Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Man Injured After Confronting Would-Be Car Thieves

Channel 5 News NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A man living in the Percy Priest Lake area in the Lincoya Bay Apartments heard some commotion Monday night, which lead him to check on his car. Once out in the parking lot, that man saw two guys trying to break into his car. The victim confronted the two men. The confrontation left the victim with a cut on his arm, and he was also hit in the head with a stick. Emergency officials transported the victim to Summit Medical Center. Police said the two suspects got away.

Psychiatrist accused of rape

WKRN Channel 2 News Jun 29, 2009 5:41 PM CDT NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Nashville psychiatrist faces charges he raped a patient. Metro police arrested Dr. Settimio "Sam" Castellani Thursday for the alleged rape of a 36-year-old female patient following an investigation sparked by the alleged victim. The woman reported to police that during a 6 p.m. appointment on March 23, Castellani wrote out her prescription, placed it on his desk and then proceeded to expose himself. During their investigation, detectives developed evidence that the alleged incident occurred, and received information that Castellani may have had sexual contact with other female patients. Castellani, 67, of Brentwood, is charged with one count of rape for allegedly forcing the patient to perform a sex act on him in order to receive her prescription for medication. He is now free on $74,999 bail. Anyone with information about inappropriate actions on the part of Castellani is urged to contact the police department's sex crimes unit at 615-862-7540.

Nashville closes main library on Mondays, trims hours at some branches

No more Monday checkouts downtown as new budget takes effect July 1 By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • June 30, 2009 Donna Nicely has never shut down the main library for a full day each week during her 14-year tenure as director of the Nashville Public Library. But that will change starting next week, when the library at 615 Church St., will be closed on Mondays. "It'll take some getting used to," Nicely said. "We're feeling sad." As Metro government prepares to start its toughest fiscal year in recent memory on Wednesday, most departments are feeling the pinch. But the most visible change to the public will be at the main library. Keesha Ayodele, who was at the library to use its Internet service Monday, said it will sting. She often searches for job openings on Mondays, then spends the rest of the week pursuing them. "I don't like it because this is the start of the week, and that's the best time when you're looking for a job," Ayodele said. "It's going to be really hard." The main library also plans to start closing at 6 p.m. rather than 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. All told, it will lose 17 of its 64 weekly hours, or about 26 percent. Nicely said the library system's budget is being cut 5.5 percent — about $1.2 million — with about half of that amount coming from the main library. She and her staff chose to shut down the building each Monday because patrons use it more on other days. The library's programs for children also are concentrated on other days of the week. "I think our feeling is that this is the best decision we could make, knowing what the budget requires," Nicely said. "I just feel sure that this is not a permanent decision. We will reopen when things are better." She said the library system's five area libraries — Bordeaux, Edmondson Pike, Green Hills, Hermitage and Madison — and the Southeast branch will remain open Mondays, though they'll open at 10 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. The other branch libraries' hours will stay the same. Community hours cut Metro Parks and Recreation also will cut back a few community center hours and some other services in the new fiscal year. The 12 neighborhood community centers will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this summer, closing two hours earlier than they have been. Once school starts, the centers will be open 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Parks and Recreation spokesman Jackie Jones said. Jones said the change is being made because the morning hours are slower at the neighborhood centers. But the four regional community centers — at Coleman, East, Hadley and Hartman parks — will keep all of their hours. Parks grounds workers also will mow the grass at some parks less frequently. The city's athletic fields and four high-profile parks — Centennial, Hall of Fame, Public Square and Riverfront — will be mowed every seven days, and some other park areas will still be cut every 14 days. But the areas that are used the least will be mowed every 28 days rather than every 21. Mobile clinic saved Some Metro services escaped from the chopping block as the budget process played out. The Metro Council restored 17 jobs that would have been lost under Mayor Karl Dean's proposal, allowing Parks, Public Works and Codes Administration to keep up with mowing, property inspections and other tasks. Gwen Hopkins-Glascock, a Public Works spokeswoman, said the department is losing some workers but the remaining ones have been asked to work harder so the public won't see any changes. The Metro Health Department came close to ending the Mobile Pediatric Assessment Clinic, which has a van that visits schools to give well-child care and health screenings to students on TennCare. Dr. William Paul, the department's director, said it couldn't meet budget cuts by simply trimming programs. If an entire program had to be dropped, losing the van appeared to do the least harm because the TennCare recipients "all have a doctor somewhere," Paul said. But the department was able to find a partner to keep some of the program going through the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center in North Nashville, which received federal stimulus funds that can underwrite the service.

Nashville officer remains in critical condition

DAVIDSON COUNTY - Update Metro Police Sgt. Mark Chesnut, who was shot multiple times during a traffic stop last Thursday, remains in critical condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A Vanderbilt spokeswoman says there has been no change in Chesnut's condition since he was admitted. Chesnut, working in the department's interstate interdiction unit, had stopped a car with Georgia tags on Interstate 40 near Bellevue. He was sitting in his patrol car running the car's tags when police say Joseph Jackson, 30, walked up to the passenger window and shot him. The driver of the car, Courtney Logan, 25, a convicted robber from Louisville, Ky., had earlier in the day helped Jackson escape from a Mississippi prison, police say. Logan and Jackson are slated to be in court Wednesday. Both are being held on more than $3 million bonds on numerous charges including attempted murder.

Nashville's economic diversity offers better shield from recession

By Wendy Lee • THE TENNESSEAN • June 30, 2009 Nashville's economy is faring better than many other major cities', based on a review of recent jobs data, wages and home prices by The Brookings Institution. Some experts see the Brookings' study released earlier this month as evidence that Music City will bounce back from recession faster than some other areas thanks to its diverse economy. "Nashville has industries that are probably more vulnerable to the recession and probably some that made it less vulnerable," said Howard Wial, a fellow at The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy group. "The balance of those put it pretty much in the middle." Overall, Greater Nashville beat at least 40 other metro areas in most categories of the study, which took into account local job markets, real estate sales, gross metropolitan product and wages during the first quarter of this year compared with a year earlier. The Nashville area fared best on housing prices, which haven't been battered nearly as badly as some other harder-hit regions or states, particularly Florida, California and a swath in the Northeast. Nashville finished 25th of 100 cities on home price stability, the Brookings report concluded. Cities that ranked lowest in the study included Detroit, an automobile industry hub that's been devastated by the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler; as well as Los Angeles and Stockton, Calif., which soared with rising home prices earlier this decade only to collapse when the mortgage industry imploded last year. 'Stability factor' better Wial said because Nashville ranks in the middle of the pack overall, it's probably true it will get out of the recession sooner. One of the benefits for Nashville is that it never had a big housing boom, and therefore never suffered a big housing bust, Wial said. "I think our stability factor to begin with was better," said Mike Nichols, president of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors and managing broker for Zeitlin & Co., Realtors' InTown office. Nichols said it appears the local housing market is stabilizing. Still, home sales remain significantly behind 2008 levels, according to the most recent data from the Realtors group. In May, there were 1,783 residential closings, down nearly 29 percent from the same month a year earlier, the association said. The median price of a single-family home here was $169,900, officials said, down 10.6 percent from May 2008. One lingering challenge is the local job market. The state's unemployment rate for May was 10.7 percent, worse than the national jobless rate of 9.4 percent for the same period. Bill Ingram, a Lipscomb University professor of economics and finance, said it's hard to say when the job market will get better. Ingram said he expects to see more signs of consumer spending improving by fall. "The Christmas season this year will be a whole lot better than it was last year," Ingram said. "There will be less fear."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Man Robs Discount Grocery Store

Channel 5 News NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Metro Police were searching Sunday night for the man who robbed an Aldi's Grocery Store. The man walked into the store on Ransom Place near Murfreesboro Pike. Investigators said the man had a pistol and demanded cash. The cashier gave him an unknown amount of money out of the register. The man then got into a truck and left. No one was hurt.

Drowning prompts lifeguard concerns at Percy Priest

WKRN Channel 2 News NASHVILLE, Tenn. - While there is a sign clearly posted that says, "No lifeguard, Swim at your own risk", some parents say Saturday's drowning only highlights the need for lifeguards on Percy Priest Lake. A 15-year-old boy drowned at the Anderson Road Recreation Area while swimming with friends. Jack Cipriano has two young children and said he'd like to see lifeguards at the beach. "I think it would definitely be beneficial to the families to have them out here," he told News 2. "It's always more comforting to know that if something does happen like unfortunately happened [Saturday], that there are trained professionals that are there to assist and do their jobs." Scott Sherry and his wife were on the beach Saturday when the teenager went under. "One kid was yelling, ‘Get a lifeguard, get a lifeguard, my friend's under water and hasn't come back up for awhile.'" He told News 2 at first, he thought the kids were joking but quickly realized they weren't. "Then it was frightening because we knew something had gone wrong and we needed to get help," he said. Help, however, was 15 minutes away. Sherry said if a lifeguard had been on duty, the drowning could have been prevented. "It would be nice to have somebody that had rescue swimmer training or some kind of lifeguard training that was in the area, if not posted full time, at least close by," he said. Cipriano agrees, "That might've been preventable had there been lifeguards here. It's a no lose situation, for sure." Divers recovered the body of the 15-year-old, Erik Ekwagha, hours after he went under.

