Monday, June 30, 2008

Samples of Photos from the Sunday June 29th, 2008 Dedication and Unveiling of the UNA Historical Marker

Photos by Mindy Schwartz

Metro gets head start in booking for proposed convention center

Bureau recruits conventions for 2013, beyondBy MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 30, 2008 It won't open for a few years and hasn't even been fully approved yet, but the Music City Center has already booked its first convention. The Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention has agreed to hold its annual meeting at the proposed new downtown convention center in June 2013 — and again in 2019. R. Clark Logan Jr., the Baptist group's vice president for business and finance and convention manager, said his organization is confident the new center is on schedule. "We've been given every assurance it is," Logan said. "We feel pretty good about it." Booking space several years in advance is the way of the conventions-and-meetings world. But the aggressive push by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau — with Mayor Karl Dean's blessing — also puts extra pressure on city officials and contractors to make sure the Music City Center opens on time. If all goes well, the $595 million facility will open sometime in 2012. Supporters say it would allow Nashville to compete for 70 percent of the convention market, while the current Nashville Convention Center, with less than one-third the exhibit space, competes for 20 percent to 30 percent. For now, the Convention & Visitors Bureauis booking groups for March 2013 at the earliest to give the massive construction project some wiggle room. "The best window to grab some business for 2013 and even beyond is right now," said Butch Spyridon, the bureau's president. The Metro Development and Housing Agency hired a team of architects last week to design the convention center. Construction firms and facility planners were already on board. But the project still needs final approval from the Metro Council. Dean is expected to send the council a financing plan early next year, with city debt to be paid off by revenues from various taxes and fees targeting tourists. Rich Riebeling, Dean's finance chief, said the bureau's strategy is sound. "If you don't start booking now, you'll miss out on a lot of stuff that's coming up," he said. Bureau offers 'outs' The city is hedging its bets somewhat, however. The Convention & Visitors Bureauis giving convention groups some chances to pull out of their commitments if the city's timetable is derailed. If the council doesn't approve the financing, architects don't finish their designs and construction workers don't break ground by next summer, the groups will "have some outs," Spyridon said. If that were to happen, the Southern Baptists would move their 2013 convention to Baltimore, where they're planning to go in 2014, and meet in Nashville in 2014 instead, Logan said. Spyridon said the existing convention center wouldn't be able to accommodate the group, which can be as large as 12,000 Baptist "messengers." Spyridon said the CVB has made pitches for 16 conventions to nine groups, including the Southern Baptists. The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance has committed to meet at the Music City Center in 2018, while the American Academy of General Dentistry is looking at Nashville or Toronto for 2013. It probably will be too late to book large groups for 2012 by the time the city knows whether the convention center will be ready by then. But Spyridon said he would look to bring in multiple smaller groups, whose combined size could fill the facility. In the meantime, the existing convention center has booked meetings as far out as 2016 and continues to beat the bushes nationally, Executive Director Charles Starks said. Those meetings would be able to move to the new facility or stay in the existing one if the city decided to keep it for smaller conventions, Starks said. "We're still making sure the current one gets filled," he said. A task force that studied the need for a new convention center in 2006 said the existing building's economic impact was $92 million a year. The group said the proposed facility would generate an additional $700 million annually, based on bringing in 1 million more people who would spend $700 each over three days on hotel rooms, food and other items.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

SAVE THE DATE - August 5th 2008

Sunday June 29 2008 At the Historic Ellis Garage

Mayor Karl Dean
Council Member Vivian Wilhoite
and the
Una neighborhood Watch/Association
Invite you to the
Dedication and Unveiling of the UNA Historical Marker
Sunday June 29, 2008
3:00 PM
At the Historic Ellis Garage
Corner of Smith Springs and old Murfeesboro Roads
Parking available at UNA Elementary School
2018 Murfreesboro Road
We hope you will join us!
Photo by Mindy Schwartz

Davidson County crime log for June 19-23, 2008

CRIME LOG These are the most serious calls handled by the Metro police, listed by time, crime reported and address. Some reports may be unfounded. Police calls are listed by police precinct or town. When police cannot immediately determine the location of a crime, the address given is that of the police station or hospital where the crime was reported. Antioch 1:15 a.m., residential burglary, 5100 block Rice Road 4:08 p.m., residential burglary, 1600 block Hickory Highlands Drive Donelson 9:18 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 500 block Stewarts Ferry Pike 10:10 a.m., nonresidential burglary, at Old Lebanon Pike and Lebanon Pike 11:14 p.m., residential burglary, 600 block Royal Crest Avenue Downtown 10:38 p.m., holdup/robbery, at Ninth Avenue North and Broadway Hermitage 3:43 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4800 block Lebanon Pike 8:01 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4700 block Lebanon Pike Priest Lake 3:55 p.m., residential burglary, 3200 block New Towne Road South 2:44 a.m., holdup/robbery, 1800 block Air Lane Drive 7:06 a.m., shooting, 1000 block Murfreesboro Pike 5:04 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1500 block Lebanon Pike Una 8:22 a.m., residential burglary, 2200 block Smith Springs Road 6:47 p.m., residential burglary, 100 block Nashboro Greens 6:51 p.m., residential burglary, 100 block Nashboro Greens 7:58 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2500 block Murfreesboro Pike 8:26 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2500 block Murfreesboro Pike 9:46 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1900 block Longhunter Lane Antioch 6:21 a.m., holdup/robbery, 500 block Piccadilly Row 10:12 p.m., residential burglary, 300 block Dover Glen Drive Donelson 4:48 p.m., residential burglary, 3100 block Hunters Hill Road Priest Lake 1:01 p.m., residential burglary, 500 block Rural Hill Road South 1:45 a.m., residential burglary, 900 block Winthorne Drive 10:41 a.m., holdup/robbery, 6400 block Nolensville Road 11:06 a.m., holdup/robbery, 5300 block Mt. View Road 11:16 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 1100 block Vultee Boulevard 12:46 p.m., holdup/robbery, 800 block Fesslers Parkway 8:52 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1500 block Lebanon Pike Una 2:57 p.m., residential burglary, 1400 block Doubletree Lane Hermitage 5:47 a.m., holdup/robbery, 300 block Old Lebanon Dirt Road 6:35 a.m., holdup/robbery, 300 block Old Lebanon Dirt Road Priest Lake 6:59 p.m., residential burglary, 3200 block New Towne Road South 8:21 a.m., residential burglary, 6400 block Sunnywood Drive 3:22 p.m., holdup/robbery, 5300 block Hickory Hollow Parkway 3:25 p.m., rape, at Chaparal Court 3:40 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2700 block Murfreesboro Pike Antioch 11:27 a.m., residential burglary, 4700 block Lori Drive 9:59 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2400 block Murfreesboro Pike Donelson 6:41 p.m., residential burglary, 3000 block Lebanon Pike East 1:12 a.m., holdup/robbery, 3400 block Dickerson Pike 3:02 p.m., residential burglary, 2600 block Morganmeade Drive 4:26 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1500 block Luton Street Hermitage 9:50 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 1400 block Central Court South 5:04 p.m., holdup/robbery, 800 block Bell Road 5:57 p.m., residential burglary, 300 block Plus Park Boulevard 10:30 p.m., residential burglary, 1300 block Mars Drive 11:46 p.m., shooting, 400 block Swiss Avenue Donelson 1:47 a.m., residential burglary, 3200 block Knobview Drive Hermitage 11:51 a.m., holdup/robbery, 5700 block Old Hickory Boulevard Priest Lake 5:10 p.m., residential burglary, 600 block Country Meadow Court 6:38 p.m., residential burglary, 3300 block Towneship Road South 5:52 a.m., holdup/robbery, 800 block Murfreesboro Pike 7:08 a.m., holdup/robbery, 5300 block Cane Ridge Road 1:18 p.m., rape, at Murfreesboro Pike 4:09 p.m., residential burglary, 1200 block Saturn Drive This list gets longer and longer every week.Let's try and take care of this and get a Neighborhood Watch Group going in your area.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Church holds car-bike show to counter perceptions of Antioch

Hello District "29" Neighbors:

The effort by the Living World Church to promote a positive image of Antioch with their "Car and Bike" show is awesome. check out Mindy's photos.

