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Showing 13 articles from December 7, 2011.


Ethel Lee Crook, 92

WATERTOWN -- Funeral services were held Monday afternoon, Dec. 5 at Hunter Funeral Home for Mrs. Crook, 92, of Watertown.
A member of Prosperity Baptist Church, she attended Liberty High School. Mrs. Crook died Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 at The Pavilion in Lebanon.
Interment was in Prosperity Cemetery.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Crook; parents, Ace and Frances Adamson; two brothers and four sisters.
Survivors include: daughter Paulette (James M.) Gilley of Lebanon; grandchildren Terry (Valorie) Gilley of Nashville, Diane (Lee) Hudson of Lebanon, Randy (Adrienne) Gilley of Lebanon and Darrell (Dani) Gilley of Lebanon; great-grandchildren Tyler and Brittany Gilley, Alex Gilley, Chase and Heath Gilley and Emilee Hudson; sisters, Estelle Hicks of Mich., Alene Harvey of Alexandria and Betty Bryan of Murfreesboro; nieces and nephews.
Grandsons and great-grandsons served as pallbearers.
Watertown's Hunter Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Robert Leon McIlhenny, 73

WATERTOWN -- A celebration of life will be held 5-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 at Hunter Funeral Home for for Mr. McIlhenny, 73, of Lebanon.
Born in Philadelphia, Pa, Mr. McIlhenny died Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 at Quality Care Center in Lebanon. He worked several years at Charlie's Restaurant in Watertown. He was a U.S. Army veteran.
He was preceded in death by parents, Clarence Leon and Eleanor McIlhenny; and sister, Sue Quigley.
Watertown's Hunter Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Virginia Ruth O'Neal Phillips, 84

AUBURNTOWN -- Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon, Dec. 4 at Auburn Baptist Church for Mrs. Phillips, 84, of Auburntown.
Mrs. Phillips died Friday, Dec. 2 at University Medical Center in Lebanon. She was a graduate of Watertown High School.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, J.T. O'Neal and Magnus Phillips; parents, Theodore and Elizabeth Armstrong.
Survivors include: son Lynn (Cathy) O'Neal of Auburntown; daughter Darnelle (Jim) Brown of Liberty; grandchildren Tracy (Ravi) Goins of Aubertown, Emily (Chris) Crook of Liberty, Jason (Jennifer) Brown and Jeanna (Tracy) Caplinger of Auburntown; great-grandchildren Emma Claire and Caitlyn Crook, Carly and Ben Brown, Kayna and Kayley Caplinger, Lauryn and Colin Crawley and Dustin Mears; sister Dorothy (Van) Jennings of Statesville; niece Diane (Floyd) Gaddes of Statesville.
Watertown's Hunter Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


John Sloan - Outdoors

Reliving the Thanksgiving tradition

I remember Thanksgiving 1957. I was 13 and the proud owner of a beautiful, 16-gauge double barrel. It was a mint condition L. C. Smith. I later traded it for a 12-gauge but at the time, it was my prize possession. It was drizzly and cold in the Saline swamp and the afternoon before we had hunted ducks. I killed four.

Thanksgiving morning we would deer hunt for a few hours, make just one drive, and then head to camp to start the hog roast. The fire was already burning and coming to cooking coals. For one of the first times, I had the duty of handling the dogs. That meant I had scant chance at seeing a deer but I thought the job held great responsibility.

Uncles Lloyd, Lester, and Alphus dropped the dogs and I off on the Muddy bayou road and I sat shivering in the dark waiting for the first light to start. It would be a foggy morning, clear with patchy fog laying close to the ground, spooky in a way but I liked it, made the swamp mysterious. I would drive through the swamp about two miles until I hit the Alligator Bayou swamp road, just a mud track.

In a drive, you walk quickly, directing the dogs.


General News

Benson to be nominated for LSSD interim director

The Wilson Post
Lebanon Special School District Board of Education Chairman Steve Jones indicated he plans to recommend Scott Benson as the Interim Director of Schools for the district until a full time replacement can be found for current director, Dr. Sharon Roberts.

