Monday, May 31, 2010

Nashville police set to enforce broader public nuisance law against gangs

Metro adds gang unit members and prepares to use civil court injunctions
By Brian Haas • THE TENNESSEAN • May 31, 2010

Metro police are ready to roll out their latest weapons in the war on gangs: people and paper.

The department recently added a third team to its Gang Unit — a sergeant and six more detectives — to go after the estimated 2,500 gang members in the Nashville area. Sgt. Sandy Luther, who was one of the original detectives when the Gang Unit was created in 2004, will lead the new team.
The hope is that the extra manpower will help broaden investigations and allow them to use their second new weapon: civil court injunctions.

"You would hope that they would learn from their mistakes," Luther said.
Nashville watched

Other Tennessee cities will watch to see whether Nashville's strategy works.

In Memphis the gang population is very spread out making geographic restrictions difficult, said Lt. Mike Shearin, head of the Memphis Police Department's Organized Crime unit.

"It's not one of the tools the Memphis Police Department has used," Shearin said. "But we'd be interested to see if it's successful in Nashville."

Last year state lawmakers approved a change to the state's public nuisance laws that were commonly used in the past to target prostitution, gambling and drunkenness. The change adds gang activity to the list of nuisances applicable to these injunctions.

"We're working on a particular case to get that going," said Lt. Gordon Howey, head of the Gang Unit. "We think it'll be a successful tool."

Howey said the new tool will allow police to ask for a judge to stop gang members from hanging out in certain areas, associating with certain people and patronizing specific businesses. Gang members who violate the injunctions could be tossed in jail.

Legal issues may arise
The restrictions imposed by the court orders make defense attorneys and civil liberties advocates uncomfortable.

"It's going to be a First Amendment issue," said Nashville defense attorney Jennifer Thompson, who also sits on the board of directors for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "The right to form associations and to gather."

Thompson said she worries what standards police will have to meet to ban suspected gang members from certain areas or activities. She said the identification of gang members also could lead to racial and ethnic profiling.

"Are they just going to stop everybody who's wearing brown or who looks Hispanic? I think that's dangerous. It could lead to all kinds of misuse," she said. "If those people have already been convicted then they have more power over them. People who are not convicted and just suspected? That would be just wrong. It's clearly a violation just to say, 'You fit our profile.' "

Gang injunctions have been used successfully in California, Florida and a host of other states, where similar objections have been raised.

Law enforcement efforts to rid Fairfield, Calif., of the NorteƱos gang by using injunctions have been challenged this month by the American Civil Liberties Union as being unconstitutional. Injunction laws in most states have survived such challenges.

Howey had hoped to have the new team assembled and filing cases against gang members by May 1, but the May flooding put everything on hold. He said detectives are particularly interested in disrupting gangs such as the Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, Brown Pride and Kurdish Pride.

The hope is that the injunctions will persuade some of those gang members to stay away from areas where they have been known to cause trouble.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Breaking News; 80\'s Child star, Gary Coleman Dead at 42

To view the story please click on the link below or paste it into your web


Become a Metropolitan Nashville Police Officer

Hi District 29 and Nashville:

Find out if you have what it takes to become a Metropolitan Nashville Police Officer. If you do, we Nashville Davidson County needs you! Attend the Orientation Session.


What you should know about
becoming a Police
Officer for the

The MNPD invites you to a one hour discussion concerning your future. During this orientation, topics will be discussed such as: how to prepare for the Civil Service/Physical Ability test, what you need to know about the hiring process, how to prepare and successfully complete the Training Academy, and how the Field Training Officer (FTO) program can help you prepare for a rewarding career with the Metro Nashville Police Dept.

If it has been your life long goal to become a police officer or if you have been interested but did not think you had what it takes, this orientation is for you. Come and join us for an hour long discussion that can put you on the path to a fulfilling career with the MNPD!

DATE: June 15, 2010
TIME: 5:30pm – 6:30pm
LOCATION: Hickory Hollow Mall
Mall Meeting Room - South wing second floor
5252 Hickory Hollow Parkway
Nashville, TN.

For further assistance please contact the
Metro Nashville Police Dept.
Recruitment Unit

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Metro Asks Residents to Set Out Flood Debris for Pickup by June 1

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Metro Asks Residents to Set Out Flood Debris for Pickup by June 1

Public Works to downsize truck fleet; residents have another weekend to place items curbside

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro residents with flood debris have until next Tuesday, June 1st, to place their items at the street or curbside for collection as the Public Works Department prepares to end countywide cleanup and move into infrastructure repair phase of work.

Public Works and contract crews have removed over 250,000 cubic yards of residential flood debris -- the equivalent of more than 60,000 tons -- from neighborhoods across Davidson County, and officials plan to begin scaling back the number of vehicles and crews working to clean up the massive amounts of debris left behind from historic flooding earlier this month.

"After seventeen consecutive days of trucks running countywide routes, and the majority of residential flood debris having been removed from homes and neighborhoods, we feel it's time to start downsizing the fleet and moving to the next phase of cleanup and recovery," Public Works Director Billy Lynch said.

"Our goal was to remove the bulk of residential debris from Metro streets as quickly and efficiently as possible, and with that behind us, the department needs to focus on recovering the city's infrastructure by making permanent repairs to roads and bridges that were damaged in the flood."

"We will continue to assist homeowners with debris removal, but on a smaller scale, and we're asking everyone who still has items for pick up to please get them out as soon as possible," Lynch added.

After the final day for countywide debris collection next Tuesday, a few Public Works vehicles will continue limited clean-up and recovery work for several days. However, crews from SRS and DRC, the companies hired to assist Metro with cleanup and recovery efforts, will continue sorting flood debris and transporting the items to appropriate landfill facilities for disposal.

A total of 115 Metro roadways were closed during the flood, and all have been re-opened except Pumping Station Road, which is still being reconstructed. Public Works reported to FEMA a cost estimate of $17 million needed for repairing Metro roads, bridges and traffic signals.

In addition, Public Works crews discovered six roads that experienced slope movement, and dispatched a geotechnical engineer to inspect them. Department enigineering inspectors continue to monitor these areas. The locations are: Poplar Creek Road near McCrory Lane; Crocker Springs Road; Tinnin Road; Baker Station Road; Big East Fork near Hwy 96; and 1265 Campbell Road.

With the majority of flood debris now removed, many residents have started the task of rebuilding their homes and other properties damaged by flooding.

Officials remind citizens that disposing of any debris from remodeling or new construction projects is the responsibility of the private contractor hired to conduct the work. Public Works will remove flood debris only.

Homeowners that have small amounts of "do-it-yourself" construction or demolition waste such as drywall, wood, carpet, etc. can bring those items to Metro's East or Omohundro Residential Waste and Recycling Facilities:

East Center
943A Doctor Richard G. Adams Dr
Nashville, TN 37207
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 7:30am-5:00pm; Sun. Noon-4:00pm

Omohundro Center
1019 Omohundro Place (entrance on Freightliner Drive)
Nashville, TN 37210
Hours: Tue.-Sat.: 8:00am-4:30pm

No oversized loads or vehicles with commercial tags are allowed at Metro Convenience Centers. All loose materials should be bagged. Household hazardous waste (such as paint, cleaners and solvents), as well as flood-damaged electronics, should be taken to the East Convenience Center.

The Public Works website features a Construction and Demolition Directory of private companies and other vendors residents can contact about disposal. The link is . Residents who have questions can call 311 or Public Works Customer Service at 880-1000.

Complete information is also available at


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stewarts Ferry Pike shootout kills 2 men

One was Antioch High School student, Wilson sheriff says By Deborah Highland • THE TENNESSEAN • May 26, 2010 An Antioch High School student and another man are dead after a shootout on Stewarts Ferry Pike in Wilson County near the Davidson County line, authorities said. The incident began about 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe. A black man believed to be in his early 20s was found shot to death in a late-model, gray Chevrolet Impala that had wrecked into a creek on Stewarts Ferry Pike. The 17-year-old Antioch High School student was wounded and then dumped on Hobson Pike just across the county line in Davidson County, Ashe said. Wilson County Sheriff's Sgt. Ronnie Crowe was on his way to work when he saw the teen being left on the roadside. A white GMC or Chevrolet SUV with a drive-out tag sped away from the scene as Crowe was trying to administer CPR, Ashe said. "This altercation took place on Stewarts Ferry Pike," the sheriff said. Investigators were looking for the SUV Tuesday evening. Deputies established the identity of one of the victims and were working to identify the other. No names were being released until family members were notified. Two female witnesses were in custody for questioning, Ashe said.

