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Commuter train continues to pick up steam

By KEN BECK, The Wilson Post
The way Susan Wilkins and 1,225 other daily Music City Star riders see it, theyre on the right track. The Mt. Juliet resident has been commuting to Nashville for the past 4 years. Riding, rather than driving, has given her plenty of time to count the many blessings of being a passenger.

Theyre too numerous to tell, said Wilkins, who serves as an ideal cheerleader for the Music City Star, which celebrated its fifth anniversary Sept. 18. First off, the convenience. Second, the ease of travel. I dont have to worry about traffic or idiots on the road. I am conserving gas, wear and tear on tires and wear and tear on me.

I am not contributing to the congestion in Nashville. Even the bus systems have improved with the advent of the train, because so many more people are riding the train now. Almost every week, you are seeing new people on there.

Indeed, ridership on the commuter train has increased about 150 percent, from 104,785 riders in 2007 to 250,626 riders in 2011. This past June, the Music City Star set a single-month record for ridership with 26,989 passenger trips, which represents a 53 percent increase from June 2010.

I think this is one of the things that Nashville needs because the parking and traffic is horrendous down there. I get home about the same time, but the experience has been so much more pleasant, said Wilkins, who works at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Lee Strader, a 2000 Lebanon High School graduate, began taking the train nearly five years ago.

I rode it for six months every day. I didnt think it was going to make it, said Strader, who is glad that it did.

Every Wednesday morning the artist pedals his lime green bicycle 3 miles to Lebanon Station on Baddour Parkway and rides the train into Nashville where he sells vintage clothing.

I love the train because it shows you a part of Middle Tennessee that you dont normally get to see, said Strader, who doesnt have a car.

His foot-powered bike and the diesel-powered train serve his transportation needs for now, plus hes found fringe benefits via the Music City Star.

I took a girl on a date on the train to a little ice cream place in Nashville. We had a blast. To someone whos never ridden on a train, its like your first time on an airplanewhoa! he said with a grin.

Conductor Brad Thompson welcomes riders as they board the three passenger cars in Lebanon at 6:40 on a weekday morning. An earlier train departed here at 5:45 a.m. In the cab at the back of the train, Engineer John Kreynus has his hand to the throttle. The two men, along with a dispatcher in the Lebanon office, handle all the chores necessary to get this train to Nashville, and the Music City Star ranks high in the nation for getting its passengers to their destination on time.

Averaging 45 to 50 miles per hour along the main line during its 50-minute trip to Riverfront Park in downtown Nashville, the train may speed up to 60 miles per hour in a few stretches.

The engineer of 2 years also controls three or four different brakes and keeps busy working the horn whenever the Star approaches a street. Two long blasts, one short and one long warn cars that the train is about to cross the road.

Kreynus joined the crew in 2006. You see something different about every day, said the Baltimore native whose life-long ambition was to work on a train. Its not the same routine.

The train jaunts along, shimmying down the line as the horn blows frequently. From Lebanon to Riverfront Park is a journey of 31.4 miles. Concrete markers, put up in 1971, mark each mile along the route.

The tracks are 56 inches wide, and the gallery cars, which have an upper deck (from this perch, passengers can enjoy the scenery from 10 to 12 feet above the ground) and came from the Metro line in Chicago, are 10 feet wide and 85 feet long. They seat more than 140 passengers. This train can accommodate 430, and 364 are aboard this second train from Lebanon this morning. Until the Star hit these rails, it had been 50 years, going back to August 1955, since passengers regularly rode the Tennessee Central from Lebanon to Nashville.

If one were riding the Tennessee Central in 1920, then a few miles west of Lebanon, he would spy the Horn Springs Hotel north of the tracks and the Hamilton Springs resort to the south side. While both have been long gone for years, should Lebanon developer Jack Bells new Hamilton Springs project develop as he plans, it will become Tennessees first transit-oriented development.

The Star shimmies alongside roadways, and as it passes north of Mt. Juliet Elementary, passengers peering out the window may observe a long line of vehicles backed up as parents drop their children off at the school. Most riders are not sight-seers.

The commuters commune in groups of two, three or four. Some sew or read the newspaper. Others talk quietly on cell phones, manipulate iPads or catch a nap.

The time flies on the train. Youre sitting there talking about your day or telling jokes. I see people knitting, crocheting, reading, working on laptops, all kinds of different things, said

Sheila Varga, who began commuting in November 2006 to her job at Louisiana Pacific, between 4th and 5th Streets and Union, where she is an inside sales associate.

Varga, who drives 4 miles each morning to board the 6:05 a.m. train in Mt. Juliet, has become such a rail enthusiast that she serves as president of the Middle Tennessee Regional Commuters Association, which formed in 2009.

I absolutely love it. I dread the thought of even having to drive into work. I think maybe Ive driven a total of five times since I began riding all the way in, Varga said.

As for the main advantage, she said, Its the cost. I save about $250 a month. For me, my company subsidizes part of our tickets on a ride/share plan. I pay about $60 a month before taxes.

Most riders pay $10 a day for a round trip from Lebanon to Nashville. A monthly pass offers a 5 percent discount. But its more than saving money.

Its a whole lot less stress, and you get to make a lot of friends, said Varga, who has built a circle of about a dozen friends from the commuter community.

When she first began riding, she estimates there were about 60 train passengers. Today, its more like 1,225 daily. They reside not just in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, Hermitage and Donelson but also in Gallatin, Hartsville, Watertown, Alexandria and Smithville.

As for the Commuters Association, she described it, noting, We are kind of a passenger liaison with the MTA/RTA, and our main goal is to study and find funding for the train and public transportation in general. Were more geared toward trying to keep the train going, but we do a few social things. We try to do something once a quarter, she said.

Regan McGahen and her son, Matthew, 3, have been riders from Lebanon for 2 years. She works for the State of Tennessee in the Department of Environment and takes her child to a church-run daycare downtown.

