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Showing 14 articles from May 22, 2013.


Billy Joe Agee, 80

Graveside services will be conducted 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23 at Wilson County Memorial Gardens for Mr. Agee, 80, of Lebanon. He died Monday, May 20, 2013.

Daniel Wayne Likens, 30

Funeral services were held Monday afternoon, May 20, at the Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home for Mr. Likens, 30, of Lebanon. He died May 17, 2013 at the Bordeaux Long Term Care facility in Nashville after suffering from an extended illness.

James E. Burnley, 59

HARTSVILLE -- Funeral services will be held 12 Noon Thursday, May 23 at the Greater Beech Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 697 McMurry Blvd., for Mr. Burnley, 59, of Hartsville.

He died Monday, May 20,2013. Mr. Burnley will lie-in-state 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 at Carr-Hellum Funeral Home, 129 Foxall St., Hartsville.

Johnny Ray Thompson Sr., 61

Mr. Thompson, 61, of Lebanon, died Thursday, May 16, 2013.
Arrangements are incomplete at this time.
Neuble Monument Funeral Home LLC is in charge of arrangements.

Susan Jean Lawicki, 56

Mrs. Lawicki, 56, of Lebanon lost her battle with cancer Thursday, May 16, 2013 at her residence. She was a Legal Administrator with Sukin Law Group. She is preceded in death by father, Frank Doroshenko.

Survivors include: her husband Todd Lawicki; son Shaun Lawicki; daughter Ashley (Seth) Ledbetter; mother Dorothy Doroshenko.

Wanda F. Gates, 54

Funeral arrangements are incomplete for for Wanda F. Gates, 54, of Nashville.
She died Monday, May 20, 2013.


Ask Ken Beck

For the Love of Bluegrass

The Wilson Post

Picking and harmonizing for more than 30 years, Lebanons One Way Out will perform two sets Saturday at the 10th annual Uncle Jimmy Thompson Bluegrass Festival during Granvilles Heritage Day, an event the band has never missed.

The current version of the group includes lead singer Eddie Testamand on rhythm guitar, baritone Mike Singleton on banjo and guitar, tenor Marty Denton on bass and guitar, baritone Phillip Ryan on mandolin and Winston McPeak on bass.

The band has seen a lot of changes over the years with several musicians coming and going and even had a name change, but the bonds of friendship and the love for old-time music remain constant.

Were a traditional bluegrass and gospel band. We do your Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs and Stanley Brothers, Singleton said. Weve all been friends for a long time, and we all have the same love for the music. Im a banjo picker, but I love singing, too. I like doing something on stage but just as soon be out there jamming.

We dont really consider ourselves professionals. We just play for the love of the music and enjoy playing local events to benefit our community and promote bluegrass music, said Testamand, who with Singleton are the two remaining charter members of the band, while original member Lamar Cannon sits in from time to time.

We do Granville every year. We go to a lot of repeat places like the Smithville Jamboree and Uncle Dave Macon Days, Testamand said. Our biggest event is the Wilson County Fair. We are the house band for the Back Porch Stage in Fiddlers Grove. We love Fiddlers Grove. Its a wonderful stage with great acoustics. Its our home stage almost and where we draw our biggest crowds.

As for Saturdays performance in Granville, the music fest will be a bit different this year, Singleton said.

Well have three different bands play twice each. Its still the Jimmy Thompson Bluegrass Festival but not a competition, he noted.

(Old-time fiddler Thompson was the first entertainer to perform on The Grand Ole Opry in late 1925. He was born near Granville and later lived in the Wilson County community of LaGuardo. His well house and garage have been relocated to Granville in the past year and there will be a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday.)

One Way Outs roots go back to 1981 or 1982 when Singleton, Testamand and Cannon got to picking at informal jams held on Thursday evenings at Ben Johnsons B Sharp Music store in Lebanon.

They were starting to have a few festivals around, and we were going and jamming, me and Eddie and Lamar and the guys. Then they held a band contest at Cedar Fest at Baird Park. We thought wed get in there, and we didnt have a name, Singleton recalled.

