The Paint WilCo mural project started with the goals of creating 10 unique murals throughout Wilson County by the end of 2020 and in doing so, boost tourism by creating photo opportunities for visitors, as well as residents, and to spark interest and integrate art into our communities while beautifying Wilson
County. In addition, this project helped to fulfill the requirements for Wilson
County to become a Tennessee ThreeStar certified county.
THE RIGHT PEOPLE
The Wilson County CVB (WilCo) went out and found the right people to be a
part of this project, people with the knowledge of art, artists, locations,
connections, etc. The Wilson County Murals Committee was then formed
from these people and they have been the driving force of this project. We are
now looking towards our seventh mural and the response and involvement
within our community has never been greater.
Sponsors, artists, building owners are all contacting us wanting to be involved in this beautification and art movement. With more locations scouted out in Watertown, Mt. Juliet, and Lebanon, be on the lookout for more artwork popping up throughout the county! The Paint Wilco project had a goal of 10 murals, and that goal is within an arm’s reach, or a brush’s stroke, but as we continue to see this involvement and this recognition of the value and importance, who’s to say that another phase of Paint Wilco is not just around the corner.
OUR NEW NORMAL
As we continue to walk this path of our “new normal” in the world today, it’s
good to get out and have a “feel good” moment. Close up your laptop, have
the kids turn off their Chromebooks, turn off the TV, and take a quick drive to
one of the Paint Wilco murals and have yourself a “feel good” moment. We
are hit daily with reasons to carry negativity, we heard something on the
radio, we read something on Twitter, we saw a sign in someone’s yard. Go out
to the Messages of Hope Mural and take a picture with your special someone.
Go to Charlie Daniels Park and have the kids make their best silly face for a
picture in front of the Caboose Mural. Take your Grandpa to the Veterans
Mural and spend some time with him at the Veterans Museum. Be reminded
of all the reasons to carry positivity. Keeps those pictures on your phone and
have your daily dose of positivity. Or maybe even post those pictures and
spread that positivity.
SPONSORSHIP and MORE INFO
Wanting more information on the Paint WilCo murals?
Looking to sponsor a mural? Wanting to submit a name for
prospective artists? Contact the Wilson County CVB office
at email@example.com, and be sure to follow the
Paint WilCo progress and the many other great things
Wilson County has at VisitWilCo.com.
TennCommUNITY is the product of a collaboration of nine community banks
who had a desire to help small businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19. These banks “united” to create an initiative to urge the communities to shop locally. As Melynda Bounds (V.P., CedarStone Bank) said “We’ll do whatever we can to bring awareness to small businesses”. The Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Juliet Chamber, and Watertown Chamber joined the efforts by spearheading the creation of the TennCommUNITY website and Facebook page, coordinating radio appearances, newspaper ads, and other media advertising.
Left to Right – Jason Loggins, Melynda Bounds, Lee Campbell, Nathan Harris, Debbie Lowe, Chris Crowell, John McDearman & John Lancaster
What is TennCommUNITY all about? John McDearman (CEO, Wilson Bank & Trust) explained it simply when he said “This is about working together to get us to a better spot”. A kickoff video featuring over 40 small businesses along with eight of the bank representatives and the three Chamber presidents was
one of the first promotional pieces that was completed to introduce the initiative in July. You can watch the video by visiting TennCommUNITY.com. The website also features podcasts and business listings, as well as resources and tools for small business owners. The initiative is scheduled to run through December. John Lancaster (Chairman & CEO, First Freedom Bank) noted that “Now is absolutely the right time for this campaign. It’s pretty simple. Shop at home. When asked why First Bank decided to join the initiative after it was launched, Shawn Glover (Sr. V.P., First Bank) replied. “If we want to live and work in a wonderful community, I believe it is our responsibility to contribute and support the people and the businesses in the community. We can each do
our part by shopping for goods and services locally.
Shop as you do now. Dine as you do now, but whenever possible, use that local business”.
Who can participate in TennCommUNITY? Any small business in Wilson County. You do not have to bank with one of the nine local sponsoring banks or
be a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Melanie Minter (President & CEO, Lebanon Wilson Co. Chamber of Commerce) said “Our goal with this initiative is to help small businesses with marketing and different tools”. Becky Dungy (President, Watertown and East Wilson Co. Chamber of Commerce) added
that “we want to promote small businesses through this crazy world we are going through right now”. “People in Wilson County can get involved in TennCommUNITY by continuing to shop local” pointed out Debbie Lowe (V.P., F & M Bank).
What is the goal of this initiative?
As Lee Campbell (Sr. V.P., Pinnacle Financial Partners) shared with Coleman
Walker on August 3rd, “We want to change lives and support our small businesses”. The reaction from the small business community has been
overwhelmingly positive. Most every business that has submitted their information to be added to the TennCommUNITY website business listing
has expressed gratitude for developing this to help promote their business. If you visit the business listing on the website, I guarantee that you will discover at least one business that you had no idea existed in Wilson County! If you
want your business added to the site, contact us via the “Contact Us” on www.tenncommunity.com or call the Lebanon Wilson Co. Chamber at 615-444-5503.
We brag about Wilson County being unique, special, and filled with authentic southern hospitality. Chris Crowell (Sr. V.P., Southern Bank of Tennessee)
affirmed that “Small businesses are important in our community”. If you knew that one of your favorite establishments was in danger of going out of business, would you not step up and support them? As Nathan Harris (Commercial Banker V.P., Liberty State Bank) commented “We want all businesses in the community to be strong and healthy.” When asked why his bank decided to get involved, Jason Loggins (Market President Wilson County,
Bank of Tennessee) expressed “Our bank decided to get involved because we are a community bank and simply put, we are going to bank our community”.
What can you do to help small businesses in Wilson County? Mark Hinesley, (President & CEO, Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce) summed it up perfectly
when he said “This is the chance for people to step up and say ‘I care’”
If your life hasn’t been touched by addiction, count yourself not only lucky but in the minority. The statistics are staggering: 31.9 million American adults (aged 12 and older) are current illegal drug users; the number jumps to 53 million Americans if you include both those who use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs; 14.8 million people have an alcohol use disorder in the U.S. Drug abuse and addiction costs American society more than $272 billion annually in lost workplace, productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs. Of the 2.3 million people in American prisons and jails, more than 65% meet the criteria to be considered addicts.
In 2018, 47% of young people had used an illegal drug by the time they graduated high school. Additionally, current users (within the past month) included 5% of 8th graders, 20% of 10th graders, 24% of 12th graders. Between 1999-2017 over 700,000 people died in the U.S. from drug overdoses.
No person, no race, no age group is immune.
From the housewife who convinces her doctor to keep her on valium, to the husband who drinks a six-pack driving home from work each night, to the injured worker who starts on pain pills and can’t get off, to the teenager who smokes weed on the weekends, to that pretty girl we all remember from high school, that has now lost her family, her children and maybe even her life to meth – it’s all around us.
Be it directly in your family or just in your community, it effects us all.
So how do we stop it? The million-dollar question, of course.
Jail is always an option. Arrests and then convictions, at least get drug abusers and sometimes their dealers, off the streets, but rarely is this a permanent solution.
In Middle Tennessee, however, specifically Wilson, Macon, Smith, Jackson, and Trousdale county, there is an option that is definitely making some headway.
The 15th Judicial District Drug Court Program began in 2002 with the help of the late Judge Bond and a team of professionals trained to break the cycle. Drug courts are specialized courts across the country for those addicted to drugs or alcohol. Rather than send people to jail, over and over again, drug courts use a multi-faceted approach with the aim of reducing the chances of re-arrest and relapse. They do this through interactions with the judge, treatment and rehabilitation services, monitoring, supervision, sanctions, and incentives.
There are consequences for failure, so if the individual continually relapses or commits crimes, the system effectively reverts to the ordinary, incarceration-based approach.
Initially, our local drug court program was only open to persons arrested in these five counties, for crimes involving felonies – basically any criminal charge that did not include violence, for which you could be sentenced to serve more than a year in jail.
Judge Bond and later Judge Wootten, were instrumental in growing and supporting the drug court program that was near and dear to both of them. Upon Judge Wootten’s retirement in 2019, Criminal Court Judge, Brody Kane took over the reins and expanded the program to include any misdemeanor offenders out of criminal court in all five counties that he serves.
