Early voting tops 9K in Wilson

Staff Reports

Early voters Saturday pushed the total vote count past 9,000 votes cast in the Aug. 2 Wilson County General Election and state and federal primaries.

A total of 667 votes were cast Saturday with 246 in Lebanon, 253 in Mt. Juliet, 37 in Watertown, 84 in Gladeville and 41 at Lighthouse Church. 

At the midway point in early voting Friday, total votes surpassed the 8,000 mark with the second highest single-day total in early voting.

“We’ve had a good turnout. People are voting, and that’s something we like to see,” said Phillip Warren, Wilson County administrator of elections.

A total of 1,322 votes were cast Friday with 525 in Lebanon, 439 in Mt. Juliet, 62 in Watertown, 177 in Gladeville and 109 at Lighthouse Church.

Early voting finished Thursday nearly 10 votes off Wednesday’s pace, and total votes surpassed the 7,000 mark. 

A total of 1,217 votes were cast Thursday with 536 in Lebanon, 411 in Mt. Juliet, 46 in Watertown, 106 in Gladeville and 100 at Lighthouse Church. 

Early voting ended Wednesday with 1,226 total votes cast with 487 in Lebanon, 464 in Mt. Juliet, 67 in Watertown, 118 in Gladeville and 87 at Lighthouse Church. 

On Tuesday, voters cast the highest single-day number of votes thus far with more than 1,300. The vote totals Tuesday were 1,358 in all with 637 in Lebanon, 451 in Mt. Juliet, 52 in Watertown, 116 in Gladeville and 101 at Lighthouse Church. 

Early voting kicked off July 13, and more than 1,200 people took to the polls on the first day. 

On the first day of early voting, 1,233 voters took to the polls with 523 votes cast in Lebanon, 363 in Mt. Juliet, 76 in Watertown, 136 in Gladeville, 130 at Lighthouse Church near Mt. Juliet and five were received by mail.  

On July 14, 510 total votes were cast with 221 in Lebanon, 153 in Mt. Juliet, 28 in Watertown, 55 in Gladeville and 46 at Lighthouse Church. 

A total of 1,299 votes were cast July 16 with 609 in Lebanon, 386 in Mt. Juliet, 62 in Watertown, 138 in Gladeville and 97 at Lighthouse Church. 

Prior to the start of early voting, 188 people cast their ballots through absentee and by mail, and 57 votes were added through Saturday.

A grand total of 9,020 votes were cast through eight days of early voting with 6,539 Republican ballots cast, 2,366 Democrat ballots and 115 general-only ballots. 

Early voting will continue through July 28 at the Election Commission office at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy., Watertown Community Center at 8630 Sparta Pike, Gladeville Community Center at 95 McCreary Road and the Lighthouse Church at 6141 Saundersville Road in Mt. Juliet.

All of the locations will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., with the exception of the Lighthouse Church, which will close Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

All voters are required to show a Tennessee state or federally issued photo identification card to vote.

Winfree named top statesman

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News

Jennifer Franklin Winfree, a former Watertown teacher and current District 17 Republican Executive Committee committeewoman, was selected recently as statesman of the year for the Sixth Congressional District at the Tennessee Republican Party Statesmen’s Dinner. Winfree, a Wilson County native, currently lives in DeKalb County. Winfree (left) is pictured with Congresswoman Diane Black.

Civics 101: The duties of Wilson County mayor

Editor’s Note: The following story is part of a series of stories designed to educate voters on what each elected office does – and in some cases, doesn’t do – for the people of Wilson County.

The role of Wilson County mayor is one of the more recognizable positions within county government, but by definition, there are specific roles the county mayor has in government.

According to state law, “The county mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the county and shall have all the powers and duties formerly exercised by the county judge, county chair or elected official exercising general supervision of the county government as provided by state law, other general laws, special, local or private acts.”

According to Wilson County Finance Director Aaron Maynard, the Wilson County mayor “fills in the cracks” in a way by exercising authority over county organizations that do not already have an elected official that presides over them. For instance, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office has a sheriff that’s elected to run the department, however, the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency does not have an elected director. Therefore, the county mayor appoints a director for that department.

The mayor also serves as a nonvoting member of the county commission. During Wilson County Commission meetings, the mayor will present items from the agenda to the commissioners, but will not vote on them. It is also the mayor’s responsibility to recommend appointees to committees for the full commission’s vote.

The biggest role of the county mayor is to act as a leader in all aspects of county government. The county mayor usually serves as chairman of the county commission, as well, and in that role, it is the mayor’s responsibility to recruit candidates for subcommittees. The mayor also has to meet with other elected county officials to ensure everyone works toward the same goals.

By the time a resolution reaches the commission, it has already passed through a subcommittee, where members recommended by the mayor discuss and approve it.

Maynard estimated an elected county mayor spends an average of 60 hours per week on the job to fulfill the various duties.

On Aug. 2, Wilson County voters will elect a mayor for the next four years. Incumbent Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto since 2010 will face former state Sen. Mae Beavers. Early voting begins July 13 and ends July 28.

The last day to register to vote in the Aug. 2 election is July 3. Residents can register online at wilsonvotes.com or call the election office at 615-444-0216.

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Shout out to emergency service workers

wanted to take a moment to talk about emergency service workers and the great job they do for our county. These are the dedicated men and women who patrol our streets, protect our homes and give us medical treatment and care when we need it. In other words, you can think of them as our guardian angels.

Kenny Martin, City Manager,
Mt. Juliet

In our great county, we have many wonderful men and women working to keep us safe. We have the Mt. Juliet police and Fire departments, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon police and fire departments, Watertown police and fire departments and The Wilson County Emergency Management Agency. The are agencies filled with professionally trained and dedicated men and women sworn to protect and serve not only the citizens of Wilson County, but those that visit and patronize our great county and cities, as well.

You may say to yourself, it sure seems like he’s bragging about emergency service workers and you’d be right. I am proud and appreciative of each and every one on these fine agencies and the men and women who serve.

Our county is truly blessed to have such fine agencies and personnel looking after our wellbeing and safety. Having the peace of mind knowing that my family and I are not only well protected by these fine men and women, but also well represented makes me more than proud to call Wilson County home.

In closing, please take time to get to know an emergency services worker. Tell them how much you appreciate what they do. And as always, please pray for them and our wonderful soldiers serving our great country. They and their families need our constant support and prayers. God bless you all for the many sacrifices you make on our behalf.

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.

June 27

Storytime at the Library

10 a.m.

Mrs. Nancy will read to young children on Wednesday, June 27 at 10 a.m. at the Lebanon-Wilson County Public Library. This program is recommended for children ages 5 and under. The library is located at 108 S. Hatton Ave. in Lebanon. Call 615-444-0632 for more information.

Flower Decorating at the Library

10 a.m.

The Watertown-Wilson County Public Library will welcome a hands-on flower decorating workshop Wednesday, June 27 at 10 a.m. The event is part of the library’s summer reading program. The library is located at 206 Public Square in Watertown. Call 615-237-9700 for more information.

God and Country Rally

7 p.m.

The God and Country Rally will be Wednesday, June 27 at 7 p.m. at the Wilson County Veterans Plaza on East Main Street in Lebanon. It’s sponsored by Music City Baptist Church at 7104 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. There will be patriotic music, a stirring message and a time to honor past and present members of the military. For more information, call 615-491-2073.

June 28

Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency at the Library

10 a.m.

The Lebanon-Wilson County Public Library will welcome the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency on Thursday, June 28 at 10 a.m. only as part of the summer reading program. This program is designed for children of all ages. The library is located at 108 S. Hatton Ave. in Lebanon. Call 615-444-0632 for more information.

Mr. Rich Super Science at the Library

10 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet-Wilson County Public Library will welcome Mr. Rich Super Science on Thursday, June 28 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The event is part of the library’s summer reading program and will take place in the children’s area at the library, 2765 N. Mt. Juliet Rd. in Mt. Juliet. Contact amy.mj@wilsoncolibrary.org or jerekay.mj@wilsoncolibrary.org or call the library at 615-758-7051.

Watertown Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours

5:30 p.m.

Vance Law Office will be featured as a business of the month Thursday, June 28 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the office at 224 W. Main St. during the Watertown Chamber of Commerce business after hours. Refreshments will be served.

Gen. Robert H. Hatton Camp No. 723 Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting

7 p.m.

The Gen. Robert H. Hatton Camp No. 723 Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m. at the Cato Industrial Building at 212 S. Maple St. in Lebanon. Brenda Jackson-Abernathy with Belmont University will present the program on “Adelicia Acklen and the Great Cotton Rescue of 1864.” Jackson-Abernathy is professor of history and department chair at Belmont University. She is a well-known and published author, and much of her research focuses on 19th century American women, particularly in the eras of the Civil War and expansion into the American West.

Tennessee Sixth Congressional District Tea Party meeting

7 p.m.

The Tennessee Sixth Congressional District Tea Party will meet Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m. in the School House at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.  Bobbie Patray, state president of the Tennessee Eagle Forum, will be the guest speaker and will speak on present topics of the General Assembly. Patray is a pro-family and conservative values advocate and a political activist for 40 years.  Refreshments will be served. For more information, call chairman Rob Joines at 615-305-5455.

Audience of One presents “Seussical Junior”

7 p.m.

Audience of One productions will present “Seussical Junior” on Thursday, June 28 and Friday, June 29 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 30 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon. Tickets are $20 for adults and $13 for children 3-11 years old and seniors 60 and older. To buy tickets or for more information, visit capitoltheatretn.com.

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, meets 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.

June 29

615 Rocks at the Library

10 a.m.

The Watertown-Wilson County Public Library will welcome rock decorators, 615 Rocks for a rock painting workshop on Friday, June 29 at 10 a.m. The event is part of the library’s summer reading program. The library is located at 206 Public Square in Watertown. Call 615-237-9700 for more information.

Audience of One presents “Seussical Junior”

7 p.m.

Audience of One productions will present “Seussical Junior” on Friday, June 29 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 30 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon. Tickets are $20 for adults and $13 for children 3-11 years old and seniors 60 and older. To buy tickets or for more information, visit capitoltheatretn.com.

