Get egg-cited for chicken rentals

 

Sinclaire Sparkman • Mt. Juliet News
Rent the Chicken servicer RayLee Holladay shows off a coop built for two chickens recently at Fiddlers Grove. The hens inside lay eight to 14 eggs per week.

Seasonal chickens have made it to homes across Middle Tennessee courtesy of RayLee and Bubba Holladay, who offer egg-laying hens for a six-month rental.

A concept known as “yard to table” drives the philosophy behind Rent the Chicken, a business established in Pennsylvania in 2013. Phillip and Jenn Tompkins started service and now partner with more than 45 farms in the United States, including the Holladays’ farm in Lascassas.

The service allows customers to choose between the standard rental of two hens or deluxe rental of four hens, which will provide farm-fresh eggs regularly. Coops, feed, bedding, food and water dishes, guidebooks and support are provided.

“I keep around 60 [chickens] at my house,” said area Rent the Chicken servicer RayLee Holladay. “Right now, we have 39 babies getting ready for next season. It’s been amazing. It really just touches your heart when you see people love chickens and learn about chickens and where their food comes from.”

The Holladays started with Rent the Chicken three years ago. The first year was spent building from scratch, making coops and gathering supplies. Now they’re able to deliver chickens, coops and all within 50 miles of their farm. They deliver beyond 50 miles for an extra fee.   

“We raise them from babies, so they’re ridiculously friendly. They’re kind of like your dog or your cat. They’ll follow you around everywhere,” Holladay said.

Rent the Chicken coops are made to protect chickens from predators and provide easy access for humans.

“There’s an egg door on the side here, and in the back, there’s an access door just in case you don’t want to crawl in there to fix the food and water dishes if they fall over,” Holladay said.

If a chicken gets sick or dies, Rent the Chicken will replace the animal at no charge, unless neglect was involved.

“There’s wire all the way around [the coop], so the fox cannot get in, or the raccoon or the opossum, cannot get in there and get to the chickens. But, say, if you let them out and then go in the house and grab you a glass of tea, you’re not supervising them and they die, you have to pay a chicken fee of $25. If you just come out one day and the poor little thing is dead, we’ll replace it. Things happen. They’re wild animals,” Holladay said.

Only one chicken death has happened in her time with Rent the Chicken, so, she said, it is not all that common.

After the six-month chicken season is over and customers have enjoyed farm-fresh eggs, the hens are available for adoption.

“You can adopt just the chickens, or you can have the whole entire package, coop and all. At the end of the six months, or any time in between, if you chicken out, we’ll pick them up with no questions asked,” Holladay said. 

For more information, call Rent the Chicken at 724-305-0782 or visit rentthechicken.com.

By Sinclaire Sparkman

ssparkman@lebanondemocrat.com

Commission adopts development plan

City approves Station North Preliminary Master Development Plan on narrow vote

The Mt. Juliet City Commission voted to approve the Station North Preliminary Master Development Plan by a vote of three to two at its bi-monthly meeting Monday night.

The proposed plan includes 192 apartment units, 28 townhomes, a 3,000-square-foot two-story commercial building and three parking areas. The site is on Mt. Juliet Road between the railroad tracks and Industrial Drive.

District 4 Commissioner Brian Abston argued against the plan, and took time to go through what he called the “myths and the facts” about the development plan.

“The first thing that I want to do is get rid of the myth about this being a transit-oriented development,” said Abston. “This thing is by the railroad tracks, but as far as being a transit-oriented facility, it’s just not there.”

Abston argued against the apartment complex, saying that every time a developer plans an apartment complex, they claim it will be something innovative, but it never is.

“I’m not saying let’s never do another apartment complex in Mt. Juliet,” said Abston. “I think there’s a lot of other things that we do need to work on before we do that.”

District 3 Commissioner Art Giles echoed Abston’s feelings on the development plan.

“Every one of my constituents, except one who emailed me tonight, while we’re sitting here going over this, who is a city employee, is against this complex,” said Giles. “Every one that I talked to.”

Giles expressed concern with traffic in the area if the apartment complexes were built.

Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty, however, was for the development.

“Every single development proposal that comes to this board has pros and cons,” said Hagerty. “Every one. This does as well. Each of our jobs is to weigh the pros and cons and see if it’s a positive to the community, or if it’s a negative to the community, and some of the things you said are on the con side, there’s no question, but you left off a number of other things, too, that were on the pro side.”

Hagerty said the area would be much more likely to turn into a nice, industrial development if the city passed the development plan.

“You mentioned that we have apartments before us every month, and we do. That’s a true statement,” said Hagerty. “And we turn down nine out of 10 of them every single time.”