“I’ve got children. That’s my reason for wanting to be involved in this,” says Judge Kane. “I see the devastation first-hand drugs are doing to our community – my community. I grew up right here in Watertown and moved back to Lebanon after graduating from law school in Memphis because I wanted to raise my children in a community far away from drugs and crime. But, realistically, I was being a naive 27-year-old father. I know now that those same things affecting the larger cities are coming this way and some are already here. I’m proud to follow in the footsteps of Judge Bond and Judge Wootten and also proud to serve alongside Judge Tiffany Gibson who has started a misdemeanor drug court in Jackson County and Judge Michael Collins who has started a misdemeanor drug court in Smith County. We all grew up right here when things were maybe simpler, we all have children we are raising in these communities and we want them to stay here and be safe here and we are all determined to fight this fight against drugs in as many ways that we can.”
“But this isn’t about the Judges,” he continues, “ we are just the ‘heavy’ you might say, this is really about the drug court team led in the 15th Judicial District Drug Court Program by Program Coordinator, Jeff Dickson. Jeff and his team include professionals that have years of experience helping people successfully battle drug addictions. They truly care about the people in the program and are cheering them on when they succeed and are devastated for them if they fail. The team includes probation officers, behavioral health services and provides services specific to veterans. For me, the best result is, if we Judges never see our participants in our courts again – maybe I’ll see them at Walmart – but I hope to never see them in my court again.”
Drug Court – as it’s called – is a sentencing option available to the court that focuses both on treatment and supervision of people convicted of felony or misdemeanor charges. In essence, the Judge has the option, if you either plead guilty or are found guilty of any crime not involving violence, of allowing you to participate in the Drug Court program as part of your sentence.
If chosen to participate then those individuals will receive treatment for alcohol and/or drugs at the local level while also being under intensive supervision to ensure compliance for at least 18 to 24 months.
“You are still under probation during the 18 to 24 month period, so you still face punishment for your crime, but as part of that probation you now get this intensive drug and alcohol treatment,” notes Program Coordinator Jeff Dickson.
“And yes, it’s a two-year program, because that’s what it takes to break the cycle.”
Treatment is provided locally and usually begins with a residential or in-house stay. Thereafter, participants step down to an intensive outpatient program – 3 days a week for 3 to 4 hours a day.
After that, each person continues outpatient treatment with AA/NA meetings and continuing education. Home visits, as well as work visits, are conducted by the supervising team throughout the length of the program. Every participant is required to work full time, attend school or if disabled, do volunteer work. If the participant does not have a high school diploma, they are expected to work towards their GED. The participants are drug and alcohol tested regularly and randomly, they must remain drug and alcohol-free, and they must adhere to strict rules about who they associate with and abide by curfews. They check in weekly, not only with the drug court team, but each week, in court, with the Judge and if there is a misstep the Judge can sentence them immediately to jail for that violation.
There are different levels – after a participant proves himself with not only continued sobriety, but also following all the rules and expectations in place, they move to the next level, and then the next level, with the goal that in two years they can graduate from the program.
Jeff Dickson has seen some real success with the program, “It’s intense. We only allow 30 participants at a time and we closely monitor them, encourage them, and support them. Of those that are allowed into the program, only 30% will actually graduate but of those graduates, 70% will not return to court in the next 5 years.”
That’s a very good result because, without intense treatment and monitoring like this, the national average recidivism rate is that 77% percent of drug offenders are re-arrested in five years, and nearly half of those within the first year of release.
Anyone convicted of a non-violent crime can contact the drug court office either on their own or through their attorney to apply. The Drug Court Team then evaluates each candidate based on their prior record, their support systems, whether they have transportation or employment, the type of substance abuse, and the amount and frequency of said drug use.
The program is also voluntary. Judge Kane finds, “you’ve got to want to get off the drugs or alcohol. My ordering you to treatment won’t help anyone truly recover from addiction. The fire inside you to seek treatment has to be brighter than the fire around you. But if you are ready, then this team will do everything in their power to help you never see the inside of a jail again. We are losing a generation of people. I’ve seen folks I’ve gone to school with come in front of me for sentencing and now I see their children in court for the same crimes. We have to find a way to help that doesn’t just involve locking them up and then letting them out to just get locked back up again. That only puts addicts back on the street to not only possibly hurt themselves but also your children and my children.”
Success stories abound with this program, notes Shelley Gardner, District Public Defender who has been on the drug court team for a number of years, “we have three former graduates that have started their own business. Two former graduates that either work or volunteer in the Drug Court program and most importantly, seven out of ten graduates of the program never return to court. We support them but they do the work and I’m always amazed at the two-year mark by the transformation.”
Assistant District Attorney James (Jimmy) Lea Jr, adds “Our team works with each individual on a weekly and sometimes even daily basis to give them support and feedback when they are struggling. During the COVID-19 crisis, when we couldn’t meet in person, we quickly moved the face to face meetings to Zoom because continuity and contact is so important. We try to be there not just when participants are succeeding but also when they have hurdles because getting over those hurdles without relapsing is the key.”
Dickson and his team stand ready to continue to help those in the community that are ready themselves. Some people are not given the gift of recovery because they are either too far gone or no longer with us, but for those that are prepared to fight for that recovery, there is not just hope, but a structured road with a light at the end of it.
To find out if you or someone you know is eligible for this program, contact the Drug Court Director at 615-453-5314.
15th Judicial District Drug Court Team serving Wilson, Macon, Smith, Jackson and Trousdale counties
Program Coordinator: Jeff E. Dickson Drug Court
Senior Case Manager: Paula Langford
Criminal Court Judge: Judge Brody Kane
District Public Defender: Shelley Thompson Gardner
If you’re like the rest of the world right now, you’re ready to get outside, enjoy the beauty that surrounds us in Middle Tennessee and begin to get back to life as we know it. Luckily for all of us, the perfect place that offers all this and more is just a few miles up the road. Tennessee Kayak and Outdoor Company provide both the experience and the equipment to enjoy many of the lakes and rivers that surround us.
Local owner, Brad Smith, originally from Red Boiling Springs, moved to the Cookeville area after high school, and thereafter, graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a degree in Business Marketing. He grew up active in boy scouts, lifeguarding in the summers, and the son of a logger, so his roots run deep both for the love of small towns and the love of the outdoors. Soon after college, Brad discovered that he could use his love for the outdoors and combine it with his education in business to do something good for his own family and the community he holds dear to his heart.
With all the growth occurring in the area, he decided this would be a great time to offer people the chance to discover the hidden beauty that surrounds Smith County. With lots of prayer and support from his friends, family, and community, Tennessee Kayak and Outdoor Company was born!
Tennessee Kayak and Outdoor Company is located in Carthage, Tennessee. It’s in the perfect location that has access to 2 rivers and 2 lakes: the Cumberland and Caney Fork River, and Cordell Hull and Center Hill Lake!
The Company offers half-day and full-day river trips with your choice of a single or tandem kayak or canoe. Not only is all the equipment provided, but all you have to do is show up and they take care of the rest. A shuttle will take you to your starting point and pick you up from your ending point. Transport service is also available if you have your own gear and just need shuttle service. Special rates are available for groups such as churches, civics, and employees.
They offer countless opportunities for adventure, but also offer outdoor gear, kayaks, and clothing available for purchase in their shop, including water gear, as well as camping, fishing, and hiking equipment. Additionally, they have many options for footwear, backpacks, and even snacks and drinks for your trip. In the future, Tennessee Kayak and Outdoor Company also plan to offer specialty events such as fishing trips, overnight trips, sunset kayaking, moonlit paddles, and guided lake excursions.
To plan a trip, you can visit tnkayak.com or call 615735-7995. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We encourage you to visit and then let the adventures begin!
With Shop Springs’ growing population, Elizabeth and Jeffrey Turner decided to no longer wait to put their dream into action! Both being raised on dairy farms, Shop Springs Creamery’s founders have a passion and love for the dairy industry and agriculture. “The Dairy industry has faced many challenges over the past decade,” explained the Turner’s. “The greatest of those challenges being financial burdens due to low prices that farmers receive for their milk from processors and market uncertainty.” This is one of many reasons they feel there is a great advantage to processing and marketing their product directly to consumers.