Tennessee cities rush to ban guns in local parks

State law provokes community action By Chas Sisk • THE TENNESSEAN • June 29, 2009 Local governments and advocates for firearms owners are gearing up for a summer face-off over how far to take a new state law that lets people with carry permits bring handguns into parks. City councils across Tennessee, including Nashville and Hendersonville, are moving to reaffirm their bans on handguns in parks following passage of a new state law. But people opposed to handgun restrictions are mobilizing to block their efforts. "I don't think it's necessarily reasonable to close all of them," John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, said of Metro's plans to keep parks closed to handguns. "I don't think it's necessarily reasonable to close any of them." A state law signed earlier this month by Gov. Phil Bredesen has touched off the debate. The law is meant to let handgun permit holders carry their weapons into every park in the state, wiping out local policies governing handguns. But in a compromise to smooth the law's passage, legislators included a provision that gives local governments the power to ban guns in some or all of their parks by passing a new ordinance. Now, many local governments in Tennessee are moving to do just that before the state law goes into effect Sept. 1. "I'm not against people owning guns," said Ernest Brooks II, a Jackson city councilman who is sponsoring a ban ordinance, "but I do believe there are some circumstances where they are inappropriate." The Metro Council will debate next month an ordinance that would ban guns in all parks, from the well-developed Centennial Park on West End Avenue to the wild Warner Parks in Belle Meade. Supporters say a ban on handguns will make parks safer and friendlier for families. "I can't tell you how many of these are part of neighborhoods where children play," said Megan Barry, one of the ordinance's sponsors on the Metro Council. "I don't think it (a citywide ban) is out of bounds." Debate is not expected to start until July 21. But already, the issue is generating e-mails, phone calls and letters to some on the Metro Council, said Robert Duvall, a councilman who represents Antioch and Hermitage. Duvall opposes a ban on handguns in parks. "These are not people that are wild, loose, shoot first and ask questions later," he said. "These people should be able to carry, no matter where. These people are the cream of the crop." It would cover all parks Measures that would ban guns in parks citywide also have been introduced in Memphis and Chattanooga. The Tennessee Firearms Association also expects park bans to be debated in Knoxville, Clarksville and Cookeville. Some suburban councils, including the Williamson County Board of Commissioners, the Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners and the Hendersonville Board of Mayor and Aldermen, also could take up park bans. "I just feel like you don't need guns in parks," said Hendersonville Vice Mayor Steve Brown. "Sometimes, good people's tempers may get out of line. … I just don't want to take that chance." The Tennessee Firearms Association wants lawmakers to consider letting people carry handguns in at least some parks, especially large, undeveloped ones like Beaman Park and Shelby Bottoms. These parks are more isolated and, thus, more dangerous, the organization says. But the sponsors of park bans say they see no reason to write different rules for certain parks. Even Tennessee's least developed parks generally have low crime rates and are well policed, they say. "If it's bad for one, it's bad for all of them," said Jack Benson, chairman of the Chattanooga City Council. "What reason would you have for saying that some parks are gun-totin' parks?" Gun debate goes local The new state law says only a local legislative body, such as a city council or a board of aldermen, can pass a ban on handguns. That means council members will have to debate and vote on a ban before it can go in place. Firearms groups plan to use that period of debate to persuade council members not to institute a ban. Gun rights groups also will use those votes to determine whether they will support those councilmen in the future, just as they have used votes to judge state and federal politicians. "The Second Amendment will be a factor in local elections, as well," Harris said. Council members who have dealt with firearms issues in the past say they expect the debates to be intense. Last year, the Williamson County Commission debated a ban on handguns in libraries and other county buildings. Lewis Green, the commissioner who proposed the ban, withdrew the measure after it came under fire. "I got a lot of letters, a lot of e-mails, a lot of phone calls," he said. "It's a sensitive issue."

Tennessee AARP backs more home care choices

By Lucas L. Johnson II • ASSOCIATED PRESS • June 29, 2009 Tennessee AARP officials say they're pleased with legislation passed this session that creates a new housing option for people who receive long-term care services, but they're hoping to make progress on other laws affecting the elderly. Gov. Phil Bredesen approved legislation last year that changes TennCare — the state's expanded Medicaid program — so it more evenly distributes funding between nursing homes and home- and community-based service providers. Before the law, nursing homes received 98 percent of long-term care funds in Tennessee. This session, the legislature approved The Adult Care Homes Act for people who receive long-term care services but don't want to live in large nursing homes. "It's fitting that one year after Gov. Phil Bredesen signed the Long-Term Care Community Choices Act, lawmakers gave us a new choice that allows us to remain in our communities when we cannot stay in our homes," said Rebecca Kelly, Tennessee's AARP director. "AARP looks forward to working with legislators next year to create more of these choices for care." Patrick Willard, AARP Tennessee's advocacy director, said members of a special joint committee on long-term care saw the effectiveness of the adult care homes when they visited some in Portland, Ore., earlier this year. He said each home provides a comfortable environment with a licensed caregiver around the clock. "The committee members were really impressed that you could take this small home and create a … family-like setting for people, where they would sit together for meals and everybody had their own rooms," Willard said. Willard said the AARP is also seeking "some common ground" on a proposal to place caps on damages in lawsuits against nursing homes. The measure failed in a House subcommittee this session but could be brought up again next year. "Obviously the consumer is caught in the middle here, between a powerful nursing home industry and powerful lawyers," Willard said. "And what we want to try and do is figure out a way that the consumer is protected, but that there is not an undue burden placed on those that are providing the services."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Shooting suspect's mom prays for wounded Metro officer

Woman unwittingly rented escape car By Janell Ross and Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • June 27, 2009 A Kentucky woman says she rented a car for her son not knowing he intended to drive to Mississippi to help his cousin escape from prison. And she never imagined a Nashville police officer would be critically wounded when he interrupted their flight to freedom. But Thursday afternoon police were on her doorstep with the news that her son Courtney Logan, 25, of Louisville, Ky., had gone to Greenwood, Miss., to get his cousin Joseph Leon Jackson Jr., 30, who was serving a life sentence in the Mississippi Department of Corrections for aggravated assault and armed robbery. "What I don't understand is how he got mixed up in all of this," said Logan's mother, Raymonda Young. The woman thought her son needed a vehicle from Louisville's Thrifty Rent-A-Car so he could take his children to day care after his girlfriend's car broke down. The mother said she is praying for Metro Sgt. Mark Chesnut, 44, who remains in critical condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after being shot on Interstate 40 near Bellevue. Police say Jackson shot the officer. "I am so sorry for what they are having to go through," Young said. "My heart is aching." Metro police say Chesnut, an officer in the interstate interdiction unit, stopped the 2008 Dodge Magnum that Logan was driving Thursday after noticing Logan was not wearing a seat belt. While Chesnut, a 22-year police veteran, checked the pair's license plate on a computer, Jackson walked back to the officer's unmarked car and shot him multiple times through the passenger window, police say. Police say the shooter dropped the gun on Chesnut's front seat. Young has not spoken with her son since his arrest, but she has a question for him: "I would ask him if he believes in God," Young said. "We need a miracle right now, not only for my family, but also for the officer's family." Logan, a convicted robber, is jailed on bonds totaling $3.1 million on charges of attempted murder and unlawful gun possession by a convicted felon. Jackson has been charged with attempted murder, stealing a gun from a Mississippi corrections officer, unlawful gun possession by a convicted felon and being a fugitive from justice. His bonds total $3.3 million. Both are set to appear Wednesday in Metro General Sessions Court. The mother said she isn't sure when Logan began communicating with Jackson, but Mississippi police say Logan had to know corrections officers scheduled an appointment for Jackson at an optometrist's office after Jackson complained about his eyes. Early Thursday, three guards took the handcuffed and shackled Jackson from the Delta Correctional Facility to the doctor, but Logan, who had spent the night in a local motel, showed up minutes later with a .38-caliber handgun, said Greenwood Police Chief Henry Purnell. He shot into the ceiling, ordering the guards and employees to the floor. Logan removed the restraints, gave Jackson a change of clothes and the pair fled, Purnell said. Dr. Todd Hall arrived at his office just after 8 a.m. to find his employees badly shaken. Prison chains and a jumpsuit lay on the floor. "It all happened extremely fast," Hall said. "The two employees said they got here just before 8 a.m. They said they had the inmate sitting in the exam room getting everything ready for the checkup when another man walked through the back door of the office. "It was obviously a well-thought-out and executed plan," Hall said. "I think we are very fortunate that he only shot the ceiling." Steve Owen, spokesman for Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the prison where Jackson was housed, said inmates are taken off grounds for specialized doctor visits because the prison's medical facilities contain only basic equipment. "For obvious security reasons, protocol is that inmates are not notified of such information until the day of the appointment, at which time they are notified just enough in advance to get cleaned (and) dressed before being transported," Owen said. Prison officials are investigating how Jackson learned the details of his appointment. He had been on the optometrist's schedule for about a day, maybe longer, Hall said. "As far as we know right now everything that was done followed policy and procedure," Owen said. "Of course, all of the circumstances and what might have contributed to it (the escape) are under investigation right now." After the shooting, the two were arrested on Hermitage Avenue in Nashville after Chesnut had managed to radio for help. Suicide attempted Friday, the Davidson County Sheriff's Office put Logan under observation after a guard saw him standing in his cell with a rope around his neck, leaning against his bunk. "The requirement in this situation is for us to do a cell check on him every 15 minutes," Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Karla Weikal said. "We have an officer posted outside his door."