Hands On Nashville rises to challenge

Agreement with city speeds volunteer efforts, serves as model for others By Jessica Bliss • THE TENNESSEAN • May 26, 2010 As the flood-inducing storms gained momentum on May 1, Josh Corlew sat in his home on Second Avenue South, making homemade root beer and fielding phone calls from friends who were out in the driving rain. "I was saying, 'It will be fine,' " he said. " 'Don't worry. I will get the call if something serious happens.' " Around 7:30 p.m., he got the call. Corlew, Hands On Nashville's disaster-preparedness manager, was summoned to the Emergency Operations Center, where the heads of various Metro agencies were gathering to enact the city's disaster plan. The mayor's office was there, of course. So were the police and fire departments and Metro Water and Nashville Electric services. But there also were representatives from local nonprofit organizations, including volunteer placement organization Hands On Nashville. Three years earlier, Hands On Nashville became a first responder in Metro's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. Formally including the group in crisis response was a unique, innovative move by Nashville's government, and the success of its coordination has other cities looking to emulate the efforts. "Our local officials understood the need for that function years ago and put it in place," Hands On Nashville Executive Director Brian Williams said. "If they hadn't signed off on it, we would have (organized) volunteers, but it wouldn't have had near the impact, because we would have been doing it on our own." In the three weeks since the flood, 15,155 people have participated in flood-related volunteer programming coordinated by Hands On Nashville. That's nearly one-third of the organization's total volunteer output in 2009. The group has 21,006 new Facebook followers and 3,086 new Twitter followers, which has helped recruit even more volunteers. "To me this is a model of how you should respond," Mayor Karl Dean said. "Having citizen involvement … speaks well to the heart of our community." 'It is a unique situation' When tornadoes ripped through downtown Nashville in 1998, the city's emergency management plan was well established for fire and police, but there was no official directive for providing food, clothing and volunteer aid to crisis victims. So the city began to explore how nonprofits could be integrated into the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, a presidential directive that all agencies review their emergency operations plans sparked more direct action. "(We had) interaction with Hands On Nashville, but I did not think that relationship was formalized strong enough so in an event of a major disaster it would work seamlessly," said Chief Stephen Halford, acting director of the Office of Emergency Management. "We have shown that formalization." Locally, the arrangement with the city has brought new attention to the small organization, which was founded as a grass-roots effort in 1991 but until a month ago was still not a well-known community entity. In July 2007, Hands On Nashville signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the city stating that in a crisis situation the organization would be responsible for recruiting and deploying volunteers. Hands On Nashville is part of the Hands On Network. Of the 250 national affiliates, about half have some form of disaster response plan in place, according to Jesse Salinas, the network's regional vice president for member services. That typically requires a relationship with the city, but not necessarily in the form of an official arrangement with the mayor. Ken Skalitzky, volunteer agency liaison for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said he is not aware of a similar agreement to Tennessee's in any of the other seven Southeastern states he oversees, many of which have experience with disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes. "It is a unique situation," he said. "We have not had an event where the (volunteer) network has been the designated point of contact with the city like it is here. This is a great partnership." The first thing they did was rearrange their website to focus on flood relief, so that when the mayor directed volunteers to Hands On Nashville, the organization was ready. Immediately, it deployed people to help Metro set up disaster assistance centers, move food out of Second Harvest Food Bank's flood-threatened warehouse and sandbag the MetroCenter levee. Dean said one of the best examples of the emergency plan's effectiveness was Hands On Nashville's ability to get almost 300 volunteers to the levee within an hour. With no formal agreement, Halford said, Metro would have been slower to respond to residents' needs. "The dividends from establishing this formal relationship have paid off tenfold. Their ability to mobilize their resources in very short notice is unsurpassed by any organization I have seen." 'Boat wasn't missed' That ability is being noticed nationally. Former first lady Laura Bush specifically recognized Hands On Nashville's volunteer efforts when she visited the Red Cross last week. On Monday, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams featured Hands On Nashville in its "Making a Difference" segment. Skalitzky said he will highlight Hands On Nashville's affiliation with the city as a "best practice" in his presentation at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, which will draw thousands to New York in June. The Hands On Network has shared Nashville's success with all its affiliates, and Salinas said he plans to ask Williams to host a training seminar in the next six months for other organizations that want to become involved in their cities' disaster-relief efforts. "What's interesting and different about Nashville is that everything seemed to go completely the way it should," Salinas said. "It doesn't always go this way. Usually talk is about where government and the public sector miss the boat, and the boat wasn't missed here in any way, shape or form." In Louisiana, where flooding devastated the city and oil now threatens its shores, there is no formal disaster-relief agreement between the city and Hands On New Orleans, though there is an informal agreement with the state's service organization, CEO Cathy Puett said. She is considering a trip here to learn more about Nashville's arrangement. "I think it's important to have that mechanism in place, because when you get a barrage of unaffiliated volunteers during a disaster, you need somebody whose main focus is to funnel those volunteers," Puett said. Volunteer organizations in Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; and Portland, Ore., have expressed interest in the agreement and how it might be modeled, Williams said. "We are very impressed with their efforts," said Gina Simpson, president and CEO of Hands On Atlanta. "Kudos to their ability to respond quickly and meet community needs."

Nashville school board approves contract to outsource janitorial jobs

About 700 employees will be cut from district's payroll as Ohio company manages janitorial, custodial services By Janell Ross • THE TENNESSEAN • May 26, 2010 Metro Nashville Public Schools board approved a contract Tuesday to outsource janitorial and custodial services and shift about 700 employees off the district's payroll. In a 5 to 3 vote, the board voted to approve a five-year contract with Ohio-based GCA Services, valued at about $20 million. The company was one of 16 that submitted proposals to provide janitorial and landscaping services at schools and other facilities. The plan will save the district about $6.2 million, a GCA official said. "This board should expect a very high level of accountability (from GCA)," said Jesse Register, director of schools. Opponents of the plan have said that outsourcing could lead to weaker employee background checks and painful wage and benefit cuts for some of the district's lowest-paid employees. More than 50 janitors attended Tuesday's meeting wearing stickers that read "People Not Profits." The board vote left them bitterly disappointed. "We are already at the bottom of the totem pole. We work the hardest and get paid the least," said James Davis, who has been a Metro schools janitor for 23 years and earns $14 an hour. "… I really don't know how we are expected to make it on anything less." GCA declined to provide details of its pay and benefits plan before the meeting but said it would answer questions today. Board questions and the proposal revealed that the company will hold more than a dozen job fairs where Metro employees may apply for work with GCA. The first such job fair will be held on Saturday. The company also plans to provide its newest employees with four different health-care plans that will begin coverage immediately after an employee is hired but require the employee to shoulder a greater portion of their health-care costs. Metro Schools pays about 75 percent of health insurance costs while GCA will cover about 65 percent. Metro's custodians and landscapers are represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 205. The union's interpretation of GCA's proposal predicts a drop in the average wage from $13 an hour to $10. The Metro Nashville Education Association, a teachers union, Metro Council's Black Caucus, state Rep. Gary Moore and Councilwoman Anna Page wrote the board to express concerns about its outsourcing plans. On Tuesday, a union official stood outside the board meeting just after the vote and encouraged workers not to give up their fight and to attend next Tuesday's Metro Council meeting. The school district's final budget must be approved by Metro Council. How they voted Board members Jo Ann Brannon, Kay Simmons, Steve Glover, Gracie Porter and board Chair David Fox voted for the measure. Board members Sharon Gentry, Karen Johnson and Ed Kindall voted against it. Member Mark North was absent.

New lead paint law could hinder flood repairs

Contractors may be kept from work on old houses By Christina E. Sanchez • THE TENNESSEAN • May 26, 2010 Flood victims with older homes may have trouble getting them repaired after June 30, when a new federal law on lead paint will disqualify most of the state's contractors from doing the work. The law, which took effect just days before Tennessee's historic rainfall, requires all contractors who work on homes, schools and day cares built before 1978 to be certified in safe lead paint practices. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., requested a delay, saying the provision would hamper flood-recovery efforts and make repairs more expensive. On Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a 35-day reprieve, a ruling Alexander said wasn't much help and didn't give a lot of time. "This exemption allows you to demolish your house, but not to renovate your flooded basement," Alexander said. "It still leaves the problem that thousands of contractors, repairmen and painters can't repair tens of thousands of buildings built before 1978, some flooded, some not flooded." In Nashville, more than 5,000 buildings and homes that were flooded were built before 1978, according to assessors' property records. State wide, about 750,000 homes were built before then. Flood victims who still need to tear out drywall, remove paint or do partial renovations could be in a bind if they have to wait until a certified contractor is available, because there aren't many. And their bills could double, given the strict mandates and expensive equipment required to do work on older homes. Plan 'not practical' Of the 50,000 contractors in Tennessee, only about 2,700 are certified in safe lead paint practices. One is Mike Warden, owner of Precision Handy Man in Nashville, who learned at a home repair expo last year that the mandate would take effect April 22. He took a $200 class to be certified. The class shows the gear contractors must wear — respirator masks, gloves and plastic suits — to do the work. They also must have special equipment that can be expensive. Debris must be placed in bags that are then placed in other bags. Warden likened the process to "hazmat cleanup." "I wanted to be educated and say 'I can do the work for you,' " said Warden, who hasn't had to use his certification yet. "The class was well worth the money. But I don't think many contractors know this is in place." Alexander wanted the EPA to delay the rule longer for contractors nationwide. He wants contractors to be in compliance if they sign up for a certification class by Sept. 30. Tennessee has only three EPA-accredited training programs. The senator also wants homeowners to be able to opt out so long as no children or pregnant women live in the home. "The idea of getting rid of lead paint is a good idea, but you have to have a practical plan, and it's not practical," he said. "Nashville alone had over $2 billion in damage and more than 11,000 homes that need repair." Contractors face fines In the West Nashville neighborhood known as The Nations, walls of homes, many built in the 1950s and '60s, have already been torn out. The debris that cluttered the sidewalks is gone. Remodeling and general contractor signs dot lawns of the community. If lead paint had been in the homes, chances are it was hauled away in the early days after the flooding. Much of the demolition was done by homeowners and volunteers, not by EPA-certified professionals. Mark Carlisle, a contractor who was working Tuesday on his flooded house on Delray Drive, didn't know about the new EPA rule. Neither did several other contractors, his friends, who were busy working on the electricity and plumbing inside the home. "It would be nice if they notified people about it" by mail, Carlisle said. Carlisle, who owns Mark Improvements, plans to do a lot of renovations and repairs for people he knows with flood damage. He can do it for them at cost because he knows times are tough and not a lot of people had flood insurance. But once the EPA's reprieve runs out, he risks a fine of $37,500 a day for each older home he repairs because he is not certified. Exemptions allowed The EPA's lead paint rule already allowed exemptions for emergencies such as the recent flooding. "The goal of these exemptions is to allow the public to perform immediate activities to protect their personal property and public health," the EPA said in a statement Tuesday. "For example, renovations in housing that has been significantly impacted by the flood need not be performed by certified or trained individuals, to the extent necessary, to quickly remove wet debris from a structure that has been damaged in this flooding." The EPA passed the new rule to guard against health hazards. Lead paint has been associated with serious health effects, especially in children, that can include seizures, behavioral issues, high blood pressure and even death. But Dr. John Benitez, a medical toxicologist and director of the Tennessee Poison Center, said most lead poisoning happens after chronic exposure to lead paint. "Just because you touch lead paint does not mean you are going to get lead poisoning," Benitez said. "You have to have a certain amount in your system before it will cause problems." The poisons are not absorbed through the skin. Typically, the lead has to be breathed in or swallowed. In theory, a child who touches lead paint and always sucks a thumb could ingest it. "It could take months or years to get sick," Benitez said.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