June 30

Honor Ride for Veterans

8 a.m.

The sixth annual Honor Ride for Veterans will be Saturday, June 30 with registration at 8 a.m. and kickstands up at 10:30 a.m. at Fiddlers Grove at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center at 945 E. Baddour Pkwy. in Lebanon. It will feature entertainment, food vendors, and all motorcycles and riders will be welcome. The cost is $25 per rider and $10 per passenger and will include a T-shirt. For more information, call 615-444-2460.

Play Day Kids Expo

11 a.m.

The Play Day Kids Expo will be Saturday, June 30 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Charlie Daniels Park in Mt. Juliet. It will be a fun day for all ages.

Audience of One presents “Seussical Junior”

1 p.m.

Audience of One productions will present “Seussical Junior” on Saturday, June 30 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon. Tickets are $20 for adults and $13 for children 3-11 years old and seniors 60 and older. To buy tickets or for more information, visit capitoltheatretn.com.

Gladeville Political Rally

2 p.m.

The Gladeville Political Rally will be Saturday, June 30 at 2 p.m. at the Gladeville Community Center. Homemade ice cream and cakes will be served while voters listen to the candidates. For more information, call Mabel Beazley at 615-243-2664 or Debbie Ray 615-604-5736.

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.

July 2

Wilson County Budget Committee meeting

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Budget Committee will meet Monday, July 2 at 5 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Lebanon Planning Commission meeting

5 p.m.

The Lebanon Planning Commission will meet Monday, July 2 at 5 p.m. in the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

July 3

Wilson County Budget Committee meeting

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Budget Committee will meet Tuesday, July 3 at 5 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Cable TV Committee meeting

5:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Cable TV Committee will meet Tuesday, July 3 at 5:30 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

July 5

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, July 5 at 7:45 a.m. at the JECDB office at 200 Aviation Way, Suite 202, in Lebanon.

– Staff Reports

Lynn announces re-election bid to state House of Representatives

Staff Reports

State Rep. Susan Lynn recently announced her re-election plans for the House District 57 seat in the August primary. 

“As representative, I have worked hard every day to help our district,” Lynn said. “I am a conservative Republican, so that is how I vote, but party has never mattered to me when it comes to helping the people who live in our district. Responding to your emails, phone calls and needs is more than a duty, it is my mission and one of the greatest privileges of my life. Today, I announce that I am seeking re-election to the state House in order to continue my mission of public service.”

Susan Lynn

Lynn said she is proud to uphold Jeffersonian principles such as limited government, states’ rights, free enterprise and Constitutional freedoms. She touted her endorsements, including Tennessee Right to Life, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Tennessee Professional Firefighters and the Tennessee Realtors Legislative Fund. 

“I remain faithfully pro-Second Amendment, and I am consistently “A” rated,” Lynn said.

“Two years ago, I promised to use the budget surplus to cut taxes and improve our roads, and that is just what we did. The IMPROVE Act cut the food tax, factory taxes, eliminated the Hall income tax and cut property taxes for disabled veterans and low-income seniors; it also provided TDOT funding so that today, we have $108 million in road projects occurring in Wilson County, including State Route 109, State Route 141, Interstate 40 and many others.”

Lynn said she is a public servant rather than a politician.

“I focus on results, not rhetoric,” she said. “I am very proud of my record as a proven conservative representative.” 

Lynn said in total since elected in 2012, she voted for $740 million in tax cuts while dramatically increasing education funding. She said Tennessee has remained the number one state for job growth for six years running. 

“Our economic reforms have grown our economy, and our state government reforms generated a huge budget surplus of unspent tax dollars,” Lynn said. “By focusing on these two areas of reform, we have been able to provide Tennesseans with tax cuts and improve roads and education.” 

Lynn said she is proud of the dollars used to increase education funding by $1.3 billion; fully funding the BEP, teacher pay and insurance, school health and safety and career and technical education. She also said she voted to eliminate Common Core and quickly address the TNReady issues.

“Because of our excellent teachers, the hard work of our students and the additional financial support from the legislature, Wilson County Schools are among the top in the state,” Lynn said. “Today, Tennessee has the fastest-improving test scores and graduation rates in the nation.” 

Additionally, she said the governor and legislature allocated $30 million to school safety during the past session.

Lynn also touted the responsible use of the $2 billion surplus, which restored funds taken from TDOT long ago, replenished the rainy-day fund, kicked off the road projects in the IMPROVE Act and addressed a backlog of badly needed capital maintenance and improvement projects for state properties.

An initiative she spearheaded this session was the Congressional Prayer Caucus’ “National Motto Bill.” With its passage, the national motto – “In God We Trust” – will be displayed in schools across Tennessee. 

Wilson County has not only benefitted from increased road funding, but it has also received $13 million in economic and community development aid; $2.5 million for parks; $900,000 in multimodal access grants; and $390,000 in litter grants. “Infrastructure improvements provided by these funds bring us jobs and a better life,” Lynn said. “As a result, this year and over the last few, 21 new major employers have located in Wilson County, generating a $450 million in total investment.

“I ask for the honor of your vote in order to serve you again in the Tennessee General Assembly. I have truly done my best every day to be the most effective, attentive and responsive legislator, and that will never change.”

Lynn is chairman of the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee, member of the House Finance Ways and Means Committee and the House Ethics Committee. She was elected by her peers to the Fiscal Review Committee and appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam to the state Workforce Development Board and to the board of directors of Launch Tennessee. 

She and her husband, Michael, have been married for 34 years. They live on Green Harbor Road. They are members of First Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet. They have two adult children, Master Sgt. Michael Lynn Jr. and Grace Douchette, and six grandchildren. Lynn has a bachelor’s degree in economics and works as a financial analyst.

For more information about Lynn and her campaign, visit susanlynn.us.

County OKs several budget amendments

Commissioners transfer money to other funds to cover repairs, other items

The Wilson County Commission approved several budget amendments at its monthly meeting last Monday night.

County commissioner and Wilson County Budget Committee chair Mike Justice brought the nine proposed budget amendments to the commission after the budget committee recommended approval for each of them. Each was passed unanimously.

• The first budget amendment was a resolution to amend the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget for the Ag Center. The request was to transfer $34,000 from the fund balance to the other equipment section of the budget.

• The second budget request was to transfer $5,000 from the fund balance to the other contracted services portion of the budget.

•  The third request was a transfer of $9,000 from the general fund to county buildings to buy heating and air conditioning equipment.

• The fourth request was a request to transfer $10,413 from the clerk and master data fee reserve into the clerk and master fund for office equipment.

• The fifth request was to make line item transfers into the general debt service fund. The total money transferred for debt was $364,991.19.

• The sixth request was to appropriate $65,000 of funds meant for recreation to appropriate Wilson County organizations. The commission voted to give funds to the Wilson County Civic League, Tuckers Crossroads Recreation and Community Club, Mt. Juliet Youth Sports, Cumberland University baseball, Greenvale Community Center, Lebanon Youth Baseball, Norene Community Center, Leeville FCE Community Club, Lebanon Lions Babe Ruth League, Mt. Juliet League, Inc., Statesville FCE Community Club, Gladeville Community Center, West Wilson Basketball Association, Statesville Grange, Wilson County Special Olympics, Lebanon Girls Softball Association and County Buildings and Maintenance.

• The general purpose school fund budget and central cafeteria fund budget amendments for the upcoming fiscal year were approved.

• The commission adopted a resolution that established the 2017-2018 property tax rates will remain the rates for the county until a new 2018-2019 appropriation resolution is adopted.

County Commissioner Sara Patton read a proclamation that honored a group of Watertown High School students who qualified for a national Future Business Leaders of America competition.

Hannah Josey, Amanda Stanley, Kent Jones, Landry Williams, Sydney Murrell, Lenora Upchurch, Kassidy Parisher and Neel Reeves all placed first in the state competition in their respective categories to qualify for the national competition.

Ella Williams and Nathan Holcomb are the FBLA sponsors at Watertown High School, and Williams’ husband, Jay, also agreed to help chaperone the students when they go on the trip to nationals. 

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

What do statewide candidates say about health care?

According to Think Tennessee’s State of Our State dashboard, the state ranks near the bottom in the number of adults with heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. It also ranks near the bottom of all states for the health of senior citizens, infant mortality, number of adults who smoke, and at the absolute bottom in childhood obesity. Tennesseans are, on the whole, not healthy. What can and should our next political leaders do about it? Each of the major candidates for governor and U.S. Senate were asked to tell our readers about their views on infrastructure investment.

Gubernatorial Candidates

Diane Black

Diane Black

As a career nurse, health care has been a passion of mine for my entire life. Our current system is broken. I have the right experience to fix it.

The next governor must have a plan for rural healthcare.  I propose making our county health departments the hub of care for rural Tennessee and the access point to telehealth. Our county health departments should function as a primary care provider with a system that provides health care based on ability to pay.

In addition, rural counties need more doctors. I propose Fast-Track MD programs with reduced tuition in exchange for a commitment of becoming a doctor in a rural county.

In the recent past, Tennessee had a much better healthcare system.  But we were the first state in the nation to have Obamacare — it was an older version of TennCare, which was designed by Hillary Clinton and it destroyed our system. Before TennCare, we had a system that was much more efficient at meeting the needs of our communities.  We can bring it back and improve upon it.

Randy Boyd

Randy Boyd

There are several key opportunities we have to improve the health of our citizens.  First, on day one I will begin negotiations with the federal government for a block grant to our Medicaid program. We need a program for Tennesseans designed by Tennesseans, and we can do better than a one size fits all mandate from Washington.

I also believe there is too much discussion about what to do when we are sick, and not enough focus on getting healthier.  With Tennessee ranking in the bottom of nearly every health metric — while remaining low in income levels — we simply cannot afford the health we have.

However, we can fix this. 

At my company, after eight years of comprehensive health programs, health insurance claims were reduced by 19 percent last year – it can be done. In our schools, we can increase exercise opportunities for students and provide education opportunities about good health.

