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Showing 11 articles from February 10, 2012.

Guest Column

Frost, it happens to everyone

By GEORGE ROBERTSON, M.D.

Seeing the wilted flowers after the last killing frost brought a touch of sadness as I surveyed the garden and yard. I had heard that the cold weather was coming and at the same time I knew I couldn't protect those sensitive plants indefinitely. Even if I covered them tonight, what about tomorrow night and the night after that? Sooner or later I would have to give them up to the inevitable consequences of winter.

The killing frost had nipped the young buds of my winter squash vines. It had put an end to the growing season and stopped even the cold weather crops in their tracks. The Impatiens growing by the front walk were now a lifeless crumple of faded green. The herbs growing in the backyard were beat down but surviving. The influence of the frost was broad reaching and final.

But there were some good consequences of the killing freeze. It meant that I would not have to mow the grass again until spring. It also put the finishing touches on the leaves that were increasing their beautiful colors along the roadside. The maple trees lining my neighbor's yard were now a deeper orange and yellow as the last sap drained from them and the green chlorophyll gave way to the other colors beneath.

The weed patch by the mailbox now was becoming brittle so that my weed sling (my low-tech energy-saving answer to the bush hog) could now chop off the once thick green cover to turn it into a bear area again. I could slice through the weeds and identify the egg cases of the praying mantis insect and expose the old moss undergrowth of the surface roots below.

The seed pod of the milkweed would now pop open releasing its promise of new life in the form of a parachute into the wind, helping me to reaffirm that even in the cold and darkness of death there is the hope of new life. So even as the leaves on the oak trees were becoming brown and crumpled and brittle, new buds for the next year form beneath, pushing them out into the chilling wind. And I can appreciate the cycle of life that also ends in death.

Editors Note: George Robertson is a physician with Family Medical Associates, PC, in Lebanon.

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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Photo IDs required for other things, why not voting?

To the Editor:

When I enrolled in the first grade, 65 years ago, I had to present a birth certificate. My parents used my hospital birth certificate which contained my name, birth date, feet prints, the names of my parents and their place of birth, my mothers finger print and the place of my birth. It also had a large, embossed gold seal and several signatures.

I used that same birth certificate when registering for my Social Security number, applied for a driver license, registered for the draft, registered for college admission, bought life insurance, applied for a marriage license, registered to vote and for everything else that needed proof of birth and citizenship.

A few years ago the laws changed. When I applied for a passport, I was told I had to provide a state certified birth certificate and a picture. The U.S. and state government would no longer accept my voters registration card. They would not take my hospital birth certificate. I had to pay $10 to the state where I was born to get a certified copy. When my wife and I applied for Social Security and Medicate benefits, we had to present photo ID and state certified birth certificates.

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General News

Anti-meth bill working, NPLEx already producing results

Just released January data collected by the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) reveal impressive results for Tennessee in blocking unlawful sales of pseudoephedrine (PSE) at the sales counter.

Sponsors of the law are touting the results as proof Tennessee is at the forefront of the fight against meth.

NPLEx uses real-time, stop-sale technology to block PSE sales. NPLEx data also provides law enforcement officials with valuable data to assist in the apprehension of methamphetamine criminals. PSE, the active ingredient in many safe and effective medicines that treat common cold and allergy symptomsmedicines like Advil Cold & Sinus, Claritin-D, and Sudafed is also used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

In just one short month since the NPLEx was fully implemented in Tennessee, the electronic system has successfully blocked the sale of more than 4,993 illegal boxes of PSE, keeping more than 13,000 grams off of Tennessee streets.The system blocked 71 illegal boxes and kept 194 grams off the streets in Wilson County.

The NPLEx system also incorporates the newly instituted Tennessee Meth Offender Registry, a database which contains the names of 2,354 individuals who, due to previous meth-related offenses, are not permitted to purchase medicines containing PSE. In January, the NPLEx system kept 111 of those offenders from making 222 PSE purchases.

The NPLEx system was a key component of the multifaceted anti-meth bill sponsored by Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, and was co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, and Linda Elam, R-Mt. Juliet.