Come on Down the event will be going on til 5 PM today....



Event at Hickory Hollow Mall will be free to spectators on Saturday
By MARISSA DeCUIR 259-8203 • June 27, 2008

Living Word Community Church wants to rejuvenate Antioch's reputation.
That's why the church is hosting a car and bike show tomorrow, free to spectators, in Hickory Hollow Mall's parking lot.

Lewis BeCoats, elder at Living Word, said he was tired of hearing that Antioch was like "L.A." and was the "'hood."

"We had all this negative connotation about Antioch," BeCoats said. "So we said, let's do a car show to bring everybody together."

Living Word has only been in its new Antioch location, 5380 Hickory Hollow Parkway, for about three months. And those at the church wanted to host the event at a more established place.

BeCoats said he spoke with Nathan Thomas, the mall's marketing director, about working together on the show.

"He said, 'That vision is in line with our vision.' We talked for a second and realized we were in line with each other," BeCoats said.

Thomas said he was eager to help Living Word put on the event. Instead of renting the space to the church, the mall is donating it for free. Thomas said the added mall traffic Hickory Hollow expects to get is quite the bonus.

"Hopefully, we'll use this as a starting point to do more events like this in the future," Thomas said.

The event is meant to promote community and offer a safe environment for
families to enjoy themselves.

"We've had some perception problems in the past. We've done a lot to up security," Thomas said. "This will help even more."

Metro police instituted a curfew in 2006 to require those 18 years and younger to be accompanied by a parent at the mall after 6 p.m. each Friday and Saturday.

Car dealerships, bike shops and other local businesses are sponsoring the
community show. Various vendors will be on site selling food.

Proceeds from sponsorships, vendors and entry fees will go to Tennessee Baptist Children's Homes.

The entry fee for cars, trucks, bikes and SUVs is $20 before the show or $25 the day of. Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Metro to get more domestic violence detectives

By KATE HOWARD • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 27, 2008 Four detectives will be added to the city's domestic violence division by September to address one of the city's most frequent crimes, Mayor Karl Dean and Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas announced today. With 10 detectives, the unit has less than half the staff it had in 1994. Police investigated more than 17,000 domestic incidents in 2007, according to a release. “Domestic violence is a crime that affects not only individuals, but families and communities, as well,” Dean said in a prepared statement. “During the 16 years I spent working as a public defender, I saw first hand how domestic abuse can lead to the offender committing other violent crimes, and how victims, including children, are often re-victimized or become offenders themselves. This was an issue affecting too many in our city then, and it is an issue that we need to address now.” Dean has long considered combating domestic violence and crimes against children to be his public safety priorities. The funding for the additional detectives -- three added on July 1 and one added in September -- will come from the money allocated in the 2008-2009 budget to increase Metro police staffing levels, said Janel Lacy, Dean's spokeswoman.

Saturday June 21, 2008 Driving with Ms. Vivian Around her District "29" Part 2

On Saturday, June 21, 2008 Vivian and I drove around District "29". There were so many events going on around our District...

The first stop was a Fish Fry held by The Antioch-Canibeel Life Group of the Greater Nashville Church. This was a fundraiser to help raise funds to send preteens and teenagers to Summer Camp.


All Photos taken by Mindy Schwartz

Saturday June 21, 2008 Drive Around District "29" Part 2

We all stopped off ay a off at a"Tag Sale" also, with the money going to a good cause.

Jobless rate soars in region

Spike from April to May puzzles MTSU economist By G. CHAMBERS WILLIAMS III • Staff Writer(Tennessean) • June 27, 2008 Davidson County's unemployment rate jumped nearly a full percentage point from April to May, to 5 percent from 4.1 percent, and similar increases were recorded in much of Middle Tennessee, according to figures released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The numbers are the latest sign that a tougher economy is taking a toll on the area's work force. About 2,800 more people were estimated to be out of jobs in May in Davidson County than a month earlier. "The increase is so large that we have to wait and see if this is an aberration," economist David Penn of Middle Tennessee State University said. "It is inconsistent with the payroll numbers. We're seeing slow growth here, but no huge drop-off as suggested by these spiking unemployment rates." The broader Nashville-Murfreesboro jobless rate for May was 1.6 percentage points higher than in May 2007, officials said, reaching 5.1 percent. That was up 0.8 percentage points from April to May, the labor department said. Penn said the rate increases were "puzzling." When a manufacturing plant closes, the jobless rate in the area of the plant would spike but there would not be a widespread increase like the ones seen in the past month, he said. "The only segment that has shown significant losses is manufacturing, but that has been going on for quite a while," Penn said. The state labor department said 94 of 95 counties showed an increase in unemployment in May compared with a month earlier. The only exception was Trousdale County, where the rate dropped slightly to 7.6 percent. Tennessee's statewide jobless rate for May, released last week, was 6.4 percent, up 1.7 percentage points from a year earlier. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in May. Williamson County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state last month at 4.2 percent, up 0.6 percentage points over the past year. Williamson was helped by the restart of the General Motors auto plant in Spring Hill, which is gearing up to make a new Chevrolet crossover utility vehicle. About 2,500 laid-off workers have been recalled there recently. Maury County got a big boost from the GM assembly plant as well. The GM facility is actually in Maury County, but it's close to the Williamson County line. Although Maury County's jobless rate climbed 0.4 percentage points in May from April, to 7.3 percent, the numbers were nearly a full point better than in May 2007 just after the GM workers had been laid off. Maury's unemployment rate at that time was 8.2 percent. Other job losses continue to occur in financial services, as well as the restaurant and travel industries, Penn said. He blamed rising gasoline prices for much of the restaurants' woes. "People are eating out less, and that means we're going to have fewer restaurants," he said.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Breaking News - Just In

Early this afternoon a van hit two houses on Anderson Road. The two drivers were taken to the hospital. Luckily no one in the two houses were hurt. Click the link below to see a video about the story on WKRN(right hand corner of the page the of their website) Will update as information becomes available...