Thus, Copenhagen Express was born with Singleton, Cannon, Testamand, Steve Frizzell, Woody Hawkins and, on occasion, Ronnie Rogers. They placed second in the contest.

Since the early days, the group has performed on bills with such bluegrass legends as Ralph Stanley, the Osborne Brothers and Jim and Jesse, but their biggest thrill may have come in their own back yard when they opened a show at Cedars of Lebanon State Park for the late Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass.

The band took on a new name in the late 1980s due to a conflict of conscience.

We were all tobacco lovers back in those days, Testamand recalled of Copenhagen Express. We started to sing gospel music and had several churches in different counties inviting us to come and play. We thought this is not good. So that is how the change came about. We pretty much gave up the chewing and dipping. We got a little older and wiser, so we quit. We felt better about doing our music at churches and funerals and being a better example for the bluegrass industry.

One Way Out plays at numerous local functions such as weddings, funerals, picnics, fish fries, school events, Christmas parties and an annual Boy Scout chili cook-off fundraiser, while Singleton has served on the Wilson County Fair Board for 20 years and lines up the entertainment each August for the Back Porch Stage.

The 41-year veteran with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, who does geographic mapping, first picked up a guitar at 16.

My daddy sang and emceed in a band, The Tennessee Corn Choppers, that played three-room schools in the 50s. So this is kinda in my blood. One of his friends showed me a few chords on a guitar. I was in my middle 20s when I started playing banjo, said the multi-instrumentalist whose musical influences also include Flatt & Scruggs, Hank Williams Sr. and Jimmie Rodgers.

Testamand, a mechanic for Texas Eastern for 35 years, received a guitar from his wife Connie when he was 24, and said, Mikes been my teacher, and what Ive picked up from other players at festivals. I never was that musically inclined with an instrument.

While he loves bluegrass, Testamand also enjoys the old gospel standards such as Just a Little Talk With Jesus and Get in Line Brother.

The bands most requested tunes include Keep on the Sunny Side, Blue Moon of Kentucky and West Virginia Girl.

We get a lot of gospel requests. Sometimes we take the last half hour of the show and do all gospel. We have really become a gospel group almost as much as a bluegrass group, Testamand said.

He and Singleton, members of the Lebanon High School class of 1970, have formed strong ties through their mutual love of music and over the past 10 years have driven to the Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival each June in Bean Blossom, Ind., where they pick, sing and grin along with thousands of other bluegrass enthusiasts.

However, their bluegrass journeys also have also carried them to South America and the Big Apple.

In 1990, we went to the southern end of Peru, almost to Chile, for this folk dance festival, Singleton said. There was a square dance group, the Tennessee Flat Footers, they needed a band to go with them. So me and Eddie and Jim Woods, who played fiddle, went there for about 10 days.

There were people from the Soviet Union, Mexico and South America countries that did their native dances. We would get together and kinda pick together. We played bluegrass with a xylophone. We were playing and I sang Tennessee Waltz, and they went crazy. Everybody knew it. Theres one thing about music. Its international. There are no boundaries, Singleton said.

In 2011, Singleton and Testamand drove to New York City in conjunction with a performance by the Lebanon High School band. Singleton decided to see if there were any bluegrass jams in the big town.

I found one in Greenwich Village at a place called the Grizzly Pear. We went out there on a bus across river and rode the subway with our guitar and banjo. When we walked in, the first people we talked to was from Tennessee. We picked there for four or five hours. That was an experience, he said.

As for the satisfaction of playing with One Way Out for over four decades, Testamand said, The music is the biggest thrill. I love bluegrass music. Within bluegrass pickers, its just like a church group. You become a family. You share the same interests, and big name bluegrass pickers dont seem to be above anybody.

Were all a family together in the bluegrass world. I like the acoustic instruments especially because when you got a person thats really a fantastic guitar picker or mandolin picker, hes showing his true talent, and he dont have to have it amplified. The Lord has blessed us in a lot of ways to just be a shade-tree bluegrass group that loves music, said the singer-guitarist.