Two brick and mortars, a thriving online store, a podcast, a new lifestyle brand, an upcoming bible study series…and all conceived, carefully curated, and managed by the 25-year-old owner of Poppies Boutique, Sarah Collins. Impressive isn’t it!? Before sitting down with Sarah, I did a little research. Given all that she has going on, I assumed she was in her mid-30’s. When I found out she was just 25-a full two decades my junior, I felt like Chris Farley’s character in Tommy Boy. Then I met her. She’s smart, kind, creative, and has one of the most infectious laughs you will ever hear. Plus, she shares my affinity for all things Golden Girls. She’s like a unicorn! Continue reading “Things are ‘Poppin’ at Poppie’s Boutique”
No matter where you grow up, to the young, the grass is always a little greener somewhere else. Bryson Eubanks was certainly someone who wanted to spread his wings.
Bryson and his brother Lee were raised by their single mother, Marie Eubanks. “We lived near Carroll Oak-land school and it was the late 80’s, early 90’s, so Wilson county didn’t have as much going on as it does now,” notes Bryson. “Growing up I attended church at Immanuel Baptist Church, went to Lebanon High School, played baseball, football & basketball, the usual things kids from around here do. My family is very close so I was usually with my brother or my cousins, Lisa Eubanks Nave or Michael Eubanks but I always figured I’d move away.”
After high school, Bryson attended Carson-Newman where he continued his baseball career. Later he obtained a Masters in Gerontology from Appalachian State. “When I was growing up, my great-grandmother was very important in my upbringing. She would babysit my brother and I when needed and taught us many life lessons. It was tough seeing her fall ill because she was the first person I had ever seen age and progress through the later stages of life. I watched my entire family come together to care for my great-grandmother. There were not many options back then nor was there information as to what options were even available. We did what we could to help insure her later years were good ones, but it was then I knew my calling would be working with the aging population.”
After obtaining his Masters Degree, Bryson returned to middle Tennessee, settling in Nashville working for two of the leading attorneys in Elder Law. My adult life has been focused on the field of public benefits, Medicaid planning, VA planning, and asset protection. It was while I was working for Tim Takacs that he and another attorney came to me and encouraged me to attend law school because I had a real knack for elder law. I laugh now because most attorneys I know don’t like math but I loved it. I was really good at reading the Medicaid laws and then figuring out how to reallocate client’s assets to meet Medicaid rules.
To say his mother is proud of the fact Bryson not only has a college degree, graduate degree and now a law school degree would be an understatement. “We didn’t have much growing up but I instilled in Bryson and his brother that an education and helping those less fortunate than you, are two things that will always steer you in the right direction.”
“I learned so much working with Tim and later Barbara Moss. They are both outstanding attorneys who specialize in the areas of estate planning and elder law. In fact, it was also at Barbara’s office where Bryson met his wife, Miller Hunt, also an attorney. The couple will soon be celebrating their one year anniversary and are excited about all their future holds.
“After law school, I knew the right place for me was back home. Back to my roots, back to my family and friends, back to where all this knowledge could really make a difference. So I knocked on a few doors and here I am, back in Lebanon practicing law with the law firm of Kane & Crowell. It’s a great fit because the firm already handles estate planning and I’m able to offer even more services to their clients by bringing my years of experience in elder law as well as asset protection. Plus it was about time the law firm hired a male attorney – I’m their 6th attorney and the only male, which makes for lots of laughs every day.”
Senior Law Partner, Amanda Crowell points out that “helping families has always been our goal, but as we ourselves are getting older, we are seeing the need locally for more expertise in the areas of Estate Planning and Medicaid and VA Planning. That’s why when we met Bryson, we knew he would be a perfect person to lead our Estate Planning & Asset Protection Division, with our other local attorney, Kayla Horvath.
Bryson points out that “U.S. News and World Report previously published an article that stated that 75 million Baby Boomers are on the verge of retirement, and over the next twenty years, approximately 10,000 people will turn 65 each day. The same report goes on to say that 18% of adults will be over the age of 65 by 2030, and the number of senior citizens in the population will total 89 million by the year 2050. To add to these staggering numbers, the parents of these baby boomers are living much longer than their parents due to better medical care, easier access to nutritional choices, and a focus on exercise and well-being.
These facts are important because the cost of long-term health care is rising as fast as those aging into it. The 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey presented facts from a study done by CareScout showing that nursing home care in 2019 will cost a resident between $78,960.00 and $84,588.00 per year; additionally, lower levels of care in an assisted living facility or at home will cost between $17,952.00 and $48,456.00 annually. All of those numbers are up from the previous year and can only be expected to rise; therefore, how people pay for long-term care is very important. Statistically, one in three Ameri-cans over the age of 65 rely on Social Security benefits alone.”
Being proactive is always the best option, but no matter the situation or timing, Bryson’s goal is to help clients face disability, aging, and the rising cost of long-term care head-on. Kayla Horvath, who has been with Kane & Crowell for several years notes that “our approach is a holistic one that focuses on care, finances, and the law. These three focus areas will work together so you and your family can answer questions such as:
• “Does my Will really do what I want?” • “How will we provide for our disabled child when we can’t take care of ourselves?” • “Who will make financial and healthcare decisions for me when I can’t?” • “What do Medicare and Medicaid actually cover?” • “How will I afford nursing home care, and will Medicaid take everything from me?” • “Can my status as a Veteran help me in any way?”
Attorney Angel Kane, one of the founders of Kane & Crowell Family Law Center, commented that “everyone knows us as a Family Law and Estate Planning law firm which is what we do, but Elder Law is something very different from typical Estate Planning. We all need a Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will, because no matter how old you are, you should plan for who will take care of your children or your affairs if you suddenly pass away. Kayla Horvath has been working in this area of law with us for many years, and she has both the knowledge and compassion to serve our clients well with these needs.
Elder law, however, is for older adults who want to plan for their future care needs. It lays the groundwork for a financial legacy rooted in protecting family assets. It also encompasses crisis care planning for elderly adults that have immediate health and safety needs with a focus on getting proper, affordable care. This includes both Medicaid and VA aid and attendance benefits.
Amanda and I began focusing on this area of law many years ago as our own grandparents and parents were getting older, and we needed to help them plan and prepare. And as often happens, we grew busier and busier, and the cases we saw became much more complex. This area of the law is not one you can learn overnight. You really have to immerse yourself in this area of law to truly understand the complexities of Medicaid and Trust laws. Bryson has done that, plus when he told us he was raised here and all about his great-grandmother’s story – we knew he would be a perfect fit because he has a real passion to help those around him.”
“Elder law is near and dear to my heart,” Bryson says. “Watching my family’s struggle with my great-grandmother impacted me. Watching that struggle led me to focus my career on helping our aging community, and I’m glad to be back working in my hometown, serving the people who helped make me who I am today.”Recently, Kayla and Bryson, were asked to speak to a church group about elder law and asset protection. “People had so many questions and we loved being able to answer them and help make a complicated process easier to understand.
In 2020 we are planning many more seminars so if your organization or group would like us to come out, we are happy to do so. My goal is to help the aging population preserve their dignity and protect their assets. Information is power. I’ve got the information and I’m ready to help you get your power back.”
To reach Bryson call (615) 784-4800 or visit www.kane-law.com. Or to schedule a speaking engagement email him directly at beubanks@ kane-law.com
Denise Vermeulen of Lebanon has taken what might have been a story of sadness and shame and turned it into a story of generosity, compassion, and love through her leadership in a local Prison Fellowship Angel Tree ministry.
Vermeulen’s dad was a drug addict and dealer and was in and out of prison most of her childhood, as well as her adult life.
Christmas was often a hard time for Vermeulen and her family when she was a child. Her parents were divorced, leaving her mother to raise three young children on her own. Her grandparents provided as much as they could for their grandchildren, and she has many happy Christmas memories with them. However, her contact with her father was intermit-tent, often via a letter from jail, and Vermeulen only remembers only receiving one gift from him after her parents’ divorce.
“He was actually so big-time that he was on the TBI list,” she said. “The last time they got him, not only did he have a large amount of cocaine and marijuana in the car, but he also shot at a police officer, and they got him on that, too. I was 17 or 18 at the time, and he stayed there [in prison] until about four years ago,” Vermeulen said.
When she passed by an “angel” tree in the lobby of Fairview Church in Lebanon almost 15 years ago, Vermeulen was intrigued by the paper angels hanging on the Christmas tree and asked Janice Holden, who was overseeing the ministry at the time, for more information. She was surprised to learn that each angel represented a local child who had one or both of their parents incarcerated, and Janice was gathering Christ-mas gifts for them.