FEMA PROVIDES FEDERAL ASSISTANCE TO FLOOD VICTIMS Since President Obama's May 4 declaration which deemed Davidson County a Federal Disaster Area, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved over $104 million in Federal Assistance for affected Tennessee residents. The amount includes $93.9 million in housing assistance such as rental and home repair assistance, and $10.5 million in other needs such as personal property. $732,400 in loans has been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Registration is ongoing with an estimated 43,162 people in the 42 designated counties having registered for Individual Assistance from FEMA. Flood victims can register through or 1-800-621-FEMA or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. Assistance is available in all languages.


On the afternoon of May 12, Mayor Karl Dean and Country music star Kenneth “Big Kenny” Alphin helped distribute bottled water at Antioch Middle School. Big Kenny, who gained celebrity as a member of the country duo Big & Rich, joined Mayor Dean and approximately 30 volunteers in distributing donated bottled water to flood victims as well as Nashvillians who are doing their part to conserve water as part of Nashville’s ongoing flood recovery efforts. This distribution of water is just one of seven centers that have been operating daily since May 5. A full list of bottled water distribution sites can be found online.


HANDS ON NASHVILLE COORDINATES THOUSANDS OF VOLUNTEERS Hands On Nashville, an organization which refers and places volunteers within the community, has been responsible for the coordination of more than 15,000 volunteers who registered through between May 2 and May 23. The registered volunteers donated approximately 63,285 hours of service among 830 project sites. The projected impact of theseflood volunteerism efforts totals over $1.3 million according to Independent Sector research.


FLOOD RELIEF TELETHON RAISES OVER $1.7 MILLION On May 6, Mayor Dean attended Channel 4’s telethon titled, “Flood Relief with Vince Gill and Friends”. The effort benefitted the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee who will disperse the funds between The Salvation Army, The Red Cross and the Second Harvest Food Bank.


THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE On May 2, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee activated its Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management. The Community Foundation accepts financial contributions from donors and disperses them to nonprofit organizations. For more information or to donate visit


MAYOR DEAN PROPOSES RENOVATION OF KIPP ACADEMY, CREATION OF NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER Mayor Dean has proposed renovation of the Highland Heights School building which houses KIPP Academy in East Nashville. His proposal would turn the building into a neighborhood center that would be used not only as a school, but also as a place that neighbors of all ages could use every day. The proposal includes ball fields, two gymnasiums, walking trails, a library, after-school care, community classes and a tutorial center. Read Gail Kerr's column that appeared in The Tennessean about Mayor Dean's plans for Highland Heights BUSINESS RESPONSE TEAM FORMED TO HELP NASHVILLE'S BUSINESS COMMUNITY RECOVER FROM FLOOD Because the private sector has a vital role to play in flood recovery efforts, Mayor Karl Dean created a Business Response Team to lead the recovery efforts generated by Nashville’s business community. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce was asked to coordinate this team. The corporate leaders who have agreed to head up this effort are: Henry Hicks of Gray Line Tours LCL, Inc., Orrin Ingram of Ingram Industries Inc., Christine Karbowiak of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. and Gregg Morton of AT&T. The Business Response Team will also facilitate recovery efforts from businesses to individuals and non-profit organizations through entities already leading these efforts (Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Hands On Nashville, United Way, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.) The Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development will serve as a liaison for the Business Response Team to Metro Government. Businesses can find information about the Business Response Team at


LOEWS HOTELS TO BRING 200 JOBS TO NASHVILLE On May 12, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean was joined by Loews Hotels Chairman and CEO Jonathan Tisch and Matt Kisber, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, in announcing Loews Hotels’ plans to locate a worldwide Shared Service Center in Nashville, creating approximately 200 new jobs and providing top quality billing, accounting and I/T services to 19 Loews properties in the U.S. and Canada. The company announced hiring associated with the project begins immediately with need for managers, accounting supervisors, accountants and accounting clerks. Job postings will be available on the company’s web site at


NASHVILLE CONTINUES TO CONSERVE WATER AS K.R. HARRINGTON IS REPAIRED K.R. Harrington Water Treatment Plant, one of Nashville's two water treatment facilities, was completely submerged during the flood, but is expected to be back in operation by the end of May. In the mean time, Metro Water Services' more than 600,000 customers are asked to continue water conservation efforts. Citizens have ceased car washing, irrigation and other forms of unnecessary water usage. More information about how you can conserve water can be found online. Once service is able to be restored, appropriate sampling, in coordination with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) will be required to ensure that the water provided by K.R. Harrington is safe and meets all state and federal requirements. FEMA has estimated the total cost of repairing all Metro Water facilities at approximately $200 million.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010 NASHVILLE MOVES FORWARD WITH FLOOD RECOVERY EFFORTS Saturday, May 1, 2010 marked the beginning of the 2010 flooding in Tennessee. Police, fire rescue crews and citizens worked diligently to get people out of their homes safely as the flood waters rose. Emergency responders conducted over 1,400 water-related rescues. By Sunday night it was estimated that the Nashville area had received a historic 13.51 inches of rainfall, and Mayor Karl Dean declared that Nashville was in a State of Emergency. The effort to recover and rebuild is now fully underway and constantly evolving. The Mayor's ongoing long-term recovery efforts include the formation of a full-time Recovery Team assigned to work out of the Mayor’s Office. The Recovery Team's focus will be getting help to those who need it. Most recently, the Recovery Team organized ReBuild Home Clinics, which provided one-on-one guidance to over 500 citizens in order to help them understand the various resources available for construction, permitting, legal aid and temporary or short-term housing. The Metro Department of Codes has issued nearly 1,300 building permits for the repair of flood damaged properties. Another crucial part of the recovery has been clearing Nashville's streets of the debris pulled from flooded homes. To date, Public Works has removed over 214 thousand yards, or 53 thousand tons of debris from Nashville's neighborhoods and streets. FLOOD RECOVERY ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE Flood victims are still being encouraged to register with FEMA in order to begin receiving federal flood assistance. FEMA can be contacted by visiting or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA. Flood victims in need of other non-emergency assistance can call United Way at 2-1-1 to be directed to the appropriate agency or closest non-profit distribution site for food, clothing and other needs. Individual departments of the Metropolitan Government, in conjunction with the Mayor's office, continue to strive to keep up-to-date with the most current information on the issues that affect victims of the flood and citizens of Nashville.

TN flood victims will get property tax break

Reappraisals may help 10,500 flood sites in Davidson County By Chas Sisk • THE TENNESSEAN • May 25, 2010 Flood victims in Davidson County could get as much as $22.5 million in breaks on property taxes, and residents of other counties may qualify for millions of dollars more, under a bill approved Monday. State lawmakers have voted to let county property assessors revalue properties damaged by this month's flood, regardless of when owners decide to rebuild — a break that in Davidson County alone could affect 10,500 properties. The measure is one of several that lawmakers have weighed or are weighing to give flood victims a tax break and possibly also a state grant to help them rebuild. "If you've got a home that was originally appraised for $120,000 and now the property is only worth $40,000, it doesn't make sense to pay property taxes on $120,000," said Rep. Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory. "A couple of thousand dollars may not put you back whole, but it'll help you a little bit." House lawmakers passed the property tax break unanimously Monday, and the Senate approved the measure last week. A local city or county council also would have to approve the break by a two-thirds majority for it to go into effect. Metro officials support the tax break, saying the cost is small compared with the $650 million Davidson County brings in annually in property taxes. We've got people who have been absolutely devastated," said George Rooker Jr., Davidson County's property assessor. "If they're out of their homes for 30 days or more, they need as much help as they can get." Rep. Kent Coleman, a Murfreesboro Democrat whose district also covers Smyrna and La Vergne, said the break would have a minor effect on Rutherford County's budget but the benefit would be widely enjoyed by flood victims. "That's what the state should do and the county should do," Coleman said. The tax break is the first of several ideas to aid flood victims to clear the legislature. Lawmakers are considering a sales tax break for appliances, furniture and building materials to replace and repair homes damaged by the flood. Some lawmakers also would like to reallocate money now in the state's rainy-day fund or due from the federal government to give grants to flood victims. "That's money that should not be spent on fish hatcheries or museums," said Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin. "It needs to go to help our businesspeople and residents." Sept. 1 is deadline The Davidson County Property Assessor's Office said victims can apply for a prorated property tax reduction in each damaged property's assessment. Any building or improvement that sustained damage greater than 50 percent of its pre-flood value or has become unfit for use or occupancy before June 1 could qualify, according to the assessor's website at Property owners must apply by Sept. 1 through the assessor's website, by printing and mailing a form available there or by calling 615-862-6059. The assessor's office also could permanently reassess some properties. A prorated reduction wouldn't mean tax refunds for affected property owners, but it would affect what they would pay going forward, Rooker said.