Castlegate Drive - Vivian Wilhoite

Dear District 29 Neighbors: As you may be aware, a shooting occurred between yesterday and this morning on Castlegate Drive in District 29. Below is the news release provided by Commander Michelle Richter of the Hermitage Precinct. I will provide you update as more information is released. This is an unfortunate incident but please also know that I continue to request more patrolling in all of District 29 and will continue to work with the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD)-Hermitage Precinct to push for such patrolling in our District. As many of you may know, we recently passed a Budget that fully funded (MNPD) that also includes a local DNA Laboratory. After the next graduation police class, the MNPD will be fully staffed meaning more officers to patrol Nashville communities. The Hermitage Police Department have always cooperated with our community in doing all that they can to address these type of occurrences and more. We will continue this work. If you would like to contact me regarding this matter, as always, I appreciate the opportunity to discuss any concern that you may have. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Gratefully, Vivian

Area Dillard's To Close; 76 Will Lose Job

5 Other Midstate Stores Remain- Channel 4 Nashville, TN POSTED: 1:20 pm CDT June 26, 2008 UPDATED: 1:42 pm CDT June 26, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- More than 70 workers will lose their jobs when Dillard's at Hickory Hollow closes this summer. Channel 4 News reported that the store will close on Aug. 2. A company representative said it expects to lay off 76 workers. A few months ago, Dillard's announced it would close stores that weren't making enough money.

Feud Sends Two Teens To Vanderbilt Hospital

Story from Channel 5 NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Thursday morning, two teenage boys were fighting for their lives after being shot overnight. A dispute between two teenage girls over a 21-year-old man started the fight. Detectives learned that the two girls, who are in their late teens, had been sending provocative text messages to each other. They agreed to meet for a confrontation outside the man's home Wednesday night at 625 Castlegate Drive. Both girls brought friends along for the fight at 11:40 p.m. between more than ten individuals. Some of the people involved brought guns, including at least one pistol and one shotgun. Robert Lee Hamlett, who turned 18 Thursday, and Aaron Jamar McKee, 17, were shot. When police got there, the crowd had scattered and some had left the scene. Hamlett was located in a nearby wooded area wearing an orange bandanna over his face. He was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to treat his gunshot wound. McKee, who had gunshot wounds to his chest and arm, was dumped off at Southern Hills Medical Center by the driver of a red Chevrolet Cobalt. McKee was transferred to Vanderbilt. The driver of the Cobalt has been identified as a 19-year-old woman who was one of the two involved in the original dispute over the man who lives on Castlegate Drive. The Cobalt was located Thursday morning in the 900 block of 33rd Avenue North. There are bullet holes in the body of the car and blood on the interior. The car was impounded by police and is being processed for evidence. To see and hear the video:

Hello District 29 Neighbors:

Our neighbor, Susan needs your help to find her pets. Please help! Susan of ( writes: From: To: Subject: Missing cat possibly cats Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 11:13:35 +0000 Hi Robin, will you please forward this to the neighbors. Our solid gray cat about 11 lbs green eyes, seems to be missing. He was in our yard on Monday night. Tuesday morning he was not on the porch for feeding. He never misses morning feeding. He was not seen all day Tuesday or this morning. Also this morning the white cat with blue eyes sort of siamese appears to be missing as well. If anyone knows the whereabouts of the cat or cats I would be very grateful. Especially some of the kids, who are gone for the week.. The white siamese looking one was here last night and usually hangs out on the porch as well. I will let you know when either or both of them show up. Thanks, Susan Mast Let's help Susan find her pets.....Gratefully, Vivian.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Zoo welcomes "not-so-giant" anteater

The Nashville Zoo recently welcomed its eighth giant anteater, which isn’t so giant as of yet.

Consuela was born on Mother’s Day to Emilia, a wild-caught giant anteater that came to the Nashville Zoo in 2002.

The Nashville Zoo has been involved in giant anteater conservation for 10 years and has the largest collection of anteaters in the country.

The off-exhibit breeding facility, where Consuela was born, is also the only anteater breeding facility in the U.S.Consuela and the zoo’s dozen other anteaters will make their public debut in a multimillion-dollar, 4.5-acre South American exhibit being designed by zoo president Rick Schwartz.“The exhibit will feature tapirs, giant otters, jaguars, jabiru storks, saki and howler monkeys as well as giant anteaters and other South American animals,” said Schwartz.

“When complete, the new exhibit will double the number of animal species exhibited at the zoo.” With an All Access Expedition Tour or a Back Stage Pass Tour, curious guests will have the chance to view Nashville Zoo’s anteaters before their official debut.Visit for more information on these special opportunities as well as anteater updates.

Rape victim recounts sexual assault and robbery

CHRIS ECHEGARAY • STAFF WRITER (Tennessean) • June 25, 2008 A woman was forced to perform oral sex on her attacker in her apartment while another robber took her boyfriend to an ATM machine to withdraw money, the woman testified in court this morning. Jonathan Lawrence, 21, and Rickey Carr, 26, are facing indictment stemming from the robbery and rape after a judge found probable cause at the preliminary hearing in general sessions court. It started when the men accosted Michael Ezekiel, who was alone, after a concert at 2:30 a.m. on June 16. Initially, they forced him to drive to a nearby ATM. Ezekiel couldn’t withdraw money, he testified, and they drove to the woman’s apartment on Hickory Highlands Drive. Ezekiel offered the woman's laptop in the robbery and the men took it, he said. But they wanted $400, Ezekiel testified. The woman gave Ezekiel her ATM card. Carr stayed with her while Lawrence went back out with Ezekiel, she testified. Fighting through tears, the woman testified that Carr made her kneel and pointed the gun at her, forcing her to perform oral sex. She would stop and he moved her to the kitchen and her bedroom, where he attempted to rape her. Meanwhile, Ezekiel struggled with Lawrence at a U.S. Bank ATM on Bell Road. Ezekiel was able to run from the robber and flag down a police cruiser.Police arrested both men. Carr is charged with two counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Lawrence is charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated robbery.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nashville Shores announces special events for the Fourth

BY ANDY HUMBLES | AHUMBLES@TENNESSEAN.COM | 726-5939 • June 24, 2008 The Shores and Stripes Festival at Nashville Shores will include a fireworks show on Thursday, July 3 and the Shores and Stripes Boat Parade on Friday, July 4. After 5 p.m. Thursday, July 3, a discounted rate of $20 per car will be allowed into Nashville Shores, 4001 Bell Road in Hermitage, with access to the water park from 5 to 7 p.m. Other events are a Freedom Party at 6-10 p.m., and beach concert from 6 to 9 p.m. and 9:15 to about 10 p.m. with the fireworks at 9 p.m. Events on July 4 will be the 2008 Shores and Stripes Boat Parade at 1-3 p.m. and the showing of Independence Day at 8:30 p.m. as the Dive-In Movie. Friday’s events are included in the regular admission. All-day admission is $23.95 plus tax for people 48 inches and taller and $17.95 plus tax for persons shorter than 48 inches and ages 55-over. Admission after 3 p.m. is $11.95 plus tax. Call 889-7050 for information.