“When she explained it to me, I just started bawling. This particular angel tree ministry was something that really resonated with me.”
Vermeulen was so moved that she began to assist Janice with the program at that time and then, about 10 years ago, started serving as the church coordinator for Fairview Church. She continues to lead that ministry until today.
Angel Tree is a Prison Fellowship program that serves incarcerated parents by giving them a pathway to restore and strengthen relationships with their children and families. Through this ministry, children receive a gift, the Gospel message, and a personal message of love on behalf of their mom or dad behind bars.
In America, 2.7 million children have a mom or dad in prison, which is about 1 in every 28 children, or one boy or girl in every classroom. Fairview will be assisting over 70 children, the majority of whom live in Wilson County, this Christmas.
Vermeulen encourages everyone to remember: “It’s not the children’s fault.”
“As a child, you should not have to deal with the consequences of your parents’ decisions. But these children deal with those consequences every single day. This is why it is so dear to my heart. I want them to know I understand.”
“To me, for the children to get a gift and know that their parent is thinking about them, regardless of the mistakes that they’ve made, that really spoke to me, because I never felt that way.”
“When you’re a kid, you don’t understand mom or dad is in prison,” Vermeulen said. “All you know is that it’s Christmas, and they should give you a present no matter what,” she laughs.
Terry Kemp, another member at Fairview, was help-ing Vermeulen hand out gifts on an afternoon at the church several years ago when he felt a desire to do more.
“These people–many of them would come through the doors and you could see that they were hurting–and sure we were giving them gifts and praying with them–but I told Denise, ‘We can do better than this,’” Kemp said.
Kemp’s community group got involved next year and helped to add the party element to the ministry. Now participating families come to the church to pick up their gifts and stay for a pizza party with games and arts and crafts.
“We have members of our class who look forward to helping with this every year,” Kemp said.
“It’s about the children, letting them know they are loved and sharing the Gospel with them,” Vermeulen said.
Churches, companies, and organizations will provide gifts to families and individuals in need through a variety of “angel” trees across Wilson County. Check with your local church to find out how you can give and what group they will be serving this year.
For more information about the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree program, visit prisonfellowship.org.
Local couple, Dan and Lisa Liles, like to have breakfast and coffee on typical Saturdays. and this particular off-grid day they decided to haunt an auction to perhaps by farm equipment.
“Once we arrived at the auction, unknown to me, my husband’s interest quickly changed from the farm equipment to the land being auctioned,” remembers Lisa from that 2010 slumber Saturday.
Meanwhile, Lisa was poking around the landscape and became mesmerized by the natural beauty of the 150-acre spread off Couchville Pike in Mt. Juliet.
“While the auctioneer was doing his chant, I slipped away to walk close to the creek to calm my anticipation of finding out who would be the highest bidder,” said Lisa. “Talking with another lady about the charm and peacefulness of this secluded acreage the chant came to a stop.”
That lady told Lisa a tall guy with glasses was the new owner of the peaceful respite. Lisa’s husband was tall but didn’t wear glasses. She was poignantly disappointed. But when she got to the sale place, that tall guy was wearing
sunglasses, not “real” glasses.
And it began then.
Duck Pond Farm is now a true local gem. Minutes from the heart of Mt. Juliet and a couple more from Nashville, it’s a unique venue for a stay-cation this fall, or a preeminent wedding destination for those couples who want a flair for something other than the normal place to say their vows.
There’s no need to travel to faraway venues when Wilson County offers this spectacular one-stop getaway that is so close but transports you back off a country road to a splendid wilderness respite, but with all the amenities.
The Liles want to provide their guests, no matter the occasion, with an unforgettable experience, with a stress-free atmosphere, with a feeling of being tucked away with a view second to none.
Duck Pond manager, Marisa Henson, explained the gorgeous place was once a working farm with horse stables. There were some original buildings and the
Liles upgraded, and added to, for their dream to turn the place into a multi-faceted venue for the community.
Today, there are multiple cabins which include a bridal suite, a groom suite, a kitchen and full-size dining room, and huge pavilion, plus more.
There’s a huge A-frame with open-air accommodations, wraparound porch and a view of the pond that in all can accommodate up to 38 guests. There are other cabins and chalets, some with fire pits, grills and picnic tables.
The moniker “pond” is two acres and is majestic on the property. “Dan built a gazebo and pergola by the pond,” said Marisa “They were built from trees on the property.”
And, there’s a separate island on the pond that is a favorite ceremony site. It doesn’t have to be a wedding, but has also been a favorite for engagements and such.
Dan said he’d never sell the property, he loves the land and takes some occasions to hunt and hike on it. The greenspace pays homage to ducks, geese, deer and turkeys. A local grows impressive corn crops on some of the acres.
Marisa explained there are three main areas of the event space; the main pavilion, the party pad (concrete patio) and a cocktail area where patrons can bring in food trucks of their choice for their special occasion.
Already over 150 weddings have shared their joy on the place. Corporate retreats, family and high school reunions, birthday parties, baby showers, bar mitzvahs and more have found this local gem.
Duck Pond Farm is just several miles from Providence and greets guests with a long cedar tree-lined drive. Recent renovations include fresh coats of paint and a new pavilion and decks.
A common statistic is that 33 percent of engagements happen between September and Thanksgiving, so those newly engaged should snag this local venue as soon as possible to feel at ease while they plan their once in a lifetime wedding. Also, locals who just want to chill can book a long-earned respite just a stones throw away.
“Come see our treasure,” said Lisa.
For prices, terms, reservations, and accommodations please go to their website at Duck Pond Farms.
Forty years ago Agee & Johnson was founded by Jim Agee and Jerry Johnson. The gentlemen shared a vision for a realty and auction company rooted deep in community service. That vision lives on today under the new ownership of Principal Broker and Auctioneer Jay White.
White began working for Agee & Johnson in 1988.
“I never thought about doing anything else,” he said. “It has been enjoyable. I like helping people and seeing the joy in their eyes when they buy something or seeing the joy in their eyes when something gets sold.”
Helene Cash, an affiliate broker and spokesperson for White, explained that three years ago Agee & Johnson partnered with another real estate company, becoming a division of that firm.
“Early in 2019, the opportunity arose for Agee & Johnson to become its own brokerage again. Jay had an opportunity to open the brokerage and chose to restore the legacy of Agee & Johnson Realty and Auction,” she said.
White doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon and said that with his son, Hayden, now an Affiliate Broker and Auctioneer with the company – taking ownership seemed like the right thing to do.
“I wanted to bring back the way we have done things in the past and continue the legacy,” White said.
Cash added that although the business is community-focused, there is a modern approach with technology and utilizing the tools available for today’s home buyers and sellers.
“With the diverse talents of our real estate team, we handle all aspects – commercial and residential, buyer and seller, new home sales and resales, working with buyers searching for their dream home as well as land development,” Cash elaborated. “Jay and his team are highly skilled at land development and land division no matter if it is a real estate transaction or an auction sale.”
Agee & Johnson boasts over 100 years of experience in helping clients thanks to their team, which includes: Jim Agee, Harry Bennett, Phil Bryant, Linda Hackett, Seth Hallums, Scott Harris, Ed James, Larry Keller, Rene Ketelsen, Neal Oakley, Charlie Pass, Michael Randolph, Clay Sanders, He-lene Singer Cash, Chip Smith, Jan Smith, Lou Anne Snyder, Jessica Taylor, Rick Thorne, and Hayden White.
There is something to be said about sitting out by a pool on a hot summer day. And one man, who definitely sees the benefit in that, is local pool builder, Gene Kulas.
Gene and his wife, Leanna, live in Lebanon and soon will be moving into their forever home built on Leanna’s family farm. Their pool is still in the planning stages but chances are it will be spectacular!
Gene was raised in Hartford, Connecticut. The son of Polish immigrants, he grew up speaking polish at home and being the interpreter for his parents. He also grew up visiting his aunt and uncle who lived in Mt. Juliet and soon fell in love with the area. At the age of 16, he moved in with his aunt and uncle, ready to make middle Tennessee home. Immediately upon arriving, he went to work with Roy and Janet Vaden of Roy Vaden Pools. He would often work for them and then later that same day work at Big Lots and when not working those two jobs, would be found at Mega Market sacking groceries.
