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Showing 8 articles from January 18, 2012.

John Sloan - Outdoors

Easy mans crappie -- winter tactics

It will work on just about any body of water. That is what Richard Simms told me and he should know. His specialty is catfish on Lake Chickamauga. He catches tons of themliterally.

However, he is no slouch at putting a cooler full of slab crappie in the boat. We were talking about trolling for crappie, about the least work an angler can do and still be fishing. It is a perfect tactic for cold weather fishing.

Richards method is so simple I believe Judge Durham could do it. From what I could tell, the key elements are just use a GPS if you have one, go slow and use light line and lures. It also helps to have several rods going at one time.



Thanks Danny

Long before he thought about folks eating in a restaurant with a country, almost hokie, theme, where the first menus would spell eggs as aigs, Dan Evins earned a reputation locally as a dreamer.

Today he would be considered a visionary, but in his early days he was best known as the guy with all those crazy ideas. In his 76 years, he did much.

Theres no way to tell the whole Dan Evins story in the space provided on this page, but there are some things worth knowing that say a lot about this man, whos credited with being the force behind the founding of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.

He was a U.S. Marine, a Shell Oil distributor, a devout Republican, and an admirer of Newt Gingrich. His uncle, U.S. Rep. Joe L. Evins, a Democrat, was one of the most powerful members of Congress representing Tennessees Fourth Congressional District, which at the time included Wilson County. Dans politics and Uncle Joes were completely opposite.

He was the first, at least in these parts, to introduce what today is commonly known as corporate casual. A handsome gent, he seldom ever wore a neck tie and preferred for office wear cardigan sweaters when the weather was appropriate.

He was a huge Tennessee football fan. In 1968, he and several friends made a trip to Miami to see the Tennessee Vols play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

At the time he was the owner of a semi-professional softball team, the Shell Oilers. Based in Lebanon, the team played a national schedule and was ranked as one of the best teams of its kind in the U.S. The team traveled in what looked to be a converted Trailways Bus. For the trip to Miami, Danny commandeered the bus.

But that wasnt the end of the story.

Once in Miami, the group got caught up in the glitz and excitement of the surroundings and crashed the Orange Bowl parade. For several blocks before being escorted out of the parade, a dozen or so folks from Lebanon were waving out the windows of their Shell Oiler bus to spectators who had lined the streets along the parade route.

In the mid-1980s, Dannys prep-school alma mater was in serious financial trouble. He had a passion to save Castle Heights. He spent countless hours on campus and tried desperately to rally the community in an effort to save the once prominent military academy. Despite his efforts, his mission failed and the school closed in 1986. He gave money and raised money.

He brought in a well known chef for the dining hall and made a number of other changes trying to get the school back on track. He had one idea after another, but in the end it wasnt a very popular era for prep-school military academies and Heights became a victim, as did other schools in the South, to the challenges of the times.

When he and a best friend Tommy Lowe, another Lebanon native, launched Cracker Barrel in 1969, few around town gave the idea much of chance.

One tobacco chewing country lawyer said Why would I want to buy stock in a restaurant chain started by Danny Evins? Who knows, tomorrow he may be wanting to buy a train. Dozens, perhaps even hundreds were offered the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of Cracker Barrel at 50 cents a share. And still one of the towns favorite haunts by those old enough to tell it, is No, I passed because I thought it was another crazy idea.

The ones who didnt pass and made the initial id=mce_marker0,000 investment saw their return multiply over and over again. They made millions.

Today Cracker Barrel has some 600 locations and a national reputation that is second to none.

Who would have ever thought back in the late 1960s that Uncle Herschels Breakfast, an item still on the menu today, would be so important to Lebanon, Tennessee, the place known nationally as the home of Cracker Barrel?

When he opened the first Cracker Barrel near the corner of Leeville Pike and Highway 109, another one of Dan Evins dreams was begun.

But this one was the big one. It was the real deal.

Hes left quite a legacy.

