pleasant Grove Road on Sunday at around 10:30 a.m.

The citizen kept an eye on the suspect and reported his location as the suspect checked for unlocked cars in the parking lot.

An officer patrolling the area arrested the suspect, Estifanos Kumssa, 18, of Antioch, in the parking lot.

Further investigation revealed Kumssa entered two unlocked vehicles in the store parking lot, and he stole a pair of sunglasses from one of those vehicles.

Officers also found marijuana and illegal drug paraphernalia inside Kumssa’s car.

Kumssa was charged with two counts of burglary, theft of property, simple possession of schedule VI drugs and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and booked in at the Wilson County Jail on $12,000 bond.

Staff Reports