He was taught work is good for the soul from his parents and grandparents and since the age of 16 he has continually been working to support his family.
After graduating high school, he continued to work for Roy helping build pools with him and soon after met his wife, Leanna (King) Kulas. “Becky Sellars was a friend of mine and she was working at the pool store with Gene. She set us up and the rest is history!’ , states Leanna.
In 1997 Gene and Leanna married and together have built a wonderful family and thriving business. They have two children Anna Cate who is in college and Alek who is a Senior in high school.
Gene Kulas Pools has been in business since 1998 and Gene tries to only build 8 to 10 pools a year because he does the job himself from start to finish. “I remain on the job the entire process. I can build a pool, renovate an existing pool and also help design and build outdoor living environments. I’m also a licensed contractor and electrician and have been building pools from the ground up now for over 25 years. With proper planning, there’s nothing we can’t build.”
Every year, Gene takes classes to be sure to stay current on the latest building trends and innovations. Automation is becoming a feature everyone wants and with smartphones you can now control your entire pool with an App. Some of his favorite pools that he has built include a guitar-shaped pool he built for a Nashville musician which was featured on the Today Show and recently he built a lazy river pool for a family in Franklin.
To come up with his ideas, Gene will sit with the homeowner and find out their wish list and their vision. “I take into account the architecture and color of their home, is it rustic, modern, or formal and how the yard lays. I have built small pools for exercise and large pools and spa combos. If you can dream it, I can build it.”
Keeping the business small remains a priority for Gene. “I don’t have a storefront or big overhead. I don’t do much advertising either. My clients come to me based on referrals which makes me feel good because that means I did a good job for somebody else.”
The future looks bright for Gene. His son is becoming more and more interested in the pool business and the family will soon settle into their new home in Lebanon – a home Gene built himself at night and on weekends.
“By next spring we hope to be enjoying our own pool and I’m excited to start building more pools in my community as I plan to stay closer to home so that I can come home at night and finally enjoy my own pool!” Gene Kulas Pools can be found on Facebook and Instagram at @genekulas_pools
Whether you are stepping inside their restaurant or attending one of their many catered events, the owners of Sammy B’s Restaurant want to make sure you have a culinary experience to remember.
With so many eateries, restaurants, and food trucks on the scene, it can be a challenge to stand out from the crowd. Jim and Gina Stradley have found that keeping things simple is the key to their decades-long success in the food industry with Sammy B’s Restaurant and Catering.
“By hand cutting the meat we serve and using superb locally sourced (when possible) ingredients, our food speaks for itself,” Gina says, “and there’s no difference in the way we prepare our dishes in the restaurant from the way we prepare for our catering events.”
Catering hamburgers for 600 means that they hand-cut every single one. “We could buy the frozen patties, but again, anyone can do that,” Gina continues, “trust me, you can tell the difference.”
Jim adds, “You can grab a burger from anywhere these days. We want to make a burger that brings you back time and time again.”
It’s clear that local is important to the Stradley’s. Gina sounds passionate as she describes the disconnection a lot of us have with the food we eat or how it’s prepared. We were fresh and local before fresh and local was ‘in.’ We wouldn’t have it any other way.” The filet is one of Sammy B’s most popular menu items. Their USDA Prime Barrel Cut filet mignon is hand-carved from the center of the tenderloin to deliver the quality and melt in your mouth tenderness you would expect from this cut of meat.
Another area where Jim’s culinary skills really shine is the smoker. He’s kind of known for it: that, and his special drool-inducing, homemade barbeque sauce. In addition to homemade barbeque sauce, their salad dressings, and hot honey (it’s sooooo good!), chicken salad, dips, etc. are all homemade.
In a fast-food, chain-driven, cookie-cutter world, it’s hard to find a true original. A restaurant that proudly holds its ground and doesn’t scamper after every passing trend. For more than 25 years, Sammy B’s has been that place. Whether you’re looking for a classic cocktail crafted from local spirits or a nationally acclaimed steak, Gina and Jim Stradley welcome you. “Come in and discover the unique mash-up of new and true that draws people to our restaurant or to use our catering services,” Gina continues, “and keeps them coming back for more.”
Mallory Jennings’ philosophy is simple: The earth has provided us with everything we, as humans, need to live a wonderful life. We just have to honor it and listen to it. Jennings recently opened a lifestyles grocery store in Lebanon. Demeter’s Common is located in a strip mall behind Cox’s Gifts and Jewelry on West Main. It is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Goddess Of Grocey
The store is full of locally grown produce, glass bottled milk, local cheese, flour grifts, cornmeal, spices, condiments, baked bread, eggs, jams, honey, coffee, salads, meats and more. The majority of her items are locally grown or made. It was a goal to keep everything in her full diet haven as natural and close to home as possible.
“I also have fun gifts such as cards, candles, tea towels dyed with natural plant matter, tote bags, t-shirts,” Jennings said. “We have a little of everything.”
Jennings grew up in Lebanon. She attended Tuckers Crossroads School until eighth grade. After graduation from Lebanon High School, she went on to earn degree in Agriculture from Tennessee Tech in Cookeville in 2013.
“After college, I worked on an organic farm in West Nashville for six years. I was the manager of the on-farm market. My job was to network with local farmers all across the state to get the best of the best produce, meat and cheeses in the market,” she shared. “It is why I started Demeter’s Common. I wanted to do what I love, but be closer to home.”
The store is named for Demeter, the Greek Goddess of Agriculture.
Jennings studied agriculture in the Czech Republic in 2011 and noted that there was a huge statue of the goddess.
“They explained to us who she was and I absolutely fell in love. She inspires me and what she stands for is something I want to show the world,” she said. “She’s beautiful and I wanted to honor her with my store. I find Greek Mythology so interesting and I feel like with goddesses, you can make them your own and do your own rendition of what you think they look like. That is why you will find many version of Demeter in the store.”
She is helped at the store by her mother, Betsey.
“She is truly my best friend and the backbone of this store. She is here with me most of the time,” she said. Her fiancé, Miles Miller, also helps along with friends and her four sisters.
“It’s just me and mama for the most part and I have enjoyed every second of it – and so have the customers. She is basically famous now and people are mad when she isn’t here,” Jennings said.
She is intent on providing the best possible customer service. “That is my pet peeve and I have been so adamant about making sure everyone who steps foot in this door will be welcomed and feel comfortable. I want this to be a warm space for people to come relax, shop and have a full grocery store positive experience,” she continued.
“I use all of my products and stand behind them. I wouldn’t put anything on my shelves that I don’t support and believe in.”
Her store is incredible and unique – but Jennings credited mother earth and a supportive community with helping to make her dream a reality.
“I am in awe of our earth. It provides us with everything we need to live a full and happy life. I think our society has gotten away from that and the organic nature of our earth and is too caught up in technology, being in a rush, not listening and talking to one another,” Jennings said. “It plays into their diets and lifestyles. They are all wanting stuff easy and fast. I truly believe that taking time to understand where your food is grow, how its grown and who is growing it is so fulfilling and wonderful for our bodies, as well as our peace of mind.”
Jennings wanted to thank her community for making the hard work worthwhile.
“I will always be here with a smiling face because (they) have been so supportive and wonderful to me. Thank you is an understatement,” she said. “I am so grateful.”
The 16th Annual Sherry’s Run 5K Run/Walk event on September 14 will be held in memory of Geoff Sadler, who passed away in November of 2018 after a year-long battle with esophageal cancer. Geoff Sadler served four years in the US Navy, during which he served as a submariner in Desert Storm before becoming an IT specialist and senior network engineer. “The world needs more Geoff Sadlers in this world,” says Heather. “He was a wonderful and genuine guy and was honored to serve his country. Heather and Geoff share two daughters, Sophie and Savvy Jean, who are excited to be a part of this year’s event.
Throughout Geoff’s diagnosis and passing, the Sadler family has clung to their faith. “Psalm 91:4 tells us that He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge,” Heather says. “When the worst happens, you can choose to either walk away from God because He did not answer your prayers or choose to trust Him through it.” Geoff encouraged Heather to trust in God’s plans for their lives and to use their story to encourage others. “Although I’ve been the mouthpiece of our faith, make no mistake, Geoff was the foundation,” says Heather.