His death has been publicized by newspapers and media outlets all across the U.S. including the likes of The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and others.

The Silicon Valley had its Steve Jobs, but we, too, have a national icon.

Thanks Danny for continuing to be persistent with all your crazy ideas.

That Cracker Barrel restaurant thing is a keeper.


General News

Council blocks entertainment district

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
A resolution proposing changes to state law in order to establish an entertainment district failed to gain the necessary two-thirds majority of the Lebanon City Council Tuesday night, effectively preventing the proposal from being carried to the state legislature.

Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhler, Ward 5 Councilor Haywood Barry and Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath voted against the proposal while Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino, Ward 4 Councilor Joe Hayes voted in favor.

Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Huddleston initially passed his vote, but after seeing the other votes, cast his vote in favor of the resolution. Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead broke the tie, but his vote was not enough.

To send this to the legislature, I had to have four votes from the council, my vote wouldnt count, Craighead told the audience, which erupted in applause after the tie was broken, but was discouraged after Craigheads explanation.

District 17 State Sen. Mae Beavers and District 46 State Rep. Mark Pody have previously said they require a two-thirds majority vote by the local legislative body in order to carry a resolution to the General Assembly.

The deadline for local governments to send bills to the General Assembly is Thursday, Jan. 26.
You can send it down there, but they really wont pass it without a two-thirds majority, Barry said, referring to the state legislature.

The meeting hall was full of citizens, and many expressed their various opinions to the council. Some offered support, asking the council to pass the resolution, while others asked for more time to look over the details.

I suggest you defer this and have more work sessions, said Derek Dodson, who has been to many meetings and expressed his opposition to the proposal.

Dodson was critical of cost and revenue projections presented by Craighead. He also criticized Craighead for not having a bond counsel when setting up the proposed funding mechanism for the arena.

Were not at the point of bonding, I dont have a bond counsel, were not anywhere close to that, Craighead told Dodson.

Dave Kirkey said it was scary that the events center may never be built, although development is moving forward by the landowner, Vastland Realty. He thanked the council for asking tough questions and doing research on the proposal.

Kirkey also said capturing taxes from the establishment of the entertainment district would hurt the rest of the city by not allowing those local sales taxes to go toward more services.

There isnt a plan, this was dumped on the council, Kirkey said.

He had previously asked that the mayor and council hold public forums and meetings to get the public involved and to give them more information. He said those meetings had not been held and said the public was not informed.

Roshan Patel, who said he represented a group of most hotel owners in Lebanon, was in favor of the resolution. He said local hotels have seen stagnant occupancy and asked the council to give this idea for more jobs and more revenue a chance.

Im not saying we build a $70 million civic center tomorrow, Patel said. Give Mayor Craighead and his vision a chance.

Patel said the jobs and increased shopping opportunities within the proposed entertainment district would drive up their business as well as others. He said the arena would become an attraction that would increase hotel occupancy in Lebanon.

Helene Cash, owner of the Crystal Couture on the Lebanon Public Square, echoed Patels statements. She said she moved to Lebanon from Franklin and pointed out they had a plan for economic growth and jobs that began around 25 years ago.

She said big box stores and retail giants drive small business growth and profits and would help the citys and countys economy. She applauded the plan for proposing to bring in more jobs and to help the local economy.

We are setting up a mechanism to look at something for the future, Cash said.

Other citizens said the public just doesnt know enough about how the entertainment district works, how the arena will be paid for and how the Authority Board will oversee the district to support the resolution at this time.

I think our problem is we just dont understand any of this, we want to see this, we want to have it, but we just dont understand it, Jim Dunn said.

There are a lot of people out there that dont understand. I think we need more time, we really do, Jean Poole added.

Huddleston agreed with those who asked for more time and who asked for more information to be given to the public. He wanted to know why they could not hold a public forum to get more information out and said he just wasnt sure how he felt about the entertainment district and arena.

Im not sure how I feel about this project, Huddleston said. There are still a lot of people out there, there are still questions.

