county fair trains 1

Love of Trains Lives On

Fiddlers Grove Train Museum Shares Model Trains and Railroad Memorabilia


county fair trains 1Fiddlers Grove Train Museumdavid brooks museum volunteerDavid Brooks, museum volunteer, proudly operates the trains donated by the Pulley family

Toot-toot! Chug-a-chug-achug-a-chug. Toot-toot! Maybe like me, it reminds you of a special childhood train ride, as you watch with fascination the scaled model locomotives racing around the track. Young and old alike love trains, and there is an estimated 500,000 collectors of model trains and railroad memorabilia.This was especially true of the late Ben Pulley, who worked for the L&N Railroad, later to be known as CSX, for forty years.

Trains were his life.

Pulley saw the change from steam engines, to diesel, and then electric. He began collecting the “O” model trains in the late 1970’s, as a hobby to share with his grandson. Both Ben and his wife Barbara collected the model trains, and created the detailed city streetscapes, complete with people, businesses, churches, farms, nature, a baseball field, animals, and with many moving features,like a lighted circling ferris wheel, and a hay bale being loaded from the barn loft to a truck. Their model railroad collection grew to fill the Pulley’s large garage, nicknamed Pulleyville, and was a favorite destination for children’s school field trips.

Following Mr. Pulley’s death in April, 2012, the Pulley family donated much of his large collection to Fiddlers Grove Historic Village, located at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon, home of the Wilson County Fair. The Wilson County Schools donated a portable classroom to house the train museum, which was transformed to look like a train depot. Friends of Ben Pulley, model train enthusiasts, David Brooks and Richard Hosier and other volunteers, took on a labor of love, dismantling the intricate train collection from the Pulleys home, and re-assembling it at the newly constructed Fiddlers Grove Train Museum, which opened in August, 2013. David Brooks said, “It was a lot of work. It took us about eight months to complete. I know Mr. Pulley would be proud today if he could see it.”Mr Leslie Van HookLeslie Van Hook donated his train carved out of walnut

The Train Museum has two large rooms. The first room contains the Pulley collection, along with other trains and items donated from other collectors. The second room houses another model train collection donated by the Ken Caldwell family. It is an H-O scale train collection. The room also has other railroad collectibles and wood replicas of the Tuckers Gap building and Lebanon Depot, and a train carved out of walnut, donated by local artisan Leslie Van Hook.

Be sure to check out this great train collection when you visit the fair this year. It is a spectacular sight to see.

Maybe you’ve dreamed of being a train conductor or engineer yourself, love model trains, and would enjoy educating young and old about train history. Volunteers are needed to work in the train museum. For more information about visiting the museum or volunteering, contact Fiddler Grove Historic Village at (615) 443-2626.

Mr Pulleys DaughtersTrain dedication with Mr. Pulley’s daughters L-R: Carolyn Morgan, David Brooks & Janice Yearga 

memory of benjamin pulley jrIn Memory of Mr. Benjamin T. Pulley, Jr. September 17, 1924-April 6, 2012

From steam to diesel to electric, Lebanon’s Ben Pulley was mesmerized by trains for sixty years. After his death his family donated his entire train layout and some of his trains to Fiddlers Grove so that his love for model railroading would continue.” – Fiddlers Grove Train Museum


August 15-23, 2014

Monday – Friday – 5:00 p.m.

Saturdays – 10:00 a.m.

Sunday – 12 noon


Adults – $7.00

Children 6-12 – $5

5 & Under FREE


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Author JB Millhollin

Re-Writing the Rules after Retirement

Spotlight On . . . Author, J. B. Millhollin


1. You and your wife, Rhonda, are residents of Wilson County, how did you arrive here? How does it compare to where you were living before?

When I sold my practice and Title Company in Iowa, we knew we wanted to live near our daughter and her family. She is Director of Sales with the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. We liked the concept of the Del Webb lifestyle and bought a home in that community while still living in Iowa. We love Tennessee and particularly the Wilson County area. The people are wonderful, and, of course, the entertainment is second to none.

2. What line of work were you in before you decided to write your first book?

I was an attorney and owned a Title Company. I was also the County Attorney in our community, elected and then reelected a total of 8 times. The Author JB MillhollinAuthor JB Millhollinexperience I had in the courtroom while practicing, is now reflected in most of my novels.

3. How many books have you written?

I am in the process of completing my fifth novel.

