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Lebanon budget passes 1st reading Wednesday

Lebanon City Council got the ball rolling by passing on first reading the 2011-2012 budget during a special called meeting Wednesday afternoon, during which several councilors brought up items for concern that will require it to be amended before second and third readings.

Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath called the budget status quo from last year, pointing out that some expenditures and revenues were taken out. The budget estimates expenditures in the amount of $19.95 million and revenues of $18.1 million.

Nothing in this budget is set in stone, said Russell Lee, commissioner of finance and revenue, pointing out the budget can be amended before it passes a third reading.

During budget work sessions in the past several months, Mayor Philip Craighead gave many proposals to the council that included property tax increases, additional fees or both to make up the difference between expenses and revenue.

Lee said the proposal approved Wednesday night included no property tax increases, no sanitation or storm water fee and will authorize the use of $1.85 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

One thing included in the budget proposal was an increase in funds to the Regional Transit Authority from the city to $50,000. The city has given $25,000 annually to the RTA in previous years.

I think we ought to look at that RTA, other cities arent upping the ante, so why should we be the only one? asked Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Huddleston.

Several councilors agreed that funds given to RTA should be maintained at $25,000 and instead use money they have toward maintaining the Music City Star station in Lebanon.

Warmath suggested using the $25,000 increase toward paving the Star station parking lots in the future. As a compromise, Warmath said she would be willing to use half of the proposed $25,000 increase toward maintaining the stations and the remaining $12,500 go to the RTA.

Craighead was opposed to reducing the $50,000 number and said with the Hamilton Springs transit-oriented development having been approved by the Lebanon Planning Commission, the city should increase the funds to RTA because of the contributions it makes to the community.

Thats a statement on our identity for the future, Craighead said of the Music City Star and providing more funds for RTA.

The council asked if the city would be responsible for maintaining the station that is proposed to be built within the Hamilton Springs development. Craighead noted that it was unclear at this time whether the city, RTA or the developers would be responsible for maintaining the station.

Also during the meeting, there was considerable discussion about the $1.85 million being utilized from the Rainy Day Fund to cover the deficit. Lee noted that about $750,000 less was used from the estimated $1.8 million the city withdrew from the reserves to cover last years deficit.

The $750,000 is included in the $1.85 million and Lee said that number will be included in the 2010-2011 fiscal year closing fund balance. He explained that the Rainy Day Fund is not a separate account, but is simply money in the fund balance that is not allocated for expenditure.

Instead of $1.8 million, (the $750,000) will knock it down to $1.1 million, Huddleston confirmed.

Lee said that including $1.8 million from the Rainy Day Fund does not mean it is taken out, but simply authorizing that amount for use if needed. He said if the funds are not used, they are not taken out.

Although property tax increases were removed from the new proposed budget, Lee said he did not remove the $435,000 budgeted for paving, which was increased from $173,000 due to the projected property tax increase.

The council agreed to have it left in the budget despite no property tax increase and also confirmed the added fees for participation in city recreation leagues and use of the wading pool at Don Fox Community Park are still included.

The council passed the budget by a vote of 4-2 with Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino voting no and Ward 5 Councilor Haywood Barry voting present. Cesternino has repeatedly called for a property tax increase to fund much needed city services. Barry also supports a property tax increase of some level to increase revenues.

The council will hold a work session on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 5:15 p.m., prior to their regular meeting to decide on amendments to the budget proposal. The budget will come up for second reading during the regular meeting on the same day at 6 p.m., in the Town Meeting Hall, City of Lebanon Administration Building at Castle Heights.

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post /phall@wilsonpost.com.

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Mason scores 5 for CU soccer

LEBANON -- Sophomore Harry Mason scored five goals, four in the second half, as Cumberland downed Kentucky Wesleyan 6-4 in men's soccer action Wednesday at the CU Soccer Field.

The Bulldogs (4-4-1) stopped a two-match losing streak with the victory but did it the hard way, giving up a goal in the first two minutes of the match but then scoring the next three, only to watch the Panthers (2-7-0) knot the match at three.

Mason, a native of England, then scored twice in 52 seconds to put CU ahead for good. He added the final goal of the match after KWC pulled within one later in the second half.

Greenbriers Eric Clark scored the other goal for Cumberland, beating KWC goalie Nick Snyder low and left into the sidenet in the seventh minute.

The Bulldogs of coach Jeff Loucks play Saturday at Lyon College and returns home Saturday, Oct. 8, to take on Oakland City University at 1 p.m.

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MJ claims local cross country event

From Post staff reports
LEBANON -- Mt. Juliet High runners swept both the boys and girls divisions of the third annual Wilson County Cross Country Invitational held Tuesday on the grounds of the James E. Ward Agricultural Center.

Elijah Wilson of Mt. Juliet High was the overall winner, finishing the 5K varsity course in 18:13 -- leading the Golden Bears to the team title.

Mt. Juliet's Kaitlin Hynek ran a 22:10 to win the girls division. Wilson Central won the girls team competition.

Based on combined boys and girls scores, Mt. Juliet took the overall "championship" by a two point margin.

The girls middle school race (1.5 miles) was won by Zoi Lancaster of West Wilson Middle School in a time of 11:04. West Wilson claimed the girls middle school title.

Friendship Christian's Mackey Bently won the boys middle school race in a time of 9:04. FCS Middle School won the boys team competition.

West Wilson Middle won the middle school "championship" based on combined boys and girls points.

Varsity teams running included: Friendship Christian School, Mt. Juliet High School, Watertown High School and Wilson Central High.

Middle schools teams included: Carroll Oakland School, Southside Elementary/Middle School, West Wilson Middle School, Wilson Central High School and Winfree Bryant Middle School.

Complete results can be found at: http://tn.milesplit.com/meets/101397-wilson-county-invitational

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Graduation coaches teach confidence

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
A high school senior may be short on credit hours to graduate, or suffering a hardship preventing them from getting to school or focusing on schoolwork, but four graduation coaches at each Wilson County high school are making sure students have the confidence and support needed to graduate on time and prepare for a brighter future.

This school year marks the second year the coaches have been full-time and theyre working not only with high school seniors, but underclassmen as well to ensure students who may be at risk of not graduating stay on track.

Our goal is to see the students graduate in four years, said Pat Climer, supervisor of the four coaches.