These numbers show that NPLEx is working to stop meth crimes before they happen, Beavers said. Not only does the electronic technology help law enforcement identify criminals, it also allows law-abiding Tennesseans to continue to purchase safe and effective cold and allergy medicines without a prescription.

NPLEx has blocked a large amount of illegal pseudoephedrine sales in its first month of implementation, Pody said. It is a valuable tool to track down the criminals who are manufacturing meth in Tennessee, while providing access to pseudoephedrine to allergy sufferers. I am very hopeful that this new law will continue to block sales to those who use this drug illegally for meth.

This bill takes a large step forward in addressing the problem of meth on the front end, before it has the opportunity to ruin the lives of those who use it or are exposed to it, Elam said. I hope we continue to see success with stopping meth as illegal manufacturers are added to the Registry.

Tennessee is one of 17 states that currently use NPLEx, which works across state lines, and tracks and stops illegal sales when the purchaser has exceeded his or her legal limit. As part of the comprehensive anti-meth bill, the law also:

Increases the penalty for making meth in the presence of children; Makes it easier to prosecute those who purchase medicines containing PSE at different times and places for the purpose of exceeding the allowable amount, or through use of false identification; and Imposes minimum mandatory fines on those offenders.

Gov. Bill Haslams Administration also provided an additional $750,000 in state appropriations to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and $280,000 in federal Byrne JAG grant funds from the state Office of Criminal Justice Programs available to the TBI.

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Ash named new County Veterans Services Director

By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post

District 23 Wilson County Commissioner Bernie Ash was named the new County Director of Veterans Services Thursday morning after a hiring panels first choice, David Roberts, declined to take the position.

Ash said he was very honored to take the position and noted he will hit the ground running and work with Carol Dedman, assistant service officer, to get up to speed on how the office operates.

The first thing Ash said he would do was extend the office hours currently set at 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., to 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. instead, giving veterans who work a chance to come in later in the day and still receive assistance.

The door is always open, Ash said.

Ash said he would be attending the meetings of local veterans groups and noted he already attends the Vietnam Veterans of America meetings, but said he will try to arrange the Wilson County Budget Committee meetings so that he may attend other veterans groups meetings.

I want you to know I will be out working in the community, Ash said, referring to spreading the word about the Veterans Services Office and making sure veterans get the benefits they deserve.

While Ash was named the new Director, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto pointed out he was not the first choice. During the process, the hiring committee of Hutto, County Human Resources Director Alanna Sullivan and three veterans, chose Roberts to be the new director.

We selected, unanimously, David Roberts, but he turned me down, Hutto said.

Roberts came to the announcement and spoke to the veterans in attendance. During interviews on Jan. 12, veterans who attended had the chance to vote on which candidate they would prefer be given the position. Hutto said Roberts received the largest number of votes from the veterans.

An opportunity had come up for me to start my own business and run it from home, Roberts said.

He explained the opportunity to run his own business and spend more time with his wife and children was one he could not pass up. Robert thanked the veterans who voted for him and the hiring committee for selecting him and apologized for pulling out so late.

Roberts offered his design for a Veterans Services office logo to the county if they choose to use it and said when the new veterans museum opens, he has a lot of equipment, uniforms and items to donate.

Hutto said when Roberts declined, he had the option to either open the process back up again or ask the committee if they had a second choice. While discussing it with the committee, Hutto said Ash received the second-highest number of votes from veterans during the January interviews.

All but one said I think the second choice would be Bernie Ash, your second vote was Bernie Ash, Hutto told veterans in attendance Thursday.

Hutto said there were several tasks he hopes Ash will take up in the new position, including overseeing the construction of the Veterans Park and museum that is currently being designed by a group of local architects.

Hutto wanted Ash to give a quarterly report to the commission and to local veterans, create an email database to get information out to local veterans quicker and easier, and create a calendar of events each month so veterans know what is happening in their community.

I asked him to make a commercial to show whats going on with Veterans Services, Hutto said, pointing out that can be done for free with both major local cable providers.

While Ash serves as a county commissioner, Hutto said he spoke with County Attorney Mike Jennings about a possible conflict of interest. He said Jennings didnt see a problem with Ash holding the two positions, but would remain on the issue in case a conflict developed.

