Thursday, October 30, 2008

N.Y. group may buy Sounds

By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • October 30, 2008 A group of New York businessmen is in talks to buy the Nashville Sounds, two sources familiar with the situation said Wednesday. An announcement is expected this afternoon. But the sources cautioned that an agreement between the New York group and Sounds owner Al Gordon would be subject to due diligence by the prospective buyers and to approval by the Sounds' parent club, the Milwaukee Brewers, as well as the Pacific Coast League. The sources, who refused to be identified, said the New York group consists of Masahiro Honzawa, Frank Ward and Steve Posner. Honzawa runs Hiro North American Properties, a real estate company that owns four New York office buildings. A woman who answered the phone at Hiro on Wednesday said: "It's in the news already?" A sale would end the stormy relationship between Gordon, who is based in Chicago, and Metro officials. The city made the Sounds a deal in 2006 for a new minor-league stadium on riverfront land, only to see it fall apart 18 months ago after the AAA team missed two financing deadlines. More recently, the Sounds and Mayor Karl Dean's administration have failed to see eye to eye on an extension of the franchise's lease at Greer Stadium, which expires Dec. 31. The Sounds have asked for a short-term lease, while the city has demanded a longer commitment to Nashville and upgrades to the 30-year-old ballpark. The prospective buyers have not met with city officials, the sources said. Metro Councilman Rip Ryman said he knew nothing about the current talks. But he said he hoped a sale would go through and the city could turn the page on the Gordon years. "There are probably a lot of wounds there that won't get healed anytime soon," Ryman said. UPDATE: Pacific Coast League expects Sounds to stay in NashvilleThe Pacific Coast League expects the Nashville Sounds to stay in Music City no matter who owns them, a senior league official said today. George King, the league's vice president for business and operations, called Nashville a viable market for minor league baseball. "It's the PCL's intention to have baseball in Nashville," King said. "It's a PCL market, and one we hold in high regard. ... We love Nashville." A group of New York businessmen is looking to buy the Sounds from Al Gordon, who is based in Chicago, two sources familiar with the situation said Wednesday. King said the Pacific Coast League would "take a serious look" at any purchase application submitted by the group, and plans to remain in Nashville would be one of the top criteria for approval. Contact Michael Cass at 259-8838 or

Convenience store in Antioch robbed

Thursday • October 30, 2008 Metro police are looking for an armed man who robbed a convenience store late Wednesday night on Murfreesboro Pike in Antioch. No one was injured in the incident. Metro police Capt. Harmon Hunsicker said that a suspect armed with a pistol walked into the Exxon On the Run store at 4198 Murfreesboro Pike around 11:18 p.m. The man got the cash from the cash drawer and fled on foot but may have gotten into a car. The suspect is described as a white man who was wearing a black sweatsuit with white stripes on the sleeves. He had a hood over his head and was wearing gloves. The clerk was not hurt, and there were no customers in the store at the time, according to police. — LEIGH RAY Leigh Ray can be reached at 615-726-5951 or

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Briefs: Neighborhood groups can help identify codes violations

Tennessean The Neighborhoods Organized To Initiate Code Enforcement program (NOTICE) is a support program to help citizens identify and report codes violations in their neighborhood. With this program, a cooperative effort between Codes Administration and the Metro Health Department, neighbors can become a direct participant in the process that helps improve and maintain their own neighborhoods. The program is available to neighborhood groups only. Interested groups should first identify at least four persons who will form their volunteer inspection team. Then a short application is filed with Codes. Once your group has been selected, they will receive training to help them to identify potential codes violations. A special reporting procedure has been established and the program provides for anonymous notification of property owners of codes violations. For more information or to request an application, call the Metro Codes office at 862-6590, or visit Juvenile center seeks job fair participants The Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center is hosting its sixth annual job fair at 8:30-11:30 a.m. Nov. 13. The center is looking for representatives from companies, agencies and organizations to participate in this event. Representatives would answer basic questions, talk about the application process and give information that would motivate the youth to want to be involved with the business or organization. The Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center will provide participants space for presentation and audience. The center's goal is to establish a network of local employers and organizations that are willing to expose their youths to employment opportunities in the community, with the hopes that learning about these opportunities may help them make positive decisions about their futures. All participants are asked to arrive no later than 8 a.m. to set up their area and join the program staff for refreshments. A table approximately 2½ by 5 ½ will be provided, or representatives may bring their own. Call Yolanda Hockett, assistant superintendent of programs, at 862-8066, ext. 71004, or case manager Garmai Tokpah at 862-8066, ext. 71016, to participate in this event. Luncheon will discuss economic future Women at the Table of Power will host Real Talk, Real People, Real Politics at 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31 at Piedmont Natural Gas, 665 Mainstream Dr. The luncheon and panel discussion will focus on what the future holds for consumers, small businesses and local and state government. Panelists will include Betty Nixon, community activist; Jerry Maynard, Metro councilman-at-large; Jo Ann North, former tax assessor; and state Rep. Beth Harwell. Registration is $25. Register at or call 469-6878.

Antioch High will hold presidential debate

Metro Schools' only debate team will encourage 18-year-olds to vote By Suzanne Normand Blackwood • THE TENNESSEAN • October 29, 2008 The 2008 presidential election is the first in which many high school students will have an opportunity to vote. As a way of encouraging eligible Antioch High School students to go to the polls, the school's debate team is hosting a presidential debate at 1:15 p.m. Nov. 3, the day before the election. One side will debate for Sen. John McCain and the other for Sen. Barack Obama. Participants will grill one another with questions they developed themselves. Made up of two teams, each with two students and two teachers, the debate will be the first time students and teachers have participated together in a public debate. The idea for the debate stemmed from a conversation that took place after school one day between Assistant Principal Bruce Curtis and a student. "They were talking about the election. It was a very relaxed conversation, like a fireside chat," said debate coach Carrol Trusty. Curtis lightheartedly challenged the student to a debate. "We thought it was a fantastic idea and expanded it," Trusty said. Seniors will have an opportunity to attend the debate. Trusty said it would focus on "the issues." "It's strictly an effort to educate," she said. Donation funds debate team Antioch High School, which receives funding for its debate program by the Nashville Alliance for Public Education, is the only area public school that offers debate classes and has a public policy debate team. The challenge for most schools is lack of funding, said Pam Garrett, executive director for the Nashville Alliance for Public Education. "It always helps when you have an interested donor," she said. A few years ago, the alliance had an anonymous donor who wanted the donation to go toward debate. Trusty had been paying for four students at Antioch to attend debate competitions. Through the help of the anonymous donor, though, an endowment was set up that allowed for as many as 19 students to attend competitions. Metro group hopes to add other schools Garrett said the alliance has also received other donations that have helped, and it hopes to expand its support to other Metro schools. As part of the program, the Nashville Alliance for Public Education also takes students to visit the Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis law firm, where they have an opportunity to exhibit their debate skills before the attorneys. "It's very inspirational for them and for the attorneys," Garrett said. What debate does for individual students and the debate team is evident, she said. "The kids who debate grow and mature and create a whole new vision for their future that they might not otherwise."

