‘Honoring Flag’ event to return Memorial Day weekend

The annual Honoring America’s Flag event will return to Mt. Juliet for Memorial Day weekend.

The event is a joint effort between the West Wilson Exchange Club and the Tyler Cates American Legion Post 281.

About 400 flags will be installed at the corner of North Mt. Juliet Road and Division Street, next to the train station. The purpose of the display, “standing amid the flags, we honor and reflect and salute those who have influenced our lives, serve, defend and sacrifice to preserve our nation and way of life,” according to the event website.

Flags will be sent out May 25 and displayed until May 28 when a closing ceremony will take place.

The public is invited to attend and participate in the opportunity to show their support and love for the flag. People can also buy and dedicate a flag in memory of or in honor of someone.

All funds raised from flag sales will be used to support charities in Mt. Juliet and Wilson County.

For more information or to purchase a flag, contact Nancy Britt at 615-289-7623 or Pat Unger at 615-210-6156.

Staff Reports

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.

May 17

Rock the Block

4 p.m.

Rock the Block, featuring food trucks, fashion and fun, will be Thursday, May 17 from 4-8 p.m. at the Lebanon Square. The event is sponsored by the Lebanon Square Merchants, city of Lebanon and Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce.

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, will meet Thursday, May 3 and each Thursday from 7-9:30 p.m. at Fairview Church at 1660 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. For more information, call ministry leader Tony Jones at 615-972-6151.

May 18

Live Music Nights

6:30 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet LifeWay Christian Store will hold its “Live Music Nights,” featuring the Fellowship Worship Band, on Friday, May 18 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the store at 401 S. Mt. Juliet Road, Suite 300. For more information, call 615-758-3707.

May 19

Lebanon Senior Citizens Center Yard Sale

7 a.m.

The Lebanon Senior Citizens Center will have an indoor yard sale Saturday, May 19 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the center at 670 Coles Ferry Pike in Lebanon. It will feature just about everything for sale. For more information, call 615-449-4600.

Wilson Central FFA Blue and Gold 5K Fun Run

7 a.m.

The Wilson Central FFA will hold its Blue and Gold 5K Fun Run on Saturday, May 19 with registration at 7 a.m. and the race starting at 8 a.m. at Wilson Central High School at 419 Wildcat Way in Lebanon. Registration is open at active.com. For more information, contact Bonnie Holman at 615-417-2253 or holmabon100@wilsonk12tn.us.

Historic Hustle

7:30 a.m.

The first Historic Hustle, a one-three-mile walk and run through Lebanon, will be Saturday, May 19 from 7:30-10 a.m. at the Lebanon Public Square. The $25 registration fee will include entry and an event T-shirt. Children 16 and younger are free. Participants are encouraged to bring their pets. To register, visit historiclebanon.com.

Antique Tractor, Truck and Gas Engine Show

8 a.m.

The Wilson County Antique Power Association will hold its 27th annual Antique Tractor, Truck and Gas Engine Show on Saturday, May 19 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. Gates will open at 8 a.m. The entrance to the show will be at the Fiddlers Grove entrance, about a quarter mile east of the main entrance. Signs will be placed at the entrance. The show will feature exhibits of antique tractors, gas engines, antique trucks, farm implements, corn meal grinding, blacksmithing and sawmilling. Several activities for all ages are scheduled throughout the day. Admission is free, however, donations will be appreciated. No fee will be charged for exhibitors. For more information on the show, contact Johnny and Debbie Mitchell at 615-444-6944 or Steve Koons at 615-449-5002. 

Cumberland Presbyterian Church Barbecue Fundraiser

10 a.m.

Lebanon Cumberland Presbyterian Church will hold its annual barbecue fundraiser Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the church at 522 Castle Heights Ave. at the intersection with Leeville Pike. Advance orders may be placed by calling Robert Powers at 615-804-1907 or the church at 615-444-7453. One-pound containers of barbecue will be available for $8 each or $40 for whole butts.

MOMS Club of Mt. Juliet-Lebanon Mother and Son Dance

6 p.m.

The sixth-annual MOMS Club of Mt. Juliet-Lebanon’s Mother and Son Dance will be Saturday, May 19 from 6-8 p.m. at the Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy. in Mt. Juliet to benefit Byars Dowdy Elementary School in Lebanon. The theme will be “a royal knight.” The cost is $20 per couple, $5 for each additional son and $10 for each additional mother or grandmother. For information on how to order tickets, visit facebook.com/mothersondanceofmtjulietlebanon. Tickets are also available in person at the Mt. Juliet Community Center.

May 20

Pentecost in the Park

1 p.m.

Faith Lutheran Church will feature Christian bluegrass music Sunday, May 20 from 1-3 p.m. at Don Fox Community Park in Lebanon. Musicians are invited to bring their instruments and to join in on the music and worship for “Pentecost in the Park.” Hot dogs will be provided. The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and a dish to share. A freewill offering will be taken for Lebanon’s Compassionate Hands, which provides food and shelter to homeless people during the winter in Wilson County. The Bluegrass Mass on May 20 is a worship celebration that is offered at Faith Lutheran Church on the fifth Sunday of the month throughout the year.

Grant Cemetery Decoration

2 p.m.

Decoration for Grant Cemetery will be Sunday, May 20 at 2 p.m. at the cemetery. Contributions to the cemetery fund may be mailed to Cheryl Henry at 2850 Ben Green Road, Lebanon, TN 37090.

Leeville Cemetery Memorial Service

2:30 p.m.

The 93rd annual memorial service for Leeville Cemetery will be Sunday, May 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Leeville United Methodist Church at 7019 Hickory Ridge Road in Lebanon. Anyone who would like to make donations toward the upkeep of the cemetery may send those in care of Thomas Carney to 705 West Hill Drive, Lebanon, TN 37087.

May 21

Wilson Bank & Trust Operations Center Ribbon Cutting

7:30 a.m.

The Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon cutting and business before hours Monday, May 21 at 7:30 a.m. at the new Wilson Bank & Trust Operations Center at 105 N. Castle Heights Ave. in Lebanon. Breakfast will be included.

Blood Drive

Noon

An American Red Cross blood drive will be Friday, May 21 from noon until 4 p.m. at the Wilson County Veterans Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center at 945 E. Baddour Pkwy. in Lebanon. To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross blood donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED CROSS. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

May 22

Watertown Middle School Eighth-Grade Recognition Night

6 p.m.

Watertown Middle School’s eighth-grade recognition night will be Tuesday, May 22 at 6 p.m. in the school auditorium. A reception will follow in the school café. All eighth-grade students will be recognized.

May 24

Honoring America’s Flag

8 a.m.

The West Wilson Exchange Club in Mt. Juliet and Tyler Cates American Legion Post 281 will hold the sixth-annual Honoring America’s Flag event during the Memorial Day weekend. Flags will be set out Thursday, May 24 and displayed from Friday, May 25 with a closing ceremony planned for Monday, May 28. The public is invited to attend and participate in the opportunity to show their support and love for the flag to buy and dedicate a flag in memory of​ or in honor of​ anyone. About 400 flags will be installed at the corner of North Mt. Juliet Road and Division Street, next to the train station. All funds raised from flag sales will be used to support charities in Mt. Juliet and Wilson County. To buy a flag or for more information, contact Nancy Britt at 615-289-7623 or Pat Unger at 615-210-6156.

Blood Drive

12:30 p.m.

An American Red Cross blood drive will be Thursday, May 24 from 12:30-6 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church at 214 Castle Heights Ave. in Lebanon. To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross blood donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED CROSS. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

May 26

Mt. Juliet Republican Women Headquarters Grand Opening

1 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet Republican Women will hold a grand opening for its new headquarters Saturday, May 26 from 1-4 p.m. next door to Courtney’s Restaurant at 4066 N. Mt. Juliet Road. Candidates running in the next election will be available to meet, and campaign signs and materials may be picked up during the event.