Vice Mayor James Maness was also for the project.

“I just drove in there today and looked at the property on the way in,” said Maness. “I looked at the property on West Division Street Drive, there, and I looked back behind the train station, what do I see? I see a trailer with some graffiti on it. I went and looked at it on the other side and there’s just stuff stored on the property.”

Maness said the vast majority of these types of projects get shot down, but this project is an opportunity to better an empty lot.

“If this passes, it’s a mistake, that’s my final comment,” said Abston.

The development plan passed the first reading by a 3-2 vote, with Abston and Giles voting against it.

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@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

Antique Car Show winners announced

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Wilson Bank & Trust employees congratulate the winners from the Antique Car Show Spring Meet on Sunday in Mt. Juliet after trophies were awarded.

A large crowd of spectators at Wilson Bank & Trust’s 23rd annual Antique Car Show Spring Meet on Sunday in Mt. Juliet perused 156 classic automobiles in 57 different classifications, and several auto owners took home awards for their entries.

Category winners at the car show included:

• Kenneth O’Saile – best of show in production for his 1970 Pontiac GTO.

• Henry Bullington – best of show in modified for his 1955 Chevy Belair.

• Bob O’Neal – president’s choice for his 1955 Chevy Belair.

• Terry Sague – ladies’ choice for his 1972 Chevy Nova.

• Darrell Yates – O’Reilly’s award for his 1968 Chevy C-10.

• Kevin Martyn – longest drive award for his trip from Indianapolis.

The event also featured music, food and children’s activities.

Staff Reports

American Wonder Porcelain employee receives donation

Jacob Smith • Mt. Juliet News
American Wonder Porcelain employee Wade Sloan receives donations from members of the company, including a van from the president, who flew to Lebanon from China for the presentation.

An employee at American Wonder Porcelain received donations of money and food from coworkers Friday, including a van from the president of the company after his house was destroyed in an April 5 fire.

The employee, Wade Sloan, lost his house when it burned in the early morning.

According to Mt. Juliet fire Deputy Chief of Operations Chris Allen, firefighters arrived at the home to fine it heavily involved in fire. Mt. Juliet firefighters requested help from Wilson County Emergency Management Agency firefighters because the nearest fire hydrant was more than a mile away.

The six residents of the home, including Sloan, escaped safely by the time firefighters arrived.

After the fire was extinguished, Allen said the house was ruled a total loss.

“FDMJ asks everyone to keep this family in their thoughts and prayers as they deal with this loss,” said Allen.

On Friday, employees gathered together to present Sloan with money and food they raised, and the president of the company, Jianping Huang, flew to Lebanon from China to present Sloan with a Honda Odyssey.

“I hope you enjoy the new van, and stay with us, and we can get through everything,” said Jianping. “We hope every one of our employees can be happy and work happy here.”

Sloan thanked the employees and administrators before he took his new van for a test drive around the parking lot.

“Thank you so much,” said Sloan. “Y’all have all been so good to me. I’m so thankful.”

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Hollywood Memorial Riders roll through Wilson County headed to DC

Group makes stops at two Mt. Juliet schools

Mark Bellew • All Hands Fire Photos
The Hollywood Memorial Ride came through Wilson County on Tuesday and stopped at several local schools.

The Hollywood Memorial Ride came through Wilson County on Tuesday, and students at Springdale Elementary School, West Elementary School, Coles Ferry Elementary School and Walter J. Baird Middle School greeted the riders and cheered them on their way.

The Hollywood Memorial Ride is a group of four Los Angeles police officers who bicycle more than 2,980 miles from Hollywood, California to the National Police Week Memorial Services in Washington, D.C.

The goal of the trek is not only to pay tribute to the 146 law enforcement officers who are killed in the line of duty each year on average, but also raise awareness of their sacrifice and raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

The officers stopped first at Springdale, then West elementary schools. They also rode through an area near Walter J. Baird Middle School and Coles Ferry Elementary School, where students lined the street to cheer for them.

Members of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon Police Department, Mt. Juliet Police Department and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency helped escort the officers through the county.

“All schools provided them with words of encouragement and refreshments,” said Wilson County sheriff’s Lt. Scott Moore. “It’s great to see a community come together, such as this, to give honor and respect to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice by serving and protecting their communities.”

The four officers concluded their trip through Wilson County with lunch at the Lebanon Police Department Emergency Services Unit headquarters, then the four officers continued their journey to Washington, D.C.

“This was the second year we were able to help escort the group through the city, and we certainly enjoy being able to contribute to their cause as they ride in honor of fallen law enforcement officers,” said Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler.