Mary Ashby, a former English teacher, is now the graduation coach at Lebanon High School; Michelle Prater, also a former English teacher, is the coach at Watertown High School; Debbie Hill, former psychology and sociology teacher, is at Wilson Central High School; and Andy Rottero, former physical science teacher, is the coach at Mt. Juliet High School.

The four coaches applied and interviewed for the position, which began with a part-time program three years ago. However, Wilson County Schools Director Mike Davis felt the program should be moved to full-time.

We were fortunate our director wanted to implement the graduation coach program, Hill said.

The coaches no longer teach classes, but instead work with students who are at risk of not graduating on time for various reasons. Students need 28 credits to graduate and can earn a maximum of eight in a school year.

When a student is struggling with credits or attendance, the graduation coaches will seek them out and give them opportunities to make up classes, get to school on time and ultimately get their high school diploma.

The coaches strive to build a personal relationship with the students and find connections that will want them to come to school each day. At the same time, each coach will utilize every resource available to improve the students academic performance.

We learn their story and we find out what it is that is causing that student to be at risk, Hill said. She added when they identify problems and meet with students, they really shift to problem solvers to help the students meet their needs.

Rottero said if the students are missing school a lot, they will work with them to prevent the student from violating the 10 unexcused absences rule. Rottero was chosen as the part-time graduation coach for MJHS when the program began three years ago. In the move to full-time positions, the ability of the coaches to meet the needs of students has vastly improved.

He explained the coaches could only focus on high school seniors when they were working part-time as coaches and also as classroom teachers. The problem with that, Rottero noted, is students often show signs of risk when they are freshmen or sophomores.

If you can catch kids in their sophomore years that are behind on credits, its much easier to get them caught up, Rottero said.

Climer pointed out that studies have shown performance in grades three, six and nine are good indicators of whether the student is behind in academic development. When students fall behind in credits, it can be difficult to make them up later in high school.

The graduation coaches were designed to alleviate that problem and make it possible for students to receive their full diploma and keep them from dropping out of school.

The coaches said they hope to provide students with the self-confidence that comes with someone believing in their success. In many cases, the four coaches have met students after school hours or visited them at home to keep them coming to school each day.

We often work with students that dont have people that believe in them. We make sure we utilize every resource that we have available, Ashby said.

Those resources are numerous as in recent years, various programs have been implemented to help students make up courses they have yet to pass and receive credit for.

The county system has a Credit Recovery Course, the Graduate on Time program and a web-based Compass and E410 programs that allow students to make up courses and receive credit for them.

Credit Recovery allows students who fail a class with at least a grade of 50 to take a supplemental course and a test that will change their score to a passing grade of 70 if they pass the Recovery course. The students then receive full credit for it on their transcripts.

Also, Compass and E410 allow students to take web-based courses, written by county school teachers, allowing students to essentially take a fifth block after hours and at home to make up courses.

They can work outside of the regular hours and get extra credits, Climer said.
Climer pointed out that all the web-based programs meet state and federal standards and covers the same curriculum that students would cover in a regular classroom setting.

Prater noted that a student at Watertown High last year managed to make up seven credits in his final semester to graduate on time, after being at risk of missing the credit requirements.

I told him the day of graduation rehearsal that he had graduated, Prater said.

The coaches said that getting at risk students involved in extra-curricular activities is a great way to get them to school and keep them caught up on schoolwork. Climer said many students will come to school because they dont want to miss practice or a club meeting.

While the coaches no longer teach classes, they are still actively communicating with parents and the individual students on a daily basis. Climer pointed out in the first month of the school year, the four coaches met with more than 700 students.

Also, the coaches will often encounter various reasons why students are at risk, from not-having a permanent address, to working full-time and more. The coaches hold parent-teacher conferences like every other teacher to make sure the students parents are aware of their childs progress.

It totally varies to me, some parents you can tell are really behind their kids and others its hard to get in touch with them, Rottero said.

Sometimes the parents didnt have the best educational experience and theyll tell us if they had someone like a graduation coach, they would have never dropped out, Ashby said.

The coaches said they will often hear from parents who are grateful their children are succeeding in school or beating the odds and graduating on time. In cases where their parents were unable to graduate, the coaches will even give the parents tips on how to obtain their G.E.D.

When I talk to parents, they are very appreciative of the work we do and their students do, Prater said.

Ashby said many students they see are 18-year-olds who not only live on their own, but are having to work full-time and support themselves. When facing difficult decisions, these students will often consider dropping out of school to focus on work.

The coaches also work with the Adult High School, where students can obtain their full diploma if they have to drop out of their regular high school. The Adult High School requires a minimum of 20 credits to graduate and offers students over 18 a more flexible schedule.

The school allows students to come in at times that are most convenient for them and complete schoolwork. The coaches said most students will come in the morning before going to their jobs and then return late in the afternoon to finish schoolwork.

During intercession, one week where students can get extra coursework in during the two-week breaks, the coaches will monitor the students progress and even call them or visit their homes to make sure they are attending.

Rottero said students who sign up for intercession or recommended for it must attend at least three of the five days to receive credit. During a break, getting students to come to school can be tough, but the coaches are always willing to go the extra mile.

Weve been able to get students to come back to school, if they wont come to you, you have to go to them, Ashby said.

While the coaches help students from their freshman year and heavily in their senior year, the work never ends and they are always passionate about making sure students graduate and go on to be better prepared to meet their goals.

Rottero said last year at graduation, a student handed him a note where she had written him a simple thank you for helping her graduate. Ashby and the others said several students have come back after graduating to thank them personally for not giving up on them.

Thats why we do what we do, Rottero said. Many say if they knew as freshman what they know now, they would have never considered dropping out. We could use (those students) as some of our best resources for others because they lived it.

I always tell my students, this isnt the end, it is only the beginning, Ashby said.

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

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Past LHS queens recognized

Friday night, Sept. 23, marked the end of Lebanon High School homecoming on Nokes-Lasater Field as the new school off Hartmann Drive will open in the fall of 2012.

Homecoming Queens from the past 50 years were honored at halftime during the homecoming celebration.

Seated, from left, are KaySewellHall, Joyce DeffendallStafford,PatriciaBland Hall, Barbara Leftwich Froula, Sally Williams Morse, Bevin Thorne Nave, Becky Bell Burroughs and Mallory Jennings.

