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Showing 5 articles from October 12, 2011.

Guest Column

The late Dr. Joe Bryant

Although Dr. Joe and I have been friends and professional colleagues since the early 1960s, it was 10 years ago that, while undergoing treatment for cancer, I saw another side of Dr. Bryant as my physician and myself as his patient under his care.

Hardly a day passed that he did not visit or call to check up on me. He knew all the right questions to ask. His calls were simple and straightforward. Joe, hed say. Hows Robert? My wife Connie would report on my latest condition. Just checking was often his response. His humility was well known in the community for his good works and I experienced this first hand when I later learned he had studied at the most prestigious hospital in the world for my kind of cancer, the Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in NYC.

Dr. Bryant and Mrs. Jeanette Rudy RN, founder of the Rudy School of Nursing, not only shared a long, close friendship and commitment to Cumberland University and this community but also a keen interest in history. I remember Mrs. Rudy wanted to attend the second funeral of a Confederate general, a Cumberland University graduate, who died along with six other generals in the battle of Franklin. Dr. Bryant took Mrs. Rudy and me to the new gravesite where the general was to be honored. We all sat together, reflecting on the impact of Cumberland and its connection with this great historical event.

Dr. Bryant was instrumental in relocating the School of Nursing from the Cumberland campus to the McFarland hospital campus. Being close to his own home, he was able to continue to be intimately involved in the development of the School. Dr. Bryant and Mrs. Rudys leadership were pivotal in developing this school for nurses as the largest and most successful undergraduate school in Cumberlands history. Because of the phenomenal success of this school, Mrs. Rudy was recognized as Chair of the board, followed by Dr. Bryant.

As Chairman of the Board of Trust, Dr. Joe Bryant believed that the remaining debt should be retired. He worked diligently each year to accomplish that goal. He subscribed to the strategy that Cumberland should live within its means; for example, Dr. Bryant supported the notion of boot-strapping and always got more than a dollars worth for every dollar spent. In previous years, the independent William D. Baird Wilson County Scholarship Fund had been nearly depleted. Dr. Bryant invested wisely and restored the corpus of the trust, leaving it financially healthy.

Joe Bryant and I shared the vision that the principal historical influence in Lebanon and Cumberlands importance was the Cumberland Law School. He and I met many times brain-storming and strategizing to find a way to return a law school to Cumberland. From decisions of the federal court to allow a law school to be built, to a positive feasibility study from the American Bar Association, to donations of land, to visits and negotiations with other law schools, we were encouraged that this dream was possible. I often wondered why Dr. Bryant was so knowledgeable about all this.

Only in the past month I learned that while Dr. Bryant was beginning medical school in Memphis, he was also going to law school. No wonder he understood so much about our project. Characteristic of Dr. Bryant, he was a man of few words.

At the hospital and elsewhere, Dr. Bryants signature attire was a scrub suit with a fresh towel around his neck. The hospital was his second home where he felt most comfortable in the doctors dining room, walking the halls but most of all, in the operating room. Always a gentleman, never raising his voice, he spoke quietly during surgery. But what he said carried great weight.

He not only helped those hospital personnel who needed him but also helped the senior surgeons who were already accomplished broaden their perspective to serve their patients even more. Dr. Joe would go anywhere to learn new procedures; I remember his asking me to go to Richmond, Va. to learn about new robotic surgery techniques.

Dr. Bryants primary commitment as a physician and surgeon was to champion the cause of the patient. He believed that the physician had a better understanding that any other element of society of what really mattered for the greatest well being of a person. He felt that this role of doctors was being replaced by administrators, health care companies, insurance companies, and government. He felt that the physicians should be in charge of the health care system.

Dr. Bryant was the type of physician from the old school who did it all. He could deliver babies, perform C-sections, treat heart attacks, perform heart surgery, set hip fractures, as well as abdominal surgery from appendectomy to aortic aneurysms. He had a keen sense of medicine and a wealth of medical experience that he brought to the bedside of many patients whose condition warranted intricate care.

