Cedars of Lebanon pool to be removed, splash pad planned

By Matt Masters

mmasters@lebanondemocrat.com

The swimming pool at Cedars of Lebanon State Park will be replaced with a splash pad, a summer attraction that will feature multiple lines of spraying water.

Construction is expected to start in the fall.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation deputy communications director Kimberly Schofinski said the deteriorating condition and cost required to repair and maintain the pool are significant factors in the decision to replace it with a splash pad.

“The state has determined that the swimming pool at Cedars of Lebanon State Park has effectively reached the end of its lifespan from a safety, cost and long-term maintenance standpoint,” Schofinski said. “Following an inspection this month, the Tennessee Department of Health found that the pool does not currently meet public health and safety standards. In order to open to the public, a series of costly and time-intensive repairs would need to be made.

“The decision to install a splash pad was made to provide a safe water-based recreational activity while responsibly managing park resources. Tennessee state parks has a duty to the taxpaying public to provide recreational facilities in the most fiscally responsible manner that also meet hospitality expectations and provide a safe experience. The splash pad will be able to accommodate a large number of visitors for an extended season at about half the operating cost.”

Schofinski said the project is currently in the design phase with construction expected to begin in the fall. But some citizens who see the pool as a staple of summers in Wilson County do not like the plan.

Brandy Warden started a change.org petition that has gathered more than 700 signatures with the goal to persuade the state to keep the existing pool. Warden said the pool is a community landmark, something she said is needed to give teenagers a place to stay out of trouble and a place for family gatherings.

“I really believe that people would be OK with paying a little more,” Warden said. “We won’t go if the pool is gone. We have played Frisbee golf once and used to play softball, but they took the field out, as well, so no, we wouldn’t use it. This is a landmark. I started going to this pool 30 years ago as a teenager. Then, I took my children, and now, I take my grandchildren.”

Schofinski did not respond to questions about the petition, but she said the state looks forward to the new summer addition.

“While we are saddened to say goodbye to what has been a special part of summer fun at Cedars of Lebanon for many years, we are excited for visitors to enjoy a new water feature for the years to come,” Schofinski said.

10th-annual Chocolate Affair set for April

By Matt Masters

mmasters@lebanondemocrat.com

The 10th-annual Chocolate Affair will take place April 6 at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon to raise money for the 15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Center.

Entertainment will be provided by Audience of One Productions, which will perform “One Enchanted Evening.” Two Fat Men Catering will provide the food.

Silent and live auctions will take place, along with a variety of chocolate desserts at the chocolate buffet, including a chocolate fountain. The festivities will be from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Individual tickets are $50 with tables that seat eight for $500. Tickets must be bought by March 30. Tickets may be bought at cac15.org or call 615-449-7975.

Sponsors include Systems Integrations, Vance Law, Bank of Tennessee, Signature Behaviors, Vanderbilt University and Wilson Bank & Trust.

The 15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Center is an organization that aims to reduce the trauma of child abuse and help with the healing process. The Child Advocacy Center’s work and interviews are often used by law enforcement in criminal cases against abusers.

The Child Advocacy Center serves Wilson, Smith, Macon, Jackson and Trousdale counties. Funds raised will help the Child Advocacy Center with its expanding operations and staff.

For more information about the Child Advocacy Center, visit cac15.org.

$50K Powerball ticket sold in Mt. Juliet

Staff Reports

NASHVILLE – As the Powerball jackpot continued to roll – currently at an estimated $550 million for Wednesday’s drawing – thousands of Tennessee lottery players won prizes of other non-jackpot prize levels.

It included three players who matched four white ball numbers plus the red Powerball. The level is a base prize of $50,000, but since one of the players added the Power Play for an extra $1, Saturday night’s Power Play number, two, was multiplied.

The lucky tickets were bought at:

• $100,000 – C.Baby’s at 1250 Old Hwy. 45 S. in Guys.