New Nashville offices open for utility payment assistance

Tennessean June 27, 2009 Metropolitan Action Commission will open two additional offices on Wednesday to help process an anticipated spike in bill assistance applications with the start of a new fiscal year. The South Nashville site will be at the Susan Gray Head Start Center, 445 Cotton Lane, and the East Nashville location will be inside the former Douglas Community Center, 210 N. Seventh St., near Meigs Magnet School. Last year, the first week of July brought almost 1,000 customers seeking help with utilities to the organization's main office in Germantown. That site also will remain open at 1624 Fifth Ave. N. The commission still has funds available to assist with utility bills but ran out of money in March to help with rent, mortgage and utility deposits. Customers are eligible to receive assistance once between July 1 of the previous year and June 30 of the current year, the duration of one fiscal year. Those who haven't received help between last July and now may qualify for energy funds and should apply before Wednesday. Energy assistance applications are available at Nashville Electric Service, Metro Social Services, public libraries and online at nashville.gov/mac. Applicants must live in Davidson County and meet other federal guidelines. The energy assistance applications are available. Call the commission at 862-8860 for more information. — STAFF REPORTS

Friday, June 26, 2009

Officer remains critical, awaits additional surgeries

WKRN Chanel 2 NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro police Sgt. Mark Chesnut remains in critical condition after he was shot multiple times on Interstate 40 East in Bellevue during a traffic stop Thursday afternoon. Sgt. Chesnut, 44, underwent surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to repair major internal organ damage and was expected to undergo more surgeries Friday. His family was flown via helicopter to the Nashville hospital shortly after the 1:20 p.m. shooting Thursday and is now by his side. Vanderbilt officials said while Chesnut remains in critical condition on life support, they are hopeful he will make a full recovery. "He suffered a life-threatening injury, he's on the ventilator, he's on life support but we're all very hopeful that ultimately he'll return home to his family and ultimately return to work," said Dr. John Morris, director of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at Vanderbilt. "I don't think we'd use the term 'in the clear' at this juncture," he continued. "Officer Chesnut is in critical condition having suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen and to the right arm." Co-workers are praying for their colleague and said the shooting is a harsh reminder of just how dangerous police work can be. "Just reiterates that nothing's routine," Metro police Lt. Melvin Brown told News 2. "You don't want to be complacent but I must say that sometimes no matter how much caution and care that you take, you can get hurt." "Just wanted to tell him way to go," Sgt. Phil Vincion said. "I understand he did a really good job from everyone's description and really held himself together and got the information out there despite his very dire circumstances that enabled us to capture the suspects relatively quickly." "We're here for you, we're praying for you," Sgt. Melissa Schultz said. "Anything you need, you've got it." The Suspects Mississippi prison escapee Joseph Jackson and accomplice Courtney Logan, of Louisville, are in custody, charged in the shooting. Jackson, 29, admitted to shooting Chesnut because he didn't want to go back to jail. He is charged with attempted murder, stealing a Mississippi correction officer's gun, unlawful gun possession by a convicted felon and being a fugitive from justice. Logan, 25, is charged with attempted murder and unlawful gun possession by a convicted felon. Both men were booked into the Metro jail overnight on $3 million bond each. Jackson, who was serving a life-sentence for armed robbery and aggravated assault charges, escaped during an optometrist appointment in Greenwood, Mississippi Thursday morning. Police said Logan aided his escape. Sgt. Mark Chesnut Sgt. Mark Chesnut is 44-years-old and a 22-year veteran of the Metro Police Department. He was previously a supervisor in the Youth Services Department and now works for the Interstate Interdiction Unit. Officers in the Interstate Interdiction Unit are uniformed officers that travel in unmarked cars on the interstate, looking for traffic violators. Chesnut has a wife and one child. The family has set up a Twitter account, Twitter.com/MarkChesnut, to update the community on his condition.

Dunkin' franchisee files for Chapter 11

By Wendy Lee • THE TENNESSEAN • June 26, 2009 Dunkin' Donuts' largest franchisee in the Nashville area filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday, in part because of weaker sales during the recession. Hendersonville-based Current River Capital LLC and its managing company, Tekeni Partners LLC, operate seven locations of Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts and Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin-Robbins in Goodlettsville, Gallatin, Nashville, Lebanon, Old Hickory and Hermitage. Tekeni is listed as the franchisee for these stores. Current River Capital employs 108 hourly and nine salaried workers. Both filed for Chapter 11. Attorney Glen Watson said his clients' situation was affected by the franchise's fast growth, opening all seven locations in a 15-month period, and sales were affected by the economic downturn. "Even healthy businesses have seen their sales soften," said Watson, who declined to discuss specific sales data. "It's just a matter of less money being spent by consumers, and they've suffered the ill effects." No stores to close Watson said the franchisee does not plan to close any locations. Current River Capital's estimated assets range from $100,001 to $500,000 and its estimated liabilities are in the range of $1 million to $10 million. Its largest creditor listed is The CIT Group/Equipment Financing Inc., owed up to $2.87 million. CIT provided financing to the two companies. Dunkin' Brands Inc. spokeswoman Michelle King said the parent company of Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts remains committed to the Nashville market. "As many franchise systems experience in even the best of times, we have had one of our more than 1,200 U.S. franchisees file for bankruptcy due to debt obligations and capital needs that were not sustainable in this declining economic environment," King said. There are 23 Dunkin' Donuts shops and 91 Baskin-Robbins shops owned and operated by franchisees in Tennessee, King said.

Planners reject May Town Center

Council has final vote, but project's chances are slim By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • June 26, 2009 One of the biggest, most intensely contested development plans Nashville has seen was rejected by the Metro Planning Commission Thursday night. The commission's vote on the potentially $4 billion May Town Center proposal for the Bells Bend area sets the stage for a final decision by the Metro Council. But with 27 of 40 votes needed for approval, even some of the project's biggest supporters were doubtful about its chances. The council will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on July 7. The May family has been pressing for more than a year for the right to build corporate headquarters, other office buildings, condominiums, hotels, restaurants and stores on about 550 acres in rural Bells Bend. The family — brothers Jack and Frank and their father, Leon — would preserve an additional 900-plus acres they own in the bend, including 250 they've unconditionally pledged to Tennessee State University for farmland and a research park. Some people have described the proposed "town center" as a second downtown. Supporters say it would make Nashville more competitive for corporate headquarters and the jobs and tax revenues they bring. Critics say it would destroy Bells Bend, one of the city's last large green spaces. The planning commission held a three-hour public hearing and spent more than an hour deliberating before reaching the decision just before 11 p.m. "Obviously, I'm pleased with the way it turned out," said Sumter Camp, who opposed the project. "The commission was engaged in a very thoughtful conversation about the issues." But some confusion surrounded the vote. Before tackling the rezoning proposal for May Town Center, the commission had to vote on a community plan for Scottsboro-Bells Bend and an "alternative development area" that would allow the mixed-use development, which went against the plans for the rest of the rural community. Commissioner Andree Lequire first moved to disapprove that alternative area. The commission voted 6-4 against the motion. But after Commissioner Jim Gotto moved to approve the alternative area, the 6-4 split didn't hold up. Instead, the commission voted 5-4 against Gotto's motion, with Chairman Jim McLean abstaining when it was clear his vote wouldn't matter. Commissioner Victor Tyler appeared to have changed his vote, but he declined to comment after the meeting. Tony Giarratana, the Mays' developer, said he was concerned about Lequire moving to disapprove the alternative development area instead of someone else moving to approve it. "There was a lot of confusion," Giarratana said. "The negative motion, I'm not sure that was appropriate. I need to do some research on that. It's obviously very disappointing." After the commission rejected the alternative development area, Metro Planning Director Rick Bernhardt said his department's recommendation on the May Town Center rezoning had to shift from approval to disapproval because the development would be inconsistent with the plan the commission had adopted. Hundreds attend Hundreds of Nashville residents turned out again Thursday to air their views and support their neighbors on the proposal, hoping to influence the commission's critical decision. About 75 people spoke for two minutes each on the pros and cons of May Town. They talked about economic competitiveness, land preservation, flight patterns, traffic, tax revenue, the effect on downtown and the alternative that the existing zoning could bring to the area. "You can't tell me this project is not a good project," Bells Bend resident Jason Barnes said. "There's no reason for that property to be left the way it is." "Maybe we should call this 'Maybe Town Center,' " countered attorney and former Metro Councilman David Briley, referring to what he said were the many things that would have to work perfectly to make the development succeed. The Mays, who have spent about $30 million on the project, say their idea is Nashville's best chance to capture companies that would otherwise move to suburban counties, taking jobs and tax revenue with them. The planning department's staff had originally recommended the rezoning under extensive conditions, including construction of two or three bridges across the Cumberland River. The Mays would have to pay for each bridge. But opponents have different ideas for Bells Bend. They say the approximately 10-mile corridor from Bells Bend to Beaman Park could be developed as a tourism, recreation and farming destination. Ten Metro Council members also spoke out. Nine of them said they oppose the project. "The decisions we make now are setting us on a path," said Councilwoman Kristine LaLonde, who represents the Hillsboro Village and 12th Avenue South areas and made a plea for protecting the environment. "Nashville is poised to be an even stronger leader among the great places to live." But Councilman Lonnell Matthews, whose district includes Bells Bend, said Nashville could take charge of its future by embracing May Town Center. "The moment change is planned is the moment we begin to work toward a better quality of life," Matthews said. Contact Michael Cass at 615-259-8838 or mcass@tennessean.com.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