On the back row, from left, are Jill Schrader Hutchinson, Sandra Robinson Bryan, Joy Morgan Bell, Julie Lowery Benson, Mary Neil SkeenEstes, Mary Hugh Evans Skeen, Jennifer Brewington, Meredith Vantrease, DeannaWarren, Natalie Turner Price, Lauren Gibbs Mauer, Callie Sloan and Monica Eads.Those attending, but not pictured, include Joy Enzfelder Pine and Cindy Reed Love.

TICK BRYAN / The Wilson Post

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Lebanon city council meets tonight

Lebanon City Council is scheduled to meet tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 28at 5:30 in a special called meeting to consider passing a 2011-2012 fiscal year budget on first reading, totaling $19.95 million.

The budget must pass three readings, and recently, the council has failed to pass several proposals on first reading. The new proposal removes all tax increases that had been previously suggested to make up a $1.85 million deficit.

That deficit is instead to be made up through utilizing $1.85 million from the Rainy Day Fund, which previous tax increases were designed to avoid.
From Post staff reports

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Bank robbed at Providence

Mt. Juliet Police are investigating a robbery that occurred at First Freedom Bank at 2008 Providence Pkwy. at about 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28. Officers arrived within minutes of the hold-up alarm signal.

Cpl. Tyler Chandler said in a news release that the suspect entered the bank and presented a note to the bank teller demanding money. The bank teller complied with his demands and handed the suspect an undisclosed amount of cash.

After receiving the cash, the suspect fled on foot to the nearby Holiday Inn Express where he got into the passenger side of a vehicle parked out front and fled the scene prior to officers arrival.

The suspect was described as a white male, 20-25 years old, and wearing a white flannel button-up shirt with a black, yellow, blue and green pattern and blue jeans for pants. He had a shaved head with a receding hairline and was wearing large sunglasses.

The suspect also had many tattoos. On his left hand was an Oriental symbol tattoo, on his right arm was a tribal-type design tattoo, and on his neck was a star tattoo.

The suspect fled in a bright red 1990s body style Ford Mustang with a spoiler and black hood protector. The vehicle fled in the direction of Interstate 40.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Mt. Juliet Police Department at 754-2550. Information can also be given anonymously by calling 754-TIPS (8477) or via the Mt. Juliet Police Department website at www.mjpd.org

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FCS visits Trousdale Co. tonight

Friendship Christian ran only 18 offensive plays in a lopsided 55-0 victory over outmanned Pickett County Friday night at Pirtle Field.

This was hardly the kind of tune-up Commander head coach John McNeal would have liked as he prepares his squad for tonights MyTV30 Thursday Night Lights game at Middle Tennessee power Trousdale County High.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at John Kerr Field. Live radio coverage can be heard on WTNK FM-93.5 and on the Internet at www.wtnk.com.

The Commanders threw only one pass in the Pickett County game -- a 32 yard touchdown pass from Tallon Mehlhoff to Stefan Remus on the first play of the game. After that, it was all run for the FCS crew who racked up 319 yards in total offense.

To be honest, we didnt spend any time preparing for Pickett County last week, Coach McNeal said. We worked on us and started our Trousdale County preparation. Trousdale County will do what they always do, get you so focused on defending their power game that youll look up and see one of their kids running under a long pass for a touchdown.

Weve got to do our jobs on both sides of the ball. Last year, (a 10-6 loss to the Jackets) every time they had to have a play to keep a drive alive -- they made one. Weve got to have that mindset. In the clutch situations, weve got to have someone step up.

McNeal sees the television coverage as a positive for the competing teams as well as all the programs in Region 4A.

This is a real opportunity to spotlight the brand of football we play in this region, McNeal said, people in this region understand -- but I think everyone will get a better idea of how good the football is around here once they see these two teams on Thursday.

Following a season-opening loss at Kentuckys Warren Central High, Trousdale County has reeled off four consecutive wins -- including a 41-7 victory at Clay County last week.

Since that loss, the Yellow Jackets have scored 148 points (37 ppg) while allowing 67 (16.8).
By TOMMY BRYAN, sports editor
tbryan@wilsonpost.com

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MJ's Robertson accepts position in AL

By KENNY HOWELL, Special to The Wilson Post
MT. JULIET -- Mt. Juliet City Manager Randy Robertson has accepted the same position in Vestavia Hills, Ala. Robertson, who has been the City Manager for Mt. Juliet for four years, was voted in by Vestavia Hills Monday night, and he accepted the offer.

Ive done what I think I can do for the City of Mt. Juliet, Robertson said in a press conference Monday.

Vestavia Hills is transferring to a City Manger-based government, as opposed to Mayor-based, so Robertson would be the first for the city of nearly 38,000 people.

That should be exciting, said Robertson. He said he would be leaving around the new year if things work out like he expected.

Robertson said he usually only stays in cities three-four years before moving onto somewhere else. He says he has lived in 17 or 18 cities in the last 35 years. Im used to it, he said.

He noted his proudest accomplishment was helping change the culture in Mt. Juliet city government. He said when he took the job, someone at the Greater Nashville Regional Council meeting, who had been around Middle Tennessee for a long time, said Mt. Juliet was the poster boy for bad city government.

In the past three years, however, Mt. Juliet has won more GNRC awards than any community in the council.

He said making an effort to only hire people who had degrees to be department heads was one of the keys to that, and the department heads, many of whom he hired, were the reason Mt. Juliet was having so much success.

Robertson said one of the regrets he has was not getting the whole emergency services area up to where it needs to be.

We are not manned to meet the growing needs of this city, he said.

He said it wasnt just the fire department discussion, but the police department and ambulance services.

Im not convinced that the people that have moved here the last 5-10 years are content with what they see, he said about the growing city.

Robertson said even though he will be in another state, he will return to Mt. Juliet through the litigations that the City has faced before and during his time.

We are looking forward to telling the Citys side of the story, he said.

Robertson added that Mt. Juliet has been a terrific community to his family, and he has thoroughly enjoyed his time here.

I absolutely love this community. The people have embraced us from the beginning.

He said the move will be hard on him, but much harder on his wife, who has been very active in the community, and their church, Providence United Methodist Church.

That church is building something magical, he said.

Robertson told his staff that even though his leave is scheduled, things are going to keep going as usual.

I still have three months left, he said. We have lots of work to do.

Robertson officially announced his departure at the City Commission meeting Monday. He thanked the commission and staff for their hard work, and recommended Public Works Director

Marlin Keel to be his interim replacement. Keel consented, but no action was taken by the commission yet.

Editors Note: Kenny Howell is the managing editor of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet. He may be contacted at Editor@thechronicleofmtjuliet.com.