We absolutely love it, McGahen said of the daily rail journey. We enjoy the people and not having to sit in traffic and not having to pay for gas. My son makes lots of friends. People take care of him.

Safety is No. 1 in everything. We want to keep the passengers safe, the crew safe and equipment safe. Thats our No. 1 goal, safety, said Terry Bebout, general manager of Transit Solutions Group, the contract operator of the Music City Star.

The ride in is a pleasant one with stops between Lebanon and Nashville that include Martha, Mt. Juliet, Hermitage and Donelson. Much of the trip is made in the shade as trees line the tracks.

At one point the train spooks a flock of a dozen turkeys as they take flight from the tracks.
Between mile points 14.2 and 17 lies Tennessees only quiet zone, thus the engineer lays off the horn. Here there must be extra protection at the grade crossing.

The Star crosses over the Stones River in Donelson as well as Briley Parkway a few miles closer into town, and then passes the old brick Metro Waterworks just a couple of minutes before chugging into Riverfront Park between the Cumberland River and First Avenue near the towering Pinnacle building and half a block from Broadway.

Once the train stops, morning commuters pour from the cars and either walk or take buses and vans to their workplaces.

Gordon Borck, who lives less than a mile past the Wilson County line in Smith County, began taking the train more than four years ago. His drive to his job at Vanderbilt was a 98-mile commute. He chooses to ride for a variety of reasons.

One is I save money. Vanderbilt pays part of my fare, he said. Two, I think it is socially responsible to pull your car off the road, if possible. It cuts down on emissions, and the less fuel we use, the less dependent we are on foreign oil. I think its good for the environment and good for the country.

Just a lot of people win when we ride the train. It takes me a half-hour longer to get to work, but I use the time on the train to work or make phone calls, and I use that time efficiently. If it were just for me, I would drive, but I think its the best thing to do for everybody involved. And since its there, the more people that ride it, it takes the burden off the taxpayers, Borck concluded.

As for the future of the Music City Star, Bebout said, I think we want to continue to see the service grow and add more cars to the existing trains but adding more trains to offer more servicesin our case, the more trains, the more convenient.

Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at

LFD takes delivery of new truck

A new 75-foot mid-mount aerial ladder fire truck will help Lebanon firefighters battle fires in spots that would have been difficult previously.

Lebanon Fire Department took delivery of the new Sutphen SL75 Mid-mount Aerial Ladder on Monday.

Fire Chief Chris Dowell said the new truck is not like what the city presently owns, but rather has a 75-foot ladder platform and an elevated water stream.

Its totally new to Lebanon, he said. This will help us in fighting fires with the different tactics have to use, Dowell said. As an example, the chief said fighting fires in areas where there are sometimes low-hanging tree limbs presents a challenge for a ladder truck but the new truck will make it much easier to attack the blaze. In other words, the new truck is much easier to maneuver in smaller areas.

Also new to Lebanon is the color of the new fire truck. Dowell said he chose to go with red and black instead of red and white to differentiate it from other departments fire trucks. The City of Mt. Juliet may soon have its own fire department, he said, and he wanted local citizens to be able to tell the difference between them.

The new colors, he added, will start a new tradition in Lebanon.

Cost of the new fire truck and related firefighting equipment totaled $735,000, Dowell said.

Ohio-based Sutphen Corporation, manufacturer of the new fire truck, is a family owned business that has been around since 1890.

Information from its website,, regarding the SL75 Mid-mount Aerial Ladder said the companys 75-foot Aerial Ladder is built on Sutphens own designed and built single axle chassis, and features our signature mid-mount technology that provides better maneuverability and ease of handling due to a low center of gravity.

It also features Cummins engines, and can flow up to 1,500 gallons per minute of water.

Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at

The audacity of being real

By BECKY ANDREWS, Wilson Living Magazine
Raise your hand if youre perfect. If youve never made a mistake, raised your voice at your children, husband, friend or parent, cursed at an idiot driver, cursed at an idiot driver in front of your children, lied about your age, weight (or in Angel Kanes case), your height, drank or ate too much. If you did raise your hand, pat yourself on the back.

Liar! Seriously, most of us have made one or more errors in judgment. That is life. And for someone to admit that they are not perfect, well this is the first step to being real. That takes a lot of audacity, being real.

I admit I, Becky Horan Andrews have made a fool of myself on more occasions than Id like to admit. And trust me if there were no witnesses to some of my little embarrassments, I would gladly lie and say, No, I would never drink a little too much red wine and call my best friend a Polly Pocket. OR In college we spent those years, reading the bible, praying and eating milk and cookies. But alas, Im a little too transparent. If there is something youre embarrassed about, trust me, Ive probably got a story that will make you feel better.

I foolishly thought that when I graduated from college, I also earned a degree in adulthood that somehow would guard me from making mistakes or making a fool of myself. Wouldnt that be nice?

Not long after my husband and I purchased our first home, I wanted to sell it. It was too far from everything, we didnt have neighbors AND we couldnt get cable! We were living like animals. But I had no one to blame but yours truly. My dear sweet husband reminded me of this one day after I demanded we sell our home even though wed only bought it 6 weeks prior. He was right. I remember calling him to tell him I found our first home. He loved the house and location but kept asking me, Are you sure, theres not much around? I thought Id made the biggest mistake of my life. But then we settled in, had two little boys, made a ton of memories and eventually got cable.

I quit my job in television news not long before I gave birth to my oldest child. I was living in a different state from my husband and really wanted to be home. I couldnt justify a 3 hour one way commute. When my arrival date approached, I knew my unborn child would have to weigh at least 10 pounds to explain the amount of weight Id gained. When he arrived, the first thing I thought was not, Oh he is so precious. I love him so much. Nope, instead I thought, Hes not 10 pounds. Oh God, that little twit of an obstetrician was right, potato chips should never be considered a vegetable! But it turns out my little boy was just the perfect size, even if his mother wasnt.