There is also a need for more primary care doctors in our rural communities. We can solve this is by partnering with medical schools to offer greater residency programs in rural, underserved areas.

Additionally, we must also be better consumers of healthcare. Imagine a marketplace where no consumer ever asks the price, and no provider knows the price they are charging. By bringing more accountability, transparency and consumerism into the market, we can maintain quality and reduce costs. 

Finally, we must bring a heightened focus on mental health and addiction. These are often the roots of many problems. We must make smart investments in treatment and recovery centers, appropriate mental health centers, and in-school counselors.

If we do these things, we can see a transformation in the health of Tennesseans.

Beth Harwell

Beth Harwell

I think the two biggest keys to improving our population’s health from the government’s standpoint are education and personal responsibility. It is not the role of the government to police things that people are eating or drinking on a daily basis, but what we can do is make sure that we are giving people the information they need to make healthy choices.

 We must make sure we are starting young, and are working to increase awareness about these issues among our students. There are ample opportunities in our schools to educate our kids about nutrition, healthy habits, regular activity and exercise. Often, what is taught to our children in school comes home to the parents as well.  

 We need to also raise awareness about preventative care. Chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes are much more treatable when caught early.  It is extremely important that our population understands the importance of regular check-ups and preventative care. We need to embrace new innovative technologies like telemedicine to ensure that more people have access to healthcare before these problems arise.

 Finally, we can look to other states, as well as the private market, to see what types of programs are working to improve these outcomes. Many health insurance companies have been exploring incentives for their customers to make sure they are taking advantage of preventative care options. Our own state employee insurance program has long offered lower premiums for making healthy choices, and hopefully the Trump administration will give us more flexibility with our TennCare program to explore these options as well.

Bill Lee

Bill Lee

There’s no doubt that we face a tsunami of lifestyle diseases in Tennessee. This includes issues such as heart disease, obesity and side effects related to smoking. It is a growing epidemic in Tennessee, and across the country as well. Thirty years ago, no state had more than 20% of its population that was overweight or obese. Today, no state is below 20 percent, and some are over 30 percent and inching up to 40 percent.

We are seeing this growth in part because our entire health care system is broken. We see skyrocketing costs every year for patients, providers and payers because there are no financial incentives to control them. The system does not provide options for patients to take stock of their healthcare and know how much it costs, and providers are not rewarded for addressing prevention and wellness. We have to fundamentally break through that mindset to focus less on just delivering healthcare and more on our overall health.

We’re doing this in my company. Health care premiums have gone up 19 percent and 29 percent in the last two years, and we decided we would institute some incentives for wellness, and costs are going down for those who participate because health care is not just for when we are sick. Health care includes daily choices in prevention as well.

As governor, I will lead an effort to promote smarter engagement in the health system that doesn’t focus on a top-down, government-first approach. Throughout this campaign, I have talked about the need to engage more in public-private partnerships with faith-based and non-profit communities. These organizations have their finger firmly on the pulse of what’s going on locally, and they often provide better solutions than creating another government program. 

 I chaired the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, and they have been aggressively trailblazing wellness innovations, providing opportunities for smoking cessation, obesity and diet management, and they have developed a major program in diabetes prevention. In Tennessee, we have an amazing natural resource in the form of our non-profit and faith community partners. Working with them more effectively is a great place to start in improving health in our state.

Karl Dean

Karl Dean

I firmly believe that our overall quality of life is directly linked to health. It plays a role in our state’s economic viability, productivity and educational outcomes for students.

We simply cannot afford the health we have.

As mayor of Nashville, we made the goal of improved health a focus of my administration. We championed healthy living by expanding access to parks, greenways and community centers.  We also built a state-of-the-art public health facility.

We created the “Walk 100 Mile” challenge, the Mayor’s 5K, the Mayor’s Field Day, invested sidewalks, bike paths, established a new bicycle program, and added more parks, greenways, and community centers.

As an adult, we know the results of unhealthy behaviors, but children do not. We need to equip our schools and teachers with the resource they need to teach our kids how to live healthy lifestyles.

Encouraging preventative care is one of the smartest, most cost-effective things we can as a government to improve the health of our community.

Additionally, one of my top priorities as governor will be to make sure every Tennessean has access to affordable healthcare. Those who do not have insurance generally will not get check-ups, so it is that much harder for physicians to advise on healthy choices and catch illnesses early.

Craig Fitzhugh

Craig Fitzhugh

As the numbers show, Tennessee has a long way to go to improve our individual and collective health.  This has not been a sudden occurrence, and while personal responsibility plays a large role in health, political leaders and policymakers have a part to play.  The first thing – as I have stated constantly in my legislative career and in my campaign for governor –is that we need to expand Medicaid.  It is a must. By expanding Medicaid we could keep our hospitals open, allowing people to see a doctor on a consistent basis, instead of health issues becoming an emergency. 

Screenings for blood pressure, cancer and diabetes would go a long way towards curbing our mortality numbers.  Testing for and educating people on their health (and teaching them how to prevent, control and treat chronic ailments) leads to longer lives and a better quality of life, and is also cost effective for the individual Tennesseans and our communities.

We have to educate our citizens on good food choices, curbing/eliminating tobacco use and making time for exercise. A great number of low-income areas are food deserts, where nutritious meal choices are very difficult or impossible to access, and in rural/suburban areas that are spread out and there are few public transportation options, they may not be able to get to grocery stores and doctors appointments.  Multiple studies have shown that food and medicine are areas that families and individuals cut back on when money is tight.  They may turn to lower cost fast food and cut medication in half or not fill prescriptions, thus making health issues worse.  We as policymakers must make sure we make healthy infrastructure choices – such as sidewalks, playgrounds and ball fields – available to our citizens.  By investing in our health, we are investing in Tennessee’s future.

U.S. Senate candidates

Marsha Blackburn

Republican

People must take ownership of their health, I continually work to make affordable healthcare accessible to all Tennesseans.

Improving education will assist in this effort.  As a young mom and President of the Middle Tennessee Lung Association Board, I developed programs to educate children about the dangers of smoking and to help adults who had begun to smoke and wanted to quit.  Then as a State Senator, I supported nutrition education for welfare recipients because it improves health outcomes for children. These programs yield better health habits.

In Congress, we continue to work on patient centered reforms. In 2016, we implemented the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, which Senator Alexander called the most important legislation of the year. It marked the move from a one-size-fits-all system to precision medicine for well care, chronic disease management, elder care, and seeking cures for vexing problems.  We can now better define healthcare, illness and disease issues in order to yield a better outcome.

We passed the SOFTWARE Act to expand opportunities for rural hospitals healthcare providers, access to telemedicine, tracking genetic information, and remote monitoring to patients who are homebound.  This marks the way forward as MHealth apps allow you to measure calories, track exercise, sleep, heart rate and other vitals.

Sadly, infant mortality has been an issue statewide, particularly in Memphis. We continue to improve prenatal education plus access to drug treatment and recovery programs for expectant mothers and babies born with addiction to ensure that mothers and children can stay in treatment and recovery programs.  The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 2.0, which I introduced, along with Senator Portman, will also provide necessary resources.

Further, we should expand Medicare Advantage for seniors because it provides more choice and options.

Expanding Health Savings Accounts, Association Health Plans and Across State Line purchase will allow Tennesseans more flexibility when it comes to their health insurance. These are provisions I will continue to support as your senator to give you more choice and options for achieving better health outcomes.

Philip Bredesen

Democrat

If you’re like me, when you hear something repeated enough times, you stop paying attention. It’s like that with statistics about the poor health of Tennesseans; we’ve all heard them enough times to block the message out.

But here’s a fresh way to look at our health. The average lifespan of a Tennessean right now is 76.3 years. Imagine for a moment that Tennessee is a country instead of a state. Where would the country of Tennessee rank among all the countries in the world? The answer is 50th. That’s just a number; what does it mean?

One of the things that it means is that Mexico ranks above Tennessee in average lifespan. If you live in Mexico–with its poverty, its far more primitive health care system, its drug gangs—you can still expect to live longer on average than you will in Tennessee. The same is true in Panama. Or Costa Rica. Or Albania.

The reasons for this are not rocket science. The big three killers in Tennessee are heart disease, respiratory disease and cancer. These are deeply linked to obesity and smoking. Tennessee ranks in the US Top 10 in both our smoking and obesity rates.

Changing our smoking, eating and exercise habits will be hard and personal responsibility will have to take the lead. Beyond personal responsibility though, there are many ways that the federal government can make a difference.

For example, the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins (think Lipitor) are inexpensive and have proven their ability to reduce heart attacks. And yet, extrapolating from national averages, there are about 850,000 Tennesseans who would meet the standard for taking statins, but who are not doing so. An effort to increase the use of statins through strategies such as eliminating copays or transitioning statins to over-the-counter (non-prescription) status could save many lives and health care costs as well.

Strategies like these are ones I want to work on in the US Senate, and I’m applying for the job.

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.

June 20

Hiring Event

9 a.m.

A hiring event will be Wednesday, June 20 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the American Job Center at 415 Tennessee Blvd. in Lebanon. Register online at jobs4tn.gov, bring a resume and two forms of identification. For more information, contact katrina.moss@tn.gov or call 615-494-4278.

Kidz Kamp at Fiddlers Grove

10 a.m.

Fiddlers Grove will offer its fourth-annual Kidz Kamp for children Wednesday, June 20 and Thursday, June 21 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. The cost is $35 per child, and lunch and snacks will be served both days. Children must be registered before a class to ensure the instructor has enough supplies to teach the class. Class sizes are limited so that each child may receive undivided attention. On the first day, campers will learn about Wilson County and Tennessee history, stories about famous people from Tennessee and the hardships forefathers endured. There will be fun and games, competition and awards for achievements. On the second day, campers will choose two of the favorite crafts they want to learn how to do and will work on each one during the day. At the end of the second day, they will be able to show off their handiwork. Parents may call 615-547-6111 to register a child by phone. For more information, follow Fiddlers Grove on Facebook.

Post Office Tour at the Library

10 a.m.

