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Showing 6 articles from November 9, 2011.

General News

Council nods work at Project Tango site

By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post
Lebanon City Council unanimously approved a contract with Plateau Excavating to being infrastructure improvements for the Project Tango building site as well as an agreement to ensure no city funds will be used in the process during Tuesday nights special called meeting.

Council awarded the infrastructure improvements contract to Plateau Excavation of Atlanta for $8,459,000. The company was the lowest of the four bids opened on Friday, Nov. 4.

Also approved was an agreement between the city and the U.S. Real Estate Limited Partnership that will keep the city from spending any money on the job. Before the meeting, City Engineer Chuck Boyett explained to the council in a work session that U.S. Real Estate will pay for the project, which includes site grading, water, sewer and storm water drainage improvements.

Theres absolutely no city money going into this, Boyett said.

The city is expected to receive $3.5 million in a FastTrack Infrastructure Development Program Grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The remaining cost of the job will be paid by U.S. Realty, according to the agreement approved by the council.

The developer on the property is Seefried Properties, also from Atlanta, and Boyett explained Plateau is contracted to perform the work. Boyett said U.S. Realty will make monthly payments to the city and after the check clears, the city will then pay the contractor.

The developer funds everything over $3.5 million, Boyett said. Well pay the contractor with their money.

When the project is completed, the city will then give U.S. Realty the $3.5 million from the state grant, and according to the contract, if the grant money is not awarded, the city is not liable to pay the money from its own funds.

Several members of the council asked if there was a downside to this agreement and Boyett said there was none that he could see. Andy Wright, city attorney, said the worst case scenario is a lawsuit where the city must defend its rights under the contract approved Tuesday night.

Boyett explained he and city engineers will sit down with the contractor and developer frequently when the project gets underway to discuss progress reports and make sure things stay on track.

Well sit down weekly with them and discuss where we are with the project, Boyett said.

The council is set to hold another special called meeting tonight at 5:30 to consider approving these measures on second reading.

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

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Garment Factory coming down

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
For the past several weeks, crews from Billy Price Excavating have been clearing out and tearing down the Lebanon Garment Factory, which opened almost 75 years ago and provided jobs to hundreds of local residents during its long stay as a major local employer.

According to information from the Wilson County Archives, the factory, which was located on the corner of East Market and North College Streets, opened officially on Nov. 10, 1936. Many local men and women worked every day at the factory making work clothes, blue jeans and even military uniforms during World Ward II.

After years of turning out fine clothing products, the factory closed in the mid-1980s and has been vacant ever since. Frank Vastola, owner of Franks Auto Repair next door, purchased the property almost 10 years ago and began tearing it down within the past few weeks.

I just plan on clearing it out and making it an empty lot for now, he said. The building itself has been in rough shape structurally, and Vastola felt there was nothing to do but tear it down.

Vastola recognized and respected the buildings history, pointing out many people he knows and has talked to through the years since buying the property revealed how important it was to the local community.

Hes had friends whose mothers and grandmothers worked at the factory and said many others have told him they also had family members who once worked there and made their living under its roof.

Everybody I talked to, they told me my mother or my grandmother worked there, Vastola said.

Charlie Tatum, founder of Charlie Tatum Campers in Lebanon, was a machinist who worked in the factory for 38 years. He began working at the factory in 1944 and said at that time there were mostly women working there during World War II.

Tatum said they made uniforms for the Army, Navy and Marines during the war, noting Lebanons efforts to supply troops around the world during the conflict. At the same time, the Lebanon Woolen Mills made blankets and other wool clothing items for soldiers as well.

During his 38 years at the factory, Tatum said he was machinist and added he was only one of many local residents who depended on the factory for a job. He said during World War II the factory employed between 150 and 400 people, working many shifts to keep up with the governments demand.

Its been good to Lebanon, Tatum said.

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

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Pedestrian hit by car on Lebanon Square

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
An afternoon traffic accident on Wednesday sent a local man to University Medical Center for further observation after he was struck by a vehicle on the Lebanon Public Square.