Other council members said there were too many questions that remained unanswered about the Authority Board and arena funding proposal to support the resolution Tuesday night.

Buhler did not want the Authority Board to be in the resolution sent to the state and worried that it would be set in stone if the General Assembly passed it. He also asked if the entertainment district would take the schools portion of local and state taxes into its fund.

City Attorney Andy Wright explained that would be a decision for the Wilson County Board of Education and the Wilson County Commission. He also said the Authority Board would not be created until the city and county entered into an interlocal agreement to explicitly create the board.

There are a lot of things that need to be answered and were not getting it, Buhler contested.

Warmath also opposed the resolution because of the definition of the board, which would consist of seven members, including the city and county mayors, a member of the council and commission, a citizen from the city and county and a seventh member to be chosen by the previous six.

Cesternino said the fact that people in Lebanon and the council were having this conversation was a positive. He felt the idea was a good step forward for Lebanon, but noted the work would not end with Tuesday nights vote.

If the legislature approves this, theres a lot of work to be done, he said. This is a positive conversation.

Barry indicated his reservations stemmed from a legal standpoint regarding Tax Increment Financing, or TIFs, which is the proposed funding mechanism for the arena. According to Craigheads plan, the local share of sales taxes and property taxes generated within the entertainment district would be saved to pay for the arena in the future.

Barry called TIFs unfair to the rest of the city that does not get to benefit from the taxes generated in that area. Normally, those taxes would go to the city and county to be used providing services.

There are a lot of ifs, ands or buts and that troubles me, Barry said. I have mixed feelings about it from a legal point of view.

Craighead assured everyone no tax increase would be needed and no city funds would be used to build within the entertainment district or to construct the arena. He emphasized this was a small step toward the end goal, not the end goal itself.

Wednesday afternoon, Craighead said he felt it was not right to ask the commission to consider the resolution without the two-thirds support from the council. He said he still does not understand why the council would not support the resolution.

The Wilson County Commission Budget Committee was expected to consider the resolution in a special called meeting tomorrow. However, Craighead said Wednesday afternoon that he would not ask the county to consider the resolution since it did not garner two-thirds support of the council.

"I've asked Bernie (Ash) to just pull it from their meeting," Craighead said, referring tothe chairman of the budget committee. "Without the lead from the city, it's not right."

Ash said the meeting will no longer take place as it was scheduled only to consider the entertainment district resolution. Craighead said he was still at a loss on why the council did not support the proposal.

"I don't understand why they couldn't support it," he said. "The need for this type of facility will not go away."

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

Possible tornado reported near Wilson-Rutherford line

The Wilson Post
Meteorologists from the National Weather Service Office in Old Hickory will survey an area south of Cedars of Lebanon State Park today (Jan. 18) to determine whether a tornado or straight line winds damaged structures and overturned a recreational vehicle during Tuesdays severe weather.

We wont be doing our official storm survey until tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, said Trevor Boucher, meteorologist with the NWS.

He added that meteorologists could not say definitely that a tornado had touched down but noted that there was quite a bit of structural damage in the area with one RV overturned. Some trees were also reported snapped.

Damage runs the length of three-fourths of a mile to a mile in the Rockdale community in Rutherford County which is west of State Route 840 and south of Couchville Pike. There were no injuries reported as of 4:30 p.m.

The damage could also have been caused by straight line winds that are often associated with strong lines of thunderstorms such as the system that moved through the Mid-state on Tuesday and also through Kentucky and Mississippi and Alabama. A tornado was confirmed on the ground for a time yesterday north of Sumner County and the state line in Kentucky, Boucher said.

Straight line winds can cause as much damage as a tornado. Boucher noted an EF zero or EF1 tornado can also cause the type of damage that resulted from yesterdays storm.

Also yesterday, a trained weather spotter reported seeing a wall cloud which could have contained a funnel cloud near the Nashville Superspeedway at 1:36 p.m.