General News

Commissioners say goodbye to Schools Director Davis

The Wilson Post

After six years, the time has come to bid Director of Schools Mike Davis farewell.

Although his contract does not officially end until June 30, members of the Wilson County Commission felt it appropriate to express their appreciation for his service during their meeting on Monday night. District 20 Commissioner Annette Stafford presented Davis with a resolution and said that she has always been able to call him and feel like I am talking to a family member.

Davis was humbled by the resolution and said that the school system has been successful in their endeavors, including constructing the new Lebanon High School and beginning construction on the new Watertown High School, because of support and funding from the commission.

These buildings were constructed because of what you did, he said. It will pay dividends for generations to come.

Davis acknowledged that the school board and commissioners have had disagreements in the past but that he has always respected the commission and admire the job that you do.

Davis also mentioned that Wilson County Schools have received TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) results but he could not disclose them at this time. However, he did admit that he was elated with the scores.

Some parting advice to commissioners was for the system to re-evaluate teacher salaries. In an article that appeared in The Wilson Post, Wilson County School Board Chairman Don Weathers commented that new Director Dr. Tim Setterlund would be paid an annual salary of $165,000 which is more than they paid Davis. Although he did not give the exact dollar amount that Davis earned, Weathers admitted that he was probably underpaid given the amount of growth the county has seen in recent years.

Weathers compared Setterlunds $165,000 salary to counties such as Sumner, whose director earns an estimated $180,000, and Williamson, whose director earns an estimated $175,000.

According to Davis remarks to the county commission, he believes that teacher salaries are not comparing to surrounding counties either. We are not competing with the school systems around here. I lost four math teachers this year to other jobs and it wasnt because they were unhappy in Wilson County, he said, adding that educators left to accept higher paying jobs.

Davis will assume the position of Robertson County Director of Schools in July. He was asked by District 14 Commissioner Jeff Joines what the hiring process was like.

Davis said that the Robertson County School System enlisted Wayne Qualls of Teams, Inc. to conduct a national search similar to the search he conducted to find Setterlund for Wilson County. The interviews were unlike anything I have gone through, he continued. All five of the finalist met at the same time and were taken on a bus with the school board to visit all of the schools in the district.

At the end of the tour, the finalists rotated through multiple interviews set up at the final school. Five classrooms were filled with Chamber of Commerce representatives, teachers, school administrators, media and elected officials plus one school board member in each.

The board members took notes in each classroom while the others asked questions. They put us through a tough process because a lot of the questions were unscripted, he said. At the end of it, members were asked to name their top two candidates and somehow I came out on top.

Stafford said that she liked the idea of having an open interview process that involves each of the parties mentioned because going in, we all feel like we have stake hold in the same community.

Davis completed his statements by saying that while he is looking forward to his next career move, he has enjoyed every bit of his time in Wilson County.

Pay raises out for county employees

The Wilson Post

The proposed payroll plan which would establish pay ranks for Wilson County employees and also an annual one percent step increase for all general fund employees has been put to rest for the time being, Wilson County Finance Director Aaron Maynard announced on Monday night.

The legislation was sent back to the Budget Committee for review after appearing on the floor during the April meeting of the Wilson County Commission and it appears an agreement failed to be reached during the committees May meeting. A pay plan is not Burger King, Maynard said. Everyone cannot have it their way.

As it was developed, with the help of exiting Human Resources Director Alaina Sullivan, the pay table would not have effected any county employees paid above the average market salary but would have used current funds with no tax increases to allow for an annual 1 percent step increase, provided the county meets a 2 percent revenue growth.

The task was massive, Maynard remarked, adding that to be passed it would have required support from at least 13 of the countys 25 commissioners. In April we had a plan that positively affected us.

However, after questions were raised changes made to accommodate concerned commissioners weakened the validity of the plan and a lot of issues were raised that drove the cost higher.