Preds investor Del Biaggio owes $88.4 million to creditors, bankruptcy filing shows

By BRAD SCHRADE • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 24, 2008 Nashville Predators investor William J. "Boots" Del Biaggio III owes creditors almost $35 million more than he owns, and he lists his $23.5 million stake in the team as his biggest asset, according to federal bankruptcy papers filed Monday. Del Biaggio owes $88.43 million to creditors, including $10 million to former Preds owners Craig Leipold, according to a summary of his assets and liabilities filed in federal court in Northern California. He lists $53.9 million in assets, including $12.1 million in real property - all in California, as part of his assets. Del Biaggio owns a 27% stake in the Predators, the second highest stake in the team. His financial implosion over the past month has clouded the off-season of Nashville's hockey club. Del Biaggio is facing a bankruptcy, a federal probe and a series of lawsuits claiming he defrauded creditors The team is owned by a majority group of local investors led by David Freeman. Freeman has said Del Biaggio's problems will not impact the team operations. A initial meeting with creditors is scheduled before a bankruptcy trustee next month. That will begin the process of dividing Del Biaggio's assets, including his stake in the team.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Metro sets early voting schedule

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer • June 23, 2008 Metro voters who like to vote early will be able to go to the polls starting July 18 for the Aug. 7 county general and state primary election. Early voting will be available for 14 days downtown at the Metro Office Building and for five days at four satellite sites, the Davidson County Election Commission announced on its web site, (There will be 12 satellite early voting sites for the presidential election on Nov. 4.) Five Metro school board seats and party primaries for various state and federal legislative races lead the Aug. 7 ballot.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Preds investor Del Biaggio didn't arouse suspicion

By BRAD SCHRADE • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 22, 2008 The entry of William J. "Boots" Del Biaggio III into Nashville's hockey life, in retrospect, should have always seemed a little too good to be true. A rich California venture capitalist and philanthropist with supposedly deep pockets, Del Biaggio swooped in last year to work with locals to save hockey in Music City. But as the threads of that feel-good narrative have unraveled over the past month under the stress of lawsuits, a federal probe and a bankruptcy — all centered on Del Biaggio — a happy ending is on hold. The sudden problems brought on by his financial implosion have focused unwanted attention on Metro's renegotiated lease agreement at Sommet Center, in which the city pledged millions more in tax dollars to help keep the Predators in Nashville. They also have raised questions about the level of scrutiny the city performed on the new owners, particularly Del Biaggio — the lone major investor from out of town. A series of lawsuits alleges he, with the help of an employee at an investment firm, secured millions in loans fraudulently. "The question is, 'What could you have done?'" asked Larry Thrailkill, the attorney who negotiated the new lease agreement with the team on Metro's behalf. Metro is just one of several entities — including banks, the team and a list of creditors — who were unaware of Del Biaggio's alleged scheme, he said. Court documents claim fraud and deceit, portraying the would-be financial titan as a man stretched and borrowing millions last fall — against assets they say he didn't have — in an effort to secure his 27 percent stake in the Predators. Del Biaggio's attorney on Friday said his client was unavailable for comment. A trustee in the bankruptcy case was appointed late in the week, and an initial meeting with creditors is scheduled for July 8 to begin the process of dividing up his assets. His one-fourth share of the team is at stake. The Metro government and the team's majority local ownership group, led by David Freeman, are both hoping to replace the $9.8 million Del Biaggio pledged as part of his guarantee to the city. Del Biaggio didn't have to actually turn over that amount to the city, but the terms of the city's agreement with the new owners required him and others to have set amounts available. He said he had money Del Biaggio's $9.8 million was to be part of a $31.5 million guarantee put up by the new ownership group as collateral to the city in the event the team left town or failed to live up to the other terms of the deal. As part of the lease the city renegotiated with the new Predators owners, the city required each owner to have an accountant vouch for his net worth. The goal was to ensure the owners had the money they said they had, while also shielding their personal financial records from public review. But the city allowed the owners to choose their own accountants. The one who vouched for Del Biaggio, Jacqueline Singh of Burbank, Calif., was once an executive at the investment firm Del Biaggio co-founded in the 1990s, Sand Hill Capital. The letter signed by Singh, dated Dec. 21, vouched that his net worth was at least twice his $9.8 million guarantee. Del Biaggio reinforced this statement just days after the Metro Council approved changes to the lease, when, on April 22, he signed a guarantee saying his net worth was twice the guarantee. Public records from Metro do not indicate that the city required any other documentation or verification of the new owners' financial status, according to a review by The Tennessean. "If an insider with a financial institution is willing to falsely certify the assets of a person with that institution, it's almost impossible for anybody to find that out," Thrailkill said. "That's what's alleged here. If you look at all the loans with Boots out there, they said they demanded to have collateral with that loan." Few officials met him Few officials with Metro government and its Sports Authority, which serves as the Predators' landlords at Sommet Center, ever met or talked directly to Del Biaggio, although his involvement was crucial to the team's purchase. Mayor Karl Dean met with Del Biaggio once, in late October. Sports Authority board member Kevin Lavender, a former state banking commissioner, recalled meeting Del Biaggio in passing at a Predators game, but said the California businessman was more into the hockey game than small talk. Dean's meeting with him took place after the mayor's office received a call from Freeman saying that Del Biaggio was in town for a Predators game, that he would be part of the investment group and that Freeman wanted him to meet the mayor. The mayor's office had been hearing rumors that Del Biaggio was getting involved in the deal to buy the Predators from owner Craig Leipold so he could eventually move the team to Kansas City. At the time, Del Biaggio had an agreement with the Kansas City arena to bring an NHL team there. Dean made it clear the city's interest was in the long-term viability of hockey here, according to Greg Hinote, Dean's deputy mayor, who was in the meeting. Hinote said he didn't recall much about Del Biaggio, except that he was quiet. Del Biaggio "didn't say much," Hinote recalled on Friday. "He made a point to us he was invested in the transaction and he hoped it worked. He said he was keeping all his options open." The Dean administration supported a renegotiated lease agreement with the team's new owners based on three major points, Hinote said: the personal guarantees of each owner, the commitment given by local ownership to make the team work here, and the penalties the city was negotiating in the event the team tried to leave within five years. The administration was comfortable with the fact the local owners would be in control of the team, and Del Biaggio held a minority stake. "At some point we got comfortable with the fact the local ownership group would have adequate time to make this work," Hinote said. 'No red flags' In light of Del Biaggio's financial problems, Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said, it's easy to second-guess the city's actions, but at the time it relied on the NHL and the bank that lent the team money, CIT Group, to ensure the owners were financially viable. "You've got to operate on some measure of good faith or you won't get anything done," Riebeling said. "At the time, we took care of it in a reasonable manner." The NHL's background check is quite thorough. The league, which has approval rights on who buys an NHL team, typically checks the finances and character of a potential owner. The checks are designed to avoid the type of situation the Predators and Del Biaggio face. The league has undergone four bankruptcies of its franchises — Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Buffalo — in the past two decades. None of those towns wound up losing their teams. The Predators' situation is the first of its kind involving a minority ownership. In the other cases, bankruptcy trustees worked with the NHL to find a replacement owner, relying on the league to help with leads to potential buyers. It's unclear whether Del Biaggio underwent the tough scrutiny of a background check in 2002 when he bought a small stake in the San Jose Sharks. The league confirmed that he underwent a background check for the Predators purchase. "You do all the things you can do to verify certain things," said Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner. "You go through the checks. The bottom line is, no red flags came up."

Friday, June 20, 2008

What are they Building Near the Airport on FairCloth Road @ Murfreesboro Road?

At the first sign of tractors back in April 2009, like you, I was very curious as to what was being constructed at this intersection. Below is the email response that I received from Mark Macy, Assistant Director of Public Works. The airport is building a 1200 – car employee parking lot.

Call me if you have further questions at 589-2003. Gratefully, Vivian!