Its impossible to glide through life perfectly. Theres not much fun in that anyway. Whats the use of gaining life experience and not sharing it? Its tough when we mess up but, its a tragedy when were not honest about it. Being real is a beautiful thing Who knew!?


Kevin Costner to feud in The Hatfields & McCoys

Dear Ken: What project is Kevin Costner working on next?
Costner, 56, will star as Devil Anse Hatfield in the History Channel miniseries The Hatfields & McCoys: An American Vendetta. Also appearing will be Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy. The miniseries will cover several generations of the rivalry between two families, one in Kentucky and the other in West Virginia. Everyone knows the legend of the Hatfields-McCoy feud, but few know the true story of what occurred to make the two families become mortal enemies, Costner told journalists earlier this year. It is set to air in 2012, the 150th anniversary of the bitter and deadly feud. Most recently, Costner has been filming Man of Steel, a 2013 release about Superman with Henry Cavill in the title role and Costner as the superheros Earth father, Jonathan Kent.

Wilson Living Today - Sept. 21

By BECKY ANDREWS, Wilson Living Magazine
Whos hungry? If youre new to the area or not you need to run (dont walk) to the 3rd Annual Taste of Wilson County. Here you will get to sample fare from some of the areas finest restaurants and catering companies.

Wilson Living will be there and just like last year and the year before, we will be giving away tickets to Taste. We will be giving away 2 tickets every weekday on Facebook beginning on October 6th. The only catch is you have to be a fan of Wilson Living. Its free so whats the holdup?

The kids will be on Fall Break soon. Can I get an AMEN? If youre wondering how to keep the kids busy without breaking the bank, weve got the ideas youll need. We will be adding a new link to our website that can help you navigate all the fun inexpensive activities in or around Wilson County.

Visit and click on the Family Fun link. Not only will we have reviews for some great activities we will also be adding some great coupons. If you know of great day excursions, email us at and well add it to our site.

We have two special events coming up in the coming weeks. Gardens on Main will be hosting an open house on Saturday, October 1st. You can eat, drink and win fabulous prizes including an Apple IPad. Dont miss this event. For more information, call 615-547-4900.

We are so excited to about the Womens Health Expo we will be hosting the event with Summit Medical Center on Saturday, October 1st from 8am-Noon at Summit campus. The event is specifically designed to offer women valuable information about the latest in health information in addition to fun activities such as massages, fitness demonstrations, door prizes and more!

And what about the Wilson Living Holiday Expo? We are so excited and humbled at all the calls and reservations we are getting for this years event. We have just about reached capacity so if you havent made your reservations call 615-969-6751 today!

November 18th and 19th are the dates for this years event. But weve added two new events that will excite children and adults. A special pre-opening shopping event will be held Thursday evening before the expo from 5pm-9pm. This invitation only shopping extravaganza offers guests the opportunity to beat the crowds and get the first choice of items from our many vendors.

Tickets for this event must be purchased in advance. No tickets will be sold at the door and all guests, regardless of age, will need a ticket. If youd like to be added to the mailing list and receive an invitation to the Pre-Opening extravaganza call 615-969-6751 or email

In addition to fabulous giveaways, we will also host a very special Breakfast with Santa. This sit down breakfast will be held on Saturday, November 19. Times are available from 8am-11am. For ticket information, call 615-969-6751

Until next time, keep reading!

Calendar - Sept. 21

Government Meetings
Lebanon Beer Board will meet at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the Town Meeting Hall, City of Lebanon Administration Building at Castle Heights, to consider the application of Akash Inc. d/b/a Zips 2 located at 1110 South Maple Street, Lebanon, for off the premises consumption, and Tisha Lynn Redway d/b/a The Music Box located at 941 Carthage Hwy., Lebanon, for on the premises consumption.

Wilson County Commissions Insurance Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 22, in Conference Room 1, Wilson County Courthouse, Lebanon.

Lebanon City Council Public Works/Transportation Committee will meet at 7:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 26, in the Town Meeting Hall, City of Lebanon Administration Building at Castle Heights.

Wilson County Commission Ag Management Committee will meet at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the Gentry Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center, Lebanon.

Wilson County Board of Education will meet in regular session at 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Central Office, 351 Stumpy Lane, Lebanon. Prior to the meeting, the board will meet in a work session at 4 p.m. to discuss the building program. (The previous work session set for Sept. 23 was changed to Sept. 29.)

Judy Ann Richards Smith, 65

NASHVILLE -- Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Spring Hill Funeral Home for Mrs. Smith, 65. Born Sept. 15, 1946 she died Sept. 19, 2011.

Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Wednesday. Interment will follow in Spring Hill Cemetery.

Survivors include: husband George Hoke Smith; son Carl Tinch; daughter Tracy (Todd) Patterson; grandchildren Michael Adams, Dakota Tinch, Dallas Tinch and Deano Richards; three brothers, three sisters; many nieces and nephews and numerous friends.

Thanks to all of the employees of Originals Hair Salon and Debbie Campbell for her loyal dedication while Judy was recovering for so long.

Pallbearers: Michael Adams, Dakota Tinch, Dallas Tinch, Deano Richards, Derrick Hammond, Jake Carter, Lando Carter, Jerry Lee Clinard, Scotty Tobbitt, Lee Richards, Bart Rader, Austin Dillard, Bobby Smith and James David Smith.

Arrangements by Spring Hill Funeral Home.

John Robert Adkins, 71

MT. JULIET -- Funeral services were conducted Saturday afternoon, Sept. 17 at Bond Memorial Chapel for Mr. Adkins, 71, of Mt. Juliet.

A member of Green Hill Church and an avid Atlanta Braves fan, he died Sept. 15, 2011. Mr. Adkins did outdoor cooking each year in Fiddlers Grove at the Wilson County Fair and for the Mt. Juliet Homecoming.

Services were conducted by Brother August Ruff. Interment followed at Mt. Juliet Memorial Gardens.

Survivors include: his wife of 49 years Jessie Hasty Adkins of Mt. Juliet; daughters Kim (Mike) Swett of Brentwood and Tammy Adkins Davis of Smithville; brother Richard Adkins of Lebanon along with grandchildren Dusten Gardner, Daniel Adkins and Julia Swett.