• $50,000 – Murphy at 355 Pleasant Grove in Mt. Juliet.

• $50,000 – Publix at 5928 Hixson Pike in Hixson.

No additional information was available until the prizes are claimed.

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. operates entirely from the revenue it generates through the sale of its products. Since Jan. 20, 2004, the lottery raised more than $4.8 billion to fund designated education programs, including after-school programs, college grants and scholarships and the governor’s Drive to 55 initiatives.

In addition to the educational beneficiaries, players won more than $13.2 billion in prizes, and lottery retailers earned more than $1.2 billion in retailer commissions.

For more information, visit tnlottery.com.

Pody’s support for Israel resolution unanimously passes state Senate

Staff Reports

NASHVILLE – A resolution sponsored by state Sen. Mark Pody that reaffirms Tennessee’s friendship with Israel and expresses unequivocal support for the nation, unanimously passed Thursday in the state Senate.

The resolution also recognizes Israel’s longstanding relationship with the U.S. and notes joint military efforts between the two countries in fighting terrorism.

“I think it’s important that as a state we stand up and reach out to Israel as we have done in the past and express our support for the nation,” said Pody, R-Lebanon.

In 1996, then-Gov. Don Sundquist signed the Tennessee-Israel Cooperation Agreement with Israel, which resulted in business, government, art, cultural, educational and university activities that strengthened the historic ties between Tennessee and Israel.

In 2015, the General Assembly voted to approve a resolution, which condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and increasing anti-Semitism. The BDS movement encourages companies to boycott Israeli goods and services.

“It is imperative that we must, at every turn, fight anti-Semitism and in all ways possible stand with the Nation of Israel,” said Pody.

The resolution was signed Thursday. Members from the Consulate of Israel attended the event, as well as celebrities Ricky Skaggs and Irlene Mandrell.

Community Calendar and The People’s Agenda

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.

March 20

Wilson County Hiring Event

9 a.m.

A Wilson County hiring event will be Wednesday, March 20 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the American Job Center at 415 Tennessee Blvd. inside the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Lebanon. Employers will include Verizon Wireless, Yates-Nissan, Staffmark, Leviton, Abacus Staffing, Senior Solutions, TDS Telecom, Novolex, 2020 Census Bureau, On the Move Moving Services and LSI Landscape Services. For more information, contact Sarah Buckles at 625-494-4278 or sarah.buckles@tn.gov.

Mt. Juliet Chamber Connect Luncheon

11:15 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce will hold a chamber connect luncheon Wednesday, March 20 from 11:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at Rutland Place in Mt. Juliet. The guest speaker will be Daniel Work, associate professor at Vanderbilt University, who will discuss what’s new in transit. To reserve a seat or for more information, visit mjchamber.org.

Cancer Support Group

4 p.m.

Kindred Healthcare and Sherry’s Run will offer a cancer support group Wednesday, March 20 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.

March 21

High School Equivalency Test

8 a.m.

The Wilson County Adult Education program will offer the high school equivalency test or HiSET, formerly the GED, on Thursday, March 21 at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Lebanon.  For information on how to take the test, call 615-443-8731.

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy Kids Consignment Sale

8 a.m.

The Mt. Juliet Christian Academy booster club will hold its semi-annual Kids Consignment Sale on Thursday, March 21 from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Friday, March 22 from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. and 50-percent-off discount day Saturday, March 23 from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the school gym at 735 N. Mt. Juliet Road. Proceeds will benefit the school’s athletic department. The sale is open to the public and will include children’s clothing, toys, books, baby items and more. For more information, visit mjca.org.

Legends Drive Extension Ribbon Cutting

11 a.m.

A ribbon cutting for the Legends Drive extension in Lebanon will be Thursday, March 21 at 11 a.m. at the roundabout in the extension.

Wilson County Election Institute

6 p.m.