Secret recordings of Serpas revealed after office burglary

Private investigation targeted former police chief's crime statistics By Nate Rau • THE TENNESSEAN • May 25, 2010 Secret files and audio recordings that were part of a private investigation about the way former Police Chief Ronal Serpas kept Nashville crime statistics were reported stolen this month. Jack Byrd, a lawyer for the Teamsters union when it represented the city's police officers, said he had worked with some Metro police officers over four years to collect information. Those materials — including secret recordings of Serpas — were stolen from Byrd's Murfreesboro Pike offices sometime between late afternoon May 12 and early morning May 13 in what several people familiar with the incident have characterized as a "professional" burglary. According to Byrd, the investigation focused on Compstat, the numbers-driven system pioneered by the New York City police department that uses crime data and mapping to help spot patterns quickly and throw resources into troubled areas. Under Serpas, who implemented the Compstat program in Nashville, crime statistics declined for six consecutive years, but some rank-and-file officers and city leaders questioned their accuracy. Byrd said a handful of Metro officers came to him with concerns that crime statistics were being manipulated, which in turn affected the amount of resources a department received. One area that Byrd pointed to involved the reduction in the size of the domestic violence unit after claims of abuse were shown to have declined. 'Jobs ... in jeopardy' The investigation had not been active for about 18 months, but Byrd indicated that officers still have concerns. He acknowledged the stolen materials contained secret recordings of Serpas, among others, but he declined to comment on what his investigation would have shown. "I won't discuss it," Byrd said after being contacted by The Tennessean last week. "Individuals that are involved with supplying me that information, their jobs could be in jeopardy. Without (the officers') clearance, I'm not going to provide that information." Recording another person without his or her knowledge is legal under state law and allowed by Metro police guidelines. Police contacted FBI Serpas, who wassworn in as the superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department on May 11, responded to the incident in an e-mailed statement: "I am not aware of any private investigation, past or present, conducted by Mr. Byrd. I also am not aware of the recorded conversations. … It is my expectation that the MNPD is investigating the reported burglary to the best of its ability." Metro police contacted the FBI on May 13 after the burglary at Byrd's office was reported. Byrd and Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said they did not know if the FBI was officially investigating. A representative from the FBI's Nashville office offered no comment on the case. Janel Lacy, the spokeswoman for Mayor Karl Dean's office, acknowledged that the mayor had been made aware of the burglary by interim Police Chief Steve Anderson. But Lacy said the burglary had nothing to do with an audit of the department's reporting methodology the mayor ordered May 14. Critics raised questions about the accuracy of crime statistics maintained during Serpas' six-year term as police chief even as he left Nashville for New Orleans. But Serpas has stood by the program, telling The Tennessean this month, "What's measured gets managed, and what's managed gets better." Valuables weren't taken Investigators believe Byrd's office was burglarized sometime between 4:35 p.m. May 12 and 7:30 a.m. May 13. The burglar — or burglars — broke into a locked maintenance closet adjacent to the offices of Byrd and fellow attorney Ray Akers. Once inside the closet, the burglars cut about a 1-square-foot hole into the drywall leading directly into the law offices. After rooting around for papers inside other offices, whoever broke in spent most of their time in Byrd's office, where the confidential files and audio recordings were kept, according to what detectives told Byrd. Locked safes containing the files were pried open and left behind. Other valuables, including computers and cash, were left untouched. Aaron said detectives from the South Precinct have sent evidence taken from the scene to be analyzed by a crime lab, but Byrd said detectives told him the suspect apparently used gloves and left little evidence behind. Byrd said he maintained backup copies of the stolen files and some of the stolen audio recordings. "The whole thing is peculiar," said Aaron, who added that Byrd had not disclosed to detectives what was contained in the stolen files and audio recordings. "Whomever did it knew exactly where they wanted to go in that office and what they wanted." The Fraternal Order of Police took control from the Teamsters as the union negotiating body for Metro police officers in 2007. That move came after Metro officer and Teamsters organizer Calvin Hullett faced federal charges for his role in a plot to discredit the FOP. Hullett pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in 2009. Byrd said files related to Hullett, whom he did not represent, were also stolen in the burglary.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nashville won't pick up debris from recovery work

By Jenny Upchurch • THE TENNESSEAN • May 24, 2010 Flood debris and trash are likely to remain on Nashville's streets and in temporary holding spots through mid-June at least. And Metro warns that recovery debris, such as scraps from putting up new drywall or installing floors, cannot be put out for pickup. Monitors with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are riding on trucks and documenting debris with photographs, Frazier said. "FEMA will only reimburse for collection and disposal of flood debris," said Veronica Frazier, head of Metro Beautification of the Public Works Department. "If we go outside those parameters, it will be Metro's expense." Metro has signed contracts with two companies for debris removal that will be about $9 million. So far, more than 100 trucks from Metro's Public Works department and private contractors it has hired have removed 31,000 tons of flood debris. That would fill almost 900 large roll-off containers. If they were stacked end-to-end, the line would stretch for four miles. But when pickup is completed, that comparison will stretch to 50 miles, Frazier said. Within days after the floods May 1-2, owners and volunteers throughout the county were carting soaked furnishings, appliances, carpet and drywall out of buildings. Metro directed them to place debris by the side of streets and organized a massive free pickup. Trucks rolled out May 11, concentrating on areas, such as Bellevue, where the most structures had been damaged. It may take weeks In areas where only one or a few homes had damage, Frazier said, trucks may take days or weeks to arrive. "We know it's hard to be patient when you're in this situation," Frazier said. More than one truck may come to one address. Metro has asked that the debris be separated. Debris from demolition such as drywall and carpet is being taken to two landfills owned by Southern Services Inc. Appliances will have their refrigerants removed and taken to a recycler. Red River Ranch, the mulch contractor at the Bordeaux Mulch Facility, will pick up limbs and other brush. The rest of the debris, such as furniture, will go to BFI's landfill in Murfreesboro. To speed up pickup, trucks are taking loads to two temporary collection spots. They are at Mainstream Drive in Metro Center and off Pulley Road near the airport. A third, at Edwin Warner Park, is closed and the debris is being removed. Materials will be sorted there and taken to recycling or disposal sites. If possible, household hazardous waste such as compact fluorescent bulbs and chemicals such as pesticides and cleaners should be separated. That also includes lead paint. But Frazier said that if people have latex paint, it is acceptable to open the can and dry it out or mix in cat litter or sawdust and bag those and put them in the regular trash. "Bagging up small containers — plastic bottles, cans — will help the crews pick it up" with the giant robotic claw, she said. Otherwise, the claw may squash or pierce containers and spew contents into the yard. No scavenging, she said. "People must stay out of these piles. There are so many shards of glass and nails."

Shady rental practices surface

Fair housing advocates report illegal treatment of victims By Janell Ross • THE TENNESSEAN • May 24, 2010 Tammy Hardesty thought the worst was behind her. She'd lost her Antioch apartment and most of her belongings to the flood, but the complex manager said she and her children could move into an undamaged two-bedroom unit right away. She was able to salvage some possessions, and the church replaced others. And then she was summoned to the apartment complex office. The managers gave her three options: Break her existing lease and pay back $820 in reduced rent she'd been given upfront, sign a new lease and pay $760 for the new apartment each month, or sign a cheaper lease that lasted until January 2012 "I had to go for that one, because it was the one that didn't involve any money," Hardesty said. The May 2 flood damaged an unknown number of apartments and, at the same time, made renters out of thousands of onetime homeowners. But after the murky water receded, a number of discriminatory, unfair and illegal rental practices were exposed, area fair housing advocates said. They know, because they've been receiving more calls. If any apartment is damaged to the point that it is not habitable, a tenant legally can terminate her lease and have her deposit and a portion of that month's rent returned, said Tracey McCartney, executive director of the Tennessee Fair Housing Council. A flood isn't supposed to be an opportunity to extend leases. The managers of Hardesty's apartment complex did not respond to a request for comment. Some actions are illegal While some landlords have been generous and helpful during this Middle Tennessee disaster, more stories like Hardesty's are emerging. • One flood victim was told her teething child may be a crier and not a good fit with the complex's thin walls. Age-based redirection is illegal under the federal Fair Housing Act. • Some flood victims lived in apartments with water-soaked carpet and walls for days or weeks without landlords fixing the problems. Maintaining a habitable and safe apartment is part of a landlord's responsibility in most rental agreements. • A 77-year-old diabetic flood victim was told the dog who serves as her medical alert system could not move into her new apartment. But if a tenant has a doctor's note or a service dog certification, the law requires apartment communities to accept the animal. "The flood really has laid bare a lot of tensions that have been there for a long time," McCartney said. "… We want people to be aware what their rights and their responsibilities really are." Many Tennessee apartment communities are posting their openings on a website — — originally established after Hurricane Katrina scattered thousands of victims around the country. Some are waiving deposits and application fees for flood victims, said Nancy Morris, a board member and past president of the Greater Nashville Apartment Association. One thing that apartment managers and owners can't do is change their usual credit score requirements, because the Fair Housing Act requires property owners to treat all applicants the same way. The association purchased $1,000 in $50 gift cards for flood victims who leased units managed or owned by its 700 members, Morris said. The association and its national arm are also coordinating an Angel Tree campaign online for people who want to help apartment dwellers with specific needs. The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has set up a toll-free number for flood victims — renters and homeowners — at 1-888-395-9297. Staff lawyers and volunteers have taken a number of questions related to landlords' responsibilities to tenants and tenants' responsibilities to landlords, said Lucinda Smith, the Nashville office's managing attorney. "Anytime that someone is looking to rent, it is important that they know their rights and their responsibilities," Smith said. "That's obviously more important than ever in Nashville. That and … don't forget the renter's insurance. Because if something happens in that apartment, you will be responsible for damage to your belongings."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