Im going to recommend an interim until the end of the (school year) at that time, Jones said, referring to the board meeting next Monday (Dec. 12) at 5 p.m.

He then said he plans to recommend Benson for the position until they can find a replacement for Roberts later next year.

If the board approves Jones recommendation to make Benson interim director, he said the body as a whole will then decide whether to name him the full time director, or find someone else.

Benson is currently the Assistant Director of Schools and has served in that capacity since Sept. 1 when former assistant director Randall Hutto vacated the position to take office as Wilson County Mayor.

Roberts announced her resignation last month in order to take a position with the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education, a non profit organization encouraging sound public education policy and working to promote innovative education reform across the state. Roberts resignation is effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

Council defers entertainment district resolution


The Wilson Post

 Citizens spoke at length during Tuesday nights Lebanon City Council meeting regarding the proposed Cumberland Center and events center, showing both opposition and support for the project, but in the end, the council chose to err on the side of caution with many questions unanswered.

In October, Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead announced plans to establish an entertainment district, dubbed the Cumberland Center, along Highway 231 South and Interstate 40 with 1 million square feet of retail space, in addition to office space and hotels. The center would later include a 4,500 seat events center and 15,000 square foot convention center.

 A resolution to ask the Tennessee General Assembly for certain amendments to state law allowing for the creation of an entertainment district and the events center was put on hold and deferred until after a work session could be scheduled.

Derek Dodson voiced his opposition during the citizens comments time and said he felt Craighead was misinforming and misleading the public and the council about the facts of the entertainment district and companies involved in its development.

Dodson called the whole endeavor a complete charade and said the taxpayers will wind up on the hook because he felt the planned events center would not turn a profit and pointed to many other cities where that has been the case.

He criticized what he called Craigheads lack of due diligence on the issue and said the mayor had not brought an independent bond expert or bank president to speak to the council about the financing plan. He also said the only revenue projections given were done by Global Entertainment Corporation, the company Craighead is partnering with to build the arena.

"Youve had no independent feasibility study for this, Dodson said.

He also criticized the lack of public meetings on the matter to allow for citizens to voice their opinions and have questions answered. Dodson said the project is a continuation of the Bible Park endeavor that he opposed in 2008-09 and said the same group of people is trying to push this new idea on the citizens of Lebanon.

I could stand up here all night and rip this to shreds, its not hard to do, Dodson said.

Dave Kirkey also said he would like to see more public meetings held about the entertainment district project and also wondered if the mayor had spoken with the right people and obtained proper information about the projects feasibility.

I dont know if theres been a lot of due diligence done with the right people, Kirkey said.

He called the idea of a seven-member Authority Board dangerous and said the council and Wilson County Commission would lose their oversight ability. The board would secure bonds to fund the events center after the larger retail project brings in sales and property tax revenue. They would also make decisions on how the entertainment district development moves forward and would be responsible for hiring a managing company for the events center.

If the city is responsible, the taxpayers are responsible and portraying this as the city not being responsible is just wrong, Kirkey said.

Craighead pointed out the resolution on the councils agenda asked the state legislature to amend the definition of a qualified public use facility to include the proposed events center, as well as capturing state and local sales tax generated within the district to further fund the projects development.

Right now were looking at the idea of establishing the board, Craighead said. What were doing here is putting the building blocks in place instead of waiting 15 to 20 years.

Country music singer and Mt. Juliet resident Tracy Lawrence also spoke at the meeting, but offered his support for the district and said it gives Lebanon a chance to grow and prosper.

You cant tell me people wont come here to a venue like this, Lawrence said.

He pointed out Mt. Juliet was a small town when he moved there in the 1990s but once Providence was developed, the city has grown exponentially. He said Lebanon has the opportunity to grow in the same way with the entertainment district.

Lawrence also said people will come to Lebanon to shop and attend events at the center and pointed to the Wilson County Fair, which is one of the largest in the country, and said attendance there shows people will come from all around to the center.