Heather, Sophie and Savvy Jean are walking forward, gradually putting the pieces of their lives back together. It has been seven months since Geoff’s passing, and the dust continues to settle. They continue to lean on family and friends and are thankful to everyone in the community who has upheld them throughout their journey. “I’ve been very vocal to everyone that Sherry’s Run paid our utility bill the entire time during Geoff’s treatments. It was one less thing for me to worry about,” says Heather. “That made a huge difference. Sherry’s Run helped us, and now we want to help them help others.”
Heather and the girls will be a part of a team named Princess Protection Agency to honor Geoff. “Geoff always said he was the founding member of the Princess Protection Agency, and we have had so many who have stepped up to help us protect our girls,” says Heather, “This is a way for us to give back and make it fun for the girls.” Giving back is one way the Sadler family has continued forward while honoring Geoff’s legacy. “Geoff wanted to teach the girls to help those who help others, whatever organization or mission you believe in,” says Heather. “For us, one of those missions is going to be Sherry’s Run.”
If you are or know someone who is actively undergoing treatment for a cancer diagnosis and are in need of assistance, funds are available thanks to the generous support from the Sherry’s Run community of supporters.
To learn more about the Sherry’s Run organization, please call 615-925-2592 or email firstname.lastname@example.org To refer someone for assistance, please call 615-9259932 or email email@example.com
To make an online donation to Sherry’s Run, visit www.sherrysrun.org or mail donations to Sherry’s Run, P.O. Box 8, Lebanon, TN 37088-0008.
A Mt. Juliet mother-daughter duo have joined forces to give all of us a chance to get our DIY juices flowing. To say it was a God thing puts it mildly. Both very spiritually minded, it was only natural mom Tina Pressley and daughter Haley Jones put their heads together – to be together – in a joint business venture.
They have recently opened an oasis for wanna be…gonna be…do-it-your selfers who just want to create original one-of-a-kind projects in a Zen environment with no pressures and tons of tools to simply create.
Right in the heart of Mt. Juliet.
Haley searched and applied for this franchise and got an automatic yes, said Tina.
They opened AR Workshop on March 16.
Think DIY art studio meshed with a very cool boutique. It’s the best of both worlds for those who want a wonderful escape to create fun gifts, special signs, and, while there, peruse a boutique full of enchanting items.
“God opened the door for us,” said mom Tina. “We wanted to work together and people have been gracious and supportive.”
“It has always been a dream of ours to work together, but we really had no idea what that might look like,” Tina said. “We had discussed every kind of business we could think of from real estate to clothing boutiques but something kept taking us back to the concept of a DIY-type business in general, but specifically AR Workshop. As longtime Wilson County residents, we were well aware of the need for some type of entertainment that would appeal to a broad age range and interests.”
They are the perfect pair, this mom and daughter. Haley is a 2014 graduate of Mt. Juliet Christian Academy and Cumberland University, where she received her master’s degree in business administration last year.
Tina is a longtime Wilson County resident and has worked as development director for Mt. Juliet Christian Academy for 15 years. She will step down from this job to focus full time on AR Workshop.
Tina’s dad, and Haley’s papa, Ken Stilts, was a much-revered businessman in Mt. Juliet and was Tina’s mentor. “This business was right up our alley,” said Tina.
She laughs out loud to say she’s not the craftiest person in the world. And, perhaps worse! Whereas her daughter is on point. They mesh their attributes to make the business run right. And, since they opened, it’s been a huge hit in Mt. Juliet with ongoing classes, workshops, and projects non-stop for people who just want to DIY.
“This makes me feel like I can do crafts,” Tina said with a laugh. They are 23 years and 53 years. “I see myself in her,” said mom. “It’s about patience and grace,” Tina said she’s the idea person and her daughter implements. “Haley is the nuts and bolts of this business,” she said.
The 1,350-square foot oasis is ready for anyone who wants to create.
“We are more than just signs, which are awesome,” said Tina.
There are also wood projects, chunky knit blankets, and specialty classes, with literally thousands of projects to create.
“I don’t think many people get to say they are business partners with their mom, but I am one of the few who can!” said Haley.
“Mom has always been my very best friend so it only made sense that we would start a business together. She is incredibly talented in all that she does and extremely giving, loving and a whole lot of fun! Working next to my mom is very rewarding and has given me a front row seat to see how amazing she really is as a mom, a person and now a business owner. I am extremely proud to work next to her every single day and although very hard work, there is no one else I’d rather be on this journey with!”
“We have never looked back, there is an internal peace for both of us,” said Tina.
AR Workshop works in four steps. First, participants choose a class based on the project they would like to make and then the day and time they’d like to attend. Second, participants book a seat at the workshop, choose their project, design and give them design-specific personalization. Groups or individuals can book workshops. Third, participants show up for the workshop, where the tools, materials and step-by-step instructions are provided. Finally, participants take home their finished projects.
“We look forward to offering something fun for all ages and interests, including those who do not really consider themselves the DIYer,” Haley said. “Anyone who knows Tina knows she is not exactly the most creative person, and she completes the projects with great ease all while having fun. This is a place for all groups, ages, men and women, those who do not know anything about DIY and the most experienced crafter. Along with our wonderful workshops of wood projects, chunky knit blankets, and specialty classes, we also offer retail for gifts, home decor, jewelry and more.”
Check it out at 1984 Providence Parkway, Mt Juliet, TN 37122 (615) 212-5676
Chances are, if you drove around Lebanon in the month of April you saw two pinwheel gardens. One by the train station and another by the main office of Wilson Bank & Trust. Combined, they showcased 260 blue pinwheels. Each pinwheel represented one case of child physical or sexual abuse reported in 2018.
“That is an average of 20 reports a month – in our community,” explained Jason Lawson, who serves as Treasurer on the Board of the 15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Center.
Thankfully, the CAC is there to help.
Whenever there is a case involving child physical or sexual abuse, the CAC conducts a one-time forensic interview. This is then viewed by assisting agencies, including the Department of Child Services, law enforcement and more.
“Interviewing one time prevents further traumatizing the child from having to retell (their story) over and over to everyone. It is also a very child-friendly environment,” Lawson said. Cece Ralston is the center’s forensic interviewer.
This past year, the CAC team – including Ralston and Director Nancy Willis – acquired family advocate Kira Bailey thanks to a grant. The CAC provides free counseling services to child victims of abuse. Bailey goes the extra mile by providing the family with information about community resources available to them.
“Your support makes those service available,” Lawson continued, “during the 10th Chocolate Affair – a fundraiser held on Saturday, April 6 at The Capitol Theatre in Lebanon.”
The Chocolate Affair, which included a scrumptious meal, chocolate fountain, live and silent auctions and performance by Audience of One, is held annually to benefit the 15th Judicial District CAC.
Bob Black, who owns The Capitol, also serves as Vice Chair of the board of directors.
“We are the ones who have to be their voice,” Black said. “You are supporting how we can grow and help the kids more than we already do. We know that this job is extremely important for the children.”
Willis thanked everyone who made the night and the Child Advocacy Center possible including Fundraising Coordinator Jackie Ramsey, Board Chair Dr. Bill McKee, Assistant Treasurer Judy Jordan, Secretary Anne Barger, Past Chair E. Marie Farley, Dr. Eric Cummings, Brian Harbaugh, Tom Swink, Lance Howell, Marilyn Bryant and Mary Ann Sparks. She also thanked Judge Ensley and Andrea Hagan, who were in attendance and mentioned longtime sponsors Vance Law, Bank Tennessee, Vanderbilt Medical Center and Wilson Bank & Trust.
For a complete list of sponsors visit www.cac15.org.
Whether you’re looking for date night ambiance, award-worthy wings, or just a local place to have a brew – Town Square Social welcomes you.
Lebanon’s latest and coolest restaurant and bar, nested downtown next to The Arcade, is the brain-child of longtime friends-turned-business partners, Kyle Shaffer and Cody McCray.
Both men have a lengthy resume in the restaurant business. Shaffer, a graduate of Lebanon High School, spent 13 years with Corner Pub, while McCray, a graduate of Friendship Christian School, worked at Nashville’s historic Broadway honkytonk, Tootsies.
On their Sundays off, the guys would talk about someday opening their own place. Then they noticed the spot on the Lebanon Public Square.