Mr. Adkins was the son of the late Virgil and Corinne Pittman Adkins. He was also preceded in death by his brothers Homer Adkins and Paul Adkins.

Pallbearers included: Robert Evans, Roger Hunley, Billy Prince, Don Vickers, Richard Kendall, Houston Stanton, Jimmy Allmon and Kirk Nelson. Honorary: Dr. Eric Raefsky, Dr. Jon Levine and Dr. Steven W. Cooper.

Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet Road, was in charge of arrangements.

Janice H.Harris, 59

OLD HICKORY -- Funeral services were conducted Monday afternoon, Sept. 19 at the Hermitage Funeral Home for Mrs. Harris, 59 of Mt. Juliet.
A member of Donelson Church of Christ, she died Friday, Sept. 16, 2011.
Interment was in Hermitage Memorial Gardens.
Survivors include: her husband of 33 year, Robin H. Harris; son Rob Harris; sisters Brenda Preuett and Alicia Hunter; brother Mitch Mello.
Family and friends served as pallbearers.
Arrangements by Hermitage Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens.

Stella L. Lanier, 81

OLD HICKORY -- Graveside services were held Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 20 at the Hermitage Memorial Gardens for Ms. Lanier, 81. She passed away on Sept. 18, 2011 with a long and hard bout with cancer.

Services were conducted by Brother Buck Dozier.

Survivors include: nephews John T. Morgan (Chris), Wayne Morgan (Joy) (Niki); niece Brenda Lanier; great niece and longtime care giver Susan Dee Dee Morgan; great-nephew Mike Morgan (Ashley) Maddox.

She loved all people and all pets especially her cat X-man. She was a homemaker and caregiver herself for all her deceased family; parents Alvin and Bessie Lanier; brothers Wallace and Howard Lanier; sisters Louise Morgan and Ruth Lanier.

The family would like to thank all the nurses and Sumner County Hospice, Dr. Michael Lee and family friend, Missy Dassel for helping at anytime.

Arrangements by Hermitage Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens.

Debi Haralson, 55

LEBANON -- Funeral arrangements for Mrs. Haralson, 55, of Lebanon are incomplete at this time. Mrs. Haralson passed away Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, at her home.

Born October 14, 1955, in Guthrie, OK, she was the daughter of Claude and Mary Edgar Farley of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was a homemaker and a Baptist.

In addition to her parents, she is survived by her husband, Dallas Haralson; and sister-in-law, Janet Haralson -- both of Lebanon.

Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home of Lebanon is in charge of arrangements.

Frank Patton, 68

MT. JULIET -- Funeral services will be conducted 12 Noon Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Bond Memorial Chapel for Mr. Patton, 68, of Old Hickory. He died Sept. 18, 2011.

Interment will follow at Robertson County Memorial Gardens in Springfield.

Survivors include: sons Eddie (Angel) Patton of LaVergne and Tracy (Rhonda) Patton of Hendersonville and daughter Tynya Patton of Nashville. Also surviving are 13 grandchildren and a great grandchild.

Mr. Patton was preceded in death by his wife, Jaynie Seay Patton, and his parents, Bennie and Cartie Kantrell Patton.

Arrangements are in the care of Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet Road.

City manager resolution withdrawn

A resolution with intentions to change Lebanons government to a City Manager form is to be withdrawn from the City Councils agenda for its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The resolution was initially proposed by Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Huddleston. A public hearing is still to be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday to allow citizens to voice their opinions about the issue.

At least two councilors, Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino and Ward 4 Councilor Joe Hayes, said they would not support the resolution because of bad timing and a lack of information about a transition from one type of government to another.

The council is hoping to hold at least one work session to discuss the logistics and possible changes in moving to a City Manager form of government before the resolution is put back on the agenda.

The public hearing will take place Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Meeting Hall at the Lebanon Administration Building located at 200 North Castle Heights Ave.

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
Hall may be contacted at

Gang members indicted for drugs & firearms

Investigation targeted Vice Lords gang members
operating in Wilson, Putnam & Davidson Counties

NASHVILLE -- A federal grand jury has indicted 17 Mid-state individuals, including 11 members of the Vice Lords gang and their drug suppliers, for their alleged participation in a drug distribution conspiracy and associated violence while illegally possessing firearms, announced Jerry E. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, during a Monday afternoon press conference.

Joining Martin in the announcement were Keith Moses, assistant special agent-in-charge of the FBI-Memphis Division, Nashville Resident Agency; William Benson, assistant director-Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen, Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe, White County Sheriff Odie Shoupe, Sparta Police Chief Jeff Guth and Tennessee Highway Patrol Capt. Jim Hutcherson.

On Friday, federal, state and local law enforcement agents, armed with search warrants and arrest warrants, began arresting those charged in the indictment. Fifteen of the 17 defendants are in custody. Two remain at large.

Those charged with conspiracy to possess, with the intent to distribute crack cocaine, cocaine and marijuana are identified as:

Jessie Lee Allen, aka Jeezy, 24, of Lebanon;
James Bean, aka Little Mighty, 27, of Decherd;
Brad Eliot Benedict, aka Kinfolk, 34, of Lebanon;
Jeffery Jermaine Benson, aka Black, 28, of Lebanon;
Marcus Antwan Carey, aka Forty, 31, of Lebanon;
Ricky Fenn, aka Halfbreed, 27, of Lebanon;
Cameron Vintez Hastings, aka Cat Dig, 26, of Lebanon;
Jermaine L. Jackson, aka Blue, 34, of Lebanon;
Charles Houston Mount Jr., aka C-Red, 29, of Murfreesboro;
Corey Dregis Neal, aka Big Real, 40, of Lebanon;
Raytheon Tyeaze Neal, aka Rathy, 27, of Lebanon;
Christopher Nicholson, aka Chris Lopez, 34, of Nashville;
Sterling Reneva Rivers, aka Little Real, 24, of Lebanon;
Monique Smith, aka Money, 40, of Cookeville;
Orlando Steverson, aka C-Nut, 29, of Lebanon; and
Maurice Thompson, aka Reese, 24, of Nashville.