Joselyn Conrad also spoke and said she hopes everyone, citizens, council and county commission can work together to get the district established and the events center built. Also, Beulah Garrett said she hopes the entertainment district will come to fruition, pointing out it will benefit Lebanons future.

When the council addressed the topic several councilors said they liked the idea, but cautioned about moving ahead too quickly. Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhler said he would like to hold a work session and listen to a bond expert about the financing mechanism.

I think everybody would like to see (the entertainment district), but I want more information, Buhler said. He asked what the city will do if the center does not make money as is planned and said there are too many unknowns to move ahead at this point in time.

Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino said he is in favor of the city growing and continuing to improve developments but also pointed out he cannot support anything that leaves the city with open-ended risk.

We need to go as slow as the slowest member of the council is comfortable with, Cesternino said. We cant do enough due diligence.

Cesternino also said hes noticed one thing the council and city continues to fall short on is getting information out to the citizens of Lebanon. He said the citys website needs to be improved and information about the district and other projects needs to be available for people to see at their convenience.

Other members of the council said they will only be able to move forward with the project if the county commission is committed. Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath said the two governments as well as the citizens have to all work together if the entertainment district is to be a success.

If the county cant lock arms with us and do this, the city cant go it alone, she said.

Ward 5 Councilor Haywood Barry said the council is the only body that can decide what risk the City of Lebanon will take in developing the Cumberland Center. He and Warmath still had questions about the way the project is to move forward.

The way it is framed now, it leaves quite a many questions, Warmath said.

The council unanimously deferred the resolution and is planning to set a work session to discuss the district and have third party information gathered to be presented at that time.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

County Public Works panel to meet

Wilson County Commissions Public Works Committee will meet at 5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, in the commission courtroom at the Wilson County Courthouse, Lebanon.

Local schools meeting AYP benchmarks

The Wilson Post
Local school systems received their 2011 Adequate Yearly Progress Reports (AYP) from the Tennessee Department of Education, and the Wilson County School System and Lebanon Special School District met benchmarks in many areas, but failed to reach the mark on some, including test results within small subgroups.

Wilson County School System had 12 of its 18 schools in Good Standing with three Target schools, two schools labeled as School Improvement 1 and one school, Mt. Juliet Middle School, labeled as School Improvement 2.

LSSD did not meet its overall AYP standards due to not meeting the federal benchmark in the Students with Disabilities subgroup for both math and reading. All five of the systems schools were designated as Target schools.

According to No Child Left Behind, when a school fails to reach one of its benchmarks, it is labeled as a Target school. If the school misses the same benchmark two years in a row, it becomes School Improvement 1 and if it fails to meet the benchmark three years in a row it is labeled School Improvement 2.

As a whole, elementary schools in the Wilson County system all met their benchmarks and improved test scores from the year before. The four high schools also improved test scores overall.

Our report card is better this year than last year, said Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis. Wilson County School System is a system in good standing.

However, Mt. Juliet High School and Wilson Central High School failed to meet the graduation rate benchmark of 90 percent. Mt. Juliet High graduated 88.8 percent of its seniors and Wilson Central graduated 87.5 percent of its seniors.

Davis pointed out the graduation rate used in the 2011 AYP report is from the 2009-2010 school year. He said all high schools have made improvements and met their graduation rates for the 2010-2011 year.

In the county elementary schools, 43 percent of all students tested Proficient or Advanced in Math, surpassing the state goal of 41 percent. Also, in Reading, 65 percent of elementary students were Proficient or Advanced, well above the goal of 54 percent.

Also, 64 percent of all high school students were Proficient or Advanced in Math, passing the 55 percent goal and 79 percent in Reading, also passing the 69 percent goal. Davis said he thought students would have trouble meeting the goals because the standards were increased but noted the students and teachers hard work paid off.

Our teachers and students really stepped up, however we still have challenges in schools with subgroups, Davis said.

