By W.H. WATERS
This afternoon I sit down to write something I have not done in quite a while. Yes, I wrote one column during the Presidential race, but it was not published. It spoke to my political feeling, and the newspaper chose not to publish articles of this type. I am not speaking in anger, but what I am about to say I feel is something that is vital to our nation, state, county and to every individual who might read this.
A great Congressman once said, “All politics is local.”
Surely recent weeks have cause us all to stop and to listen and try to get a feel for where we are as a people. Our nation has not experienced anything of this nature since the Great Depression. I remember as a child the nature of the feelings of people. We have not reached that point today, and I pray we will never feel the wrath of that time. Our leaders have shown fear, and we the people see that our financial security is not always certain. Today we know that changes come are not always for our financial good. Certainly all the actions of government may not be correct, but we must believe that in the main they surely strive for good. Maybe this will aid us in striving to work together and all be “Americans first.”
We have seen almost eight years where we have had practically no effort to have cooperation between political parties. The current administration has sought to put the agenda of the far-right into its decisions. We saw war by unilateral action. We saw no effort to cure the medical cost problems. An unreal effort to put Social Security on sound footing failed. I could go on enumerating, but America needed action that did not occur. Lots of our problems today came from inaction in legislating and inaction in enforcing the laws in lending practices. This administration may have had some help I these things, but they also had the opportunity to correct any mistakes made before.
Today America has a new President-Elect. He ran a fabulous race, and it was obvious that he had an agile mind for his thought processes controlled the organization of his campaign. Though we as a state did not give him a majority, America and its young saw a voice and a direction they had not heard. Though I am 85 today, count me among the young!
As I sit and watch President-Elect Obama, I see a man diligently working to bring into his cabinet capable people. It seems Republican and Democrat, friend and foe, are on his list. He is seeking change by getting people with ability with whom to work. This indicates he has confidence where he sits and is willing to sit and with give-and-take discuss the directions our nation must go.
It appears to me that Sen. Hillary Clinton will become the new Secretary of State, pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate. She is a bright person and well known worldwide. President-Elect Obama feels they can work together or this would never have been considered. The Republicans under consideration have not always agreed with his positions. They do feel able to discuss and this has been almost totally lacking in recent years.
Michelle Obama is a lovely lady. She will grace the White House with great dignity. The Obama’s daughters are so fortunate to be so loved.
This brings me to think of the African Americans to whom I write. I am so happy for you. I can only imagine the pride you take and how will aid you in raising your children and steering them to higher achievement.
Oh yes, I know our President-Elect has both black and white blood running in his veins. I cannot see, nor will I try to see, the color of his thoughts. I suspect that they will run red, white and blue, and we of all colors will walk to the drum beat of our time.
I hope all of us will realize we did not get in our present mess in a year or two or three. We must give our new President and his Cabinet time to lead us all to higher ground.
Regardless of my time left to write, always remember I love this land and all its people!
Editor’s Note: W.H. Waters is a Lebanon resident and a contributor to The Wilson Post.
To the Editor:
The Wilson County Board of Education has voted to send the proposed bid to build Lebanon High School to the Wilson County Commission for their support in funding the school. I believe there are still some sidebar issues and history of the process that is in need of clarification to further the process to completion.
In a letter dated June 5, 2006, signed by then-Director of Schools Dr. Jim Duncan and former Chairman of the Board of Education Ron Britt, a letter of engagement was written to Hewlett-Spencer, LLC in which they asked for Hewlett-Spencer to proceed with the additions and renovations to Stoner Creek and Rutland Elementary, and a new Lebanon High School. “We ask that you develop a guaranteed price for each of theses facilities on a turn key basis,” the letter states.
This was the first issue in delaying the process in building Lebanon High as to the validity of this letter and what it meant. Next came the site selection, the purchase of the land and use of the bond money to purchase the land instead of renovating the old Mt. Juliet High into a junior high. As was finally noted, the performance of the bond would have been tainted if not used to purchase the land for a new Lebanon High School as stated in the issuance of the bond. In turn the county’s bond rating would have been affected and the availability of the county to borrow money. A contract for the purchase of the South Hartmann Drive land was agreed upon Dec. 31, 2007.
Months of delay. As stated in the newspaper, a board member voted against sending the proposed bid to the county commission as she felt it would be delayed because of the bidding process. In a resolution signed and agreed upon by the commission dated Oct. 9, 2007 in which the county adopted Resolution 06-12-7 stated, “whereas much discussion over the last eighteen months concerning the need for a new Lebanon High School; etc, etc.,” the resolution basically developed a bid process that would be acceptable to the members of the county commission to get approval for funding. This resolution continues to state: “The new Lebanon High School, and all future Wilson County building projects shall be publicly and competitively bid, either by the standard bidding process or the use of the guaranteed maximum price procedure and no funding shall be obtained until the process for publicly bidding the school has been put in place, completed, and all bids have been opened in public, signed by 21 commissioners.”
