Local economic projects good start for 2019 development

By Matt Masters

[email protected]

The Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County’s executive committee met Thursday to discuss new projects and businesses coming to Wilson County and what it sees as a good first quarter outlook for development.

The meeting’s most significant agenda item was the consideration of expanded investment by an existing manufacturer, identified as Project Commerce.

The project expansion has an additional investment of $17 million in real and $17.5 million in personal property. The project is projected to require between 25-50 additional jobs with a projected average wage of $21 per hour. All new positions would be full time, and the employees would be covered under the company’s benefits programs. Currently, the company totals 175 employees and committed to 90 new positions in the 2018 payment in lieu of taxes incentive program.

According to a memo provided by the JECDB, the new project was evaluated using a minimum of 25 new positions and the $17.5 million in personal property value, which was the same format of the approved PILOT. The additional personal property investment would result in a projected abatement of $357,054 and a payment to the county of $58,187 during a proposed five-year term. Additionally, under the proposal, the company would be responsible for the payment of all real property taxes during the term, which was estimated at $856,426. The motion to approve the expansion was passed unanimously.

Other major projects discussed were Project Clover, a consultant-led project that seeks 50-70 to build a 430,000-530,000-square-feet expandable manufacturing facility with up to 200 jobs in the first phase. A decision date was set for the first quarter of 2019 with full production expected to take place by the first quarter of 2021.

Project Mockingbird is a Nashville real estate firm that represents a client that seeks a 100-acre interstate-exposed site to build a 1 million to 1.5 million square feet e-commerce and logistics center. The project will also have an onsite sales and showroom component. The company president visited the site Dec. 4.

Project Grayfield is a tier one supplier in the aeronautics industry. It is a consultant-led project that requires between 200-250 acres with rail service. The three-phase project could total up to 1,200 employees and have a total investment of more than $1 billion.  The Department of Economic and Community Development project manager toured the Sparta Pike site Dec. 19.

Project Upper is a project with Volunteer State Community College, which seeks to build a minimum of 12,000-15,000 square feet of training and classroom space for a new center. The project manager said a site was identified and submitted to the state for comments and consideration and has a site approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Project Slim is a project that involves Dykes Industries that closed on 25 acres off Maddox Road at Couchville Pike and Interstate 840. The company would build a 120,000-square-feet facility, which would provide final finishes and assembly services for doors and windows. T.W. Frierson is the firm responsible to build the facility with expected completion in 2019.

Project Runway is a Nashville real estate firm that has a client who wants to buy a new 400,000-square-foot facility in Park 840 in Lebanon. The project aims to consolidate two Tennessee locations and total 450 positions. The company expects to hire a minimum of 150 people locally. The JECDB executive committee approved the PILOT request.

Hagan sworn in as judge

Ensley Hagan was sworn in as Wilson County’s newest family court judge Dec. 31 and replaces Judge John Gwin, who retired after 10 years in the position.

Wilson Books from Birth receives grant from Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE – The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a charitable organization dedicated to enrich the quality of life in the 40 Middle Tennessee counties it serves, announced more than $2.7 million in grants to 453 nonprofit organizations, including Wilson Books from Birth, as part of the 2018 annual grant-making process.

Wilson Books from Birth received a $2,500 grant to continue its mission to promote early child literacy in Wilson County’s birth to 5-year-old population through access to a new, age appropriate book each month at no cost to families. Funding for the grant was made possible through funds from the Robert K. and Anne H. Zelle Fund for Education.

“The work of our nonprofit partners has never been more important as we watch needs emerge and evolve in this community,” said Ellen Lehman, president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “The Community Foundation is honored to connect generosity with need through these annual grants and other avenues throughout the year, but we couldn’t have an impact without the array of quality nonprofits offering solutions to our community’s needs and vital services to our neighbors.”

The Community Foundation awards discretionary grants annually from its unrestricted and field-of-interest funds through an open application process to Middle Tennessee nonprofits organizations addressing community needs and benefiting the wellbeing of citizens through valuable programs and innovative services.

Wilson Books from Birth, the replication of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, has provided the gift of free books to more than 18,000 Wilson County children 5 years old and younger since the program began in Wilson County in 2005.  Currently, 6,032 children are enrolled in the program.

“Getting a book in the mail each month, keeps the excitement of learning alive and encourages families to read together,” said Peggy Simpson, coordinator of Wilson Books from Birth. “To make this possible, the cost of the books and mailing is dependent upon community support.”

The Community Foundation exists to promote and facilitate giving in 40 Middle Tennessee counties and beyond. The Community Foundation works with people who have great hearts, regardless of whether they have great wealth, to craft solutions that reflect their intentions and goals. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit cfmt.org.

Poverty simulation aims to make people understand

By Matt Masters

[email protected]

The Wilson County Poverty Simulation took place last Monday at Mt. Juliet Elementary School and offered Wilson County teachers the chance to gain a unique understanding of the challenges and realities of poverty that faces students and families throughout the county.

The community-awareness simulation took place in the school’s gym with chairs set in circles and a packet of information placed at each group. The packets contained a description of a fictional family’s size, lifestyle, home life, jobs, education, financial means and other descriptive information.

Tables were set up with volunteers, and each table represented a different service or interaction that will impact each family’s time, money or other resources – the supermarket, work, utilities and a mortgage payment were some of the steps in the process. Teachers filled the seats and got a firsthand glimpse of the chaos, stress and challenge to make ends meet in a state of poverty.