Metro school calendar adds more teacher training

DAVIDSON COUNTY The Metro school board Tuesday voted to tweak the school calendar for the 2009-10 school year to include more teacher training days and more regular school days before students take standardized tests in the spring. Under the new calendar, fall semester will begin a day later on Aug. 14 and spring break will begin on March 12 rather than March 29. The last day of school will be May 27, not May 21. Administrators said the changes were necessary to comply with state recommendations and to allow students more time to review for the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program exams, used to measure student progress. — JAIME SARRIO

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Davidson County crime log from Oct. 20-22

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. Oct. 22 Antioch 1:10 a.m., residential burglary, 5100 block Rice Road 9:32 p.m., residential burglary, 1400 block Clapham Court 10:27 p.m., residential burglary, 600 block Hickory Highlands Drive Bordeaux 6:14 p.m., residential burglary, 3300 block Curtis Street Central 1:25 p.m., rape, at Broadway Crieve Hall 7:50 a.m., residential burglary, 400 block Hill Road Donelson 10:06 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 20 block Century Boulevard 7:15 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2800 block Elm Hill Road 10:26 p.m., holdup/robbery, at Donelson Road and Royal Parkway East 11:06 a.m., holdup/robbery, at North Second Street and Evanston Avenue 12:47 p.m., residential burglary, 2000 block Olga Avenue 12:58 p.m., residential burglary, 100 block South 10th Street 5:04 p.m., residential burglary, 1000 block West Greenwood Avenue 6:22 p.m., residential burglary, 600 block North Second Street 10:11 p.m., residential burglary, 500 block North Second Street Hermitage 9:19 a.m., holdup/robbery, 100 block Bonnabrook Drive 11:18 a.m., residential burglary, 7000 block Cortez Court 5:06 p.m., residential burglary, 4400 block Central Valley Drive 8:49 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4400 block Lebanon Pike Madison 5:33 a.m., residential burglary, 700 block Neelys Bend Road 11:12 a.m., residential burglary, 100 block Alta Loma Road North 5:45 a.m., rape, at Cumberland Bend 7:39 a.m., holdup/robbery, 3300 block Brick Church Road 12:26 p.m., cutting/stabbing, 800 block 40th Avenue North 6:01 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2000 block 28th Avenue North Paragon Mills 6:51 a.m., holdup/robbery, 4700 block Humber Drive Priest Lake 1:15 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 2800 block Smith Springs Road 4:11 p.m., residential burglary, 3000 block Fieldstone Drive Providence 5:38 a.m., holdup/robbery, 5100 block Nolensville Road 12:43 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4500 block Nolensville Road South 2:15 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 900 block Fourth Avenue South 10:34 p.m., holdup/robbery, 200 block Chestnut Street Una 12:11 p.m., residential burglary, 900 block Village Hills Drive 5:50 p.m., residential burglary, 900 block Village Hills Drive 7:02 p.m., residential burglary, 100 block Smith Springs Court Union Hill 4:28 a.m., holdup/robbery, 300 block Oakbluff Lane West 2:09 a.m., holdup/robbery, 4400 block Murphy Road 7:53 a.m., holdup/robbery, 300 block 18th Avenue North 9:06 a.m., residential burglary, 1900 block Broadway 1:23 p.m., residential burglary, 5200 block Dakota Avenue 2:06 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2100 block West End Avenue 5:07 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2000 block Belcourt Avenue 9:50 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1200 block 16th Avenue South Woodbine 8:35 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4000 block Nolensville Road Oct. 21 Antioch 12:23 p.m., residential burglary, 700 block Knightsbridge Way 8:03 p.m., residential burglary, 5100 block Rice Road 10:04 p.m., cutting/stabbing, 2400 block Edge O Lake Drive Central 2:35 p.m., holdup/robbery, at Sixth Avenue North and Union Street Donelson 7:53 a.m., holdup/robbery, 200 block Ellery Court East 6:31 p.m., residential burglary, 1000 block West Greenwood Avenue 9:17 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1000 block Horseshoe Drive 10:14 p.m., residential burglary, 500 block Joseph Avenue 11:05 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1100 block Litton Avenue 11:33 p.m., residential burglary, 1000 block Lischey Avenue Hermitage 10 a.m., residential burglary, 7500 block West Winchester Drive Joelton 6:01 p.m., holdup/robbery, at Whites Creek Pike and Interstate 24 East Madison 7:59 a.m., residential burglary, 400 block Sarver Avenue 11:57 p.m., holdup/robbery, 300 block East Webster Street North 5:58 a.m., holdup/robbery, 3300 block Brick Church Road 9:41 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 900 block Buchanan Street 5:05 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2600 block Jefferson Street 5:27 p.m., residential burglary, 1000 block Clay Street 6 p.m., holdup/robbery, 7100 block Whites Creek Pike 9:05 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2800 block John A Merritt Boulevard Priest Lake 4:05 p.m., holdup/robbery, 3400 block Anderson Road South 5:03 p.m., residential burglary, 500 block Moore Avenue 8:26 p.m., residential burglary, 900 block Murfreesboro Road Tusculum 3:32 p.m., holdup/robbery, 15500 block Old Hickory Boulevard 4:08 p.m., residential burglary, 4000 block Coleridge Drive West 2:17 a.m., holdup/robbery, 6900 block Charlotte Pike 11:27 a.m., holdup/robbery, 400 block Davidson Road 5:21 p.m., rape, at Love Circle and Marlborough Avenue 5:47 p.m., residential burglary, 2700 block Torbett Street 6:18 p.m., residential burglary, 2400 block Eden Street 8:14 p.m., residential burglary, 6600 block Charlotte Pike 8:40 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4100 block Dakota Avenue 11:46 p.m., holdup/robbery, 3100 block West End Avenue Woodbine 8:29 p.m., residential burglary, 3100 block McCombs Avenue Oct. 20 Antioch 7:43 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 5200 block Hickory Hollow Parkway 3:18 p.m., residential burglary, 1400 block Elkhorn Point 5:18 p.m., residential burglary, 200 block Antioch Woods Court Bordeaux 10:47 p.m., residential burglary, 2600 block Taigans Court Donelson 7:52 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 500 block Marriott Drive 8:18 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 500 block Marriott Drive 11:36 a.m., residential burglary, 200 block Trails Circle 10:40 p.m., holdup/robbery, at Donelson Pike and Royal Parkway East 10:05 a.m., residential burglary, 1300 block Stratton Avenue 11:44 a.m., holdup/robbery, 1500 block Jones Avenue 3:43 p.m., residential burglary, 100 block Porter Terrace 5:16 p.m., residential burglary, 1200 block North Seventh Street 5:40 p.m., residential burglary, 300 block Rosebank Avenue 5:41 p.m., cutting/stabbing, 2500 block Gallatin Pike Hermitage 7:56 p.m., residential burglary, 1300 block Tulip Grove Road 8:40 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1000 block Thompson Place 8:50 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4100 block Lebanon Road 9:31 p.m., holdup/robbery, 500 block Southwood Park Place J.C. Napier 9:05 a.m., rape, at J.C. Napier Court 10:39 a.m., holdup/robbery, 500 block Claiborne Street Madison3:34 p.m., holdup/robbery, 400 block South Gallatin Pike 3:59 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1200 block South Gallatin Pike 4:50 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1900 block North Gallatin Pike 5:57 p.m., residential burglary, 1500 block Pierce Road 8:45 p.m., holdup/robbery, 400 block Myatt Drive 8:47 p.m., holdup/robbery, at Myatt Drive and Anderson Lane North 7:20 a.m., holdup/robbery, 3300 block Brick Church Pike 8:19 a.m., residential burglary, 1800 block Cephas Street 8:19 a.m., residential burglary, 1800 block Cephas Street 4:21 p.m., holdup/robbery, 3500 block Dickerson Road 8:42 p.m., residential burglary, 400 block Ponder Place 9:08 p.m., holdup/robbery, 7500 block Old Hickory Boulevard Paragon Mills 5:24 p.m., residential burglary, 4800 block Sunlight Drive South 6:15 a.m., holdup/robbery, 300 block Harding Place 8:12 a.m., residential burglary, 9200 block Thomason Trail 11:34 a.m., holdup/robbery, 300 block Harding Place Tusculum 2:35 p.m., residential burglary, 100 block Highland Villa Drive West 5:44 a.m., holdup/robbery, 1400 block Eighth Avenue South 9:54 a.m., residential burglary, 900 block 14th Avenue North 11:18 a.m., residential burglary, 500 block Spruce Street 11:18 a.m., residential burglary, 500 block Spruce Street 3:02 p.m., residential burglary, 1000 block Edgehill Avenue

Man killed in Bell Road wreck is identified

The man who was killed Monday afternoon in a car accident on Bell Road has been identified as William Greene, 28, of White House. Greene was turning left out of the Jiffy Lube on the 500 block of Bell Road at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his 2004 Ford Mustang and veered into oncoming traffic, Metro police said. His car was struck in the passenger side by a Ford Explorer, and Greene died at the scene, police said. The driver of the Explorer, Jasmine Washington, 23, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Police investigate Antioch burglaries

WKRN Channel 2 Posted: Oct 28, 2008 01:24 PM CDT Updated: Oct 28, 2008 01:24 PM CDT Metro detectives are investigating two similar robberies that occurred within hours of one another, in the same location. The first one happened at about 7 p.m. Monday at the Steak Plus 2 restaurant on Bell Road in Antioch. Police said the suspects fired a shot into the ceiling and left with some money and a cell phone. At about 12 Midnight, police responded to a similar robbery at the 21 and Up video store around the corner. Police said the robbers fired a shot into the ceiling and left with money. Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME.