There are several county employees serving on the commission, ranging from Wilson County Sheriffs deputies to Public Safety Officers and teachers. When voting on matters that affect those county employees directly, each has to take an oath that they are aware of a conflict of interest and promise to vote as an impartial representative of their district.

A veteran in attendance asked Ash if a conflict arose, which position would he resign. I would give up the commission position, no question about it, Ash said.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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Civil warrants filed against TXR SRO, parent

By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post

Months after Tuckers Crossroads Elementary School postponed a fall festival, reportedly due to security concerns regarding a parent identified as Jackie Shook, she has recently filed two civil warrants in the Wilson County General Sessions Court against the schools Student Resource Officer and another parent.

The latest complaints filed on Jan. 13 and Feb. 1 follow several others filed with the Wilson County Sheriffs Department in 2011 regarding Shook allegedly videotaping and photographing another parent and her child on school property.

One warrant alleged that TXR SRO Pete Mecher has filed false police reports about Shook, followed and intimidated her child at school, making the child cry as well as yelling and throwing his hands in air when he was asked to write down what another student said to the child in class.

In July 2011, Wilson County Schools Director of Safety David Burton sent a letter to Shook that barred her from coming onto campus. The letter was later changed to allow her to come onto campus in order to pick up and drop off her child. Mecher filed a report in October 2011 stating Shook entered the school building to pick up her child, although she was neither arrested nor charged.

Mecher also was involved in a report filed by Shook in September 2011 that claimed her daughter was nearly struck by a vehicle in the school parking lot, insinuating that it was not an accident because of her history at the school. In the report, Mecher said the child was not in danger of being hit by the vehicle.

The civil warrant filed against Mecher is for $25,000 plus court costs and medical bills. Mecher received a summons on Feb. 1 and was moved from TXR on Feb. 2 to another school.

Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis said the move of Mecher was possibly linked to the situation, but noted the SROs are placed in schools and overseen by the Sheriffs Department. Sheriff Terry Ashe referred all questions to County Attorney Mike Jennings.

On Feb. 3, a parent and teacher at TXR, Tammy Barrett, sent an email to Ashe issuing her support of Mecher, and noted the schools students and staff are disappointed with the move. Barrett said the teachers and students trust Mecher, and her child was saddened that he was moved.

He is a vital part of our community and knows our families and supports them as well as our teachers, Barrett wrote. I do hope that this is a temporary move and that he will return to TXR soon because we all love, trust and respect him.

In his reply, Ashe wrote that Mechers transfer was in no way a disciplinary action and that he stands beside and behind Mecher 100 percent. Ashe indicated he has had many conversations with Davis on this issue and said, the system has failed miserably.

This issue is a civil matter and until the school system files a restraining order on any parent, for any disruption of our school system, my hands are tied, Ashe wrote to Barrett.

Shook also filed a civil warrant on Jan. 13 against Ashley Davis, another parent at TXR, claiming Davis filed a false police report against her and is claiming Davis caused punitive damages, defamation of character. The warrant is for $25,000 plus court costs of approximately $162.

John Meadows of the Law Offices of Hugh Green, who is representing Davis in this case, said the suit is a very questionable lawsuit. He noted that Davis is expecting the claims to be dismissed in court.

In October 2011, Davis filed a complaint with the Sheriffs Department stating Shook was videotaping and photographing her and her son on several occasions as they were exiting the school building.

Allen Woods, attorney with the Law Offices of Woods & Woods in Nashville, who represents Shook, has previously said those allegations were false. However, Woods noted Thursday that he is not representing Shook in this civil case.

Jennings said that Shook had made several bullying complaints with the school administration, indicating her child was being bullied, but Jennings said the school investigated those claims and found them to be without merit.

Jennings said the Wilson County Board of Education has authorized him to take any legal action that can resolve the issue.

I have issued her a letter that says she is not to come onto campus at any time for any reason except to drop off and pick up her child and she is not allowed to exit her vehicle or have any contact with anybody, parents, teachers or administration, Jennings said.