In recent years, the Square has been more visible and vibrant than ever – thanks to the many businesses, including multiuse facilities like The Arcade and Capi-tol Theatre for example, who call it “home.” Lined with law offices, boutiques, antiques, hair salons and a coffee shop – the Square still lacked a sit-down restaurant.
“We saw the building and knew it was what we wanted. We wanted to keep the original design and not take away from the history of it. When it came together and the menu came together, we finally found our stride,” explained McCray.
Renovating the space took more than a year. The guys were careful to keep it true to its roots with exposed brick and hardwood floors which created a vibe that is both classic and cool.
They restored the front façade of the building to the original storefront and took part in the Main Street Façade Grant from the state of Tennessee.
Town Square Social officially opened for business on September 28, 2018. They said things are going very well in their first four months.
“We are selling a lot of food and a lot of drinks. The community has supported us. We couldn’t be happier, honestly,” said Shaffer.
Three of their most popular menu items are the burger, wings and fish and chips.
“Our wings are a best seller. People love them,” Shaffer added. “They are smoked, low and slow for six hours.
Most places fry their wings and are done in 15 minutes. Ours takes a long time to taste the way they do.”
Prior to smoking, the wings marinate for about 12 hours. Shaffer manages the restaurant during the day and McCray takes over at night.
“I hear a lot of comments about the food. ‘Those are the best wings I’ve ever had,’ is something I hear multiple times,” Shaffer said. “Shawn Smith (owner of The Jewelers in Lebanon) heard someone say their only complaint was it was so much food they needed a to-go box!”
McCray said one of the best reviews he’s gotten came from a producer out of Nashville.
“He was passing through town and someone told him to check out (our restaurant) on the Square. He liked it so much that he brought his girlfriend back on their fourth date here instead of someplace in Nashville,” McCray recalled. “I thought it was really cool.”
The gentleman is now in talks with Town Square Social to shoot a music video in their location.
Both men take pride in their work – and are very hands-on in managing the restaurant, working the floor and checking on guests.
“If there is an issue, (our guests) can reach out to us and we will do our best to make it right,” McCray said. Their latest addition is a drink menu.
“We have 10 cocktails that we have come up with. Those menus are getting printed right now. When you don’t have a menu, people are more apt to order a drink like Jack Daniels – because they recognize the name. Having a drink menu is a way to get those other great liquors and wines out there,” McCray explained. “We are looking to do off-site catering eventually.”
There is also some mystery surrounding the top loft space in the building. McCray and Shaffer teased that it could be used for live music and event space; however, remained mum for the mo-ment.
As Shaffer put it: “We are still working out some kinks.”
By Angel Kane
As 2018 year comes to a close, many of us are starting to read up on new and innovative technologies available to us all in the new year. One such medical field that is at the frontier of present-day advancements is the ability to harness and enhance the body’s own innate response to heal and defend itself. To those that have experienced the miraculous power of what is known as regenerative medicine, they are true believers in this new therapy.
Sounds impressive but confusing, right? In layman’s terms, it means our bodies were designed to heal themselves! Makes sense…you cut yourself, it heals.
What would life be like if pain medication were not needed or surgical procedures were no longer necessary? By way of new technologies in the field of regenerative medicine, there are now treatments available to the general public that may enhance your own body’s natural ability to heal without the need for harmful drugs and surgeries. What seemed impossible only a few decades ago, is now not only possible but is our new reality.
Regenerative medicine is a rapidly advancing area of health care that works to repair the injury, not just mask the pain. Unlike treatments that simply address the symptoms, regenerative cell therapy promotes the natural process of repair in the body assisting in restoring degenerated tissue. As we age our bodies degenerate due to cellular death.
By taking cells recovered from completely healthy umbilical tissue, medical practitioners can now treat arthritis, alleviate chronic pain and even combat the natural effects of aging. The field holds the promise of re-engineering damaged tissues and organs by stimulating the body’s own repair mechanisms to functionally heal previously irreparable tissues or organs.
At Inspire Medical & Wellness located in Mt. Juliet, owner and founder Dr. Jason Burchard, supervising physician Dr. Gary Adams and Zack Benner PA-C, are at the forefront of this emerging medical practice. As we know, umbilical cord blood is blood that remains in the placenta and in the attached umbilical cord after childbirth. This cord blood contains stem cells, which can be used to treat a number of disorders and has been for over two decades now. Inspire Medical & Wellness obtains their mesenchymal stem cells from the Wharton’s jelly inside the umbilical tissue from New Life, a multi-state and FDA approved cord bank that screens donors and extracts the cells from the umbilical cord. New Life is registered with the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB).
Therapies utilizing this umbilical tissue are countless – from regenerating damaged skin, accelerate healing and alleviating pain. At Inspire Medical & Wellness, patients can find safe and effective treatments for knee, shoulders, hips, elbows, wrists and even neuropathy available without the harmful side-effects or pain.
Their treatments can be used as a stand-alone therapy or in conjunction with other available medical treatments. Inspire also specializes in medical weight loss and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. So, if you are tired of living with chronic pain, now is the time to take control! Contact Inspire Medical & Wellness today at 615-453-8999 and receive a complimentary consultation until December 15th and visit their website at www. weightlossmtjuliet.com for more information.
The new year is almost upon us, isn’t it time you took that first step into a whole new and pain-free you!
Inspire Medical & Wellness is located at 151 Adams Ln, Suite #18, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the basic building blocks of human tissue and have the ability to repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate tissues in the body. When a disease or injury strikes, stem cells respond to specific signals and set about to facilitate the healing process by stimulating your own body to repair itself.
How do stem cells work?
Stem cells that come from perinatal tissue(healthy post-natal C-sections) have distinct functional properties including immunomodulation and anti-inflammation which support the repair and regeneration of damaged tissue associated with disease and injury.
When do we use the body’s stem cells?
We tap into our body’s stem cell reserve daily to repair and replace damaged or diseased tissue. When the body’s reserve is limited and as it becomes depleted, the regenerative power of our body decreases and we succumb to disease and injury.
By Jill Waggoner
Six years ago, a dozen ministers and local church members, led by those from Cross Style Church, decided to investigate what they had been told — that a small homeless community was growing in Wilson County. On a winter day, they went into the “woods” of Lebanon behind one of our busiest thoroughfares and found evidence of a homeless camp, including tents, groceries and diapers. Troubled and burdened by this discovery, the small group decided on one simple goal: No one would freeze to death in Wilson County. This goal ultimately lead to the formation of Compassionate Hands, a ministry to the homeless population with a vision “that the Wilson County community of faith be Christ’s hands and feet to our neighbors in need.”
Wilson County is buzzing with new growth — economic and population — creating wonderful opportunities and experiences for its people, but with that growth has come an unintended consequence. As property values rise and rent payments go up, many families and individuals are having trouble finding or keeping affordable housing. In addition, as word spreads about the job creation happening in Middle Tennessee, people from all over the country have arrived on a search for opportunity, but without much of a plan. These factors, along with the inescapable difficulties of life, have left a small portion of our population without a home.
In our region, homelessness is assessed by the Homeless Advocacy for Rural Tennessee Continuum of Care, which is organized under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Their most recent “point-intime” count found 25 homeless individuals in our county on a night in January 2018.
Compassionate Hands provides temporary shelter for men and women in Wilson County every night in the winter months. A large network of volunteers from churches of all sizes keeps the system running each night. Those in need of shelter arrive at Cross Style church for dinner each evening. After a short vetting process, these individuals are taken to three different host sites — two for the men and one for women. A rotating group of churches offer their facilities to house the men and women. The homeless are provided a safe and warm place to sleep, as well as a warm breakfast. Laundry service and the ability to take a shower are also available. In the morning, a bus takes the individuals to various places across the county and leaves them with a sack lunch.
The coordination among so many churches and volunteers requires significant oversight and this October, John Grant, formerly a minister at College Hills Church of Christ, began serving as the full time minister and executive director of Compassionate Hands.
Grant was a part of that original group who visited the homeless camp and began ministering to the homeless in 2013. He is the first full time staff member for Compassionate Hands. Though the decision to leave College Hills was a sad one for Grant, it was in many ways, an easy one, because of his desire to serve the community, his network of friends at churches and his personal giftings.
“I think it was a call from God. This was a ‘John Grant’ shaped role,” he said.