Police investigate Antioch burglaries

WKRN Channel 2 Posted: Oct 28, 2008 01:24 PM CDT Updated: Oct 28, 2008 01:24 PM CDT Metro detectives are investigating two similar robberies that occurred within hours of one another, in the same location. The first one happened at about 7 p.m. Monday at the Steak Plus 2 restaurant on Bell Road in Antioch. Police said the suspects fired a shot into the ceiling and left with some money and a cell phone. At about 12 Midnight, police responded to a similar robbery at the 21 and Up video store around the corner. Police said the robbers fired a shot into the ceiling and left with money. Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time to Eat some of the Great Chili....Yummy!!!

Vivian Makes a New Friend at Compton's

Thanks to the Firemen for the "Great" Chili

Fall District "29" Cleanup Photos

Hello District 29 Neighbors:

Please come out this weekend for the District 29 Great American Clean-up on Saturday, October 25, 2008 in the parking lot of the Smith Springs Church of Christ, 2783 Smith Springs Road. For the early participates (6 am - 8 am) there will be Kryspy Kreme doughnuts and Starbucks coffee (until all gone) to get us started before removing signs in the public right of way. See the attached flyer for more details. Looking forward to see you. Gratefully, Vivian Vivian Wilhoite Metro Council, District 29 Visit for up-to-date information in and around District 29. Committed to keeping you informed! 589-2003/

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another Successful Truancy Initiative

Commander Michelle Richter and her very professional team from the Hermitage Police Precinct are doing an excellent job in making sure that kids who should be in school are in school. Further, those that break the rules, must suffer the consequences. Below is the latest report of a successful truancy initiative. When you see our Metro Police Officers, especially those that patrol our Southeast quadrant, please say them "Thank-you for a job well-done". I will continue to keep you updated on these truancy initiatives. Gratefully, Vivian Commmander Richter Reports: Commander Michelle Richter Hermitage Precinct 880-1776

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Early voting sites in Metro

Early voting for the Nov. 4 election runs through Thursday, Oct. 30. Info: Davidson County Election Commission, 615-862-8800, Where: • Belle Meade City Hall, 4705 Harding Road • Bellevue Community Center, 650 Colice Jeanne Road • Bordeaux Library, 4000 Clarksville Pike • Davidson County Election Commission Metro Office Building, 800 Second Ave. S. • Edmondson Library, 5501 Edmondson Pike • Friendship Baptist Church, 1109 32nd Ave. N. • Goodlettsville City Hall, 105 S. Main St. • Green Hills Library, 3701 Benham Ave. • Hermitage Library, 3700 James Kay Lane • Living Word Community Church, 5380 Hickory Hollow Parkway • Madison Library, 610 Gallatin Pike S. • Woodbine Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 3016 Nolensville Pike • Woodson Chapel Church of Christ, 5800 Edmondson Pike When: • 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, and Tuesday, Oct. 28 • 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22; Friday, Oct. 24; Monday, Oct. 27; Wednesday-Thursday, Oct. 29-30 • 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great American Cleanup October 25, 2008

The Alliance of District 29 Fall/Winter 2008 Great American Clean-up Saturday, October 25, 2008 6:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Smith Springs Church of Christ * 2783 Smith Springs Road 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Ø Clear signs off intersections, telephone poles and public rights-of-way. 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Ø Donate your not-so-used clothing to Goodwill. Ø Shred all of your confidential documents for FREE. Ø Throw away your large household items until the roll-off bins are full. Ø Special containers to throw away old paint will also be available. Ø Donate your old cell phones and chargers to domestic violence shelters. The shelter will give your old cell phone to victims to call for help. Ø Donate your soda can tabs to help the Ronald McDonald House. Ø Sign the District 29 Community Pledge to help keep our neighborhoods clean. Ø Get with neighbors to clean-up eye sores areas in your immediate neighborhood. 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Ø Bring a lawn chair for fun, fellowship and good Chili with all the fixings prepared by our own Metro Firefighters after the clean-up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Health Department Prepares For Flu Season

Channel 5 News NASHVILLE, Tenn., - According to the Metro Public Health Department, each year, nearly two out ten Americans get the flu and many of those cases could be prevented with the flu shot. Metro Public Health Department will begin offering flu shots at 8 a.m. Monday, October 20 at its annual Fast Track Flu Shot Clinic at the Lentz Public Health Center, 311 23rd Ave. North. The Fast Track clinic will offer flu shots October 20th through October 24th from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., the Fast Track clinic will be open until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21st. The Health Department is offering its services especially to those over 50 who do not normally get the flu vaccine, but they will not turn anyone away, up to the first 500 per site. In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, it is recommended that certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications. According to the CDC, people who should get vaccinated each year are: children aged months up to their 19th birthday, pregnant women, people 50 years of age and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including: health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu, and household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated). For more information call the Health Department's flu shot hotline at 340-2100 for a recorded message.

School districts stress safety around buses

Wkrn Channel 2 School districts around the mid-south have set aside this week to raise awareness about incidents involving school buses and how to stay safe around buses. The school bus transportation system is the single largest public transportation system in the United States. In the state of Tennessee, over 600,000 students ride the bus every year. In terms of accidents in Davidson County, during the 2006-2007 school year, there were 172 school bus accidents. Davidson County has taken a new step this is year to try and cut down on the accidents. Bus monitors have been added to every special education school bus in the school system. News 2 spoke to one of the special education bus drivers to see how the effort has made an impact. Bus driver Angeline Spurlock said, "With the traffic now, and people that I see on cell phones, and so many people on the roads, our focus is safety." Spurlock says her bus monitor has acted like a very helpful extra set of eyes aboard her bus. She adds, "Drivers are really trying to pay attention to not get too close and to drive, and that gives her a chance to really focus in on what's behind me because I've got just a small mirror I am looking behind at." There are a few things you may not know about being around a school bus. The danger zone for a bus is described as the area 10 feet around the bus, and the most dangerous places are the front of the bus and the right rear tire area. The best thing to do is to try and stay 10 giant steps away from the bus whenever possible.

Metro agency will hand out more aid for energy bills

One Metro Nashville agency has already seen 3,590 families this year — a major spike over last year — requesting assistance with energy bills because of the tough economy and rising costs of food, gas and electricity. "We're seeing a lot more people, and it's likely to double over last year," said Lisa Gallon, spokeswoman for the Metro Action Commission, which helps low-income families. "We are seeing a lot of first-time customers in our agency who historically were able to handle those expenses." Her agency and others will split $80 million in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funding that just came to the state to help low-income families pay for rising energy costs. That's up from a $30 million grant last year. It's unknown how much Middle Tennessee and Metro's allocations will be, but officials say it needs to be substantial. On Oct. 1, a rate hike went into effect for customers of Nashville Electric Service and Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation. Nashvillians' monthly electric bills have increased 10 percent to 20 percent to cover the cost of coal and other fuels used to generate electricity, according to the Tennessee Valley Authority. It's a temporary adjustment that may go up or down in January. There were 5,993 Metro families who requested help with their energy bills last year, Gallon said. Statewide, 80,000 residents were served, according to the Department of Human Services. The state expects that figure to double, said Glenda Shearon, assistant commissioner for adult and family services in the department. "It's very good to get this news as it gets chilly," Shearon said. "And with electric bills going up, it works out that the funding was increased." Contact Chris Echegaray at 615-664-2144 or

Friday, October 17, 2008

3 Workers Robbed At Gunpoint

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Metro police are looking for a man who robbed three restaurant workers at gunpoint overnight. The incident happened at Steaks Plus Pizza in south Nashville at Bell Road and Murfreesboro Road. The workers told police a man wearing a bandana over his face took money from the register and employees before running away.