4. How did the idea for your first book come to you?

“Brakus,” a fictional account of Roy Brakus, a professional thief, was my first novel. I had always wanted to write but never had the time. My profession occupied all of my weekdays and many times, the weekends. As I started to wind down my practice, I decided to take the time and try writing a novel. I wanted to use my experience from my practice and particularly my experiences from the Courtroom. The Brakus story consists of three volumes of which the first is now available. The second volume will be available on August 3, and the last available this fall. The main character is in and out of the Courtroom. Roy also struggles with OCD which makes for an interesting and fun writing experience—a thief that breaks into homes but struggles with stepping on a crack in a tile floor presents many, many interesting situations indeed. Keep in mind, the novels I write are generally about bad events that happen to good people. Many times they involve characters that you would not want to invite into your home. As a result, the language and the situations they get into are not something you would probably want to read to your child.

5. How long did it take you to write Brakus? Do you have a set pattern in which you write?

It took me quite some time to write “Brakus” since I was still practicing law. Now, normally I write each morning and it takes about six months to complete a novel. Of course, there is much more to it than simply planning each chapter and writing it out. I review every chapter, word by word, sometimes seven or eight times, to make sure it says exactly what I want it to say. I once spent an hour on one sentence!

6. Where can someone buy your book right now?

At this time, “Brakus” is available as a Kindle download and in paperback, from Amazon. It is also available in paperback from Touchpoint Press, Barnes and Noble and Books A Million. Subsequent novels will also be available from the same sources.

7. When will your second book come out?JB Millhollin “An Absence of Ethics” Book

My second novel is entitled “An Absence of Ethics” and involves a young attorney by the name of Rosa Norway, who becomes  involved with a Judge, while in the middle of a trial over which he presides. Most of my novels are set in the Nashville/ Wilson County area and this one is no exception. It is now available through Amazon as a Kindle download and will shortly be available in paperback through those same locations.

8. What would you say to writers who have still not been able to publish their first book?

First, get a real job. This is a difficult profession. It took me months to find an agent and then a publisher. And, I was one of the lucky ones. Figure out a way to make a living WHILE you write. There are so few writers that become successful but if you are one of the lucky ones, you can be “discovered” just as easily while you are making a living, as you can if you have no job and are starving. However, Do NOT give up. It is a difficult process but so worth it in the end.

9. How can your readers meet you or learn about new releases?

We are in the process of setting up book signings in the Wilson County area which will be outlined on my local resume services website, JB and also on my Facebook page, JB Millhollin, author.


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dell web development

Del Webb – Five Star Living AND Five Star Giving

Mt. Juliet’s Del Webb Lake Providence Residents Enjoy Living and Giving 


dell web developmentThe sprawling Del Webb developement is anchored by a 24,000 square foot clubhouseWhat will you do in the second half of your life? How about “anything you want to!” That’s true especially for residents of the Del Webb Lake Providence (DWLP) community.

This impressive active adult residential development was created by Pulte Homes to offer the homeowners a lifestyle that enhances recreation, health and wellness, social interaction, education, community involvement, and most importantly, lots of fun. And all of this is in a beautiful, safe and secure environment.

dell web development 2Photo by Aerial Innovations of TN Inc compliments of Pulte Group

When you pull through the gated entrance, you can’t miss the spectacular 24,000 sq. ft. clubhouse. The clubhouse and surrounding grounds offer amenities that rival many five-star resorts. It includes an indoor and outdoor pool and spa, aerobics studio, fitness center and indoor walking track, arts and crafts room, meeting room, and multi-purpose ballroom. Outside, residents enjoy beautiful lawns for events and relaxation, the 15 acre lake for fishing and paddleboats, walking trails, and an outdoor sports complex with tennis, pickleball, basketball, and more. And we cannot leave out the community garden with more than 75 raised beds, initially built by Pulte and the Landscape Committee, and now managed by the Garden Club.

The community’s Lifestyles Director, Shari Arnold, is like the captain of a luxury cruise ship. She and her fellow staff members navigate the daily activities and management of the development for the more than 1,700 residents, with the assistance of a Board of Directors made up of homeowners, and numerous committees and community activities operated by dozens of resident volunteers. Shari says, “My job is to provide our residents with a lifestyle experience that enhances the quality of their lives, by offering a safe, enriching environment, and activities for fun, education, and recreation. It’s rewarding to see that many of my friends here are living healthier and happier lives.”

A Louisiana native, Arnold previously worked for Gaylord Entertainment and the Grand Ole Opry, and is employed by First Service Residential, management services provider at Del Webb.


The amenities at Del Webb Lake Providence are fabulous, but what makes the community really special is the people.