I was always deeply impressed with his profound medical knowledge and compassion. I know the people of Lebanon and Wilson County, Cumberland University and the entire medical community will greatly miss him as much as I will.

Editors Note: Dr. Robert C. Bone is a general surgeon at University Medical Center in Lebanon.


General News

10 days and counting for Project Tango

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
Officials in local government and the Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County said Tuesday that despite many rumors, they are still awaiting word whether Project Tango will choose Lebanon as a permanent location.

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said they expect to hear confirmation one way or another in the next 10 days.

Nothing is confirmed, but we hope to have that confirmation in about 10 days, he said. He noted confirmation could come in the form of purchasing land or just a notification that the company would choose Lebanon or Wilson County.

This past Thursday, Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said that Project Tango was the online retailer Amazon. Previously released details about Project Tango indicated the company is looking for two locations, one for a large sorting facility and another for a smaller non-sorting facility.

There are lots of rumors circulating out there, Hutto said.

He pointed out that Wilson County offered its standard property taxes abatement for seven years. G.C. Hixson, executive director of the JECDB, said the standard tax waiver for that amount of time on real and personal property is around $3.8 million total between the county and Lebanon.

Hixson said Project Tango is still in the due diligence phase and said nothing is official or set in stone. He did say there was a letter of intent from the company, but that is not a commitment to locate here.

Until they make an announcement or purchase land, its not official. As to when they close on the property, I just dont know, Hixson said.

He did point out the company could approach the Lebanon Planning Commission as early as next week for zoning and site plans to be considered. The commission holds a work session on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 10 a.m., to set the agenda for the official meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 5 p.m.

I know theyre trying to get before the planning commission as quickly as possible, Hixson noted.

He pointed out all communities involved in the running for Project Tango have signed non-disclosure forms, but when the company approaches the Planning Commission all information is public record.

Hixson said the JECDB and city and county officials have been in close contact regarding Project Tango and said theyre looking for property at this point in time. He added they are hopeful the company will close on property before going to the Planning Commission.

Its all between the developers, property owners, real estate agents and the company now, Hixson said.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

Craighead discusses events center

Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead noted that individuals representing city and county governments as well as local citizens would sit on a proposed Entertainment District Authority Board if the Cumberland Center is established.

Craighead gave a presentation on the entertainment district at the Wilson County Place to Be meeting on Tuesday morning.

This is a community effort, and when its built, it will belong to us, to the community, Craighead said of the events center.

During the presentation, Craighead mentioned the establishment of an entertainment district authority to oversee further expansion of The Cumberland Center development, to allocate money for that expansion and to build the events center.

The board would consist of seven individuals, the Lebanon mayor said, and both city and county would be equally represented.

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto and Craighead would be on the board along with one Wilson County commissioner and one Lebanon City councilor. Craighead also proposed having one city and one county resident on the board with those six individuals nominating a seventh member.

The board would then be responsible for deciding how money is spent and when to move forward on each phase of the Cumberland Center construction as well as construction of the events center.

The main thing is to never let this center become an albatross, or a burden on the community, Craighead said.

In the proposal, sales and property taxes generated within the district would be allocated by the board to continue construction of the district and events center. Craighead pointed out a small increase in property taxes in the district and the local sales tax share would go toward funding the events center.

When the center is built, legislation would allow the board to collect the state share of sales taxes generated within the center as well.

The board would also be responsible for determining a company most suited for managing the events center once it is built. Craighead addressed some lawsuits and negative opinions of Global Entertainment Corporation, a partner in building the center, and pointed out those were related to a part of their organization that is no longer in operation.

The corporation made the decision more than 18 months ago to no longer manage the events centers that it helps design and build. Craighead said the board would not be looking for GEC to manage the facility.

They would never be the group that we look to manage this facility when its built, Craighead said of GEC.

Hutto told The Wilson Post after the meeting there are many questions left to be answered, but members of the county commission are enthusiastic about a possible convention center in Wilson County.

He said the commissioners have been listening and looking at the details of the Cumberland Center proposal very closely. Hutto noted the commission has several questions that need answering before making a full commitment.