Mayor Announces Anti-Foreclosure Grants

Channel 4 News NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Friday morning, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean was on hand to help announce anti-foreclosure grants for the mid-state. With the grants, eligible households may get up to $2,500 to be used for counseling, "rescue" funds or money toward plans to reduce losses. Eligible families are those whose income does not exceed $49,000 and who are only two payments behind on their mortgage. The household must also be willing to accept free financial counseling to be eligible to apply for part of the grant. The $200,000 anti-foreclosure grant was given to Nashville Friday by the Woodbine Community Organization.

Residents asked to give input on future growth

By NANCY DEVILLE • • 259-8304 • October 17, 2008 Rural Hill, Moss Hill communities can help determine planning guidelines for area Residents in the Rural Hill and Moss Hill neighborhoods are urged to attend a series of community meetings to weigh in on the area's growth. The Metro Planning Commission is working with community members to create a Detailed Neighborhood Design Plan, which will outline appropriate land use and urban design that will complement and enhance the portion of south Davidson County. The study is roughly bordered by Una-Antioch Pike to the west, Mt. View Road to the south, Rural Hill Road to the east and the area south of Streamfield Pass and Bridgecrest Drive to the west. The community, the Planning Commission and Metro Council will use the plan as a starting point to discuss public and private investment in the area, including proposed zoning changes, subdivisions and public facilities such as roads, sidewalks, greenways and schools. "There is a need for the plan with so many people complaining about property values going down and concerned about apartments and low-scale condominiums being built in the area," said Councilman Robert Duvall, who with Councilman Duane Dominy, is working with Metro planners and residents on the plan. "Our goal is to come up with a design plan as to what the neighborhood should look like." During the series of meetings, which began on Wednesday, Oct. 8, planners will consult with area residents and business owners to gather ideas on growth of the neighborhood. The comments will be used to create a plan that balances the community's vision with sound planning principles that will accommodate growth in a sustainable manner. The information gathered will be used to evaluate future zoning and subdivision requests. The next meeting Monday, Oct. 20, will allow stakeholders to develop the vision statement and development goals for the area. Participants will break into smaller groups and outline what they like and don't like and the types of new development is wanted. This is the first detailed neighborhood design plan created for this area. "It is important to have as much community participation in the process to be sure that the plan reflects a vision agreed upon by the community since it will shape future development decisions," said Kathryn Withers, a Metro planner.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Teach for America coming to Metro schools in 2009

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • October 16, 2008 Teach for America will place 50 new college graduates in Metro classrooms next fall, providing an infusion of new teaching blood that Mayor Karl Dean and other education leaders hope will give the struggling school district new hope. Dean and Teach for America announced the decision to a roomful of Metro government and business leaders, including some who quickly raised $1 million to convince the New York-based organization to come to Nashville a year earlier than would have normally been possible. "We could not wait another year," Dean said. Teach for America recruits highly motivated college graduates, gives them intense training and puts them in struggling schools in return for a two-year commitment. The program started in 1990 and is in 29 other areas, including Memphis. It planned to put 30 teachers in Metro until Wednesday, when it decided to boost the total to 50 - a number that will be matched in 2010-11. Dean also announced the completion of a $1 million fund raising drive for the New Teacher Project, which will work to help Metro schools recruit teachers more effectively; the creation of a Community Foundation fund to help pay for his other education initiatives; and the appointment of Laura Hansen, the Metro school district's continuous improvement coordinator, to lead the mayor's initiatives. Hansen will start working in the mayor's office early next month. Contact Michael Cass at 259-8838 or

Nashville sets early-vote record

Turnout is high, lines long in area counties By Jennifer Brooks • THE TENNESSEAN • October 16, 2008 Tennesseans flooded polling places across the state for the first day of early voting in the 2008 presidential election. Long lines snaked out the door at many polling places as voters waited their turn to vote. Nashville shattered all previous first-day turnout records, clocking some 16,710 votes on Wednesday. That was double the previous record set in 2004 when more than 8,000 voted on the first day. "This is my first time voting," said Micah Towry of Antioch, waiting in a line that snaked down the stacks at the Edmondson Pike Library. Like many voters, Towry read a book to pass the time during the 20-minute wait to vote. Towry said the economic crisis pushed him into the voting booth for the first time and pushed him to cast his first vote, which went to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. While Tennessee may be leaning red, Obama dominated the early voting scene. Crowds of volunteers waving Obama placards gathered outside many Middle Tennessee polling stations. Area polls stay busy Volunteers for both campaigns have put on aggressive pushes in Tennessee to register new voters and get them out to cast their ballots early. "There have been plenty of (John) McCain voters, but no McCain campaigners," said Marie McEntire, a member of the Democratic Women of Williamson County. She held an Obama sign outside the Williamson County Administrative Complex. By mid-morning, the line to get into the polling station was more than 50 people long. By late afternoon, the main polling station in Franklin reported 3,672 voters, with three hours of voting still to go. In Wilson County, election administrator Lynn Harris said poll workers had been so busy with the flood of early voters, they hadn't had time to count the votes yet. The state election commission will begin publishing daily early voting tallies later today. There were a lot of first-time voters in line on Wednesday, including E'Tasha Keeton, an 18-year-old freshman at Fisk University. "I think we're really in need of a change," said Keeton, who urged other young voters to "just vote. This time we can make a difference." Register for the first time Of the nearly 4 million registered voters in Tennessee, more than 360,000 — or 9 percent — have registered for the first time. As many as 300,000 Tennesseans registered to vote in the months leading up to the election, almost as many as in the record-breaking 2004 election, when 2.4 million Tennesseans turned out to the polls. Davidson County alone registered 49,000 new voters, according to county Election Administrator Ray Barrett. "This has been steady, all day long. There was a line when we opened the doors at 7 a.m.," Barrett said. In 2004, about 45 percent of the votes cast in the presidential election were cast during early voting. The early voting totals are expected to rise this year, Barrett said. Early voting continues through Oct. 30. For voters who have moved within the county recently, early voting is also the simplest way to vote and register their change of address. Election officials are bracing for another big turnout today, after voters have had a chance to take in Wednesday night's presidential debate. The historic nature of the election seems to be energizing voters enough to shrug off the slight inconvenience of a wait in line at the polling place. Nashville voter Brenda McKinney waited in line at the Edmondson Pike Library, then headed to Nashville to bring her uncle in to vote at election commission headquarters in the old Howard School building. "I'm feeling really good," she said. "I think my guy is going to win."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gas dips below $3 at some area stations

WKRN (Channel 2 News) While it isn't the norm and you won't find it everywhere, gas prices have hit the sub $3 mark at some Middle Tennessee stations. According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular gas Monday morning was $3.38 a gallon, down from $3.43 a gallon Sunday. Jim Lott with AAA said, on average, gas is dropping five cents a gallon per day in Nashville. "The price of oil hit an all time high at $147 in July, but it was down to $81 a barrel [Monday] morning, so it's almost down 50%," he said. The average price for a gallon of unleaded in Tennessee is $3.20, two cents above the national average of $3.20 Lott said Nashville's prices pull up the state average. "I was talking to someone in Memphis and there are stations there with gas at $2.75 a gallon," he said. "If it goes below $3 a gallon, which it will, we'll be close to where we were a year ago [Monday]." Paul Kizer, owner of West Main Shell in Hendersonville, decided to drop his price below the $3 mark Monday morning for the first time in about a year. "It's been falling the last couple of weeks and I just thought [Monday] morning we're always higher than everyone else, I'm going to be the first under $3," he told News 2. Kizer said the price drop has brought in a number of customers and said shortly after he dropped the price, other stations nearby dropped their price to $3.05. One month ago the average price in Nashville was $3.76. A year ago it was $2.79 a gallon. Check the current averages, visit