The first Wilson County Election Institute program will accept applications. The institute is a series of four weekly two-hour classes conducted by the Wilson County Election Commission to give participants a better understanding of the behind-the-scenes work of the Election Commission. The institute will meet each Thursday from March 21 through April 11 from 6-8 p.m. at the Wilson County Election Commission annex at 415 Harding Drive in Lebanon. The classes are free. Information and applications are available at wilsonvotes.com or call the Wilson County Election Commission at 615-444-0216.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5015 meeting

6 p.m.

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

Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club

7 p.m.

The Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club will meet Thursday, March 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.

March 21

Wilson County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting

9 a.m.

The Wilson County Board of Zoning Appeals will meet Thursday, March 21 at 9 a.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

March 22

Wilson County Planning Commission meeting

10 a.m.

The Wilson County Planning Commission will meet Friday, March 22 at 10 a.m. in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.

March 25

Mt. Juliet City Commission meeting

6:30 p.m.

The Mt. Juliet City Commission will meet Monday, March 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

City votes on road, land measures

By Angie Mayes

Special to Mt. Juliet News

The Mt. Juliet City Commission met in a special session Friday night to discuss annexation of property at 430 Clemmons Road into the city.

The commissioners had little discussion about the rezoning, which was done because the city previously made an offer for the property in question. If the city buys the property, the land will house a public works annex, which will allow for a variety of public works vehicles and utility structures, according to city public works director Jessica Gore. Among the structures will be sheds to house salt to be used on roads during winter months.

“Several years ago, we built some salt sheds on Industrial Drive, and those will be going away real soon,” said City Manager Kenny Martin. “Those serve our public works department with salt and other equipment. We’re making an offer on a piece of property, and time is of the essence. We moved it to today. We didn’t want to take a risk of not having a quorum on Monday and having to bump that out would actually mess me up with our planning commission.”

The measure was approved unanimously on first reading.

The commission also voted to annex 2.370 linear feet of Clemmons Road, and the right-of-way along the road. The annexation brought the land, which was an island in the county, into the city. The land was on the city’s urban growth boundary. The measure was approved unanimously on first reading.

Commissioner Ray Justice asked if all of Clemmons Road was included in the annexation.

Gore said it was not but would allow the city to “clean up from the city’s property back to Division [Street]. It keeps us from going in the city, out of the city, in the city, out of the city. This will also help with emergency services.”

Also, land, which is known as the Shevel property at 9846 Lebanon Road, was annexed into the city and rezoned from highway commercial to commercial town center. This will allow the property owner to open a real estate office on the property. A single structure will exist on the property. This rezoning was unanimously approved on first reading.

Commissioners voted to annex and create a plan of services for part of South Rutland Road and its right-of-way near 487 South Rutland Road into the city. They also voted to annex and create a plan of services for the intersection of Lebanon Road and North Green Hill Road, along with its right-of-way, into the city. The roads are both in the city’s urban growth boundary, and the measures both passed unanimously on final reading.

In addition, the commission voted to amend the current budget to increase paving costs. This will allow the city to built speed tables in various subdivisions, where speeding is a problem. Asphalt plants open this month, and the extra funding will allow the city to begin to install the speed tables in the current fiscal year, Martin said.

“This is another thing that we felt like was important,” Martin said. “Another reason for having a special meeting tonight. We’ve been meeting with [Gore] and [Andy Barlow, city engineer] about safety concerns. A lot of people are speeding motorists or folks going through people’s subdivisions. We decided to move up our timetable for installing what you’d call speed tables. Speed tables are elongated speed bumps.”

He said instead of stop signs, the city would install the speed tables to calm the traffic in the communities.

“We’re trying to expedite the process, which would have come in July. We’d be doing them at a much later time,” Martin said. “If we get those done sooner, we get ready for spring and summer. Those things are already in place and makes things safer for our community.”