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Mary Ann Mahaffey Cherry, 98

LEBANON -- Funeral services were conducted Sunday afternoon, Sept. 25 at Partlow Funeral Chapel for Mrs. Cherry, 98, of Lebanon.
Mrs. Cherry, died Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011 at University Medical Center. She was a homemaker and a member of Highland Heights Church of Christ.
Services were conducted by Brother Wayne Miller. Interment followed in Wilson County Memorial Gardens.
Survivors include: children Tim (Diane) Cherry and Phyllis Cherry -- all of Lebanon; Marie Spicer, Buford (Mary Lee) Cherry and Mary Lou Walter -- all of Illinois; half-brothers H.J., Ricky, David and Roy Mahaffey; half-sisters Francis Alaniz, Gladys Mahaffey, Linda Russie and Janie Hearn; 21 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by parents Hiram and Simmie Mahaffey; husband Guy Cherry; brothers George, Ollie B., Ed and Ronnie Mahaffey; sisters Ethel Lasater and Willie Mae Comer; grandson, Ronnie Spicer; and granddaughter Jamie Walter.
Arrangements by Partlow Funeral Chapel, Lebanon.

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MJ native Johnnie Wright passes

The country music community is mourning the passing of Mt. Juliet native Johnnie Robert Wright, 97. Born May 13, 1914, Mr. Wright died Tuesday morning, Sept. 27 at his Davidson County home in Madison following an extended illness. Mr. Wright was known as a solo artist, husband of the "Queen of Country Music" Kitty Wells, and as part of the duo Johnnie & Jack.

Funeral services were held 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 at the Madison Church of Christ, 106 Gallatin Rd. North, Madison, with Bro. Steve North officiating.
Burial followed in Spring Hill Cemetery, with his nephews serving as pallbearers.

Serving as honorary pallbearers were his former band members, The Tennessee Mountain Boys.

Wells and Wright married in 1937 when she was 18, and formed a trio with her sister Louise, known as Johnnie Wright and the Harmony Girls. Louise later married Johnnies duo partner Jack Anglin. Also, Wells sang with Johnnie & Jack in the early 40s. By 1947 Johnnie & Jack secured a regular spot on the Grand Ole Opry and went on to join the Louisiana Hayride.

Signing with RCA brought the duo its biggest hits in the 1950s including Poison Love, Cryin Heart Blues, Oh, Baby Mine (I Get So Lonely), and Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight.They were known for intertwining latin and calypso influences with their country sound. At one point Wright even hired a young Chet Atkins as a fiddler, prior to his rise to fame as a guitar player.

Switching to Decca Records in the 1960s resulted in changing the spelling of Johnnie to Johnny. Anglin passed in 1963, and by 1965 Wright was working as a solo artist and scored the No. 1 hit Hello Vietnam. He was a lifelong booster of his wifes career, encouraging her to go by the stage name Kitty Wells, and guiding her business endeavors. He also steered her toward her career-making hit It Wasnt God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.

Later they toured with their children the late Ruby, Carol Sue, and Bobby as The Kitty Wells-Johnnie Wright Family Show.

Austin & Bell Funeral Home of Springfield was in charge of arrangements.

photo provided by PATRICIA PRESLEY, Spring Hill

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Gail Humphrey Croslin, 63

CARTHAGE -- Graveside services were conducted Monday afternoon, Sept. 26 at Mt. Zion Cemetery in the Sullivan's Bend Community for Mrs. Croslin, 63 of Lebanon.
Born Nov. 5, 1947 in Tampa, Florida, she passed away Saturday morning, Sept. 24, 2011 at her home.
Services were conducted by Brother Jimmy Gregory.
Survivors include: husband Buford O. Croslin of Lebanon; brother David L. Humphrey of Jacksonville, Florida; step-daughters Barbara Demoret of Brooksville, Kansas; Connie Carabasil of Salina, Kansas; Loretta McCall of Lebanon and Cindy (Frank) Gonzalez of Lakeland, Florida; step-sons Thomas Croslin of Cordell, Oklahoma; Michael Croslin of Brookville, Kansas and Timothy Young of Lebanon; brother David Lee Humphrey of Jacksonville, Florida; sister and brother-in-law Martha and Glenn croslin of Lebanon and brother-n-law Richard Croslin of Saginaw, Michigan; along with 23 step-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by daughter virginia Gail Plummer, father David D. Humphrey, mother Lettie L. Humphrey and sister marilyn Conner -- all of Florida.
Arrangements in the care of the Carthage Chapel of Sanderson Funeral Home.

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Hugh Vann Weaver, Sr., 82

WATERTOWN -- Funeral services were held Tuesday morning, Sept. 27 at the Hunter Funeral Home for Mr. Weaver, 82, of Madisonville, KY.
Born in Wilson County to the late Lonnie B. and Fannie Mary Thompson Weaver, he died Sept. 23, 2011 at the regional Medical Center in Madisonville.
A graduate of Watertown, where he was captain of the basketball team, Mr. Weaver was a veteran of the US Army -- having served in the Korean War.
Following a 35-year career with Bell South, he returned to his love of farming.
Burial was at the Fairview Cemetery.
Survivors include: children Tonya Ann Piper of Madisonville, Ky; Hugh Vann Weaver, Jr. of Pittsbugh, PA and Thomas Blair Weaver of LaVergne; six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his wife Henrietta Sheriff Weaver; sisters Georgia Wooten and Edith Lea, brothers Reid and vivian Weaver.
Memorials may be directed to Parkinson's Disease research.
Hunter Funeral Home, Watertown, was in charge of arrangements.

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Peter N. Verdugo, 74

LEBANON -- A mass of Christian burial was held Tuesday morning, Sept. 27 at the Saint Frances Cabrini Catholic Church for Mr. Verdugo, 74, of Watertown.
A native of Los Angeles, California, he passed away Sept. 23, 2011, at Summit Medical Center.
He was the son of the late Raymond and Josephine Negrette Verdugo, was a retired truck driver and of the Roman Catholic faith.
Services were conducted by Father Michael OBryan. Interment followed in the Bethlehem Cemetery at Tuckers Cross Roads.
Survivors include: his wife of 26 years Consuelo Connie Cota Verdugo; children William Rodney (Wendy) Verdugo, Max Verdugo, Delicia (Robert) Holder and Johnny Gibson Verdugo; sisters Tina Davai and Gloria Chaiira; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by siblings Raymond, David and Nora.
Arrangements by Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home, Lebanon.