The Watertown-Wilson County Public Library will welcome Pat Ward with the post office Wednesday, June 20 at 10 a.m. The event is part of the library’s summer reading program. The library is located at 206 Public Square in Watertown. Call 615-237-9700 for more information.

Mt. Juliet Chamber Connection Luncheon

11:15 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce will hold its chamber connection luncheon Wednesday, June 20 from 11:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at Rutland Place. The guest speaker will be Pete Griffin, president of Musicians on Call, which brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in health care facilities. Registration is required at mjchamber.com.

Neon and Neon Remix Mobile Cafes Celebration

Noon

A celebration of the Lebanon Special School District’s Neon and Neon Remix mobile cafes and classrooms and STEM educator library donation from Amazon Fulfillment Center will be Wednesday, June 20 from noon until 2:30 p.m. at Don Fox Community Park in Lebanon. The event will feature free food and fun for the family.

June 21

Mt. Juliet Chamber Business Boost

7:45 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce will present its Business Boost on Thursday, June 21 from 7:45-10 a.m. at the chamber office. The guest speaker will be Lee Warren from Belmont University, who will discuss “negotiations in the workplace. Two continuing education units will be available. Online registration is required at mjchamber.com. The event will be free to members and $25 for non-members. Seating will be limited.

Musical Entertainer Jacob Johnson at the Library

10 a.m.

The Lebanon-Wilson County Public Library will welcome Jacob Johnson and his musical act on Thursday, June 21 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. as part of the summer reading program. This program is designed for children of all ages. The library is located at 108 S. Hatton Ave. in Lebanon. Call 615-444-0632 for more information.

Magician Bruce Amato at the Library

10 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet-Wilson County Public Library will welcome magician Bruce Amato on Thursday, June 21 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The event is part of the library’s summer reading program and will take place in the children’s area at the library, 2765 N. Mt. Juliet Rd. in Mt. Juliet. Contact amy.mj@wilsoncolibrary.org or jerekay.mj@wilsoncolibrary.org or call the library at 615-758-7051.

Kidz Kamp at Fiddlers Grove

10 a.m.

Fiddlers Grove will offer its fourth-annual Kidz Kamp for children Thursday, June 21 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. The cost is $35 per child, and lunch and snacks will be served both days. Children must be registered before a class to ensure the instructor has enough supplies to teach the class. Class sizes are limited so that each child may receive undivided attention. On the first day, campers will learn about Wilson County and Tennessee history, stories about famous people from Tennessee and the hardships forefathers endured. There will be fun and games, competition and awards for achievements. On the second day, campers will choose two of the favorite crafts they want to learn how to do and will work on each one during the day. At the end of the second day, they will be able to show off their handiwork. Parents may call 615-547-6111 to register a child by phone. For more information, follow Fiddlers Grove on Facebook.

Free Legal Help

4 p.m.

Attorney’s from the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will offer free legal help Friday, June 22 from 4-6 p.m. at the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce office at 149 Public Square in Lebanon. For more information, call 615-244-6610.

Women in the Lead Paint Party

6 p.m.

A Women in the Lead paint party will be Thursday, June 21 from 6-8 p.m. at Imagine That Art Studio at 404 N. Castle Heights Ave. in Lebanon. Participants may choose to pain a serving bowl or canvas, and adult beverages, including wine, will be served. The cost is $35 per person. RSVP to tonya@lebanonwilsonchamber.com.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5015 meeting

6 p.m.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5015 in Lebanon will meet Thursday, June 21 at 6 p.m. and on the third Thursday of each month in the Veterans Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. Any veteran who has been awarded a campaign medal or combat medal for any hostility is eligible for membership, verified by the veterans’ DD 214 Form. Presently, Post 5015 is having success in rebuilding its post and becoming active in district and local events. It is not a Lebanon post, but a countywide post. To learn more, contact Post Commander John Marshall at jtmarshall2@icloud.com; Senior Vice Commander Ken Kackley at hkenkjr@aol.com or Junior Vice Commander Harold W. Weist at grnmarine@tds.net.

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, meets 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.

Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club

7 p.m.

The Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club will meet Thursday, June 21 and each third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Fiddlers Grove Train Museum at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. This is an all-scale model railroad club. During the meeting, everyone will share their knowledge and introduce the hobby to folks new to the interest. The Train Museum has an extensive O-gauge layout and a small HO-scale layout with plans to expand the HO track. The club is open to anyone interested in model train railroads. For more information, contact Ron Selliers at trainslayer53@gmail.com.

June 22

Wilson Bank & Trust Tour at the Library

10 a.m.

The Watertown-Wilson County Public Library will welcome Wilson Bank & Trust Friday, June 22 at 10 a.m. The event is part of the library’s summer reading program. The library is located at 206 Public Square in Watertown. Call 615-237-9700 for more information.

Free Clothes Giveaway

2 p.m.

A free clothing giveaway will be Friday, June 22 from 2-6 p.m. and Saturday, June 23 from 7 a.m. until noon at Market Street Church of Christ at 502 E. Market St. in Lebanon. For more information, call Felecia Wharton at 615-444-8637.

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.

June 20

Lebanon Comprehensive Plan Task Force Committee meeting

9 a.m.

The Lebanon Comprehensive Plan Task Force Committee will meet Wednesday, June 20 at 9 a.m. in the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

Lebanon Urban Residential Design Committee meeting

3 p.m.

The Lebanon Urban Residential Design Committee will meet Wednesday, June 20 at 3 p.m. in the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

Lebanon Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meeting

4 p.m.

The Lebanon Housing Authority Board of Commissioners will meet Thursday, June 20 at 4 p.m. at the Upton Heights administrative office.

June 25

Lebanon Special School District Board of Education meeting

8 a.m.

The Lebanon Special School District Board of Education will meet Monday, June 25 at 8 a.m. at the central office at 397 N. Castle Heights Ave.

Mt. Juliet City Commission meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet City Commission will meet Monday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall at 2425 N. Mt. Juliet Road. A public hearing will be at 6:15 p.m.

June 26

Lebanon Planning Commission meeting

5 p.m.

The Lebanon Planning Commission will meet Tuesday, June 26 at 5 p.m. in the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

– Staff Reports

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs…missing

It’s a common sight during an election year to see thousands of political signs throughout Wilson County, but many become casualties in an ongoing battle to get candidates’ names out there.

For both new and seasoned candidates alike, the reality of missing signs during a campaign continues to create problems – among them cost, supply and demand, those victims of cities  sign ordinances, theft, vandalism and other issues.

For businessman Tim Leeper, owner of Leeper Roofing, his venture into political support this year resulted in one of his signs stolen. He placed a political sign near his Mt. Juliet office on Lebanon Road in front of Tractor Supply close to the Davidson County line.

“There were three signs that were right next to it, and those signs remain,” Leeper said. “It’s frustrating because we want to support the candidate who will do the best job for the county. In this case, it was the mayor.

“I placed it to the side, so it would be visible. It’s pretty frustrating that people would stoop to that level to steal someone’s sign. I know it’s something that happens quite a bit, but it’s never happened to me.”

The sign Leeper said was stolen was in support of Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, who seeks his third term as mayor. Hutto said it’s par for the course – but it shouldn’t be.

“I think that No. 1, we have a lot of people putting out signs,” Hutto said. “It takes a lot of time to put them in the ground and get them in the right place, and when they are taken down, it’s tough.

“The second part of that, when your opponents’ sign is missing, you automatically get blamed for it. Knowing all the hard work that goes into it, you wouldn’t want your signs taken down, so you wouldn’t want your opponent’s signs taken down.

“A sign is a whole lot more than just a sign, you might say. I would hope no one’s sign gets gone.”

Hutto said he and his team of volunteers try to keep a watch out for missing signs and replace them when they go missing.

Hutto’s challenger in the mayor’s race is former state Sen. Mae Beavers. She took to Facebook recently to express her feelings about the 10-15 signs she’s noticed went missing in the past three weeks or so.

“We are missing a lot of signs in Lebanon, even big ones,” Beavers said on Facebook. “I will give a reward to anyone who gives us information leading to the arrest of the persons responsible. Play fair and run on the issues.”

Beavers said each sign costs $25 and more for larger ones. She said she’s seen signs missing from yards, along roadsides, etc. She said her husband, Jerry, also say several signs scattered along the interstate after the state mowed the right-of-way recently.

“I’ve been in this long enough to see all kinds of people do things like this,” Beavers said. “This has been going on for about three weeks now. It happens all the time, but it doesn’t make it easy, because candidates have a lot of money invested in signs…We’ve lost a lot of money on signs. I don’t want to speculate on who might be doing it.”

In the past two months, only one police report was filed in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and with the sheriff’s office. According to Lebanon police Sgt. P.J. Hardy, the sign was in support of Aaron Shane, a candidate who challenged state Rep. Susan Lynn for the District 57 House seat in the Republican primary. The sign was reported stolen at the intersection of Lebanon Road and State Route 109. Shane didn’t respond to The Democrat’s request for comment.

Melani Stephens owns Absolute Auto Repair at the intersection and often supports candidates by allowing them to post signs near her business.

“Usually, candidates will call me and ask to put their signs up here,” Stephens said. “If there’s a sign there from a candidate we don’t support, I’ll call them and ask them to remove their signs. I’ll give you ample opportunity to remove them, and then I’ll take them down and keep them so they can come pick them up within a reasonable amount of time.”

However, Stephens said she wasn’t responsible for Shane’s missing sign and indicated it likely was stolen from another corner of the intersection.

Lynn, who Shane challenged for House in the primary, said missing signs are something candidates come to expect during an election year.

“I think that the city of Mt. Juliet has taken a few, but that was because people just didn’t know [about the sign ordinance], but I don’t know of any that were taken out of anyone’s yard,” Lynn said. “You just have to factor in a certain amount of collateral damage, and signs are a part of it.”

Some political signs fall victim to city sign ordinances.

“They’re just prohibited in city rights-of-way, but during election season, in order to avoid charges of political favoritism or discrimination, I usually advise codes to take a very liberal position on enforcement,” said Lebanon city attorney Andy Wright. “If they’re causing any kind of issue or there’s a complaint or if there’s just too many of them in one place, then they’ll be removed.”

Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin also shared a Cliff’s Notes version of his city’s sign ordinance.

“Temporary signs in general are permitted on residential and commercial lots,” Martin said. “For safety and other reasons, we prefer that no signs be placed in the rights of way. This allows for our maintenance and utility crews to perform daily duties like mowing and utility work. It also helps reduce sightline issues often created by multiple signs being placed in the rights of way or on corners and intersections where motorists enter the main roads.”

Matt Mock, a newcomer to the Wilson County political scene this year, challenged incumbent Bill Robinson for the Wilson County Board of Education seat in Zone 2. Mock was a recent victim of missing political signs, and he also took to Facebook to express his displeasure.

This week, Mock pledged to sit in his vehicle at various locations where his signs went missing for two to three hours each day to look for anything suspicious.

Mock said Tuesday he had about four signs left before he would have to order more.

“I had 18 signs on Trousdale Ferry and down Highway 70; every one of my signs are gone,” Mock said. “Several of them in Tuckers Crossroads are gone.

“One of my signs was taken out of a sheriff’s deputy’s yard. I’m upset in the fact that someone has stolen from me. But I’m more concerned about someone’s safety.

“I honestly hope that one of the people in the other political camps would stoop to that level. I’m not going to speculate who I think it might be.”

Mock said the cost to replace the missing signs comes from his own pocket.

“I’m funding my own campaign, even though people have offered to buy me new signs. I don’t want to owe anyone anything if I am elected,” he said.

Robinson, who Mock challenged along with David Burks, said he was disgusted with the idea anyone would steal any candidate’s sign.

“There is no way I want anyone to bother anything of anyone else’s. I would never support that. That’s about as simple as I can put it,” Robinson said.

Burks couldn’t be reached for comment. 

Former Wilson County Property Assessor Jack Pratt, who decided four years ago not to seek re-election, summed up the missing sign conundrum for all candidates.

“The sign-stealing deal is an election-year given,” he said. “It’s just part of it.”

By Jared Felkins

jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com

Bush announces campaign for re-election as District 8 commissioner

Frank Bush

Frank Bush announced his candidacy for a fourth term as Wilson County commissioner for District 8.

The district broadly covers the territory from Old Hickory Lake on the north; Saundersville Ferry Road, Vanderbilt Road and North Green Hill Road on the east; Springmont Boulevard, Brookside Drive and Lakeshore Drive on the west; and Willoughby Station Boulevard on the south.

Bush has served the area since September 2006 when he ran to improve emergency services in the county. He maintains he has been the strongest conservative voice on the commission for fiscal responsibility and efficient, transparent ethical operations.

“Our largest expenditure in the county is for education, and I have been active in ensuring that there are sufficient funds to provide quality teaching,” Bush said. “In 2008 when the school district faced a $1 million shortfall in its budget, I discovered $1.3 million of excess funds in the sanitation fund, recommending that we transfer it to the education budget. This resulted in saving the jobs of teachers and coaches. 

“When teachers were unfairly terminated without any explanation my wife, Carol, made a presentation to the school board recommending significant change in these policies. Wasteful spending by the school district on school construction is a persistent issue. Accordingly, I have always recommended less money on brick and mortar and more funds for teacher salaries.

“I have always fought to fund essential services like fire and emergency response and will continue to make sure that our senior citizens are served rapidly and efficiently by ambulance and rescue services. I have supported improved public services, resulting in additional fire stations and school resource officers in every school to improve the safety of our students. Our ISO ratings have improved and reduced the property insurance premiums for every citizen.

“I believe in integrity and transparency in government, which contributed to my appointment as the first chairman of the Wilson County Ethics Committee and the first chair of the Wilson County Audit Committee. I have fought against the conflicts of interest that erode trust in government; this persistence leading to the state government response of tighter restrictions on conflicts. 

“I have always been independent throughout my 10-year tenure as commissioner.  This permits objectivity in decisions affecting our community. My opponent is an employee of the county.

“I advocate balanced budgets and will fight to improve the budgeting and financial planning functions of the county. Against my counsel and corresponding vote, the commission voted to increase the property tax on every home two years ago. This was unnecessary and put unused funds into the county bank account at the expense of our senior citizens who are on a fixed income.

“In the final analysis, I believe elected officials must be objective and without conflicts of interest, must be fiscally conservative and spend citizens’ money more carefully than even their own and be fair to all their constituents.

“I understand business and cost control, the benefit of 10 years as a banker and 20 years as a chief financial officer for multiple international software companies. As a successful leader, I created my own travel service company and built it for 10 years, ultimately selling it to a publicly traded company.”

Bush has earned multiple awards and licenses during his public and private career, including the 2014 Freedom Award for conservative local leadership. As a financial professional, he earned the Series 7 and Series 66 securities licenses and has advised many families on financial planning.

Bush attended Yale University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he earned a master’s degree in business administration in finance. As a young man, he was active in Boy Scouts and earned the highest honor of Eagle Scout.

“Carol and I have lived in District 8 for 18 years. I believe in the high calling of public service and voting. I look forward to continue serving the citizens of Wilson County for the next four years,” Bush said.

Bush is challenged by Kevin Costley for the District 8 commissioner’s seat in the Aug. 2 Wilson County General Election. Early voting will be July 13-28.

Staff Reports

Campaign fund complaint against Beavers dismissed

Mayoral candidate cleared of wrongdoing after questions arose about money transfers

Mae Beavers

The Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance dismissed a complaint filed in April regarding Wilson County mayoral candidate Mae Beavers’ campaign fund transfers.

The complaint questioned Beavers’ financial disclosures, which showed a movement of funds between several accounts associated with the former gubernatorial and current Wilson County mayoral candidate.

Drew Rawlins, Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance executive director, said the board reviewed the movement of funds and determined June 13 “the contributions that were made to Mrs. Beavers’ mayoral campaign that were not allowable had been returned to the PACs.”

“There was a $1,000 discrepancy that was found after we began to review, but it was since returned, as well,” Rawlins said.

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.

Financial disclosures filed with the state showed 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.”

Rawlins said the campaign fund transfers did take place, but the money was returned to the original PACs within a day or two before the complaint was received.   

“I don’t want to speak for the board, but I believe the board made that determination based on the fact that an error had been made,” Rawlins said. “We send letters to candidates when we discover an error has been made all the time to get it corrected. I think the board’s vote to dismiss it was based on the fact it had been corrected.”

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.

By Jared Felkins

jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com

City OKs Station North plans

Commissioners also honor Rehab 23 for keeping responders safe

The Mt. Juliet City Commission voted on second reading to approve the Station North preliminary master development plan by a vote of 3-2 at its June 11 meeting.

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 continued to argue against the plan. In the first meeting, he had an issue with the development referred to as “transit oriented.”

“The first thing 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.”

District 3 Commissioner Art Giles joined Abston in the argument against the development.

“Obviously, I’m still against this project,” said Giles. “Anyone that I’ve talked to, I was at one HOA meeting. There were about five in the pact who were open to it. Everyone else was openly opposed to this.”

District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice argued for the development as positive growth for the city.

“I spent the biggest portion of my time on this city commission fighting growth,” said Justice. “I’d stand up and scream to high heavens trying to stop it from coming to my district. Somewhere along the way, I finally figured out that not all growth is bad growth, and we’re never going to stop people from coming to our city.”

The ordinance passed with Giles and Abston voting against it.

Also at Monday’s meeting, City Manager Kenny Martin honored the members of Rehab 23 and issued a proclamation that declared June 11, 2018 as “Rehab 23 Day.”

“Every event that we go to, be it police, be it fire, after hours, weekends, whatever, these folks are the ones who are providing important resources like water, food, sometimes loving words,” said Martin. “It’s one thing to care when you’re getting paid for something, but when you show up because you care, that’s tremendous, and I don’t think you can say thank you enough.”

Rehab 23 is a volunteer organization that provides first responders with relief from hot or cold temperatures, rest and recover, cooling or warming, re-hydration, calorie and electrolyte replacement, as well as medical monitoring.

Rehab 23 provides a vehicle for medical monitoring, which allows ambulances on-site to remain uncontaminated.

“When a firefighter or a first responder steps into that ambulance, it’s contaminated,” said Rehab vice president 23 Linn Yeager. “When it’s contaminated, you have to go back and go through the process to clean it, and that is not something that is quick. This allows them to use their ambulances and still get help when they need it.”

Rehab 23 is a volunteer organization, and Yeager said it’s always looking for more volunteers to respond to emergency scenes, particularly in the central and eastern portions of the county. The organization uses attorney Jennifer Porth and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to vet potential volunteers.

For more information about Rehab 23, visit rehab23.org.

The commission also discussed several other issues at its meeting, including:

• an ordinance to annex Baird Farm Roadway into Mt. Juliet. The ordinance passed 3-2.

• an ordinance to limit the temporary commercial real estate sign within the city to a 90-day period, with an allowance for an additional 90-day period to be approved at the discretion of the zoning administrator. It passed unanimously.

• an ordinance to create an annual fire inspection fee program and fee schedule for Mt. Juliet. Mt. Juliet fire Chief Jamie Luffman proposed some of his crews do inspections on businesses in the county to make sure they are up to fire codes. The ordinance was deferred, pending further research on costs.

• an ordinance to end the city’s tuition reimbursement program for city government employees. It passed 4-1 with Justice voting against it.

• an ordinance to adopt the city budget, property tax rate and sewer rates. It passed unanimously.

• a resolution to annex a portion of South Rutland Road and the associated right-of-way that lies near Baird Farms into the city. The resolution passed unanimously.

• a resolution to appoint Dana Swinea as finance director after John Rossmaier retires. It passed unanimously.

• a resolution to declare a city hall vehicle, a 2012 Ford Fiesta, which has experienced maintenance issues, as surplus and sell the vehicle. It passed unanimously.

The Mt. Juliet City Commission will meet June 25 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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.

June 13

Storytime at the Library

10 a.m.

