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Front-yard parking sparks debate

Joey Carmack

Camille Burdine

The Lebanon City Council voted to approve restrictions on front-yard parking in ward 2 and ward 3 despite objections expressed by the city mayor, council members and citizens.

The council passed the change, which will alter the Lebanon Zoning Code, by a 3-2 vote. Ward 2 council member Fred Burton was not present at the meeting.

“A lot of people worked hard on this for a long time,” Lebanon Mayor Rick Bell said. “I’ve struggled with it throughout the entire process, and I really disagree with the ordinance. I’m more of a conservative thinker. I believe in a limited government, and I really believe that when we start telling people where they can park their car on their private property is overreaching.”

There is a standing rule where people cannot park on the street, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that people cannot park on the sidewalk. Bell believes that an additional restriction on parking in yards will cause additional parking problems.

“I know this happens in a few places, but placing a rule on thousands of people I think is too much,” Bell said. “It’s going to be difficult to enforce, as the staff has discussed, and I really believe this is causing a problem where a true problem does not exist.”

Ward 3 Council Member Camille Burdine said that there had previously been a similar rule in the city’s zoning code.

“This has gone through planning one time, and then, we pulled it so we could amend it and get it done the right way,’ Burdine said. “It’s something that we’ve been discussing for some time based on a lot of complaints that I have received, and Fred has as well. We’re trying to do what our constituents want us to.”

Ward 1 council member Joey Carmack doesn’t believe the government should be involved in where people can park on private property, and he voted against the change to the city zoning code, alongside ward 6 councilor Phil Moorehead.

“I disagree with it as well with all the issues that I’m having in ward 1 with parking on the street,” Carmack said. “They can barely get two cars in a driveway. Some of them have to park in the yard to keep from getting cited for parking in the street.”

Lebanon resident Charles Smith spoke on the issue during a public hearing and called the change to the Lebanon Zoning Code an overreach by the government.

“Telling people what they can and can’t do on their own property, short of it being completely illegal, is an overstretch,” Smith said.

The change will currently only affect wards 2 and 3.

“We’re bringing it back to try it out at least in ward 3 and ward 2, where we’re having quite a bit of problems,” Burdine said.

A place for artists to work

In 1957, Nettie Freed’s grandfather, Allen Freed, hosted the Paramount Theatre’s first rock and roll concert in New York.

The next day, the New York Times wrote that “teenage rock n roll enthusiasts stormed in Times Square before dawn yesterday. All day long, they filled sidewalks, tied up traffic and eventually required the attention of 175 policemen.”

“This was considered a riot when it happened, but the thing is, it wasn’t a riot,” Nettie Fried said. “If you look at it, it’s pretty organized. They’re not rioting. They’re not hurting anybody. They were all just trying to see some music.”

Over 65 years later, Freed has opened her own recording studio alongside business partner Daryl Hill in Lebanon. The main house attached to Spellbound Records is a place filled with nods to Freed’s grandfather, and artists are allowed to stay in the house. Posters and photos of Freed and his work line the walls of both floors.

“I think rock ‘n roll is the most important part of the American legacy,” Freed said. “It’s not just a style of music ... it’s an attitude.”

Freed moved to Tennessee with her husband in 2020, and when they first arrived, Hill invited her to a blues jam.

“I’ve been travelling to Nashville for many years and recording in studios in Nashville, but I had no idea about the incredible music that’s going on right here in Wilson County,” Freed said.

Freed asked Hill if he’d like to be her guitar player, the two of them wrote their first song together inside the control room of what would become Spellbound Records.

“As time went by, every other week, Daryl would come, and we would write a song together,” Freed said. “Sometimes, we’d invite other musicians friends, and it just grew organically. This space is very special to artists in the community. It was just a cool place to drop by, and it kind of told us that this would be a cool place to have a studio. The scale of it was not something that we were planning.”

Hill called around to studio designers, and Steven Durr agreed to take on the project.

“He’s an incredible acoustician who leads with his heart and vibe,” Freed said. “While he’s done projects like Taylor Swift and the Library of Congress and Garth Brooks’ studio, and these huge projects, he started in live sound. He’s all about letting the space tell him whether it can be a studio or not. We knew that the sound was there.”

Durr came out and immediately said that the space had the vibe. From there, the construction process began in a whirlwind.

“We did it in eight months,” Hill said. “There’s walls inside of walls, a roof on top of this roof. It was all built out of the love for the arts more than anything.”