Mt. Juliet breaks ground on new greenway

By Matt Masters

mmasters@lebanondemocrat.com

Mt. Juliet city and community leaders gathered Monday at Eagle Park to break ground on the Town Center Trail, Mt. Juliet’s new greenway project that will eventually connect Fourth Avenue to South Greenhill Road.

Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin said the project was a high priority for both the city and its citizens. It’s something Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty said will work as a transportation network between subdivisions.

“What we’re excited about is the citizens,” Martin said. “We’ve been listening to our citizens and what we’ve learned is they want things like this, they want places to teach their kids how to ride a bike, so we appreciate people for being patient with us and the hope is that eventually these greenways will connect not only throughout our city but also with Nashville and our surrounding cities like Lebanon and the county.”

The project is expected to be complete in summer 2020 and will feature a 1.67-mile-long trail from Fourth Avenue to South Greenhill Road. The 10-foot-wide asphalt and concrete trail will also have a new parking lot built near South Greenhill Road.

The project began in 2012 and will cost about $2.2 million. It will be funded, in part, through a grant with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which included some federal aid.

District 3 Commissioner Art Giles said resident have asked for a project like this for several years, and city officials are excited to be able to fulfill those wishes.

“From the first time that I took office, this has been one of the projects that people have asked me about continuously, and I get emails about, and we’ve done the best we could to help it come to fruition,” Giles said. “It’s a very exciting day when you think about what the future holds for people in Mt. Juliet, for kids and my grandkids, and it’s just real exciting to be able to get on a greenway and to go the way south and, hopefully, eventually, it will connect to the Cedar Creek Greenway, and people can go from Charlie Daniels Park all the way down here. It’s very, very exciting.”

Also in attendance were Mt. Juliet public works employees, who will lead the project, representatives from Adam’s Contracting, who will build the greenway, and members of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Motion filed in city’s liquor tax lawsuit

By Angie Mayes

Special to Mt. Juliet News

Wilson County Schools attorney Mike Jennings told the school board last Monday night he filed a motion to set a hearing regarding the liquor tax money the city of Mt. Juliet owes the school system.

The school board and a court ruling say Mt. Juliet has to pay a portion of the back-tax revenue to Wilson County Schools.

According to court filings from 2014, Wilson County Schools said it should receive the back funds and would then pay a portion of that money to Lebanon Special School District. The amount paid to both school systems is based on the daily average attendance, as recognized by the Tennessee Board of Education, according to court records.

When the school board sued Mt. Juliet in 2014 for the back taxes, Mt. Juliet cited state court rulings that went back to 1883 that said cities didn’t have to pay the taxes to county schools. Mt. Juliet attorneys argued the school board had no authority to sue the city, but the Wilson County Commission, which is the governing body in the county, could sue for the funds.

The filing paperwork said the city is required by state law to collect 15 percent of all liquor-by-the-drink revenues. The money is supposed to be divided by 50 percent, according to suit paperwork. Fifty percent goes to the city and the other half goes to the schools.

Lebanon also didn’t pay its fair share to Wilson County Schools but eventually agreed to pay the back taxes during a 10-year period, according to court records.

The school board discovered the lack of payments in 2013, court records said. Mt. Juliet paid part of what it owed, nearly $31,000, but still owed Wilson County Schools nearly $450,000, court records said.

The payment amount was determined by the daily average attendance percentage of tax revenue collected, and the court said Mt. Juliet should pay the amount, from the inception of the liquor-by-the-drink tax until June 30, 2013.

In a filing from 2014, Mt. Juliet attorneys said the county was not eligible to collect a portion of the tax revenues because liquor-by-the-drink statutes were not passed in the county, but rather only in the cities. They said the liquor-by-the-drink were not passed in the unincorporated county areas, therefore the school board was not entitled to a portion of the tax revenue.

Mt. Juliet filed a motion to dismiss in 2015, but it was denied. In the motion, the city offered other lawsuits in the state it considered precedent that found in defendants’ favor.