Among the schools that did not meet all of their benchmarks, Mt. Juliet Middle School had the worst report due to missing the Students with Disabilities subgroup testing mark for Math for the third year in a row. West Wilson Middle School also missed the same mark for the second year.

Both schools met the benchmark for Reading in the Students with Disabilities Subgroup.

During Monday nights meeting of the Wilson County Board of Education, Vikki Adkins, Zone 1 board member, said Mt. Juliet Middle is one of the largest middle schools in Middle Tennessee and said schools that test in the Students with Disabilities Subgroup have a hard time meeting the requirements.

Of all the county systems elementary and middle schools, only five have enough students, more than 45, to test in this subgroup, and Carroll Oakland, Southside and Watertown Elementary Schools met both Math and Reading benchmarks in this subgroup.

Another county school that did not meet benchmarks was Tuckers Crossroads for not meeting the mark in Economically Disadvantaged Students testing in Math. The school did meet the benchmark for Reading in the same subgroup.

LSSD as a whole missed testing benchmarks for Math and Reading in two subgroups, African American and Economically Disadvantaged Students. Dr. Jeanne Ray, LSSD associate director of learning, said the district made improvements on its tests scores this year compared to 2010.

She said the department of education set goals of increasing the number of students scoring Proficient and Advanced by 4 to 5 percent in both Reading and Math.

Overall, students last year were able to grow an average of 4 percent in Reading and an average of 5 percent in Math, Ray said.

While there was improvement, Ray said there were areas where the district did not perform as well as educators would have liked. She pointed to subgroups such as Economically Disadvantaged Students and Students with Disabilities as areas where the districts schools failed to meet requirements.

However, she also noted they are working to give students the opportunity to get extra help with their school work and more instruction time. Ray said there are after school programs for kids to get extra help, as well as time during the school day for kids to have more time with instructors.

We are making progress with those students, Ray said. We have to make sure we change and adjust our instruction to meet their needs.

For students with disabilities, Ray said time with the students is a hurdle the teachers must overcome and added the students may be at different skill levels. She also said they are working to adjust instruction to help meet individual needs as well as focusing on testing for the whole subgroup.

Weve made a lot of progress, and with the data thats available, we can see where weve made improvements and to see what works, Ray said. Its not all good, but its not all bad.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at


General Sports

Boys' basketball from Dec. 6

Beech 61, Lebanon 43
LEBANON Beech ripped nine 3-pointers and pulled away for a 61-43 victory over Lebanon Tuesday night at Campbell Brandon Gymnasium.
The Bucs got four 3-pointers and 20 points from Seth Brown as Beech improved to 7-1 on the season.
LHS was led by Zimmer Hunns 22 points (four 3-pointers) and 16 from Cameron High.
Lebanon (2-4 / 0-1) will host Hendersonville High Friday night.
Former Lebanon High basketball players, coaches and cheerleaders from the decade of 1960 - 1969 will be recognized during Friday nights LHS home doubleheader vs. District 9AAA rival Hendersonville High.
The inaugural Bring Back the Blue Devils Night, will include free admission for former athletes, coaches and cheerleaders who contact boys basketball coach Jim McDowell, either by phone at 347-2531 or send an email to him at:
Coach McDowell needs to know the years of participation.
The 1960s recognition will be held between games of the basketball doubleheader.

Wilson Central 65, Hendersonville 62
HENDERSONVILLE Wilson Central rallied for a 65-62 District 9AAA win at Hendersonville High Tuesday night.
The Wildcats, now 5-1 on the season, closed out the game on a 20-4 run overcoming a 43-37 Hendersonville lead going into the fourth quarter.
Dee Oldham had 24 points to lead WCHS while Jacob Williams knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
Wilson Central will visit Shackle Island Friday, Dec. 9 for a District 9AAA encounter with Beech.