He said that he saw a wall cloud, Boucher said, adding it very well could have had a funnel cloud in the formation.

The line of nasty weather was associated with a cold front that moved quickly through the state causing severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado warnings to be issued in a few locations including Wilson County.

The cold front also brought high winds ahead of it and colder temperatures after its passage. The low last night and early this morning was expected to drop to about 27 degrees. The high today should be near 40.

Itll be a chilly one, he said. We still will feel the affects of the cold front.

Thursday, however, will be warmer with more southerly winds and enough sun to raise the high temperature to the lower 50s. Thursday night will be chilly again with a low of about 29.

The next chance for rain is on Friday with a 20 percent chance and Friday night with a 60 percent chance.

Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at


General Sports

Bears pull away from WC in OT

Mt. Juliet survived a late 9-0 Wilson Central run and managed a thrilling 76-73 overtime win over the Wildcats in front of a packed house Tuesday night.

The Golden Bears improved to 17-3 overall and took control of the District 9AAA race with a 7-0 record, despite spotty free throw shooting down the stretch and in the extra period.

"I goofed up," said MJ coach Troy Allen, "I was telling my best friend today that I had never coached a team that was shooting 77 percent on free throws. Then we come out and miss all those late in the game."

The Bears had a seemingly commanding 61-52 lead and the ball with 2:45 to go in regulation, but Central went on a 9-0 run to draw even at 61-61 with 1:18 left on a mid-range jumper by Dee Oldham.

Mt. Juliet held the ball for the last shot, but Caleb Chowbay's stepback three was off the mark and DaShawn McMurry's putback was missed -- sending the game into overtime.

Former UGA lineman enrolls at CU

Once a Bulldog . . .

Cumberland University's football program has landed an impressive mid-year transfer as former University of Georgia lineman A.J. Harmon has enrolled.

Harmon, 6-6, 340-lbs., played two years at UGA before leaving school in the spring of 2011 for personal reasons. A native of Louisville, Ga., Harmon was redshirted in 2008 at UGA and appeared in seven gamesover the nexttwo seasons in abackup role.

He was battling for a starting job at right tackle during spring practice in 2011 and was expected to see plenty of playing time on the offensive line before leaving school.

A heralded prep player at Jefferson County High School, he was a 2007 USA Today All-USA Second Team Offense, a 2007 Parade All-American, a 2008 SuperPrep All-America pick and was All-Dixie.

Coming out of high school considered Harmon a four-star prospect, a Top 150, the No. 112 player in America, No. 34 prospect in the South and No. 6 prospect in Georgia. He played in the 2008 Army All-American Bowl.

Local sports in brief

Dixie Youth baseball -- Signups have begun for the Dixie Youth Baseball in Lebanon. To register, just visit must be between 9-12 years of age as of April 30, 2012. Tryouts will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Lebanon Rotary baseball fields in Baird Park. Space is limited and will be on the first signup basis. There is no charge to pay. Call 615-308-9230 for more information.

LGSA signups -- Lebanon Girls Softball Association will hold signups on February 4, 11 and 25 from 9-11 a.m. at the LGSA clubhouse in Baird Park. Players may register online at beginning Feb. 4. Registration is $60 thru Feb. 11 and $70 after. Girls ages 4-14 may participate in this fastpitch recreation league. Call Mike Sesnan 308-4705 or Wayne Oakley 305-4590 or

CU kickoff dinner -- The Cumberland University baseball team will host its annual Kickoff Dinner and Auction at 6:30 p.m. Friday, January 27 in the Benton Jennings Center. Former Bulldog catcher Luis Martinez will be honored during the event. Martinez became the first CU player to reach the Major Leagues last season with the Padres. The evening will include a silent and live auction of baseball memorabilia with other donated items also available. All proceeds from the event go directly to the Cumberland baseball program. Cost of the event is $25 per person. For more information or questions contact Woody Hunt at 615-547-1366 or email

January volleyball at CU -- A volleyball clinic held at Cumberland Universitys Dalls Floyd recreation Center Saturday, Jan. 28 between the hours of 9 a.m. - 12 Noon for girls ages 8-18. Cost is $40. For more information, contact Cumberland volleyball coach Dwayne Deering at: 615-547-1318 or 615-449-4975. You may also go online at: www.gocumberlandathletics.comclick on CAMPS AND CLINICS.