May 27

Jones Hill Cemetery Decoration Day

2:30 p.m.

Jones Hill Cemetery Decoration Day service will be held Sunday, May 27 at 2:30 p.m. at the cemetery. For more information, call Janet Griffith at 615-464-7237.

June 1

Circle Players’ production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

7:30 p.m.

Circle Players’ production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” will be Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, June 3 at 3 p.m., Thursday, June 7, Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, June 8 at 3 p.m., Thursday, June 14, Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 17 at 3 p.m. at the Z. Alexander Looby Theatre at 2301 Rosa Parks Blvd. in Nashville. Tickets are $20 for Friday-Sunday shows and $10 for Thursday shows plus $1.50 transaction-ticketing fee at circleplayers.net, 615-332-7529 or at the door, if available.

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.

May 17

Wilson County Recreation Committee meeting

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Recreation Committee will meet Thursday, May 17 at 5 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

May 18

Wilson County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting

9 a.m.

The Wilson County Board of Zoning Appeals will meet Friday, May 18 at 9 a.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Planning Commission public hearing

11 a.m.

The Wilson County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Friday, May 18 at 11 a.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse at 228 E. Main St. in Lebanon.

Wilson County Planning Commission meeting

Noon

The Wilson County Planning Commission will meet Friday, May 18 at

noon in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

May 21

Wilson County Commission meeting

7 p.m.

The WIlson County Commission will meet Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

May 22

Wilson County Ag Extension Committee meeting

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Ag Extension Committee will meet Tuesday, May 22 at 5 p.m. at the Extension office .

May 23

Wilson County Board of Education special-called meeting

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Board of Education will meet in a special-called meeting Wednesday, May 23 at 5 p.m. at the central office at 415 Harding Drive in Lebanon.

– Staff Reports

Rainey named new principal at Mt. Juliet High School

Leigh Ann Rainey

Mt. Juliet Middle School principal Leigh Anne Rainey was tapped to replace longtime Mt. Juliet High School principal Mel Brown when he retires at the end of the school year. 

Rainey came to Wilson County Schools in January 2017, when Tim Bell retired as principal at Mt. Juliet Middle School at the beginning of winter break in December 2016. 

“While Leigh Anne has done a tremendous job over the past year and a half, leading one of the state’s largest middle school, she has always expressed a strong desire to work with high school students, and she has a proven track record working with students at this level,” said Wilson County Schools spokesperson Jennifer Johnson. 

Prior to joining Wilson County Schools, Rainey spent the previous four years as executive principal for Jonesboro High School in Arkansas.

Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright said while it’s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved principal like Mel Brown, she’s pleased to have someone who with the experience and knowledge of our community to continue building on the strong foundation that’s already been laid at Mt. Juliet High School.

“Leigh Ann has developed such a strong rapport with our students and parents, even in the short time she’s been in our district,” Wright said. “I have no doubt that it will serve her well as she transitions to the high school. We’re truly blessed to have someone who already lives in our community and with the skills and experience to help make this a seamless transition.”

From 1997-2009, Rainey taught several subjects, including AP biology and environmental science. In 2009, Rainey was chosen to be the school intervention and response to intervention specialist for Jonesboro High School in Arkansas, where she was later promoted to assistant principal and executive principal.

Rainey is no stranger to Middle Tennessee. She graduated from Franklin High School in Williamson County, where many of her relatives still live.

Brown is set to retire June 30. His 45-year career features numerous roles, resulting in several personal and school awards and recognition.

Brown started his education career at Two Rivers High School in 1966. In 1972, he moved to McGavock High School, where he also served as assistant football coach and head baseball coach, after several Metro Nashville schools closed.

As head baseball coach, he amassed 582 wins, three Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association state championships, three TSSAA state runner-ups, seven “coach of the year” honors and averaged 29 wins per season. The McGavock High School baseball field is named “Mel Brown Field” in his honor.

He was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 1999. He is also a member of the Clay County High School, Lipscomb and Tennessee baseball halls of fame.

Brown served as assistant principal at Hillsboro High School from 1992-96 and Lebanon High School during the 2003-2004 school year before he was appointed principal at Mt. Juliet High School.

Brown is regarded as one of the state’s best high school principals. During his tenure, Mt. Juliet High School received state recognition and championships in athletics and the fine arts.

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education named Mt. Juliet the No. 1 academic school in the state. Brown followed up the recognition with several Reward School recognitions by the Tennessee Department of Education, as well as a “principal of the year” award by the Tennessee Association of Secondary School Principals.

Bell joined Wilson County Schools in 1987, when he taught health and physical education at Mt. Juliet Middle School.

He served as assistant principal, varsity baseball and varsity basketball coach at Mt. Juliet High School. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Staff Reports

Wilson County law enforcement holds annual memorial service

Mt. Juliet and Lebanon police officers and Wilson County sheriff’s deputies came together Thursday to honor fallen law enforcement officers throughout Wilson County’s history.

The ceremony kicked off National Police Week, which will culminate Tuesday with the National Police Week Memorial Service in Washington, D.C.

The ceremony, held in Judge Barry Tatum’s courtroom, also included a presentation to the family of fallen Lebanon police Officer Joe Bowen, who died in March when he drove into a creek on the way home from work.

State Sen. Mark Pody, State Rep. Clark Boyd and State Sen. Susan Lynn presented Bowen’s family with a proclamation that honored their fallen family member.

“We just wanted to let you know how sorry you are,” said Lynn. “In the General Assembly, we always pause and we pray for our first responders. I’m left speechless, because I come from a family that suffered the loss of a police officer, and I know the pain you’re going through. It doesn’t make sense, but God has a plan, and it doesn’t feel like that at all, but God does have a plan.”

Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick, Lebanon police Chief Mike Justice and Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan read the names of officers who died in the line of duty in Wilson County.

• Mt. Juliet police Sgt. Jerry Mundy died July 9, 2003.

• Wilson County sheriff’s Deputy John Musice died July 9, 2003.

• Wilson County sheriff’s Sgt. Wiley Williams died Jan. 25, 1974.

• Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Oscar Morris died May 9, 1956.

• Wilson County Constable Ben Northern died Sept. 4, 1932.

• Wilson County Sheriff Harold Griffin died April 6, 1954.

• Wilson County sheriff’s Deputy John Oakley died Jan. 3, 1923.

• Wilson County constable’s deputy Millard Brown died Sept. 4, 1932.

• Lebanon police Chief Robert Nolen died March 16, 2016.

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

School resource officers honor retiring Mt. Juliet High School principal

Deputies surprise Mel Brown with ceremony

Xavier Smith •  Mt. Juliet News
Retiring Mt. Juliet High School principal Mel Brown shares a laugh last Wednesday with Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan and current and former school resource officers. The group honored Brown for his cooperation and support of the school resource officer program.

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office joined the list of groups, which have honored retiring Mt. Juliet High School principal Mel Brown last Wednesday with a small ceremony at the school.

Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, Lt. Scott Moore, head of the school resource officer program, and current and former school resource officers honored Brown with a plaque, pin and words of gratitude for his cooperation with and support of the school resource officer program.

“We just wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done for Wilson County and the whole school system in your career in education and the support you’ve shown our SRO division over the years,” Bryan said. “We just wanted to thank you for that.”

“I appreciate everything you’ve done. You’ve got the biggest school in the county, and it’s ran top notch, and I appreciate your service to the school system and for supporting us,” Moore said.

“You’ve got to work together,” Brown said. “You’ve always come to us any time we’ve needed anything, and for that, thank you very much.”

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

State to investigate Beavers’ campaign

Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance to look into complaint

Mae Beavers

The Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance will audit Wilson County mayoral candidate Mae Beavers’ campaign funds after a complaint was filed against the former state senator and one-time gubernatorial hopeful.