About 40 educators gathered to take part in the simulation, which was led by University of Tennessee Extension family consumer sciences agent Shelly Barnes. Barnes said the program that started in 2007 has helped dozens of educators and volunteers get a better understanding of the realities of poverty.

“This is not the upper or lower end of poverty, it’s kind of right in the middle, but it does give the participants a glimpse of what it’s like to live in poverty and how hard it is,” Barnes said. “Usually, with groups like this, if they didn’t grow up in poverty or haven’t had many stressors growing up as a child, they don’t even know where to begin. They don’t know what resources that we have in the county or in this community. So we do talk to them about that, but we give them very little guidance because we want them to figure it out on their own.”

Judy Throneberry, a former volunteer, said the experience showed her the lack of inequality in the community and how those can lead to a lack of opportunities.

“I think it really opens your eyes to the disadvantages that the lower-economic part of society faces, especially with transportation – getting to and from school, jobs, health care, groceries,” Throneberry said.

Julie Harrison, an English as a second language coordinator for the school district, said the simulation taught the teachers how to find unique educational solutions through compassion and support.

“We strive really hard in education to remove barriers that students encounter that might prohibit them from getting the education that they need. So that’s why we do training with teachers, so that they know how to recognize those barriers,” Harrison said. “The poverty simulation is great, because it allows teachers to kind of live it and see how it feels because most of us grew up middle class. We’ve never been in poverty, so we don’t always know so this helps us to understand the frustrations that these families encounter on a day-to-day basis – trying to get to work and trying to get your bills paid and trying to get the service that you need.

“It helps them to realize those things that may be going on at home, so that may be a very valid reason why they don’t have their homework the next day. So if teachers have a good understand of that, then they can help the child get what they need at school instead of penalizing them for something they don’t have.”

Harrison also said schools have a process to identify those who may need help to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed.

“Whenever students register every school year, the parents fill out a student-residency form, and there’s some questions on that form about the living situation. So that form lets us know if the family is doubled up with another family, or if they’re living in a shelter, or if they’re house by themselves, or whatever situation they’re in. So that lets us know who we need to talk to and kind of ask them if this would be helpful to them. What we run into sometimes is that when we register them in August, things may be fine. But in October or November or December, something happens where a family might lose a home. It might be a natural disaster, loss of income, medical, many things can happen. So families need to let us know if those things change, and we train our staff to look for warning signs.”

Community Calendar and The People’s Agenda

POLICY: Items for the Community Calendar may be submitted via email at [email protected], 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.

Jan. 16

Mt. Juliet State of the City Address

11:15 a.m.

Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty will give his State of the City address at the Mt. Juliet chamber connect luncheon Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 11:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at Rutland Place. Reserve a seat at mjchamber.org.

Cancer Support Group

4 p.m.

Kindred Healthcare and Sherry’s Run will offer a cancer support group Wednesday, Jan. 16 and the third Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m. at the Sherry’s Run office at 110 Babb Drive in Lebanon. For more information, call 615-925-9932.

Jan. 17

West Elementary School Alumni Night

5 p.m.

West Elementary School will turn 60 years old this year and celebrate with an alumni night Thursday, Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. in the school gymnasium. All former administrators, teachers, students and staff are invited to attend. For more information, call 615-758-5846 or email [email protected]

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5015 meeting

6 p.m.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5015 in Lebanon will meet Thursday, Jan. 17 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 [email protected]; Senior Vice Commander Ken Kackley at [email protected] or Junior Vice Commander Harold W. Weist at [email protected]

Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club

7 p.m.

The Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club will meet Thursday, Jan. 17 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 [email protected]

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.

Jan. 18

Lebanon Devilettes Fastpitch Club Chili Supper and Silent Auction

5:30 p.m.

The Lebanon Devilettes Fastpitch Club will have a chili supper and silent auction Friday, Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Lebanon High School to support the softball team’s completion of its concession stand. Chili supper tickets are $5 each. The silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m., and all tables will close by 8 p.m. Tire donation tickets are available and will be until Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. A $1 donation will get one ticket for the chance at a set of tires from Bridgestone up to $1,000 that will be put on at a Firestone Care Center. For more information, call Stephen Parrish at 615-545-7651 or Jody Atwood at the high school.

Encore Theatre Co. presents “Four Old Broads

7:30 p.m.

Encore Theatre Co. will present “Four Old Broads” by Leslie Kimball. Shows will be Friday, Jan. 18 and Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Encore Theatre Co. at 6978 Lebanon Road, just east of State Route 109, in Mt. Juliet. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for youth and seniors at ticketsnashville.com. To reserve seats and pay at the door, call 615-598-8950. For auditions and upcoming productions, visit encore-theatre-company.org.

Jan. 19

C&E Gun and Knife Show

9 a.m.

The C&E Gun and Knife Show will be Saturday, Jan. 19 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Wilson County Expo Center at 945 E. Baddour Pkwy. in Lebanon. Admission will be $10 for adults, and Saturday admission will be good for Sunday with a hand stamp. Children younger than 12 will be admitted free with an adult ticket purchase. Visit cegunshows.com for more information.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March and Brunch

10 a.m.