Approximately 2:45 p.m., Richard Rick Smith of Lebanon was walking in a crosswalk on the west side of the Square when he was struck by a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Tom Lee Stephens II of Alexandria.

Lebanon Police Officer Steve Green said Stephens was attempting to merge onto West Main Street from the Square when he struck Smith -- who was trying to cross the street.

There was noticeable damage to Stephenss windshield on the drivers side and to the drivers side bumper. Green said he was still trying to determine which way Smith was crossing the street but noted he was in the crosswalk.

According to (Stephens), the sun got in his eyes and he didnt see the pedestrian walking, Green said. He will be cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian.

Smith was transported to UMC for observation, and Green described his injuries as nothing severe at this time. According to the officer, Smith likely suffered injuries to the head and shoulders but added they were not life threatening and that Smith appeared not to be seriously injured.

Sue Vanatta, president and CEO of the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, said at the scene that she had just held a meeting with Smith and others regarding public safety for the 2011 Christmas Parade and Jingle Jog. She said Smith was walking from the Square, where the Chambers office is located, to F&M Bank where he works, on West Main Street, just off the Square.

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

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Security concerns force postponement of TXR event

By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post
A postponed Parent Teacher Organization fund raiser and numerous parent complaints to the Wilson County Schools Department of Safety could result in legal action against a parent at Tuckers Crossroads Elementary School who has allegedly been harassing teachers and other parents at the school.

School administrators chose to postpone the Fall Festival, a PTO fund raiser for the school set for Saturday, Nov. 5, after numerous complaints regarding a parent that has been an ongoing concern for school officials during the past year.

I was called last Thursday and was told for security reasons, they were canceling the Fall Festival, said Diana Cavender, secretary of the TXR PTO.

Greg Lasater, Zone 5 Wilson County Board of Education member who represents the area, said he has received many phone calls regarding the parents behavior. He pointed out that David Burton, schools safety director, sent a letter to the parent earlier this year that barred her from coming onto school property.

Theyve had some issues there with her (the parent) about a bullying issue that occurred a year ago, Lasater said.

During Monday nights school board meeting, Lasater called for a recess to discuss the matter with the board and County Attorney Mike Jennings. Following the recess, Mike Davis, director of schools, said Jennings would pursue a legal end to the matter.

Jennings said on Tuesday he was gathering first-hand information from parents or teachers who may have been harassed by the parent, describing the situation as more of a harassment thing that might elevate to a safety issue.

He could not say whether the parent was harassing teachers, students, parents or all groups and said hes hoping anyone with knowledge of the situation will contact him as soon as possible.

(Mr. Jennings) will take whatever legal steps he needs to take to bring that situation to a peaceful resolution, Davis said during the board meeting.

Lasater pointed out at no point were students in danger and said the administration and Student Resource Officers have done their job well and made sure that safety at the school has never been compromised.

The kids out there are safe and if the teachers dont feel safe they need to speak up, Lasater said. The staff and administration have handled this well and they want to do whats in the best interest of the kids.

According to members of the schools PTO, the parent said she was planning to attend the Fall Festival and the administration felt it would be safer to err on the side of caution and postpone the festival.

Cavender said more than half of the PTOs budget is raised through the Fall Festival and noted she is unsure when the event will be rescheduled but is hopeful everything will be resolved.

School Safety Director David Burton could not be contacted by press time for comment.

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

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WCBOE looks to improve healthcare at six local schools

By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
Wilson County Board of Education took steps to improve healthcare at local schools by entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Medical and Education Group bringing a $500,000 grant to six local schools.

The school board took the action at Mondays regular meeting.

The boards vote was unanimous to enter into the agreement with the non-profit organization known as MEG, which is headed by Dr. Robert Bone, which will utilize the $500,000 grant to update existing medical equipment in local schools as well as bring noticeable technology improvements.

The schools where the money will be used are Watertown Elementary School, Watertown High School, Tuckers Crossroads Elementary, Carroll Oakland Elementary, Southside Elementary and Lebanon High School.