Wilson County Election Commission member Ann Calabria, former president of the Mt. Juliet Republican Women, filed the complaint last month.

“I believe Mae Beavers violated campaign finance laws by transferring $122,000 from her gubernatorial account to a newly created PAC, Patriot PAC, and then accepting money from Patriot PAC, $7,800, into her county mayor account,” Calabria said in her sworn complaint.

The questions surround Beavers’ latest financial disclosures, which show a movement of funds between several accounts associated with the former gubernatorial and current Wilson County mayoral candidate. The funds could indicate an attempt to circumvent rules relative to campaign funding, which, if found true, would be illegal.

Drew Rawlins, Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance executive director, said the group would investigate the movement of funds, and the length of the investigation would be determined by how fast the bureau could recover needed information. Rawlins said he would hope to have the investigation completed in about a month.

Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, withdrew from this year’s gubernatorial race earlier this year after she resigned from the state Senate in August to focus on her campaign for governor. She announced her intentions to run for the Wilson County mayor’s seat in March and will face incumbent Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto in the Aug. 2 election.

She donated $122,000 from her gubernatorial campaign to the Patriot PAC on March 30. The donation came one day after the creation of the PAC, which is chaired by Beavers’ husband, Jerry, and John Brown.

Beavers’ donation was also the only donation the PAC received.

Two of the three expenditures reported by the Patriot PAC were related to Beavers, including a $7,800 donation to “Mae Beavers for Mayor.”

The shifting of funds could indicate an attempt to direct funds she received as a gubernatorial candidate to support her mayoral race through the PAC as a conduit, which would be illegal.

According to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance rules, there are several factors the office takes into consideration when determining if a conduit was used to circumvent campaign contribution laws, including the number of sources and donors, the length of time the PAC was active, the timing of the relationship between contributions received, the expenditures made and more.

State law allows state candidates to transfer any excess campaign funds to any future state or local campaign that the candidate establishes, which means Beavers could use campaign funds received during her gubernatorial campaign after the August primary and Wilson County General Election. She would not be allowed to use the funds prior.

“I believe the facts above show Mae Beavers violated [state law] by creating an illegal conduit from her gubernatorial campaign to her county mayor campaign,” Calabria said in her complaint. “Not only is this conduit illegal in and of itself, it is an attempt to further skirt campaign laws by attempting to access funds not eligible for direct transfer.”

Calls to Beavers for comment were not immediately returned.

School board OKs teacher pay raise

The Wilson County Board of Education approved a major pay increase for Wilson County teachers during Monday’s meeting.

The group approved a 12.5-percent salary increase for teachers, but the Wilson County Commission will have the final nod on the increases.

“When you look at where teacher average pay is, we’re nearly [$4,000], almost $5,000 below the state average. To get us at or above the state average, I would like to make a recommendation to increase teacher pay by 12.5 percent,” board member Tom Sottek said. “To clarify, I know that sounds like a lot, but the reality is that our per-pupil expenditure for our county, when you take our total budget and divide it by 18,000 students, is $8,380. We would only be increasing our per-pupil expenditure by $500 per student.”

Sottek said the increase would still place the district about $1,200 behind the state’s per-pupil average expenditure, as well as average expenditures in Sumner, Robertson and Williamson counties.

“We’re not asking for the moon here. We’re asking for $500 per student,” Sottek said.

The increase will be the district’s top priority on its needs assessment list it plans to present to the Wilson County Commission. Sottek said he hopes the commission will research and give options on how to fund the increase. The Wilson County Board of Education does not have the ability to implement or raise taxes.

“I think [teachers] deserve a 12.5-percent increase, but we got to do it in some fashion,” said board member Wayne McNeese. “To me, this right here, for a lack of a better term, doing it today, is…political grandstanding, because it’s nothing that our commissioners are going to vote on until September.”

Sottek said he has spoken with teachers for the last six months about a potential pay increase.

All 25 county commission seats are included in the Aug. 2 Wilson County general election.

“I want to do what’s right for the teachers. Put it before the county commission. If we do it today – and I’ll vote for it – we’re putting the county commissioners in a spot where I don’t know how they get around it. It’s political suicide not to vote for it, because it’s for the teachers,” McNeese said.

Board OKs state testing resolutions

The Wilson County Board of Education approved a pair of resolutions aimed at state testing Monday after issues plagued the assessment this year.

Problems with online portions of the Tennessee Ready state assessment happened last month, which caused Wilson County Schools to suspend online testing throughout the week.

The board approved a resolution that would allow teachers to elect to use the 2016-2017 Tennessee Ready data for their performance level.

“For the 2019-2020 school year, teachers can elect to use the 2016-2017 data, or if the 2017-2018 data come in higher, they may elect to use that,” said Wilson Director of Schools Donna Wright.

Wright said teachers without 2016-2017 Tennessee Ready data could elect to use their observation scores.

The district will also seek legal counsel in efforts to pursue a private act to be exempt from Tennessee Ready assessments in the future.

“We will propose another assessment, such as the ACT Aspire or another comparable assessment, that will provide reliable diagnostic data for grades 3-11, and will be reasonable in testing time and the number of testing areas,” said Wright, who said the district would aim to submit the private act before the 2019 legislative session.

Wright said the district could face a financial penalty of $3 million if it simply opted out of state testing, but an alternative assessment could allow quicker returns on results and be more reliable.

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.

May 10

Free Arts Build Communities Grant Application Workshop

10 a.m.

The Greater Nashville Regional Council will hold a free Arts Build Communities grant application workshop Thursday, May 10 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Wilson County Expo Center in Lebanon. The purpose of the workshop is to assist applicants in writing the Arts Build Communities grant applications. Awards range from $500-$2,500, and the applications are due June 30. For more information, contact Rasheedah Pardue at 615-862, 8855, ext. 1018 or rpardue@gnrc.org.

Keith Edmonds Foundation Volunteer Open House

5 p.m.

The Keith Edmonds Foundation seeks volunteers to join in its mission to assist and empower victims of child abuse and to transition them from victim to survivor to thriver. The foundation will hold a volunteer open house Thursday, May 10 from 5-8 p.m. at the foundation office at 155 Legends Drive, Suite N, in Lebanon for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with the organization. No experience is necessary to volunteer. Volunteers must be 18 years old, and a background check will be required. For more information, call 615-651-0714 or email hello@keithedmondsfoundation.org.

Healing and Horses Fundraiser Dinner

5 p.m.

The annual Healing and Horses fundraiser dinner to benefit Lantern Lane Farm will be Thursday, May 10 with social hour at 5 p.m. and the dinner and program at 6 p.m. at Tuckers Gap Event Center at 2900 Callis Road in Lebanon. Dinner tickets are $100, and table sponsors are available for $1,000. To RSVP or for more information, call 615-973-5454 or visit lanternlanefarm.org.

Lebanon High School Choir Spring Concert

6:30 p.m.

The Lebanon High School choir will hold its spring concert Thursday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, will meet Thursday, May 10 and each Thursday from 7-9:30 p.m. at Fairview Church at 1660 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. For more information, call ministry leader Tony Jones at 615-972-6151.

May 11

Lebanon High School Jazz Band and Percussion Ensemble Spring Concert

6:30 p.m.

The Lebanon High School jazz band and percussion ensemble will hold their spring concert Friday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the school auditorium.

May 12

Mt. Juliet Farmers Market

7 a.m.

Mt. Juliet Farmers Market will officially open for the season Saturday, May 12 from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Charlie Daniels Park in Mt. Juliet. It will also be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. throughout the summer.

Boy Scout Troop 1204 Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast

7 a.m.

Boy Scout Troop 1204 will hold its ninth-annual Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, May 12 from 7-11 a.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Community at 14544 Lebanon Road in Old Hickory. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for 5-10 year olds, and children 4 and younger may eat for free. Proceeds will assist to defray the cost of summer camp for the scouts.