From: Macy, Mark (Public Works)Sent: Fri 4/11/2008 11:00 AMTo: Wilhoite, Vivian (Council Member)Subject: FW: Faircloth Rd
Here is information you requested. Mark Macy ph. 615.862.8764 fax 615.862.5568

-----Original Message----- From: Smith, J. Andrew (Public Works) Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 8:15 AM To: Hasty, Charles (Public Works); Macy, Mark (Public Works) Cc: Doyle, Devin (Public Works) Subject: RE: Faircloth Rd

The airport authority has applied for a grading permit to construct a 1200-car employee parking lot at Faircloth Lane and Knapp Blvd, near where Old Murfreesboro Road joins Murfreesboro Road.

The plans do not include relocated Faircloth Road.

District 29 Families, Come One, Come All to

Mayor Karl Dean’s
Sunday, August 3 from 2 to 5 pm at the Sommet Center (formerly the Nashville Arena), 501 Broadway in Downtown Nashville. This is a great event and my sons truly enjoy this day tremendously. A day of fun that is filled to gear up for a successful school year! Don’t forget, Mayor Dean asks that you please bring one or more non-perishable food item to help feed the hungry in Nashville. Stop by the Metro Council members table for giveaways and to say hello to your favorite councilmember. I will be there for sure! What a great way for Davidson County families to start the school year! For more 1st Day activities information click here for Mayor Dean’s at

See you at the festival!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Metro Council OKs budget; schools get bulk of new money

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 18, 2008 Metro Nashville will start a new fiscal year next month with an almost $1.58 billion budget that pumps new money into schools but makes it tougher to catch a bus or make a living as a city employee. The Metro Council voted unanimously Tuesday for the 2008-09 operating budget, which will take effect July 1, after considering Mayor Karl Dean's recommendations for almost three months. The available funds will be only slightly more than this year, reflecting conservative revenue estimates in a tight economy. Metro schools, Dean's top priority, will get $22 million more, an increase of more than 3.6 percent. But most other departments will receive less money, and almost 30 city employees will be laid off. While as many as 200 workers could have been laid off, "that's not a consolation to those 30 families and individuals," said Councilman Erik Cole, who led the council through the budget process. The remaining employees won't get an across-the-board pay raise to help cope with rising gas prices or grocery bills. And people who ride several Metro bus routes won't be able to anymore because of the city's own struggles to pay for diesel fuel. Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite said she was disappointed that some Metro firefighters would see their jobs "rolled back," or reduced in stature and pay. She said council members were reneging on a commitment to public safety. "I can't see how we can live with this," Wilhoite said. Cole acknowledged that the budget reflects some "very painful" choices. But he said he was proud the council could put its stamp on the spending plan by shifting $1 million to the Metro Transit Authority so there will be fewer cuts in bus routes. Dean's proposal would have cut MTA by $400,000; now the authority will gain $600,000. "To be able to do one major priority was a real success," Cole said

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tennessee mails out buyout offers

By THEO EMERY • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 17, 2008 State workers will begin checking mailboxes after buyout packets went out Monday to about 12,000 employees, an effort to trim about 2,000 positions and cut $64 million from next year's budget. Cleatrice McTorry, director of pre-release services at the Department of Correction, wasn't sure she would get an offer but said she would consider it if she did, particularly given the tuition assistance in the package. "My initial impression when I saw the buyout plan was very positive," said McTorry, 58. "Other people have felt the same way." The buyouts are part of a broader budget-cutting for the administration, which found itself about $468 million short of what it projected for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1. The administration hopes that more than 2,000 workers, or about 5 percent of the work force, will take the buyouts. If more apply, they will be chosen by seniority. If not enough apply, layoffs could follow. The package includes four months of base salary, $500 for each year of service, six months of subsidized health coverage and an option to pay for an additional 12 months. The packages also include tuition aid up to $10,800 at Tennessee colleges and universities, and a one-time $2,400 payment for those 65 and older. "We feel like we've come up with a really good offer," said state Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz. Zoyle Jones, president of the Tennessee State Employees Association, said his organization will be carefully watching. "As long as the selection process is fair and equitable, then we will be happy if people take it," he said.

Help sell Garcia's $1.25 million home and get free airline tickets

By JENNIFER BROOKS • Staff Writer (tennessean)• June 17, 2008 Former Metro Schools Director Pedro Garcia and his wife are what you might call motivated sellers. Garcia, who was bought out of his contract by the Metro school board in January, is ready to leave town with his six-figure severance package, but first he needs to find a buyer for his $1.25 million, five-bedroom, 6,500-square-foot, Radnor Lake-area house in the middle of a recession and a real estate slump. To get prospective buyers through the door — you can't appreciate the hardwood floors, or the two fireplaces, or the waterfall or the pool if you don't at least get through the door — the Garcias are ready to sweeten the deal. "We will give two round-trip tickets to anywhere Southwest flies and a box seat for four at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood to anyone whose recommendations lead to a direct sale of this house," Priscilla Partridge, Garcia's wife, wrote in an e-mail to friends and acquaintances on Monday. She did not respond to The Tennessean's request for an interview. Her Realtor, Mara Thompson of Zeitlin & Co., said more and more sellers are turning to incentives. She has seen people offer cars, a year of free gasoline, cruise vacation packages and even — in the case of one $2.2 million home for sale in Green Hills — college tuition for the buyer's kids. "A lot of people are doing it," Thompson said. "With the market as it is today, I think people are just trying to be a bit creative." Thompson said the free airfare and tickets to the storied outdoor amphitheater were the Garcias' idea, and she has yet to see an incentive actually seal the deal for a homebuyer. The house, which the Garcias bought in 2003 for $957,000, has been appraised by the Davidson County property assessor's office for tax purposes at $996,400. It's an 11-year-old brick home with six bathrooms and a much-sought-after Brentwood address. This article has been amended from a previous version.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Grief, anxiety, depression in women subject of seminar at Summit

BY ANDY HUMBLES AHUMBLES@TENNESSEAN.COM 726-5939 • June 16, 2008 The causes of grief, anxiety and depression in women will be the program topic for the next Just for Women seminar series at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 26, in Classroom C at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage. The monthly series is free and for women of any age. Amy Johnson, Ph.D., with Tennessee Oncology, will lead the program. Reservations are required. Call 342-1919.

Antioch Couple Survive Kidnapping

Suspects Force Man To Withdraw Cash From ATM POSTED: 7:42 am CDT June 16, 2008 UPDATED: 5:50 pm CDT June 16, 2008 Channel 4 News NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Police said an Antioch man was kidnapped overnight at gunpoint and robbed by two men. Michael Ezekiel, 27, said that at about 3 a.m. Monday he was standing in the parking lot of the Mission of Hickory Highland apartment complex. At that time, Ezekiel said two men, Rickey Carr, 25, and Jonathan Lawrence, 21, approached and forced him to drive to a nearby Suntrust automatic teller machine to withdraw cash. When they arrived at the bank, the ATM was out of order, so the suspects forced Ezekiel to come back to the apartment complex. "I couldn’t get any money out. My hands were shaking. I was nervous and terrified, and none of the ATMs were working," he said. Ezekiel said the accused robbers then drove back to his girlfriend's apartment and got her debit card. One of the men stayed with the girlfriend, while the other suspect took Ezekiel to a U.S. Bank. "It was terrifying. I had never seen a gun outside a gun store," he said. Ezekiel was eventually able to break free from his captor. "I got a hold of his head, and I pulled him out, and I knew his torso was bent here, so I squatted down on him," he said. "I had him in a guillotine, and he was slipping. I tried to force him out, and I just put all my weight on him." He was able to steal his captor’s cell phone and call police. "I clocked him pretty good. I pulled him out of my car, like, by his neck. I really wanted to break his head off," he said. Authorities arrested both Carr and Lawrence, who have been charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated robbery. Lawrence's bond was set at $600,000. Additionally, Carr is charged with aggravated rape and attempted rape. His bond is set at $1 million. Police are also trying to determine if Carr and Lawrence may be linked to other crimes in the area. Copyright 2008 by All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed Video: Antioch Man Attacks, Escapes Kidnapper