These questions included: Why should a corrections officer that current starts at $27,000 now start at $24,000? Why should 1 percent stop in 20 years? and Is a pay table truly binding?

I do believe that the county could fund a one percent step increase. Without a pay table we cannot help those who are below at the current time, he said. A workable pay plan could help.

District 5 Commissioner Jerry McFarland made a motion to take the $160,000 and change that funds the countys Human Resources Department and earmark it to be used for raises for those county employees who have not received a raise in over two years.

District 14 Commissioner Jeff Joines said that in actuality, some employees have not gotten a raise in seven years and that he offers apologies to county employees but he would not be voting in favor of the motion of the floor.

The motion failed with a 20-4 vote. Commissioners McFarland, Billy Rowland (District 12), Terry Duncan (District 2) and Gary Keith (17) voted yes. District 6 Commissioner Kenny Reich was absent.

Teen shot accidentally: Police

Lebanon Police believe a teenager was accidentally shot Tuesday as he and a friend were on a front porch looking at a gun.

Police Chief Scott Bowen said in a news release that the incident occurred about 8:40 p.m., Tuesday, May 21, at 505 Fairview Ave., Lebanon.

Upon arrival by officers, they found a 14-year-old boy who had been shot in the leg. He was on the front porch with a friend who is also 14, looking at a gun when it was discharged.

Tip-A-Cop fundraiser for Relay to be held Saturday

The Wilson Post

They are tasked with keeping the city safe 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week but just how well can they pour a cup of Joe? Clayborns Bakery customers will find out this Saturday.

From 6 a.m. until noon, Lebanon Police Officers, dispatchers and records personnel will work alongside Clayborns staff as part of the Tip-A-Cup fundraisers for Wilson County Relay for Life to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. LPD Communications Supervisor Courtney Sellars said that the idea stemmed from Police Chief Scott Bowen.

It was his idea and I looked for a restaurant where we could do it. I happen to know Josh Hubbard, who owns Clayborns Bakery, and I thought that cops and donuts that would be funny, she said. We worked together on it.

Tip-A-Cop will donate 100 percent of the tips earned to Relay for Life and Clayborns Bakery has pledged to donate a percentage of the days sales to the cause.

Sellars said that LPD has been really active in Relay for Life over the past few years. It gets us out in the community and lets them know that we care. We are there for them not just in an emergency situation but we are there for them health-wise.

Wilson Countys Relay for Life will be held Friday, June 21 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on the track at Stroud Gwynn Field on the Castle Heights campus to honor cancer survivors and raise awareness. The American Cancer Society uses the funds raised to invest in groundbreaking research in every type of cancer and provide free information and services to cancer patients and their caregivers. There will be food, games, and activities for all ages.

If you would like to join the Lebanon Police Departments team, or donate to the cause, you may do so at


General Sports

Blackwood named Academic All-America

LEBANON -- Cumberland senior softball standout Allison Blackwood was voted First Team Capital One Academic All-American, as announced Monday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Blackwood was a Second Team Academic All-American selection in 2012.

The former Lawrenceburg High standout led the Bulldogs with a .395 batting average this season and also led the club with 41 RBIs while posting three doubles, three home runs and 12 runs scored in 54 contests.

FCS thumps Grace Christian

The Friendship Christian won their bracket final Thursday afternoon with a 12-1 victory over Grace Christian of Knoxville at Riverdale High's Jones Field.

Winning pitcher Michael Hawks helped his own cause in a big way with a second inning grand slam home run.

Swindoll dominates in 5-0 win

MURFREESBORO -- Friendship Christian rode another dominating performance from Brennan Swindoll for a 5-0 win over Scotts Hill Tuesday in the BlueCross Spring Fling opener at Riverdale's Jones Field.

Swindoll (9-2) threw a complete game two-hitter, striking out 13, including seven of the last eight batters he faced. No Scotts Hill runner reached base after the third inning.

"I thought Brennan was throwing harder as he got deeper into the game," said FCS head coach John McNeal, "with him on the mound, I felt pretty good."

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