A 2018 judgment by Chancellor C.K. Smith denied Mt. Juliet’s motion for summary judgment, and Wilson County Schools was eligible to receive the money.

The amount of unremitted revenue was to be determined in a future evidentiary hearing, the order said.

In October, the Mt. Juliet City Commission voted to offer a $325,000 settlement to the school board. The school board denied the offer at its November meeting.

Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin said the city is currently paying the necessary liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue to the school systems.

Unless a date is named or an agreement reached before the hearing, the issue will be discussed March 27 at 9 a.m. in Wilson County chancery court.

Fire destroys home near city

Staff Reports

Fire destroyed a South Mt. Juliet Road home Friday evening and killed four pets caught inside due in part to a lack of water.

Wilson Emergency Management Agency firefighters went to the home at 1712 S. Mt. Juliet Road at 5:40 p.m. and found it half involved in fire. In September, authorities served a search warrant and confiscated drugs, guns, cash and other items at the home. However, the current and former residents weren’t the same people.

Two WEMA fire engines and an ambulance arrived first Friday evening. Firefighters started to fight the fire, but discovered the nearest hydrants were a half-mile away in either direction at Central Pike or Breckenridge Drive.

A third engine and a tanker truck arrived and shuttled water to supply pumper trucks at the top of a long driveway near the home. A fourth engine arrived to help shuttle water and provide more manpower to fight the fire.

“During the fire attack, a wall collapsed making the fire a defensive attack only,” said WEMA director Joey Cooper.

Due to the heavy fire throughout the home and deteriorating conditions, several walls and roof areas collapsed, which ruptured firefighters’ hoses. WEMA firefighters knocked down most of the fire, but with the floor unstable, they were unable to enter the home and put out remaining hot spots. Mt. Juliet firefighters were called to the scene and they brought a ladder truck, which was used to put out the majority of the remaining fire while WEMA firefighters pulled down the brick walls and put out any hot spots that remained. Firefighters fought the blaze for nearly seven hours, but the home was a total loss.

Wilson County Rehab 23 volunteers were at the scene and offered food, drinks and aid to firefighters. The Mt. Juliet Chick-fil-A donated sandwiches for the firefighters.

City of Mount Juliet Police Officers diverted southbound traffic to Central Pike while Wilson County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted with traffic control at the scene. Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. workers cut the power to the home.

No one was injured in the fire, but four pets died in the blaze. Red Cross volunteers were called to help the residents. A donation drive was set up following the fire at facebook.com/donate/562258444284704, and nearly $4,000 was raised as of Sunday night.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, and the Tennessee State Bomb and Arson Task Force will reportedly assist Monday in the investigation.

In late September, the Wilson County sheriff’s special response team and Lebanon police’s SWAT team, along with assistance of Mt. Juliet police, charged a wanted teenage boy and confiscated guns, drugs, stolen property and cash at the home in an unrelated case.

Authorities found three guns, including one stolen from a home invasion in Rutherford County, various drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and LSD, and large sums of money believed to be involved in drug distribution.

Authorities believed they would find evidence connected to crimes associated with vehicle burglaries in Wilson and Davidson counties.

The search warrant also listed a teenage boy who had two active juvenile petitions from Davidson County for aggravated robberies. Authorities found about 15 people inside the home, including the boy, who was wanted in Davidson County.

“We were able to collectively execute a search warrant on a residence where numerous drugs and firearms were present, as well as apprehend a juvenile who was involved in violent crimes out of the Metro area,” said Sheriff Robert Bryan at the time. “This is just another example this potentially could’ve posed the public and to the officers. We are working every day with our local and surrounding agencies to combat drug distribution and to keep weapons out of the wrong hands. Many of these suspects were also associated with vehicle burglaries, and we cannot stress enough the importance of securing your vehicle every time you leave it unoccupied.”

The boy was taken to Davidson County, and five other suspects faced numerous drug and firearm charges, which were pending the outcome of a Wilson County grand jury investigation, the results of which were not known.