Mrs. Nancy will read to young children on Wednesday, June 13 at 10 a.m. at the Lebanon-Wilson County Public Library. This program is recommended for children ages 5 and under. The library is located at 108 S. Hatton Ave. in Lebanon. Call 615-444-0632 for more information.

Brown Bag Luncheon: New and Unusual Plants

11 a.m.

Wilson County’s horticulture extension agent, Lucas Holman, will continue his Brown Bag Luncheon series Wednesday, June 13 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center’s school exhibits building. This workshop, New and Unusual Plants, will cover new plants to put in the landscape and discuss why some shouldn’t be grown at all. Lunch is not provided, so participants are encouraged to bring their lunch. The workshop is free. Contact Holman at 615-444-9584 or lholman1@utk.edu with any questions.

Blood Drive

3 p.m.

An American Red Cross blood drive will be Wednesday, June 13 from 3-7 p.m. at Cumberland Presbyterian Church at 522 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. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Mount Olivet Baptist Church Vacation Bible School

5:30 p.m.

Vacation Bible school will be Wednesday, June 13 through Friday, June 15 from 5:30-9 p.m. and Saturday, June 16 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Mount Olivet Baptist Church at 7463 Hickory Ridge Road in Mt. Juliet. A free meal will be served to attendees each evening, and a cookout will be June 16 at 3 p.m. To register or for more information, visit mtolivetbaptist.com.

Cedars of Lebanon Primitive Baptist Church Revival

7 p.m.

Revival will be Wednesday, June 13 through Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at Cedars of Lebanon Primitive Baptist Church, featuring Pastor Elder Cornelius Hill with Ephesians Primitive Baptist Church, who will preach.

June 14

Magician Bruce Amato at the Library

10 a.m.

The Lebanon-Wilson County Public Library will welcome Bruce Amato and his magic show on Thursday, June 14 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. as part of the summer reading program. This program is designed for children of all ages. The library is located at 108 S. Hatton Ave. in Lebanon. Call 615-444-0632 for more information.

Music City Mingle

Noon

The RedStar Pilots Association will present the Music City Mingle from Thursday, June 14 through Sunday, June 17 at the Lebanon Municipal Airport. Pilots from across the nation will fly World War II-era Chinese and Russian aircraft and conduct a training clinic. They will perform military-style tactical aerial maneuvers from the surface to about 5,500 within a 12-15-mile radius of the airport. While the event is not an air show, the public is invited to watch. Gates will open at about noon each day to allow for photos and views of the aircraft.

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, meets 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.

June 15

Preemie Quilt Workshop

9 a.m.

A preemie quilt workshop will be Friday, June 15 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Gentry Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. Participants will learn how to make a preemie quilt and leave with a finished product to enter in the Wilson County Fair. Those quilts are donated to neonatal intensive care units. Fabric, machine and other items will be provided. RSVP to Shelly Barnes at sbarnes@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

Lebanon Relay for Life

6 p.m.

The Lebanon Relay for Life, Give Cancer the Boot, will be Friday, June 15 from 6 p.m. until midnight at the west lawn of Wilson Bank & Trust at 623 W. Main St. in Lebanon. The event will raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Wilson County CASA 30th Anniversary Celebration

6 p.m.

Wilson County Court-Appointed Special Advocates will hold its 30th anniversary celebration to honor Linda Schenk on Friday, June 15 at 6 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon. Tickets are $50 each or $350 to sponsor a table. The event will feature a cash bar, dinner and band. For ticket information, call 615-443-2002.

International FolkFest

7 p.m.

International FolkFest, featuring dance groups from around the world, will be Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at Winfree Bryant Middle School at 1213 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. Tickets are $10 per person. For more information, visit mboro-international-folkfest.org.

June 16

Rockabilly Car Show

8 a.m.

The Rockabilly Car Show will be Saturday, June 16 with registration at 8 a.m. until noon and awards at 3 p.m. at the Watertown Square. For more information, call the GoodWheel Cruisers Car Club at 615-604-3554 or the Tennessee Artist’s Guild at 615-697-5066. 

Free Grocery Giveaway

3 p.m.

Free groceries will be available Saturday, June 16 at 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Kids World Daycare on Cumberland Street in Lebanon. The event is sponsored by Life Church, open to everyone and completely free. Visit lifechurchfamily.com for more information.

Tennessee Democratic Party’s Three Star Dinner

6 p.m.

The Tennessee Democratic Party’s Three Star Dinner will be Saturday, June 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the Wilson County Expo Center at 945 E. Baddour Pkwy. in Lebanon. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. Individual tickets are $150, with additional sponsorships listed for as much as $2,500. For tickets and more information, visit tndp.org/2018-three-star-dinner.

June 18

Laguardo Baptist Church Vacation Bible School

6 p.m.

Vacation Bible school, themed Game On, will be Monday, June 18 through Friday, June 22 from 6-9 p.m. at Laguardo Baptist Church. Register at laguardobaptist.org or at the door.

Mt. Juliet Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee Monday Walk

6 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee will hold its Monday Walk on Monday, June 18 at 6 p.m. at Mt. Juliet City Hall. It’s a free event held on the third Monday of each month, and Mt. Juliet police officers provide oversight.

June 19

High School Equivalency Test

8 a.m.

The Wilson County Adult Education program will offer the high school equivalency test, formerly the GED, on Tuesday, June 19 at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Lebanon.  For information on taking the test, call 615-443-8731.

Super Science at the Library

10 a.m.

The Lebanon-Wilson County Public Library will welcome the Super Science show on Tuesday, June 19 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. as part of the summer reading program. This program is designed for children of all ages. The library is located at 108 S. Hatton Ave. in Lebanon. Call 615-444-0632 for more information. 

June 20

Mt. Juliet Chamber Connection Luncheon

11:15 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce will hold its chamber connection luncheon Wednesday, June 20 from 11:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at Rutland Place. The guest speaker will be Pete Griffin, president of Musicians on Call, which brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in health care facilities. Registration is required at mjchamber.com.

June 21

Mt. Juliet Chamber Business Boost

7:45 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce will present its Business Boost on Thursday, June 21 from 7:45-10 a.m. at the chamber office. The guest speaker will be Lee Warren from Belmont University, who will discuss “negotiations in the workplace. Two continuing education units will be available. Online registration is required at mjchamber.com. The event will be free to members and $25 for non-members. Seating will be limited.

Musical Entertainer Jacob Johnson at the Library

10 a.m.

The Lebanon-Wilson County Public Library will welcome Jacob Johnson and his musical act on Thursday, June 21 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. as part of the summer reading program. This program is designed for children of all ages. The library is located at 108 S. Hatton Ave. in Lebanon. Call 615-444-0632 for more information.

Free Legal Help

4 p.m.

Attorney’s from the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will offer free legal help Friday, June 22 from 4-6 p.m. at the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce office at 149 Public Square in Lebanon. For more information, call 615-244-6610.

Women in the Lead Paint Party

6 p.m.

A Women in the Lead paint party will be Thursday, June 21 from 6-8 p.m. at Imagine That Art Studio at 404 N. Castle Heights Ave. in Lebanon. Participants may choose to pain a serving bowl or canvas, and adult beverages, including wine, will be served. The cost is $35 per person. RSVP to tonya@lebanonwilsonchamber.com.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5015 meeting

6 p.m.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5015 in Lebanon will meet Thursday, June 21 at 6 p.m. and on the third Thursday of each month in the Veterans Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. Any veteran who has been awarded a campaign medal or combat medal for any hostility is eligible for membership, verified by the veterans’ DD 214 Form. Presently, Post 5015 is having success in rebuilding its post and becoming active in district and local events. It is not a Lebanon post, but a countywide post. To learn more, contact Post Commander John Marshall at jtmarshall2@icloud.com; Senior Vice Commander Ken Kackley at hkenkjr@aol.com or Junior Vice Commander Harold W. Weist at grnmarine@tds.net.

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, meets 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.

Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club

7 p.m.

The Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club will meet Thursday, June 21 and each third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Fiddlers Grove Train Museum at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. This is an all-scale model railroad club. During the meeting, everyone will share their knowledge and introduce the hobby to folks new to the interest. The Train Museum has an extensive O-gauge layout and a small HO-scale layout with plans to expand the HO track. The club is open to anyone interested in model train railroads. For more information, contact Ron Selliers at trainslayer53@gmail.com.

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.

June 14

Lebanon City Council work session

6 p.m.

The Lebanon City Council will meet in a work session Thursday, June 14 at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

June 18

Lebanon Sparta Pike Economic Study meeting

1 p.m.

A meeting to discuss the Lebanon Sparta Pike economic study will be Monday, June 18 at 1 p.m. in the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

Wilson County Commission public hearing

7 p.m.

The Wilson County Commission will hold a public hearing Monday, June 18 at 7 p.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse at 228 E. Main St. in Lebanon.

Wilson County Commission meeting

7 p.m.

The Wilson County Commission will meet Monday, June 18 at 7 p.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

June 19

Lebanon Planning Commission preliminary meeting

11 a.m.

The Lebanon Planning Commission will hold a preliminary meeting Tuesday, June 19 at 11 a.m. in the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

Lebanon City Council meeting

6 p.m.

The Lebanon City Council will meet Tuesday, June 19 at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave. A public hearing will be at 5:55 p.m.

June 20

Lebanon Comprehensive Plan Task Force Committee meeting

9 a.m.

The Lebanon Comprehensive Plan Task Force Committee will meet Wednesday, June 20 at 9 a.m. in the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

Lebanon Urban Residential Design Committee meeting

3 p.m.

The Lebanon Urban Residential Design Committee will meet Wednesday, June 20 at 3 p.m. in the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

June 25

Mt. Juliet City Commission meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet City Commission will meet Monday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall at 2425 N. Mt. Juliet Road. A public hearing will be at 6:15 p.m.

– Staff Reports

Kenny Martin: Character counts, and it stands out

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

Character is defined as a quality or trait that distinguishes an individual from others or a distinctive quality or trait. In other words, it’s a way of saying you have good moral and ethical beliefs.