Mt. Juliet Christian 59, Zion Christian 43
MT. JULIET Postman Ben Wankel had 19 points and Trevor West had 15 to lead Mt. Juliet Christian Academy to a 59-43 victory over visiting Zion Christian Tuesday night in TSSAA Division II East-Middle Region play.
MJCA, 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the region, led 31-22 at intermission and 49-31 headed into the fourth quarter.
The Saints will visit Watertown High Friday, Dec. 9.

Friendship Christian 56, Westmoreland 44
LEBANON Friendship Christians Allen Heaston scored 23 points to help lead the Commanders to a 56-44 victory over Westmoreland Tuesday at the Bay Family Sportsplex.
A pair of FCS football standouts, Dalton Patterson and Hunter Anderson had 12 and 10 points respectively as the Commanders bolted to a 15-5 lead and never looked back.
Friendship Christian will visit Clay County High Friday, Dec. 9.

Friendship sinks Dresden 34-0

COOKEVILLE -- Critical lapses in the Dresden kicking game helped pave the way for Friendship Christians lopsided 34-0 victory over the Lions Saturday afternoon in the Class 2A BlueCross Bowl at Tucker Stadium.

Dresden, a Cinderella team from upper West Tennessee, saw their balloon burst thanks to three punts of 12 yards or less and one that was blocked by Commander tackle Connor Gaines.

The goofs in the kicking game left Friendship playing on the short field -- opportunities Coach John McNeals team converted into short touchdown drives of 18, nine and four yards.

Special teams all year have been good for us, said McNeal. I think we have one of the best punters in the state (Cale Mitchell), and hes gotten us out of some jams. Weve had a few long returns as well, so that phase of the game has been a big key for us all year -- not just today.

The championship was the first-ever football title for FCS (12-3); the Commanders lost 19-13 to Jackson Christian in 2006 in their only other appearance.

Ive been here a long time, (23 seasons) and its a long road, McNeal said. Weve had some ups and downs, and this is definitely the best season for the kids.

Friendship wasted no time getting on the board, holding Dresden to a three and out, then driving the ball 57 yards to paydirt on eight consecutive runs.

Senior Dekolas Reeves, who was voted Offensive MVP, took it the final 12 yards off left tackle for what was in effect the game-winning score.

Hunter Andersons booming PAT gave the Commanders a 7-0 lead with 7:25 left in the first quarter.

Following the kickoff, the FCS defense allowed Dresden (12-3) just two yards out to the 22 yard line -- another three and out.

Colin Kanehl shanked a punt just 11 yards, setting FCS up in business at the Lion 33 yard line.

However, Friendship stalled out and Mitchell punted Dresden in the hole back to the 10 yard line.

The Lions couldnt muster any offense on this possession and QB Gatlin Hatchel attempted a quick kick out of the shotgun set -- an attempt that was blocked by Gaines and returned to the Dresden 11 by Stefan Remus.

Senior quarterback Tallon Mehlhoff skirted left end from 18 yards out on the first play of the drive -- running the score to 13-0 with :07 remaining in the first quarter.

For all practical purposes, the game was over for Dresden.

We knew wed be OK if we just went out there and played like we had been in our other playoff games, said Defensive MVP Dalton Patterson, who was in on 12 tackles and intercepted a pass.

They had a lot of formations we hadnt seen all season, so we stayed pretty much in Cover 2 -- that way we could leave our corners in the flats.

Those corners, Zach Lo and Steven Hollis came up with eight tackles each. Lo had a tackle for loss and Hollis intercepted a Lion pass.

Senior linebacker Kyle Wood had two tackles for loss and forced a fumble that was recovered by LB Ian Putman. A senior, Putman registered the only quarterback sack of the day for FCS -- spilling Hatchel for a seven-yard loss.

The second and third quarters settled into a back and forth game of field position as McNeal was content to nurse a 13-0 lead.

We felt like with the way we were playing defense, wed be OK as long as we didnt turn the ball over, McNeal said.

The Commanders came up with three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter on drives of nine, four and 51 yards.