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Betty DeGlopper Parker, 80

OLD HICKORY -- Graveside services will be conducted 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 at Hermitage Memorial Gardens for Mrs. Parker, 80, of Mt. Juliet.
The widow of the late Kenneth Ray Parker, she died Sept. 26, 2011.
Survivors include: daughters Teresa (Scott) Deathridge and Pamela Stewart Cooper; siblings James (Joyce) DeGlopper, Jr. and Martha DeGlopper (Joe) Griffin; grandchildren William David Cooper, Jr., Franklin Stewart Cooper, Jason Scott Deathridge and Katie Deathridge Etheridge; great-grandson William Gabriel Cooper.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Parker was preceded in death by her parents, the late James Cornelus and Anna Gay Swift DeGlopper and her sister Jeannie Knowles.
Active pallbearers: Scott Deathridge, Jason Deathridge, Stewart Cooper, David Cooper, Jr., Mike Boyd, Fred Weston, Sr., Brandon Etheridge and Haywood Berry. Honorary: the Class of 1950 at Mt. Juliet High School, Bobby Eakes, David S. Cooper, Sr. and James DeGlopper, Jr.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Mrs. Parkers sitter, Connie Hill.
Flowers accepted or memorials may be made to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317.
Arrangements by Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet Road.

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Charles Gemelli, 91

LEBANON -- A funeral mass was held Wednesday morning, Sept. 28 at the Saint Frances Cabrini Catholic Church for Mr. Gemelli, 91, of Lebanon.

A retired printer and a native of New York City, Mr. Gemelli died
Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011 at The Pavilion in Lebanon.

The son of the late Raffaele and Luidnina Langelli Gemelli, he was a Roman Catholic and a veteran of the US Army Air Corps -- having served in World War II.

A Rosary was performed Tuesday evening. Services were conducted by Father Michael O'Bryan. Burial was at the Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Survivors include: daughter Joanne (Ron) Eastridge of Lebanon and son Ralph (Janet) Gemelli of Glendale, NY. Also surviving are grandchildren Michael (Gabrielle) Nader, Matthew (Leigh) Nader, Andrew (Mara) Nader, Jason (Kelli) Schmolze, Keith Schmolze, Rachel Hamilton, Rebecca (Aaron) Henson and Ronnie Eastridge.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Gemelli was preceded in death by his wife Josephine Gemelli and daughter Barbara Nader.

Watertown's Hunter Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

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Kimbel Lea 1st in division at Knoxville triathlon

KNOXVILLE -- Lebanons Kimbel Lea won her age division (25-29) of the third annual Anchor Splash Sprint Triathlon, presented by Performance Therapeutics, Sunday, Sept. 18 on the University of Tennessee Campus.

Consisting of a swim of 300 yards in the Student Aquatic Center Pool, a six-mile bike ride and three-mile run, Lea, 25, finished with a time of 1:06:54.

This was my first triathlon, so I wasnt sure how to train, Lea said. My goal was finishing in 65 minutes, so I was a little behind that time.

A 2004 graduate of Lebanon High, she qualified for the TSSAA Spring Fling in both the long jump and triple jump as a junior and a senior. She attended Tennessee Tech on a track scholarship before completing her education at UT-Knoxville in 2009.

Heres the breakdown on the three legs of the event. 300 yard swim 7:08; Transition 2:11; six-mile bike 29:35; Transition 0:40; 3 Mile Run - 27:22.

From Post staff reports

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TYFA Blue Devils stand 4-1

The Lebanon Blue Devils TYFA CCC football team defeated the Davidson County Colts 18-0 bringing their overall record to 4-1 (3-0 conference).The Blue Devilsmoved into first place after handing the Colts their first loss. QB Eli Clemmons scored a TD and Jordan Cason put 2 TD's on the board. Coached by Jeff Clemmons, the team will host the Grassland Golden Eagles Saturday Oct. 1, at 3 p.m. at Walter J. Baird for homecoming.

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Friday night football results

COOKEVILLE 24, LEBANON 22 --
John David Edgington's 1-yard TD plunge with 5:39 left -- set up by a gutsy fake field goal -- proved to be just enough for Cookeville to hold off Lebanon 24-22 Friday at Nokes-Lasater Field.

Nine out of the last 13 games between these two teams has been decided by eight or fewer points.

After Edgington's touchdown, the Blue Devils (1-5) quickly struck again. On the third play of their ensuing drive, quarterback Patrick Maynard slipped free and zipped down the sideline for a 65-yard touchdown run.

After calling a timeout, Lebanon set up for a two-point conversion. Maynard took off for a run around the right side, but was stopped just short to preserve a 24-22 lead.

"We put together another good effort on both sides of the football," said LHS coach Troy Crane, "but the mistakes -- penalties, bobbles snaps, things like that keep rearing their head. The only thing we can do is to keep on plugging away. I'm proud of our football team, but we've got to be able to play hard and play well. We're finding inopportune times to make these mistakes."

Despite battling a sore ankle, Maynard rushed 22 times for 101 yards and scored twice. He also completed 11-of-21 passing attempts for 175 yards. His top receiver was wide out Justin Sandefur, who caught two bombs for 78 yards. Juicy Apple ran 13 times for 96 yards and scored a touchdown.

LHS returns to action Sept. 30 at District 9AAA rival Station Camp High.

Cookeville 24, Lebanon 22
Cookeville 10 7 0 7 -- 24
Lebanon 0 10 6 6 -- 22
scoring summary:
C -- Jacob Zalewski 36 field goal. 5:07 first qtr. Seven plays, 42 yards.
C -- Nathan Holland 56 pass from John David Edgington. Zalewski kick. 1:03 first qtr. Three plays, 55 yards.
L -- Juicy Apple 1 run. Chuka Aruh kick. 11:33 second qtr. Four plays, 80 yards.
C -- Desmond Pincheon 69 pass from Edgington. Zalewski kick. 2:44 second qtr. Five plays, 80 yards.
L -- Aruh 33 field goal. 00:05 second qtr. Nine plays, 64 yards.
L -- Patrick Maynard 1 run. Kick failed. 2:23 third qtr. Nine plays, 53 yards.
C -- Edgington 1 run. Zalewski kick. 5:39 fourth qtr. Ten plays, 64 yards.
L -- Maynard 65 run. Run failed. 4:47 fourth qtr. Three plays, 80 yards.