Far too many people are placed in a positive light because of looks, money, stature and power. It begs the question, what really makes a person a good person? Are you a good person if you sing well, dance well or work hard? That only means you’re good at something. You’re probably asking, “OK, what does it take to be a good person?” It takes quite a few things to classify as a good person. You need faith, integrity, honor, dignity and good character.

Take a moment and think of someone with these qualities. As the old saying goes, they stick out like sore thumbs. They stand out, because they’re unique and dedicated as a good person. They go above and beyond on a regular basis for the good of their community, country and mankind.

It’s easy to be a thug, criminal, thief, liar, cheat or backstabber. But it’s tough to a good person. You’ll have people punishing you for speaking up for Christianity, pride for your country and looking out for your neighbor, while those who preach hatred and discontent go almost without an ounce of notice or resistance.

We have to convince our children, family, friends and fellow citizens of the importance of good character. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a good person. It doesn’t mean you’re a nerd if you don’t cuss, drink or do drugs. And it definitely doesn’t make you cheesy for believing in God. That only makes you stronger. But those who don’t have the same moral and ethical beliefs will do all they can to discredit your lifestyle.

In closing, don’t ever be ashamed of being just a plain good person with high moral and ethical beliefs. Right will always be right, and wrong will always be wrong.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Aug. 2 Wilson County elections sample ballot available online

Sample ballots for the Aug. 2 federal and state Republican and Democratic primaries and Wilson County General Elections were posted on the Wilson County Election Commission’s website at wilsonvotes.com.

The federal and state Republican and Democratic primaries will be for U.S. Senate, Sixth Distric U.S. Congress, governor, state Senate District 17, 46th and 57th state House of Representatives and Republican and Democratic state executive committee members for District 17.

The Wilson County General Election will include Wilson County mayor, all 25 county commissioners, trustee, sheriff, circuit court clerk, county clerk, register of deeds, all five constables, Wilson County Board of Education members for zones 2,4,6 and 7 and one Lebanon Special School District board member.

The ballot a voter receives at early voting or Election Day is determined by his or her residence. Voters who have moved since they last voted are encouraged to update their voter registration to ensure they are eligible to vote for candidates who are running to represent them. Registering to vote or changing an address may be done by visiting the Election Commission website at wilsonvotes.com or by visiting the Election Commission in person at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon.

Wilsonvotes.com provides access to the sample ballot, along with information about registering to vote, voting and many other election-related topics.

“Our website contains a wealth of information in a format designed to be easily used by voters, candidates or anyone interested in elections in Wilson County,” said Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren. “The site is kept current and relevant to make every visit worthwhile.”

With open seats in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and governor, as well as most other offices on the ballot contested, a large turnout is predicted for the Aug. 2 election. To avoid lines, the possibility of bad weather on Election Day or just for the sake of convenience, voters are encouraged to take advantage of early voting this summer. Early voting begins July 13 and ends July 28. There are five early voting sites throughout Wilson County open Monday through Saturday to give voters choices.

“Being familiar with the ballot and researching the candidates before going to vote is like practicing for a ballgame. When you’re prepared, it’s a breeze. Vote early at a site and time convenient to you and be informed,” said Warren.

“With five early voting sites, 14 days of early voting and having the ballot available on the website, we are offering the tools needed to make each voting experience the best it can be in Wilson County,” said Tammy Smith, assistant administrator of elections.

To learn more about elections, voting and how to get involved with Wilson County elections, contact the Wilson County Election Commission at 615-444-0216 or visit wilsonelections.com.

Staff Reports

Parents upset with attendance policy

Wilson County Board of Education plans to address changes at its Monday meeting

Some Wilson County parents are upset about proposed changes to the Wilson County Board of Education’s attendance policy, because the changes weren’t yet finalized in Thursday’s work session.

The updated policies, which were voted on in a first reading at Monday’s school board meeting, are an attempt to align the school system’s policies with recently passed state laws, according to Wilson County Schools communications director Jennifer Johnson.

“There’s not a change in the policy,” said Johnson. “The state has passed some laws that go into effect July 1. Every school district has or will incorporate this three-tier system. The Tennessee School Board Association put it together two days ago. We may go with that one or modify it. If we don’t go with theirs, we will pass something similar.”
According to the Tennessee School Board Association, Wilson County Schools is not a subscriber to its policies, so the local board can modify it.

Wilson County Schools attendance director Stan Moss said he received the Tennessee School Board Association’s three-tier attendance guidelines two days ago and planned to meet with Director of Schools Donna Wright on Monday before the board meeting to finalize its language for Wilson County Schools.

“It’s not like we’re trying to hide anything,” Moss said. “And it’s not just with our schools. This is happening with every school in Tennessee. What we’re trying to do is adhere to the state law and make it best for the students in Wilson County.”

The entire attendance policy, which was issued in 2004 and revised last year, said all children must attend school on days when school is in session. It also said parents or guardians who don’t adhere to this policy can be charged with a misdemeanor.

The proposed attendance policy changes remain the same as in the past, but adds all schools must use the three-tier policy as required by state law Gov. Bill Haslam signed two weeks ago that will go into effect July 1.

Moss outlined what the three tiers could look like when the policy is presented to the board Monday night, but he cautioned any or all of the information could change.

According to Moss, if a student reaches tier one, it would likely be due to three unexcused absences. A parent would be required to meet with the student’s school to review the situation and develop an attendance contract with a review date.

Moss said at tier two, which would likely be after five unexcused absences or if a parent is in violation of the school attendance contract, alternative actions such as counseling or community-based services for the parent could be considered and implemented. He said this could be due to potential alcohol or drug abuse, homelessness or any number of other unknown issues.

According to Moss, when a student reaches tier three or seven to 10 unexcused absences, it would likely be time to ask whether everything possible was done. He said a decision would likely be made as to whether to move forward with a petition for court or consider any other available options.

“What we are trying to do is encompass them with the resources we have within the schools, as well as in the community,” Moss said. “We wouldn’t do the truancy unless it’s absolutely necessary. We want these students to be with these great teachers we have. My job is to help people.”

Moss said programs like a federal 504 Plan or a chronic illness agreement – in cases where a student has a documented sickness or mental or physical health disability that causes the student to miss a significant number of days – would not apply, because it would serve as the necessary agreement between the school and parent.

Due to the lack of initial information released during Thursday’s school board work session, many parents were upset and took their frustration to the Parents of Wilson County Schools TN Facebook page.

The comments ranged from nurses who send students home without penalty to the child, to posts about a child who has a medical situation and may miss more than the allotted number of absences.
Parents of Wilson County TN Schools’ site administrator, Kristi Dunn, replied to the comments, referring to the policy as given to the school board members. She had not seen the proposed three-tier system.

“I think the biggest thing that bothers the parents is the vague language in the policy and the fact that the three-tier system has not been established or revealed to the public yet,” she said. “No one knows what that means or looks like or would be. It is concerning that we are having a first reading without the possibility of knowing what the three-tier system is.”

The board met Monday at 6 p.m. at the central office at 415 Harding Drive in Lebanon. A full recap of the meeting will appear in next week’s Mt. Juliet News.

By Angie Mayes 

Special to Mt. Juliet News

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 31

Celebrate Recovery

7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step recovery support group for overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits, meets 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.

June 1

Free Clothing Store

9 a.m.

The free clothing store will be open Friday, June 1 from 9 a.m. until noon at Life Church at 3688 Hwy. 109 in Lebanon. It will feature free breakfast, free clothing and more and will be open to everyone. For more information, visit lifechurchfamily.com.

Blood Drive

Noon

An American Red Cross blood drive will be Friday, June 1 from noon until 6 p.m. at the Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy. 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. Anyone who comes to donate blood or platelets through June 10 will receive a $5 amazon.com gift card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Real Fathers, Real Men Scholarship Banquet

6 p.m.

The Wilson County chapter of the Tennessee Tech University Alumni Association will hold the sixth-annual Real Fathers, Real Men scholarship banquet Friday, June 1 at 6 p.m. at the East-West Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center at 945 Baddour Parkway in Lebanon. The keynote speaker will be Harold Love Jr., who represents the 58th District in the state House of Representatives, chaplain of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and is the pastor of a Nashville church. Tickets for the event are $30 and available by calling Linda Barber at 615-804-8198, Evelyn McGregor at 615-512-8854 or Thomas Marks Jr. at 615-943-7963.

Encore Theatre presents ‘Doublewide Texas’

7:30 p.m.

Encore Theatre Co. will present the hilarious, fast-paced comedy, “Doublewide Texas,” written by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones and Nicholas Hope.

Directed by Michael Rex, the show will take the stage Friday, June 1, Saturday, June 2, Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. with matinees Sunday, June 3 and Sunday, June 10 at 2:30 p.m. at the theater. The house will open 30 minutes before show time. Tickets are on sale for $15 for adults and $12 for seniors 60 and older and youth 12 and younger. Visit encore-theatre-company.org, ticketsnashville.com or call 615-598-8950 for reservations. Encore Theatre is at 6978 Lebanon Road, just west of Highway 109 in Holmes Crossing in Mt. Juliet.

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.

June 2

Jere’s Ride

7 a.m.

Jere’s Ride, a bicycle ride to benefit Empower Me Day Camp, will be held Saturday, June 2 at 7 a.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. The event will feature three different rides for riders of various skill level and ages. There will be the 15-mile Elizabeth’s Ride, the 30-mile Brayden’s Ride and the 50-Mile Jere’s Ride. On-site registration for the even will begin Saturday at 6:30 a.m. The rides will begin at 7 a.m. Registration for the event is currently $40 and will include a T-shirt and meal. To register or for more information, visit jeresride.com.

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1004 Breakfast

7 a.m.

Chapter 1004 of the Vietnam Veterans of America will meet for breakfast Saturday, June 2 and the first Saturday of each month at 7 a.m. at Dairy Queen in Mt. Juliet.

Trousdale County High School All-Class Reunion

9 a.m.