GM picks Michigan over Spring Hill

TOM KRISHER • AP Auto Writer • June 25, 2009 Michigan has won the high-stakes competition with two other states to build General Motors Corp.'s next-generation subcompact car, a person briefed on the decision said Thursday. State Rep. Ty Cobb, a Democrat who represents Spring Hill, confirmed to The Tennessean this afternoon that the new line of small cars will be going to Michigan. “It’s disappointing news that GM has not chosen this plant,” Cobb said. He will be part of a group of labor and political leaders who will hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the UAW labor hall in Spring Hill. The announcement that the car will be built at a retooled midsize car factory in Orion Township near Pontiac will come Friday, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public. It will save about 1,200 jobs at the factory, which had been slated to shut down later this year. GM spokeswoman Sherrie Childers Arb declined to comment on whether GM had made a decision. Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen declined to comment on the report. At a press conference earlier today Bredesen said the state's bid to pursue the new GM car for Spring Hill was "nothing like" what the bankrupt automaker had originally asked for. The governor had earlier said it would take $200 million or more to keep the automaker here -- money the state does not have. A 10:30 a.m. news conference has been scheduled for Friday at the UAW 1853 hall in Spring Hill. Labor leaders, Spring Hill Mayor Mike Dinwiddie and state Rep. Ty Cobb, a Democrat who represents Spring Hill, are expected to discuss Spring Hill’s future, UAW spokesman Todd Horton said. The Orion Township plant, about 40 miles north of Detroit, had been in competition with GM factories in Janesville, Wis., and Spring Hill, Tenn., to build the car. The Orion plant now makes the Pontiac G6 and Chevrolet Malibu midsize cars, which also are made at a factory in Kansas City, Kan. GM announced when it filed for bankruptcy protection June 1 that the Orion and Spring Hill plants would go on standby status later this year, meaning workers could be called back if the company needs to increase production. The Janesville plant already closed in April. GM also is likely to announce that its Pontiac parts stamping plant will be retooled to make parts for the new car, based on the Chevrolet Spark. About 1,000 jobs could be saved there. Michigan, Wisconsin and Tennessee all offered incentive packages to GM in an effort to lure the plant. Childers Arb said earlier this week that a team of GM officials was working on the site selection and the company plans to make a decision by June 30. The automaker had said in documents submitted to Congress that it planned to produce up to 51,000 subcompacts per year in China and ship them to the U.S. starting in 2011. But in May, after the United Auto Workers union approved contract concessions, the company said it would build the three-door hatchback in the U.S. The Spark has a small turbocharged four-cylinder engine and is about the size of a Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris. It is set to go on sale in Europe next year.

Shift of Assignments -involving nine police department commanders and captains

Hello District 29: It really saddens me to inform you that Commander Michelle Richter has been changed to command the West Precinct. I am sure that you would join me in saying that Commander Richter has been extremely responsive to our community from increasing efficient response times to calls from southeast citizens to ensuring knowledgeable representation at community meetings (sometimes serving as speaker herself) to answering emails in the wee hours of the late night and very early morning. She is dynamic. Thank you Commander Richter for your service. We know that you will continue to do a great job along with fellow police officers of West precinct. The West is getting one of our best jewels. Gratefully, Vivian Vivian Metro Councilmember,District29 Blog:www.vivian29.blogspot.com Twitterwww.twitter.com/Vivian2010 Look me up on Facebook! Dear Community Members and Leaders, I would just like to take the time to let you know that I appreciate all of your effort and support throughout the years on working together to make the Hermitage Precinct Community a safe area. A strong partnership is valuable towards a successful future. I have been blessed to serve this community and it has been an honor. I have been called upon to start another challenge in my career which is to serve the West community. Though I will truly miss being a part of this community I believe the new commander, Todd Henry, will do a great job. He stays active within the community and comes with leadership experience. I am confident that he will work well with all of you and even bring in a new fresh perspective for the community. I wish you the best!! Sincerely, Commander Michelle Richter June 24, 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Chief Ronal Serpas today announced a shift of assignments involving nine police department commanders and captains effective July 1 in keeping with his commitment to broaden the management experience of precinct and division leaders. “As I told all of our captains and commanders more than one year ago, it is vitally important for a police department our size to develop the careers of senior leadership by exposing them to the challenges and rewards of managing various police department components during their tenures,” Chief Serpas said. “Too often in police work, precinct and division-level managers become stagnant by staying in one assignment for decades. That practice is a disservice to not only the employees, but the citizens we serve.” “A number of the persons transferring to new assignments have been in their current positions for several years. I have every expectation that all will be very successful in their new roles.” The nine captains and commanders taking on new assignments are: Captain Todd Henry, who currently oversees the Specialized Investigations Division, will become the Commander of the Hermitage Precinct. Commander Michelle Richter, who currently oversees the Hermitage Precinct, will become the Commander of the West Precinct. Captain Paul Trickey, who currently oversees the Strategic Development Division, will become the Captain over the Specialized Investigations Division. Commander Mickey Miller, who currently oversees the West Precinct, will become the Captain over the Warrants Division. Captain Karl Roller, who currently oversees the Warrants Division, will become the Captain over the Identification Division. Captain Mike Hagar, who currently oversees the Identification Division, will become the Captain over the Strategic Development Division. Captain Rita Brockmann-Baker, who currently oversees the Domestic Violence Division, will become the Executive Officer in the Administrative Services Bureau. Captain Michelle Donegan, who is currently a Field Supervisor, will become the Captain over the Domestic Violence Division. Captain Ben Dicke, who is currently the Executive Officer in the Administrative Services Bureau, will become a Field Supervisor.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Citywide Program Makes Neighbors Inspectors

Channel 4 News Residents Must Receive 1 Hour Special Training Reported By Jonathan Martin POSTED: 4:40 pm CDT June 23, 2009 UPDATED: 6:52 pm CDT June 23, 2009 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Complaining to the city about a neighbor's high grass doesn't mean something will be done right away. Related: Watch This Story "There's sometimes where it may be three to four to five days before they can get out there and look at it," said Bill Penn of the Department of Codes and Building Safety. With Nashville losing two of its 14 code inspectors to budget cuts, the process of enforcing property standards could take even longer. It's a big reason, Penn said, his department plans to expand a new program throughout the city in which neighbors become inspectors of sorts. "It's a way for neighbors to really take charge of their neighborhood and to affect change in their neighborhood," Penn said. Currently, if a person wanted to report someone's high grass or junky yard, he or she would have to call the Codes Department. The complaint would be recorded into the system, and an inspector may go out days or weeks later. But new rules would allow residents who receive an hour of special training to use a form to write down violations themselves and send the paper in to Codes. Right away, the department would mail the form to the neighbor in violation, eliminating the need for an inspection from the city. "So we've completed two parts of a three-step process in one step," Penn said. The program has been tested in a several neighborhoods, such as Lockeland Springs in east Nashville. Todd Williams said it has worked well. "The neighborhood's gotten better. The aesthetics, most of the properties have been rehabilitated," said Williams. Penn said the program would only be offered through organized neighborhood groups. "One thing we don't want to have happen is for someone in a neighborhood, they have a beef against their neighbor. Well, they get a stack of these forms and send one in every week," said Penn. The Codes Department hopes to start the new program citywide within a few months. Copyright 2009 by WSMV.com. "

Tennessee shares settlement in TJ Maxx security breach

Millions of credit card numbers were exposed to hackers a few years ago By Wendy Lee • THE TENNESSEAN • June 24, 2009 TJX Companies Inc., the parent company of discounters TJ Maxx and , agreed to pay a $9.75 million settlement to Tennessee, along with 40 other state attorneys general related to a breach in its computer system that caused millions of credit card numbers to be exposed. Framingham, Mass.-based TJX has acknowledged as many as 45.7 million card numbers may have been compromised via hackers who accessed the retailer's computer system, potentially exposing cardholder data and other personal information. TJX said criminals attacked its network in 2005-2006. The $9.75 million settlement will go toward covering the various states' investigations and to implement and maintain a comprehensive information security program to plug any weaknesses in TJX's security systems. The retail chain also must meet detailed data security requirements specified by the states. Part of the settlement will pay for a new data security fund for the states to work on more effective data security and technology. Tennessee is to receive more than $340,000 in the settlement. TJX is an off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the U.S., Canada and Europe. It operates T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and A.J. Wright stores, among others.

New principals appointed in Metro schools

Tennessean June 24, 2009 Many Metro students will see new faces in the principal's office this fall. The district has announced principal appointments for 15 elementary schools, five middle schools and one high school. These changes are in addition to eight principal appointments that had been announced earlier. The elementary school appointments to or from schools in North and East Davidson County include: • Stephen Caraway to Norman Binkley from Whitsitt. • Michael Ross to Caldwell from Napier. • Renita Perkins to Chadwell from Cumberland. • Bertha Brown to Cumberland from Inglewood. • Clementine Chamberlain to Inglewood from Chadwell. • Debra Smith to Jones Paideia from Central Office. • Carol Hammond to McGavock Elementary from Norman Binkley. • Sharon Williams to Napier from McGavock Elementary. • Rob Hancock to Old Center from Brookmeade, which closed at the end of the school year. • Thelma Smith to Ross, from Cora Howe, which closed at the end of the school year. • Pam Greer to Shayne from Jones Paideia. • Dianne Gilbert will remain at Shwab, which is being fresh started for the 2009-2010 school year. • Amelia Brown to Una from Ross. • Carlos Comer to Whitsitt from Caldwell. In middle schools, the principal appointments include: • Karen Bryant to Litton from John Early. • Jeanna Collins to Oliver from Ewing Park, which closed at the end of the school year. • Beverly Bell, principal at Cameron Middle, will remain at that school, which is being fresh started for the 2009-2010 school year. The school district had already announced the appointments of Mary Nollner to Antioch Middle, Tonya Dennis to John Early and Dr. Nancy Meador to Madison. In high schools: • Darwin Mason will become principal of Cohn Alternative Learning Center, as well as remaining as principal of Cohn Adult High School. The district had already announced new principals Robbin Wall, from Irving, Texas, at McGavock High; Hamilton County's Stephen Ball as principal of East Literature Karl Lang at Whites Creek; and Elaine Fahrner and Larry Saunders at the Academy at Cockrill and the Academy at Opry Mills, two new adult high schools opening this fall. The new appointments will take effect by July 1.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Electric cars to bring 1,300 jobs to Nissan in Smyrna