Allen, Bean, Benson, Mount and Rivers were also indicted on related federal firearms charges.
If convicted, these individuals face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Kevin Dwayne Thompson aka Clump, 25, of Murfreesboro, was indicted on charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

This Office has a relentless commitment to targeting, investigating and vigorously prosecuting violent street gangs who choose to operate in Middle Tennessee communities, Martin said. We are confident of the ability of our law enforcement partners to identify and penetrate even the most careful and well organized gangs in this area.

According to the indictment, the object of the conspiracy included, among others, the acquisition of large quantities of controlled substances, including, but not limited to, cocaine, and marijuana, for distribution in Middle Tennessee.

The manner in which the alleged conspiracy was conducted included actual and attempted acts of violence including murder, attempted murder and assault to protect the gang's criminal operations.

The indictment also alleges that members of the conspiracy and their associates robbed rival drug dealers of controlled substances and proceeds derived from the sale of controlled substances, promoted a climate of fear through violence and threats of violence and used and threatened to use physical violence against various individuals.

Jeffery Benson and Sterling Rivers remain at large. Anyone having information on their whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at 232-7500 or your local law enforcement agency.

The investigation was a joint operation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Lebanon Police Department, the Wilson County Sheriffs Office, the Sparta Police Department, the Cookeville Police Department, the White County Sheriffs Office, the Putnam County Sheriffs Office, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Braden H. Boucek.

CU Sports Hall of Fame banquet tickets now on sale

LEBANON -- Tickets for the 2011 Cumberland Sports Hall of Fame banquet set for 6:30 p.m. on October 14 in Baird Chapel are now available for purchase for $25 per person from the CU Athletic Department.

Five members will be part of the 25th induction class to the Hall of Fame, including former football coach Herschel Moore; longtime coach, broadcaster and contributor Mitch Walters; former volleyball player Kathy Palk Slaughter; and former baseball All-Americans Joe Fushey and Dave Beck.

Each of these individuals will be honored during the dinner along with Cumberland football coach Dewayne Alexander for his accomplishments during the 2010 football season, including earning Coach of the Year Honors in NAIA Region I and from the Tennessee Sportswriters Association.

Interested parties may purchase tickets for the event by calling Jo Jo Freeman at 615/547-1350.

The banquet is one of many activities scheduled for Homecoming weekend at CU, with a complete list of events and times found at

Complete biographical information on the five inductees may be found at

CU downs KY Christian 33-17

LEBANON -- Cumberland overcame a sluggish start and rallied to defeat Kentucky Christian 33-17 Saturday at Lindsey Donnell Stadium / Kirk Field before a near capacity crowd.

The Bulldogs (2-1) started the game with a pair of fumbles, leading to nine KCU points, but Allant McLemore returned an interception 49 yards for a score in the second quarter and Jarad White booted a 36-yard field goal on the final play of the half, giving CU a 10-9 advantage at intermission.

Lemeco Miller gave Cumberland a 17-9 lead with a three-yard TD run early in the third period, but KCU (1-3) tied the contest on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Beau Dailey and a two-point conversion.

The Bulldogs responded on their next possession, with Loveless hooking up with Quan Johnson on a 46 yard post route and a 24-17 edge. Later in the quarter the punt snap sailed over the head of KCUs Matt Prewitt, who recovered the bouncing ball as he was running out of the end zone.

Miller added his second rushing touchdown, this one from 18 yards, with 59 seconds remaining in the game, icing the contest for Cumberland in the home opener for CU.

Redshirt freshman QB Loveless finished the game 12-of-21 for 205 yards and one touchdown, hitting James McClain five times for 105 yards, including a 42-yard completion just before the half that set up Whites field goal. Miller rushed 11 times for 58 yards and two scores.

The Cumberland defense gave up 90 yards on Kentucky Christians first two possessions but then limited the Knights to 179 yards the rest of the contest. The Bulldogs finished with three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Ben Miller and Stephon Ransom both finished with 10 tackles for CU while Miller grabbed a one-handed interception to stop a KCU drive early in the fourth at the CU two-yard line.

CUs DaJuan Manning returned the opening kickoff 39 yards but then fumbled, with Jimmy Curtis recovering. The Knights marched 10 plays and 54 yards before Deonte Merricks avoided one tackler and dived into the endzone from three yards out. KCU missed the extra point for a 6-0 advantage.

Cumberland moved the ball down the field but fumbled again when Lemeco Miller could not get a handle on the pitch from Loveless. KCU recovered at its 41 and moved 36 yards before Ben Miller knocked away the third down pass. Andrew Slikker knocked through a 41-yard field, giving the Knights a 9-0 lead with 5:20 left in the first period.

The Bulldogs were finally able to get on the board midway through the second quarter when McLemore stepped in front of an errant pass and galloped 49 yards for a touchdown, the seventh defensive score for Cumberland in the last three seasons.

Kentucky Christian made a mistake at the end of the half that allowed the Bulldogs to take the lead to intermission. The Knights missed a 44-yard field goal in the final minute and Loveless hit McClain with two passes, including a 42-yard completion, setting up a field goal on the final play of the period.

Cumberland moved prematurely before the snap and White missed a 41-yard attempt, but James Brack roughed the kicker, giving White another chance. He nailed the 36-yarder on an untimed down, giving CU a 10-9 edge at the break.

The Bulldogs managed just 111 yards of total offense in the first half, including 55 on the final drive, while the Knights posted 156 yards, but just 66 after the opening two drives.

Cumberland looked much more in sync on its opening drive of the second half, with Miller capping an eight-play, 65-yard drive with a three-yard run and a 17-9 CU lead.