List of places Davidson County Early Voting will Happen

Police chief attacks truancy in Metro schools

WKRN (Channel 2 News) Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas is calling on the Metro School District to keep track of its students and Tuesday night, vented his frustrations to board members. He said Tuesday morning police checked on a 17-year-old Antioch High School student arrested in February for aggravated burglary. While a check of the attendance system showed the student was present at Antioch, he was nowhere to be found. "As it turns out, his first period teacher did not bother to enter his absence in the system," he explained, blaming the school district for failing to keep track of students. "If we're out there investigating crimes and calling the system and we're told the student we're looking for is present and accounted for like we found out in Antioch [Tuesday] morning, and it's not the case, what does that do?" he asked. In just one week, between September 30 and October 6, Metro police arrested 19 students for truancy. On average, the students have missed 10 days of school but one student was listed as having 23 unexcused absences. "It not optional whether or not we have reliable attendance data," Metro School Board Chair David Fox reiterated, adding new attendance software has been part of the problem. "There have been some problems using the software and also making sure its functioning the way it's expected to," he said. Fox expects much more reliable attendance data in the upcoming weeks. Chief Serpas said that is long overdue. "We're not trying to tell the school board what to do, we're making it very clear to them crime goes up in a certain part of town, and its daytime burglaries, they've got some responsibility for this," he said. In a statement Mayor Karl Dean said, "With the new Metro student attendance center, it is my hope and expectation that Metro police, Metro schools and juvenile court will continue to work in partnership to best resolve the issues facing our truant students and to provide positive early interventions so that the students are reengaged in school life as quickly as possible."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Davidson Crime October 6-8

The most serious calls handled by 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 12:35 a.m., shooting, 800 block Dover Glen Drive 8:47 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 900 block Richards Road 6:04 p.m., holdup/robbery, 5600 block Hickory Park Drive 8:49 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2600 block Murfreesboro Pike 10:34 p.m., holdup/robbery, 100 block Cedar Pointe Parkway 11:38 p.m., residential burglary, 400 block Pebble Creek Circle Hermitage 11:02 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1000 block Patricia Drive South 3:45 p.m., holdup/robbery, 5300 block Hickory Hollow Parkway 4:56 p.m., holdup/robbery, 900 block Bell Road 6:57 p.m., holdup/robbery, 5700 block Edmondson Pike Oct. 7 Antioch 12:24 a.m., holdup/robbery, 2100 block Murfreesboro Pike 12:58 a.m., shooting, 800 block Dover Glen Drive 4:15 p.m., residential burglary, 1000 block Arbor Crest Boulevard 9:32 p.m., residential burglary, 5100 block Rice Road Hermitage 2:12 p.m., holdup/robbery, 1000 block Thompson Place 5:01 p.m., holdup/robbery, 600 block Massman Drive 7:28 p.m., residential burglary, 100 block Fain Street South 10:49 a.m., residential burglary, 400 block Humphreys Street 7:55 p.m., holdup/robbery, 20 block Trimble Street 8:42 p.m., holdup/robbery, 20 block Trimble Street 9:57 p.m., residential burglary, 1100 block Murfreesboro Pike Hermitage 6:28 p.m., residential burglary, 5100 block Singing Hills Drive 8:41 p.m., holdup/robbery, at Fairfield Avenue and Cannon Street Priest Lake 9:13 p.m., residential burglary, 400 block Clearwater Drive South 11:20 a.m., holdup/robbery, 400 block Houston Street 3:29 p.m., residential burglary, 700 block Bell Road 10:49 p.m., holdup/robbery, 5300 block Hickory Hollow Parkway 11:03 p.m., residential burglary, 5800 block Crossings Boulevard

A Needed Change on "Change for Charity" Program

In response to the many constituents that contacted NES and officials like me about the Change for Charity program that NES had planned to implement beginning January 1, 2009, NES CEO Decosta Jenkins has decided to defer implementaion of the program. NES was given the authority by legislative action to round up your NES electric bill to the next dollar. The difference between your actual bill and the amount that your bill was rounded up to would be used to provide help to our fellow Davidson county brothers and sisters. Helping out is a good thing. So what was the flaw with the program? Well, a customer would be an automatic participate in the program...unless, you call NES and opt out on the program. Therefore if you did not know about the rounding up, your silence implied that you wanted to participate. The folks that this program would help would also be required to have their bills rounded up...unless they opted out. Also another concerns that was raised by ratepayers regarding choice of organizations selected and of course that one should have the option to opt in on giving and not be required to opt out. Opponents of the how the program was being implemented very much liked the promotion of giving however, their concerns mostly with the requirement that they had to opt out if they did not want to participate otherwise they would automatically be included beginning January 1, 2009. It is unfortunate "Change for Charity" could not have been implemented as an opt in program. But we are thankful that leaders like Decosta Jenkins is listening. Thank you very much! Vivian

Singing, Dancing Police Officers....You Bet

Here is an opportunity to support the Nashville Children's Alliance and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and have some great fun doing so. Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at the BB King Blues Club on 2nd Avenue, check out the talent of our police officers like you have never seen in your life. Or maybe you have. Don Aaron of the Metro Police Department provided the following details for the 2nd Annual Law Enforcement Talent Showcase. "Singing, dancing and comedy will be the order of the night as police department employees perform for the benefit of the Nashville Children's Alliance (formerly known as the Child Advocacy Center) and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This year's Showcase will feature more than 15 acts, including the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, a professional bluegrass ensemble that has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. In addition to the stage show, a silent auction will feature autographed guitars from country music greats, autographed sports merchandise, hotel stays, restaurant certificates, sets of Bridgestone tires, and many, many more valuable items. Doors to B.B. King's will open at 5:30 p.m. The show will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are only $15 and will be sold at the door. Harry Chapman, formerly of News Channel 5, will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening." There you have it. Singing, dancing and very funny police officers all in one night and no traffic ticket for laughing. I hope you can attend and support this very fun and important initative. Vivian

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nashville Receives Federal Funds For Neighborhood Clean-Up

Channel 5 News NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Nashville is getting $4-million from the federal government. It's all to help clean up and re-sell foreclosed homes. Metro has about 3,000 houses in foreclosure. Some of them are neighborhood eyesores. The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency says their plan is to secure those properties and resell them to stabilize the neighborhoods. That money though, isn't coming until next year

Police Hope More Visibility Will Increase Crime Tips

Channel 5 10/12/2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Often times, police rely on witnesses to help them solve crimes. That's why Nashville's CrimeStoppers is taking extra steps to advertise 74-CRIME, the number to call with a tip. When crime scene investigators are working, witnesses will notice something new on their vehicles: the phone number to Crime Stoppers. The hope is the signs will generate more calls to the tip line. Calls to Crime Stoppers are anonymous. Callers are issued code numbers, and they are paid by Crime Stoppers board members who are civilians, not police officers.

Foreclosure help could be just click away 10/11/2008 The Tennessee Housing Development Agency's Web site has been getting more and more hits as families receive foreclosure notices in the mail. According to THDA director Ted Fellman, "Nashville has about 1,500 foreclosures each month." Shelby County leads the state with one out of ever 232 households going into foreclosure while Davidson County's rate has increased 35% in the last 12 months. is the state's first attempt to create a database of rental properties. "When Hurricane Katrina happened we realized we didn't have a database that would tell us where available units were," explained Fellman. Today, their Web site is helping families receiving foreclosure notices find apartments or rental homes. "This gives them an opportunity to look without actually traveling or driving around looking at apartments or finding the sites," Fellman continued. He said three or four months ago he would have said Tennessee was just six months from the end of the foreclosure crisis. In addition to foreclosures because of adjustable rate mortgages, Fellman said "now we're seeing more foreclosures due to the economy." He said, "...At the end of the day I think we're still a year away from seeing this turn the corner." More information is available on the THDA's Web site at

NES will soon round up bills for charity Oct 11, 2008 10:21 AM CDT Just weeks after a statewide electricity increase, the Nashville Electric Service will soon implement a new program that rounds their customers' bills up and gives the difference to charity. NES customers were notified about the program, Change for Charity, when their October bill arrived in the mail. An insert inside explains how it works. Every NES customer is automatically enrolled in the program and beginning in January, customers' bills will be rounded up to the closest dollar. If your electric bill is $77.53 the new program would increase it 47 cents to $78. While it may not sound like much, customers who spoke with News 2 say every penny adds up and the increase comes at a difficult time. Laurie Parker with NES said the tough economy is exactly why they're implementing the new program, to help those who can't afford to pay their electric bill. She said 80% of the money raised will go to charities the utility supports like Big Brothers of Nashville, Ladies of Charity and the Metro Action Commission. 20% will be available in grant form for other local charities. NES customers are able to opt out of the Change for Charity program on the company's Web site. Click here to opt out.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Clean out those closets, donate books