Associated Press • June 23, 2009 Nissan Motor Co. will add up to 1,300 jobs at its Smyrna plant in Tennessee to begin producing electric, zero-emission cars, officials said today. Japan's No. 3 automaker said it will unveil its first electric vehicle in Japan on Aug. 2 and begin sales next year. "We are moving forward with zero-emission vehicles," Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told a shareholders' meeting in Japan. Nissan will sell electric cars first in Japan and the United States after April 2010, and then mass-produce them globally in 2012. Initial output capacity at Smyrna will be more than 100,000 units per year. At full production, Smyrna will make up to 150,000 electric vehicles annually. Nissan anticipates production of the electric cars and battery packs may result in an increase of up to 1,300 jobs in Smyrna when full production is reached. Nissan will receive $1.6 billion in conditional loan commitments from the Energy Department to produce electric cars and battery packs in Smyrna, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Energy. The loan will aid in the construction of a new battery plant and modifications to the existing plant. In addition to the Smyrna plant, Nissan will make electric vehicles in Japan and Europe, Ghosn said. The all-electric car is expected to have 100 miles of pure battery range. "The U.S. is going to be a very important market" for the company's electric vehicle strategy, he said. "I can tell you I'm not at all worried about how to sell these cars because there is an appetite for zero-emission cars." Other carmakers are also racing to produce fully electric cars. U.S.-based Tesla Motors has a prototype that is scheduled to be produced by 2011. Toyota Motor Corp. has said it plans to sell electric vehicles in the U.S. by 2012 while Chinese automaker Dongfeng Motor Corp. has teamed up with a Dutch-based company to develop and make electric cars. On Tuesday, the Energy Department said it will lend $5.9 billion to Ford Motor Co. and $465 million to Tesla, in addition to the $1.6 billion to Nissan, making the three automakers the first beneficiaries of a $25 billion fund to develop fuel-efficient vehicles. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the loan recipients at Ford's Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn. The loans to Ford will help the company upgrade factories in five Midwest states to produce 13 fuel-efficient vehicles. Tesla will get loans to build electric vehicles and electric drive powertrains in California. Dozens of auto companies, suppliers and battery makers have sought a total of $38 billion from the loan program, which was created last year to help car companies and suppliers retool their facilities to develop green vehicles and components such as advanced batteries. The loans were designed to help the auto manufacturers meet new fuel-efficiency standards of at least 35 mpg by 2020, a 40 percent increase over current standards. Ford had been seeking about $5 billion in loans by 2011 and a total of $11 billion from the program to invest $14 billion in advanced technologies over the next seven years. The company said it will transform plants in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC have received billions of dollars in federal loans to restructure their companies through government-led filings for bankruptcy protection, but Ford avoided seeking emergency aid by mortgaging all of its assets in 2006 to borrow about $25 billion. Ford CEO Alan Mulally said the loans Ford will receive from the Energy Department were part of a government-industry partnership and "had nothing to do with the emergency loans to keep General Motors and Chrysler in business." Ford has said it intends to bring several battery-electric vehicles to market. The automaker has discussed plans to produce a battery-electric vehicle van in 2010 for commercial use, a small battery-electric sedan developed with Magna International by 2011 and a plug-in hybrid vehicle by 2012. General Motors has requested $10.3 billion in loans from the energy program, while Chrysler has asked for $6 billion in loans. Energy officials have said the loans could only go to "financially viable" companies, preventing GM and Chrysler to qualify for the first round of the loans. Earlier this month, Nissan's smaller rival, Mitsubishi Motors Corp., launched its electric vehicle, the i-MiEV, with a price tag of 4.59 million yen ($48,300). Even the company acknowledged the i-MiEV is too pricey and said it aims to cut the price in the future. Ghosn said expensive electric cars are "for a niche" market which Nissan doesn't plan to target. He gave few details, but stressed that Nissan's zero-emission cars will come "with a very reasonable price." "If it's not affordable, it's not going to work," Ghosn told reporters. "We are not going to come with a very high price. We are going to come with a reasonable price," he said. "We are here to mass-market them." Ghosn brushed off criticism that Nissan is falling behind its bigger rivals — Toyota and Honda Motor Co. — in the increasingly competitive market for gas-electric hybrid vehicles. Ghosn said the global market for hybrid cars remains too small, with hybrid cars accounting for just 3.5 percent of the Japanese auto market in 2008, and 2.3 percent in the United States. Globally, the market for hybrid cars is below 1 percent, Ghosn said, attributing hype over gas-electric cars to heavy media coverage. Tennessean staff writer Bonna Johnson contributed to this story.

Two Men Possibly Behind Stolen Debit Card Numbers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Fraud detectives have surveillance video of two men they think are behind the scam that has affected people in Nashville and Cookeville. The surveillance video shows the men using victims' numbers to withdraw cash from ATMs. Police still are not clear on how they have been getting the numbers and pins. Victims started showing up first in Cookeville. Metro police said at least 25 victims have come forward in Davidson County. The thieves have racked up about $50,000 in charges. If you recognize the men call Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME.

Associations Can Force Residents Into Foreclosure

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Homeowners associations' reserve the right by law to forcible foreclose on property if residents fall behind on their dues. Associations in Texas, Florida and California are beginning to exercise the foreclosures. Not one case of a homeowners' association forced foreclosure is on-record in Nashville. No homeowner NewsChannel5 spoke with was aware of the loophole. "First of all, that's news to me," said Bellevue homeowner Rob Crosby. "It's very unfair - if it's true that homeowners' associations can foreclose on someone being late, or getting behind on monthly, regime fees. That's crazy." Forcible foreclosure is a last resort, and Nashville attorney Lee Corbett called the act an extreme solution. "It's extremely unusual," said Corbett. "No matter how far behind they are, the amount is relatively small compared to the value of the property the homeowner owns." Corbett said there are other ways an association can recover its dues by filing a lawsuit. Three things are necessary for a property management company to force foreclosure: a written policy, approval from the association's board of directors and the pursuit must be fiscally worthy of the association's efforts. The sale of the property, in other words, should allow the property management to recoup its past-due fees plus the money spent on such a large endeavor. 59 million Americans are said to be living in neighborhoods governed by some type of association.

2 teens arrested in break-ins at 7 South Nashville churches

By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • June 23, 2009 Church leaders and congregation members say they forgive the two men accused of burglarizing seven South Nashville churches, but they will not forget. Metro police arrested Tevin Taylor and Akoon Tong, both 18, after responding to a security alarm at Lighthouse Baptist Church, 5115 Blue Hole Road, at about 1:30 a.m. Monday. It is believed the two men are responsible for eight burglaries over the past couple of months. Police spokesman Don Aaron said about $35 was taken from Lighthouse along with a cell phone and some other items. During questioning, Aaron said, both men admitted to the burglary and implicated themselves in others. Faye Sanders of Murfreesboro works as an administrative assistant at Lighthouse and has been a church member since 1981. "We pray for the people who did this, but we expect justice," Sanders said. "This incident makes us aware of how vital safety is to everyone here." As part of an effort to increase safety at the church, Sanders said officials are purchasing and installing secure doors, enhancing the church's security system and making sure everyone is out of the building by 9 p.m. each day. Lighthouse hit twice Monday's burglary isn't the first at Lighthouse. Taylor was arrested for burglarizing the building and taking more than $1,200 cash on April 24. He pleaded guilty to burglary last Tuesday in Criminal Court and received a two-year probation. The new charges would be a probation violation. Police believe that Tong and Taylor began breaking into churches in late April. Haywood Hills Baptist Church, 255 Haywood Lane, was discovered ransacked on April 23. Church officials say the burglars broke a solid glass door to gain access to the building and kicked in three doors in the church offices. They took about $5. "This gave us a greater urgency to form a committee for security and for surveillance equipment," said Haywood Hills Pastor Barry Ellis. "Our church wants to maintain a secure environment that is open to the community, but not create a fortress." If face to face with the suspects, Ellis said he would forgive them. "But, I would tell them they've taken from churches who were trying to help people in need so they've taken from the neediest," he added. On June 17, two more South Nashville churches were burglarized, Christ Lutheran Church, 299 Haywood Lane, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 364 Haywood Lane. Pastor saddenedPastor Marie Hatcher had arrived at Christ Lutheran just one week before the break-in. To gain entry, the suspects threw two bricks through Hatcher's office window. The building was ransacked and a laptop computer taken. "We don't keep money in the church," Hatcher said. "So all they got was some change from the coke machine." Since 2008, Hatcher, a transition minister assisting congregations when pastors resign or retire, has served at eight churches and has never had a break-in, she said. "We are disappointed and saddened that someone would break into a sacred space," Hatcher said. "You have to forgive people who have the mindset to do something like this. There is something wrong with their thinking or their being. I think they could benefit from some counseling." Three more church burglaries were reported in the days after the Christ Lutheran break-in. Hillcrest United Methodist Church, 5112 Raywood Lane, was ransacked on June 18 followed by St. Basil's Cathedral, 355 Tusculum Road, on June 19 and Universal Church, 4916 Nolensville Pike, on June 20. Aaron said a digital camera was taken from Hillcrest. "Primarily they were looking for cash," Aaron said of the burglars. "Some places were ransacked, and they didn't get anything." Additional charges against Taylor and Tong are likely, police said.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Alcohol abuse more common on Tenn. waterways

Tennessean NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee officials say alcohol abuse is a growing problem on the state's rivers and lakes.Wildlife agents tell The Tennessean that despite a stronger focus on enforcement, Tennessee's boating laws don't have enough bite. Penalties for driving under the influence are tougher than boating under the influence. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says arrests for boating under the influence continue to climb. In 2007, there were 126 people arrested in Tennessee for boating under the influence. A year later than number climbed to 152. This year, 66 people have been arrested already.