Del Webb homeowners can be as active or relaxed as they choose, and enjoy the interests and activities that they enjoy most. Whether married or single, the safe and friendly, family-like atmosphere provides the opportunity for residents to stay young at heart. DWLP has more than 80 organized clubs and active groups that meet, sharing their knowledge, abilities, and creativity. Whatever the interest, there is the opportunity to share in arts and crafts, fitness and sports, social clubs, dining and dancing, books and learning, hobbies, cards and games, travel, and volunteerism. (See our list of some of the recreational activities, clubs, and volunteer activities.)

And for all of the residents, there are community events throughout the year, including concerts by the lake, with major stars like Ronnie Milsap and the Oak Ridge Boys, sporting events, holiday events, and parties for many occasions. The community especially enjoys activities which honor the veterans, with a very patriotic Veterans Day. There are frequent Lunch and Learn educational luncheons with guest speakers, block parties, and almost all of the activities have one thing in common…food!

del webb softball teamDel Webb softball team
Many residents admit to gaining a few pounds after moving to Lake Providence despite all of the activity, because they never miss an opportunity to combine food, fellowship and fun.


It’s no wonder that the team of Del Webb’s Lake Providence volunteers has been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Hundreds of volunteers actively help local non-profits, community projects, schools, ministries, veterans and military families, sports and recreation programs, community safety, and the local fire fighters. Lake Providence has a special relationship with one local school, Rutland Elementary, where residents have adopted the school and provide volunteers for the school’s needs, and activities throughout the school year.


Before moving to Del Webb, Ron Williams had a stroke that partially impaired his vision. He said he immediately felt safe crossing the streets in LakeRon Williams & Bud McReeDel Webb residents Ron Williams & Bud McRee Providence, and within a few minutes he and his wife knew, “This is where we want to be.” Williams, also a local realtor, drives his classic custom red golf cart most of time. He is active in many sports activities, including Del Webb’s softball team and pickleball competitions, a popular sport, similar to tennis. Williams noted that it’s the perfect place for baby boomers to retire. Fellow resident Bud McRee chimed in that, “Del Webb is an excitement community, not a retirement community.” Both Bud and Ron participate in the TN Senior Olympics, along with about 60 other residents that Pulte sponsored in the Del Webb Senior Olympics competitions. Bud was among 20 participants who went to the national competition, where he won a silver medal in pickleball. In the TN Senior Olympics, Del Webb residents competed in biking, running, swimming, javelin throwing, Del Webb residents pickleball, cycling, tennis, and table tennis, just to name a few! They brought home 5 silver medals and numerous top 15 finishes. The Del Webb athletes are also active in promoting Senior Olympic events throughout the community, working in partnership with Mt. Juliet Parks and Recreation. (To learn more about the TN Senior Olympics visit:


Susan & Colin Perkins - Wine ClubDel Webb residents Susan & Colin Perkins – Wine ClubSusan and Colin Perkins moved to Lake Providence after living 19 years in Franklin, TN. Susan said, “Until you live here and get to experience it, you can’t understand. It’s like Disneyworld for seniors! We have caring neighbors, who are now our friends. There is every opportunity to have a great life here, and find people to enjoy doing the things you do. There is something here for everyone.” Susan and Colin started what is now one of the community’s most popular clubs, the Wine Club. The club boasts more than 180 members, who bring wine and food once a month to meetings, with a fun theme selected ahead of time.

GIVING BACKBrenda Burgett The Love Bear MinistryBrenda Burgett The Love Bear Ministry

Two of the hundreds of Lake Providence volunteers who dedicate a great deal of their time helping others are Brenda Burgett and Barbara Graves. Brenda started the non-profit, The Love Bear Ministry, to brighten the day for children and adults in  distress. The ministry provides thousands of stuffed animals as an act of love to hurting people, to hospitals, other non-profits, veteran’s families, disaster survivors, etc.  New teddy bears and stuffed animals may be donated by contacting Brenda at

Barbara Graves, also known as Grandma Rutland, is an active volunteer at Rutland Elementary, Lake Providence’s adopted school. She and the other volunteers help feed more than 110 children takehome meals through the back-pack program, provide school supplies, mentoring and reading assistance, a clothes closet, lunch room monitors, and field trip chaperones. They provide library books, sponsor children in need at Christmas, provide Thanksgiving meals, and have a trunk-or-treat at Halloween. Barbara says, “Lake Providence is a peaceful place. I leave my worries at the gate. There are so many ways to serve, and activities to enjoy. It is true adult living, for 50 year olds and 90 year olds.”

