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Setterland named new Director of Schools
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sabrina Garrett

Special to The Chronicle

Seating was limited – but that didn’t stop countless county residents from showing up at the Wilson County Board of Education meeting on Monday night to hear the results of the Director of Schools search that began in early March.

Former MJHS standout shot in confrontation
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Former Mt. Juliet High School student and football star Vaughn Cornelia was shot just before 3 a.m. Friday during a confrontation on West Broughton Street in Savannah, Ga.

MJ chosen as Playful City for 4th straight year
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

With research proving play is critical to the overall well-being of children, 217 cities and towns, including Mt. Juliet, earned recognition from national non-profit KaBOOM! as 2013 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to give children the childhood they deserve by providing ample opportunities for play. 

Today’s generation of children play less than any previous generation despite the vast benefits of play. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children. 

Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program from KaBOOM! that celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the lack of play among children. 

“Since our designation as Tennessee’s first playful city in 2010, we have maintained our focus on developing PLAY along with our city’s homes and businesses.  Last year, we made the decision to designate the entire month of July to our Parks and Recreation Department and PLAY.  Our citizens enjoy the KaBOOM! sponsored renovations to our beloved Planet Playground and I expect they will be equally as excited about the continued growth of our Parks Department.  As one of the fastest growing cities in Tennessee, we understand that continued growth requires unrelenting commitment to PLAY in MJ.”  Rocky Lee, Parks Manager

KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the lack of play and it is through mayors, city council members, parks and recreation departments, school districts and community leaders that the program succeeds in benefitting children. 

“Kids need to play actively, every day, at home, in school and in their communities, yet play is disappearing,” said Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and author of The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play. “Children spend nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen; almost half of all poor students are deprived of recess; and to make matters worse, only one in five children live within walking distance of a park. Playful City USA communities like Mt. Juliet are creating innovative programs and initiatives and deserve recognition because of their efforts to give kids the childhood they deserve and best prepare them for their future.”

Hailing from 43 states, the 217 Playful City USA honorees range in size from seven-time honorees such as San Francisco and Spartanburg, S.C., to first-time recipient Ellsworth, Kan. (population: 3,100). These Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to play and physical activity by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community. 

In the seventh year of the annual program, 16 Playful City USA communities received recognition for the seventh consecutive year, while 23 earned honors for the sixth time, 25 for the fifth time, 29 for the fourth time, 41 for the third time, 46 for the second time. KaBOOM! recognized 37 communities with their first Playful City USA designation. 

For the sixth consecutive year, Florida paced the nation with 32 Playful City USA communities. California earned second-place with 26 communities, while Texas finished third with 15 Playful City USA communities. 

Each of the 2013 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to addressing the lack of play among children. Playful City USA celebrates and highlights these unique initiatives developed by communities across the country. A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage cities and towns to share ideas, concepts and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children. City initiatives include:

KaBOOM! also selected Mt. Juliet for its outstanding dedication to play. Mt Juliet is committed to the Play in MJ campaign and is using the fun of play to engage its citizens in healthy and active lifestyles. The city is planning to increase access to parks and playgrounds in the community by improving and creating new places to play.

The 217 Playful City USA communities are now eligible for $15,000, $20,000 and $30,000 grants via Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. Grant recipients will be announced in the fall.

For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, including Let’s Play grants and applications for 2014, visit   

PUMC’s Worship Without Walls spruces up Senior Center
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center was one of the recipients of the annual “Worship Without Walls” community service project. Every year, members of the Providence United Methodist Church volunteer for various projects in the community. 

Projects at the senior center included; mulching, weeding and planting herbs and flowers in the Senior Serenity Park, spring cleaning the center’s kitchen and art rooms, and organizing closets. Beautiful spring flowers were planted in pots at the entry ways and the restrooms received a fresh coat of paint.

The mission of the center is to provide a place for older adults aged 55 and over to gather for recreational, educational and social activities and to alleviate isolation and loneliness among the elderly. 

The success of the senior center depends on support from volunteer groups like “Worship without Walls” to keep the building and grounds safe, clean and well maintained. “On behalf of the senior members, we send a huge thank you to all  of the helping hands and caring hearts of Providence United Methodist Church,” says center director, Linda McClanahan.

For more information on volunteer opportunities at the Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center call 758-9114.

MJHS sees success at NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lindsey Cotner

MJHS' The Golden Ray

Mt. Juliet High School’s Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics club placed 19 of 43 high schools from around the world at NASA’s 20th annual Great Moonbuggy Race. 

Each year, drivers, mechanics, and engineers alike migrate to Huntsville, Ala. to race their moonbuggies for a grand prize of $3,000. 

Between the high school and college divisions, roughly 600 students attended this year. There were students from 23 different states, Puerto Rico, India, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and Russia. 

To be part of the race, contestants had to design and create their own moonbuggy. The moonbuggy must have been able to hold two drivers (one boy and one girl), have a maximum dimension of  4’x 4’x 4,’ be light enough for the two drivers to carry, have a turning radius of 15 feet or less, have seat restraints, functional breaks, and the lowest surface must have been a minimum of 15 inches. 

Under the pressure of a time limit, the moonbuggies had to be carried to the start line and assembled there. Once assembled, the moonbuggies had to prove their ability to sustain a half-mile course with various obstacles that simulate “craters,” rocks, “lava” ridges, inclines and “lunar” soil. Penalties were given for taking too long to assemble your moonbuggy at the start line, avoiding obstacles, or if a driver came in contact with the ground. The course had to be completed twice by each team, and the best time was taken out of the two. 

Mt. Juliet’s moonbuggy took almost a full year to develop. With the help of the auto tech class, construction was easier. Several students from the STEM club helped to build the moonbuggy, but only six were able to attend the actual race. 

They did run into a minor problem though. The steering mechanism was not complete until the day before the actual race, causing the drivers, Brittany Roberts and Alex Lurie, to postpone practicing until they were actually in Huntsville. With that, they still managed to successfully navigate and complete the course both days. 

When asked about his thoughts on the race, STEM club sponsor David Haines remarked, “We’re very pleased with the results, especially since our drivers didn’t get the chance to practice until we were in the parking lot of the Space Center.”

Overall, Mt. Juliet’s best time was 10 minutes 35 seconds landing them 19 of the 43 high schools competing, and the number one school competing from Tennessee. 

To learn more about The Great Moonbuggy Race, visit

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