“We are honored to witness and be a part of this incredible journey and wish the riders well as they continue on to Washington for next week’s ceremonies,” said Lebanon police Sgt. P.J. Hardy.

To follow along with the four officers’ journey, visit the Hollywood Memorial Ride Facebook page.

By Jacob Smith 

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Encore Theatre announces auditions for ‘The Foreigner’

Encore Theatre Co. announced auditions will be next week for its upcoming July production of the award-winning play, “The Foreigner,” written by Larry Shue. 

Auditions will be Sunday and Monday from 6-8 p.m. Those auditioning should arrive no later than 7:45 p.m. Production dates are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from July 13-22. 

The auditions will take place at the theatre at 6978 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet.

The cast will consist of five men and two women.

The characters are:

• “Froggy” LeSueur, who is in his 40s, perhaps. He seems well-fed, flushed with the spirit of adventure and right at home. He is a British Army explosives instructor, visiting the nearby Army base. He has a definite Cockney accent.

• Charlie Baker, who is Froggy’s best friend. He’s in his 40s, however, he’s completely different in personality. According to the script, “The other, standing in his forlorn trenchcoat, seems quietly, somehow permanently, lost.” Charlie has a British accent, but not the Cockney of Froggy.

• Betty Meeks, who owns Betty Meeks’ Fishing Lodge Resort in Tilghman County, Georgia. She’s somewhere between 50-70 years old and a native of the South. She’s good hearted, used to hard work, is wise in some ways and not so quick in others.

• The Rev. David Marshall Lee, who is  in his mid to late 20s. He has a friendly open face. David is neither the stereotypically pallid, remote young divinity student, nor the hearty, backslapping evangelist. He seems, rather, to be a regular fella –humorous and open, and it would appear he’s a good young man to have on someone’s side. 

• Catherine Simms, who is David’s fiancée in his mid to late 20s. She’s kind of a general all-around “good ol’ gal.” She has her opinions and is not afraid to tell them.

• Owen Musser, who is in his mid to late 30s and is a friend of David’s. “Smarmy” is a good word for him. According to the script, “Psychologists tell us to beware of a man with two tattoos. One, he may have gotten on a drunk or a dare, but two means he went back. Owen is a two-tattoo man.” He’s a redneck, obviously.

• Ellard Simms, who is in his early 20s to early 30s and is Catherine’s younger brother. He’s not the brightest porch light on the block. “There doesn’t, we must admit, seem to be much to Ellard. He is a lumpy, overgrown, backward youth. 

The scene is a fishing lodge in rural Georgia often visited by “Froggy” LeSeuer, a British demolition expert who occasionally runs training sessions at a nearby army base. This time, “Froggy” has brought along a friend, a pathologically shy young man named Charlie who is overcome with fear at the thought of making conversation with strangers.

So, “Froggy,” before departing, tells all assembled that Charlie is from an exotic foreign country and speaks no English. Once alone, the fun really begins, as Charlie overhears more than he should – the evil plans of a sinister, two-faced minister and his redneck associate; the fact that the minister’s pretty fiancée is pregnant and many other damaging revelations made with the thought that Charlie doesn’t understand a word that’s said.

That he does fuels the nonstop hilarity of the play and sets up the wildly funny climax in which things go uproariously awry for the “bad guys,” and the “good guys” emerge triumphant.

Questions about the production, the auditions, as well as volunteering for backstage or technical work, may be sent to director Don Breedwell at dbreedwell@gmail.com or by leaving a message at 615-414-8312.

Encore Theatre to present ‘Peter Pan’

A story for all ages, performed by all ages, Encore Theatre Co. will present “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie for one weekend only.

Adapted by Don Breedwell and directed by Mary Gingold, the reader’s theater production is adapted from the Lux Radio Theater production presented Dec. 21, 1953.

The show will star Stephen Lazenby as Peter Pan, Steven Stroud as Captain Hook and Anna Grace Vaught as Wendy Darling, with Claire York as Tinker Bell.

Shows will be Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Encore Theatre in Mt. Juliet.

Tickets will be $10 cash only at the door. Doors will open 30 minutes before show time. Reservations will be accepted by calling 615-598-8950.

Staff Reports

Kenny Martin: Walkers, joggers, bicyclists should be visible

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

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

Daily concern calls are received about both vehicular and pedestrian safety and the need for more citizen awareness. Citizens regularly report concerns about pedestrians walking, jogging or riding bikes, along the roadways and streets. Concerned citizens often report near misses with citizen’s walking at night along the roadway in dark and less-than-reflective clothing.