Kentucky Christian moved the ball down the field late in the third quarter but Connor McChurch pressured KCU quarterback Graham Johnston into an ill-advised pass near the endzone and Ben Miller made the acrobatic interception. But Tyler Emmetts 19-yard punt setup the Knights with good field position on their next drive.

Dailey made a one-handed catch in the back corner of the endzone to star the fourth quarter. Johnstons two-point throw to Tony Prater was knocked away by Michael Shannon, but he was flagged for pass interference, one of 23 accepted penalties in the contest. Merrick ran in the two-point conversion to knot the game at 17.

Three plays into the ensuing possession Loveless and Johnson hooked up for the 46-yard score. The Bulldogs added the safety at 9:54 in the fourth quarter and then put the game away with Lemeco Millers 18-yard run with 59 seconds left in the contest.

Cumberland heads to West Virginia Tech next Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. Central Time contest.

Friday prep football results

Sophomore Brad Cavanaugh drilled a 43-yard field goal with 3:35 left to lift Wilson Central to a 10-7 victory over Lebanon Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.

The victory was the first of the season for the Wildcats, who improved to 1-4 overall / 1-2 in District 9AAA. Lebanon fell to 1-4 / 0-3 with the loss.

Next week, Lebanon will host Cookeville while Wilson Central will entertain Centennial.

MJCA CLAIMS WIN -- Trailing 23-7 as the game entered the fourth quarter, Mt. Juliet Christian staged a remarkable rally and defeated Riverside Christian 28-23 Friday at Suey Field.

The win victory the first of the season for the Saints (1-4) who will journey to Seymour Sept. 23 to take on Kings Academy in a game set for 6 p.m. Central Time. The Saints overcame five turnovers to notch the win.

Sophomore Noah Wilson scored all three touchdowns in the fourth quarter on runs of 33, 20 and 54 yards. Wilson finished the game with 144 yards on just 12 carries -- an average of 12 yards per attempt.

Junior Brant Lamberth picked off a Riverside pass late in the contest to ice the game for the Saints.

TIGERS OVERPOWER PICKETT CO. -- The Purple Tigers piled up 360 yards in total offense in a lopside 64-0 victory at Pickett County High School as the starters were pulled early in the second quarter.

Sophomore quarterback Ty Jobe threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another as Watertown improved to 4-0 overall / 2-0 in the region heading into a Sept. 23 road trip to Monterey. Jobe completed 5-of-9 passes for 170 yards before taking a seat.

Ninth grader Colin Jennings went the rest of the way and completed 6-of-8 attempts for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Watertown defenders intercepted five Pickettt County aerials -- two of which were returned for touchdowns by Josiah Smith (50 yards) and Jade Hess (53 yards). Cooper Jacobsen, Cory Meadows and Colton Haun had the other picks for the Tigers.

Hess led Watertown in rshing with 36 yards on seven carries and Brannon Hill added 26 yards on two attempts. KeAndre Bates caught two passes for 76 yards and Jake Belcher had three receptions for 94 yards.

FCS RIPS JACKSON COUNTY -- Friendship Christian's defense limited Jackson County to just 24 yards in total offense in Friday's 45-0 victory in Gainesboro.

Tailback Dekolas Reeves scored four touchdowns and rushed for 173 yards. QB Tallon Mehlhoff added 115 yards on 14 attempts and a short TD run.

Next week, the Commanders (3-2 overall / 2-1 in Region 4A) will host league foe Pickett County.

Two on council oppose city manager push

At least two members of the Lebanon City Council, Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino and Ward 4 Councilor Joe Hayes, are opposed to a resolution that would change the citys government to a City Manager form, expressing their opposition before a vote could change the government on Tuesday.

Cesternino said in an email that he has not be informed by the other members of the council on the issue and said he only saw the resolution because Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead showed him a copy.

I am strongly opposed to this resolution, Cesternino said, adding that he felt the timing was wrong, the lack of information was unsettling, the cost unknown, a lack of necessity for the change and the inappropriate nature of having the council decide such a large change on its own.

Hayes said he doesnt have enough concrete information about the other form of government to vote in its favor on such short notice. He pointed out the council has yet to approve a budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year and said there are too many financial unknowns to approve a change of government at this time.

I cant vote for it because I dont know enough about it, Hayes said.

Cesternino also stressed the fact that a budget has not been passed and that should remain the councils top priority. He noted the resolution calls for the council to hire a City Manager during next years budget process, a frightening prospect to Cesternino.

Somehow, based on what I observed in my first budget process, that does not seem like a recipe for success for either task, he said.

Hayes said they do not know how much money a City Manager would make, nor how much a secretary would be compensated in addition to other financial issues. The manager would require the use of a city vehicle, office space and other necessities that cost unknown amounts of money.

When we cant get a budget together, how can we hire someone to make so much money? Hayes asked.

Cesternino said the council has had one work session relative to the City Manager form of government and it had little hard information as to why it would benefit the citizens.

He said the council needs to sit down with other cities that have transitioned from a full-time mayor to a city manager to find out how much it costs from passing the resolution to having a manager in place.

When it comes to negative feedback from citizens, Cesternino said he has not heard as much directed toward Mayor Philip Craighead or former Mayor Don Fox. In fact, he has heard more anger toward the council than mayor.

I have received more negative feedback relating to the actions and performance of the council, and I include myself as I have received many negative critiques of my opinions and votes, than I have relating to the actions and performance of the last two mayors, Cesternino said.

Hayes and Cesternino said the choice should be left for the citizens of Lebanon as opposed to a vote by the city council. Cesternino said this was his largest point of contention and added he would like to see numerous public meetings held on the subject for the citizens.

We have some votes upcoming and I would wholeheartedly support placing an initiative on the ballot for the approximately 13,400 registered voters of the city of Lebanon to decide, Cesternino said.

I would rather have it come up to a referendum. I was opposed to the superintendent of schools becoming an appointed position and I think this needs to be up for a vote, Hayes noted.