Mt Juliet City Manager, Kenny Martin, notes that, “Del Webb and its residents have been a tremendous blessing to our community and county. The passion of the residents and willingness to volunteer or even take on major projects has been amazing. The love for community, willingness to shop locally by supporting city and county businesses and desire to help whenever needed has been a breath of fresh air.Barbara GravesBarbara Graves, Rutland Elementary School Volunteer

Since the majority of Del Webb residents are retired or semiretired, they are always willing to volunteer and share their knowledge which is impressive to say the least. I can’t imagine our community without Del Webb and its residents and appreciate them for all they do for our/their community.”


Safety and security is one of the bonuses of living in Lake Providence. The Safety Committee, chaired by resident volunteer RickCampen, helps to improve, maintain and monitor safety with block captains, security cart volunteers, and neighborhood watch. The committee works in partnership with Mt. Juliet Police and Fire Departments. Lake Providence volunteers were instrumental in securing support for the new Mt. Juliet Fire Hall, and provided a mobile rehab unit for firefighters and emergency workers to use during fire and emergency calls. They also help with traffic control and security for special events, like the “Geezer Gatta.”

Rick CampenRick Campen Safety Committee ChairmanAnother volunteer hat that Rick wears is helping to organize the Geezer Gatta (short for regatta). These fun sailboat races are a favorite for the residents to come out and watch. Participants also come from other states and countries to operate the radio-controlled sailboats, and stay in the homes of local residents. These mini sailboats can travel as fast as 50 mph, and competition can be fierce.


Here’s a sampling of the Del Webb Lake Providence recreational activities, clubs, and volunteer efforts.

Arts & Crafts: crafts, digital photography, scrapbooking, crochet, painting, newsletter group, knitting, quilting, sewing

Fitness & Sports: zumba, baseball, softball, basketball, pickleball, bocce ball, water aerobics, tai chi, tennis, line dance, biking, yoga, golf, hiking, cycling, walking, volleyball

Social: ballroom dance, men’s club, women’s club, single’s club, widow/widowers, community theatre, dinner club, Rotary, Kiwanis, veteran’s group, Red Hat Society, wine club, music

Books & Learning: Bible study, book club, diet and nutrition, computers, investment club

Hobbies: model boat, civil war club, cat club, coin club, computer club, cooking club, crazy for cars, Del Webb singers, fishing, gardening, genealogy, history/geography club

Cards & Games: billiards, bingo, board games, bowling, bridge, bunko,b canasta, cribbage, euchre, chess, ping-pong, poker Road & Travel: travel club, cruising, motorcycle club, Road Scholar

Volunteer Opportunities: American Cancer Society/Relay for Life, Brooks House, Fire station #1 & #3, Rehab unit, Goodwill Industries, American Red Cross, MDA Kids for Camp, Wounded Warrior Project, TN National Guard families (gift cards), Mt. Juliet Help Center, Wilson County Animal Shelter, Knit & Crochet for Charity, The Love Bear Ministry, Rutland Elementary School, Restore/Habitat for Humanity, Lantern Lane Farms, Dress for Success (women’s career clothing), Gear for Career (men’s success clothing), Haiti projects, Box Top for Education, Cell Phones for Soldiers, Empower Me Day Camp, Home Safe of Wilson County, Lion’s Club (eyeglasses), Ronald McDonald House Charities, Veterans Home, Wilson County CASA, Wilson County Salvation Army, United Way of Wilson County, Joseph’s Storehouse, Niven’s & McFarlin-Veterans home, Timberline Campground, AMVETS, Thistle Farms, Charis Health Center, SCAN (Sr. Citizens Awareness Network), Hands on Nashville


Del Webb Lake Providence is located at 1100 Del Webb Blvd. near Providence Mall and I-40 in Mount Juliet.

It is for adults who have reached that special age of 55.

For more information, visit their website at

call (615) 773-2535 sales center (615) 758-4614 clubhouse or email


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Sonny's Cafe

Sonny’s Cafe in Mt. Juliet

Sonny's CafeBrother and Sister Noah and Grace Marrero and manager Kristen Rowe Stokes tend to the food and clientele at Sonny’s 



Nashville may still be Music City, but there is plenty of music in Mt. Juliet, as well as a tempting menu of crepes, soups salads, sandwiches, and desserts at Sonny’s Music Café and Creperie on the corner of Nonaville Road and Lebanon Road. Sonny’s features bluegrass and acoustic music six nights a week.