The Wilson County Black History Committee will celebrate its ninth-annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March and Brunch on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 10 a.m. at Cedars of Lebanon Baptist Church at 211 Beard Ave. in Lebanon. The brunch will follow the march at Pickett-Rucker United Methodist Church at 633 Glover Street in Lebanon. The public is invited to be a part of the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A unity choir will be formed, and rehearsal will be Saturday, Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. at Pickett-Rucker United Methodist Church. Anyone interested in joining the choir may call 615-444-5747.

Free Groceries

3 p.m.

Free groceries will be available Saturday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Kids World daycare on South Cumberland Street in Lebanon. The giveaway will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is sponsored by Life Church. For more information, visit lifechurchfamily.com.

Encore Theatre Co. presents “Four Old Broads

7:30 p.m.

Encore Theatre Co. will present “Four Old Broads” by Leslie Kimball. Shows will be Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Encore Theatre Co. at 6978 Lebanon Road, just east of State Route 109, in Mt. Juliet. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for youth and seniors at ticketsnashville.com. To reserve seats and pay at the door, call 615-598-8950. For auditions and upcoming productions, visit encore-theatre-company.org.

Jan. 20

C&E Gun and Knife Show

9 a.m.

The C&E Gun and Knife Show will be Sunday, Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Wilson County Expo Center at 945 E. Baddour Pkwy. in Lebanon. Admission will be $10 for adults. Children younger than 12 will be admitted free with an adult ticket purchase. Visit cegunshows.com for more information.

Encore Theatre Co. presents “Four Old Broads

2:30 p.m.

Encore Theatre Co. will present “Four Old Broads” by Leslie Kimball. Shows will be Sunday, Jan. 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Encore Theatre Co. at 6978 Lebanon Road, just east of State Route 109, in Mt. Juliet. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for youth and seniors at ticketsnashville.com. To reserve seats and pay at the door, call 615-598-8950. For auditions and upcoming productions, visit encore-theatre-company.org.

Jan. 21

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observance

9 a.m.

A program in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be Monday, Jan. 21 at 9 a.m. at the old courthouse in Hartsville. The march will proceed to St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, where the program will begin at 10 a.m., followed by lunch. For more information, call Yvonne Johnson at 615-281-0066, Gloria McDonald at 615-374-2537 or Erstine Crenshaw at 615-374-4192.

Jan. 24

Blood Drive

12:30 p.m.

An American Red Cross blood drive will be Thursday, Jan. 24 from 12:30-6 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church at 214 Castle Heights Ave. in Lebanon. To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, download the free American Red Cross blood donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED CROSS.

Lebanon Aid Society Free Legal Assistance for Self-Represented Divorce Filings

4 p.m.

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will provide residents with free legal advice, including help in filing pro se or self-represented divorces using forms approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Volunteer attorneys will be available Thursday, Jan. 24 and the fourth Thursday of each month from 4-6 p.m. at the Lebanon Wilson Chamber of Commerce, 149 Public Square in Lebanon to answer questions about the pro se process, to help determine eligibility and to assist in correctly filing the forms, which became available in 2017 for married couples in Tennessee with minor children. For more information, visit las.org/find-help/free-legal-help-clinics or justiceforalltn.com.

The Opioid Crisis: How it Affects Our Schools and Community presentation

6 p.m.

DrugFree WilCo and the Wilson County Schools Family Resource Center will present “The Opioid Crisis: How it Affects Our Schools and Community” on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 6-8 p.m. at the Wilson County Schools central office at 415 Harding Drive in Lebanon. Light refreshments will be provided.

Mt. Juliet Chamber Choice Awards Banquet

6 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Chamber Choice Awards Banquet on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Tuckers Gap Event Center. The theme will be “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Tickets are $65 per person or a table for $550. Reservations may be made at mjchamber.org.

The People’s Agenda

POLICY: Items for the Government Calendar may be submitted via email at [email protected], 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.

Jan. 17

Nashville and Eastern Railroad Authority meeting

11 a.m.

The Nashville and Eastern Railroad Authority will meet Thursday, Jan. 17 with the executive committee to meet at 11 a.m., lunch at noon and the authority’s quarterly meeting to follow at the Nashville and Eastern Railroad Authority at 206 S. Maple St. in Lebanon.

Wilson County Sanitary Sewer Access Committee meeting

5 p.m.

The Wilson County Sanitary Sewer Access Committee will meet Thursday, Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. in the basement conference room at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Education Committee meeting

5:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Education Committee will meet Thursday, Jan. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Minutes Committee meeting

6 p.m.

The Wilson County Minutes Committee will meet Thursday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Steering Committee meeting

6:15 p.m.

The Wilson County Steering Committee will meet Thursday, Jan. 17 at 6:15 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Budget meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Wilson County Budget will meet Thursday, Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Mt. Juliet Planning Commission meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet Planning Commission will meet Thursday, Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall at 2425 N. Mt. Juliet Road.

– Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet police sergeant helps Boy Scout troop that had equipment trailer stolen

When local Boy Scouts Troop 1204 had its equipment trailer stolen in November, it was left without camping supplies.

Police said the white enclosed cargo trailer was taken sometime between Nov. 9-13 from the parking lot at St. Stephen Catholic Community at 14544 Lebanon Road.

The trailer contained camping supplies such as tents and lanterns and has an estimated value of about $5,000. The trailer has “Boy Scouts of America Troop 1204, Hermitage, TN, Unit 1” printed on both sides of the trailer.