Think Green, Think Clean Challenge

8 a.m.

The annual Think Green, Think Clean Challenge will be May 12, beginning at 8 a.m., at participating schools across Wilson County. A celebration will be from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. in Building F at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon and will feature free pizza, ice cream and bottled water, games, face painting, door prizes and the announcement of the winning schools that collect the most litter from the morning.

Single Mom Car Care Clinic

8 a.m.

Any single mother in need of car care may attend the free Single Mom Car Care Clinic on Saturday, May 12 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Mt. Juliet Church of Christ. It will feature cars washed, cleaned, oil changes, filter changes and more.

Dream Riders Benefit Motorcycle Ride

9:45 a.m.

The second-annual Dream Riders Benefit Motorcycle Ride will be Saturday, May 12 with prayer and pledge at 9:45 a.m. and kickstands up at 10 a.m. at Blue Moon Barbecue at 711 Park Ave. in Lebanon. The cost is $20 per driver and $5 per rider, and all proceeds will benefit Empower Me. Online registration is available at empowermecenter.com. For more information, contact Beth Goolesby at 615-202-5388 or bethgoolesby@empowermecenter.com.

Bark in the Park

11 a.m.

The 18th-annual Bark in the Park to benefit New Leash on Life will be Saturday, May 12 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center at 945 E. Baddour Pkwy. in Lebanon. Admission is free, and the event will feature games, giveaways, agility and lure courses and more. For more information, email director@newleashonline.com or call 615-418-7003.

Team Cagle Event

Noon

Team Cagle will hold a fundraising event Saturday, May 12 from noon until 4 p.m. in Fiddlers Grove at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. It will feature games, an auction, shooting competition and live performances. The event is for SWAT Team and Deputy Justin Cagle, who suffers from cancer. For more information, email teamjustincagle@gmail.com.

Stones River Chapter of Gold Star Wives meeting

1 p.m.

The Stones River Chapter of Gold Star Wives will meet Saturday, May 12 at 1 p.m. at the Alvin C. York Veterans Affairs Hospital at 3400 Lebanon Pike in Murfreesboro.  Gold Star Wives is a national nonprofit service organization. Anyone who lives in Nashville and the surrounding areas whose spouse died while serving on active duty, or of a service-connected cause, is welcome to attend. More information can be received by contacting stonesrivergsw@gmail.com.

Judy Nix Memorial Golf Tournament

1:30 p.m.

The Judy Nix Memorial Golf Tournament will be Saturday, May 12 at 1:30 p.m. at the Pine Creek Golf Club in Mt. Juliet. All proceeds with benefit Alive Hospice. There will be several prizes to be won, a silent auction, barbecue lunch. The cost is $75 per player or $300 per team, and sponsorship opportunities are available. Call or text David at 615-483-7800 or visit pinecreekgolf.net for more information.

Watertown High School Hall of Fame Banquet

6 p.m.

Watertown High School will induct its second class of honorees Saturday, May 12 at 6 p.m. into the Watertown High School Hall of Fame. The inductees will be Debbie Loftis, Bill Robinson and John Donnell Johnson. Tickets are $20 per person and will go on sale Monday, April 2 in the main office at Watertown High School.

May 14

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville Golf Classic

11 a.m.

The 14th annual Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville Golf Classic will be Monday, May 14 at the Golf Club of Tennessee. Tee time will be at 1 p.m. with registration opening at 11 a.m. It will feature lunch, a round of golf and dinner with an awards program to follow, all in support of Habitat of Greater Nashville’s affordable homeownership program. To reserve a spot or for more information, contact Lauren Lane Payne at llanepayne@habitatnashville.org.

Mt. Juliet Republican Women meeting

6 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet Republican Women will meet Monday, May 14 at 6 p.m. at Courtney’s Restaurant at 4066 N. Mt. Juliet Road in Mt. Juliet. The meeting will feature Sixth District U.S. House candidates Bob Corlew, Judd Matheny and John Rose, who will be available for questions.

May 15

Friendship Cemetery Annual Meeting

2 p.m.

Friendship Cemetery will have its annual meeting Tuesday, May 15 at 2 p.m. at the cemetery on Friends Hollow Road off Highway 151 in Hartsville. Donations will be accepted to maintain the cemetery, which was established in 1855. Donations may also be sent to Friendship Cemetery Fund, in care of Mary Lou Thompson, 608 Indian Ridge Circle, White House, TN 37188.

May 16

Mt. Juliet Chamber Connection Luncheon

11:15 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce will hold its chamber connection luncheon Wednesday, May 16 from 11:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at Rutland Place in Mt. Juliet. The guest speaker will be Daryl Farler with Amputee Blade Runners. Online registration is required at mjchamber.com.

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.

May 10

Wilson County Law Enforcement Committee meeting

4:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Law Enforcement Committee will meet Thursday, May 10 at 4:30 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Animal Control Committee meeting

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Animal Control Committee will meet Thursday, May 10 at 5 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Education Committee meeting

5:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Education Committee will meet Thursday, May 10 at 5:30 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Lebanon City Council work session

6 p.m.

The Lebanon City Council will meet in a work session Thursday, May 10 at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

Wilson County Minutes Committee meeting

6:45 p.m.

The Wilson County Minutes Committee will meet Thursday, May 10 at 6:45 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

– Staff Reports

Free hearing screenings upcoming at Charis Health Center

Free hearing screenings will be available May 17 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Charis Health Center clinic at 2620 N. Mt Juliet Road.

The screenings, free hearing protection and referral services will be offered through Songs for Sound and its mobile hearing health unit. Appointments are not required, and the free screening is available to anyone regardless of health insurance status.

“We’re excited to partner with Songs for Sound to bring free hearing screenings to Wilson County,” said Lea Rowe, Charis Health Center executive director. “Our mission is to serve the healthcare needs of the underserved in our community, and this event is a great opportunity to expand upon the primary healthcare services we offer at Charis. We’re #BringingTheMissionHome.

“Hearing loss is an important and treatable health issue. Songs for Sound is a wonderful organization that both aids in identifying hearing loss and helps patients navigate the services and resources available for treatment.”

Some facts about hearing loss include:

• hearing loss is the third most prevalent health issue in older adults after arthritis and heart disease.

• hearing loss can contribute to cognitive decline; studies show 30-40 percent increased decline in five years compared to their normal hearing peers.

• hearing aids and cochlear implants can restore sound for healthy hearing and increased cognitive function.

Songs for Sound is a Nashville-based nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people with hearing loss. Its Hear the Music Project is a charity mission and mobile health exhibit designed to not only provide free hearing screenings, but also help every person navigate hearing health care.

Its mobile hearing health clinic will be at Charis Health Center on May 17. Visitors complete a self-administered hearing screening using a touchscreen kiosk. If the screening indicates they have hearing loss, they receive information both electronically and in printed form. Checklists and clinic finders are provided, and guests can even demonstrate hearing technologies – all a part of the Hear the Music Project and experience. Industry leaders Cochlear Americas and Phonak sponsor the project with partners such as Otohub offering advanced screening technology.

Songs for Sound has helped people with hearing loss access sound since 2010. Jaime Vernon founded the charity after her daughter, Lexi, was born deaf and received the life-changing ability to hear through cochlear implants at 19 months old.

“After years of raising awareness and helping families navigate what can be a frustrating and cost-prohibitive system, we realized we need to do more to reach the people who need our help the most,” said Vernon. “We created the Hear the Music Project to target populations throughout the nation where hearing loss is common and often goes undetected – among veterans, senior citizens and children living near the poverty line.”

The Hear the Music Project has an overall referral rate of 48 percent, meaning hearing loss is detected in nearly five in 10 people screened. This includes 85 percent of veterans, 59 percent of senior citizens and 38 percent of underserved children. The individuals are counseled on site and referred to a local audiologist. Songs for Sound follows up with each referral with a checklist of next steps and how to navigate hearing health care.