Both Freed and Hill were on site working on the construction. While the studio itself was designed by Durr, the lighting is designed by Joe Kaplan, who made his name through working on LED projects for the Empire State Building, casinos along the Las Vegas Strip and the Sunset Tower in Los Angeles.

“It’s a work of art, even if it never recorded anything,” Hill said.

Freed and Hill used local supply houses to create a communal room to record. All of the isolation booths have direct eye line to the main space and a line of sight to the audio engineer.

“Everything was led with this idea of music and creativity and community,” Freed said.

In addition to the main studio, the facility is wired to allow artists to record in the studio kitchen and outside on the patio, among the trees, pond and resident rooster named Captain Hook.

“There is a compulsion of the artist to go disconnect to connect,” Freed said. “Whether you’re having a weekend with friends or trying to record an album, the heart comes from the same place, because you’re trying to connect more with the people you’re around. I think that the country is the best way to do that, because you have this ability to be quiet. A musician can attain that privacy and creative peace.”

Parks start anti-bullying initiative

Anti-bullying signage has been erected in parks across Mt.Juliet to dissuade visitors from engaging in hateful behavior.

“We’ve been noticing a lot of kids in the playground that are acting up, that are going around picking on other kids,” Mt. Juliet Parks Director Rocky Lee said. “What we decided to do is to get out in front of it.”

The parks department has been seeing an increase in kids picking on other kids and had a recent incident where a child that had been harassing another child followed them and their mother from the playground and punched the other child as he was trying to get into a car.

“We suspended him for a year from the park,” Lee said. “We’re not going to put up with the bullying. This is a safe place when you come to our parks. If you can’t control yourself, if you’ve got a bad attitude, you want to holler at people and cuss at people, you’re going to have to go somewhere else. We’re not going to stand for it, and we’ll have you removed from the parks.”

It’s the hope of the parks department that when people read the signage that they’ll understand the expectations for behavior in places where children play and people gather, without the department having to intervene.

“We’re going to try and get aggressive in the parks and make sure that when you come here, you have a good experience, a happy experience, and a safe experience,” Lee said.

Lee has already noticed a change in the number of bullying incidents since the signs began to be posted within the last three weeks.

“Since the signs have gone up, it (bullying incidents) has gone down drastically,” Lee said. “It seems like they’re taking heed. I don’t know if they’ve all gone back to school, and that’s what it is. But (schools) were out recently, and we didn’t seem to have any issues at that time.”

All of the Mt. Juliet parks include the signage.

Lost and founds turned into community project

When Watertown High School Student MaKayla Tyree took on a capstone project for the Future Business Leaders of America, she wanted to do something that would allow her to give back to the community.

The Watertown Clothing Basket was born from the 15-year-old’s idea of taking items from schools’ ”lost-and-founds” that would normally be donated to Goodwill and giving them away to people in the community for free. Jackets and hoodies have been pre-washed before being displayed every Saturday in February at First Baptist Church in Watertown.

This Saturday is the last day that the Watertown Clothing Basket will be giving away clothes, which will be available from 9 a.m. until noon.

“Right here in our town, just half a block from the middle school and the elementary school, we have First Baptist Church set up,” MaKayla’s mother, Faye Tyree, said. “People can come grab a jacket, grab a pullover, whatever is needed. It’s been very successful. The community has reached out. They’ve donated items. It’s went beyond what I could ever dream that it could be.”

Tyree went to the laundromat on the Watertown city square and washed each item that would be given away. She put flyers up to advertise the project around town and created social media accounts to spread the word.

Faye Tyree has seen the impact of her daughter’s project in the community through the children that come to the giveaways each weekend.

“The kids’ eyes are just sparkling,” Faye Tyree said. “They are just so thrilled. MaKayla also made signs that she held up by the street. The kids see free jackets and free pullovers, so we’ve had so many parents that were like, ‘They wouldn’t stop until we pulled over and pulled in.’ We were like, ‘This is what this is for.’ We want to give back.”

MaKayla Tyree started work on the project in November and had 146 items by the time she held her first giveaway in February, where 73 articles of clothing were given to people in the community. The second weekend in February, Freed brought 135 pieces of clothing and gave away 20. Last weekend, Freed gave away 43 out of the 137 items brought to the church.

“We’ve also had low-income families that have reached out,” Faye Tyree said. “That’s where our hearts are just growing, because we can see the blessing (that is) in their eyes.”

Watertown High School forward Chase McConnell releases a first-half shot over the outstretched arm of Westmoreland junior Cooper Abner. McConnell scored seven points in Tuesday evening's 47-43 victory over Westmoreland.