Metro officer injured after crash

WKRN Channel 2 Nashville, Tenn. - A metro officer is in the hospital Monday morning after someone slammed into his parked police cruiser overnight near the airport. Just after midnight, the officer pulled a car over for a traffic violation on Murfreesboro Road near McGavock Pike. The officer was sitting in his car running the information from the violation when this car hit him from behind. Police told News 2 all three drivers are expected to be fine, and they will investigate to see whether alcohol played a part.

Police arrest two teens in church burglaries

WKRN Channel 2 News Nashville, Tenn. - Metro police arrested two teenagers after the latest from a string of church burglaries early Monday morning. Monday morning's arrest happened at Light House Baptists Church on Blue Hole Road. Officers flooded the area and caught two 18-year-olds. Police told News 2, one of the teens was out on probation for breaking into the same church two months ago. Police said they have investigated at least seven church burglaries in the past two weeks. One week prior to Monday's burglary, News 2 spoke with members of the two churches broken into on Haywood Lane not too far from Light House Baptist Church. "Of all places, why would you break into a church?" said Lutheran Church member Ken Krebs. "It just does not make sense." Related back to Monday's arrest, police said the recent rash of burglaries started the same day. One of the suspects was released on probation. To see related video:http://www.wkrn.com/global/story.asp?s=10571518

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Important Message for Nashboro Village Residents

Please Attend! Important Meeting! Nashboro Village Crime Update Meeting Monday, June 22, 2009 6:45 pm Mt. Zion Baptist Church- Antioch2261 Murfreesboro Pike Nashville, TN 37217 This meeting is for ALL residences (apartments, condos and house dwellers) that live in the Nashboro Village community. Please attend this important meeting. This meeting is about the crimes that have occurred in our area and how we can increase safety in our immediate community. Hermitage Police representative will provide an update.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Funeral services set for former Tennessean columnist

Staff Reports • June 19, 2009 Services for Tim Chavez, 50, a passionate journalist who formerly wrote a column for The Tennessean, will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at St. Edward Church. Visitation with the family will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, also at the church, 188 Thompson Lane. He will be buried in Calvary Cemetery, 1001 Lebanon Road. Mr. Chavez died Thursday night in the care of Alive Hospice. He had leukemia. Mr. Chavez is survived by his wife, Kathi Chavez; two brothers, Mike Chavez and Gerald Chavez, both of Del City, Okla.; a stepson, Japhet Thacker, Brentwood; a stepdaughter, Una Winterman, Bloomington, Ind., and two granddaughters.

I was saddened by this email from my friend Rikki Zee:

"For many who were not around in 2005, Tim was one of very few reporters who spoke out against the TennCare cuts. He did it in a very powerful way, many times using stories. Take care, Tony." As stated before, I was saddened by this news. Mr. Chevez's impeccable journalist at the Tennessean caused many to become involved and make informed decisions. He will remain a juggernaut of a "Voice" for those that could not speak directly to the masses. I am grateful your his contribution to social awareness. Greatly missed he will be but definitely not forgotten. Vivian Funeral arrangements will be provided as soon as made available.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Son gives back the gift of life to his father

Randy Moomaw/The Times Howard Jackson, 53, of Ashland City received a kidney from his 34-year-old son, Sean, of Chapmansboro.
By Randy Moomaw • The Ashland City Times • June 17, 2009
Howard Jackson received the ultimate Father’s Day gift from his son this year. Sean Jackson donated a kidney to his father in mid-April, and now the Cheatham County men say Sunday will be an extra special day.
“He gave me life 34 years ago, now I’ve been able to give him something to help him to have a good life,” Sean said. “This has brought us closer. There is more of a connection and a deeper understanding, especially being a dad myself.”
In May 2008, 53-year-old Howard Jackson’s kidneys started to shut down. He was diagnosed as a diabetic at age 11 and had been on an oral dosage of insulin ever since.
Howard’s sons, Sean, 34, and Scott, 28, both underwent tests to see if there were viable kidney donors.
Both high blood pressure and diabetes run in the family, so blood sugar levels would be a sensitive area.
Scott’s glucose tolerance test was a point too high to risk a transplant, while Sean turned out to be a perfect match.
A week after the go-head, Sean’s surgery took place at Vanderbilt Medical Center. The day of the operation Sean said that lots of church folks came to pray with his wife, Kennedy, before the procedure.
Howard admits he had some concerns going into surgery.
“I was kind of nervous since my sister had it done in 1988,” Howard said. “She went through the transplant just fine. Later, she needed eye surgery for cataracts. The next night she had a stroke. She then had a massive stroke after we got her to the hospital, and she died. She was in her early 30s.”
The Jackson father-son team went into surgery on a Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. and got out of the hospital on that Friday at 5 p.m.
For the most part the surgery was routine and went well. But for Sean, his surgery took a little longer than expected because his kidney had an extra valve in it. That caused some concern, but everything turned out OK, and an extra valve, though rare, is not cause for concern. Howard’s existing kidneys were operating at 25 percent and he still has those, along with the healthy kidney from Sean. So, he now has three kidneys. Howard’s first order from his doctor was to get up the next morning and start walking.“I was told to walk to Sean’s room down the hall first to say thank you,” Howard said.For Sean, that was a neat, humbling feeling.
After surgery Sean caught pneumonia in the hospital and then had a viral infection after being released.
The first two weeks of Howard’s recovery took place at his son’s home in Chapmansboro. “Paw-Paw is the main source of entertainment for my two sons,” Sean said about Cade, 3, and Maclain, 2.
“Paw-Paw” Jackson was excited to be with his grandkids and joked if he’d known how much fun grandkids would be, he would have had them first.
There have been some lifestyle adjustments and diet changes for both men.
Both are encouraged to keep themselves hydrated, and drink roughly two liters of water a day. They must also avoid analgesics such as naproxen and ibuprofen, which are processed through the kidneys.
“Now I’m able to do more than I ever could before,” Howard said. “And I’ve lost 25 pounds.” Howard has worked for A. O. Smith since 1977 and is back on the job after being out six weeks. Sean missed four weeks from his job with Nashville Electric.
The biggest challenge for Howard has been to keep track of the medication he has to take throughout the day.
Howard still checks in with his doctor twice a week. He has shown no signs of rejection of Sean’s kidney.
Both he and Sean are eating healthier. But it’s more than their perspective on diet and lifestyle that has changed.
Sean, looking at his kids, realizes that what he has given his dad is what it would be like if either Cade or Maclain had done that for him.
“But it wasn’t a sacrifice. I think of all the football and baseball games he had to drag me to,” Sean said. “I know if the situation were reversed Dad would be the first to do it for me.” Looking forward to Father’s Day, Howard gets a little teary-eyed and hesitates a beat as he speaks about where he’ll be on Sunday.
“I know we’ll be together. Every Father’s Day I’ll see him no matter what,” Howard said. “I feel good because my son gave up something for me, and I know what he had to go through.” Sean said he is grateful for being able to contribute to his dad’s overall well-being.
“So many people I know that have lost their dads say to me, ‘If only there was something I could do to get my dad back,’” Sean said.
The family is headed to Florida soon to celebrate the good news and the countless gifts from two incredible fathers.

Tennessee homeland security expo planned

June 17, 2009 (Tennessean) MIDDLE TENNESSEE Middle Tennessee-area residents will be able to see new public safety equipment and watch live emergency response demonstrations next week at a security expo in Lebanon. The event, known as the Urban Area Security Initiative Expo, shows how local agencies have used federal money to enhance first-response capabilities, said Dave Mitchell of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Office of Homeland Security. Attendees will be able to speak to representatives of emergency response agencies, learn about new public safety technologies and see live demonstrations. Participating agencies include the Emergency Management offices in Cannon, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson and Wilson counties, which make up the Nashville Urban Area Security Initiative/Homeland Security District 5. State and federal agencies will be there as well. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 24, at the Ward Agricultural Center, 945 E. Baddour Parkway, Lebanon.

Metro Nashville teachers get chance to boost pay

Contract includes bonus pay to work at certain schools By Jaime Sarrio • THE TENNESSEAN • June 17, 2009 Metro Nashville teachers next year will receive more pay for summer school and after-school tutoring, a chance to earn bonus pay for after-hours training and a salary boost for working in select schools. Changes to the 2009-10 teacher contract agreement, finalized last week, give Metro's 5,000 teachers more chances to earn extra pay, but do not include across-the-board salary increases. Erick Huth, president of the Metro Nashville Education Association, which negotiates the contract for the teachers, said a tight budget year made district-wide raises difficult. "In the absence of having a salary increase, we have a good package that allows a teacher to make more money if he or she chooses," Huth said. The contract increases the hourly wage for teachers who work beyond the school day from $17.61 to $25. This applies to teachers who sign up for tutoring or summer school programs. Teachers also can earn an extra day of pay if they choose to attend training courses after school or on weekends. Previous agreements allowed teachers five training days during school hours. Leaders believe the new contract will give teachers an incentive to stay in school and complete their training after hours, said June Keel, assistant superintendent for human resources. "Teachers are given these professional days, and if they take them, they are away from school and have a sub," she said. "And of course we want the teacher in the school." The contract also includes a 5 percent pay increase for schools identified in the district's rezoning plan and 10 training days for other schools deemed in need of extra resources.