MJ League late signups -- The Mt. Juliet League will be holding a late onsite registration for the Spring 2012 Baseball and Softball season at the park office from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sat., Jan. 21. Cost is 85 for t- ball (4) and $125 for all other age groups. You may also register online at thru Jan. 28. For information, contact Robin Speight, Park Administrator, at or 758-8991.

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

CU season tickets -- Season tickets are now on sale for 2012 Cumberland baseball, with the Bulldogs playing 27 home games on 20 dates. Cost of season tickets is $50 per seat. CU opens the season February 15 against Milligan College and hosts Lindsey Wilson on Feb. 16 and Point Park University on Feb. 25. For season ticket information, contact Woody Hunt at 615-547-1366 or email

Youth Baseball Expo -- The Cumberland baseball program will host a Youth Baseball Expo as well as a Coaches Clinic during the weekend of February 17-18 at Ernest L. Stockton Field-Woody Hunt Stadium, the Benton Jennings Indoor Facility and the Jeanette C. Rudy Clubhouse.

The Coaches Clinic will take place on Friday, Feb. 17 from 7-8:30 p.m. Any and all coaches are invited to the clinic at no cost to learn from the communitys premiere baseball coach, Cumberlands Woody Hunt, who begins his 31st season at the helm of the Bulldog program in 2012, and his staff.

The clinic and expo for ages 8-14 run from 9 a.m.-Noon on Saturday, Feb. 18. The day starts with registration at 8:30 a.m., with in struction and station work beginning at 9 a.m.

Cost is $10 per player and includes lunch. Cumberland players and staff will instruct players during the workout and a baseball card show and autographs will take place for all ages starting around 10:30 a.m.

Interested parties may pre-register for the event at

For more information or questions, please contact Coach Woody Hunt at 615-547-1366 or email

Tuesday night prep thumbnails

LEBANON -- The LHS basketball programs were in "the pink" Tuesday with a District 9AAA sweep of Portland at Campbell Brandon Gym.

Celebrating a "Pink Out" with special pink and white Nike uniforms, a portion of the gate as well as a collection went to Gilda's Club Nashville to fight cancer. The event cleared $1,000 in t-shirt sales alone.

In Tuesday's opener, Julia Fox drained five 3-pointers and finished with 20 points as the Devilettes cruched Portland 56-31. Kelsey Yarbrough and Scottlyn Elie each had six points for Lebanon while Madison Sloan added five.

LHS improved to 12-8 overall / 5-2 in the district.

The Blue Devils held off Portland 50-48 in Tuesday's second game as Cameron High led the way with 18 points. Shaq Cragwall chipped in with 12 -- including a late putback of a missed shot that helped seasl the victory. Zimmer Hunn added eight and Case Sloan five.

Coach Jim McDowell's team stands 7-12 overall and 2-5 in league play headed into a Friday night game at Beech High.

LEBANON -- Friendship Christian's Lady Commanders got a much-needed win Tuesday with a 60-23 victory over Nashville Hillwood at the Bay Family Sportsplex.

FCS got 19 points from post Deja Jones and 14 more from Kristian Watkins. Courtney Petty and Taylor Patterson each had six as Friendship improved to 6-9 overall.

The FCS boys completed Tuesdays's sweep with a 59-48 win over the 'Toppers.

Allen Heaston ahd 21 points, Dalton Patterson chipped in with 15 and Mark Sandoval added 14 as the Commanders improved to 13-2 overall.

FCS will return to the hardwood Friday, Jan. 20 as Region 4A power Clay County High comes to town for a 6 p.m. twinbill

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