Hickory Hollow Towers residents seek mysteries, romance, inspiring works for libraryBy SUZANNE NORMAND BLACKWOOD • • 259-8268 • October 10, 2008 Read a good book lately? The residents at Hickory Hollow Towers want something new to read, maybe a page-turner or a romance or a large print version of the Harry Potter books. The seniors at the retirement community off Mt. View Road, have had a library since 1980, but they've pretty much read all the books and are hoping for donations. Resident Pat Carl says the library is a popular place within the facility, even though it also has a hobby room, a piano and an exercise room. The library received a $2,000 state grant last year with the help of state Rep. Sherry Jones. "As far as I know, that's the only money we've ever received," Carl said. With that money, the residents, who operate the library themselves, were able to purchase many books. Also, said Carl, the residential facility's Activity Club purchased bookshelves, and many residents have donated books throughout the years. "We get a few outside donations," she said. But it has gotten to the point that donations have slowed down, and the library has used all of its grant money. Residents have read most of the books in the library, Carl said. Carl said the library is in need of large print books, books on tape, romance and mystery novels and inspirational books. She said it particularly needs newer releases. Hickory Hollow Towers, located off Mt. View Road near the former Texana Grill, is funded by Section 8. Residents there are low to middle income. Most residents also receive some other form of government assistance, Carl said. "To go buy a $5 book doesn't sound like much," Carl said. But, she added, "Most people don't have the funds." Resident Doris Walker, who assists Carl with library duties, said that would "buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk," which is likely to be a more pressing concern for most residents. Frances Ross, whose late husband Houston Ross helped develop Hickory Hollow Mall, is a regular library patron. Ross, 94, said Carl has been "a real asset" to the library, and she knows how hard Carl has worked to keep the library's collection exciting and up-to-date. "We hope it continues to get good books and grow," she said.

Davidson County crime log for Oct. 2-5, 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. Oct. 5 Antioch 8:07 p.m., shooting, 70 block Waikiki Boulevard Donelson 10:41 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2200 block Elm Hill Pike Hermitage 5:10 a.m., holdup/robbery, 5000 block Old Hickory Boulevard 8:22 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 1400 block Elm Hill Pike 10:27 a.m., residential burglary, 4600 block Forest Ridge Drive 11:05 a.m., residential burglary, 1200 block Murfreesboro Pike 2:37 p.m., shooting, 2600 block Hobson Pike 2:38 p.m., shooting, 2600 block Hobson Pike 11:57 p.m., holdup/robbery, 600 block Fesslers Lane Lakewood 3:47 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 3600 block Old Hickory Boulevard South 3:32 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 14900 block Old Hickory Boulevard 4:44 p.m., residential burglary, 5700 block Edmondson Pike 6:53 p.m., nonresidential burglary, 400 block Murfreesboro Pike 8:55 p.m., shooting, 100 block Glenmont Drive Una 10:51 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 2500 block Murfreesboro Pike Oct. 4 Antioch 9:16 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 2400 block Edge O Lake Drive 9:42 a.m., residential burglary, 1000 block Regents Park Circle Hermitage 2:58 a.m., residential burglary, 6600 block Shadyview Drive 4:34 a.m., holdup/robbery, 10 block Fairfield Avenue 5:03 a.m., holdup/robbery, 500 block Murfreesboro Pike 7:51 p.m., holdup/robbery, 5700 block Old Hickory Boulevard 8:03 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4400 block Lebanon Pike Priest Lake 1:55 p.m., holdup/robbery, 4000 block Anderson Road Una 12:43 p.m., residential burglary, 2600 block Edge O Lake Drive Oct. 3 Antioch 10:32 a.m., residential burglary, 400 block Leisure Lane Donelson 1:24 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 200 block Shady Grove Road Hermitage8:28 a.m., residential burglary, 4200 block Laurenwood Drive 9:07 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 5800 block Old Hickory Boulevard 4:11 p.m., residential burglary, 200 block Arbor Creek Boulevard 4:58 p.m., residential burglary, 5100 block Singing Hills Drive 9:58 p.m., residential burglary, 1200 block Saturn Drive Una 1:03 a.m., residential burglary, 2000 block Nashboro Boulevard 2:18 p.m., residential burglary, 1400 block Doubletree Lane Oct. 2 Antioch 6:12 p.m., residential burglary, 400 block Leisure Lane 9:57 p.m., residential burglary, 5500 block Oak Chase Drive Donelson 7:41 a.m., nonresidential burglary, 100 block Jackson Downs Boulevard 4:47 p.m., holdup/robbery, 2300 block Lebanon Pike Hermitage 12:55 a.m., holdup/robbery, 10 block Fairfield Avenue 10:03 a.m., residential burglary, 1200 block Saturn Drive 3:57 p.m., residential burglary, 4200 block Laurenwood Drive 4:11 p.m., residential burglary, 200 block Thistle Lane 11:13 p.m., nonresidential burglary, 4200 block Sweden Drive

Sounds, Metro can't agree on lease

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer(Tennessean) • October 10, 2008 The Nashville Sounds and Metro government continue to disagree about the Sounds' future at Greer Stadium as the baseball team's lease is running out, a top city official said Thursday. Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said the team has asked for a short-term lease of one to five years after Dec. 31, but the city wants the Sounds to make a long-term commitment to fixing up the 30-year-old ballpark. "We want their ownership to show a commitment to Nashville, to staying in Nashville," Riebeling said. Jeff Diamond, a consultant working for the Sounds, said he couldn't say much about the negotiations. "I would just say discussions continue, and we're talking and meeting and trying to get something worked out," said Diamond, who was president of the Tennessee Titans from 1999 to 2004. "I'll just leave it at that for now." Alhough there are still more than two months to reach an agreement, the impasse reflects the frosty relations between the Sounds and Mayor Karl Dean, who was the city's top attorney during previous negotiations for a new riverfront ballpark on city-owned land. Under the original plan, that facility would have opened in 2007, but the deal fell apart 18 months ago after the Sounds fought with their development partner and missed two financing deadlines. Dean has shown little trust for the Sounds' Chicago-based management since then. He was angry when the Sounds advanced state legislation last winter that would have let them collect sales tax from a future ballpark to help pay off their construction costs. The franchise eventually had the bill withdrawn. Asked if the Sounds would want to be assured that they could build a new stadium before making a long-term commitment to Nashville, Riebeling referred to the earlier deal. "They had an opportunity to build a stadium in downtown Nashville, and they walked away from that transaction," he said. Dean said in a February interview that the Sounds may have missed their best chance to partner with the city. "We're certainly not going to offer a better deal, and we may not be able to offer the same deal," he said. City asks for upgrades Riebeling said the Sounds haven't offered any new proposals or designs. In the meantime, the city has asked the Pacific Coast League franchise to upgrade Greer Stadium, a 10,052-seat facility just south of downtown. Metro wants the Sounds to bring Greer into compliance with standards imposed by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and improve the stadium's restrooms and concessions facilities. "What are they going to do about Greer?" Riebeling said. "Because it's not fair to the fans." He also said it was too easy for the Sounds to say the stadium is old. "Wrigley Field is old," he said. "Fenway Park is old. Just because something is old doesn't mean it's something that can't be maintained in a way that fans appreciate." But many of the Sounds' peers in the minor-league baseball ranks are enjoying newer facilities. Thirteen Triple-A teams will play next season in stadiums built in 2000 or later. "I think they need a new stadium downtown, without a doubt," said Wallace Primm, a longtime Sounds fan and a retired Metro Transit Authority bus driver. "I love baseball. What matters to me is the viability of having baseball in Nashville."