Metro Nashville moves to ban guns in parks

By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • June 17, 2009 The Metro Council took a preliminary step to ban guns in city parks Tuesday and approved a $1.54 billion operating budget that deals with a punishing economy by laying off dozens of employees and making sharp cuts to many departments. The council voted 26-9 for the gun ban, which was proposed in response to a new state law. The General Assembly voted to let handgun carry permit holders take guns into state and local parks but agreed to let local governments opt out. The council measure normally would have gone through without a discussion on the first of three required votes, but Councilman Robert Duvall pulled it from the consent agenda in an attempt to kill it. Councilman Duane Dominy agreed with Duvall, saying he had taken an oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution, including the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms. But other council members said the bill should be allowed to pass into the committee system for a full debate. Operating budget OK'd The operating budget for the year starting July 1 will include about $28 million less than the year now coming to a close, which officials said is unprecedented. Council members said they felt bad about cutting some employees' jobs but had little choice. The council's substitute budget did restore 17 jobs Mayor Karl Dean's proposal would have cut. That dropped the number of layoffs to 79, which is more than the 66 city officials announced Monday. Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said the number could continue to drop as employees are placed in vacant positions throughout the government. The budget also includes 10 percent cuts for parks, health and social services and some reductions to library hours. Employee raises and bonuses also were suspended for one year.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Guns in parks proposal signed by governor

USA Today By Lucas L. Johnson Ii, Associated Press Writer NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen on Friday signed a proposal to allow handguns to be carried in city or county parks in Tennessee, but urged local governments to use the "opt-out provisions" of the legislation. The measure, which also allows handguns in state parks, goes into effect immediately, according to legislative officials. The Senate had passed the proposal on a 24-8 vote, and the House agreed to that version 54-41 -- just four votes more than the minimum needed to pass the chamber. One of the reasons for the close vote was that the Senate version would require local governments that don't want guns to be carried at their sports fields, playgrounds, greenways or other parks to vote specifically to ban them. A previous House version would have banned guns in all local parks unless city or county governments voted to allow them. In a letter to Republican House Speaker Kent Williams of Elizabethton, Bredesen said he "continues to have concerns about the inclusion of local parks in this bill." "I ... want to urge local governments to use the opt-out provisions of this bill to remove parks from its effect where they are located close to schools and other places where large numbers of children gather," the governor wrote. On Thursday, the House sponsor said he was abandoning the provision in exchange for Bredesen's commitment not to veto a separate bill about weapons in restaurants. That measure included an effort to prevent local beer boards from denying permits to restaurants that allow patrons to carry handguns. But Republican Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet, the Senate sponsor of the guns in parks proposal, said Friday that there was never an agreement. Last month, Bredesen vetoed a bill to allow guns to be carried in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. That veto was overwhelmingly overridden in both chambers of the Legislature. Also Friday, the governor allowed another gun bill to become law without his signature. That measure states that "federal laws and regulations do not apply to personal firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition that is manufactured in Tennessee and remains in Tennessee." Bredesen said he believes the law will ultimately be found unconstitutional. "The Tennessee General Assembly lacks any constitutional authority to limit the power and authority of the United States government in this manner," he wrote in a separate letter to Williams. "I am allowing it to become law so that it can quickly be dealt with in the federal courts." The other proposal he signed allows handgun permit holders to transport ammunition alongside rifles or shotguns inside their vehicles. Under the law, those guns cannot have ammunition in the chamber. Supporters said a law change was necessary because current law considers shotguns or rifles to be loaded if ammunition is nearby.

Tennessee charter schools are off limits to most

Fear, politics reinforce restrictive law By Jaime Sarrio • THE TENNESSEAN • June 15, 2009 Only one thing is keeping Lionel Booker from enrolling his daughter at the new charter middle school opening near his home — the law. The Bookers are assigned to attend Goodlettsville Middle, a school that's passing annual state benchmarks. That makes the Booker children ineligible for Smithson Craighead Academy, a nearby charter school that's adding a middle school in the fall. They represent thousands of Tennessee families shut out of charter schools because the state has one of the most restrictive attendance laws in the country. Charters have flourished in other states and are a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's education reform policy, but in Tennessee, politics, fear and demographics have significantly slowed their expansion. It's a stance the Bookers, whose daughter is in private school, have trouble understanding. "If they receive public funding, why wouldn't a local parent have an option to enroll their child in that school?" Booker said. "Why lock us out totally?" Charter schools are publicly funded but operate independently of local school boards, giving them more flexibility with staffing rules and school curriculum. But under state law, only failing students, or students who attend failing schools, can attend. A bill introduced in the legislature this year would have opened charter schools to any students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch in the state's 11 largest districts. Democrats, with the support of the state teachers union, blocked it because traditional public schools lose money when students enroll in charters. A last-ditch effort to revive the measure last week on the state House floor was unsuccessful. The bill's failure drew the ire of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a Democrat who warned lawmakers that the state could lose $100 million in stimulus money if they don't allow more students to attend charter schools. He singled Tennessee out Monday in a media phone conference. "Simply put, they put themselves at a competitive disadvantage for the largest pull of discretionary dollars states have ever had access to," Duncan said. An ideological shift Of the 40 states that allow charter schools, Tennessee is one of three that have restrictions on enrollment, said Nelson Smith, president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Most states allow any student in the district or state to attend. About 20,000 Nashville students, or 27 percent of public school enrollment, are eligible to attend charters, though less than 1 percent are enrolled, according to the Tennessee Charter Schools Association. The new law would have allowed 73 percent to attend — although only five charter schools with room for a total of 1,250 students, and none of them high schools, will be open in the fall. The disconnect between Duncan and members of his party reflects an ideological shift at the national level on charter schools. Democrats, together with teachers unions, have historically opposed charter schools. "A lot of it is a big political problem," said Marisa Cannata, associate director of the National Center on School Choice at Vanderbilt University. "One thing you see in Tennessee is Democrats supporting the traditional Democratic line and the Republicans supporting the traditional Republican line rather than people trying to get beyond the interest group politics." House Minority Leader Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, said he supports charter schools but needs more guidance from school leaders before he can decide on the law. "I don't want to do something that would be damaging or that would siphon resources," he said. In April, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Metro school board member Alan Coverstone spoke out in favor of the bill, but Odom said he is still getting mixed message from school leaders. Opponents worry charter schools will drain resources from local districts and leave traditional schools anemic, making fear another major barrier to expansion in Tennessee and nationally. Schools are funded on a per student basis, so when students leave a traditional public school for a charter, the money follows them. Loosening enrollment restrictions in Tennessee would cost public schools an estimated $14 million in local dollars, according to General Assembly estimates. In Nashville alone, $9.7 million that would normally go to regular schools will flow to charter schools next year. "We believe charter schools as they are presently configured will take millions away from public schools," said Earl Wiman, president of the Tennessee Education Association. "We've had enough of the federal government telling us what to do, and I would be surprised if the House of Representatives would allow themselves to be blackmailed by Arne Duncan." Demographics play role Competition is the essence of charter school reform, and advocates believe these schools can do a better job of educating kids with taxpayer dollars. Many charters supplement their budgets with private donations for longer school days or higher teacher salaries. Demographics have also played a part in why charter schools are still met with resistance in Tennessee. Charters tend to sprout up in urban areas, and many state lawmakers are elected from rural communities. "A lot of folks don't know what they are," said Rep. Beth Harwell, a Nashville Republican who sponsored the bill. "I think a lot of folks in the General Assembly do understand public charter schools and the need for them, but this tends to be largely an urban issue." As it stands, Tennessee's charter law makes it difficult to recruit new students and deters national providers from opening new schools because there is no assurance the enrollment pool will always exist. Schools move in and out of good standing with the state every year, making the eligibility pool a moving target. Failing students can also attend charters, but many do not know their scores on standardized tests. Last year when Edwina Harris Hamby applied for a charter to open Nashville Global Academy, several elementary schools were failing. Now, as she works to fill the school's 320 seats before classes begin, there are only three elementaries from which to pull students. Hundreds of students want to attend Nashville Global, but Hamby has had to turn most of them away. So far, she has managed to enroll 100 students. "I would like to see the law enable all children that want to be able to go to charter schools to have that choice," she said. "We would have been at capacity if I could have taken everyone who contacted us." 3 Previous Page Contact Jaime Sarrio at 615-726-5964 or jsarrio@tennessean.com.