Mt. Juliet police Sgt. Cory Cook heard about the theft and began to think of ways the department could help the troop replace its trailer and camping equipment. So, he contacted Boy Scout Troop 911 to organize a service project at the department’s firearms training facility, and the scouts were able to collect more than 2,200 pounds of brass ammunition shells.

The shells were swapped for cash, and it brought in $2,800 for Troop 911, which donated the proceeds to Troop 1204 to help cover the loss of the trailer.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for Sgt. Cook’s initiative and community involvement that truly benefitted many people,” said Boy Scout mom Rachel Underwood. “Because of Sgt. Cook’s ideas and actions, embodied the Scout Law and Oath, he was awarded a plaque from the BSA Hermitage District on behalf of troops 911, 1204, and 263 at the leader’s roundtable meeting.”

The Boy Scout troops recognized Cook this week for his efforts to assist the troop in replacing its equipment trailer and camping supplies.

Anyone with information about the crime is encouraged to contact Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550. Information may also be given anonymously by calling 615-754-8477 or at mjpd.org.

Gladeville barn destroyed by fire

Wilson Emergency Management Agency firefighters battled a barn fire Thursday evening at 7281 Stewarts Ferry Pike in Gladeville after a tossed lit cigarette set the barn ablaze.

The barn was filled with hay gathered to feed about 80 head of cattle. The fire burned the hay and destroyed the barn.

According to WEMA director Joey Cooper, no people, firefighters or livestock were injured in the fire.

Wilson County sheriff’s deputies and Rehab 23 volunteers also responded to the barn fire.

Lynn named state House finance chair

NASHVILLE – Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada named state Rep. Susan Lynn chair of the House Finance Committee. 

Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, is the first woman in Tennessee history to lead the powerful committee comprised of 19 House members.

The committee is tasked with all measures that deal with the appropriation of state funds; the general appropriations bill; the deposit of public money; all measures that relate to taxes and the raising of revenue, bonds and bonding revenue, the issuance, payment or retirement of bonds, the evidences of indebtedness; congressional relations; and assessment and collection of property taxes.   

“Rep. Lynn is an incredibly talented legislator within our General Assembly, and I am grateful to her for her willingness to serve in this important leadership capacity,” said Casada, R-Thompson’s Station. “I believe her knowledge and experience will benefit the House Finance Committee and our entire legislative body.”

In her new role, Lynn also becomes a member of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Council on Pensions and Insurance and the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission. Additionally, Gov. Bill Haslam appointed her to the boards of Launch Tennessee and the state Workforce Development Board, and her peers appointed her to the Greater Nashville Regional Council. In December, then-House Speaker Beth Harwell also appointed Lynn to the Information Systems Council.

“I am incredibly honored that Speaker Casada has appointed me to serve as chairman of the distinguished House Finance Committee and has placed his faith in me in this way,” said Lynn. “Tennessee has been a national model for fiscal responsibility under conservative leadership. Because of our strategic investments and thoughtful financial decisions, cities and towns across our state are thriving. Together, we are committed to ensuring these successful trends in Tennessee continue.”

Lynn previously served as chair of the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee during the 110th General Assembly. She lives in Mt. Juliet and represents most of Wilson County in the state House.

Man pleads to animal cruelty after dogs starve

By Matt Masters

[email protected]

A Mt. Juliet man pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges Wednesday in Wilson County criminal court.

James Elwain Williams Jr., 58, pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and two counts of criminal information as part of a plea deal.

Wilson County criminal court Judge Brody Kane sentenced Williams to nearly four years of supervised probation. Williams was originally charged with two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, a Class E felony, that stemmed from a 2017 incident at his home on Corrinth Road in Mt. Juliet.

Assistant District Attorney Tom Swink outlined the state’s case against Williams. Swink said on April 15, 2017, a Wilson County sheriff’s deputy responded to the home Williams owned but didn’t live in after a neighbor discovered two dead and decaying pit bulls chained in the backyard after the neighbor smelled something dead.

Williams told the deputy he knew the dogs were dead, but the dogs belonged to a woman who used to rent the home from him and never returned to get them after she moved.

Williams said he had no way to contact the owner, and the dogs were not his responsibility. Williams told Kane he did fed the dogs for a while, but he went to work a construction job in Gatlinburg and returned April 14 and found the dogs dead.

Williams told the deputy animal control had never been to the home, but animal control went to the home and got the bodies of the two dogs. They performed a necropsy on the dogs and determined they died from malnourishment.

The nearly four-year probation sentence was a result of four 11-month and 29-day sentences to be served consecutively.

Mt. Juliet groups right American flag flown upside down

After reports of a large American flag near Interstate 40 off Pleasant Grove Road was raised upside down Friday, members of the Church at Pleasant Grove, Mt. Juliet city workers and officers worked to fix it.

With the help of a nearby construction crew and church staff, officers were able to lower and ensure the flag flew properly. It was unclear why it was raised improperly.

According to police, a third-party cellular network tower company maintains the flag and was not aware it was raised upside down. Mt. Juliet police extended its appreciation to the citizens who helped the officers lower, fix and raise the flag. According to U.S. Flag Code, ‘The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.’