Many concerned citizen’s ask if a law could possibly be passed that would require walkers, runners, joggers and/or bike riders to wear reflective clothing at night and highly visible clothing during the day light hours. Citizens regularly suggest that biking, walking, jogging, running, skating and blading individuals be required to use lights and flashlights at night for proper illumination and visibility.

We always explain it is unlikely that a law would be passed but that we are always willing to pass along important safety information to help not only our motoring public but our walking, jogging, running, blading, skating and active community, as well.

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

Below are just a few tips to keep you and your family safe and visible when walking, jogging, running, or bicycling. I would also encourage our motoring public to use caution, as well, when traveling the roadways with our active citizens. We must share the roads at all times safely.

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

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

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

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

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

As you can imagine, these are only a few safety measures that you can use to make yourself safe while walking, jogging or riding a bike in or near the roadway. Our roadways are becoming busier everyday and we must do all that we can to make sure that we are safe and visible at all times.

The sooner a motorist spots you while driving down the roadway the sooner the motorist can process the needed information in order to make a safe maneuver around you.

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

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

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.

The Big Payback attracts most nonprofits in its 5-year history

NASHVILLE – A record number of area nonprofits are preparing for the Big Payback’s fifth-annual 24-hour online giving day.

A total of 902 Middle Tennessee nonprofits – including schools and religious institutions – from 35 counties will participate in the Big Payback, an initiative of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, on Wednesday, May 2.

The record total includes 115 organizations that represent 23 counties that will be participate in the Big Payback for the first time. Categories include human services, education, community improvement, arts and culture, youth development, animal welfare, health, housing and shelter and the environment.

Wilson County organizations that will participate in the Big Payback include the 15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Center, Cedarcroft Home, Charis Health Center, Cumberland University, Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee, Empower Me Center, Encore Theatre Co., Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Wilson County, Fiddlers Grove Historical Village, Friends of Cedars of Lebanon State Park, Generations of Grace’s the Faith Store, Healing Broken Vessels, Historic Lebanon, Leadership Middle Tennessee, Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency, Mt Juliet Animal Shelter Volunteer Organization, Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center, New Leash on Life, Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, Prospect, Rest Stop Ministries, Scenic Tennessee, Sherry’s Run, Southern STARRS, the Joe Beretta Foundation, the Keith Edmonds Foundation, the Nathar Foundation, Tennessee Senior Olympics, United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland, Wilson Books from Birth, Wilson County Court-Appointed Special Advocates, Wilson County Civic League, Wilson County Community Foundation, Wilson County Community Help Center and Wilson County Salvation Army.

The Big Payback is a community-wide online giving day designed to give the public the opportunity to pay back the nonprofits. Starting May 2 at midnight, there will be 24 hours to make donations to a wide swath of participating local nonprofits at thebigpayback.org.

In its first four events, the Big Payback has helped organizations raise more than $9.3 million in donations, as well as foster 18,806 first-time gifts, making possible awareness of and solutions to pressing needs in the community.

“The Big Payback’s slogan is ‘live here, give here’ and provides an easy and fun way for our community to show our local pride and give back,” said Ellen Lehman, president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

“Nonprofits do life-changing work every day across Middle Tennessee, and it’s important we recognize the positive impact they have in our own backyards by supporting their efforts. It’s hard to imagine where we’d be without them and their work.”

Gifts to nonprofits from the public will be boosted with additional financial prizes from sponsors of the Big Payback, and an online leaderboard will track donations in real time.

Donors will be able to search and select organizations based on location and focus area, Donors also can support multiple nonprofits and make gifts of any size with ease, from $10 and up.

Nonprofits and the general public also can participate in the Big Payback in person. Thanks to the Nashville Predators Foundation, Smashville Plaza in front of Bridgestone Arena will turn into the Big Payback GameDay Throwdown on May 2 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Big Payback’s GameDay Throwndown gives participating nonprofits the chance to represent their causes while competing for additional prize money. Minute to win it games, corn hole and miniature golf stations, a costume contest, chalk drawing, and other activities are scheduled.

Live music will be provided by artist Charlie Worsham and Matt Walberg, with Mac Hardcastle as emcee. Several food trucks also will be on site, as well as radio and television stations, some broadcasting live.

The Community Foundation exists to promote and facilitate giving in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and beyond. It does this by accepting gifts of any size from anyone at any time and by empowering individuals, families, companies, nonprofits and communities to respond to needs and opportunities that matter. The Community Foundation works with people who have great hearts, whether they have great wealth, to craft solutions that reflect their intentions and goals. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit cfmt.org.

Staff Reports

Chamber gets hiring, decision-making tips

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce received hiring and decision-making tips Wednesday during its monthly luncheon from James Fields, president of Concept Technology.