Sonny's CafeSonny Steiner shows off some of his signature crepesProprietor Sonny Steiner worked in the food industry, the music business, and ran a video production company, but says he’s had the dream of opening his own restaurant for 25 years. He first got the idea when he was living in Olympia, Washington.  “There was a cool old hippie there who had a unique guitar store downtown,” he says. “There was a cool little coffee shop  right next door to his guitar store and I would always see people walk out of his store and into the coffee shop, and I would always think, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if I could somehow combine these two businesses together?’”

“I’ve always worked in the restaurant business because it’s the ideal industry for dreamers, and people who are chasing artistic ambitions,” Sonny says. “For 20 years it has allowed me to travel the country and play music.” He got into the production business as a by-product of the music business, and found himself getting more and more clients.

“I traveled the country and abroad shooting events, music videos, concerts, commercials and documentaries. Although the production business was successful, I found it to be similar to the music business in the sense that it’s a feast or famine’ industry.” Tiring of the road, he started making plans in 2010 to make his café dream a reality and drew up a business plan. Sonny says it must have been a “God thing” for him to end up in Mt. Juliet. He always planned to open the café in Nashville;—Donelson to be exact. “My business plan, marketing strategies and demographic research, all revolved around Donelson and its void in the market for a good coffee shop and a good music venue,” Sonny says. “When I finally raised all of the money from my investors, bank loans and personal savings, it was time to start looking for the right place in Donelson. It’s no exaggeration to say that I looked at every available piece of suitable commercial property within the city limits of Donelson for this venture. Every time I thought I found a building, it wouldn’t work out for some reason or another.” Then someone told him about a space in Mt. Juliet. “My first reaction was ‘but all of my research is based on Donelson. I don’t know anything about Mt. Juliet or how this type of business would be received there,’” he says. Sonny wasn’t crazy about the original location he saw or the terms on the contract, so he was torn. One afternoon, he went driving around Mt. Juliet. He stopped at the former location of Scarlett’s Garden Tea Room.  “As I was eating I kept looking around at the space thinking to myself and praying silently ‘Lord I wish I could’ve found a place like this. It’s big enough to do everything I want to do, it already has a kitchen, it needs minimal work, and it has a beautiful yard for outside seating.” The next day, just before he was ready to sign the contract on the first building, Sonny got a call from his real estate agent telling him that Scarlett’s was for sale. He told his agent to draw up an offer right away.

After working in the restaurant business off and on for 20 years, you acquire the understanding of which foods pair well with others,” he says. “It was really just a matter of (manager) Kristen and I spending time in the kitchen going through trial and error, using her husband Steve and several of our friends as guinea pigs. I also have a lot of very knowledgeable friends who lent their opinions. One is my good friend Nigel Cox who used to be a chef for the Royal Family in Buckingham Palace. He has generously given his time and expertise to helping me perfect our food,” Sonny says,

“Although we sell great sandwiches, salads, pastries and homemade soups, our featured items are crepes,” Sonny says. We have savory crepes and sweet crepes. Our most popular savory crepe is called The Babe. It’s loaded with honey baked ham, Havarti cheese, cream cheese, asparagus, spinach, and it’s drizzled with savory brown Marsala sauce.” The savory crepes also include salmon, chicken pesto, turkey, cheese, and other combinations. “Our most popular sweet crepe is called the Berry Bomb,” he says. “It’s loaded with a medley of fresh blueberries, strawberries and blackberries, homemade sweet cream sauce and topped with fresh homemade berry sauce and whip cream.” The Peach Crepe and Cobbler is another favorite at Sonny’s.

The Barrel Jumpers perform weekly at Sonny’s Music Café and Creperie in Mt. JulietThe Barrel Jumpers perform weekly at Sonny’s Music Café and Creperie in Mt. JulietAnd there is also a full menu of veggie crepes and breakfast crepes as well, as Sonny’s is open for breakfast. The music theme permeates the establishment, from the live music to the bevvy of guitars adorning the walls of Sonny’s.

“With the guitars hanging on the walls, the bars that are painted like pianos, the classic car in the front yard, the vintage Vespa in the window and all the other collectible memorabilia on the walls, I think we have achieved that goal. People of all ages have commented on the comfortable atmosphere and the cool vibe,” Sonny says. “I choose to have live music because it’s the theme and the heart of what we are. We are a Music Cafe. I’m proud of this restaurant and I absolutely love the compliments we receive on our food but my first love is music. Without music there would be no Sonny’s Cafe.”

Sonny says he couldn’t be happier about landing in Wilson County, even if all of his demographic research led him to Donelson. “I’m a man of faith and I believe that where God guides He provides. In my heart I knew that this Music Cafe was something that God had put on my heart,” he says. “This community is awesome! We couldn’t have asked for a better first month. The people in Mt. Juliet seem to appreciate small businesses and it shows in the support and encouragement we have received from them. We already have regulars!” Sonny says. “I love this town and when I pay off all my investors Isonnys 4 plan to buy a house here.”