Two Mt. Juliet police officers receive Trilogy awards

Two Mt. Juliet police officers recently completed a three-part Federal Bureau of Investigation Law Enforcement Executive Development Association program, which led to Lt. Jason Brockman and Sgt. Tommy Shelton’s reception of Trilogy Leadership Institute awards.

FBI-LEEDA said its mission is “to advance the science and art of law enforcement leadership and promote the exchange of information to improve law enforcement management practices through training, education and networking among police professionals across the United States and beyond.”

“Lt. Brockman and Sgt. Shelton sought to carry out their goal of obtaining the Trilogy Leadership Award,” said Chief James Hambrick. “I’m proud of their effort and desire to further their knowledge to better serve our community.”

In June, August and October, the Murfreesboro Police Department played host to the FBI Leadership Institute, and Brockman and Shelton traveled to take part in the leadership academy. Those who successfully complete the supervisor, command and executive leadership institute programs receive the Trilogy Leadership Institute award.

Sherry’s Run board names Mardi Gras at the Capitol chairs

The Sherry’s Run executive board announced Glenn and Julie Miller-Wilson are the official chairs for the fourth-annual Mardi Gras at the Capitol on Feb. 1 at the Capitol Theatre.

“We are thrilled to have Glenn and Julie heading this benefit for the Sherry’s Run organization,” said Scott Jasper, Sherry’s Run executive board member. “Their tremendous support of this event and the mission of the Sherry’s Run organization is greatly appreciated. We know their guidance and support will make this a spectacular event.”

Glenn and Julie Miller-Wilson are both involved in the Wilson County community. They are active supporters of nonprofit organizations in the area. Julie and her daughter, Heather Hull, are owners of Body Kneads, Etc. in Lebanon. Body Kneads, Etc. is a full sensory spa, coffee shop and boutique fitness center on Hamilton Station Boulevard in Lebanon.

“We are honored to serve as the chairs for the 2019 Mardi Gras at the Capitol,” Julie Miller-Wilson said. “This is an amazing event to benefit the Sherry’s Run organization. One hundred percent of all the funds raised go directly to assist cancer patients in Wilson County and surrounding communities. Sherry’s Run does so much to assist cancer patients in our community and we are glad we can be a part of giving back to our community.”

Mardi Gras at the Capitol will be Feb. 1 at the historic Capitol Theatre on the square in Lebanon. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Tables and tickets are available for purchase at Body Kneads, Mo’Cara and the Sherry’s Run office or call 615-449-7880.

Sherry’s Run, Wilson County’s largest grassroots cancer fundraising effort, is a nonprofit Christian organization that has helped hundreds of people and their families during some of the hardest times of their lives. With community support and involvement, Sherry’s Run helps members of the Wilson County community year round through support groups, assistance with utilities, housing, prescriptions, medical bills, gas and groceries and colonoscopy assistance.

To learn more about the Sherry’s Run organization, call 615-925-2592. To refer someone for assistance, call 615-925-9932 or visit sherrysrun.org. To make a donation to Sherry’s Run, visit sherrysrun.org or mail donations to Sherry’s Run, P.O. Box 8, Lebanon, TN 37088-0008.

Pody sets legislative session priorities

NASHVILLE – State Sen. Mark Pody discussed Friday his priorities for the 2019 legislative session as the General Assembly prepares to convene Tuesday, with passage of a fiscally conservative budget at the top of the list. 

The legislature meets to organize the 111th General Assembly on Tuesday when Pody, R-Lebanon, and 17 other senators who were elected in November will take the oath of office as the first order of business.

“Tennessee is ranked among the top financially managed states in the nation,” said Pody. “Conservative budgeting and a healthy rainy day fund, which is the state’s savings account in case of a downturn in the economy, is a big part of that success.  Our healthy financial status has also been a key contributing factor to helping us recruit industry and jobs to Tennessee. Like families across our state, we need to save in the good times to ensure that if an economic downturn or emergency occurs in the future, we have adequate reserves to keep our state in good stead. Currently our rainy day fund at $861 million, is shy of the $1 billion our financial experts maintain is needed to be prepared and I would like to see us fill that gap.”

In other budgeting matters, Pody said he would like to see Tennessee better prepare and compensate primary teachers as the state strives to improve the quality of education.

“Studies show that teachers matter more to a student’s academic performance than any other aspect of schooling,” Pody said. “We must ensure that our students are prepared for the classroom. We have made great strides in improving teacher pay over the past several years, and I want to see those efforts continue to move forward in 2019, as well.”

Another top issue for Pody is to provide law enforcement officers in Tennessee the chance to retire after 25 years of service. He said he plans to draft legislation in the Senate that would give them that option.

On criminal justice reform, Pody said he supports efforts to reduce recidivism in Tennessee prisons. 

“We need to give those who have served their time a better chance at a fresh start.  At the same time, any reform of the criminal justice system should be efficient and place as small a burden on taxpayers as possible, while maintaining strong protections for public safety,” he said.

In addition, Pody said he supports efforts to propel progress in Tennessee’s rural communities, including expansion of broadband accessibility and better health care access to those who are underserved.

“I am very excited about Gov.-elect [Bill] Lee’s plans to meet the needs of rural Tennesseans and to extend opportunities to all of our citizens. I look forward to working with him and my colleagues in the General Assembly to address the needs of the state’s rural communities,” he said.