English-Only Will Be On Jan. Ballot

Must Receive 50 Percent Of Voter Turnout Plus One To Pass Channel 4 News POSTED: 11:12 am CDT October 10, 2008 UPDATED: 11:53 am CDT October 10, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There will be a special election Jan. 22 to consider the controversial plan English-Only, which proposes making English the official language of Nashville. Councilman Eric Crafton, who is sponsoring the proposal, submitted a petition with more than 2,400 required signatures to hold the January special election. Crafton and his supporters want to require Metro government to do business in English only. The Metro council approved a similar measure in February 2007, but then-mayor Bill Purcell vetoed it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Metro Council delays water bill changes

Revising late fees, due dates could cost city millions By CHRISTINA E. SANCHEZ • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • October 8, 2008 Nashville water and sewer customers will not get more time to pay their bills — at least for now. Metro Councilman Sam Coleman introduced a measure in August that would have given water and sewer users a consistent due date on their bills each month. But the council delayed voting on the bill Tuesday amid concerns that changes would jeopardize $5 million in late fees that the city relies on to finance some water services. Instead, the council will wait for Mayor Karl Dean's office to put together a comprehensive water and sewer rate plan that considers consistent due dates and eliminating the flat $10 late fee, Coleman said. "We're entrusting that the two issues will be taken up," Coleman said Tuesday. "In the event that these two issues are not taken up, then we would bring the bill back." Customers currently have a 15-day minimum to pay their bills, but under the proposal would have at least 25 days. They also would get a set due date each month. Metro Water Services does not read all meters on the same day, leading to the different due dates. "For customers who are on a fixed income, they need to know every month when their bill is going to come due," Coleman said when the bill was first introduced. The legislation also changes the way the department assesses a fee on late payments. In place of the set $10 late fee, customers would pay 5 percent of their balance. For example, on a $100 bill the late fee would be $5. But Water Services relies heavily on the estimated $5 million a year in late fees it receives. The proposal could mean $2 million to $3 million less for the department's budget, said Councilwoman Emily Evans. "It would have a significant revenue impact on a budget that's already in serious shape," Evans has said. "How would we replace that revenue?"

Publix shopping center on its way up

Mt. View Marketplace developer starts work on Murfreesboro Pike siteBy SUZANNE NORMAND BLACKWOOD • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • October 8, 2008 The dense residential development along Murfreesboro Pike was a huge factor in the decision to build the new Mt. View Marketplace, which will be anchored by Publix. "I think it's a great amenity for the area," said Jason Keckley, broker with Great South Real Estate & Development, which is handling the leasing for the shopping center. "There's a lack of grocery stores in the area," he said. "We saw a need for grocery and retail." The site is now being developed for the shopping center, which has been anticipated for a while. "It's still pretty early in the process," Keckley said. But, he added, "everything's still on schedule." When complete, the center will have 60,000 square feet of restaurant, office and retail space. Other tenants would likely include a clothing shop, hair salon and providers of financial, medical and dental services. "We want an appropriate tenant mix that's going to be good for that community," Keckley said. The shopping center is being built in front of Bradburn Village, a Beazer Homes community on Pin Hook Road. David Hughes, president of Beazer Homes Nashville Division, said the same property owner sold the property for Bradburn Village and Mt. View Marketplace. "We knew it was there from day one," he said. "We viewed it as a positive." Hughes said sales have picked up on the homes at Bradburn Village since development of the Mt. View Marketplace site began. The center provides convenience to residents, who can walk to the grocery store, a restaurant or the salon, he said. Mt. View Marketplace first got attention when a sign went up in the area more than a year ago saying, "Publix Coming Soon." The planned center, which is being built by PGM Properties, made the news when neither PGM nor Publix would confirm that a Publix store was going there.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Airport neighbors want Harding Place extension to I-40 shifted

By CHRISTINA E. SANCHEZ • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • October 6, 2008 Louan Brown has long wondered when she might lose her 40-acre property near the airport for a proposed new highway connecting Harding Place to Interstate 40. "They have moved the road multiple times," said Brown, whose father bought the land she lives on in the 1940s. "They have tied us up for 15 years. As it stands now, the (Elm Hill Pike) interchange is right on my property." That interchange is one of five that would be part of the project to add five miles to Harding Place, which transportation planners say would ease traffic congestion and visitor confusion around Nashville International Airport and provide a shortcut between I-40 in Donelson and Interstate 24 near Antioch. Regional transportation planners first suggested the road about 25 years ago, to the concern of nearby residents. Their opposition has delayed the project, and at a meeting last week several of them implored planners to shift the road three-fourths of a mile toward the airport and away from them. Designs for the road keep changing; they may again. No work has started, and the state said Friday it couldn't provide a total cost estimate. Previous reports indicate about $10 million is available for the segment from Murfreesboro Pike to Couchville Pike. Joe Carpenter, assistant chief engineer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, said his department, along with Metro government, the airport authority and the Federal Aviation Administration, would listen to all concerns. "This is an extremely large and complex project for the state as far as projects go," Carpenter said. "Some residents had a desire to cancel the project altogether and put the money into existing infrastructure. We'll consider all the comments." 5 interchanges planned Along with the regional, federally authorized Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization, state and local officials for years have debated about what roads and details should be included in the project. As it stands now, a new road would run from the Harding Place-Donelson Pike intersection south of the airport to I-40 near the Elm Hill Pike overpass. Donelson Pike through the airport property also would be relocated and straightened, to cut down on blind spots on curves for motorists headed in and out of the airport. The road is heavily traveled, including by out-of-towners unfamiliar with the area. Proposed designs call for five interchanges, including the new road's tie-in to I-40 and a major reworking of the current Donelson Pike/I-40 junction. TDOT says about 36,000 vehicles a day travel Donelson Pike at that interchange, which handles both through and airport-bound traffic. Some want road moved Metro Councilman Carl Burch, whose district includes the proposed extension area, said he believes the concept for the new road is a good one. But he wants the road moved. "We need that artery to get from Harding Place to Interstate 40," Burch said. "I think it will relieve a lot of traffic from Bell Road and Donelson Pike. It's a good project if the road is moved to the west." TDOT would have to consult with and get approval from the FAA to move the road 4,000 feet closer to the airport, as residents suggested at last week's meeting. Airport spokeswoman Emily Richard said airport officials are not involved in the decision-making process for the project. "Harding Place extension is not our project, and we are not pushing this," Richard said. "Our long-range plan calls for a fourth parallel runway, though there are no plans for it at this point." The FAA would be involved to make sure safety provisions are followed because the road, if moved west, would be close to that proposed runway, she said. Residents wary of road Meanwhile, Louan Brown and other residents wait for the road to be built or abandoned. Brown grew up on the property that fronts Elm Hill Pike south of I-40. Her parents taught her how to raise cattle and care for horses on the farm, where she now lives with her husband and two children. She has been going door to door with an aerial map of the project to alert residents that this project will come if they do not make their concerns heard. Brown's campaign, which includes a large sign in her front yard, has attracted attention from neighbors, some of whom did not know they could be living next to a major roadway. Paula Gowen, who has lived along Elm Hill Pike since 1986, drove up to Brown's home one day last week and asked, "Where's this road going to be?" Gowen shook her head at the thought of living sandwiched between I-40 and another major artery. "This is in my backyard," Gowen said. "That's depressing. I've got enough noise already." Brown said she is not giving up and will continue to speak out against the project. "I am not going away," said an emotional Brown, who grew teary over the prospect of losing her father's hard-earned land. "My entire life has been out here. I'm not stopping."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Senior boomers can learn about living well at Oct. 8 expo