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
7 days a week
7 am to 8 pm

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Special People & Notable Opportunities



Each weekday morning MJ makes drive time more tolerable with her quick wit, warm personality and altogether positive attitudeThere are special people in my life and notable opportunities that have allowed me the blessing of living the good life.

For as long as I can remember I have loved radio. As a little kid, I always had a radio beside my bed and would listen each night until I fell asleep. I would mimic the DJ’s and even create my own commercials from products in my Grandmother’s bathroom. I would set up a “radio studio” in my room with two turn tables and a microphone (I used a recorder flute as a microphone) and would play radio. We had several radio stations in my hometown; one was at a local shopping plaza called the Cascades. The radio station studio was enclosed in glass and I would stand there with my nose pressed against the glass watching the AP wire and watch the DJ’s work as I dreamed.

As a child, radio was an escape and a chance to get away from all the bad things that were going on. Starting at the age of 6 years old I was being abused. By listening to the radio I could go anywhere in the world and I felt safe.

Through all I’ve been through as a child, I never seemed to lose hope. My sweet grandmother and great grandmother, made sure that I went to Church, was baptized and confirmed. My faith and hope is what saved me.

At the age of 14 I started working at a western and English tack and apparel store. I worked there and MJ LucasMJ on live radio WANT FM 98.9 / WCOR AM 1490ended up managing the store and purchasing advertising from our local country radio station. (The same radio station that as a small child I use to complain about how they played only twangy old music and would change the channel.) One day, while talking with the radio station salesperson, I mentioned how my dream had always been to work in radio and be an on air personality. She said “really”, and mentioned to me that there was an opening at WMOP radio and that I should audition. I did and the rest is history!

I was with WMOP for 10 years and during that last year my mother had a brief battle with cancer. After she passed in 1996, I realized that God had new plans for me. I was encouraged by a friend living in Middle Tennessee to visit. Little did I know that this was the next big step I would take in my life. Prior to my Mother getting sick and passing away, I don’t think I would have ever considered moving or leaving Florida. It seemed like a “God moment”.

Just like radio, I felt like God was opening up another door. I didn’t know what it was, I just had faith. Well, it WAS a God thing. After visiting and then making the move to Nashville I started working in TV for a short while before I stumbled across an awesome radio station that reminded me of home. WANT FM 98.9 / WCOR AM 1490. Our station in Florida was also a Real Country radio affiliate. I picked up the phone and talked with the owner, Susie, about coming in for a station tour and the rest is history. God knew better than I that Tennessee and a place called Wilson County would be a great place for this Florida girl to heal and grow.

M J LucasMJ and Susie James preparing material for the morning showI was still hurting over the years of abuse and neglecting myself as I was neglected as a kid. This year I turned 50 and it clicked for me. I needed to take better care of myself. A friend of mine asked me to take part in Lean in Lebanon at Sports Village. I went, but not with out a lot of “moaning and groaning and kicking and screaming.” With that, I got into working out and eating better, making drastic changes in my eating habits and my life. I feel so much better and to date, I’ve lost 43 pounds. And recently I signed up to participate in a an event called Warrior Dash – the World’s largest obstacle race series on the some of the most rugged terrain in more than 50 locations across the globe. As a participant, I will be racing across a fierce 3-4 mile course and will take on 12 extreme obstacles. By the way, this event supports one of my favorite causes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

It’s been a journey and I’m glad that my journey landed me in Lebanon/Wilson County. The people have welcomed this Florida girl with open arms and given her more than they know. Tennessee is home!

Today, my ministry is using my voice through radio, social media, and being a part of many great events in Wilson County as an emcee and volunteer. I have been involved with many great organizations like New Leash on Life, Relay for Life, Go Johnny Go, City of Lebanon Beautification Commission, March of Dimes Foundation, Cannonballs for Charis, Brooks House, just to name a few. I am a member of Faith Lutheran Church here in Lebanon and I always try to step up when I feel my voice can make a difference.

I have two awesome furry babies, Brewster and Truffles, who are my best buddies! I have been in radio since MJ LucasIt’s safe to say that MJ’s fur babies, Brewster and Truffles enjoy living the “Good Life” with their biggest fans1986 and am going into my 28th year of doing what I love. I also love the outdoors and spend a lot of time on the water on my boat named “Lucky Dog”. I love to visit the beach as often as I can and I love, love, love, those Florida Gators! (Go GATORS!) That little girl from Maricamp Road in Ocala, Florida has come a long way. I love life and love to laugh! I am thankful for each and every day. With the Grace of God, I truly am living the “Good Life!”

