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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 .

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.  

Fuller running for Criminal Court Judge
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Assistant District Attorney Brian Fuller has announced that he is a candidate for Criminal Court Judge for the 15th Judicial District.  The 15th Judicial District includes Wilson, Macon, Smith, Jackson and Trousdale Counties.  The position is currently held by Judge David Durham who has decided to retire at the end of the term in 2014.  

Fuller has been an Assistant District Attorney for 17 years.  After graduating from law school in 1996, he began his career as a prosecutor in the 28th Judicial District in West Tennessee, which includes Gibson, Crockett and Haywood Counties. After serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the 28th district for two years, he returned home to Wilson County in 1999 where he was appointed Assistant District Attorney for the 15th Judicial District by District Attorney General Tommy Thompson.  Fuller has served in that position for the last 15 years.  

As a criminal prosecutor, Fuller has handled thousands of criminal cases in every court in the district.  He has prosecuted cases in the General Sessions, Juvenile, and Criminal Courts of each county.  Fuller has handled all types of cases on behalf of the State of Tennessee against criminal defendants. He has tried numerous jury trials and obtained convictions against defendants for crimes such as Aggravated Robbery, Murder, Attempted Murder and Sale of Illegal Narcotics.

Assistant District Attorney Fuller has served as the Criminal Court docket manager for the District Attorney’s Office in both Smith County from 2002 to 2005 and Wilson County from 2005 to the present.  “As docket manager in both Smith and Wilson Counties for the past 11 years, I feel I have the experience and knowledge required of the next Criminal Court Judge in order to step in on day one and do the job right. As a prosecutor, I have had the opportunity to work closely with our law enforcement agencies at every level. I know the dangers and difficulties faced by our officers on a daily basis.  I have provided assistance and guidance in investigations, drafted and reviewed search warrants, and worked with law enforcement, victims, and witnesses in an effort to bring those accused of crimes to justice.   In addition, I have been in a wonderful position to learn every day from people like District Attorney Tommy Thompson, Judge David Durham, Judge John Wootten, and the late Judge J.O. Bond, as well as all of the other judges, prosecutors and attorneys with whom I have had the pleasure to work. No other candidate for this position will have more experience in the criminal court system.”

 Over the last 17 years, I have also been uniquely positioned to see and understand where our criminal justice system can be improved.  Our justice system is overloaded with cases. Time management and scheduling are vital to a smooth and efficient court system.  The next Criminal Court Judge must be able to prioritize cases and move cases efficiently through the system in order to give all parties involved, including the defendants, the State, and the victims, a fair and speedy trial. A judge should be knowledgeable in the law, experienced in the court system, and courteous to all who enter the courtroom.  A judge should also be the gatekeeper of fairness not only for those accused of criminal offenses, but also, and just as importantly, for the victims of crime.  A fair trial resulting in a conviction should end with swift and appropriate punishment. Serving this same court almost exclusively for the last 11 years and with 17 years as a prosecutor, I have not only the knowledge of the laws required, but the experience, vision, and demeanor needed to be the next Criminal Court Judge.  This district cannot afford a training period for the new judge to learn on the job.”

Fuller was born and raised in Wilson County.  He graduated from Lebanon High School in 1989 where he served as Student Body President.  He attended Tennessee Technological University where he graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. Fuller graduated from The University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville in 1996.  While in law school he completed an internship with the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office in Knoxville.

Fuller has been married to his wife, Jennifer, since 1999.  They reside in Lebanon with their two sons, Braden 11, a sixth grader at Winfree Bryant Middle School and Bryce 9, a fourth grader at Castle Heights Elementary.  

Fuller is a 2001 graduate of Leadership Wilson.  He is member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce.  He has been active for the last several years coaching his sons’ youth sports teams in the community including baseball, football, and soccer.

“As a lifelong member of this community and someone who cares deeply about our justice system and the citizens that it affects, I believe I am the right person for this position.  I have the experience, values, knowledge, and demeanor to do this job the right way from day one. In addition, I pledge that I will do my best to try to improve our court system every day. I respectfully ask for your support and vote on August 7, 2014 for Criminal Court Judge for the 15th Judicial District.”  

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