To learn more about the Songs for Sound organization, visit songsforsound.com. For more information about Charis Health center, visit charishealthcenter.org.

Staff Reports

Creativity, skill pay off for Wilson Central students at national culinary competition

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Wilson Central High School’s culinary team finished third in the nation at the 17th annual ProStart Invitational, presented by the National Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation, recently in Providence, Rhode Island. The team, Courtney Hyder, Ebony Leavell, Ciara Hite and Tyler Lewis, also received nearly $100,000 collectively in offered scholarships.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – After months of practice and a win at the statewide competition, the Wilson Central High School culinary team finished third in the nation at the 17th annual ProStart Invitational, presented by the National Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation.

The four-person team, all juniors, beat out stiff competition from leading hospitality programs around the country to take third-place honors in the management category. They came home with nearly $100,000 in scholarship offers that will set their educational and career paths for the future.

“This is a big win for Tennessee, as our peers in other states have built equally impressive programs that allow students to begin preparing for careers in hospitality with hands-on experience through their high school years,” said Greg Adkins, CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association. “They learn the technical skills, as well as what it’s like to perform under pressure, and this team is very talented.”

Led by instructors Nicole Roning and Jeremy Jernigan, the team included Courtney Hyder, Ebony Leavell, Ciara Hite and Tyler Lewis. Their concept, “Wings in Motion,” featured chicken wings prepared sous vide and presented in several custom sauces. The students created a business concept and marketing plan, including a full investor proposal, presentation and series of seven-minute rounds where the team was tested on their industry knowledge.

TnHTA education director Austin Schneider said the focus on education and scholarships help create the workforce pipeline for the state. 

“We want these students to understand both the culinary side and the management side of the industry, and these programs and competitions deliver that experience,” said Schneider. “They are now being pursued by the top culinary institutes and have numerous scholarship offers. Our objective through our partnership with the National Restaurant Association’s ProStart program in Tennessee, and through the TnHTA’s Foundation, is to provide the opportunities to these talented students to develop rewarding careers.”

Collectively, the team earned nearly $100,000 in offered scholarships thus far, as they look toward their senior years next year. Past National ProStart Invitational winners have gone on to establish careers at some of the best restaurants in the world, including Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York and Alinea in Chicago.

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts.

The NRAEF and its programs work to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include ProStart – a high-school career and technical education program; restaurant ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; scholarships – financial assistance for students who pursue restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the hospitality sector registered apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association that provides a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry.

For more information, visit chooserestaurants.org/prostart. To learn more about the work of the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association to advance one of the state’s leading industries, visit tnhta.net.

Staff Reports

Wilson County mayor signs Mental Health Awareness Month proclamations

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto signs a proclamation that declares Mental Health Awareness Month in Wilson County with Will Voss and Marissa Pollard with Tennessee Voices for Children.

For nearly 70 years, May is annually recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month to help make the public better aware of the many issues associated with mental illness. 

Recently, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto met with Nathan Miller, director of Cumberland Mental Health Center, an agency of Volunteer Behavioral Health, to discuss the importance of mental health needs and sign a proclamation that declared May as Mental Health Awareness Month in Wilson County.

“While a few may believe challenges with mental illness do not or will not affect them, they may be surprised to learn, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in every five adults in the U.S. must deal with a mental illness condition during their lifetime,” Miller said. “This means essentially 20 percent of the adults living in this local community will have some bout with mental illness during their lifetime.”

One main goal of May proclaimed as Mental Health Awareness Month, according to Hutto, is to make the public aware there are professionals available and accessible to come to the aid of those dealing with mental health issues.

Miller said at Cumberland Mental Health Center and at any of the other centers under the supervision of Volunteer Behavioral Health, a nonprofit organization with mental health centers in 31 Tennessee counties, there are professionals standing by to help individuals and families deal with mental health issues.

“Those suffering from issues associated with mental illness can be found in the workplace, among personal friendships, with immediate and distant family members and virtually in all circles of life where we are in contact with others,” said Miller.

Mental illness is a term that may be applied to a broad and diverse list of concerns, including depression, bipolar disorders, behavioral issues, suicide, addiction and others.

Miller said it is important to know and understand mental illness issues can be treated and help is as near as a local mental health center.

Matters related to mental illness for which Tennesseans should be aware include the fact that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide; addiction and substance abuse are considered mental health issues; 50 percent of all lifetime mental illness cases begin at 14 years old; and 60 percent of adults and 50 percent of youth 8-15 years old who suffer with mental illness did not receive treatment during the past year.

While much attention continues to be focused on suicide prevention in Tennessee, records produced by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network show each day in Tennessee an average of three people die by suicide.

As recently as 2016, suicide was still the second-leading cause of death in the state for young people 10-19 years old with one person lost to suicide in the age group each week.

For more information about services and treatments available for those who are dealing with mental health issues including addiction and substance abuse, visit vbhcs.org or call 877-567-6051.

Additionally, Wilson County will join more than 1,100 communities across the country May 10 to celebrate the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day to highlight the importance of children’s mental health. This year, the national focus of Awareness Day is partnering for health and hope, following trauma.

Wilson County promotes access to the services and supports children, youth and young adults with mental or substance use disorders in the Middle Tennessee area to meet their goals at home, at school and in the community.

To celebrate Awareness Day locally, Hutto held a proclamation signing involving Tennessee Voices for Children, the TN Healthy Transitions Initiative and the System of Care Across Tennessee Initiative. Wilson County government will “shed light” on Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 10 by lighting up the Wilson County Courthouse in green lights. The building will be illuminated throughout the night in honor of those who battle mental health disorders.

Staff Reports

Disturbing Facebook Live video leads to suspect charged

Lonie Baggatta

A suspect is in jail after Mt. Juliet police were made aware of a disturbing Facebook Live video early Saturday morning that broadcast a man who was threatened with a handgun in real time.

Officers launched an investigation at about 2 a.m. and searched for the victim threatened in the video. The investigation led to a home in the 1400 block of Brighton Circle, which was identified as the location of the live broadcast.

Unaware of the armed man’s intention, Mt. Juliet’s special response and crisis negotiation teams responded to the home to resolve the incident. Through their work, the suspect, victim and a woman willingly exited the home.

The suspect, a convicted felon, was identified as Lonnie Baggatta, 34, of Old Hickory. Further investigation also led to the discovery of marijuana and handgun used in the video.

During the incident, four homes were evacuated as a precaution while the special response team operated in the area. The neighbors were housed briefly in the neighborhood clubhouse. Mt. Juliet firefighters and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency first responders provided stand-by assistance.

Baggatta was charged with aggravated assault, convicted felon in possession of a handgun and simple possession of marijuana. He was booked in at the Wilson County Jail on $10,500 bond and remained Saturday evening.

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet officer saves child

Officer breaks window of hot car to get 2 year old out

Mariam Banoub

A Mt. Juliet police officer broke open a car window to save a 2-year-old child who was reportedly locked in a sport utility vehicle Monday at about 2:42 p.m. at Walgreen’s on Crossings Lane.

According to Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler, the officer arrived after he received a call to find the 2-year-old child screaming crying and sweating to the point his hair was soaked. The vehicle was not running. The officer broke one of the car’s windows to get the child out.

Medics said the child was OK, and the mother, Mariam Banoub, 30, of Mt. Juliet, was found inside the store with a 4-year-old child. Information from the scene led officers to believe the younger child was intentionally left unattended for about 25 minutes.

After resisting officers, Banoub was arrested and charged with leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle, child neglect and resisting arrest and booked at Wilson County Jail.

“We are so thankful a watchful citizen saw the child and knew to immediately report it,” said Chandler. “Whether the car is running or not, it’s a dangerous situation for any young child, especially on a hot day. It is also against the law.”