Its allocated to be used at the most deserving county schools, Bone said.

Director of Schools Mike Davis pointed out the grant required that schools utilizing the money be rural schools and he added that all six of the beneficiary schools fit that description.

The non-profit established by Bone was one of 278 grant recipients through the Affordable Care Act School-Based Health Centers Capital Program earlier this year. Bone visited the school board several months ago to inform them the organization had received the grant.

Bone said the money will be used to upgrade the school nurses existing equipment such as stethoscopes, examination tables, thermometers and blood pressure cups. He also said the money will bring new technology to these schools such as electronic medical records and telemedicine, which uses video and photography equipment to allow a doctor diagnose a student without the child having to go to the doctors office.

Theres a great opportunity to improve the healthcare to our students, Bone said. He added the nurses are doing a great job and said this will add a few bells and whistles to school clinics.

We hope this is something that can be sustained for some time, Davis said.

The money was awarded to MEG on July 1 this year and extends through June 30, 2013. Chuck Whitlock, Wilson County Schools health coordinator, said the hard work is just beginning as they prepare to implement the new technology and train their nurses on using the new equipment.

Also during the meeting, the board deferred an agreement with the Clinch-Powell Education Cooperative that Davis said would help in the bidding process for purchasing items, but Bill Robinson, Zone 2 board member, said he had reservations about the group.

I would prefer that we defer this until we see some examples of how this would benefit us, Robinson said.

He noted he wanted to get information on how the organization conducts business and said if the agreement wouldnt benefit the board he didnt see the point in entering a partnership with the cooperative.

Davis said the cooperative will enhance the number of vendors the school receives bids for when looking to purchase equipment or supplies. He said if the board partners with the group, they could choose to use the cooperatives resources or not.

Its not doing away with the bid process, its actually enhancing the process, Davis said.

Don Weathers, Zone 3 board member, suggested sending the cooperative the boards bid specifications and asking the cooperative to bid at least 12 items the board commonly purchases. If the cooperative provides that information, the board will reconsider the agreement during next months meeting.

The board also voted unanimously to name the new Lebanon High School football stadium after former LHS standout Danny Watkins, who was an All District and All Mid-State tailback and linebacker during his senior season in 1972. For more on this story, see Sports on page 11 in the Wednesday, Nov. 9 print edition of The Wilson Post.

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

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General Sports

CU women's soccer eliminated

JACKSON -- Eboni Murphy's chip from 10 yards in the 86th minute was the only goal in Union University's 1-0 victory over Cumberland in women's soccer action Tuesday night at the Smith Memorial Soccer Complex in the semifinals of the TranSouth Championships.

Union (12-2-2) dominated play for much of the match, posting a 26-5 advantage in shots. Murphy missed an open net in the 58th minute but recorded her seventh goal of the season on an assist from Christina Reardon for the game-winner, sending UU into the conference tournament finals for the first time in school history.

Union will play on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Martin Methodist. The loss ends the season for Cumberland.

CU keeper Elizabeth Surdam and the Bulldogs' backline was under constant pressure the entire 90 minutes but managed to stave off the home team until the final minutes. Surdam registered nine saves in the loss and had little chance on the goal, with the ball played back into the box to Murphy, who was between two defenders and chipped the shot over Surdam to the far post.

Union dominated the first half but was unable to score, taking 15 shots, including seven on net and another that hit the right post. The best chance may have come in the 33rd minute, with Terilyn Wassell all alone on the back post after a cross from Rebecca McDonough, but Wassell's shot sailed over the crossbar.

The Bulldogs (10-8-0) suffered through another set of injuries in the period, with Beth Morgan going down after a scramble in front of the net on a corner kick and Rikki Mercado exiting after a tackle from behind drew a caution on Reardon. Helena Dimantas Farias also left the field for about two minutes after a strong challenge near midfield.

Cumberland generated only a few scoring chances, but all were of high quality, with Morgan Shaffer's volley from 10 yards sailing high over the net and a header from Dimantas Farias just missing the crossbar on a free kick near midfield by Mackenzie Keele.

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