Fields shared several tips for hiring personnel, keying on his experience with his company, which grew from one to more than 50 employees in five years. Fields said employers should know their target number of hires, have potential employees display their ability to do the work, talk to potential employees for more than an hour and hold group interviews.

Fields also highlighted his company’s key decision-making model – the triangle.

“This is a model we use in all of our decision making – big and small,” Fields said. “Any time we make a change, we take it back to the triangle, which is balancing the needs of clients, the team and the business.”

Fields said in the world of technology, things constantly change and evolve, which requires constant use of the triangle.

“If we do something that is great for our clients, good for our team members and good for our business, then that’s like a win-win-win,” Fields said. “But, if one of those three corners of the triangle is getting a bad deal, then we’re probably not thinking about this right and probably going back to the drawing board.”

Fields also highlighted the inner triangle, which focuses on humility, curiosity and vulnerability of employees.

“If you think about the people you worked who were terrible teammates…they certainly don’t demonstrate these characteristics,” Fields said.

The meeting also featured an interactive portion that required members to highlight and share their best practices when it comes to hiring.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.co

Leeville Family Fun Day upcoming Saturday

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Leeville Family Fun Day will offer free activities for all ages April 28 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Wilson Bank & Trust’s Highway 109 office in Lebanon

Wilson Bank & Trust will hold its 11th annual Leeville Family Fun Day on April 28 at the bank’s office on Highway 109 North.

The festivities will include live music, vendor booths, free inflatables, a petting zoo, an emergency vehicle display and concessions from Hoite’s Barbecue and Kona Shaved Ice.

Local business sponsors helped make Family Fun Day possible. Gold sponsors this year include Manheim Nashville and Wilson Farms; silver sponsors include Advanced Propane, B.J.’s trailers, and Sleep-In and Suites; and bronze sponsors include, Active Life Chiropractic, Aqua Sports Marine, Big and Small Storage, Burdines, Coach’s Eastgate Grill, Nutrishop, Permobil, Remar Inc., Subway and Wendy’s.

Event hours will be from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and admission will be free. All activities will take place at the bank at 440 Hwy. 109 N. in Lebanon.

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

Floor signing party held for upcoming St. Jude Dream Home giveaway

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Honored St. Jude patient Matt signs the floor of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway house in Mt. Juliet last Wednesday. Baker Chiddister with Shaw Floors and Chris Carpenter with of Signature Homes honored Matt during the ceremony.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, along with Signature Homes, held a floor signing party last Wednesday for the 14th annual St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in the Jackson Hills subdivision in Mt. Juliet.

Community members and volunteers gathered to write well wishes to the Dream Home winner before the floors are installed. Subcontractors and vendors, who contributed to the construction of this year’s home, estimated to value $450,000, were recognized for their commitment to St. Jude.

Supporters, sponsors and childhood cancer survivors gathered at the floor signing party, including Chris Carpenter with Signature Homes, Stacy Case and Erika Kurre with Fox 17, Gator Harrison with iHeartMedia, Paul Jolley with Two Rivers Ford and Kevin Sanders with Wilson Bank & Trust.

Special guests in attendance for the event included honored St. Jude patient Matt, and Baker Chiddister with Shaw Floors, which is a national sponsor of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway and supplies all flooring in St. Jude Dream Homes across the country.

“We have been doing the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway since 2011 as a company. It’s really grown into more than that for us,” Chiddister said. “I got to meet the honored patient last year, and it’s so inspiring to see what really comes out of doing these types of events. We are really excited to be a part of this.”

Residents have an opportunity to win the newly built home. A limited number of chances to win the St. Jude Dream Home and other prizes are on sale for $100 by calling 800-746-6713, visiting dreamhome.org or at Two Rivers Ford in Mt. Juliet.

Free tours of the St. Jude Dream Home will be available starting May 19. Tickets reserved by April 20 will also be eligible to win an early bird prize, a trip for two to see the Zac Brown Band, including concert tickets, hotel and airfare courtesy of the BIG 98 and Warner Music Nashville, plus a $2,500 MasterCard, courtesy of Wilson Bank & Trust.

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet trio advances to Path of Fame talent finals

More than 150 register for open-call auditions in Nashville

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Mt. Juliet trio Sheridan Hill – Lance Beavers, Dakota Beavers and Dylan Beavers – advanced in last Saturday’s Path to Fame Nashville auditions and are semifinalists for the top prize in the final competition that will take place June 16 in Pigeon Forge.

NASHVILLE – Mt. Juliet trio Sheridan Hill advanced in last Saturday’s Path to Fame Nashville auditions at Skyville Live where more than 150 people registered for a chance to advance their entertainment careers.