The children were released to their father.

Staff Reports

Board balks at Learning Center changes

District initially recommends to increase rates $60 per week per child for teachers

The Wilson County Board of Education did not make any changes to the Learning Center rates Monday, as it opted to hash out issues regarding a potential increase during a future special called meeting.

Board members reached an impasse on the district’s recommendation to increase the Learning Center rates $60 per week per child starting July 1. The proposed weekly rate for children up to 36 months would be $195, and $185 for children 37-60 months. The sibling discount would be $20.

Watertown Middle School teacher Carrie Thompson, who was named a Wilson County Teacher of the Year at her school this year, addressed the board prior to the group’s discussion on the potential increase.

“For years, I have taken time away from my own family to prepare lessons, put finishing touches on my classroom, stay later and come earlier for extra incentives or motivate students, and constantly take from my family financially to fund activities and expenses in my classroom. We all do,” said Thompson, who said teachers felt unappreciated when they learned about the potential increase.

“This rate increase will cause some teachers to allocate upwards of 50 percent of their salaries to daycare. I have personally spent higher prices for daycare over the years, but childcare was actually a benefit that brought me to Wilson County.”

Thompson said she took a $9,000 pay cut to come to Wilson County and convinced her husband the move would work because of the savings on childcare services. 

The board passed on the district’s recommendation, as well as board member Wayne McNeese’s motion to use this year’s growth money to cover the about $600,000 shortage for the program for a year.

“We’ve got to do something other than tack it on the back of our teachers. We’ve got to cut expenses. We’ve got to really analyze how to cut the expenses out of there. There’s got to be a way,” McNeese said.

Board attorney Mike Jennings said he could not answer the question of legality in taking BEP growth money and using it for the program as he cited state law.

“No Tennessee foundation program school funds or any required local matching funds shall be used in connection with the operation of these programs,” Jennings said.

He said the issue surrounds the definition of “required.”

Board member Gwynne Queener’s motion to increase rates $30 per week per child also failed due to a lack of a second.

Wilson County Deputy Director of Schools Mickey Hall said the district could handle the $30 per week increase Queener suggested, but only if Learning Center locations were closed at Carroll Oakland, W.A. Wright, Mt. Juliet and Lakeview elementary schools.

Hall said students at those locations would still be able to access one of the other Learning Center locations, and some of the 14 staff members at those locations would be eligible to work in the district’s Kids Club.

Board member Tom Sottek questioned the possibility of making all Learning Center staff part time, which he estimated would still leave about a $250,000 shortfall for the program.

Anne Barger, supervisor of early childhood and family resources, said she believed the change is not feasible for several reasons.

“Right now, we are already short – in Kids Club especially – trying to find part-time workers. Our starting pay for a part-time worker is $9.50 an hour. If you look around Wilson County, you see help wanted signs. We are competing,” Barger said.

Wilson County‘s unemployment rate of 2.7 percent in March was the fourth lowest in the state behind Williamson, Davidson and Rutherford counties, respectively.

“I think we all agree nobody wants to see this program go away, but like Wayne says, we’ve got to, if there’s one out there, find a solution. We cannot continue to lose the kind of money that we’re losing every year to sustain the program,” said board chairman Larry Tomlinson.

The special called meeting will likely take place prior to next month’s board meeting.

The school board approved a $20 weekly rate increase for its Learning Center last year and voted to keep two locations open until the end of the current school year.
The board voted last May to increase fees for the Learning Center, a childcare program for children of Wilson County teachers until the children reach school age, during a three-year period after school leaders indicated the Kids Club program has subsidized the program in the past few years.

Hall discussed the program during the May 2017 meeting and said the program was introduced as a recruitment and retention tool for educators.

“Back then, we didn’t have the software in place that we could tell them that or not,” Hall said last May. “Now we have the evidence to show the Kids Club is breaking even. TLCs are not.”

Hall continued his discussion on the Learning Center finances last week, noting the potential $60 increase could not eliminate issues with the program.

“We do not have one site breaking even in this program. All the sites are losing money. The board of education does not put any money into this program. That’s a misnomer,” he said.

Hall answered questions that were raised about the program, including the possibility of hiring part-time workers instead of full-time workers, which would eliminate the need to provide insurance and retirement benefits.

He said he felt the switch would not work based on the number of people the district would need to hire, along with the lack of benefits for them.

Board member Bill Robinson said last week he’s met with several teachers, including former Wilson County Teacher of the Year winners, who voiced concern about the potential increase and its impact on teachers. Robinson pointed to the district’s persistence in building a new central office during his comments, noting the district had to find additional funds to complete the project.

“We found a way to get this done, now I think we can find a way somehow. I’m not asking for a tax increase. If we found that $4.5 million, we can find $675,000, and I’m not asking the taxpayers,” he said at the time.

Sottek pointed to teacher pay as a source of the problem, noting teachers would still be faced with detrimental daycare costs if the Learning Center closed and they were forced to use private entities.

The group grappled during the meeting a year ago about the appropriate way to cover the needed funds, estimated at $350,000, which included taking the money from the district’s general purpose fund, raising the fees in one year or eliminating the program, which no board member indicated was a viable option.

Hall said the district raised the program’s rate in 2014 when the board approved a $9.50 an hour starting pay for all school system employees. He said, at the same time, several parents of Kids Club children, the after-school program for school-aged children, said they believed they were supplementing the Learning Center.

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.

May 3

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Volunteer Auxiliary Sisters at Heart Boutique

7 a.m.

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Volunteer Auxiliary will hold its Sisters at Heart Boutique on Thursday, May 3 from 7a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Friday, May 4 from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. in the hospital’s outpatient conference room. It will feature a selection of ladies’ clothing and accessories, featuring the latest spring and summer fashions.

Wilson County Retired Teachers Association meeting

10 a.m.

The Wilson County Retired Teachers Association will meet Thursday, May 3 at 10 a.m. at First Church of the Nazarene in Lebanon. The meeting will include end-of-year activities, along with several guests participating in the program. Anyone who plans to bring a guest should make sure they are counted. The social and hospitality committee will provide a lunch after the meeting with Linda Erwin coordinating lunch. Anyone with questions may call 615-444-0071. The May project will be Wilson County’s New Leash on Life, and needs are baby kitten food, copy paper, Ziploc sandwich bags and Ziploc quart bags.

National Day of Prayer

11 a.m.

The National Day of Prayer for Wilson County will be observed Thursday, May 3 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the sanctuary at Lebanon First United Methodist Church at 415 W. Main St. Several state, county and city official will be there to pray for the country, state, county and city. For more information, call the church office at 615-444-3315 or visit lebanonfumc.com.

Blood Drive

Noon

An American Red Cross blood drive will be Thursday, May 3 from noon until 5 p.m. at Active Life Chiropractic and Rehabilitation at 12920 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross blood donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED CROSS. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. All those who come to donate through May 13 will be entered to win one of three $1,000 gift cards to a national home improvement retailer, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

Mt. Juliet Business Block Party

11 a.m.

A Mt. Juliet Business Block Party will be Thursday, May 3 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Mt. Juliet Community Center at Charlie Daniels Park. For more information, visit mtjulietbusiness.eventbrite.com.

Batch & Bushel Farmer’s Market Opening

4 p.m.

The Batch & Bushel Farmer’s Market will open Thursday, May 3 from 4-7 p.m. outside the Wilson County Expo Center in Lebanon. It will be open each Thursday from 4-7 p.m. following and will feature a Pick Tennessee-certified, producers-only market with locally sourced food and beverage stations plus local makers.

Springdale Elementary School Kindergarten Night

4 p.m.

Springdale Elementary School will play host to a kindergarten night Thursday, May 3 from 4-6:30 p.m. for parents to get information on registration for kindergarten at the school. Anyone with questions may submit them to “Let’s Talk” at wcschools.com.