The annual Trousdale County High School all-class reunion will be Saturday, June 2 at the high school on McMurry Blvd. in Hartsville. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. For more information, contact Tommy Rush at 615-451-0207 or tommyrush@bellsouth.net.

Goldwing Road Riders Association Motorcycle Chapter meeting

11 a.m.

The Lebanon Chapter of Goldwing Road Riders Association will meet Saturday, June 2 at 11 a.m. at Shoney’s Restaurant at 814 S. Cumberland St. in Lebanon. The group is open to all motorcycle makes and models. Anyone interested in riding motorcycles with two or three wheels and having a good time is welcome. For more information, call Andrew or Debbie Smith at 615-784-9772.

Encore Theatre presents ‘Doublewide Texas’

7:30 p.m.

Encore Theatre Co. will present the hilarious, fast-paced comedy, “Doublewide Texas,” written by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones and Nicholas Hope.

Directed by Michael Rex, the show will take the stage Saturday, June 2, Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. with matinees Sunday, June 3 and Sunday, June 10 at 2:30 p.m. at the theater. The house will open 30 minutes before show time. Tickets are on sale for $15 for adults and $12 for seniors 60 and older and youth 12 and younger. Visit encore-theatre-company.org, ticketsnashville.com or call 615-598-8950 for reservations. Encore Theatre is at 6978 Lebanon Road, just west of Highway 109 in Holmes Crossing in Mt. Juliet.

June 3

Do Re Me Gospel Music Academy

8 a.m.

The Do Re Me Gospel Music Academy, an intensive study with classroom, specialized group sessions and singing for 13 year olds and older will be Sunday, June 3 through Saturday, June 16 at the Do Re Me River Retreat at 275 Cedar Bluff Road in Hartsville. To register or find a family information packet, visit doremigospelmusicacademy.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 31

Lebanon Public Services and Transportation Committee meeting

3:30 p.m.

The Lebanon Public Services and Transportation Committee will meet Thursday, May 31 at 3:30 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

Wilson County Judicial Committee meeting

4:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Judicial Committee will meet Thursday, May 31 at 4:30 p.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse at 228 E. Main St. in Lebanon.

Wilson County Board of Education work session

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Board of Education will meet in a work session Thursday, May 31 at 5 p.m. at the central office at 415 Harding Drive in Lebanon.

Wilson County Ag Management Committee meeting

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Ag Management Committee will meet Thursday, May 31 at 5 p.m. in the Gentry Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.

– Staff Reports

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto announces bid for third term

Randall Hutto

Against a backdrop of accomplishments in the past eight years, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto announced his bid for a third term.

“I’m running for re-election because I enjoy helping people,” Hutto said. “We’ve accomplished a lot over the past eight years, including last year, when we balanced the general fund budget and achieved an AA+ bond rating. We looked as far back as we were able, and records indicate that this is the first time this has happened in our county’s history. Only six other counties in Tennessee have that rating. We worked hard at cutting the budget as much as possible and building up the fund balance.”

Wilson County’s fund balance has grown from less than $1 million in 2010, when Hutto first took office, to more than $8 million currently. During the same time, the county’s bond rating went from AA to AA with a positive outlook to the current AA+. The Wilson County Commission recently passed a resolution that prohibits spending below the fund balance without a two-thirds majority vote.

“We’ve been able to balance the budget, while providing the best service possible on the least amount of revenue. Our efforts to expand tourism in the county have been successful and have led to a significant increase in revenue from visitors, as well as an increase in our sales tax revenue as more people shop locally.  These factors have allowed us to be able to lighten the burden on property owners and generate a budget surplus to help Wilson County prepare for future growth,” Hutto said. “All of which has contributed to improving our education, public safety and quality of life – areas that will continue to be my top priority.

“We have been successful at creating more jobs and expanding economic opportunities across the county.  With the addition of more than 6,300 new jobs in our county, it has generated an additional $988 million in economic investments here.”

Leveraging his more than 25 years of administrative and teaching experience and building consensus in the community, Hutto has been able to work with the Wilson County Board of Education and Wilson County Commission to complete a school building program, provide every school with a school resource officer, increase the school board from five to seven members, and help the board of education fund its differentiated teacher pay plan, which helped to attract and retain quality teachers.

Before he was elected Wilson County mayor in 2010, Hutto served as assistant superintendent of schools for the Lebanon Special School District from 2003-2010 and was a teacher and coach at Lebanon High School from 1985-2002.

“Our effort to place an SRO in every school is a model for other Tennessee counties. In addition, the school renovations that were part of the progressed education building program, created a safety vestibule where someone can’t just walk into a school, but rather must go through the office. We currently have no portables, which increases safety, because students aren’t walking outside, to and from buildings,” Hutto said.

“Increasing teacher pay increased our teacher retention rate to 97 percent. The county pay plan has also enabled Wilson County to obtain and retain quality personnel across all areas of county government.”

Wilson County was able to get a Level 4 Insurance Services Office rating, because the county prioritized the importance of cross-trained emergency personnel, added three new Wilson County Emergency Management stations and converted an existing volunteer station to a live around-the-clock station.
“Not only have these public safety improvements helped lower response times for both rural and urban areas, but the Level 4 ISO rating saves Wilson County residents money on their homeowners’ insurance,” Hutto said.

Hutto said quality education and public safety services contribute to better quality of life for Wilson County residents, as well as a $2.5 million expansion to the Mt. Juliet Library, the Wilson County Veterans Museum and Park, Wilson County Expo Center and a new county parks board.

“The library expansion was very much needed in the Mt. Juliet area. We built the Veterans Museum and Park as a way to honor our veterans,” Hutto said.

“Prior to the Expo Center, many Wilson County residents traveled out of town to go to events. Now, the quality of life for folks in our communities is increased because we have the Expo Center holding a variety of events. It allows residents to attend events close to home and generates sales tax dollars that provide services to our citizens.”

In addition to his continued focus on education, public safety and quality of life, Hutto said he will increase transparency on the inner workings of local government and work with the Tennessee Department of Transportation on road improvements and future infrastructure, while recruiting more better-paying jobs.

“At the end of the day, my administration believes in four things. We believe investing in people will always yield the best return on investment. We strive for great customer service. We believe in giving back. And, we want to provide our residents with a great place to live, so you can do one of the most important things in life, and that’s spending time with your family,” Hutto said.

Hutto has received numerous awards, including certified public administrator degree, Greater Nashville Regional Council Maynard Pate Regional Leadership Award, Judge T.O. Bond Achievement Award, Nashville Business Journal Business Impact Award twice, Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Alumni Award and Wilsonian of the Year. He served as Metropolitan Planning Organization chairman, Greater Nashville Regional Council president and Four Lakes Regional Authority Organization chairman. Hutto is a graduate of Leadership Middle Tennessee and a former Lebanon Breakfast Rotary member.

Hutto graduated from Watertown High School and earned a bachelor of science degree from Middle Tennessee State University. Hutto also earned a master of education from Trevecca Nazarene University. He and his wife of more than 31 years, Paula, have three children, two of whom have earned degrees from Tennessee State University and Tennessee Technological University and one who is currently attending Tennessee Tech. The Huttos live in Lebanon and are members of Immanuel Baptist Church, where he is a deacon and teaches Sunday school.

The Wilson County mayoral election will be Aug. 2, with early voting from July 13-28. Hutto will face former state Sen. Mae Beavers in the mayoral race.

Staff Reports

Schools OKs Learning Center rate hike

Wilson County Board of Education  approves $60 increase for teachers with children

The Wilson County Board of Education voted to increase Learning Center rates at a special-called meeting last Wednesday night.

The board reached an impasse on the issue earlier this month after the district recommended to increase the Learning Center rates $60 per week per child starting July 1. At Wednesday night’s meeting, they approved the $60 increase after much discussion.

The new weekly rates for children up to 36 months will be $195, and $185 for children 37-60 months. The sibling discount will be $20.

Board member Wayne McNeese suggested using money from the general fund to fund the program for the 2018-2019 school year, although board attorney Mike Jennings, who was called to address the issue, said he couldn’t confirm the legality of the proposal.

McNeese argued because the program operated during school hours, not before or after, they should be able to legally fund it with money from the general fund.

“I can’t answer that question,” said Jennings. “If someone had brought this question to me a week ago, I could have researched it. But I don’t know the answer.”

Board member Bill Robinson agreed with McNeese’s proposal, and the two got as far as a motion and a second before the proposal was voted down 2-4. Robinson and McNeese were the only two to vote for the idea, with board member Gwynne Queener absent.

“To me, this whole issue, you know you look at our whole budget, you base it off revenue and expenditure,” said Robinson. “Ever since we started talking about this program, we’re saying this is a loss. You know, we’re losing this amount of money. To me, it all depends on your priorities. I’m in this business for our employees. I’m in this building for our children. It all comes down to priorities.”

When McNeese’s proposal was voted down, one teacher in the audience yelled at the board to stop making excuses, and a security officer escorted the teacher out of the building.

Director of Schools Donna Wright made her recommendation to the board based on a survey passed around to teachers. Wright’s recommendation was to raise the rate to $60 a week and keep all Learning Center sites open. The alternative option was to raise rates to $30 a week, but shut down four of the Learning Centers, including Carroll Oakland School and W.A. Wright, Mt. Juliet and Lakeview elementary schools.

McNeese said despite his insistence, he would not vote for a rate increase. If the alternative were to shut the program down, he would vote yes.

“I don’t have to like it, but I have to vote for it,” said McNeese.

Board member Johnie Payton said the issue was one of the hardest with which she ever had to deal.

“I visited at least eight schools the past two days, and this is the only thing that since I have been on the board in two years that has kept me awake and woke me up,” said Payton. “I’m 68-years-old, and I don’t like to wake up in my bed in the middle of the night. I talked to teachers who are out there, and I would hate to see people lose their jobs. I am willing to pay at least for two, and principals let me know if there’s someone who cannot pay, and I will pay, because I cannot get to sleep, and I’m 68 years old.”

The proposal to raise the rate passed by a 5-1 vote. Robinson was the only board member to vote against it.

By Jac0b Smith

jsmith@lebanondemocrat.com