Sheridan Hill is made up of two brothers, Dakota and Dylan Beavers, and their father, Lance Beavers, who were actively pursuing his own musical career when he discovered his two sons’ talent. The group performs original music and a variety of covers from Americana to R&B genres. Sheridan Hill brought its own spin of acoustic instruments and harmonizing vocals to the stage during its performance of an original song, “Long Way Down.”

Four performers advanced one step closer to realizing a lifetime dream of an entertainment career. Nashville-based talent executive John Alexander will focus on artist development with the grand champion, including career development consultations with Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling country star Kelsea Ballerini and other entertainment executives representing all aspects of the entertainment industry. Alexander discovered Ballerini, spent more than a decade at Great American Country television network, managed artists such as Patty Loveless and is co-founder of the Nashville-based artist development company Bandtwango.

“The incredible talent Music City is known for was well represented at the auditions on Saturday. Our semi-finalists possess that hard-to-define ‘it’ factor and are actively pursuing ways to pursue their path to fame,” Alexander said. “This group is one step closer to achieving that dream with the proper connections and opportunities that winning this competition would provide.”

The final competition will take place June 16 in Pigeon Forge, where one grand champion will be selected from 12 competing performers.

Performers have one more opportunity to audition May 12 for the Path to Fame talent competition in Atlanta.

More information for the Path to Fame Talent Competition may be found at pffame.com. More information about visiting Pigeon Forge is available at mypigeonforge.com.

Staff Reports

Local author holds autism presentation at library

Jacob Smith • Mt. Juliet News
Mt. Juliet author D.G. Driver presents her book, ‘No One Needed to Know,’ and talks about autism Thursday afternoon at the Lebanon Public Library.

Mt. Juliet author D.G. Driver held a presentation on autism Thursday afternoon at the Lebanon Public Library.

Driver’s new book, “No One Needed to Know” is aimed at readers 8-13 years old and focuses on an 11-year-old girl named Heidi who deals with the pressures and responsibilities of having an older autistic brother.

Heidi sees her brother bullied by children in the neighborhood and worries if her friends find out about him she will get bullied, too. She’s often impatient with her brother and blames him for when things go so badly for her at school.

But, Heidi also needs to learn more about her brother’s condition and ultimately teach others why he’s special and how to be kind to all people with special needs.

In her presentation, Driver said that while it’s often hard to pinpoint the inspiration from her books, this one comes directly from her personal experience.

“When I’m writing books that are about mermaids and shape shifting orcas, it’s a little bit harder to say,” said Driver. “But, for this book, it’s not. This book came straight out of my life. My brother, Joe, is four years older than me, and he is autistic. So, I looked back at the time when I was 11 or 12 years old and the feelings that I had and the experiences that I was having, and I pulled from that to create this story.”

Driver stressed that it’s not an autobiography, and a lot of the events in the book are made up, nevertheless, some of it did happen to her. Outside of writing, Driver currently works as a special education teacher.

“I, my whole career, have worked with special needs kids,” said Driver.

In her presentation, Driver explained what autism is and how it can affect people who are diagnosed with it.

“Autism is a neurological disorder, which means it affects the brain and the way the brain works,” said Driver. “It is not an illness. It is not something you can catch, like the flu. There’s not a cure for it. Autism usually causes difficulty with social interactions. So, people who are autistic have a hard time relating to other people. They may not be able to read your emotions. They might not be able to read things like sarcasm. They might not be able to look at your face and understand things you’re trying to say to them. They’re very literal.”

Driver went on to talk about bullying and how it can affect not just those with autism, but everyone.

“My brother was bullied,” said Driver. “We used to have the same bus stop. He went to a different school than I did because he was older, but our bus stop was the same. So, we would walk there, it was a good four blocks away, and we always had to pass by this boy’s house and every day he would call my brother a really bad name. It was hurtful, and I didn’t like it. I knew that guy later in high school and he tried to be my friend and he tried to be my friend on Facebook and I won’t let him, even to this day.”

Books about teaching empathy and kindness to children are gaining in popularity. For that reason, “No One Needed to Know” won the 2017 Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval and the Silver Medal for Best Preteen Fiction. The novel also won the 2017 Purple Dragonfly Children’s Book Award and the 2017 Human Relations Indie Book Gold Medal Award for Special Needs Awareness in Children’s Fiction.

Driver is a familiar face in Lebanon. She performed in the Centerstage Theatre Co. productions of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Father of the Bride” last year and she directed “Miracle on 34th Street,” which was performed at Winfree Bryant Middle School.