Tennesseans urged to vacation in state

Associated Press • June 16, 2008 Looking to compensate for declining attendance, state officials are marketing state parks to locals looking for cheaper vacation destinations. "I think the fuel prices are going to affect our out-of-state travelers coming to see us this year," said Murray Crow, the state's regional park manager. Instead of a long-distance trip to the beach, park officials want Tennesseans to consider a cool mountain stream. Travelers can check out a new feature, "Less Than One Tank Trips," on the state parks Web site. "Economically, I think we're a really good bargain, especially for individuals within a 50- or 100-radius of a park," Crow said. Tennessee has 53 state parks, including six resort parks with inns, cabins, restaurants and golf. Records show that attendance at the resort parks — Fall Creek Falls, Henry Horton, Montgomery Bell, Natchez Trace, Pickwick Landing and Paris Landing — was low but steady as gas prices rose over the past two years. Park Manager Jim Hall at Fall Creek Falls said he noticed a bit of a difference in visitors over the Memorial Day weekend, but said the park stayed busy. "Just driving through looking at license plates, I did observe fewer out-of-state and more Tennessee," he said. "Every parking place was full. The park was very active and we had a lot of folks over the holiday." Fall Creek Falls pumped $1.8 million into renovations last year designed to increase recreational vehicle attendance. Hall said the improvement could attract more people, but given the high price of gas, it's still a guessing game. "Memorial Day, the Fourth of July are probably going to be busy, regardless," he said. "The proof will be what the visitation looks like on a non-holiday, regular summer weekend outing.

Council looking to restore $1 million to MTA

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (Tennessean)• June 16, 2008 The Metro Council is poised to restore $1 million to the Metro Transit Authority's budget for the upcoming fiscal year, a move that would save some public bus routes from the chopping block. Councilman Erik Cole, chairman of the council's Budget and Finance Committee, said the substitute budget the council plans to vote on Tuesday night would reflect the high priority the council is placing on public transportation at a time of bruising increases in gas prices. "It would be a terrible year to send a signal that we didn't care about public transportation," Cole said. MTA's board voted last month to raise bus fares and eliminate seven routes to help make up a $2.9 million shortfall driven by spikes in the cost of diesel fuel. Mayor Karl Dean's budget proposal for the year starting July 1 would cut MTA's funding by $400,000 even as the authority said it needed $2.5 million more than it's getting this year. Dean, who planned to increase funding to public schools and not much else in a tight fiscal year, has said he wishes he could have done more for MTA. Paul Ballard, MTA's chief executive, said the authority would wait to see the final numbers approved by the council before announcing the routes it would restore. "But it's good news," Ballard said. "It's great news." Any shift in budget funds comes with a cost, however. Cole said the $1 million would come from an assortment of "administrative accounts and contingency funds," including money set aside to help some Metro departments relocate before a capital funding shortage forced the city to reconsider those plans. The mayor's office, the council office and the Metro Arts Commission also would see their funding reduced somewhat beyond what the mayor proposed, Cole said. "We really wanted to demonstrate that we could spread out the impact," he said. The $1 million includes $200,000 Dean had already committed to MTA, Ballard said. Those funds would let MTA continue serving Metro magnet school students, who don't receive transportation from the school district. The council's Budget and Finance Committee meets at 4 p.m. today in the council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. The full council meets Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Metro police to test for steroids

By KATE HOWARD • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 16, 2008 Metro police announced today that they've added anabolic steroids to their random drug testing policy, spurred by an international investigation into steroid use and sales that has led to the decommissioning of three Metro officers. The addition will more than triple the cost of each of the 300 random drug tests the police department completes each year, according to a release today. Previously, the department tested for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, opiates and PCP. “This police department insists on the highest standards of behavior from our employees in providing the most professional police services possible," Police Chief Ronal Serpas said in a statement. " It is imperative that the communities we serve have strong confidence that this is an agency totally committed to a drug-free work force. That drug-free definition includes anabolic steroids.” Three veteran Metro officers have been on paid administrative leave since February, when police officials said they were implicated in a wide-ranging federal investigation into anabolic steroids. Police officials have not said whether they're suspected of using or involved in the sale of steroids. A police trainee resigned after he was questioned in connection with the investigation.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

District "29" Cleanup...Yes more videos...

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Second Harvest in Need of Baby Items

Reported of WKRN (Channel 2 News) Second Harvest Food Bank is feeling the effects of the struggling economy. While donations are down and demand is up across the board, the need for items like baby formula is almost at its greatest in 11 years. Second Harvest has been forced to start rationing the small amount of baby formula they have left. Kelli Garrett, Second Harvest , said, "We used to be able to give out maybe three or four when we had more formula on hand but we've had to cut back on what we can give to those families." Garrett said what supply they currently now, will probably only last a few more months. Second Harvest said baby formula isn't one of the popular items to be donated, part of the reason being people who go to the grocery store and don't have kids don't go down the baby food isle. "It's very difficult for those families having to choose, do they feed their children or feed themselves, and who wants to make that decision," said Garrett. While Garrett said she never wants to turn people away, it could soon become a reality.

Owners can no longer afford pets, shelter faces overcrowding

Reported on WKRN News (Channel 2) Pets are the latest victims of the struggling economy. The Metro Animal Shelter is reporting a jump in the number of surrendered or abandoned animals, as fewer people can afford them. Typically, most of the animals that come into the shelter are picked up by animal control. Recently, however, shelter officials said they have seen more animals coming through their front doors dropped off by people who just can't afford to keep them anymore. Director Jude Ladebauche, Metro Animal Control, said, "They aren't animals we're picking up in the field they're animals that people are surrendering to us for one reason or another and it's heartbreaking." Dogs like Harley and Rocky are newcomers to the shelter and face greater odds. Harley is five-years-old, not as popular an age for adoption as some of the puppies. Ladebauche said because the shelter is so full, it can only support the dogs and cats for one to two weeks, maximum, before they have to make room for new ones. She said, "It's extremely difficult to know so many of them really won't ever find a second home." Still, shelter officials encourage those who can no longer afford their pets to bring them in so they have a chance to find a new owner. The shelter has taken in almost 12,000 animals this year, 1,500 of which last month. Ladebauche said she expects to break a record this year for the number of animals coming into the Metro Animal Shelter.

Apartment fire reported in South Nashville

Reported in the Tennessean The Nashville Area Red Cross is on the scene of a three-alarm fire at the Gazebo Apartments on Neese Drive in South Nashville. The Red Cross is working to determine how many residents are displaced and providing assistance as needed.

District 29 Cleanup Thank you!!!