The council would have to request the charter change be ratified by a referendum if it passes an initial council vote and goes before the Tennessee General Assembly. If placed on a referendum, the final say would belong to the voters.

If a referendum is not requested by the council and a Private Act to change the charter is passed by the General Assembly, the council would vote again to ratify the change and would need a two-thirds majority of the six-member council, or four votes to approve.

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

Sgt. Edward Ed Cook, 68

LEBANON -- Sgt. Cook, 68, and a native of Lebanon, passed away on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at the V.A. Hospital in Nashville from complications while fighting cancer.

Sgt. Cook was the Vice President of Security Federal Savings and Loan in Nashville and was a Free & Accepted 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, a U.S. Army Retired Master Sergeant, Special Forces-Green Beret, Airborne Ranger, Combat Infantryman Badge, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Palm, Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star (3), Air Medal, Meritorious Service Award (2), Good Conduct Metal (5), numerous other awards & Decorations.

Ed was an Army Recruiter and a Sergeant Majors Academy Graduate. Theaters of Operations: South East Asia, South & Central America.

Sgt. Cook is survived by one son, Edward A. Cook III of Durant, OK; brother, Henry Cook of Lebanon; and special friend, Lucy Foutch of Hermitage.

At Sgt. Cooks request, a private graveside service will be held at a later date in Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Cooks memory to the College Hills Church of Christ, or the Fellowship House.

Partlow Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

Upward Basketball at FBC Lebanon

Registration is now open for Upward Basketball at First Baptist Chuch, Lebanon. Parents may pick up registration forms at the church office, 227 E. Main Street anytime between the hours of 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

This year the league will be expanded with leagues for grades K and 1; 2 and 3; 4 and 5 for both boys and girls.

Registration fee is $65 per player for basketball; $75 for cheerleaders. Player evaluations will be held Saturday, Sept. 24 at the FBC Christian Life Center between the hours of 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. A cheer camp will be held Sat., Oct. 22.

For more information, call the church office at 444-3331 or go onlie at

CU hosts KY Christian Saturday

Even if Cumberland had managed to pull out a win last week at Campbellsville, the Bulldogs would still have plenty to get corrected before playing Kentucky Christian Saturday in the 2011 home opener.

Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at Lindsey Donnell Stadium. Live radio coverage begins at 1 p.m. on WANT FM-98.9 and via Internet at

We had a good day of practice Tuesday, got a lot done, said CU head coach Dewayne Alexander. The film from Campbellsville was a good teaching tool. There are several areas we need to address and will continue to do so this week.

Redshirt freshman QB Reed Gurchiek received good news from his MRI Tuesday -- his left knee is sound. Gurchiek, who was lost for the year in the 2010 season opener with a hip injury, gave everyone a scare when he went down in the third quarter of the Campbellsville game.

Hes got a sprain, something well keep an eye on and treat, Alexander said, but we know for sure weve got a guy in Broc Loveless who can step in and we wont miss a beat. Quarterback play did not cost us that game at Campbellsville.

Loveless, a native of Spring Hill, completed 6-of-10 for 164 yards and a touchdown.

D-lineman Elvin Vann out of Thomasville, GA is expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken leg vs. Campbellsville.

CU season tickets on sale -- Season and single-game tickets for the 2011 Cumberland University football season are now on sale. New chairback season tickets will cost $200 per seat in 2011, with half of the fee serving as a personal seat license. Season ticket prices will reduce to$100 per seat in 2012.

General admission season tickets are $30; single game general admission tickets will be $10 per game; $8 tickets for senior citizens. Children 10 and under are admitted free for all CU athletic events. A season pass may also be purchased for $150, allowing general admission to all CU home events. Call Jo Jo Freeman at 615-548-1350.

As in year's past, Cumberland will host a free tailgate party for fans at the home-opener. Vendors for Saturday include:
* Wilson County Sports Council
* Immanuel Baptist Church
* Cross Road Community Church
* College Hills Church of Christ
* CU Student Life
* Church of the Epiphany
* First Baptist Church
* The Journey Church
* Sweat Savior Church

By TOMMY BRYAN, The Wilson Post

CU volleyball falls at Bethel Thursday

McKENZIE -- Cumberland University dropped a hard-fought decision Thursday night at Bethel University, falling just short at the end of each set in a 3-0 loss to the Wildcats.

Karli Collins led the Bulldogs with eight kills and Jaclyn Rodriguez posted a team-best 13 digs. Cumberland stayed within striking distance or led in each set, but the Wildcats eventually prevailed in each instance, winning 25-22, 25-23 and 25-22.

"I really thought our team played very well, especially since it's so early in the season and we are playing a good many young players," head coach Dwayne Deering said. "Bethel is a very good team and we were right in each set. We didn't play the key points well and that was the difference in the match. We just have to learn how to close out the match."

Cumberland plays at Trevecca Nazarene next Tuesday at 6 p.m. before returning home September 22 against Martin Methodist at 6 p.m.

LHS visits Central tonight

Remember the old Jerry Clower story about coon hunting with his buddy Marcel Ledbetter?

You know the one where Marcel is stuck in a tree with a lynx and hes pleading with Jerry to shoot up in the tree because this thang is killin me!

Jerry yells up, Im afraid to shoot, I might hit you. To which Marcel responded, Just shoot up here amongst us, one of us has got to have some relief.

Tonight near Gladeville, a local football team is finally going to get some relief. Lebanon High visits Wilson Central tonight in a District 9AAA game only a mother could love.

The two teams have a combined overall record of 1-7 (0-2 in 9AAA) and have been outscored in their seven losses by an average of 17.5 points per game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

We were headed in the right direction the first two weeks of the season, but weve been going backwards the last two, said Lebanon coach Troy Crane.

Lebanon (1-3) is coming off a 28-7 loss last week to Glencliff High -- a game that found the Blue Devils behind 14-0 after three minutes.

WC (0-4) cranked out 22 first downs and 366 yards in offense, but couldnt contain Shelbyville in a 42-28 loss.