 MJ lives each day by her favorite bible verse:

Matthew 17:20; Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (And she wears a Mustard Seed, given to her by a childhood friend as a reminder)

MJ LucasWhen she’s not spinning classic country hits, stumping listeners with trivia or hitting the gym, MJ is usually out on the water in her boat, “Lucky Dog”

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It’s All in the Details



Brandon and Linlee Allen love to entertain, live life and raise their family in Wilson County

There is nothing like the pressure of hosting one of Wilson County’s most popular summer soirees to kick one’s interior design plans into high gear. Just ask the Allens…..

Continue reading “It’s All in the Details”

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Current Edition’s Table Of Contents

         July/August 2014 Features

      A Note From the Founders  

10     Sabrina – Out On the Town

11     Upcoming Events
         Meet Your Neighbor
Brandon & Linlee Allen share their love of home 

         City Between the Lakes
22     Sonny’s Cafe in Mt. Juliet

         About Town
26     Del Webb – Five Star Living AND Five Star Giving   

         Spotlight On
Re-writing the Rules After Retirement

         Wilson County Fair Favorite
34     Love of Trains Lives On        

         July/August 2014 Features

         Styles & Trends
Tina Brady showcases sparkle with Music City Bling

         Coming Home
41     Twelve Ideas for Back to School

43     America an Exceptional Nation

         Q & A Amber
45     Never Lose Sight of your Shore 

         Around the Bend
47     Cordell Hull Bridge in Smith County reopens 

         Living in the Past
56     The Food and Tradition of Snow White Drive-In

         Piece of the Good Life
 MJ Lucas bestows blessings of the “Good Life”



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A Parade Like No Other


Nothing says small town America like a good ole’ fashioned parade. And on the 4th of July many of the candidates gathered in Watertown for a parade on Main Street and through the town square. If you haven’t ventured out to Watertown for their parade, then I suggest next year you make plans to attend because theirs is like no other.  

I’m not sure who came up with the idea but it seems right for the Watertown parade to consist of ….water and lots of it. The idea is to pretty much soak the participants as well as the attendees. It’s basically war as water is flying out of high powered water guns or straight from huge buckets. Those in the parade fight back with their own arsenal. 

Some candidates like Team Andy Wright ventured into the wet zone, while others like Bud Brandon preferred to meet folks from the no splash zone. 

Needless to say the weather was beautiful and everyone enjoyed the festivities. Some were just more wet than others!

After the parade, everyone gathered on the town square for speeches from the candidates as well as the auctioning of some delicious cakes made by many from Watertown. 

Later that night as I looked at my photos of my kids and I in the parade, I thought to myself, ‘what an awesome memory’. As we had travelled down Main Street we saw people sitting on their front porches waving and smiling. Many of those same people later walked down to the town square (only minutes from their homes) to listen and learn about the candidates. And at the end of the day, many left with a freshly baked caked prepared by one of their neighbors. 

The 4th of July is a day of celebrating America and it’s freedoms – I can think of no better way to have spent it than as we did. 

Click Here to see some great photos from the Parade.

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So You Want To Run For Office?

Drive down Main Street these days and it’s as if someone threw up politicians.  As a card carrying member (by marriage) of these folks running for office, I think it’s my civic duty to share the lessons I’ve learned …thus far.  

1. The soil in these parts is rock covered with more rock…and then some.    

I can’t tell you how many afternoons I’ve struggled pushing metal posts into our so called soil. I’ve now developed a system for getting them in, which basically consists of coming in at an angle, holding my mouth just right, and praising the Lord Jesus when the stake goes in on the first try. 

If it doesn’t go in on the first attempt, then I’ve developed a system for that as well. It consists of multiple jabs of the stake into the rock bed, followed by countless foot stomps, after which I invoke the candidates name in vain followed by another choice word or two, and like magic the stake will finally sink into the ground…on one side. 

But it’s in! 

2.   Once a sign is in, so help the person who pulls it out!

Once you’ve placed a sign, it’s much like giving birth. That’s your baby and you always know exactly where he/she/it is. Until someone steals your baby. Then much like if a real baby were taken, you lose your mind. That’s when you and your best friend go into stealth mode and photos of the culprits stealing your decoy baby are finally obtained.  Granted, if a real baby were taken, putting out a decoy baby may seem a bit much, but I guess it all depends on how much you love your baby. 