CENTENNIAL 40, WILSON CENTRAL 14 --
GLADEVILLE -- Wilson Central slipped to 1-5 on the season Friday with a 40-14 home loss to Centennial High School.

Cougar QB J.J. Tomlin threw three first half TD passes , including a 64-yard scoring strike to T.J. Leach on the opening drive.

Wilson Central's only scores came on a one yard run in the first quarter by QB Jordan Roundtree and a seven yard run in the third by Brandon Mallory.

The Wildcats will visit Portland High Sept. 30.

FCS 55, PICKETT CO. 0 --
LEBANON -- Friendship Christian tuned up for Thursday's Region 4A showdown at Trousdale County with a 55-0 win over hapless Pickett County Friday at Pirtle Field.

QB Tallon Mehlhoff connected with Stefan Remus on a 32-yard touchdown pass on the first offensive snap of the game -- and the rout was on. All told, FCS ran only 18 offensive plays.

The Commanders improved to 4-2 on the season headed into the MyTV30 Thursday Night Lights contest vs. The Yellow Jackets Sept. 29.

WATERTOWN 26, MONTEREY 16
MONTEREY -- Brannon Hill scored three touchdowns and the Watertown defense made just enough plays to lock up a 26-16 victory at Monterey Friday -- spoiling the Wildcat homecoming.

The win pushes the Purle Tigers to 5-0, 3-0 in Region 4A, headed into a Sept. 30 matchup vs. Clay County at Robinson Stadium.

Watertown 26, Monterey 16
Watertown 6 6 0 14 -- 26
Monterey 3 0 0 13 -- 16
scoring summary:
MHS -- Ben Strahlman 28-yard field goal, 9:33 first qtr.
WHS -- Brannon Hill 4-yard run (conversion failed), 4:06 first qtr.
WHS -- Hill 17-yard run (conversion failed), 2:12 second qtr.
WHS -- Ty Jobe 12-yard run (Jake Weldy kick), 11:55 fourth qtr.
MHS -- Alaz Looper 13-yard run (Strahlman kick), 9:33 fourth qtr.
WHS -- Hill 17-yard run (Weldy kick), 7:26 fourth qtr.
MHS -- Looper 6-yard run (conversion failed), 1:30 fourth qtr.

MJCA 25, KING'S ACD. 13
SEYMOUR -- Mt. Juliet Christian Academy won for the second consecutive week with a 25-13 victory at King's Academy Friday night.

The Saints (2-4) never threw the football. Noah Wilson ran 20 times for 171 yards while QB Elliott Lee added 87 yards on 20 rushes and scored twice. Jackson Harrell added 90 yards on 12 attempts as the local team chewed up 382 yards on the ground.

MJCA will host Zion Christian Friday, Sept. 30 in a TSSAA DII Middle Region game.

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CU rallies past WVU Tech 31-26

MONTGOMERY, W.Va. - Broc Loveless threw a 41-yard TD pass to DeJeay Woods with 1:56 to play as Cumberland scored 21 points in the fourth quarterof a 31-26 victory over scrappy West Virginia Tech Saturday at Martin Field.

The Bulldogs (3-1) trailed 20-10 with 10:25 remaining in the game after Julian Bernard's 20-yard quarterback draw for the Golden Bears (0-3). CU responded with a four-play, 60-yard drive highlighted by a 33-yard completion to Woods. QB Loveless finished the drive with an 11-yard TD run.

On WVU Tech's next possession, Cody McCallister blocked a punt and Allant McLemore recovered the ball in the end zone for a 24-20 Cumberland advantage with 6:09 remaining. The home team came right back with a seven-play, 75-yard drive, including Bernard's 33-yard touchdown pass to Darryl Reynolds with 3:09 to play.

The track meet in the fourth quarter continued, with Loveless hitting Woods on a short pass over the middle and the redshirt sophomore broke two tackles before tumbling into the end zone with 1:56 to play.

WVU Tech picked up one first down but was called for holding on the play on their final drive. Bernard then fired incomplete on third and fourth down and the Bulldogs knelt on the ball three times to run out the clock.

Woods finished with six catches for 148 yards while Loveless 13-of-25 for 184 and one score.

Neither team played particularly well in the first half, but the Bears broke through on a 12-yard touchdown run from Reynolds with 3:40 left in the second quarter. Cumberland answered quickly, with Loveless hitting Woods for a 35-yard strike to start the drive. Six plays later Lemeco Miller ran untouched around the leftside for a one-yard score, knotting the game at seven at the break.

Cumberland missed two golden opportunities to take control of the game in the third quarter, taking over at the WVUT 32-yard line after the Bears were backed up deep in their own territory on the opening drive of the second half. But the drive stalled and Jarad White missed a 30-yard field goal.

Cumberland got it back later in the period at the Bears 17-yard line after a Ben Miller interception. Again the drive stalled but White gave CU a 10-7 lead with a 32-yard field goal.

After Reynolds intercepted a Loveless pass in Tech territory, the Bears marched 53 yards on seven plays, with Isaiah Keyes rushing six yards around the leftside for a 14-10 Bears advantage.

Loveless was sacked and fumbled early in the fourth quarter, setting up Bernard's 20-yard run. BJ Stewart blocked the extra point, giving Tech a 20-10 lead and starting the fourth quarter fireworks.

"I thought their kids played extremely hard, with a lot of effort," said CU coach Dewayne Alexander. "We knew we would have a tought time figuring out what they were going to do defensively.

"They also had several players who just got released by the NAIA Clearinghouse -- a couple of difference makers. They had some pretty physical players up front, but we hung in there.

"We had a couple of things there in the passing game we were able to convert, and remember, Broc is still a freshman. He's still learning."

Cumberland takes next week off and heads to Shorter University on October 8 for a 12:30 p.m. Central Time kickoff in the first Mid-South Conference West Division game of the season.

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Victim shoots, kills her kidnapper

MT. JULIET -- A Gallatin man was found dead in Mississippi Friday morning, nearly two days after abducting a Gallatin woman at the Kangaroo Gas Station in Mt. Juliet.

According to authorities, Stephen Lynn Cronk, 58, asked an unidentified 18-year-old female acquaintance to meet him at the gas station Wednesday around 4 p.m. The two had known each other since June, but were not in a romantic relationship. He said he was going on vacation, and wanted to say bye to her. She agreed and met him at the gas station.

Things went strange inside the car, said Mt. Juliet Police Department Det. David Stolinski.