Game notes -- Live radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on WANT FM-98.9. A free, live video feed is available at

The teams have played 10 times since Wilson Central opened. Lebanon won the first four, but Central has won four of the last six.

WC coach Brad Dedman is a graduate of Lebanon High while LHS head coach Troy Crane taught and coached at Wilson Central.

Elsewhere in the county -- Friendship Christian plays at Jackson County; Watertown plays at Pickett County and Mt. Juliet Christian Academy will host Riverside Christian from Fayetteville in a 7 p.m. game at Suey Field.

By TOMMY BRYAN, sports editor /

Bears thump Beech 49-25

SHACKLE ISLAND-- For the last two years the Mt. Juliet football team has come up just short to Beech, falling in double overtime, and in the process, losing the district championship. But the Bears didnt leave anything to question Thursday night in their 49-25 win over the Buccaneers.

After losing twice to them the past two years in double overtime this was a good win, and it was good not to have the game go down to the wire, said Mt. Juliet Coach Roger Perry. I still dont think weve played a complete game because there are things we couldve done better, but we did what we needed in order to get the win tonight over a good Beech team.

Beech Coach Anthony Crabtree said his Buccaneers were outmatched Thursday night by the Bears, and while he knew they had a good offense he was surprised by one aspect of the game.

They simply outplayed us tonight without a doubt, said Beech Coach Anthony Crabtree. We knew coming in that (Mt. Juliet) had an explosive offense, but what we didnt expect was (Contrez McCathern) to just dominate the way he did tonight.

McCathern finished the game with 155 yards on 20 carries, and added two touchdowns, but he wasnt the only Bear that did damage to the Buccaneers Thursday night, Caleb Hopkins also had 138 yards on just four carries, and had three touchdowns of his own in the win.

This was our biggest win of the season, said Hopkins. I felt like we had something to prove out here tonight, and I think we did that.

It felt pretty good because we felt like we owed (Beech) something after the last two years.
Beech (3-2, 2-1 9-AAA) got the opening kickoff and Jalen Hurd took it 54 yards to the Bears 43 yard line, but the Buccaneers only managed three yards on the next three downs and were forced to punt.

Mt. Juliet (5-0, 3-0) didnt waste anytime getting on the board, going 86 yards on six plays, capped by a 51 yard touchdown run by Hopkins to make it 7-0.

The Buccaneers next drive was over before it really got started as Keenan Harris broke through the line on the fourth play of the series, and hit Beech quarterback Lincoln Kenitzer as he was handing the ball off, forcing the fumble, and then Harris was able to gather the loose ball to give the Bears the ball on the Buccaneer 25 yard line.

It only took two plays for Mt. Juliet to get back into the endzone as Jalen Graham went off tackle and across the goal line untouched to make it 14-0 with 5:43 left in the opening quarter.

Beech finally got on the board in the second quarter when the Buccaneers put together an eight play drive that encompassed 49 yards as Kenitzer took it the final 10 yards on a broken play up the middle, but Kyle Grace blocked the extra point to make it 14-6 with 6:50 left in the half.

Mt. Juliets potent offense struck again on the ensuing drive that started at its own 23 yard line when Hopkins took it 70 yards around the right end and outraced the entire Beech backfield to put the Bears up 21-6.

After forcing the Buccaneers third punt of the half, Mt. Juliet went 37 yards on four plays, the final play, a 13 yard touchdown by McCathern, put the Bears up 28-6 with just over two minutes left in the second quarter.

Unfazed, Beech went right back to work and went 65 yards on six plays, capped by Hurds 27 yard ramble into the endzone, but the two point attempt was no good leaving the Buccaneers with a 28-12 deficit at the halftime break.

Mt. Juliet picked up where it left off in the first half on the opening kickoff of the second half when Graham took the kick 71 yards into pay dirt, and then added the two point conversion, going around the left end untouched to put the Bears up 36-12 just 17 seconds into the second half.

Beech answered on the ensuing series, going 47 yards on five plays as Hurd added his second touchdown of the game with a 27 yard ramble into the endzone.

Mt. Juliets Graham appeared to score on the opening play of the next series, going 53 yard into the endzone, but a block in the back brought the ball back to the Beech 17 yard line.

The Bears also had two more penalties after the block in the back, but the penalties only delayed the inevitable as Hopkins took it the final 11 yard three plays later to put Mt. Juliet up 43-19.

Two series later Hurd added his third score of the night, capping an eight play, 52 yard drive, but the Buccaneers were unable to convert the two point conversion, making it 43-25.

Mt. Juliet added another score late in the fourth quarter when McCathern did the heavy lifting all by himself, running for 15, 4, and then the final 18 yards for the score to put the Bears up 49-25.

They did everything they could to put 50 (points) on us, never calling off the dogs because they kept their starters in the whole game, but we cant complain about it, said Crabtree. Its not their job to take their guys out, its our job to stop them, and everyone saw the result.

This was a bad loss, and it was frustrating, but what made it worse was we were on television for the whole world to see. Now, were going to have to put this behind us, learn from it, and go back to work for next week because were still in the district race; we just have to regroup.

Mt. Juliet has the week off next Friday, and then will take on Gallatin September 30.

By CHRIS LYNN, Main Street Media

Our community is upset, and for good reason

Our community is very upset and rightfully so. Some members of the Lebanon City Council are proposing to eliminate the citys fulltime mayor position.

This proposal represents a significant change in the structure of city government.

It may be a change that is needed, but what bothers many is whether or not the change is being proposed for all the right reasons. Are those suggesting the change doing so with a pure heart?

Are they doing it because they genuinely want a better Lebanon or are they just trying to even a political score?

Is this an issue about what will make Lebanon better? Or is it an issue about petty politics?

This town doesnt need a city manager. The truth be known, it may have too many city managers now.

What this town needs is harmony.

It needs, as one person suggested earlier this week, a few good statesmen who want to serve Lebanon in Lebanons best interest and not for their own personal agendas.

Contact Sam Hatcher at


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