VA patients hope for real answers

Congress to address contamination at hospitals By Clay Carey THE TENNESSEAN • and Bill Theobald TENNESSEAN WASHINGTON BUREAU • June 15, 2009 Walter McRae wants to hear the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tell him it is sorry. He wants its highest-ranking officials to say they're doing something to make sure veterans who turn to the government for medical treatment aren't being exposed to dirty equipment, the way he may have been six years ago. And he wants to know that those problems aren't going to make him sick someday. McRae and other veterans may begin getting some answers Tuesday, when a congressional committee finds out what VA investigators have learned since the chilling discovery of problems with endoscopic exams at Murfreesboro's Alvin C. York Medical Center and other agency hospitals. In February, the VA advised thousands of patients to get blood tests after it discovered that valves on colonoscopy tubes used at the Murfreesboro hospital weren't working correctly, possibly exposing patients to other people's bodily fluids. Since then, at least 28 patients have tested positive for hepatitis or HIV. Officials with the VA would not comment on the upcoming hearing. Some in Congress and in veterans groups have been supportive of how the agency has handled the problem, while others have criticized the VA for not being open enough about its investigation. The VA has said the chances of catching diseases because of the colonoscopy problems are slim, and it has insisted that there's no way to know whether the patients contracted those illnesses at the hospital. Thirteen VA officials are scheduled to testify Tuesday — including Juan Morales, director of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, which operates the Murfreesboro and Nashville VA hospitals along with 11 clinics in Middle and East Tennessee and southern Kentucky. "I don't know if there is anything they could say that would make me happy, not after they did something like this," said McRae, a 64-year-old former Marine from Old Hickory. McRae's tests came back negative. Fellow Vietnam veteran Thomas Mayo wasn't so lucky. When Mayo got his test results back in February, he learned he had Hepatitis C, a blood-borne liver disease. He got a colonoscopy at Murfreesboro's VA hospital in late 2006. The Chattanooga resident insists there's no other way he could have caught the virus. "There's nothing they can say," said Mayo, 58. "They've given me something that may kill me. They didn't do it intentionally, but they should have done better than they have." Procedures criticized U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, a Knoxville obstetrician-gynecologist and the top Republican on the House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigations, believes health-care workers at VA facilities in Murfreesboro and in Georgia and Florida failed to follow rules for servicing and cleaning the devices, which are used to examine the colon, nose and throat. At big institutions, people do things a particular way and train the next person to do it the same way, Roe said. "That's why protocols are important," he said. "Those procedures have to be ironclad." The first group of VA witnesses scheduled to testify Tuesday are from the agency's inspector general's office. They are expected to reveal what they discovered during an investigation requested by Congress. Roe said he has not yet seen the IG's report. He hopes to learn not only how the scopes were handled improperly but who is responsible and what is being done to prevent problems in the future. A total of 6,805 veterans who had colonoscopies at the Murfreesboro hospital over the previous five years were notified. Of the 5,215 tested, seven were found to have Hepatitis B, 20 had Hepatitis C, and one was carrying HIV. Testing expanded The discovery in Murfreesboro prompted the VA to review the use of its endoscopes around the country. It discovered problems with how the devices were cleaned at the Charlie Norwood Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., and the Bruce Carter Medical Center in Miami. Tests of nearly 3,000 additional veterans found 20 cases of hepatitis and five who tested positive for HIV. Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Murfreesboro, is not a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee but has been given permission to sit in on the hearing. He agrees with Roe that it will be difficult to determine whether the infections were caused by the mishandling of the equipment, but he wants the sick veterans to get help. "I hope that VA officials will address possible plans to help infected veterans pay for needed treatment in full," Gordon said in a written statement. "At this point, my hope is that the VA will give infected veterans the benefit of the doubt and not require these veterans to pay co-pays for their treatment." Roe, Gordon, and Steve Robertson, legislative director of the American Legion, all said they were generally satisfied with the way the VA handled the problems once they were discovered. "We applaud the VA for its openness," Robertson said. He described the incidents as a "hiccup" in a system lauded as a model for the country. Others are more critical about the way the VA has handled the problem and communicated with patients. Prior infections alleged Rudolph Cumberbatch, a former chief of surgery at the York hospital, has questioned why the VA decided to not re-examine tests that were done before April 2003. "Many patients (may) already have Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B or HIV (before the colonoscopy)," said Cumberbatch, who worked at the Murfreesboro hospital from 2001 to 2005. He insisted that none of the problems could have happened on his watch. VA officials did not respond to questions about his claims. Veteran Larry Scott is founder and editor of VAwatchdog.org, a Web site that focuses on veterans' health care, benefits and other issues. Scott believes the VA should do more to prove that equipment is being cleaned properly at all of its hospitals, and it should be more open about what inspections at other medical centers have found. That sort of openness would be a welcome change, said David Bartlett, senior vice president of Levick Strategic Communications, a crisis management and communications strategy firm in Washington. "What's being done to fix a problem is much more important in the public's mind than what happened," Bartlett said. "I can't imagine they aren't doing a lot of things, but you'd never know it from the communication that is going out." At Tuesday's hearing, the VA has an opportunity to start righting some of those wrongs, Bartlett said. "The last thing they should do is be defensive. The last thing they should (do) is minimize the problem. … For anybody that feels their life is at risk, it is anything but a small problem." Vet switches hospitals R.J. Simmons, an Army veteran from Tullahoma, got a colonoscopy at York in early 2006. He tested negative for HIV and hepatitis earlier this year. Since the concerns became public, Simmons abandoned York in favor of the VA hospital in Nashville. He worries that similar problems may arise there, but he has few other options for medical treatment — at 63, he's not old enough for Medicare, and he can't afford private insurance. "VA's all I got," Simmons said. "I put my trust in them. Then when something like this happens, it's devastating. Mayo, the veteran who tested positive for Hepatitis C, just hopes the VA solves the problem. Last month, the hospital sent him a letter suggesting another colonoscopy. He threw it in the trash. "I hope they don't cause this heartache on nobody else," Mayo said. "Veterans deserve to be treated better. The hospital needs to crack down on whatever it takes to not let this happen again."

Foster program needs 33 mentors

Tennessean June 15, 2009 Thirty-three Rutherford County foster children are waiting for caring adults to step up and help them. The children — 22 are boys — are in line for mentors through Gov. Phil Bredesen's Mentoring Initiative. "We have a huge need for volunteers to begin mentoring foster children this summer," said Chrissy Everett, mentor program supervisor for Youth Villages. "It's a great time to start a mentoring relationship. Children have lots of time to fill, and there are so many fun activities that can be shared." There is a particular need in Rutherford County for men to become mentors and role models for boys, Everett said. "This would be a great service project for a church, civic group or fraternity to consider," she said. To be a mentor, you must be 21 or older; pass a mandatory screening that includes a comprehensive background check; commit to spending four to six hours per month with a child; and complete an initial training session. To become a mentor to a foster child or to request a speaker about the program for your church or civic group, call Everett at 615-250-7227 or e-mail: Christina.everett@youthvillages.org. Learn more at www.youthvillages.org/mentor.

Panel to discuss ethics of reform

Tennessean U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, and others will take part in a panel discussion on the ethics of health-care reform on Tuesday, June 23, at the Institute for Conflict Management at Lipscomb University. Cooper and Dr. Bruce White, a medical ethicist and chairman of the Clinical Ethics Fellowship Program at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, will act as keynote participants. Other local panelists will include: Dr. Kevin Baggett, director of clinical services at HCA; Dr. Reginald Coopwood, CEO of Metro General Hospital; Jack Faris, former CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business; and Bryant Witt, attorney with Miller & Martin, who works with health-care clients on compliance and regulatory issues. The event will be co-hosted by the NASBA Center for the Public Trust and the Dean Institute for Corporate Governance and Integrity at Lipscomb University, and sponsored by Miller & Martin. Cost to attend is $79. For more information, call 615-564-2129.

Business briefs: Apartments sell for $3.95 million

Tennessean Freeman Webb Investments Inc. said it has acquired the Arbors at Southern Hills apartments in southeast Davidson County for $3.95 million. Acquisition of the 156-unit complex near Southern Hills Hospital is in line with the Nashville-based real estate investment and management firm's strategy, officials said. The firm buys properties during economic downturns, hoping to reap a significant return over time. TRB Arbors LLC originally put Arbors at Southern Hills up for sale at $9.3 million. Steve Massey of commercial brokerage firm C.B Richard Ellis and William Kirkland of The Kirkland Co. brokered the acquisition

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pools Remain Open Despite Noncompliance

Metro Complex Pools Built Before 1995 Can Stay Open If Sign Posted Reported By Larry Flowers _ Channel 4 News POSTED: 3:49 pm CDT June 12, 2009 UPDATED: 7:08 pm CDT June 12, 2009 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kate Mosley loves lying around poolside, catching some sun and reading. But when she read a sign at her condo's pool that said "This swimming pool does not comply with the minimum standard with the Tennessee Department of Health," she said she didn't think anything of it. "I guess it's partially a problem, since I pay my HOA fees to fix that," said Mosley. Condos and Homeowner's Association pools built before 1995 in Metro are allowed to post the signs even if the pool doesn't meet Department of Health safety guidelines. If an inspector finds a major violation, the complex is notified and has 10 days to correct the problem. Even if the problem isn't corrected, state law allows for the signs to be posted, and the pool can remain open. If a violation occurs and is not fixed within 10 days at a complex built after 1995, the Department of Health will shut the pool down until it's repaired. "It can be no chlorine in the pool, broken glass in the pool (or) they don't have the correct life-saving equipment," said environmentalist Tommy Eubanks. Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite wants to see that changed. "I know it would be very concerning to anyone that a pool is not in compliance," she said. That's why she introduced a resolution that, if passed by the City Council, would ask the Tennessee General Assembly to repeal the state law that allows these multi-family residential pools to remain open. "It's better that we repeal that law, make all of our pools safe so that our families and children are safe," said Wilhoite. Just like restaurants receive an inspection report, so do pools. To see video regarding this story and to see a list of pools affected go to: http://www.wsmv.com/news/19738827/detail.html