Pody also called for passage of legislation to eliminate Tennessee’s professional privilege tax. The $400 tax is an annual charge levied on individuals who have an active license to practice professions such as accountants, architects and engineers.

“Tennessee is one of only six states which imposes a professional privilege tax. This burdensome tax puts those who practice a wide variety of professions in our state at a disadvantage. This tax should have never been imposed and should be eliminated,” Pody said.

5 teens wanted in carjacking

By Matt Masters

[email protected]

Mt. Juliet police responded to a report of an armed carjacking Dec. 30 at the Regal Providence Stadium 14 movie theater.

Five teens, one armed with an assault rifle, robbed a man in the parking lot at about 5:25 p.m., according to police.

Police said the five teens drove up to the victim in a gray Infiniti sport-utility vehicle, and three latino teenage boys got out. One of them pointed a rifle at the victim. The teens ordered the man to hand over his wallet and the keys to his green 2018 Dodge Charger and left in both the Charger and the SUV.

No one was injured in the robbery.

Police said the suspects saw the car and waited on the 18-year-old victim to get out of the car before they struck. Detectives don’t believe the victim and suspects know one another.

Police further described the Charger as a hunter green Daytona Edition, which has a thick black stripe with “Daytona” in green over the back of the car. Police said the suspect’s SUV could be a gray Infiniti QX60.

Police later recovered the stolen but undamaged Charger at the off ramp of the Rosa Parks Boulevard exit in Nashville. Police found the car in part thanks to a tweet by a Fox 17 reporter who spotted the car.

Mt. Juliet police said it was the eighth robbery and 46th stolen car report in Mt. Juliet in 2018 with one day left in the year. They also said there were 11 robberies and 52 stolen cars reported in 2017.

Police asked anyone with information of the crime or the locations or identities of the suspects to call Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550. Information may also be given anonymously by calling 615-754-TIPS or at mjpd.org.

Unemployment rates drop in Wilson, across state

NASHVILLE – Each of Tennessee’s 95 counties experienced lower unemployment in November, according to newly released data from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Ninety-one counties had an unemployment rate of 5 percent or lower during the month, and four counties had a rate higher than 5 percent.

Wilson County ‘s rate of 2.7 percent, which was 0.4 percent lower compared to October, improved from seventh to sixth lowest in the state behind Williamson, Davidson, Rutherford, Moore and Sumner counties, respectively.

Wilson County’s rate in November represented 1,980 unemployed workers compared to a 72,500-person workforce and did not include those who did not file with the labor department or no longer receive benefits. Compared to the same time last year, the jobless rate was up 0.6 percent.

Lebanon’s rate for November decreased 0.4 percent to 3.2 percent compared to October and was up 0.2 percent compared to a year ago. The city’s rate represented 490 unemployed workers, compared to a 15,220-person labor force.

Mt. Juliet’s rate for November was 2.7 percent, a 0.3-percent decrease compared to October’s revised rate and a 0.3-percent increase from a year ago. The rate represented 490 unemployed workers compared to an 18,500-person labor force.

The rate for the Nashville-Murfreesboro metropolitan area, which includes Wilson County, decreased 0.3 percent from October to land at 2.6 percent in November but increased 0.1 percent from a year ago. The rate represented 27,540 unemployed workers compared to a more than 1.04-million-person labor force.

Williamson County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 percent, which was 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the previous month. Both Davidson and Rutherford counties had a rate of 2.6 percent in November, a drop of 0.3 percent for each county.

The 10 counties with the lowest unemployment each had a rate of 2.9 percent or lower in November.

“It’s very encouraging to have so many counties with unemployment rates below 5 percent during November,” said TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips. “That means more Tennesseans were working and taking home a paycheck as we headed into the holiday season.”

The counties with the state’s highest unemployment still experienced significant drops in their rates. While Lauderdale County had the highest jobless rate in November at 5.8 percent the figure was a percentage point lower than the previous month. Bledsoe County’s unemployment rate dropped nearly a full percentage point from 6.1 percent to 5.2 percent. McNairy County went from 5.5 percent in October to 5 percent in November.

Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for November decreased from 3.7 percent to 3.6 percent. Nationally, unemployment held steady for the third consecutive month at 3.7 percent.

Tennesseans in search of employment can access the state’s workforce development website where they can find a wide range of information and services.

4 armed teens charged in standoff

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet police officers charged four armed teens after an early morning standoff on Boxcroft Circle on Christmas Eve in the Cottages of Providence neighborhood.

Police initially responded to a suspicious car stopped in the middle of the road at about 6 a.m. on the 4600 block of Boxcroft Circle.

The call took an unexpected turn when officers determined the car was reported stolen in Nashville. Officers found four teens in the car all between 15 and 17 years old who appeared to be unconscious and armed with a pistol and an AR-15-style rifle outfitted with a silencer.

The four teens either did not respond to or refused to comply with officers’ commands in the standoff that lasted for about 90 minutes and shut down the residential neighborhood. The incident prompted residents to shelter in place while others were evacuated to a nearby hotel.

The Mt. Juliet police special response team also assisted in the negotiations. The teens eventually surrendered to police without any injuries or shots fired.

The teens, ages 15, 16 and two 17-year-olds were taken to an undisclosed youth detention center. Their names were not released due to their ages.