Wilson 911 co-location loses Mt. Juliet

By Matt Masters

mmasters@lebanondemocrat.com

The Wilson County 911 Board met Monday to continue discussion on the pending decision on co-location and left with plans up in the air after Mt. Juliet police withdrew from the plan.

That left the Lebanon police and fire, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and Wilson Emergency Management Agency with questions as where to go from here to bring 911 call takers and emergency services dispatchers together under one roof.

Sheriff Robert Bryan said regardless of the status or success of co-location, his department and WEMA would work together to operate in one facility for the benefit of the county.

“For two years, we’ve sat here and talked about this co-location, and we’ve had involvement from across the agencies the whole time, and I respect the decision of Mt. Juliet – the decision that they’re not coming,” Bryan said. “In saying that, it’s going to [create] a hindrance on the sheriff’s office and WEMA as it relates to what are we going to do?

“We went into this thing thinking that all of the agencies were going to be involved, and now that’s changed, and me and [WEMA director] Joey [Cooper] have had discussions as county agencies, and we’re going to figure out what we need to do. Have we made a decision? I know that me and Joey are going to stay together wherever we’re at. I cannot say that it’s going to be here, but the whole point of moving down here was all agencies were going to be in here.”

While all of the agencies were under the impression costs for each agency would rise if parties dropped out, Wilson County 911 Board chairman David Hale and 911 director Karen Moore said they don’t see a large increase in costs to individual agencies even with Mt. Juliet’s absence as the cost of equipment and other operating costs would be reduced with one less agency.

Cooper voiced concern over the lack of policies to address employee pay, chains of command and other policy and personnel issues that could arise as employees from different agencies will operate under the same roof and effectively fill similar roles with different standards.

“Funding is not the total picture here. Funding is one of the many things I feel that makes up the decision. Policy to go along with that, how the different employees that are coming down here, how they’ll actually fit into the system and the equipment all weigh a portion into that decision, and I think policy is a lot of it,” Cooper said

He reinforced Bryan’s sentiments that negotiations would continue between WEMA, the sheriff’s office and the county mayor’s office.

“Our plan has always been for the dispatchers that are here to continue to work for and answer to the agency that they are dispatching for,” Hale said.

Policy and procedure concerns, especially chain of command and consistency of pay between dispatchers across different agencies, were echoed by Lebanon police Chief Mike Justice and Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler, who cited the issues as one of the deciding factors in Mt. Juliet’s decision to step back from the table.

Justice said he was under the impression each agency would have its own call takers who would work with an agency’s own dispatchers, but the reality would be a 911 call taker who then transfers the call to a particular agency’s dispatcher in the same building. He said he didn’t think the plan was one the Lebanon City Council would be willing to spend money or other resources. Two Lebanon councilors, Ward 1 Councilor Joey Carmack and Ward 3 Councilor Camille Burdine, attended the meeting.

“For me to go to my city council on Thursday night, and I say that I want to spend about $350,000 on personnel and equipment to do the same thing that we’re doing now, doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Justice said. “I’m going to present the pros and cons. I think there is a pro to this just by us being in the same room – there is a pro to that – is it $350,000 worth of pro? I’m not sure.”

Moore said there were other issues such as 85 percent of 911 calls that come from cellphones that require calls to be taken then transferred to the appropriate agencies regardless of whether everyone was in the same building versus directly routing all calls from a particular area.

Justice also said he thought from the beginning the plan was a consolidated 911 system. Hale said it’s something the board said from the beginning was planned as a co-location and not a consolidation. The difference is to have all agencies work in the same location versus essentially combining all of the agencies on a dispatch level, which would then require more in-depth change in structure, operations and policies.

Justice also said that so far, the co-location process has no operational plan as to how operations would be handled. Hale said operations were originally planned to be decided once a bid was accepted.