Wood scored twice, then handed off to freshman wingback Austin Taylor for a nine-yard run out of the Wildcat formation with 2:16 remaining in the game.

By TOMMY BRYAN, The Wilson Post

Girls' basketball from Dec. 6th

Wilson Central 51, HHS 38
HENDERSONVILLE -- Sydney Vanlandingham tossed in 25 points Tuesday to help lift Wilson Central to a 51-38 District 9AAA victory at Hendersonville High.
The Lady Wildcats improved to 4-2 with the victory as Taylor Peterson added 15 points.
Emily Hatfield, daughter of HHS head football coach Bruce Hatfield had 17 points in the loss.
Wilson Central will be on the road Friday, Dec. 9 at Beech High.

Lebanon 43, Beech 39
LEBANON -- Julia Fox had 12 points and ninth grader Sydney Floyd added 11 as Lebanon pulled past Beech Tuesday night 43-39 at Campbell Brandon Gymnasium.
The victory upped Lebanon's overall record to 3-4 / 1-0 in District 9AAA.
Madison Sloan's layup broke a 39-all tie with less than a minute to play, then Fox sealed the deal with a pair of free throws at the 13 second mark. Sloan had a double-double for LHS with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
LHS will host Hendersonville High Friday night.

MJCA 45, Zion Christian 23
MT. JULIET -- The Lady Saints of Mt. Juliet Christian Academy went on a 10-1 run in the second quarter en route to a 45-23 victory over visiting Zion Christian Tuesday night in Div. II East-Middle Region girl's basketball action.
Lynnze Ethridge paced MJ Christian with 18 points while Shelby Leech added 13.
MJCA improved to 4-3 overall / 1-0 in the region.
The Lady Saints will play at Watertown Friday in a 6 p.m. tip-off.

Westmoreland 47, Friendship 35
LEBANON -- Westmoreland ruined Friendship Christian's season-opener with a 47-35 win over the Lady Commanders at the Bay Family Sportsplex Tuesday night.
Center Deja Jones led FCS with 16 points while guard Andi Morrisett had 10 and Kaity Woodall added five.
Hannah Borders knocked down four 3-points and finished with 15 points to lead Westmoreland.
FCS will be on the road Friday at Clay County High in Celina.

LHS baseball holds pancake breakfast

New Lebanon High baseball coach Brian Black is hoping he can convince folks to multi-task Saturday, Dec, 17 at the Blue Devils benefit pancake breakfast, hosted by Applebees Neighborhood Grill, 609 South Cumberland Street.

Well have a really good breakfast for just $6, Black said, of course this is a fundraiser for our team. But, anyone who brings a new, unwrapped toy can have their picture taken with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.

All toys collected will be turned over to the Christmas For All campaign. Advance tickets are available from any Blue Devil baseball player. Tickets will also be sold at the door between the hours of 7:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Wilson Co. sports in brief

MJ League signups
Mt. Juliet League online registration for the Spring 2012 Baseball and Softball season are presently underway. Cost is $85 for t-ball 4 and $125 for all other age groups. You may register at Onsite registrations will be held Jan. 7 and 14 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods in the Providence Marketplace. For more information, please contact Robin Speight, Park Administrator, at or 758-8991 or check

Holiday volleyball clinic
LEBANON -- There will be a Christmas Volleyball Clinic held at Cumberland Universitys Dallas Floyd Recreation Center Saturday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m - 12 Noon for girls ages 8-18. Cost is $40 per athlete. For information, contact CU volleyball coach Dwayne Deering at: 615-547-1318 or 615-449-4975. You may direct an email to:

CU Night at the Preds
Cumberland Universitys alumni office will stage the fifth annual CU Night at the Preds! Saturday, Feb. 4. The Nashville Predators will take on the St. Louis Blues at the Bridgestone Arena. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. but CU will be hosting a pre-game reception at 6 p.m. Tickets (reception included) are $40. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Meredith McDowell at or 547-1253 or Curry McKeel with the Predators at: or 770-2328.

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