POOL DAYS ARE THE BEST DAYS

follow link Take A Dip Into the World of Gene Kulas Pools

There is something to be said about sitting out by a pool on a hot summer day. And one man, who definitely sees the benefit in that, is local pool builder, Gene Kulas.

see Gene and his wife, Leanna, live in Lebanon and soon will be moving into their forever home built on Leanna’s family farm. Their pool is still in the planning stages but chances are it will be spectacular!

Gene was raised in Hartford, Connecticut. The son of Polish immigrants, he grew up speaking polish at home and being the interpreter for his parents. He also grew up visiting his aunt and uncle who lived in Mt. Juliet and soon fell in love with the area. At the age of 16, he moved in with his aunt and uncle, ready to make middle Tennessee home. Immediately upon arriving, he went to work with Roy and Janet Vaden of Roy Vaden Pools. He would often work for them and then later that same day work at Big Lots and when not working those two jobs, would be found at Mega Market sacking groceries.

He was taught work is good for the soul from his parents and grandparents and since the age of 16 he has continually been working to support his family.

After graduating high school, he continued to work for Roy helping build pools with him and soon after met his wife, Leanna (King) Kulas. “Becky Sellars was a friend of mine and she was working at the pool store with Gene. She set us up and the rest is history!’ , states Leanna.

In 1997 Gene and Leanna married and together have built a wonderful family and thriving business. They have two children Anna Cate who is in college and Alek who is a Senior in high school.

Gene Kulas Pools has been in business since 1998 and Gene tries to only build 8 to 10 pools a year because he does the job himself from start to finish. “I remain on the job the entire process. I can build a pool, renovate an existing pool and also help design and build outdoor living environments. I’m also a licensed contractor and electrician and have been building pools from the ground up now for over 25 years. With proper planning, there’s nothing we can’t build.”

Every year, Gene takes classes to be sure to stay current on the latest building trends and innovations. Automation is becoming a feature everyone wants and with smartphones you can now control your entire pool with an App. Some of his favorite pools that he has built include a guitar-shaped pool he built for a Nashville musician which was featured on the Today Show and recently he built a lazy river pool for a family in Franklin.

see To come up with his ideas, Gene will sit with the homeowner and find out their wish list and their vision. “I take into account the architecture and color of their home, is it rustic, modern, or formal and how the yard lays. I have built small pools for exercise and large pools and spa combos. If you can dream it, I can build it.”

Keeping the business small remains a priority for Gene. “I don’t have a storefront or big overhead. I don’t do much advertising either. My clients come to me based on referrals which makes me feel good because that means I did a good job for somebody else.”

The future looks bright for Gene. His son is becoming more and more interested in the pool business and the family will soon settle into their new home in Lebanon – a home Gene built himself at night and on weekends.

“By next spring we hope to be enjoying our own pool and I’m excited to start building more pools in my community as I plan to stay closer to home so that I can come home at night and finally enjoy my own pool!” Gene Kulas Pools can be found on Facebook and Instagram at @genekulas_pools

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The Road Home

By Angel Kane

As I sit here on my porch this early Saturday morning, I’m amazed by how time flies.

Four years ago I wrote an article about our oldest child leaving for college. At the time I thought my heart would break. Dropping her off and driving away was one of my toughest days thus far. I sobbed for the first hour and for the second and third hour, my husband and I sat in almost complete silence driving home. 

We were always trying to teach her to be strong and self-sufficient, but to be honest we didn’t think she was listening! 

And then she was gone. 

Four years have passed and since then our #2 has followed in her sister’s footsteps and gone off to college. (A different one in a completely different direction because that’s what middle children do!)

And in that time we’ve survived. 

Probably because #3 is still here and we are completely obsessed, with him. Some mornings, I literally just stare at him eating his breakfast. 

“You’re doing that thing again. It’s freaky.” he used to tell me. (Apparently a completely normal phenomenon for parents trying to soak in the last few years of child-rearing. ) Bless his heart though, four years later, he no longer says anything and just lets me stare. And then he gives me a long hug goodbye before he heads to school. 

But next week our eldest returns. 

I remember the first year she was gone, I followed her every move on my Verizon App. I’d obsess if she wasn’t in her dorm by a decent hour. I’d fret over her wardrobe choices and friend missteps. And if she didn’t text back for over three hours, I’d start calling her friends to look for her! (True story, and now she responds a little more quickly.) 