An example of policy issues of concern to Justice were civilian and law enforcement dispatchers wouldn’t be allowed to see the exact same types of information, which causes concern the city may enter into an agreement in the co-location. It would then have policy issues where two or more parties couldn’t agree to solutions. Hale disagreed and said the board could address any issues and come up with policies that would fit the needs of the co-location process.

“We’re asking you, formally, today, until we get this co-location worked out or until we get some kind of plan worked out, we’re asking you formally today that if that call originates in the city of Lebanon, that you transfer that call without delay to the communications center in Lebanon. They will determine what kind of emergency it is, whether it’s fire, police or medical,” Justice said.

Justice he has received complaints about instances where WEMA received calls to respond to scenes within Lebanon city limits, which caused delays in communications to Lebanon police and also Lebanon fire.

Moore pushed back against the claims. She said she has not received complaints about the issues until Justice brought them up at Monday’s meeting.

County attorney Mike Jennings said the concerns raised by Justice in regard to what is actually going to be asked of the agencies, both financially and with personnel, were addressed repeatedly in the two years of meetings and discussions about co-location.

“We’re not trying to take control of anybody else’s employees, but we have to operate this building, and I don’t think the money that we were asking you all to pay was construction costs. We were asking you to help pay some of the increased additional operating expenses,” Jennings said.

“The rest of the story is that every city entity that I went out to talk to told me, ‘Tell me how much the building is going to cost and then we can talk about it.’ Well, we spent a lot of money getting plans drawn that everybody, I thought, put their input in and agreed to. We had a meeting with every agency and put up different options and floor plans, and everyone picked what they thought was the best so that we could establish a cost and be able to go out to everybody’s funding entitles and say, ‘This is the price for it,’ and that’s where we are today, and I will accept full responsibility that it has not met the expectations of the agencies that are involved,” Hale said.

He said the board and the agencies still involved in the process should move forward with the best decision they could make for the residents of Wilson County.

All of the parties involved stressed their disagreements, and differing views were discussed with the best interests of the county in mind. All agreed each agency and municipality was a respected and valuable part of the community, which keeps the door open for continued discussions as the April 24 deadline nears for a decision on the co-location bid.

“I want to say something. First off, 911 is doing a great job,” Bryan said. “And I want so say this. I’m sitting in a different position that these cities are, me and Joey, both are sitting in a different position. We’ve got to do what’s best for the entire county, and we went into this thinking that it was going to come together. OK, at some point we need to realize it doesn’t sound like it’s coming together, people. I can tell you one thing, and you can shake your head if you want, we are working together to make it work countywide, but some people have to make some decisions.”

Chandler said there were several issues that led to Mt. Juliet’s decision to step back from co-location. He said many of them had to do with the culture and sense of community within Mt. Juliet police, in addition to policy, administrative and financial issues.

“Ultimately when it came down to it, and our elected officials were invited for the meeting, and they learned about the project at it’s final stage, they were updated throughout the whole process, as well. We got together with our risks and our opportunities and looked at those, and we still determined that right now, how it stands, we have to stay at our current facility,” Chandler said. “It wouldn’t be advantageous for us to come here. Part of the things why it is the way it is, and things could always change, but the way it is right now is because pay is not equal amongst all the staff.

“Could you imagine that you’re working for Mt. Juliet sitting in here? Lebanon may or may not make more, just as an example, or a county dispatcher. So what happens when they have an opening? Who are they hiring from? The lowest paid agency, right, because they’re just walking over and sitting in a different seat, so that’s an issue. The operational policies are an issue. The distance that we as a city would have to travel out here is an issue.”

Chandler stressed Mt. Juliet’s decision to step back from co-location didn’t mean the city or the department won’t work with Wilson County 911 in the future. He said it has an interest to continue its relationship and help bring the best services to the residents of Mt. Juliet.

The board recessed the meeting until March 25 at 4 p.m., at which point it would make a decision on a bid from the architect. In the next two weeks, all of the agencies involved plan to continue discussions and negotiations that surround the issues and challenges of co-location.