District 29 - Cleanup Saturday May 22, 2010

The Alliance of District 29 Spring/Summer Great American Clean-up Saturday, May 22, 2010 7:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Smith Springs Church of Christ • 2783 Smith Springs Road 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.  Clear signs off intersections, telephone poles and public rights-of-way. 9 am - 11am Swap Shop
If you are bring something that you do not want and someone wants it, you can have it. What not so used items that is left by 11 am will be provided to Goodwill. 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Donate your not-so-used clothing to Goodwill.  Shred all of your confidential documents for FREE.  Throw away your large household items until the roll-off bins are full.  Donate your old cell phones and chargers to domestic violence shelters. The shelter will give your old cell phone to victims to call for help.  Donate your soda can tabs to help the Ronald McDonald House.  Sign the District 29 Community Pledge to help keep our neighborhoods clean.  Get a FREE T-shirt, gloves, trash bags and flower seeds.  Get with neighbors to clean-up eye sores areas in your immediate neighborhood. FEMA representatives will be on hand to answer any questions that you may have 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.  Bring a lawn chair for fun, fellowship and food after the clean-up. Sponsored by The Alliance of District 29 with help from friends: Mayor Karl Dean & Shred-It The Office of Neighborhoods Call for Help Metro Beautification Publix
Questions? Contact: Juanita Veasy @ 399-6846 or Lena Brown Prince @ 361-3728 Council Lady Vivian Wilhoite @ 589-2003 or visit

Flood Disaster Assistance - Additional Site

The Seventh-day Adventist Disaster Response will be part of the Recovery Efforts for the Antioch area, starting Sunday, May 23, 2010 and every Sunday there after, until September. This will be a One Day Per Week Operation "SUNDAY ONLY" and we are asking for your help in getting the word out to those who were affected by the flood in your district. Please let others know about this additional site for help. Flood Disaster Assistance Personal Hygiene Kits CLOTHES (CLEAN CONDITION AND/OR NEW FROM MAYES' BRENTWOOD CLOSET) Each Sunday at 9am - 3pm May - September South Nashville Seventh-day Adventist Church 244 Tusculum Rd, Antioch Thank you in advance for your support in this effort and everything you do on a daily bases for all Nashvillians. Earl Washington South Nashville Church, Personal Ministry Director & Christine Washington South Nashville Church, Community Services Director 361-1502 (home after 6:00pm )

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Davidson County - May 18 Election Results

POSTED: 7:13 pm CDT May 18, 2010 UPDATED: 9:50 pm CDT May 18, 2010 Davidson Co. Juvenile Ct. Clerk / GOP Primary Crafton, Eric 2,812 votes 72% Pennington, April 692 votes 18% Crim, Annette 392 votes 10% 173 of 173 (100%) precincts reporting (0 unreported) * Davidson Co. Circuit Ct. Clerk / Dem. Primary Rooker, Richard 11,231 votes 76% Crim, Preston 3,571 votes 24% 173 of 173 (100%) precincts reporting (0 unreported) * Davidson Co. Criminal Ct. Clerk / Dem. Primary Torrence, David 10,852 votes 66% Craddock, Michael 5,606 votes 34% 173 of 173 (100%) precincts reporting (0 unreported) * Davidson Co. Juvenile Ct. Clerk / Dem. Primary Smith, David 9,198 votes 50% Wilhoite, Vivian 2,863 votes 15% Johnson, Karen 2,649 votes 14% Lineweaver, Vic 2,264 votes 12% Jones, Howard 1,051votes 6% Courts, Patricia 323 votes 2% Brousal, Jeffrey 152 votes 1% 173 of 173 (100%) precincts reporting (0 unreported)

Where elderly can get help with housing, food, supplies

To get help Elderly people who need housing, food or other supplies in North Nashville can contact North Nashville Flood Recovery at Beech Creek Missionary Baptist Church, 3101 Curtis St., or call 615-255-6277. Other can get help at FiftyForward's administrative office or neighborhood centers. Contact the administration at 174 Rains Ave., Nashville, TN 37203, or call 615-743-3400. The centers are: • Bordeaux, 3315 John Mallette Drive, Nashville, TN 37218; 615-248-2272 • College Grove, 615-368-7278 • Donelson Station/ Senior Center for the Arts, 108 Donelson Pike, Nashville, TN 37214; 615-883-8375 • Knowles, 174 Rains Ave., Nashville, TN 37203; 615-743-3400 • Madison, 301 Madison St., Madison, TN 37115; 615-860-7180 • Martin, 960 Heritage Way, Brentwood, TN 37027; 615-376-0102 • J.L. Turner Center,* 8101 Highway 100, Nashville, TN 37221; 615-646-9622 *The Bellevue Family YMCA and FiftyForward J.L. Turner Center is a partnership between the YMCA of Middle Tennessee and FiftyForward

Senior citizens struggle in flood aftermath

Applying for aid, moving and new costs further upset lives By Janell Ross • THE TENNESSEAN • May 19, 2010 Eva Hooper is 76 years old and all of 4 feet, 9 inches tall. She escaped the floodwaters that drowned two of her neighborhood friends by standing on a kitchen chair, holding high her Chihuahua and her diabetes medication. She lost the West Nashville house she'd rented for three years, along with all her clothes, pictures and other possessions. Hooper stayed with a friend until Tuesday morning, when a new apartment opened up. But it won't take Rusty, the 6-year-old dog who is her constant companion and medical alert system. "You really wouldn't ask me how I am doing if you knew everything I've been going through," Hooper said. "That water came up so quickly and just changed everything." In many ways, senior citizens face the biggest challenges recovering from the May 2 flood, which Metro Nashville officials estimate damaged 9,400 properties. For some, filling out a form online at is like speaking a foreign language. Most don't have cell phones. Even those in the best circumstances depend on a carefully planned retirement that doesn't include taking on home repair loans, moving to new neighborhoods or being cut off from their social circles. U.S. Census data show senior citizens are more likely than any other group to live alone. About 11 percent of those in Davidson County were living in poverty in 2008. Many rely on government programs for medication, food and income, and those programs don't quickly adjust when a crisis happens. For senior citizens to recover, said Eugenie L. Birch, a professor of urban research at the University of Pennsylvania, younger people with help to give must knock on their doors. "What's often needed are mobile medicine and medical care units, counseling services and honest people — not scam artists — willing to roll up their sleeves, remove the wet stuff and help fill out the forest of forms," said Birch, an editor of the book Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers can't do it all In Hooper's case, life before the flood was a delicate balance on $913 a month in Social Security income. She rarely drove but had a car that was lost in the flood. She had a few friends in her neighborhood, including Martha England, 78, and Andy England, 80, who drowned in their home after rescuers came through the neighborhood urging everyone to get out.