Police also recovered two 3-pound steel hammers, along with the two loaded guns, which were reported stolen Thursday in Davidson County. The four-door hatchback car was reported stolen Sunday.

The investigation remained open with Metro-Nashville police.

Drive-by shooting suspect ID’d

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet detectives identified an 18-year-old suspect, who fired shots at a home during a drive-by shooting incident in October.

At the time of the shooting, the suspect was 17 years old, and detectives received juvenile petitions for seven counts of aggravated assault for his arrest. Detectives didn’t release his name due to other pending investigations in other areas. The suspect remains on the run.

The suspect shot from a vehicle Oct. 3 at about 8 p.m. and specifically targeted a home in the 1600 block of Alsdale Road. No other homes were targeted, and detectives determined it was an isolated incident. No one was injured as a result of the few gunshots fired toward the home. Police Capt. Tyler Chandler said at the time there was no known extended threat to the community.

The suspect’s vehicle was described as a newer-model white Toyota Land Cruiser or large sport-utility vehicle.

County defers dilapidated structures action

By Matt Masters

[email protected]

The Wilson County Planning and Zoning Committee discussed and ultimately deferred a solution for dilapidated structures at its Thursday meeting.

But the deferment wasn’t made without any progress on the issue. Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto spoke to the committee about his efforts, done as a private citizen, to help alleviate the situation for specific lots that have been of concern to several vocal citizens.

Hutto told the committee he was in talks with several property owners about what they need to help get their lots to a safe and presentable state. Hutto also said he talked with a contractor who agreed to take down some structures for one of the property owners at the contractor’s cost. The property owner was then contacted about a possible buyer for the land, so the three people are working on a solution. The contractor reportedly came to an agreement that if they take the structures down at their cost and the property owner then sold the property within five years, the contractor would be reimbursed for the cost.

Some of the properties in question are on Trousdale Ferry Pike, where Hutto attempted to reach out to the property owner of three dilapidated structures that sit a row, but he wasn’t able to reach the owner directly. However, one of the property owners who Hutto spoke with spoke with the other owner and voiced interest to meet with Hutto.

Hutto reminded the committee his actions were one of an individual trying to help residents come to an agreement, one that does not involve county government. Hutto said it is up to the committee to decide to draft a resolution on the issue if they feel it’s needed and could secure enough votes from the Wilson County Commission for it to be approved.

“That’s kind of what we’ve been doing over the last several months,” Hutto said. “I’ve met with that group on two or three different occasions, just keeping them up to date, and I’ve kind of kept it away from us and the commissioners just because I don’t want you to get confused with what I’m doing and what you guys are doing. So if you guys need a resolution or want a resolution, hey, that’s up to you guys.”

The committee discussed the challenges to enforce action such as knowledge of the scale of the task ahead and how much it would cost. Commissioner Annette Stafford, who championed action on the issue, asked Tom Brashear, director of development services, about the ability of the county government to currently address the complaints. Brashear said current zoning ordinances do not apply to dilapidated structures.

“Can I ask – Tom, do you think that we’ve got with the ordinance that we have now, do you think that that’s enough teeth to give you something?” Stafford said.

Brashear said, “Not with dilapidated structures, no ma’am. In fact, the state is very specific about how a county must go about that in the code annotated, and this resolution that I’ve put before you is pretty specific to what the state code requires, which it gives a protocol for the notice and what has to be in the notice. There has to be a cost estimate for what we think it’s going to cost to either make repairs or demolish, and then we have to give the person the opportunity to respond to us to how they’re going to repair. And if they don’t then we kind of treat it similar to how we have our zoning violations where we send them another notice, send them another notice, and then we take it to the court system.”

Commissioner Kenny Reich said he supported tackling the issue but not in favor of action that is going to use up a lot of county money or resources, something echoed throughout the meeting as no one knows how many properties and structures would meet requirements for county action or how much that could potentially cost to act on them.

“I’m fully in favor of doing something on dilapidated structures, giving [Brashear] the tools you need to make people correct their properties, but I’m not in favor of the county establishing a fund and us going out and tearing them down,” Reich said.

Brashear said ultimately the state was clear the end goal would be to go in and tear the properties in question down if the committee chose to go that route, something the committee could not come to an agreement.

The committee ultimately deferred the issue for 30 days at the recommendation of committee chair Commissioner Jerry McFarland to see if some of the specific structures outlined by Hutto are settled as is planned by some of the parties.

The questions of how big the problem is and how much will it cost remained as the meeting closed with not enough support on any official widespread action on dilapidated structures.

The committee also addressed the need to discuss on noise complaints during its first meeting in 2019.

Weekly student newscast goes live on local cable

Staff Reports

The weekly newscast produced by students at Mt. Juliet High School went on the air Monday in Lebanon on AT&T’s channel 99. 

Wilson County Television, the county’s public, educational and governmental channel, scheduled school-produced and school-related videos weekdays at 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

Wilson County Television manager Tressa Bush said she’s worked toward the launch since last spring, when she first met with students and teachers.

“I knew immediately I wanted to showcase it on our channel,” Bush said. “I know that over time, we will become great media partners.”

Newscasts from the school have been available to Comcast and TDS subscribers in Mt. Juliet for more than a decade.   

James Peach, the audio-visual production teacher at Mt. Juliet High School, said the expansion comes as great news.