Thank you!
Metro Beautificatiom
Goodwill Industries
Public Works Department
Shred It
Starbucks (kept everyone awake)
Kirspy Kreme (kept every one's bellies full)
Council Woman Vivian Wilhoite (District "29")
And of course all the people that helped to make the cleanup a success.
Good time had by all!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Davidson County crime log for June 5-8, 2008

These are the most serious calls handled by the Metro police, listed by time, crime reported and address. Some reports may be unfounded. Police calls are listed by police precinct or town. When police cannot immediately determine the location of a crime, the address given is that of the police station or hospital where the crime was reported. Antioch 3:50 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1300 block Bell Road Donelson 8:22 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2800 block Lebanon Pike Downtown 2:25 a.m., cutting/stabbing, 200 block Printers Alley 5:42 p.m., nonresidential burglary, 1200 block Division Street 9:32 p.m., holdup/robbery, 400 block Fourth Avenue North Priest Lake 3:03 a.m., residential burglary, 3200 block Country Lawn Drive South 3:08 a.m., residential burglary, 1000 block Harold Drive 10:42 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 1000 block Murfreesboro Pike 10:55 a.m., holdup/robbery, 1800 block Air Lane Drive 11:34 a.m., holdup/robbery, 400 block Fesslers Lane 5:44 p.m., holdup/robbery, 600 block Airpark Center Drive 6:08 p.m., holdup/robbery, 600 block Airpark Center Drive 11:08 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2100 block Portland Avenue Antioch 7:02 a.m., holdup/robbery, 5200 block Hickory Hollow Parkway Hermitage 2:31 a.m., holdup/robbery, 5900 block Old Hickory Boulevard 5:45 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4700 block Lebanon Pike South 8:20 a.m., residential burglary, 100 block Zermatt Avenue 12:27 p.m., residential burglary, 4100 block Murfreesboro Pike 11:35 p.m., shooting, 2700 block Glenrose Avenue Una 8:33 a.m., holdup/robbery, 2600 block Murfreesboro Pike 10:02 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2500 block Murfreesboro Pike Antioch 2:29 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2200 block Murfreesboro Pike Downtown 12:01 a.m., holdup/robbery, 700 block Church Street 3:07 p.m., rape, James Robertson Parkway Hermitage 6:39 a.m., residential burglary, 4000 block Bell Road 12:45 p.m., holdup/robbery, 5700 block Old Hickory Boulevard South 7:32 a.m., rape, Drummond Court 1:36 p.m., rape, Drummond Court 6:35 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1000 block Murfreesboro Pike 7:32 p.m., residential burglary, 100 block Plus Park Boulevard Una 4 p.m., residential burglary, 100 block Village Green Drive Antioch 6:09 p.m., residential burglary, 4800 block Jason Drive Donelson 10:23 p.m., holdup/robbery, 500 block Claridge Drive Downtown 4:28 a.m., holdup/robbery, 600 block Lafayette Street 6:56 p.m., residential burglary, 700 block Church Street Hermitage 12:48 p.m., residential burglary, Remington Park Road and Griffin Circle South 3:25 p.m., residential burglary, 1000 block Harold Drive 5:51 p.m., residential burglary, 13900 block Old Hickory Boulevard 8:51 p.m., holdup/robbery, 300 block Plus Park Boulevard

Dog team to entertain at Nashville Shores

BY ANDY HUMBLES | AHUMBLES@TENNESSEAN.COM | 726-5939 • June 13, 2008 The Purina Incredible Dog Team will entertain and perform acrobatic tricks at Nashville Shores, 4001 Bell Road in Hermitage, on the dates of June 20-22 and June 27-29. Performances are scheduled at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day. Shows are included in admission to the water park. Admission is $23.95 plus tax for persons 48 inches or taller and $17.95 for persons shorter than 48 inches and ages 55-over. Call 889-7050 or visit

Friday, June 13, 2008

Metro Council gets new staff director next week

Jon Cooper, assistant director of the Metro Council staff since 2001, is set to become the staff director next week. A council resolution on Tuesday's meeting agenda will make that official, while current director Don Jones, who officially retired and went to part-time status two years ago, will stay on as special counsel to the council. Jones, a former Metro law director, has been the council staff director since 1986. Cooper and Jones are attorneys. Cooper, 33, writes most of the legislation introduced by council members and advises them on legal points. He is a graduate of Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, Middle Tennessee State University and Nashville School of Law. — MICHAEL CASS (Tennessean)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Orleans Manor serves full crowd its last night

Marissa DeCuir • June 11, 2008

Doug Wright waves to customers leaving the New Orleans Manor restaurant on its last night Tuesday, June 10, in Nashville, Tenn. Wright's mother opened the restaurant in 1977 and the family lived in the upstairs of the manor for the first ten years. Wright is not sure what he will do after the restaurant closes and speculates he will need to find a job.

New Orleans Manor turned down about 200 people hoping to eat at the seafood restaurant one last time Tuesday night.

The restaurant was alive as ever, but owner Douglas Wright said that shouldn’t be mistaken for a retirement party.

Plagued with seven years of nearby road construction and most recently the smoking ban, the Wrights couldn’t keep the family business alive after more than 30 years.Wright’s mother opened the restaurant in 1977.

The final decision to close came Monday morning, and Wright was hoping to last until today.But because the restaurant received so many calls for reservations, it served its last meal Tuesday night instead.Wright said he was not sure what would happen to the Colemare Mansion, which housed the Manor since its opening.

Wright said he would be interested in subletting the remainder of his lease, two and a half years, with the mansion's owner, the Nashville International Airport.

Report: Tennessee ranks 42nd for kids' well-being

Associated Press • June 12, 2008 Tennessee still ranks among the bottom 10 states for children's health and well-being, but its high-school dropout rate has improved dramatically, a national report shows. The annual Kids Count report measures each state's progress in 10 areas, including infant mortality, poverty rates, single-parent families, teen death rates and low birth weight babies. This year Tennessee improved to 42nd overall from 43rd. Despite some improvement, Tennessee ranks in the bottom 10 states for infant mortality, low birth weight babies, children living in poverty and teen births, the report shows.But high school dropouts decreased 45 percent between 2000 and 2006 and both the child and teen death rates improved. Only 6 percent of teens in Tennessee left school without getting a diploma compared to 7 percent for the nation. Tennessee's dropout rate ranks 15th in the U.S."Tennessee has implemented good public policies and strategies to improve outcomes for older children, resulting in more children graduating and fewer adolescents dying," said Linda O'Neal, executive director of the state Commission on Children and Youth. Tennessee has received national attention for the quality of its pre-kindergarten programs, but Gov. Phil Bredesen had to trim a planned expansion to the program as part of budget cuts this year. The state has also started providing more pre-pregnancy health programs that make sure women have a proper diet and avoid smoking and using drugs or alcohol. "Tennessee must continue and strengthen significant emphasis on improving preconception maternal health to reduce the number of low birth weight babies and infant death, efforts that take several years before the outcomes are reflected in data reported in the book," O'Neal said

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Millions in Preds loan under cloud