Watertown High School Band and Choir Spring Concert

6 p.m.

The Watertown High School concert band and choir will hold their spring concert Thursday, May 3 at 6 p.m. in the school theater. Admission will be $5 per person. The theme will be “Laugh, Think, Cry.”

Wilson County Republican Party Reagan Day Dinner

6 p.m.

The Wilson County Republican Party’s Reagan Day Dinner will be Thursday, May 3 at 6 p.m. at Tucker’s Gap Event Center at 2900 Callis Road in Lebanon. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The event will feature Super Talk 99.7’s Brian Wilson at master of ceremonies, Sixth District congressional candidates Bob Corlew, Judd Matheny and John Rose and gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee as keynote speaker. Tickets are $50 each, tables for 10 at $500 or a campaign table for $250 and are available on Eventbrite.

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, will meet Thursday, May 3 and each Thursday from 7-9:30 p.m. at Fairview Church at 1660 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. For more information, call ministry leader Tony Jones at 615-972-6151.

May 4

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Volunteer Auxiliary Sisters at Heart Boutique

7 a.m.

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Volunteer Auxiliary will hold its Sisters at Heart Boutique on Friday, May 4 from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. in the hospital’s outpatient conference room. It will feature a selection of ladies’ clothing and accessories, featuring the latest spring and summer fashions.

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.

May 3

Joint Economic and Community Development Board Executive Committee meeting

7:45 a.m.

The Joint Economic and Community Development Board Executive Committee will meet Thursday, May 3 at 7:45 a.m. at the JECDB office at 200 Aviation Way, Suite 202, in Lebanon.

Lebanon Airport Commission meeting

4 p.m.

The Lebanon Airport Commission will meet Thursday, May 3 at 4 p.m. at the Lebanon Municipal Airport at 1060A Franklin Road.

Wilson County Board of Education work session

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Board of Education will meet in a work session Thursday, May 3 at 5 p.m. at the Wilson County Board of Education Administrative and Training Complex at 415 Harding Drive in Lebanon.

– Staff Reports

Andrew Jackson’s grave found vandalized at the Hermitage

Photo courtesy of Facebook
For the first time since former President Andrew Jackson was buried, his grave was found vandalized Friday.

For the first time since former President Andrew Jackson was buried, his grave was found vandalized Friday.

According to Metro Nashville police public information officer Don Aaron, a security representative for the Hermitage called police Friday morning to report someone spray-painted Jackson’s grave overnight.

According to an official statement from the organization, the grave was vandalized with obscenities in black and red spray paint.

“Ever since Andrew Jackson was laid to rest in 1845, joining his beloved wife who died in 1828, their tomb next to Rachel’s garden at the Hermitage has been preserved and undisturbed, until now,” the statement said. “This is the first time in the history of the home that something like this has happened. It’s a sad day for all of us. Until the damage is repaired, with respect for Andrew and Rachel Jackson and the home’s visitors, the tomb will remained covered.”

Bob McDonald, CedarStone Bank president and vice-regent on the Hermitage board of trustees, said board members were setting up to take a picture on site when they discovered the vandalism.

“It was a most unfortunate finding for us,” said McDonald. “It’s a tradition that goes back more than 100 years that the trustees have their picture made at the tomb. So, we arrived out in front of the mansion, and we learned that overnight, some vandals came on the property.”

McDonald said the property has 24-hour security, as well as cameras set up.

“It’s the first time ever, in 200 years,” he said. “We’re very mindful, just like any business. You’ve got to be mindful of security and those types of things. We endeavor to have appropriate security in place, but they found a hole; they found a gap somewhere.”

As far as repairs, McDonald said the organization would spare no expense in restoring the vandalized areas.

“We’ve contacted, I think, it’s three different companies in different parts of the country who specialize in cleaning up of historical markers like this,” said McDonald. “We’ll hear what their evaluation is. We’re hoping we can restore it back and get it back to where it was.”

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Smart Work Zone implemented on State Route 109 widening project

Safety measures include 11 message boards

Photo courtesy of TDOT
Eleven message boards like one near the U.S. 70 intersection are part of the first Smart Work Zone in Middle Tennessee launched this week by the Tennessee Department of Transportation at the State Route 109 construction project in Wilson County.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation launched the first Smart Work Zone in Middle Tennessee this week on the State Route 109 construction project in Wilson County.

The Smart Work Zone includes 11 message boards that provide travel times through the project. The times are calculated in real time through seven radar detection systems throughout the project.

The message boards are placed in Gallatin, on both ends of the project, as well as on U.S. 70 and Interstate 40 to give drivers multiple opportunities to take an alternate route when they see long travel times posted.

The seven-mile portion of State Route 109 serves about 25,000 vehicles a day through the narrow two-lane corridor, including a large number of tractor-trailers. There are few alternate routes once drivers get in the construction zone, so warning motorists in time for them to avoid the area is the goal of the Smart Work Zone, according to TDOT officials.    

Additionally, there are three traffic cameras on the project, which can be viewed by local law enforcement and emergency responders.

State, regional and local officials kicked off the State Route 109 renovation project in early March, marking the start of one of the state’s most important road projects.

The $50 million will bring several upgrades to State Route 109, including additional lanes, shoulders and dedicated turning lanes. The project is expected to be complete in 2020.

The ceremony featured John Schroer, Tennessee Department of Transportation commissioner, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash, Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt, Rep. Susan Lynn, Sen. Mark Pody, Rep. Clark Boyd and several other state and local officials.

“We’ve been working on this a long, long time,” Schroer said at the kickoff event. “The reason why we’re here today and the reason this is such a great project is that we were able to get the IMPROVE Act passed. The IMPROVE Act allowed us to turn this into one project instead of two projects, which meant we could get it done quicker than we could before.”

The State Route 109 project is one of 10 Wilson County road projects funded through the IMPROVE Act, which the legislature passed last year. Upgrades to the road are set from Highway 70 north to Dry Fork Creek area and from north of Dry Fork Creek to the Sumner County line.

Construction started at Academy Road with a new interchange and will go south from the Cumberland River Bridge.

Schroer praised the work of Lynn on the project. Lynn said she’s been a staunch supporter of renovations on the roadway since she took office.

“It’s been a long time coming, and I thank God for today. We, now, just have to urge everyone please keep driving safely, look out for your neighbor, let someone out, let someone through and have patience,” Lynn said at the construction project’s kickoff event.

TDOT project supervisor Adam Vance outlined several aspects of the project to residents during a meeting in February, including expected lane shifts, road closures and safety measures, including a 10 mph speed limit reduction during construction.

Vance said traffic control and safety measures would be lifted from 5:30-9:30 a.m. and 3:30-6 p.m., as well as during holidays, special events and holiday weekends.

“Not too many days go by in our office that we don’t get a call at the courthouse about 109,” Hutto said at the kickoff. “For us, it is good for Mayor Holt and Sumner County and Wilson County. It’s good for the economic development that will happen along this road. It’s good for the traffic that will come through here. But, No. 1, it’s good for our citizens and visitors that will travel through here.”

Pressure from State Route 109 travelers and corridors on TDOT to improve the heavily traveled stretch of road has increased in recent years with the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization conducting a series of public workshops starting in 2014 to gather information and address concerns.

The number of vehicles that travel State Route 109 daily is expected to rise to about 44,890 by 2038. The roadway sees about 2,150 vehicles during peak hours, while truck traffic makes up 9 percent of the roadway traffic.

For more information on the $51 million State Route 109 widening project from U.S. 70 to the Cumberland River Bridge, visit tn.gov/tdot/projects/region-3/state-route-109-us-70-to-cumberland-river.html.

