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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

UMC honoring nurses for National Nurses Week
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

University Medical Center (UMC) will give special attention to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to healing others during National Nurses Week.

Annually, National Nurses Week begins on May 6 — also known as National Nurses Day — and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing.

The theme for this year’s National Nurses Week is “Delivering Quality & Innovation in Patient Care,” which was designated by the American Nurses Association. 

Continually at the bedside, nurses make their patients’ well-being a priority and regularly develop innovative solutions to enhance care. 

Their ongoing commitment to quality is what moves health care forward — what often begins as a solution for one patient, becomes an advancement that benefits countless others.

“Nurses play an essential role in enhancing patient care, increasing access, coordinating care and reducing health care costs,” said Denise Sikes, Chief Nursing Executive. “They are at the forefront of innovation every day, and they deserve special recognition. We want them to know how much we value their hard work and commitment to superior patient care — honoring them is what this week is all about.”

 “All of us at University Medical Center want to thank our outstanding nurses who work tirelessly to ensure the health and welfare of our patients,” said Matt Caldwell, University Medical Center Chief Executive Officer. “We’d like to thank them for their professionalism, their commitment to the highest standards, and their undying dedication to those they serve.”

About University Medical Center

University Medical Center is a 245-bed, two-campus acute health care facility with over 230 physicians on staff. 

The hospital has approximately 800 full and part-time employees and is the sole provider of health care service in Wilson County, Tennessee.  

University Medical Center is the first hospital in the Tennessee to feature the RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System.  

The hospital provides 24-hour emergency services, inpatient and outpatient medical and surgical services along with intensive care and telemetry services. 

Our Diagnostic Imaging services include basic radiography, digital fluoroscopy, MRI, CT, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, and mammography.  

University Medical Center’s Rehabilitation services include an inpatient rehabilitation unit as well as outpatient, physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapies.  

Specialties include: Orthopedics - featuring RIO Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic Surgery, Cardiology – Accredited Chest Pain Center, Neurology, General and Bariatric Surgery, Psychiatry, ENT, Urology, and Women’s and Children’s service lines.  

University Medical Center is proud to be owned and operated by Health Management Associates, Inc. of Naples, Florida.

In 2009, construction was completed on the $26 million, four-story patient tower that offers 60 new private patient rooms.  

The 77,000 square foot facility provides state of the art health care for Wilson County. 

The multi-specialty Surgery Center opened in February 2011.

Clearview Estates Burglars caught
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

After dedicating investigative resources to determine who was responsible for burglarizing homes in the Clearview Estates neighborhood, Mt. Juliet Police have captured the daytime burglars. 

On Wednesday, April 24, an anonymous tip led to the possible identities of the burglars after a tipster saw a local news story on Nashville’s WSMV – Channel 4 about the break-ins. Mt. Juliet Police detectives identified the possible offenders as Christopher Bly, 39, and Keaton Garner, 21, both of Nashville. They were tracked down in Tunica, Mississippi, and undercover officers from Mt. Juliet were able to locate the criminal duo’s vehicle. The vehicle, owned by Bly, matched the description of the burglary suspect vehicle perfectly. Surveillance was established on the vehicle, and the suspects were followed back from Mississippi to Nashville on Thursday, April 25. When they arrived in Nashville, they were apprehended on an existing warrant from Coffee County, Tennessee at a home on Shauna Drive in Nashville with the assistance from Metro-Nashville Police.

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