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Commissioners defer items
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kenny Howell

Managing Editor

The Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners deferred two items in hopes of getting a better resolution in their meeting Monday.

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MJPD looking for spare tire thieves
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A rash of spare tire thefts has occurred in Mt. Juliet, prompting Mt. Juliet Police to ensure residents are aware of the problem. Thieves are targeting vehicles with rear-mounted, full spare tires. The spare tires on Jeep Wranglers have been the most popular target for thieves, and the thefts are typically occurring in shopping-area parking lots at night.

“This is a crime of opportunity, and the tires can be quickly removed from the vehicles and later sold online by the thief,” stated Sergeant Tyler Chandler. “After shopping or dining in a restaurant, theft victims have come out to their SUV to find the spare tire stolen.”

Mt. Juliet has experienced nine such thefts, though neighboring jurisdictions have seen additional thefts. Mt. Juliet Police recommends parking your vehicle in a well-lit area and reporting any suspicious activity to police immediately. In addition, inexpensive spare tire locks can be purchased to add additional security to rear-mounted, full spare tires.

Anyone with any information regarding the spare tire thefts is encouraged to call the Mt. Juliet Police Department at (615) 754-2550. Information can also be given anonymously by calling (615) 754-TIPS (8477) or via the Mt. Juliet Police Department website at http://www.mjpd.org/ .

 
Sparks named Interim Director of Schools
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kenny Howell

Managing Editor

Mary Ann Sparks was named Wilson County Interim Director of Schools Monday by unanimous vote. 

“I’m glad to be here,” Sparks said in the meeting Monday. 

Sparks was the Human Resources Supervisor, and has been in the school system since 1986 when she started as a second grade teacher at Mt. Juliet Elementary. She was also an assistant principal at the school. 

Sparks said she was proud to be able to be the Interim Director, even if it is just for a short time.  She said that every person in the school system cares about providing the best education for the children. 

In the meeting, School Board member Larry Tomlinson made a motion that the search for the next Director of Schools starts immediately. By state law, a new Director has to be in place by late June because of the elections in August. 

Sparks said after the meeting she did not want to be considered for the permanent position. 

 
MJHS student attends President Obama's speech
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mt. Juliet High School Senior Hayley Richey got to attend President Barack Obama’s speech at McGavock High School Thursday. Here is her story on the speech. 

On Jan 28, President Barack Obama spoke at McGavock High School on topics such as Education, Unemployment, Job Creation, and Pre-Kindergarten Programs. 

It’s not every day in Tennessee that someone of such a high ranking comes to visit. The last time the mid-state received President Obama was back in July 2013. 

His visit was something of a surprise to the public, as Metro Schools announced it four days before his visit.

Seating to the event was limited, and the general public were not permitted. The students who wished to attend had to have a GPA of at least 3.2, and they had to write an essay explaining why they would like to see the president speak at their school. Media seating was limited as well. All members of the press had to submit an RSVP with no promise of making it to the event. 

McGavock had their flags raised high that morning in anticipation of their very special visitor. Everyone at the school from the principal, to the faculty, to the students were excited to host the president.

Heavy security surrounded the area, and was in full force at the high school. Students were under close eye and so were the incoming attendees. Bags and electronic equipment were checked by metal detectors and dogs. 

Inside, the audience was abuzz with dignitaries and students alike. Several “big names” in attendance include Ashley Judd, well-known film actress, Al Gore, former vice president and presidential candidate, Jay Carney, press secretary, Congressman Steve Cohen, and Charles Robert Bone, a current lawyer who has expressed “very high” interest in becoming a mayoral candidate of the Davidson County division. 

The president was slightly delayed in Milwaukee due to plane troubles. He was scheduled to deliver remarks at 3:50 pm, but took the stage almost an hour later. 

Before he took the stage, however, students of McGavock who were members of the national Honors Society filed in behind him and took the best seats in the house. Juan Alvares was lucky enough to get to say the pledge of allegiance, while classmate Becky Fischer delivered a moving rendition of the national anthem. 

Once the president was ready to start his speech, student body president Ronald Elliot gave a warm introduction and gave up the podium to Barack Obama himself. 

President Obama entered the gymnasium to the roaring applause of the audience. He shook hands with several guests close to the stage, and took to the podium.

He started off his speech by thanking all of the students who had introduced him, then proceeded to offer his condolences to the friends and family of 15 year old Kevin Barbee, a student who passed away a few days prior. 

His concern with residents on a local level transitioned into how pleased he was with the “individual academies” program going on at McGavock. He expressed his delight in their Aerospace program and the school’s student-run credit union, complimenting their innovative teachers and highly-focused students.

He also complimented how much McGavock has improved as far as graduation rates and drop out rates go, calling Tennessee “the fastest improving state in the nation”. He was also quoted as saying, “No child should be let slip because of politics, or because an adult cannot get their act together.” 

One of the key points in his speech was explaining how creating a better school environment now leads to a better tomorrow, even going as far as to mention how high quality Pre-K programs would benefit job opportunities and create skilled workers when they grow to be adults. 

He closed his speech by stating how important it is to invest in our children, because they are the ones who will be sustaining the future. 

The president lingered for a little while, shaking hands with some of the audience members, and then left the school to return to Washington D.C. to get some much needed rest for the next day’s busy agenda.   

 
Teachers of the Year: MJHS' Mary Kay Kelton, WCHS' Mary Beth Boswell
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

This week, we highlight two Teachers of the Year in Mt. Juliet. We will meet both high school Teachers of the Year, Mt. Juliet High School’s Mary Kay Kelton (left) and Wilson Central’s Mary Beth Boswell (right). 

Kelton has taught Spanish at Mt. Juliet High School for nine years. She is a 1998 graduate of Mt. Juliet High School as well. 

“This is literally my dream job,” Kelton said about working at her alma mater. 

She applied for a history position, which was her major in college, but her minor, Spanish, got her the job. She said she doesn’t regret it and loves teaching Spanish. 

“You get to cover so many different things in Spanish, the history, language, culture,” said Kelton. 

Kelton said that she was surprised when she was nominated for Teacher of the Year. Then when she saw the list of other nominees, she didn’t prepare for winning. 

“They were all way better,” said Kelton. 

Boswell has also spent her entire teaching career at one school, Wilson Central High School. 

It is her sixth year at the school, and she teaches Honors I Biology and AP Biology. 

“I loved science in high school,” said Boswell on her decision to teach the subject. She said Biology in particular is her passion. 

Boswell said it means a lot that her peers chose her as the Teacher of the Year for the school, especially since she thought that the other teachers that were nominated were “way more deserving.”

Boswell said that she loves Wilson Central because every year, she loves the students in her class as much as the year before. She has been through some administration changes, and loved working with all of them, but the students are why she enjoys Wilson Central. 

“I couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else,” said Boswell. 

Kelton and Boswell will be up for Wilson County Teacher of the Year. That will be announced at a banquet at Cumberland University, April 11, in an event sponsored by Wilson County Motors and Cedar Stone Bank.  

 
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