Months of debate and delays. After finally getting to the bid process and publicly opening the bids, the board of education voted to re-bid the Lebanon High project due to pressure from the county commission to what many thought and some still think, had to be a hard bid process, period.
As the resolution clearly states either process could be an acceptable use to receive funding. Ninety days delay of unnecessary delay. Folks, the preliminary process to build a new Lebanon High School has been completed, all that can be done by the board of education has been completed, all the delay tactics, all the unnecessary finger-pointing has been completed. Now it is time to fund the school and build it.
Some commissioners are in the belief that if we once again wait we will have funding with bonds rolling off in the future. Reality is the county in 2008 has a total debt service with principal and interest of $12,576,045. A commissioner suggested waiting until 2010 as debt will be rolling off, however, in 2010 the total debt service will be $12,574,430. Another commissioner suggested waiting until 2012 when some big bonds will be rolling off. In 2012, total debt service will be $10,129,838. There really will not be any significant drop in debt service until 2018 when the debt service will be $7,533,615 which is a deduction of $5,042,430, not enough to build a school even then and in real time we will probably be four to five schools behind by then.
I guess it begs to ask, what is the commission’s plan of action to fund the building of our schools, as the resolution dated Oct. 9, 2007 stated “as much discussion over the last eighteen months,” add that to today the commission has had nearly three years to consider a plan of action to fund Lebanon High School, not including the years of failed efforts to get Lebanon a new high school.
If the leadership of Wilson County has a plan, please let the people who elected you know, as people without hope often become boorish. Are we as a county going to wait until we lose federal or state funding or are federally or state mandated to build schools or forced legally by civil action and displace our children while a school is being built? Are we going to continue to lose prospective industry and jobs or are we going to find an immediate solution and build a new Lebanon High School and prepare for future schools that are and will be needed?
It is in the hands of the leadership of Wilson County to provide that leadership, to take this county to where it needs to be today and in the future. We all agree and it is often stated, our children are our biggest asset. Let’s put our actions in line with our words and provide for the youth of Lebanon and Wilson County.
Larry Hubbard Jr.
West Wilson Big Brothers of Mt. Juliet needs your help with Christmas activities.
Collections of donated food and toys will be picked up on Friday, Dec. 12 at area schools and local businesses, said Owen Gleaves, one of the members of the organization. He said they will meet at the Kroger parking lot at Highway 70 and Mt. Juliet Road at 7:30 a.m. and will leave en route at 8 a.m.
Help is needed to follow trucks and help with loading, and help is needed in packing food boxes starting at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12. Boxes will be delivered to needy families early Saturday morning, Dec. 13, starting at 7.
Volunteers are also needed to help in the Mother’s Toy Store beginning at 7 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 13. The store opens to the public for mothers to shop for their children from 1 until 4 p.m. Packing of food, delivery and the Mother’s Toy Store activities will be at Mt. Juliet Middle School next to Sonic on Mt. Juliet Road (the former Mt. Juliet High School).
This is a good opportunity for parents to teach their children about helping those less fortunate,” Gleaves said. “If you can volunteer for any of these events, we ask that you show up at the locations given and ask for a Big Brother for assistance.”
Visit www.bigbrothersofmtjuliet.org for more information.
Wilson County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a number of thefts or burglaries in the Watertown and Statesville areas.
Law enforcement personnel have received reports during the past several months regarding the thefts of items such as a zero-turn mower, a utility trailer, chainsaw, air compressor, four-wheelers, guns, tools and safes.
Anyone with information concerning these crimes or other crimes should contact the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department at 444-1459 or the Wilson County Crime Stoppers at 444-JAIL (444-5245). Callers will remain anonymous.
From Post staff reports
Hardaway Construction has advised officials of county government in writing that it will build the proposed new Lebanon High School for an amount substantially less than the price submitted by a competitive company that has been favored by the Wilson County Board of Education.
In a letter addressed to Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis, John Sloan, executive vice president of Hardaway Construction Corp., declared that his company will build the proposed school “based on a list of changes that makes this project comparable in design, quality and function to the new Mt. Juliet High School” for a guaranteed maximum price of $48,511,999, or $612,993 less than the amount submitted by Hewlett-Spencer.
Sloan adds that if the county decides to “delete the geothermal system, and the related mezzanines” as once proposed by Hewlett-Spencer, his company’s price tag for the project would be dropped to $46,701,765 or almost a million dollars less than the cost posted by Hewlett-Spencer for the amended project.
By JENNIFER HORTON
The Wilson Post
Donations for Wilson County Christmas for All are running about 30 percent below what it was this time last year, but requests for assistance are up by approximately the same amount.
Applications may still be turned in, but the deadline to submit them is Wednesday, Dec. 10. Jim Harding, president of the Christmas for All organization, urged those who need toys for children or those who need food baskets for elderly persons to turn in applications as soon as possible at the local Department of Human Services office on North Cumberland Street, Lebanon.
“Our donations are down and demand is up,” he said.