Nashville council approves debt refinancing plan over tax hikes, spending cuts

Mayor Dean's plan will refinance about $190 million in debt By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • May 19, 2010 Mayor Karl Dean's plan to balance the Metro budget by refinancing part of the city's debt instead of raising taxes or making deep cuts to services was approved overwhelmingly by the Metro Council on Tuesday. The council voted 33-3 for the plan, which will refinance about $190 million in debt. The move will save the city $77.2 million for the 2010-11 budget year, which starts July 1, and $141 million over three years. Councilman Ronnie Steine, who chairs the Budget and Finance Committee, called the plan "the underpinning" of the next two Metro budgets, with $54.4 million in savings due in 2011-12. He said the idea was sound before the floods that struck earlier this month and looks even better now. "Now it's an even more important vehicle to keep our government operating," Steine said during debate on the council floor. "Without this refinancing, our options will be severely limited." Without the refinancing, Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said, the city would need to balance the budget with a property tax increase or about $50 million in cuts to services. Even with the plan being approved, Dean's operating budget proposal calls for an $18.1 million, or 1.2 percent, cut from the current fiscal year's funding. But the debt restructuring ultimately will cost the city about $47 million over the next 10 years. Metro will be forced to pay about $188 million in additional debt service between 2014 and 2020. The refinancing takes advantage of lower interest rates available through federal Build America Bonds and extends much of the city's long-term debt to 25 years instead of 20 years. Steine said the city eventually will have to "pay the piper" but might have a better economy to work with by then. Critics dislike policy Councilwoman Emily Evans, who voted against the plan, said it isn't sound debt-management policy. "We are balancing our budget with one-time money to an extent we've never done before," Evans said in an interview before the meeting. "When you balance your budget on nonrecurring money, eventually you have to put that money back, and that has implications to our tax rate and our ability to spend money on other things. "We're using a financial tool, which is debt, in order to solve a political problem, which is an unwillingness to raise taxes or to cut expenses." Asked if the city should raise taxes, Evans said many residents believe their taxes went up with last year's property reappraisal. Some residents also saw their taxes go down as a result of the reappraisal. Councilmen Eric Crafton and Jim Hodge joined Evans in voting against the proposal. But Councilman Randy Foster said the refinancing makes sense for the city during a difficult economic period. "We don't have much money right now," Foster said. "As much as I wish we didn't have to do it ... there is sufficient wisdom that we ought to vote for this." Contact Michael Cass at 615-259-8838 or

Guns-in-bars supporters will fight Bredesen's veto

Bredesen says second version is more expansive, dangerous By Chas Sisk • THE TENNESSEAN • May 19, 2010 Backers of a bill to open all bars and restaurants to handguns said they plan to press ahead after Gov. Phil Bredesen vetoed the legislation on Tuesday. The state Senate could take up next week an override vote on the bill, which would let people with handgun carry permits take their weapons into any establishment that serves alcohol, including bars, restaurants and sports venues. The override vote would be the second in as many years for the proposal, and it would come as time is running out for the Tennessee General Assembly before it adjourns for the year. The bill's sponsors quickly began to gear up for another override push Tuesday afternoon, after Bredesen's office sent Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey a letter reiterating his opposition to the legislation. Bredesen referred to a previous version of the legislation that he vetoed last year — a measure that eventually was passed into law. A Nashville judge later struck it down as too vague. Bredesen said this year's bill is worse than the first. "A successful court challenge to last year's actions provided the General Assembly with a second opportunity to reconsider and adopt a more responsible approach to this issue," Bredesen wrote. "Instead, the General Assembly has essentially re-passed last year's legislation in an even more expansive and dangerous form." Supporters of this year's legislation say it is clearer because it allows gun permit holders to carry their handguns into any establishment that serves alcohol, unless owners have posted signs explicitly banning guns at the entrance. They also said this year's bill tightens penalties for drinking while carrying a gun. Bredesen was traveling overseas Tuesday. A spokeswoman said he had no comment beyond the letter to Ramsey. Majority needed The bill's sponsors, Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, and Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, would need only simple majorities in both chambers to override Bredesen's veto. They would appear to have enough support, as the House passed the legislation earlier this year by a 66-31 vote and the Senate by a 23-9 vote. "I've challenged opponents of this legislation to show me statistics, in any of the states that this right has been substantiated, of an increase in crime or harm to public safety, and no one has met that challenge," Jackson said. "It's an emotional issue. … But the legislature has been voting based on the facts, not emotions." The override campaign would come, however, as the legislature is winding down business for the year. The Senate could not hold a vote until late next week without waiving its rules; the House could not take it up until still later. John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, said he was confident the bill would pass again. "I think this is a temporarily setback," he said. "To do this knowing that it's going to be overridden … that's the definition of futile." Will Cheek, a Nashville attorney who worked on last year's court challenge, agreed that an override probably would succeed. This year's bill was meant to be less susceptible to a court challenge, and Cheek said this measure doesn't have the same problems as the one passed last year. "The NRA (National Rifle Association) is too powerful, particularly in an election year, for legislators to do the right thing," he said. "The governor is sticking to his principles. It's symbolic, but it's also consistent with what he believes."

Results In For Davidson County Primary Election

Channel 5 News Posted: May 18, 2010 3:24 PM CDT Updated: May 18, 2010 10:10 PM CDT NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Election workers have finished tallying the votes in the Davidson County Primary Election. The primary was delayed two weeks because of flooding. In the race for the Democratic Circuit Court Clerk seat, Richard Ray Rooker had 11,231 votes and opponent Preston Crim had 3,571 votes. For the Democratic Criminal Court Clerk seat, David Torrence won with 10,852 votes. Michael Craddock had 5,606 votes. There were seven candidates in the race for Democratic Juvenile Court Clerk. David Smith won nearly half of the votes at 9,198. Eric Crafton won the Republican nomination for Juvenile Court Clerk with 2,812 votes. The polls were open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The locations were different for some polling stations because of flood damage. More than 22,000 people casted ballots in the primary. The election results are an unofficial count from the Davidson County Election Commission's website. Davidson County Election Commission

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Metro plans buyouts for flood-damaged homes

Metro officials are working on a plan that would allow the government to buy damaged homes under a federal program the city had been using to clear flood-prone areas. Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the city will submit a list of flood-damaged homes that may be eligible to be purchased under the federal hazard mitigation program. But Sonia Harvat, spokeswoman for Metro Water Services, which has administered the program, cautioned that it was too soon to know which homes would be eligible for the buyout program. Before this month's historic flooding, Metro had taken advantage of the FEMA buyout program to purchase 54 homes over the last five years in areas that have persistent problems with flooding. Harvat pointed out that those 54 homes all would have been subject to serious flood damage had the city not taken advantage of the buyout program. Mayor Karl Dean has been working on developing an aggressive buyout program for the last 10 days, according to his spokeswoman Janel Lacy. "This would be more than simply expanding the buyout program Metro Water has been operating for the last several years," Lacy said. "This is a whole new situation where a number of homes have been severely damaged. Some are uninhabitable or in danger of being flooded again. "The mayor's goal is twofold: to ensure that people are safe and to develop the best program for helping people rebuild their lives. This needs to be done in a thoughtful way, and we're working to do that." The federal mitigation funds, which go through the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, would be available to residents throughout the state, said Jeremy Heidt, a TEMA spokesman. Officials discuss criteria The general purpose of the existing buyout program is to purchase properties subject to recurring flood damage. Metro Water officials met with FEMA on Monday to discuss the criteria for submitting an initial list of homes. The buyout program requires the local government to pay for 25 percent of purchasing a property at its pre-flood value, with the federal government paying the remaining 75 percent. "We want to get as many submitted as quickly as they can," Harvat said. "The ones that we feel can be approved as quickly as possible are the ones we'll submit." Waiting for an answer The program is voluntary, and property owners are not required to participate. Individual property owners may not apply for the program because the process requires the local government to apply on their behalf. But Metro Council members whose districts suffered the most damage say their constituents want to know sooner, rather than later, whether to begin rebuilding or wait for a potential government buyout. West Nashville Councilman Buddy Baker, whose district had dozens of homes seriously damaged when the Cumberland River spilled over its banks, said some of his constituents prefer to rebuild. "The ones that are wanting to get bought out, I hope Metro can help them," Baker said. The stormwater fee initiated last year by Mayor Karl Dean and approved by the Metro Council created a funding source to be used in part to purchase flood-prone homes. Harvat said it was premature to know whether the local funding would come exclusively from the stormwater fee or if other Metro funds would be used. "This is something that as long as that door is open and there is funding available, we are going to do our best to push that through," Harvat said. The program does not allow the government to re-use the land for any other purpose besides flood-mitigating open space. Harvat said a combination of inspectors from Metro Water, Metro Codes and private contractors were working to determine which homes might be eligible for the federal buyout.

How to give or receive flood aid

Long List attached to above Link!

Delayed Davidson County election is on for today

Flood-ravaged county postponed vote for two weeks By Nate Rau • THE TENNESSEAN • May 18, 2010 The Metro primary elections that were postponed by this month's record floods will take place today, with polls opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m. Taking center stage is the crowded Davidson County Juvenile Court clerk race with 10 candidates. "I've never seen this many people running," Election Administrator Ray Barrett said. Because of flooding, three polling stations have been relocated: Voters who normally vote at precinct 7-4 at Cornelia Fort Air Park will vote instead at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 512 Rosebank Ave. • Voters who usually vote at precinct 23-4 at Belle Meade City Hall will vote instead at Immanuel Baptist Church, 222 Belle Meade Blvd. • Voters who normally vote at precinct 35-2 at South Harpeth Church of Christ will vote instead at Harpeth Valley School, 7840 Old Harding Pike. Any voter also can cast his or her ballot at the election commission's office at 800 Second Ave. S. With much of the county's attention still focused on flood recovery efforts, Barrett said he didn't anticipate a high turnout. The election originally was scheduled for May 4, but the election commission sought to have it moved back two weeks, and a judge approved that request. "It's a hard one to guess with this being put off two weeks and all of this stormwater," Barrett said. "I think it's going to be a low turnout." Juvenile Court Clerk Vic Lineweaver has six Democratic primary opponents vying for his seat, including two elected officials in school board member Karen Johnson and Metro Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite. Court officer David Smith has raised more money than any of them. Lineweaver, himself a former councilman, has held the seat for eight years. Jeffrey Brousal, Patricia Courts and Howard Jones are also on the Democratic primary ballot. Councilman Eric Crafton is among the three candidates on the Republican ballot, joined by Annette Crim and April Penning-ton. Incumbent Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence also is facing a challenge from a fellow elected official. Councilman Michael Craddock is challenging Torrence, who has held the post for 16 years, in the Democratic primary. Circuit Court Clerk Richard Rooker, another incumbent, will be challenged on the Democratic primary ballot by Preston Crim.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Antioch teen shot, killed at Smyrna graduation party