Lawmakers make TN Ready ‘hold harmless’

School districts can choose to apply 15 percent of test results

State lawmakers agreed to lessen the impact of this year’s Tennessee Ready issues on students and teachers last Wednesday after weeks of debate following several issues with the state assessment.

The compromise between the two legislative chambers eased concerns of educators, parents and school administrators after legislators passed a bill in response to the testing issues.

As a part of the bill, school districts can choose to apply 2017-2018 Tennessee Ready assessment data up to 15 percent of a students’ final grade, and will not be allowed to base termination or compensation decisions on the 2017-2018 Tennessee Ready results.

However, questions remain among parents and educators, including the impact the Tennessee Ready scores will have on Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System scores, which could count 20 percent of a teacher’s overall evaluation at the end of the year, which determines a teacher’s pay.

The TVAAS measures student growth from year to year. In calculating a TVAAS score, a student’s performance is compared relative to the performance of his or her peers who have performed similarly on past assessments.

Wednesday’s compromise bill addressed those concerns and made it so “no adverse action may be taken” against students, teachers, schools or districts based on this year’s assessment.

Lawmakers from both chambers were at an impasse throughout the day, with each side focused on different aspects of the issue.

“This also completely protects teacher’s TVAAS from being negatively impacted from the 2017-2018 Tennessee Ready scores. If the results are good and the teacher wants to use the results they can. If the teacher does not want to use the Tennessee Ready results from this year, the classroom observation portion will replace that portion on the TVAAS,” said state Rep. Clark Boyd. “This gives our teachers the protection they have been asking for from this disastrous Tennessee Ready test. I am proud to have been a part of this.”

“We have worked closely with legislators to advocate for further measures to protect teachers,” said Audrey Shores, Professional Educators of Tennessee chief operating officer. “We are pleased that legislators unanimously provided that students, educators or schools will not be held responsible for unreliable results from the failures of the TN Ready online assessment platform this year.”

Shores said the group would like to see the Tennessee Department of Education host a taskforce on TVAAS in the near future. 

Problems with online portions of the Tennessee Ready state assessment occurred last week, which caused Wilson County Schools and Lebanon Special School District to suspend online testing throughout the week.

McQueen explained the issues and answered questions from legislators during a joint hearing last week.

McQueen said the issues were due to a conflict between the Classroom Assessment Builder and the test delivery system, which previously shared the same login system, causing unacceptable login delays for some students when they tried to access Tennessee Ready. She said evidence suggested the assessment administrator, Questar, and its data center experienced a cyber attack Tuesday from an external source, which caused the second day of delays.

Legislators from both political parties were critical of McQueen, Questar and the continued failures of the state assessment.

Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, asked McQueen why she felt she shouldn’t resign after the department continued to fail educators and students.

“After months and months and months into years of failures, your department has failed. It’s time for you to resign and step aside and let somebody else come in and try their hand,” Stewart said. “It’s not a comment on you as a person, but as a manager, you have been unable to get control of this problem, and I think you should explain to this committee why you should the person going forward to even address it.”

The questioning and criticism continued for almost two hours, as several legislators expressed their frustrations with the situation.

“We have some pretty tough guidelines for our teachers, especially when it comes to testing. Matter of fact, committee, if there is a breach while a teacher is proctoring a test, she can be severely dealt with from the Department of Education. It’s no joke. For several years now, there’s been a problem, and I feel like we are wanting and forcing to hold our teachers accountability, all the while I don’t k now that we’re really holding ourselves accountable,” said Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby. “There are an immense amount of circumstances that surround taking the test on that side, but I feel like we don’t offer very many excuses for that side, but year after year we’re offering excuses for our side.”

“It’s an unfair stress to put on children that are already stressed out. A lot of times I think we forget just how stressed these babies are, and just how much our education system is focusing a little too much on testing. I believe in standardized tests because you have to have a measure of success, but at the same time, these children, these teachers, these administrators, these principals have done what they’re supposed to do, and to have a test failure like this is ridiculous,” said Rep. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis.

This year’s problems follow a series of issues that surrounded the Tennessee Ready exam and its implementation, including last year, which saw more than 9,000 exams scored incorrectly by exam vendor Questar Assessment.

Students in third through eighth grades were unable to take the exam the previous year, as the previous state exam assessor failed to launch an online test and was unable to deliver testing materials to districts in time.

The delays and miscues prompted parents and administrators to question the reliability of the state assessment, as well as the impact it has on students and educators.

The inconsistency prompted Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright to declare the 2015-2016 school year a hold harmless year for Tennessee Ready scores in the district.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Student charged with drug possession

Police find about a quarter-pound of pot in his car at Mt. Juliet High School

Jacob Kachinko

A Mt. Juliet High School student was charged with drug possession Friday at the school.

Jacob J. Kachinko, 18, of Mt. Juliet, was charged after drug-detecting canines with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon police and the 18th Judicial Task Force conducted a random search at each of the four Wilson County high schools.

Kachinko was charged after officers discovered about a quarter-pound of marijuana in the trunk of his vehicle.

“This was a joint effort that we conduct periodically to help keep drugs out of our school systems,” said Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan. “Schools are designed to be a learning environment for students, not for drug use and trafficking. Canines alerted on several vehicles throughout the county, and a large amount of [marijuana] was located during those searches. We will continue to be vigilant at all of our schools in keeping them a drug-free zone. We appreciate the working relationships we have with both of our school systems and will work daily on providing all students and staff with a safe environment.”

Kachinko was charged with possession with intent for resale and booked in at the Wilson County Jail. He was later released on $2,000 bond.

There were three other students cited throughout the county on drug charges. Their names were not released due to their ages.

Staff Reports

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.

April 26

Crisis Intervention Workshop

2 p.m.

A crisis intervention workshop will be Thursday, April 26 at 2 p.m. at the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center at 670 Coles Ferry Pike. Leah Pastula, crisis director at Volunteer Behavioral Health, will present information on how to assess a crisis, de-escalation tips, intervention partners, coping with crisis, skilled problem solving, suicide prevention, coping with the aging process and medical crisis counseling. Humana will provide goodie bags.

Rutland Elementary School Kindergarten Night

3 p.m.

Rutland Elementary School will play host to a kindergarten night Thursday, April 26 from 3-6:30 p.m. for parents to get information on registration for kindergarten at the school. Anyone with questions may submit them to “Let’s Talk” at wcschools.com.

Pickett-Rucker United Methodist Church 152nd Anniversary

6 p.m.

Pickett-Rucker United Methodist Church will celebrate its 152nd anniversary Thursday, April 26 at 6 p.m. with a pre-anniversary fellowship dinner; and Sunday, April 29 at 10 a.m. with a praise and worship service.

Mt. Juliet Parks Department Trivia Night

6 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet Parks Department will hold trivia night Thursday, April 26 from 6-9 p.m. at the Mt. Juliet Community Center. The cost is $35 per person, or a table is $250. It will feature a light dinner and participants showing off their vast knowledge of useless facts. Prizes will be awarded. Proceeds will benefit the Mt. Juliet parks system.

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, will meet Thursday, April 26 and each Thursday from 7-9:30 p.m. at Fairview Church at 1660 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. For more information, call ministry leader Tony Jones at 615-972-6151.

Wilson County Tea Party Meet and Greet the Candidates

7 p.m.

The Wilson County Tea Party will hold its Meet and Greet the Candidates event Thursday, April 26 from 7-9 p.m. at Music Valley Baptist Church at 7104 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. All voters and candidates for school boards, county and state offices in any of the counties in the Sixth Congressional District are invited. The event is sponsored by the Wilson County Tea Party and newly revitalized Tennessee Sixth Congressional District Tea Party. For more information, call Rob Joines at 615-305-5455 or Tom Hoffman at 615-403-0010.

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.

April 26

Wilson County Ag Management Committee meeting

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Ag Management Committee will meet Thursday, April 26 at 5 p.m. in the Gentry Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.

– Staff Reports