“We were already on YouTube, plus two of the three major cable providers in the county, but two-thirds isn’t enough to reach all of the people who could benefit from what our students have to offer,” Peach said. “Even better, some of the new people we might reach on the Wilson County PEG channel could potentially provide [audio-visual] jobs for my students after high school. We probably haven’t even imagined all of the benefits of this new outlet.”

Each semester, more than 30 students work to produce weekly segments, while an additional 25 students continue to train and audition with the hope to land a spot on the broadcast team.

To watch the students on YouTube, search WBNN to see a list of all newscasts and student projects.

Community Calendar and The People’s Agenda

POLICY: Items for the Community Calendar may be submitted via email at [email protected], 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.

Dec. 11

Lebanon Retirees meeting

9 a.m.

The city of Lebanon Retirees group will meet Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 9 a.m. at Shoney’s Restaurant at 814 S. Cumberland St. in Lebanon. The group is comprised of and limited to people who have retired from the city of Lebanon municipal government. The group meets each second Tuesday of the month from September through May.

Tyler Cates American Legion Post 281 meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Tyler Cates American Legion Post 281 will meet Tuesday, Dec. 11 and the second Tuesday of each month at Rutland Place at 435 N.W. Rutland Road in Mt. Juliet. Social time begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. All veterans are invited to attend. An American Legion Auxiliary Unit is also part of the post. New members are welcome to join. Former members or transfers from other posts are also invited to join. For more information, contact Pat Unger, commander, at 615-210-6156.

Dec. 13

Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber Lunch and Learn

11:30 a.m.

The Lebanon-Wilson Count Chamber of Commerce will hold a lunch and learn Thursday, Dec. 13 at 11:30 a.m. at Five Oaks Golf and Country Club at 621 Five Oaks Blvd. in Lebanon. The guest speaker will be Angela Hubbard, director of economic and community development for the Greater Nashville Regional Council. Tickets are $20 per person. To RSVP, call 615-444-5503 or email [email protected]

Wilson County Schools Teacher Meet and Greet

3:30 p.m.

Wilson County Schools will hold a teacher meet and greet for December teacher graduates and newly licensed Tennessee teachers Thursday, Dec. 13 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the central office at 415 Harding Drive in Lebanon. Participants are encouraged to come professionally dressed and bring copies of their resume. To RSVP, visit wcschools.com/hr.

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Stroke Support Group meeting

6 p.m.

The Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon Stroke Support Group will meet Thursday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Tennova Rehab Center at McFarland at 500 Park Ave. in Lebanon in the McFarland conference room on the ground floor. The group promotes optimism, resilience, determination and independence. Members share experiences, exchange resources, socialize, gain knowledge, problem solve, give mutual support and empower. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a spot, visit tennova.com and look under the events tab.

Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show

7 p.m.

The 31st-annual Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show will be Thursday, Dec. 13, Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in Baird Chapel at Cumberland University. Tickets are $40 per person. For more information, visit bertcoblesingers.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.

Dec. 14

Beer and Carols

6 p.m.

Beer and Carols will be Friday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon. For tickets, visit capitoltheatretn.com.

Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show

7 p.m.

The 31st-annual Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show will be Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in Baird Chapel at Cumberland University. Tickets are $40 per person. For more information, visit bertcoblesingers.com.

Journey to Bethlehem

7 p.m.

Journey to Bethlehem, a drive-through live nativity scene, will be Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 from 7-9 p.m. at Lebanon Cumberland Presbyterian Church at the corner of Leeville Pike and Castle Heights Ave. For more information, call 615-444-7453.

Encore Theatre Co. presents “A Nice Family Christmas”

7:30 p.m.

Encore Theatre Co. will present the comedy, “A Nice Family Christmas,” on Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 16 at 2:30 p.m. at the theater at 6978 Lebanon Road, just west of State Route 109, in Holmes Crossing. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors 60 and older and are available at encore-theatre-company.org, ticketsnashville.com or call 615-598-8950 for reservations.

Dec. 15

Carroll-Oakland Eagles Nest Booster Club Pancake Breakfast with Santa

7 a.m.

The Carroll-Oakland Booster Club will hold a pancake-and-sausage breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 7-11 a.m. in the school cafeteria. It’s a fundraiser for Carroll-Oakland School sports. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children at the door. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and may be purchased by emailing [email protected]

Watertown Christmas parade

2 p.m.

The Watertown Christmas parade will be Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. on Main Street in Watertown. The parade will begin at Round Lick Baptist Church and continue to the end of East Main Street.

Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show

7 p.m.

The 31st-annual Bert Coble Singers Christmas Dinner Show will be Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in Baird Chapel at Cumberland University. Tickets are $40 per person. For more information, visit bertcoblesingers.com.

 

The People’s Agenda

POLICY: Items for the Government Calendar may be submitted via email at [email protected], 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.

Dec. 17

Wilson County Law Enforcement Committee and Public Works Committee joint meeting

5:45 p.m.

The Wilson County Law Enforcement Committee and Public Works Committee will meet jointly Monday, Dec. 17 at 5:45 p.m. in conference room 1 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County Commission meeting

7 p.m.

The Wilson County Commission will meet Monday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Dec. 20

Mt. Juliet Planning Commission meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet Planning Commission will meet Thursday, Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall at 2425 N. Mt. Juliet Road.

Jan. 10

Lebanon City Council work session

6 p.m.

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

– Staff Reports