I love mine a lot, especially the ones I put up in the pouring rain thinking the ground wouldn’t be as hard. (FYI…rain does not soften rock)

3.    Tattooing your name across my forehead is where I draw the line…I think. 

Buttons, t-shirts, caps and even baby onesies, the people making out like bandits right now are the novelty stores. The only time I’m allowed to not be a walking billboard is when I’m at work and even then, as I leave the house my youngest will call out, “put on your button.”  The button is now the bain of my existence. And the two tiny holes…in every single piece of clothing I own are the mark of all who are now part of this club.

4.  Carbs are the name of the game. 

From fish fries to bean dinners to cake walks, apparently none of the organizations hosting political events have ever considered putting out a salad bar. And for that – I say THANK YOU – because this girl likes her cake, especially when allowed to eat it too! Running for office is basically carb heaven. I haven’t seen a leafy green vegetable in months and that’s reason enough for me to vote! 

5. It’s a good thing kids can’t vote. 

If you don’t have kids or at least someone else’s kids you can borrow – well you might as well hang it up. Kids can put together signs, unload cars, hand out fans, wear your shirt and can even man the booth, while you grab a snack. 

Why? Because this is your Dad and we love him. It’s our civic duty to be part of the process. It’s summer and you have nothing else to do. 

How ‘bout, because I said so! 

Democracy, you see, doesn’t start until they’re 18 and can vote against you.

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Notes from the Founders


It’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks the kids will be back in school. So before that happens ask yourself these questions:

What memories did you create?

What special moments will you look back on?

If you haven’t made any yet, the good news is, there’s still time! Sometimes we just need a reminder to take action. Consider yourself reminded.

Now onto our very special summer issue.

Wilson County residents, Brandon and Linlee Allen shared some special family moments with us during our cover shoot this month. The Allens hosted the 2014 Patrons’ Party, Cumberland University’s premiere fundraising event that precedes the Phoenix Ball. Turn to page 16 to meet the Allen family and check out their beautiful home.

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know we are in the middle of a very important election season. In fact, early voting begins on July 18. If you want change, there’s no better way to start than voting in your local elections. Not to say our presidential and congressional elections aren’t important, but understanding your local government is the first step to better understanding all levels of government. To commemorate elections, we created a link that gives you an opportunity to learn about candidates and cast a mock vote for your choice. See how your candidates fare on

Residents of Wilson County and its neighbors breathed a sigh of relief when word quickly spread that Lebanon treasure, Snow White Drive-In, would not be demolished. Instead Snow White owner, Billy Wyatt and staff will continue serving up signature dishes and desserts a lot of us grew up with. This good news made Snow White the perfect feature for “Living in the Past.”

In 2011, the first of the baby boom generation reached 65 years old. Since then analysts with AARP (American Association of Retired People) say for the next 18 years baby boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of 8,000 per day. This could be one reason there’s been an influx of adult residential developments popping up across the country. One of those developments is Del Webb Lake Providence in Mt. Juliet. While Del Webb amenities rival five star resorts, residents are serious about giving back to the community by volunteering. In fact, Del Webb’s Lake Providence volunteers have been awarded the President’s Volunteer Servicemaward three times. Learn more about our Del Webb neighbors on page 26.

The weather isn’t the only thing that’s hot in Wilson County these days. A few weeks ago, Lebanon resident, entrepreneur and star of TNT reality series “Private Lives of Nashville Wives,” Tina Brady, launched her hand crafted jewelry line, Music City Bling.

Since then, MCB has become a hot commodity among bling lovers across the country. Tina was kind enough to share fun facts about her new venture and gives readers a sneak peek at some of her creations in this issues’ Style & Trends section.

So have a seat, put your feet up and enjoy this very special issue.

Until next time, keep reading!


Email Angel at or Becky at

Check out all our new blogs each week online at

  • Angel Kane & Becky Andrews – Co-Editors
  • Erin Brown, Denise Moore & Bess Anne Warren – Advertising Consultants
  • Ken Beck, Dan Kane, Jana Pastors, Donna Neeley & Amy Rich – Photography
  • Donna Neeley – Creative Art Design & Production
  • Carrie Tomlin, Mary Anne Ferrell – Advertising Design
  • Shelley Satterfield – Accounts
  • Ken Beck, Dr Roy Harris, Randy Rudder, Sue Siens, Tiffany Cunningham, Amelia Morrison Hipps, Brody Kane, Sabrina Garrett,  Elizabeth Scruggs, Amber Hurdle – Contributing Writers
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