By Brad Schrade • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 11, 2008 A national arena management company is suing Predators minority owner William J. “Boots” Del Biaggio III, claiming he misled and defrauded them in a $7 million loan last year to help buy the team. The lawsuit by AEG Facilities, Inc. is the fifth suit filed against Del Biaggio in the past two weeks, each claiming he defrauded lenders. The AEG suit is the second related directly to the purchase of the Predators last December. Modern Bank filed suit June 2 to recover $10 million it loaned Del Biaggio to help purchase the team last year. AEG Facilities is a division of AEG, a worldwide entertainment company which manages numerous sports facilities and owns pro teams, including the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. Del Biaggio until last year had an agreement with AEG to try to move a hockey team to Kansas City, where the company manages and owns a stake in the new Sprint Center. AEG’s suit filed Friday in Superior Court in Santa Clara, California came the same day Del Biaggio filed for bankruptcy in Northern California. He owes approximately $70 million to creditors, but has only about $50 million in assets, according to his attorney. A copy of the lawsuit claims that on Oct. 29 last year, AEG loaned Del Biaggio the money. He used various securities he claimed to owned as collateral, the suit claims. Two of the three investment accounts Del Biaggio claimed to own were not his and documentation was “fraudulently altered” to make it appear he owned them, the suit claims. Merriman, Curhan, Ford & Co, an investment company, and Scott Cacchione, are named co-defendants in the lawsuit. Del Biaggio is also facing a federal investigation into his dealings. Del Biaggio owns a 27 percent stake in the Predators. He was the only major out-of-town investor in a group led by local businessman David Freeman. The group bought the team from Craig Leipold last December. The bankruptcy filing Friday revealed that he also owed Leipold $10 million. It was unclear in the bankruptcy documents whether that money was related to the Preds purchase. Leipold and the team would not comment about the details of that debt.The team maintains that Del Biaggio’s troubles will not impact the Predators operations. The team is reportedly seeking to buy him out or find other investors to purchase his stake. That process could be complicated by the bankruptcy filing last week. Metro could face exposure if his troubles impact the team. The city owns the Sommet Center and restructured the team's lease just months, offering favorable terms to help the team operate. In exchange, Del Biaggio and other owners personally guaranteed money to Metro in event they default on the lease or leave town early. Metro Sports Authority, the city’s landlord for its pro sports facilities, will meet Friday to discuss what legal options it may pursue in the wake of Del Biaggio's financial problems.

Summer Solstice benefit at Nashville Shores

By ANDY HUMBLES 726-5939 • June 11, 2008 Nashville Shores at 4001 Bell Road will hold its fourth annual Summer Solstice Celebration, 6:30-11 p.m. Friday, June 20. The event is for ages 21-over. The Summer Solstice will include a series of bonfire barges on Percy Priest Lake as a backdrop. Burning Las Vegas will play live music and paddleboat cruises will be offered on the Nashville Shoreliner.The event is free with a suggested donation of $10 and all proceeds benefiting local charities.The hosts and benefiting organizations include the Nashville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce benefiting the Nashville Junior Chamber Charities and Team Green benefiting environmental nonprofit organizations in Middle Tennessee.

Nashville ranks 4th on FBI list for violent crime

By RACHEL STULTS • Staff Writer • June 11, 2008 Nashville ranked 4th in violent crime last year among cities with populations of 500,000 or more, despite a nationwide drop in violent crime, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics released this week. Nashville, which showed 8,513 violent crimes in 2007, ranked behind Detroit, Memphis and Baltimore. Some of the nation’s largest cities, such as New York City, were not included in the report. The FBI considers violent crime to include murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Nashville ranked 4th among 33 cities with populations of 500,000 or more. On the list of all cities that reported to the FBI, Nashville ranked 12th out of 257. Despite Nashville’s ranking on the list, the city showed a slight drop from 2006 in every violent crime category except for robbery, which rose from 2,425 to 2,516 robberies. Preliminary figures show the nation, on average, reported a decrease of 1.4 percent in the number of violent crimes in 2007 compared to 2006. Detroit, which took the No. 1 spot on the list for violent crimes, showed 19,683 violent crimes in 2007

Metro sidewalks plan draws comments, criticism

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • June 10, 2008 A draft revision of Metro Nashville's strategic plan for sidewalks and bikeways has been released by Metro Public Works, which is accepting comments and questions - and getting some criticism - about the plan. The draft is available at the Nashville Public Library and at To comment or ask questions, send an e-mail to Bell Lowe Newton, president of the Woodlawn Area Neighborhood Association, said some parts of the plan make little sense to her and her neighbors. Sidewalks are planned for some side streets where there's little vehicular traffic, but not for the busier roads that lead to them, she said. But city officials and consultants seem to be listening to the neighbors' concerns, Newton said. "We're looking forward to working with Metro," she said. The city completed its original strategic plan in 2003. Mayor Karl Dean called for an update last fall, and five community meetings were held earlier this year. The draft plan says Public Works has built or repaired 124 miles of sidewalks and constructed 94 miles of bikeways since 2003.Jim Snyder, who oversees capital projects for Public Works, said the city plans to start giving more weight to existing sidewalks' physical condition and the possibility of coordinating improvements with other Metro projects, such as schools and parks. Residents who attended the community meetings said they'd like to see more sidewalks near greenways, schools, retail centers, hospitals, parks and community centers, Snyder said. Here are some tips for viewing the plans: 1) Go to and click on "View Sidewalks Project Information and Maps" 2) Click on "Funded Projects:Maps & Schedule" (right corner) 3) Click on "Project Search" (right corner) for proposed projects or "Interactive Viewer" to see what is already funded. 4) Once you're in Interactive Viewer:- Go to fourth box on left, "Find"- Click "By Address" 5) Go to bottom of page (scroll) and type in street and cross street 6) Hit the Locate button7) Go to magnifying glass icon

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Rally June 13

Janet Lamb • Reader Submitted • June 9, 2008 A World Elder Abuse Awareness Day rally will be held on June 13 at the War Memorial Plaza from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m, sponsored by the Tennessee Vulnerable Adult Coalition and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability. Organizations, including Nashville Metropolitan Police Department, United States Postal Inspections Service, YWCA, Rape and Sexual Abuse Center, Adult Protective Services and Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs, will have booths to distribute information on financial exploitation, postal fraud, home and community based services and more. General Sessions Judge Daniel Eisenstein, who presides over Mental Health Court, will speak on elder abuse issues. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day has been recognized by Governor Bredesen and the State Legislature on June 15. The rally is to bring awareness to the crimes of physical, emotional and financial abuse of elder and vulnerable adults.

Renamed Sexual Assault Center moving to Metro Center

By LEA ANN OVERSTREET • Staff Writer (Tennessean)• June 11, 2008 The Rape and Sexual Abuse Center at 25 Lindsley Ave. is moving and changing its name. Now known as the Sexual Assault Center, it will move into a 16,000-square-foot facility at 101 French Landing in Metro Center on June 17. The center celebrates its anniversary this fall. For almost 30 years it has provided counseling, support, education and advocacy to survivors of sexual assault. Since 1978, it has helped more than 15,000 children and adult victims of sexual abuse and assault. According to Stephen Lackey, associate director of development, the center's counselors see more than 700 people a year, with more than half that number being children. "Our facility now is just not adequate. There's not enough room to do what we want to do," Lackey said. For 15 years, therapist Eric Fogle has worked with assault survivors, and he said the time has come for a larger site. "We serve a lot more people than we used to, but we're busting at the seams. We're busting out of this building," Fogle said. Center representatives said the new building will provide more space for individual therapy, increased areas for educational development, and a room able to seat more than 80 people for community outreach and education programs. Therapist Char Creson said the changes would not undermine the help she and others are prepared to provide to sexual assault survivors. "Through it all, we keep the clients' needs in mind. That's a consistent thing. Our expertise has been a constant," Creson said.