He said the letter was sent on Wednesday but he was not sure she received it by Thursday. Jennings noted the Sheriffs Department had deputies at the school with a copy of the letter to hand-deliver if Shook came onto campus this morning.

Both civil warrants filed by Shook are to be heard in court on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 9 a.m. In the meantime, Jennings said the Sheriffs Department has assigned a different SRO at TXR.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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Federal fraud, conspiracy charges filed against hotel developer

From Post staff reports

A local man who with others was the developer of the Hotel Indigo in downtown Nashville has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering as it pertains to his former ownership of the business.

Mark Lineberry, a resident of Mt. Juliet and also an attorney, and Delaina Thompson, his partner in a company called 1st Trust Title of Mt. Juliet, are both charged in the indictment that was filed on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

The indictment from the federal grand jury alleges that Lineberry and Thompson committed $9.25 million in fraud.

It alleges also that the two, operating as 1st Trust, said payments were being made as required on a loan and into escrow which the grand jury says did not occur. The loan was made by Branch Banking and Trust Company, better known as BB&T.

The indictment by the federal grand jury grew out of a disagreement that began in 2010 when officials with BB&T and Federal National Title Insurance claimed that Hotel Indigo and 1st Trust were combining assets and not paying the money to lenders and insurers that was due.

BB&T officials have said since the disagreement began that they had no knowledge of Lineberrys relationship with the hotel and 1st Trust.

The indictment also alleges that Lineberry, through Thompson, tried to obtain loans from BB&T by saying that Hotel Indigos title was free of any liens or other encumbrances.

The grand jury is asking for forfeiture of property and the $9.25 million that allegedly resulted from the 12 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges from both Lineberry and Thompson.

Lineberry is also involved in a civil lawsuit filed against him by his partner in the downtown Nashville Hotel Indigo, Keith Worsham. The company they founded, called 315 Union Street Holdings, filed for bankruptcy in December 2010. A company out of North Carolina, Winston Hospitality, purchased the hotel in the fall of 2011.

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Local man lives a dream at fantasy baseball camp

By SAM HATCHER
The Wilson Post

Living a dream in a field of dreams was a Lebanon man only days ago when he traveled to Orlando, Fla., to play baseball with some of the game's most revered living legends.

Glen Butler for a week rubbed shoulders with, threw pitches to, and batted against some the very best alumni of the Atlanta Braves organization in what was billed as a Braves Fantasy Camp.

Butler and some 59 others took a week out their ho-hum schedules at home to don baseball uniforms and play the game that's usually reserved for "the boys of summer."

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Two Lebanon men arrested for allegedly stealing scrap metal

From Post staff reports

Two Lebanon men were arrested in Mt. Juliet on Wednesday, Feb. 8, for theft after a Mt. Juliet Police Department patrol officer reportedly caught them in the act while checking a business early that morning.

Tywan Easley, 32, and Davis Kelly, 36, of Lebanon, were allegedly in the process of stealing scrap metal from one of the storage containers behind the Industrial Tool and Stamping business at 300 Industrial Drive.

Officer Lance Schneider with the MJPD was patrolling the industrial area and noticed a suspicious-looking pickup truck parked behind the business around 2 a.m., Wednesday.

He made contact with the two male occupants of the vehicle and reportedly noticed that there was scrap metal in the rear bed of the truck. One of the occupants allegedly said the business owner gave them permission to be there.

Schneider contacted the owner and confirmed the two suspects did not have permission to be on the property. The value of the stolen material was estimated to be more than $1,000.

Easley and Kelly were each arrested on one count of Theft of Property and booked into the Wilson County Jail. Both Easley and Kelly were released on bond Wednesday.

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General Sports

CU baseball falls to Belhaven

JACKSON, MS -- Belhaven scored four unearned runs on three errors and the 15th-ranked Blazers posted a 5-2 victory over No. 7 Cumberland on Thursday in baseball action at Smith-Wills Stadium.

Belhaven (6-2) scored twice in the fifth and then two more times in the sixth, all unearned, against CU starter Keith Kirby and added a run in the eighth. The Bulldogs (2-2) managed just seven hits against three BU hurlers but stranded 12 runners, unable to take advantage of six walks.