Grant is joined by a board of directors in leading the ministry, each from a different church in the area. They include Dawn Bradford from Fairview Church, Joyce Gaines from Cook’s United Methodist Church, Mark Taylor from The Glade, Michelle Wilde from First United Methodist Church in Lebanon, and Steve Wheeley of the Salvation Army.
All of those involved in the ministry are quick to point out misconceptions about the homeless. They regularly and lovingly refer to them as their “homeless friends.” Many of those in need who have come to Compassionate Hands have full-time jobs and cars. Many are locals who grew up in our community and have fallen on hard times.
In Grant’s experience, he estimates that “one third have an addiction. One third have mental illness and a third have had bad luck.”
“I was scared and concerned about inviting homeless people into our church building,” Grant said describing his church’s first evenings with Compassionate Hands. “What I’ve learned is that the homeless people were also scared of us and skeptical of churches. They’re spending the night with strangers too. Homeless people are really not that different from you and me.”
“The Good Samaritan is one of our key stories,” Grant said, referencing the story found in Luke 10. “We think Jesus is bringing us people who are battered and bruised by life.”
Brandt Waggoner, lead pastor at Fairview Church, said their partnership with Compassionate Hands is important for their church.
“These are people in need right in the middle of our community,” Waggoner said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to that. In addition, it’s remarkable how the churches across our area are seamlessly partnering together to serve this group. We want to be a part of that.” Dawn Bradford has served with the ministry for three years and says Compassionate Hands has “absolutely changed my life.” Bradford continues, “Yes, it’s inconvenient and sometimes a little uncomfortable, but it’s not about me, it’s about living out the biblical principle of thinking of others before your own needs.” John Ashman, a member of Faith Lutheran Church, is a volunteer with Compassionate Hands, along with his wife Bonnie. Their experience serving has made a profound impact on their lives. “Often when we see homeless people on the street, we may see them as lazy, dirty, and not worthy of respect. But when we sit by them during the evening or morning and talk with them about their lives, we see that they are usually people who have had a some bad breaks,” Ashman said. One of the most emotional moments for Ashman came last Christmas. “Due to the generosity of our church members, we were able to put together backpacks with a number of food items, personal care products and some warm hats and gloves,” Ashman said. “Church members wrapped the items, so that on Christmas morning, they were able to open the presents, just as if they were living with their families. One man said ‘It’s been a long time since anybody gave me a Christmas present.” Every year, the ministry has experienced growth. At the close of last winter, 34 churches from 16 faith traditions had contributed to Compassionate Hands, providing over 5,000 beds and 11,000 meals to 400 homeless individuals since 2013. “Every winter we’ve seen two or three people who go from homeless to established,” Grant said. “They’ve gotten on their feet, into housing and are now volunteering in our ministry.” The leadership of Compassionate Hands desires to meet even more needs of the homeless. Their first objective is to secure an office space, but hope the years to come allow them to be able to provide shelter for families with children, as well as lockers, classroom space, and computer lab. For more information about Compassionate Hands or if you or your church would like to be involved, please visit compassionatehandstn.org, like their Facebook page or email John Grant at jgrant1817@gmail. com.
By Becky Andrews
2014 was a big year for Dr (Retired USAF Colonel) Paul and Elaine Nawiesniak. After an impressive military dental career that spanned nearly three decades and moves to eight different bases; including one in Japan, Dr. Nawiesniak decided it was time to retire and begin a new adventure right here in Wilson County.
While military service certainly enabled Dr. Nawiesniak and his family to travel many roads, there was one road he had not taken; private practice. “We had visited middle Tennessee several times and fell in love with this area. So, it made sense to concentrate our search for a practice opportunity in Tennessee. We explored several options before deciding to purchase the thriving dental practice of the now retired Dr. Wayne Johnson in Lebanon.” Dr. Nawiesniak continues, “Lebanon has both small-town charm and the potential for growth that made it the perfect choice for us.”
Patriot Dental (the name, an homage to Nawiesniak’s; military background) opened for business on June 14, 2014. His time in the Air Force gave Dr. Nawiesniak training and education that enables him to offer the best possible care to patients. He earned his undergrad in Biology from Loyola in Chicago and completed dental school at Northwestern University in Chicago. While in the Air Force Dr. Nawiesniak was selected to attend their two-year Advanced General Dentistry Residency Program. Upon finishing, he became certified with the American Board of General Dentistry. After more than 1200 hours of continuing education, Dr. Nawiesniak became a Fellow and then a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry. An impressive fete considering only 2% of all dentists carry this designation. In fact, he is the only dentist in Wilson County who is certified by the American Board of General Dentistry.
Dr. Nawiesniak works side by side with his wife of 27 years, Elaine. In addition to her duties as office manager, Elaine is a Registered Nurse and an accomplished photographer.
While Patriot Dental initially started out occupying the same space as Johnson Family Dentistry, as their patient list grew- thanks to word of mouth and the Nawiesniak’s community involvement- it was clear that they needed more room. “Our goal when we purchased the practice was to move to a new office within five years and we were able to do that ahead of schedule.” The Nawiesniak’s renovated an existing retail space located in Signature Place on the west side of Lebanon.
Their new state of the art facility provides patients with a comfortable, modern home-like environment. Elaine says their new space is a win/win. “We upgraded most of our equipment to reflect the digital age and are constantly striving to make changes that both improve our patient experience and make our staff’s jobs easier.”
As the dental industry continues to evolve, along with technology and advanced education, Dr. Nawiesniak says patient focus is essential now more than ever. “Our goal is to meet patient’s where they are in their dental needs and work with them to achieve the best possible outcomes for their oral health.” Dr. Nawiesniak continues, “We recognize that not everyone has always had access to dental care and may be embarrassed to seek care. We find helping these patients to be particularly rewarding. To help those who don’t have dental benefits we offer an in-house discount plan that is focused on preventative care which we emphasize in our office”.
With more than 100 years of experience between them, Dr. Nawiesniak and his staff are eager to meet all your dental needs. Stop by to visit them at their brand-new location, 99 Signature Pl, Lebanon, TN 37087
Our front desk receptionist, Beth Williams, has lived in Lebanon her entire life. She always has a smile on her face and has the best laugh! She has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with the always challenging insurance issues that arise daily and is an amazing multi-tasker! She does her best to help our patients manage their benefits to their maximum. She keeps everyone humming along. We affectionately refer to as our Queen “B”.
Our lead hygienist, Jace Crooks, is the perfect fit for our office. She is originally from Minot ND which was one of Dr. Nawiesniak’s prior duty stations in the Air Force, so he bonded with her instantly over stories of life in freezing weather, ice fishing and her fun North Dakota expressions. She received her hygiene training at Tennessee State University and has been a hygienist for 15 years. Her attention to detail and genuine care for our patients make her an asset to our office. Our other hygienist, Debbie Page, came to us searching for a privately-owned dental practice to work part-time in after she and her husband Mark moved to Lebanon from Ohio. She brings over 20 years of experience. Both of our hygienists have helped us grow our practice thru education that emphasizes preventive care.
Our lead assistant, Andrea Griffin, received her training at Nashville Staff and is an expanded duties assistant with over 20 years of experience. Andrea has a talent for making patients feel comfortable. She and her husband Mark live in Antioch and are planning to eventually relocate to Lebanon. She loves music, craft beer, and fishing. She’s also a die-hard Alabama fan but don’t hold that against her!
Our newest team member is assistant Miranda Walker. Miranda is from Lebanon and is a graduate of Vol State University. She and her husband just purchased their first new house in Hartsville. We call her the Swiss Army Knife of our office. She does whatever needs doing in our office and always with a servant’s heart.
Dr. Nawiesniak›s wife, Elaine, is our office manager and marketing director. Elaine is originally from Louisiana and is an emergency room trained RN. Her military spouse philosophy has always been to «Bloom Where You are Planted» and she has done her best to embrace Wilson County as our forever home. She is a member of the Lebanon Noon Rotary Club where she serves as Sergeant at Arms, she is on the membership committee for the Lebanon Wilson Chamber of Commerce and is the Treasurer for Wilson One, a local woman›s networking group that focuses on community service. She is a graduate of Leadership Wilson Class of 2018. ***Our services include general restorative dentistry usingtooth-colored filling material and all ceramic crowns and bridges, cosmetic dentistry including veneers, teeth whitening, root canal therapy, periodontal therapy for treating gum disease, extractions, and implant restoration, as well as partials and dentures.***