She has been a published author for more than 20 years, and she is a teacher at an inclusive child development center in Nashville. To learn more about Driver and her books, visit dgdriver.com.

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Justice qualifies to run for Wilson County sheriff

Mt. Juliet city commissioner, former sheriff’s deputy to face incumbent in race

Ray Justice

Ray Justice, a lifelong resident of Wilson County and current city commissioner for Mt. Juliet, announced his candidacy for sheriff of Wilson County.

Justice will face incumbent Robert Bryan for the seat in the Aug. 2 county General Election.

Justice is a 1980 graduate of Mt. Juliet High School and has five children who are graduates, or who currently attend Wilson County schools. Justice is a graduate of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy and has worked in law enforcement for more than 20 years.

Justice worked the roads of Wilson County for several years as a DUI officer, along with his patrol activities, and was tasked with writing and managing federal and state grants for equipment and manpower. He was the first drug recognition expert certified in Wilson County; a program certified by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

“Wilson County deserves a sheriff that is inclusive and believes the communities of Statesville, Norene, Cottage Homes and Watertown deserve the same level of protection as the people of Lebanon and Mt. Juliet receive,” Justice said.

Justice said his experience working with fellow commissioners and staff to make Mt. Juliet one of the fastest-growing and safest cities in the state, coupled with having one of the lowest property taxes in the state, are a prime example of conservative management in government.

“This, along with my experience in law enforcement, make me the best candidate for the job,” said Justice.

According to Justice, the current administration has raised the operating budget 24 percent in the last two years without substantially increasing manpower. He said it happened on the backs of a 35-cent property tax hike in Wilson County two years ago.

“I believe in keeping in touch with the taxpayers while working with the men and women in uniform, giving everyone a sense of confidence their sheriff is walking beside them, and I will be consistent and dependable in all aspects of management as we take Wilson County law enforcement to the next level,” Justice said.

Justice said he plans to reduce the current budget 15 percent, create a true juvenile division, initiate an education and enforcement program to fight the opioid crisis that is rampant nationwide and will not allow any level of corruption to exist at the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.

Along with Justice’s many roles in local government, he is an advocate for Wilson County youth, performing numerous “mock” DUI crashes at every Wilson County high school, both public and private. He served on the board of directors of the Mt. Juliet Little League baseball and softball programs for more than 20 years, serving in the role of vice president, then president in 2010 and 2011. 

Justice also served on the board of directors of the Mt. Juliet Youth Football and Cheerleading program and was a coach in the program, as well.

He is the former chair of the Mt. Juliet Parks Board that transformed Charlie Daniels Park into what he called the showpiece the children of Wilson County enjoy today and was instrumental in building the Mt. Juliet Community Center at Charlie Daniels Park.

“Our greatest assets are our children and our senior citizens,” Justice said. “Our children are our future. They are what our county will someday be, and our seniors have the wisdom that, if we listen to them, will keep us from repeating the mistakes of the past.

“I want to move the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office forward and create a working environment the men and women who work our streets can enjoy and allow the residents of Wilson County to have confidence their elected officials are working for them. I want to provide conservative leadership in law enforcement in Wilson County, and I’m asking for your vote Aug. 2.”

Pastor’s tweet causes backlash

Local preacher Greg Locke’s social media post goes viral

Mt. Juliet Pastor Greg Locke caused more controversy last week after his tweet about President Donald Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels went viral.

Locke, pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, tweeted his thoughts about the 60 Minutes interview of Daniels, who detailed an alleged affair with Trump.

“The funny thing is [Trump] is still the president, and she’s still a hooker. #StormyDanielsDay,” Locke tweeted.

The tweet caused a wave of responses, including from Father James Martin, who works at the Vatican.

“A funnier thing is that Jesus spent more of his time with prostitutes than with presidents. Funnier still, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Matthew 21:31),” Martin tweeted.

Locke continued to defend his tweet following the pushback, taking aim at liberals.

“Let me get this straight, we can say all manner of evil slanderous gossip about the leader of the free world with no respect to his office but be critical of a porn star, and you’re the bad guy? Haha. Carry on liberals,” he wrote.

Locke was at the center of controversy several times in the past, most recently as he spoke at Benchmark Church in Oliver Springs.

Locke appeared at the church as a guest speaker during revival at the church when Pulpit & Pen administrator Tim Weakley, who attended the event with his wife and son, confronted Locke about his personal life at the pulpit after a prayer.

“The biggest problem we have right now is this man right here is not living up to what a pastor needs to be,” he said.

Immediately, church members attempted to remove Weakley from the building and threatened to call the police, while Weakley claimed he was assaulted due to shoving from the group.