Police say 14-year-old boy was bystander at residence By Doug Davis • GANNETT TENNESSEE • May 17, 2010 SMYRNA — A 14-year-old Antioch boy died Sunday after he was shot in the head at a high school graduation party, police said. Rachan "Micky" Chatree was shot around 1:50 a.m. at 101 Lakewood Circle in Smyrna. "Based on everything we know right now, he was just an innocent bystander," said Smyrna Police Sgt. Bobby Gibson. Police said a dark-colored, subcompact vehicle, possibly a foreign make, pulled in front of the residence and two to four people got out and started shooting at people in front of the house. Witnesses gave conflicting reports about the number of people in the vehicle, which sped away after the shots were fired, according to police. "It could have been as many as four people with weapons," Gibson said. "We don't know for certain they knew anyone at the party." Chatree was found lying on the front porch with a gunshot to his head. He was taken to StoneCrest Medical Center in Smyrna and transferred shortly afterward to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where he died. Motive unknown Police don't know the motive of the shooting, Gibson said. "It was just your normal party. People were spread throughout the home, inside and out." More than 30 guests were at the party, which was thrown by a family member of a female Smyrna High School student who graduated Saturday, police said. Gibson said police don't know whether the incident was gang-related. "That is part of the investigation," he said. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Smyrna police at 615-459-6644. Suzanne Normand Blackwood contributed to this story.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mayor Orders Audit of Nashville's Crime Stats

Channel 5 Posted: May 14, 2010 5:06 PM CDT Nashville Mayor Karl Dean former chief Ronal SerpasBy Phil Williams Chief Investigative Reporter Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is calling for an independent audit of how Nashville reports crime statistics. It follows a NewsChannel 5 investigation of The Truth About Crime. That investigation raised questions about claims by former chief Ronal Serpas to have cut crime for six straight years. The mayor says it's important to clear up any confusion about those stats. A news release from the mayor's office reads: "There have been questions raised in the public about the validity of Nashville's crime statistics," Dean said. "Public safety is a top priority, and it's just as important that people feel they are safe. We as a government, and the public, need to know where we stand. An internal audit of Metro's crime reporting will be constructive to have and review." Dean's letter to the Office of Internal Audit outlines a request to review and analyze the methodology used by MNPD to collect and report data on crime, compare that methodology to other police departments, and recommend any changes and the purpose for making changes in the way MNPD produces crime report statistics. "I am glad Mayor Dean has decided to conduct this audit," Interim Police Chief Steve Anderson said. "I am confident with the data as it is reported, but I want everyone else to be confident with it as well. If there's anything we can learn from it and improve, we will."

Teen Arrested In Home Burglary, Homicide

Channel 5 news Posted: May 14, 2010 9:57 AM CDT Updated: May 14, 2010 5:05 PM CDT NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A teenage suspect has been taken into custody in connection with a deadly home invasion in South Nashville earlier in the week. Officers with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department arrested 18-year-old Montavis Woodard early Friday morning. The body of 34-year-old Ron Christopher Poullard was found in a South Nashville apartment late Monday night. Poullard's girlfriend told Metro police that they made a quick trip to the grocery store around 11 p.m. When they entered the apartment, she said one or more burglary suspects were in the back of the apartment. Poullard apparently exchanged fire with the suspects, and was struck in the abdomen. Police said he died at the scene. Officials said the contents of the apartment had been torn apart. The home invaders had even searched through the ice bin in the freezer. Police said Woodard told them he burglarized Poullard's apartment to find illegal drugs. Officials said their investigation has found that the murder victim was involved in illegal drug trade. Woodard was charged with criminal homicide and booked into the Metro Criminal Justice Center. He was held on a $1 million bond.

FEMA District 29 Meeting

FEMA District 29 Meeting tomorrow, Friday, May 14th Priest Lake Presbyterian Church 2787 Smith Springs Road 6 pm - 7 pm Over the last couple of weeks, the Nashville - Davidson County community worked diligently together to restore our homes and city. In speaking with one of our District 29 neighbors on Tuesday, she asked that I conduct a meeting for our District although we were not affected as compared to some of the most devastated parts of Nashville. Such a meeting will allow for residents who we did not know was affected to obtain direct response to their questions and concerns. So I quickly requested a meeting and the FEMA organization responded. I hope you can attend. The Small Business Administration will also be on hand. FEMA representatives will also be on hand at our Great American Clean-up on May 22nd.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Budget Hearings

We have begun our budget hearings. For you convenience, below is a schedule of the hearings that are shown live on Channel 3. If you would like to attend the hearings in person, the hearings are held at the Metro Court House, 1 Public Square, in the Council Chambers. If you have questions regarding any of the hearings, please email me at or call me at 589-2003. Gratefully, Vivian Wednesday, May 12, 2010 4:00 p.m. Trustee 4:15 p.m. County Clerk 4:30 p.m. Office of the Mayor 4:45 p.m. Assessor of Property 5:00 p.m. Legal 5:15 p.m. Internal Audit Thursday, May 13, 2010 4:00 p.m. Juvenile Court 4:15 p.m. Juvenile Court Clerk 4:30 p.m. Criminal Court Clerk 4:45 p.m. State Trial Courts 5:00 p.m. General Sessions Court 5:15 p.m. District Attorney 5:30 p.m. Public Defender 5:45 p.m. Justice Integration Services Monday, May 17, 2010 5:15 p.m. Circuit Court Clerk 5:30 p.m. Public Works 6:00 p.m. Metro Water Services 6:30 p.m. Metro Transit Authority Thursday, May 20, 2010 4:00 p.m. Health 4:30 p.m. Social Services 5:00 p.m. Human Relations 5:15 p.m. Metro Action Commission 5:45 p.m. Community Education Commission Monday, May 24, 2010 4:00 p.m. Police 4:30 p.m. Sheriff 5:00 p.m. Fire and Emergency Medical Services 5:30 p.m. Emergency Communications Center 6:00 p.m. Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management Tuesday, May 25, 2010 4:00 p.m. Election Commission 4:15 p.m. Arts Commission 4:30 p.m. Historical Commission 4:45 p.m. Farmers’ Market 5:00 p.m. Beer Board 5:15 p.m. Transportation Licensing Commission 5:30 p.m. State Fair 6:00 p.m. Codes Administration 6:30 p.m. Planning Department Thursday, May 27, 2010 4:00 p.m. Human Resources 4:30 p.m. Metro IT and Metro 3 4:45 p.m. Finance 5:00 p.m. General Services and Fleet Management 5:30 p.m. Sports Authority 5:45 p.m. Municipal Auditorium 6:00 p.m. Public Library 6:30 p.m. Parks and Recreation Thursday, June 3, 2010 4:00 p.m. Convention Center 4:15 p.m. Board of Public Education 5:15 p.m. Hospital Authority 6:00 p.m. Unscheduled Hearings The budget must be finalized and approved by June 30, 2010.

Most Dangerous States: Crime Rankings for 2010

04-05-2010 Better lock your doors! The results of CQ Press's annual State Crime Rankings are in and, for some states, the results aren't pretty. For nearly two decades, these rankings have shown how the 50 states compare against the national average for six crimes: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. According to CQ Press, the six categories are compared to the national reported crime rates and then indexed (with each of the crimes carrying equal weight) to create a summary score and ranking. Larceny-theft, which accounts for 59% of all reported crimes in America, is not included as part of this report because the FBI and other criminologists concluded in 2004 that this was no longer a true indicator of crime. In this year's ranking, Delaware saw the biggest increase in crime -- falling 10 places from the 17th most dangerous state last year to the 7th most dangerous this year. Other states that have become more dangerous include Rhode Island (it fell nine places in the rankings) and Connecticut (now six places lower). The states that saw the biggest improvements over the past year include Michigan and Alaska. Each rose seven spots in the rankings. Poor Nevada, however, can't seem to catch a break. The state has the dubious honor of topping CQ's list of most dangerous states for the seventh year in a row. How did the other states fare? Join us as we reveal which 15 states were ranked as the most dangerous for 2010. Did your state make the list? Crime Rate Rankings (out of 50 states) (1 = Worst, 50 = Best) No. 1: NEVADA Assault: 8 Burglary: 12 Murder: 13 Motor Vehicle Theft: 1 Rape: 8 Robbery: 1 No. 2: NEW MEXICO Assault: 5 Burglary: 3 Murder: 6 Motor Vehicle Theft: 7 Rape: 2 Robbery: 23 No. 3: LOUISIANA Assault: 4 Burglary: 9 Murder: 1 Motor Vehicle Theft: 14 Rape: 33 Robbery: 18 No. 4: SOUTH CAROLINA Assault: 1 Burglary: 8 Murder: 7 Motor Vehicle Theft: 9 Rape: 13 Robbery: 16 No. 5: TENNESSEE Assault: 2 Burglary: 5 Murder: 8 Motor Vehicle Theft: 15 Rape: 19 Robbery: 8 No. 6: FLORIDA Assault: 6 Burglary: 7 Murder: 12 Motor Vehicle Theft: 13 Rape: 23 Robbery: 4 No. 7: DELAWARE Assault: 7 Burglary: 18 Murder: 10 Motor Vehicle Theft: 19 Rape: 9 Robbery: 3 No. 8: MARYLAND Assault: 10 Burglary: 23 Murder: 2 Motor Vehicle Theft: 4 Rape: 45 Robbery: 2 No. 9: ARIZONA Assault: 21 Burglary: 15 Murder: 13 Motor Vehicle Theft: 2 Rape: 39 Robbery: 15 No. 10: ARKANSAS Assault: 11 Burglary: 2 Murder: 18 Motor Vehicle Theft: 32 Rape: 4 Robbery: 28 No. 11: ALABAMA Assault: 22 Burglary: 4 Murder: 5 Motor Vehicle Theft: 21 Rape: 16 Robbery: 11 No. 12: GEORGIA Assault: 20 Burglary: 6 Murder: 8 Motor Vehicle Theft: 6 Rape: 42 Robbery: 7 No. 13: OKLAHOMA Assault: 9 Burglary: 10 Murder: 16 Motor Vehicle Theft: 18 Rape: 10 Robbery: 26 No. 14: ALASKA Assault: 3 Burglary: 39 Murder: 28 Motor Vehicle Theft: 29 Rape: 1 Robbery: 30 No. 15: CALIFORNIA Assault: 18 Burglary: 25 Murder: 16 Motor Vehicle Theft: 3 Rape: 41 Robbery: 5 More from Most Dangerous Cities Most Dangerous Neighborhoods Safest Cities in America