Submitted by CASSANDRA FINCH • Senior Boomer Expo • October 1, 2008 Crystal Gayle will perform at nighttime concert after day of programs Grammy Award-winning country music star Crystal Gayle will perform at Living Well, a health-and-lifestyle expo sponsored by SecureHorizons by United Healthcare. The expo's evening concert will be at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds at 7 p.m. Oct. 8. The performer Gayle is best known for her international smash, "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue." Gayle will headline a full day of entertainment, community resources and health programs designed to enhance the lives of Middle Tennesseans who are 50 and older. The Living Well Expo begins with a day program that runs 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. For the first time, a special evening wellness and lifestyle program have been added from 5 to 6:45 p.m., with Gayle taking the stage at 7 p.m. Living Well is produced by Senior Boomer Expo. The expo is Middle Tennessee's biggest event dedicated to the 50-and-older generation. Tickets are $5 for the day program and $7 in advance for the evening wellness program/Crystal Gayle concert, or $10 at the door. Tickets are available for purchase online at Included in the full package are motivating exercise programs, with many fun highlights such as Wii video game demonstrations and a mini-golf putting range. Attendees will also be treated to health screenings, cooking workshops, door prizes and a wide array of entertainment. Participants can also shop and save money at the expo's shopping bazaar, "Jewelry & More, Everything $6.00." The Walgreens special Take Care Health Tour Bus, which travels nationwide, will visit the expo to provide participants free health screenings and better health awareness. "Whether you are 50+ or caring for someone who is of senior age, the Living Well Senior Boomer's focus and vision is to provided vital information for a better quality of live coupled with top entertainment. All this in one place will make this year's event the best ever," says Vivian Wilhoite, Metro Councilwoman and honorary chairwoman of the Living Well Expo. Door prizes include a Wii Sports video game giveaway, a "VIP meet and greet" with Crystal Gayle and two orchestra level tickets to TPAC to the Broadway show of the winner's choice. For the first time, the expo will also hold a mock presidential election, with voting machines from the Davidson County Election Commission. The demo machines will be available to help educate people on how to use them in the upcoming November elections. The Tennessean's "Ms. Cheap" will speak from 5:30 p.m. to 6:16 p.m. at Living Well's evening wellness program on "Ways to Stay Cheap & Still Have Fun!" For more information and to order tickets, go to or call 254-0250.

New medical clinic at Glencliff High opens its doors to the community

Health services are available to underserved neighborhood By SUZANNE NORMAND BLACKWOOD 259-8268 • October 3, 2008 Glencliff High School is taking an active role in promoting a healthy community. The school recently partnered with United Neighborhood Health Services to open a clinic at the school that serves students, faculty, staff and members of the surrounding community. Many of the clinic's patients are uninsured. The clinic is the fifth that United Neighborhood Health Services has opened in the Metro school system. "We have a 15-year history in the school system," said Walter Stuart, director of school programs for United Neighborhood Health Services. The Glencliff clinic provides screenings, physical examinations, immunizations and sex education, said nurse practitioner Luz Salazar, who sees patients daily. She said the clinic treats a wide range of diseases, including asthma, diabetes, upper respiratory infections and high blood pressure. "We encourage them to be healthy," said Salazar, adding this includes urging good eating habits and staying current on immunizations. The clinic also offers some behavioral health services and will begin providing care by an adolescent behavioral health specialist in January. "If we cannot provide service, we make referrals," Salazar said. Students receive services for free Any student in Metro Schools may receive services for free at the clinic. Although the clinic files insurance claims for students with insurance, the students do not have to pay a deductible or make a co-payment. Uninsured area residents are served on a sliding scale. The clinic also accepts TennCare, Medicare and commercial insurance. "These clinics are important because so many of Nashville students are economically disadvantaged," Stuart said. The clinic will provide consistent health care for those who otherwise might not be getting the services they need because of lack of income, he said. "Our students and this community often go without health care," said Glencliff High School's principal, Tony Majors. "This is an important service we can provide. We care about our students and their families." Also, added Majors, "a healthy student is better able to learn." Majors said the clinic's opening has opened doors for organizations to start providing health and wellness services for Glencliff students and the surrounding community. Parents must consent Salazar, who graduated from Vanderbilt and is fluent in Spanish, is qualified to serve the community's large Spanish-speaking population. There are also many in the community who are Asian or Middle Eastern. Salazar said someone usually comes with the patient to serve as a translator if the patient doesn't speak English or Spanish. "Sometimes it's a family member who helps them or another student," she said. "It's kind of like a team." The clinic sent home consent forms for parents to sign at the beginning of the school year indicating which services they wanted their children to receive or not receive. "We do not see anyone without parental consent, because it is a school clinic," she said. But, she added, "If it's an emergency, we provide service." Pamela Stiles said her niece, Bobbie Jo Puryer, who is a senior at Glencliff, went to the clinic earlier this year for a physical she had to have to be on the bowling team. "They found that her blood was low, so they gave her some iron pills," she said. "It has gone unnoticed a long time." If it weren't for the clinic visit, Stiles said, they don't know when the problem would have been discovered. "I was actually considered anemic before," Bobbie Jo said. Shetold Salazar her history of anemia, and Salazar ordered some lab work. Bobbie Jo said her experience at the clinic was pleasant: "They were very friendly. They make you feel welcome."

Clinic offers sex education, substance abuse services to students

By SUZANNE NORMAND BLACKWOOD 259-8268 • October 3, 2008 Sex education will be a strong focus at the new clinic that opened at Glencliff High School through a partnership with United Neighborhood Health Services. The clinic also discusses with students matters concerning substance abuse. The clinic does not provide contraceptives, but it does offer pregnancy tests and screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. Although parents are generally entitled to information about their children's health in Tennessee, exceptions include pregnancy tests, concerns related to substance abuse, and screenings and treatment for STDs. "We follow the rules of HIPAA," said Luz Salazar, a nurse practitioner at the clinic, referring to the federal healthcare confidentiality law. Students have the right to confidentiality, she said. The only exceptions are if a student's life is in danger or the student is threatening to harm someone else. If a student reveals that he or she has been experimenting with drugs, Salazar said she first talks to the student about the situation. If the student has a serious problem, she refers him or her to Project SELF, a school-based substance abuse treatment program for youths. A social worker from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a psychologist from mental health care provider Centerstone also work with Glencliff students. In Tennessee, those age 16 or older may seek counseling without parental consent. Parents also don't have access to information exchanged during sessions with school counselors unless a student is threatening to harm himself or herself or someone else. "We'd rather have them talk to somebody than do something wrong," said Salazar. She said students might not get help if confidentiality were not protected. "We are patient advocates," she said. "We're not here to judge them; we're here to serve them." Private policy has pros, cons Salazar said most parents don't challenge confidentiality policies. "Parents most of the time want the best for their children," and that may mean giving them some privacy, she said. "I agree with that," Pamela Stiles said about the policy. Stiles' niece, Bobbie Jo Puryer, lives with her and is a senior at Glencliff. Stiles, who also has children of her own, said teenagers sometimes need someone personally they can go to with issues. Parents might overreact and not know how to handle the situation. It often helps to have an objective adult who is emotionally detached from the situation and can offer professional advice, she said. Also, said Stiles, teenagers will often listen to other adults before they will listen to their parents. "It's a good thing that students have a place they can go and feel comfortable," said Maria Bernabe, a sophomore at Glencliff. A student with an STD, for example, might delay seeking medical care if he or she fears that his or her parents might find out. Then, by the time the student gets help, it's too late, Maria said. Sophomore Jessica McCarroll said that sometimes parents should be involved. After all, whatever is going on with the teenager may involve changes that need to be made by the parents, she added.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nashville Improvement Projects Put On Hold

WSMV-TV updated 7:13 p.m. CT, Tues., Sept. 30, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said he's committed to capital improvement projects like sprucing up the downtown riverfront and improving school buildings. But the spending plan approving a lot of those desired projects is on hold, thanks to the turbulent financial markets. "We can't ignore what's going on at national level," Dean said. "Last week, in terms of fiscal bonds being sold, it was at an incredibly low number, so this is not the time to be pushing ahead." On Tuesday, Dean was scheduled to announce his $200 million capital spending plan, but he put everything on hold. That's because the city finances improvement projects by issuing debt through municipal bonds. Those bonds are usually among the most stable on the market, with billions of dollars of municipal bonds typically sold every week, but not right now. "I'm very concerned," said Metro Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite. Wilhoite said she understands the mayor's move, but can't help but worry her number one wish just won't be in the stars. "We definitely need a community center in southeast Davidson County," she said. While the parks department agrees with Wilhoite, she hasn?t received the funding for a couple years now. Currently, there is only one community center in Antioch. "When you consider we are the fastest growing community in all of Davidson County, that's not enough," she said. Fewer projects may be approved than in the past due to the financial times. The city's finance director said too many were approved by the past administration, so this year's plan was already going to be lean. Dean doesn't know how long it will be before he proceeds with the capital spending plan, but Tuesday morning, he estimated about a week or two. Even before the turmoil on Wall Street, the plan was already delayed while the city assessed its bonding capacity.