Nick Sydnor and Daniel Harrison each drove in runs in a two-run third inning for CU, which also took advantage of a two-out error by the Blazers.

Kirby (1-1) scattered nine hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five in six innings to take the hard-luck loss. A dropped throw at first base after a strikeout started the first rally for Belhaven and a bunt single and then a fielding error at second base began the other.

Joshua Boldin went 4-for-4 for BU, including a two-strike, two-out, two-run single to rightcenter in the sixth that put the Blazers ahead for good.

Geoffrey Thomas allowed two runs on five hits, walked three and struck out seven in 5.2 innings for Belhaven. Jon Patino (1-0) worked 2.1 scoreless innings of relief for the win and Josh Clarke tossed one inning for his second save.

In the third inning Sam Lind reached on a throwing error by Bud Britt and Mike Mandarino followed with a single. Sydnor and Harrison had back-to-back RBI singles for a 2-0 CU advantage.

Kirby struck out Hamilton Harper with one out in the fifth but Mandarino dropped the throw to first. Bouldin then singled and Kirby induced a ground ball from Tyler Wrinkle, but he beat the relay throw to keep the inning alive.

With runners on the corners Anthony Doss singled to rightfield, scoring one run, and the throw to third got away from Harrison, allowing Wrinkle to tie the game at two.

Ryne Cook bunted his way on with one out in the Belhaven sixth before Lind booted a grounder near the bag that could have been a doubleplay. Jason Hicks loaded the bases with an infield single before Kirby struck out pinch-hitter Jonathan Thompson, but Bouldin laced an 0-2 pitch into rightcenter for a two-run single.

Wrinkles sacrifice fly in the eighth gave the Blazers a 5-2 lead.

Cumberland takes on sixth-ranked LSU-Shreveport at 11 a.m. on Friday and No. 21 Southern Poly at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

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Lady Bulldogs ease past Blue Mtn.

BLUE MOUNTAIN, Miss. Courtney Atkinson led three players in double figures with 19 points as Cumberland hung on for a 56-51 victory Thursday night at Blue Mountain College in womens basketball action.

The Bulldogs (11-12, 6-5 TranSouth) did little right in the first half, committing nine turnovers and shooting just 25 percent (7-of-28) from the field. CU went almost 12 minutes without a field goal at one point during the period, with Tasia Blues layup with 2:50 remaining ending the drought. Cumberland hit four free throws for its only points during the stretch.

It looked to be much the same to start the second half, as BMCs Jessi Hayles nailed two straight 3-pointers to begin the period, prompting a timeout from CU head coach Jeremy Lewis. The Bulldogs responded with a 13-2 spurt to tie the game at 32 and finally took their first lead of the game at 36-35 with a bucket by Jessica Pace.

The teams went back-and-forth the rest of the game, with nine lead changes and neither team leading by more than four points until the final minute of the game. Hayles kept the Toppers (3-19, 0-11) in the game with 19 points, including three 3-pointers, but Atkinson and Pace continued to make baskets and Casie Cowan added two big trifectas, the final one with 1:52 to play that gave CU a 54-49 lead.

Samantha Burns drove for a layup for Blue Mountain and the Bulldogs missed a jumper on the next trip down the floor, giving the home team a chance to tie. But Amber Johnsons 3-pointer was well off the mark and after a foul, Atkinson broke free for a final layup and CUs sixth win in the last seven games.

Samantha Harper provided some much-needed energy off the bench for Cumberland, especially, in the second half, and led the club with seven rebounds. Cowan finished with 12 points, 10 in the second half, and Pace grabbed six boards.

Hayles led the Toppers with 19 points and Shaquinta Robinson posted 11.

Cumberland hosts rival Trevecca Nazarene on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the second game of a stretch where the Bulldogs will play five games in 10 days.

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MJ infielders ink scholarship

Mt. Juliet High softball infielders Brittney Graves and Tori Barrett signed college scholarship papers Friday afternoon in ceremonies at the MJHS library.

Graves signed with NAIA school Lindsey Wilson of Columbia, KY while Barrett inked with Galveston Junior College, TX.

Both are seniors on the 2012 Lady Bear softball team.

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