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Letter to Barack Obama

Congress of the United States Washington, BC 20510
The Honorable Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear Mr. President, We are writing to urge that you request funds to help our state recover from the unprecedented flooding that affected Tennesseans in 52 counties from Memphis to Nashville. These funds would be included in your request for the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010. According to NOAA and the Corps of Engineers, the flooding in Tennessee was the result of a 1,000-year rainfall event. We thank you for already designating 42 of the 52 counties requested by our governor as eligible for disaster relief. We also appreciate the efforts of FEMA Director Fugate and his staff as well as that of Secretaries Napolitano, Locke, and Donovan and Small Business Administrator Mills all of whom have visited Tennessee during the last week. Tennesseans are helping themselves and their neighbors, but Tennessee will require federal assistance beyond what current emergency programs' funding can support. Because the Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up supplemental appropriations legislation that you have requested on Thursday, it is vital that a request for Tennessee flood relief come from the Office of Management and Budget as quickly as possible. Thank you for your consideration of this request for relief for Tennesseans suffering from the flood. Please contact our offices if you have any additional questions. Sincerely, Lamar Alexander United States Senator Bob Corker United States Senator Bart Gordon Member of Congress Jim Cooper Member of Congress John Tanne Member of Congress Marsha Blackburn Member of Congress Lincoln Davis Member of Congress Steve Cohen Member of Congress John Duncan Member of Congress Zack Wamp Member of Congress Phil Roe Member of Congress cc: Peter Orzag,Director of the Office of Management and Budget Valarie Jarrett,Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs andPublic Engagement

New aid for TN

• $28 million begins influx of dollars • Delay on home foreclosures ordered • More counties eligible for U.S. aid By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • May 11, 2010 Tennessee's floods intensified Monday as two Cabinet secretaries came to Nashville, 250 emergency management workers put boots on the ground around the state and millions of additional aid dollars started flowing to individuals and families. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency added 15 counties to the list of places where workers are eligible for disaster unemployment benefits, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said it had put a moratorium on foreclosures for 90 days in flooded areas. FEMA plans to open two more disaster recovery centers in Nashville on Wednesday, while the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, which handles low-interest loans for homeowners and businesses affected by disaster, will visit to open an assistance center downtown today. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper said it's critical that federal agencies react to the crisis as effectively as local and state governments and other organizations did. "Now the challenge is to make sure that our government has the best response," Cooper said at a news conference with Shaun Donovan, secretary of housing and urban development, and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. "I think we're seeing that. The mayor and the governor have done an awesome job. "Now it's time for the federal government to step up." As of Monday, FEMA had registered 18,000 Tennessee residents, inspected more than 4,000 buildings and awarded more than $28 million in assistance, officials said. That was up from 650 buildings and $4.1 million in aid that had been approved when U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visited Nashville on Saturday morning. The agency has 250 staff in the state now, according to operations branch director Donna Weise. "We're here to stay," Weise said. Mayor Karl Dean said the floods had done $1.56 billion in damage to private property in Nashville, based on an assessment that was 99 percent complete by midafternoon. Nashville is still assessing the damage to its roads, bridges and public facilities, Dean said. An estimate of the total damage statewide is not available yet. Jeremy Heidt, spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said coming up with a number actually isn't a high priority right now. "The reality of it is, it's going to be a while before there's anything concrete," he said. Heidt said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was able to see enough damage from a helicopter early last week to obtain a presidential disaster declaration without putting together formal estimates. With 52 counties affected, and 42 now in the official disaster area, emergency management workers are focused on getting assistance centers up and helping areas where water infrastructure was damaged, Heidt said. "With tornadoes, the damage is so localized and so very specific in one area, it's very easy to do a damage assessment. With this one, the damage is so, so vast. It's so widespread." Businesses to get aid Two days after Napolitano saw flood recovery efforts firsthand, Donovan and Locke toured Metro's Emergency Operations Center and visited several downtown businesses that were deluged by the overflowing Cumberland River. At Trail West, a hat and boot shop on Second Avenue South, owner Ed Smith and manager Gary Whittenberg greeted the Cabinet members, as well as Cooper and Dean, near the door. Behind them lay a floor pocked with loose boards. "So what do you have to do to get back in operation?" Locke asked. "We are in operation," Smith replied. "We brought everybody in, we went up, checked our inventory. We lost about a third of it. But we dried that third up. We're going to put it on the back wall, we're going to mark it down, we're going to present it to our customers at a discount." "That's the attitude," Dean said. Later, Locke told reporters the federal government was "not going to wait until all the damage is cleaned up" to start helping business owners with loans and other forms of assistance. "We want businesses to be strong, because they hire people," said Locke, a former governor of Washington. Donovan said the moratorium on foreclosures by Federal Housing Administration lenders, which took effect Wednesday, was the right thing to do. "It is simply wrong for a family struck by a natural disaster like we've seen here in Nashville and across Tennessee to be victimized again by a foreclosure because they can't make their payments," he said. Insured FHA loans also are available to help families rebuild, Donovan said. The Department of Housing and Urban Development also will work with housing agencies in Metro and other counties to redirect funding to flood recovery, including $29 million in community development block grants. Donovan said almost $9 million could be redirected to Nashville alone — and $17 million statewide — through another HUD program. More trash haulers hired Some homeowners started to get a bit more relief from the piles of debris outside their houses and in their neighborhoods Monday. Metro entered into emergency contracts with two Alabama-based companies that specialize in hauling trash away from disaster areas, Public Works Director Billy Lynch said. Storm Reconstruction Services Inc. and The DRC Group will work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until all the trash is removed, Lynch said. Public Works' own trucks, which are not nearly as large as the private haulers' vehicles, also continue to work on the cleanup. Dean said he signed an executive order extending a Metro state of emergency by one week to allow for emergency contracts and greater flexibility in responding to the disaster. Metro also got what Dean called a bit of a return to normalcy as schools reopened after a week when floodwaters and transportation logistics kept them closed. Fred Carr, a top school district official, said attendance was less than 1 percentage point below where it stood the week before the flood, and fewer teachers were absent Monday than at the same time last year. Carr said the district sustained about $1.6 million in damage. Donovan said local governments, which provide basic services and have the closest connection to citizens, are the key players in disaster recovery. But the federal government can help. "We are here standing behind local leadership," he said.

Serpas bids farewell to Nashville, giving praise to police department

Metro police veteran Steve Anderson takes over as interim chief By Brian Haas • THE TENNESSEAN • May 11, 2010 Ronal Serpas on Monday handed Nashville's police department over to a 35-year police veteran who has been at the agency since he was an officer in training. Deputy Chief Steve Anderson takes charge of the department while Nashville is still reeling from historic flooding. Serpas, who has been chief since January 2004, will move on to another city in need: his hometown of New Orleans. He left the department only four days after announcing he accepted a position as superintendent of police there. In his farewell address to police employees, Serpas praised the department's progress in building relationships with businesses and residents and said that crime-fighting initiatives — including his heavy reliance on crime statistics — have worked. "Through our years of fighting crime, make no mistake about it, many of our neighborhoods are safer today than they were six years ago," he wrote. Anderson joined the department as a rookie officer in 1975 and worked his way up over the past 35 years in nearly every capacity. As an administrator, he has overseen operations, criminal investigations and road patrol functions. Anderson said Monday his biggest job is to maintain the department as is and take care of the officers until a successor is chosen. He said residents should not be concerned about a leadership transition as Nashville recovers from disaster. Instead, they should expect, "the very same," he said. "We'll be in the same posture, same officers doing the very same thing," he said. Union endorses fill-in Sgt. Robert Weaver, president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, said Anderson is a good choice for interim chief. "Especially in a time like this, there needs to be stability," Weaver said. "He is a good person in a position of stability." It's unclear how long it will take to find a permanent replacement for Serpas. Mayor Karl Dean has said the search for a chief is secondary to flood recovery and has set no timetable. Anderson said he is not applying to be chief permanently. He said he preferred police work to taking on more administrative duties. "I like what I do," Anderson said with a smile.