Once inside the car, he pulled a gun on her. He then proceeded to drive to Aberdeen, Miss.

They arrived in Aberdeen around 10:30 or 11 p.m., Wednesday. Cronk restrained her and got a hotel room. He forced her to perform sexual acts at gunpoint. He was distracted during the encounter, and she grabbed the gun, firing once into his abdomen. He fled, and she barricaded herself in the hotel room, calling 911 a little after midnight Thursday morning. Friday morning at 6 a.m., Cronk was found dead at a gas station in Hamilton, Miss. The cause of death was uncertain as of the press conference. Hamilton is approximately 12 miles southeast of Aberdeen.

This was a very brave young lady, Stolinski said, adding police would not be releasing her name out of respect to what she had been through.

This is something she would really like to forget, Stolinski explained.

Cronk was not a registered sex offender. He had one previous arrest in El Paso, Texas, but it was unclear at the time of the press conference what it was for.

By all accounts, everyone thought he was a decent man, Stolinski said regarding the people who knew Cronk.

He was a retired truck driver. Cronk met the victim at her work, and the two had been friends since June. Stolinski said the relationship seemed to be more like a fatherly type.

He said this was a peculiar situation, so it wasnt like most kidnappings. This wasnt a stranger-danger situation.

The detective said the young woman did what she had to do.

I feel very strongly her life was in grave danger, Stolinski said, adding it was a matter of survival, and she survived.

By KENNY HOWELL, Special to The Wilson Post

Editors Note: Kenny Howell is the managing editor of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet. He may be contacted at Editor@thechronicleofmtjuliet.com. Information from a news release from the Mt. Juliet Police Department was also used in this article.

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Decision expected soon on 'Project Tango'

SECRET DEVELOPMENT COURTED LOCALLY

After more than a month of secret planning, Project Tango may be approaching a big reveal as city and county officials provide a few details on the clandestine project that could bring a new corporation to Lebanon and Wilson County and up to 1,700 jobs as well.

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said the company that could locate here has two opportunities in the community. While Hutto would not elaborate on the specifics of the opportunities, he did note that one could bring 400 to 500 jobs while the second could supply between 1,000 and 1,200 jobs.

There are a couple of options there within Project Tango, Hutto said.

Hutto and Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead have been very reserved in revealing information about Project Tango since its inception. Craighead said they have been working on the project for some time and hope to land at least one of the opportunities.

We are hoping to hear something very soon, he said. If we get it, it could bring several hundred jobs.

Hutto indicated the company contacted city and county leaders more than a month ago about moving into Wilson County. Since that time, the companys name has been kept secret as well as the nature of the jobs it could bring. Hutto said the jobs the company would bring with it have an average hourly compensation of around $16.50.

Lebanon and Wilson County are in competition with several other cities and counties, Hutto said, adding the local community could land one or both opportunities from the company.

A chance for job opportunities is there and thats a good thing for us and for our citizens, Hutto said.

Hutto and Craighead noted that Project Tango has been a coordinated effort between the two governments and the Joint Economic &Community Development Board of Wilson County.

G.C. Hixson has been heading up the charge for Wilson County, Hutto said. Hixson is the executive director of the JECDB.

Hixson felt the company would reach a decision on where to locate within the next 30 days at the most. He said it could be as early as two weeks when a decision is made. Hixson indicated the company was a well-known domestic corporation, but could offer no further details on its identity.

The company would build a new facility within the Lebanon city limits, Hixson said, adding the companys timeline for construction called for a facility to be completed by October or November 2012. Hutto indicated the company is looking at locations that were in a good proximity to Mt. Juliet and Lebanon.

Were still in discussion with their engineering and construction companies, Hixson said.

He also pointed out Wilson County Commission and Lebanon City Council approved an incentives package for the company, including payments in lieu of taxes to encourage them to locate in Lebanon.

By offering incentives, Hixson said Lebanon and Wilson County have been able to stay at the forefront of possible locations for the company. With several counties and cities in the running, those incentives have made Wilson look appealing.

That has allowed us to stay in a competitive position, Hixson said of the incentives.

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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Charges filed in Tuesday's standoff

A 17-year-old female victim involved in an incident where a 17-year-old male barricaded himself inside a home on Tuesday, Sept. 20, on Central Pike, has been released from the hospital and returned to her home as charges are set to be filed against three individuals involved.

Det. Sgt. Jeff Johnson of the Wilson County Sheriffs Department, who is leading the investigation, said Thursday that Jenna Nicole Baird, 26, of 7711 Central Pike, Mt. Juliet, and James Jordan Fisher, 21, of 4036 Elizabeth Drive, Hermitage, are to be charged in the incident.

The 17-year-old male is in custody in Rutherford County and is to be charged as well. Both 17-year-olds are reported runaways.

The four were all reportedly living at the home of Bairds grandmother at the Central Pike address, where deputies went on Tuesday to investigate reports of a runaway living there.

When deputies arrived at the home, the 17-year-old male barricaded himself inside, leading to a stand-off of more than three hours.

The 17-year-old and Fisher were taken into custody after deputies entered the home and found the 17-year-old female bound and beaten with cuts on her neck.

Baird is in custody at the Wilson County Jail with no bond until her court date on Oct. 4. She was appearing in court on Tuesday on previous charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Also, Fisher is in custody at the jail on $20,000 bond. He was arrested on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and harboring a runaway. Johnson added that Fisher was reportedly in a relationship with the 17-year-old female.

She (the victim) and Fisher were apparently in a relationship and were living in a detached garage at the home, Johnson said.

Johnson also said Baird and the 17-year-old male were reportedly in a relationship.

There will be more charges filed against Fisher, Johnson said, adding that Baird and the 17-year-old male will face additional charges as well.

In his investigation, Johnson said the suspects told him the 17-year-old girl ran away from home and was picked up by the 17-year-old male, and the pair then picked up Fisher and later Baird at a local Walmart. The group then went to the home on Central Pike.

Johnson said the 17-year-old female left the home on foot on Monday and was seen by a Sheriffs Deputy who pulled up beside her in his patrol car to see if she needed assistance. Johnson said the girl told the patrolman she was OK and didnt need a ride anywhere.

They saw her talking to the patrolman and thought she was telling him where they lived and were snitching on them, Johnson said of Fisher, Baird and the 17-year-old male.