When she was happy we were thrilled, when she was sad we were crushed. She studied, she worked, she traveled. And each time we’d see her, she was a little smarter, a little stronger and a lot more self-assured.

She returns with two degrees in hand, a job lined up an hour from home and not the little Madi we dropped off with her matching dorm room bedding and twinkly lights. 

I like this Madi more. 

She survived and thrived and learned she could stand on her own two feet. That’s what we wanted after all. 

Soon after I wrote my initial article, I was at the park walking. Glenda Davis was walking too. She may not remember, but she called out to me and said, “I read your article, just know it gets easier. She’ll be fine. This is what we raised them to do. “ For some reason, her words brought me the peace I’d been looking for. She had once been in my shoes and knew how the story ended. 

So for all the mammas that are dropping their first-borns off this week, just know time will pass quicker than you know. They will call you heartbroken, they will call you overjoyed, each experience is a step to who they are meant to become. 

And those steps will eventually lead them home. 

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Small town compassion, Big town ideas

  • Dr. Melanie Cripps

 

Two types of people end up in Smith County. Those lucky enough to be born there and those smart enough to move there. Dr. Melanie Cripps is the latter and she is here to stay having put down deep roots in just a few short years.

Raised in Hermitage and a graduate of McGavock High School and TSU, Melanie fell into chiropractic medicine by accident. While in college she began experiencing daily headaches and was prescribed three medications to try to solve the problem. Even at her young age, she knew this was not the right answer. After much research, she decided to try chiropractic and within a few short visits, was pain-free.

It was clear to her, that medicine needs to try address the cause and not treat the symptoms. Her path was set.

After college, she headed to Atlanta to pursue her doctorate in Chiropractic at Life University. Following graduation, she moved home with a vision of something a little different. In a male-dominated profession, she wanted to build a practice with a feminine approach and Carthage was the perfect place to do that.

While in school, Melanie’s own mother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins’s Lymphoma and she remembers that time as terrifying for herself and family, that includes her one sister Leticia. Her mother refused traditional therapies and instead chose a natural approach to diet and lifestyle changes. She beat cancer. “I was in awe at what the human body can do, under the right conditions.”

Today Melanie’s parents, Miguel and Magda Cruz, continue to reside in Hermitage while Melanie has not only established her business but her own family in Carthage. In 2017, Melanie married Assistant District Attorney Javin Cripps and became a bonus mom to Addie and Anna. Together they are helping Melanie’s vision take shape in the community they both love.

“I was raised by a strong, Puerto Rican family. We were raised to work hard, be kind and have faith. My parents taught us that no one can ever take away your education, so get as much of it as you can.”

In April of 2018, after a few years at another location in Carthage, Melanie put that education to good use in a larger facility. Her husband was a big help, moonlighting as both her architect and contractor. “I told him my dream and he made it a reality.”

Carthage Family Chiropractic offers a drug-free solution for dis-ease of the human body. They also offer massage therapy. “There is a stigma out there that chiropractic is about popping bones and that people have to keep coming back for life. That’s not true. Simply put, we are trained to find and correct spinal misalignment so that the brain and body can send messages through the spinal cord and nerves without interference. If you think of your brain and nerves as the electrical system in your house, we reset the breakers in the fuse box.”

Melanie believes that chiropractic is necessary now more than ever. “We help people without the use of drugs or surgery.” The opioid epidemic is at crisis levels in this country and Melanie knows, first hand, that many people often ease their symptoms with pills which can unknowingly create an addiction. “It’s happening all around us because we have become dependent upon just treating our symptoms, primarily the symptom of pain. Chiropractic starts at the root and addresses the cause. We help fix the problem causing the pain.”

While Carthage Family Chiropractic is Melanie’s vision, she prides herself on having a wonderful team that helps take care of her patients. “Our office is managed by Karen Williams and Tyra Mise. It’s rare to find a sisterhood with an office, where everyone gels together. I’m hanging on to that as long as I can!” As an added bonus, patients often meet Gus, a giant German Shepherd that graces the office with his presence.

Melanie truly believes that health in the future is going to depend on our food source. “We, as Americans, need to invest in the quality of our food and what we’re ingesting on a daily basis. When we improve how we eat, drink and move, our health will too. We are in crisis as a society because we eat poorly, have stress on our nervous systems, develop chronic illnesses and depend on drugs to take care of us. Instead, we need quality nutrients, sunlight, clean water, and fresh air.”

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