There are lots of questions that still have to be answered, Hutto said.

District 21 Commissioner Eugene Murray asked Craighead at the meeting if the board could dedicate the portion of taxes that is allocated for funding local public schools to building within the district.

Craighead indicated it could be possible to allocate the schools portion of taxes generated within the district to go toward expanding the development and building the events center.

That would take away from the schools a little, Craighead noted, but said what the entertainment district would mean for the community would outweigh the small drop in funding.

With the events center proposed to cost $40 million, Craighead said it would cost $2.8 million a year over 25 years to fully pay for the center. He pointed out in other communities, with the right funding sources they have paid for equal-sized centers in half that time.

Dodge City, Kan., which Craighead has looked toward as a model for Lebanons events center, put money aside 15 years ago for their center and it opened in February 2011.

They made a commitment to the community, he said of Dodge City.

Craighead pointed out Phase I of the entertainment district has been through the Lebanon Planning Commission and said construction on the first 225,000 square feet of retail space is preparing to move forward.

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post /

WC JROTC plans post Veterans Day 5K run

Wilson Central High Schools Junior ROTC program is joining with the American Red Cross to host a 5K run on Saturday, Nov. 12.

The event, titled "ROTC Run 4 Red," is being organized by cadets in the junior ROTC program at Wilson Central as a post celebration of Veterans Day.

To be held at Cedars of Lebanon State Park just south of the Lebanon on Highway 231, the event will included a 5K run and a 1-mile walk.

According to promotional material be distributed about the event, local military staff members will be on hand to assist with the scoring of an on-site physical fitness test that is to be offered participants.

Prizes, sponsored by Pepsi, will be awarded to the top finishers in the 5K race and also to those who choose to compete in the physical fitness test.

Pre-registered runners are to pay an entrance fee of $25, while registrants on the day of the event will pay $30. A $5 discount is being offered to all active military, ROTC, JROTC, and Young Marines. There is a $15 entry fee for the 1-mile walk (no-T-shirt provided).

Proceeds from "ROTC Run 4 Red" are to benefit the American Red Cross and the Wilson Central Navy Junior ROTC Cadets.

Technical Sports Shirts will be offered to the first 50 online registrations. According to event organizers, these shirts will be Heavy Duty Cotton Ts and will be provided to those who register prior to Oct. 31.

"We will do our best to have a T-shirt for everyone but due to the quantity of shirts, early registration will assure you a shirt," event sponsors have said.

For more information about the event inquiries may be made at To pre-register persons are asked to visit

Wilson Co. earns 3-Star

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty announced Tuesday that Wilson County has achieved certification under the states Three-Star program for excellence in economic development.

Our goal is to create a business friendly climate that gives companies the confidence to invest and expand in Tennessee, Hagerty said. Solid community development is a crucial aspect in this process by providing the foundation needed for successful economic development.

Wilson County is now eligible to receive additional incentives under the guidelines of the Tennessee Three-Star program.

In order to receive the certification, communities are required to meet criteria in planning, leadership, community, business and education and work force development categories.

Incentives for receiving the certification include identification on all FastTrack infrastructure and job training applications; eligibility for matching grants, if criteria set by ECD are met; earning points in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program; assistance from ECDs regional field staff and the sharing of best practices in community development; and the establishment of a strategic plan that is updated annually with measurable goals, specific actions, responsible parties and a timeline.

Beginning in 1980, the Three-Star program has now grown to 89 programs certified, representing more than 340 cities and towns.

PHOTO CAPTION -- Accepting the Three-Star Certification award for Wilson County are, from left, Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce Chair-Elect Chris Crowell, 2011 Chamber Chairman Paul Jewell, Three-Star Co-Chair and Chamber President / CEO Sue Vanatta, Tennessee ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty, Gov. Bill Haslam, Three-Star Co-Chair Diane Fletcher with the Joint Economic & Community Development Board, District 17 State Sen. Mae Beavers and District 46 State Rep. Mark Pody.

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