Locke, who did not leave the pulpit, said he was used to verbal attacks and attempted to continue with his message while Weakley and the group exchanged words.

The incident was not the first interaction between Locke and Pulpit & Pen, which has published a series of blogs this year on its website that take aim at Locke, claiming he is unfit to lead a church because of his personal life.

The blog posts focus on Locke’s estranged marriage and rumored affair with a church member and include text messages between Locke and his wife, who the blog claims is living in a women’s shelter out of state.

Locke took to Facebook to defend allegations made against him on the same day the latest Pulpit & Pen blog aimed at him was published. The post also came five days after the previous blog focused on his marriage.

“There’s so much I want to say to defend the truth. The hurt and betrayal is beyond anything I could’ve imagined,” Locke said. “To read such vicious lies and out of context things about a situation people are ignorant of is completely disabling. People will choose to believe whatever they want to.”

Locke said he could publicly dispute certain claims and provide verification, but he would allow God to fight for him, noting his children knew the truth and stand with him.

Last year, after he denounced Planned Parenthood, Locke received hundreds of thank-you letters from the organization. The letters were not a mistake. People from around the country made donations to the organization in Locke’s name following his video.

Locke said he was also sent hundreds of letters that said, “some of the most vitriolic, hate-filled, mean-spirited things you could ever imagine,” along with tampons, contraceptives and sex toys.

Locke has also targeted Target and Wilson County Schools, claiming county schools are indoctrinating Islam into seventh-grade students.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Mt. Juliet pastor confronted at pulpit

Greg Locke

Tempers flared recently after a man confronted controversial Mt. Juliet pastor Greg Locke before he delivered a sermon at Benchmark Church in Oliver Springs.

Locke appeared at the church as a guest speaker during revival at the church when Pulpit & Pen administrator Tim Weakley, who attended the event with his wife and son, confronted Locke about his personal life.

Locke, pastor of Global Vision Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet, began his sermon when Weakley approached the pulpit and asked Locke if the group could pray before moving forward.

After a short prayer, Weakley said he had watched and read about Locke for “a couple of months,” and his heart was broken for Locke. Weakley’s comments drew praise from attendees before he took aim at Locke.

“The biggest problem we have right now is this man right here is not living up to what a pastor needs to be,” he said.

Immediately, church members attempted to remove Weakley from the building and threatened to call the police, while Weakley claimed he was assaulted due to shoving from the group.

Locke, who did not leave the pulpit, said he was used to verbal attacks and attempted to continue with his message while Weakley and the group exchanged words.

Weakley shared his thoughts on the event while in the car with his family.

“Greg Locke understands now that we’re not going to take this lying down. There are folks from Pulpit & Pen all over the place, and there’s some other folks that are going to find that out, too,” he said. “Greg Locke is making a mockery of what the church is. We have too much of this going on.”

The incident was not the first interaction between Locke and Pulpit & Pen, which has published a series of blogs this year on its website that take aim at Locke, claiming he is unfit to lead a church because of his personal life.

The blog posts focus on Locke’s estranged marriage and rumored affair with a church member and include text messages between Locke and his wife, who the blog claims is living in a women’s shelter out of state.

Locke took to Facebook to defend allegations made against him on the same day the latest Pulpit & Pen blog aimed at him was published. The post also came five days after the previous blog focused on his marriage.

“There’s so much I want to say to defend the truth. The hurt and betrayal is beyond anything I could’ve imagined,” Locke said. “To read such vicious lies and out of context things about a situation people are ignorant of is completely disabling. People will choose to believe whatever they want to.”

Locke said he could publicly dispute certain claims and provide verification, but he would allow God to fight for him, noting his children knew the truth and stand with him.

“We knew the ‘final round’ was coming because we’ve been threatened with it for many weeks. It was a control tactic or else. I’m not going to stoop to that level and air out all the responses, hurt and backstory nonsense,” he said. “Of course, we said crazy, regretful and angry things in messages. That’s what happens when a relationship is going through such bitter unraveling, and emotions are in high gear.”

Pulpit & Pen’s blog posts included text message conversations believed to be between Locke and his wife that include vulgar language from Locke.

“When people’s private pain is made public for the purpose of a story that reads between the lines and builds its narrative, admittedly so, on opinion and assumptions, it’s difficult to stomach. However, I’m not involving myself in the mud slinging. Our family and all those involved could use your earnest prayers and hope that you can respect our privacy.”

Pulpit & Pen writers note pieces of their posts are opinion and speculated based on given information.

Seth Dunn, Pulpit & Pen writer, published a post prior to last week’s revival, where he claimed to have had a phone conversation with Benjamin Blankenship prior to the revival and urged him to cancel the event.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com