When she returned to the home, Johnson said Baird, Fisher and the 17-year-old male allegedly bound the girl with Duct tape, assaulted her and cut her neck. Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe said Tuesday that a rifle and Bowie knife were found in the home.

Johnson said he is still in the process of determining which charges will be filed against the three individuals.

We are still working with the District Attorneys Office to determine the charges, he said.

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post / phall@wilsonpost.com.

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Dead Land doubles the scares

Raring for a scaring? Dealing for a chilling?

Mad monster maker Dana Chapman can satisfy your desire for a night of fright with a tour of her Dead Land Haunted Woods, a Halloween-themed attraction that lies off Highway 231 between Lebanon and Murfreesboro.

Last years edition of Dead Land attracted 9,000 souls seeking to have the daylights scared out of them. For this spooking season the mistress of the macabre has added another eerie trail and doubled the number of bizarro citizens that inhabit her forest of fear from 40 to fourscore (80).

Weve got twice the actors and twice the trail, said Chapman, who lived in Wilson County for 20 years before moving to Lascassas in Rutherford County this past year.

We have a whole new trail called The Portal, where anything goes as far as monsters and frights. And we have The Curse, the original trail that goes with the Dead Land story."

Each path winds through the forest for three-quarters of a mile and takes about 30 minutes if you walk (some cant help but run). The site features tunnels filled with snakes and spiders, a hearse, a cemetery, an open grave and other frights too numerous to mention, much less spoil the fun.

Among the horrifying creatures hikers may encounter along the weird and wooly way are the Pumpkin Man, werewolves, the Butcher, a troll, hags, a scarecrow, a Confederate zombie, the Grim Reaper, white-winged vampires and Murderoni (dont ask).

The majority of the scare actors hail from Wilson County as about 50 of the cast resides in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, Watertown and Norene. Another 30 or so come a haunting from Murfreesboro, while Woodbury in Cannon County donated three spine-tingling thespians.

This year, four families signed on as Dead Land actors giving a whole new meaning to the term the family that preys together. These include a mom and pop and their two kids, a mother-and-daughter combo and two father-daughter duos.

Chapman summed up her spooktacular site as a family-owned and operated haunted attraction that is in a real haunted woods. She said it best suits those ages 9 and older.

Our visitors tell us they love it. Dead Land is very different from the typical haunted attraction because most places set it in a house, and very few places set it outside completely, Chapman said.

Besides getting their pants scared off, visitors can take their pictures with their ghoul friends. There is also a communal bonfirenot for burning witchesfor roasting marshmallows and hot dogs.

People love to sit around the bonfire with their friends and roast hot dogs and marshmallows before they go on to the next trail, said the hostess with the ghostess.

The Dead Land concession stands offers burgers, hot dogs, French fries, soup, hot chocolate, soft drinks and coffee. What? No ghost toasties?

Dead Land

Haunted Woods

Dead Land Haunted Woods offers brave souls looking for a scary trail their choice of two hikes, each three-quarters of a mile long. Hours are 7 p.m.-midnight every Friday and Saturday now through Oct. 29. Admission is $15 per trail or $25 for both. Located about 10 miles south of Lebanon on Highway 231 (7040 Murfreesboro Road) and about two miles past Cedars of Lebanon State Park, Dead Lead Haunted Woods is not recommended for children under the age of 9. Guests should wear proper running shoes (no flip-flops). For more info, go to deadlandwoods.com.

By KEN BECK, The Wilson Post
Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at kbtag2@gmail.com.

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Kidnapping in MJ leads to Gallatin mans death

By KENNY HOWELL

Special to The Wilson Post

MT. JULIET A Gallatin man is dead after what authorities are calling a kidnapping by him of a woman, also of Gallatin, from a convenience store parking lot in Mt. Juliet on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Det. David Stolinsky of the Mt. Juliet Police Department said during a press conference held Friday that the incident began at about 4 p.m., Wednesday, when the 18-year-old female was reportedly kidnapped by a male acquaintance at gunpoint when she met him at the Kangaroo convenience store in Mt. Juliet.

MJPD learned about the incident, he said, when they were contacted at about 1:40 p.m., Thursday, by the Aberdeen, Miss., Police Department regarding a possible kidnapping that occurred in their jurisdiction on Wednesday afternoon.

Through further investigation, authorities determined that the 18-year-old woman met Stephen Cronk, 58, of Gallatin, at the Kangaroo in Mt. Juliet. Stolinsky said the two had been friendly acquaintances since June but were not in a romantic relationship. Cronk reportedly told the woman he was going out of town and asked her to meet him at the store before he left.

She willingly met him at approximately 4 p.m., Wednesday, in the parking lot of the store in Mt. Juliet where Cronk revealed a handgun and forced her to remain in the passenger seat of his vehicle where he Cronk then drove to Aberdeen, Miss., where he rented a motel room where the woman was forced to go into and perform sexual acts through threats and intimidation by Cronks handgun.

Cronk became distracted during the encounter and left his handgun unattended. The woman was able to gain control of the handgun and fire once at Cronk, striking him in the abdomen. Cronk fled the hotel, and the woman barricaded herself in the hotel room and called 911 for help. Aberdeen, Miss., police responded to the scene and began investigating.

A search for Cronk was begun by Mississippi law enforcement agencies, MJPD and U.S. Marshals.

However, Stolinsky said at about 9 a.m., Friday, Sept. 23, MJPD received a call from Aberdeen police that Cronk had been found deceased inside his vehicle, a 2004 Nissan Frontier 4-door pickup truck, which was parked at a gas station in Hamilton, Miss., at approximately 6 a.m. A gas station clerk discovered his body. An autopsy is to be performed by Mississippi agencies to determine the cause of death.

Stolinsky said Cronk was not a registered sex offender. He did have a previous arrest in El Paso, Texas, although it was unknown as of Friday why he had been arrested.

No one knows why Cronk drove the woman to Mississippi, the detective said, adding the hotel room had not been booked earlier.

By all accounts, everyone thought he was a decent man, Stolinsky said, referring to people from Gallatin who knew Cronk.

As for the victim shooting Cronk, Stolinsky said, I feel very strongly her life was in grave danger.

MJPD declined to name the victim as, the detective said, This was something she really would like to forget. She was assaulted. She was very brave. She was very lucky. It was a matter of survival and she survived.

Editors Note: Kenny Howell is the managing editor of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet. He may be contacted at Editor@thechronicleofmtjuliet.com. Information from a news release from the Mt. Juliet Police Department was also used in this article.

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