Mardi Gras at the Capitol tops $100K for Sherry’s Run

Staff Reports

Supporters from across Wilson County showed up in a big way Feb. 1 for Mardi Gras at the Capitol to benefit the Sherry’s Run organization.

“Thanks to so many generous people and businesses across Wilson County, Mardi Gras at the Capitol was a huge success to support the Sherry’s Run organization,” said Julie Miller-Wilson, Mardi Gras at the Capitol event chair. “There was so much community support, the venue sold out days before the event. The fourth-annual event raised a record-setting more than $100,000 to assist cancer patients in Wilson County and surrounding communities.

“From the table sponsors to individual ticket purchasers, silent and live auction donors and the winners of the auction items, so many people helped make Mardi Gras at the Capitol an amazing event. The event sponsors went above and beyond to make the evening spectacular. Bob and Pam Black allowed us the use of the beautiful Capitol Theatre. Party Providers set the tables for our fabulous meal provided by Ed Riley with Mo’Cara Southern Dining and Two Fat Men Catering. Additionally, the success of the evening was made possible with support from Cheers Wine & Liquor. Scott and Kirsten Harris provided the festive photo booth, and S.S. Graham Floral, Interiors and Events provided beautiful centerpieces. Hawk Specialty Services provided sound and arranged for the band, Four on the Floor. The generosity and support shown for Sherry’s Run commitment to assisting those in Wilson County and surrounding communities who are battling cancer was beyond extraordinary.”

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 community year round through support groups; assistance with utilities, housing, prescriptions, medical bills, gas and groceries; and colonoscopy assistance.

“The Sherry’s Run executive board and staff are so grateful for the support of our community and the leadership of our Mardi Gras at the Capitol chairs Glenn and Julie Miller-Wilson,” said Pat Lawson, executive director of Sherry’s Run. “Glenn and Julie worked tirelessly to make this a premier event to benefit the Sherry’s Run organization. We greatly appreciate their leadership and everyone who contributed to make Mardi Gras at the Capitol so successful.”

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.

Library board names its 29th Roast honoree

By Matt Masters

mmasters@lebanondemocrat.com

The Wilson County Library Board will roast Eric Thompson, retired chief executive officer of Prospect, at its 29th-annual Roast fundraiser.

The Roast will be March 26 at 7 p.m. at Castle Heights Elementary School in Lebanon in the school’s cafeteria.

Wilson County Library System director Alesia Burnley said the fundraiser roast is always a popular event full of laughter.

“This is our main fundraiser for the Wilson County Libraries in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Watertown,” Burnley said. “It’s a lot of fun, you never know what kind of stories you’ll hear and it’s always very exciting.”

Thompson said the night will be fun, regardless of the fact that he’ll be the punchline to all the jokes.

“I’ve been to many of the roasts, and I never thought that I would do it, but Stratton Bone approached me a couple of weeks ago and asked me to do it, so I said OK,” Thompson said. “We’re going to do it. I’ve got some roasters, and I’m hoping there’s a good crowd, because we want to raise some money for the library, and I hope they go easy on me.”

Tickets are $35 each or $250 for a table sponsorship. Tickets may be bought from Thompson, a library board member or at any of the Wilson County public libraries in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet or Watertown.   

Jordan’s will cater the event. Funds raised from the event are used to support the public libraries in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Watertown.

Local economic projects good start for 2019 development

By Matt Masters

mmasters@lebanondemocrat.com

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

mmasters@lebanondemocrat.com

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 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.

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 westisbestpto@gmail.com.

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 jtmarshall2@icloud.com; Senior Vice Commander Ken Kackley at hkenkjr@aol.com or Junior Vice Commander Harold W. Weist at grnmarine@tds.net.

Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club

7 p.m.

The Fiddlers Grove Model Train Club will meet Thursday, 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 trainslayer53@gmail.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.

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 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.

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.