Friday, September 29, 2006

This Is Smyrna, TN Contributors

M. McManus
In real life, M. is a Web Marketing Specialist for a global supply chain management company and an e-Communications Chair Person for a Marketing and Communications Association. While disengaged from the demands of adulthood, M. studies martial arts, Mandarin Chinese and blogs for This Is Smyrna, TN and Comment Tater. M. hopes to live long enough to see the day where science will allow us to live long years without hunger, disease and pain. M. loves the concepts of physics and science and is a subscriber of The Bleeping Herald.

Gunner

Elizabeth

Michael Hickerson

Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Members

Bad Bad Ivy
Bad Bad Ivy, the blogger behind "the badbadivy experience" and Home-Ec 101. Ivy started blogging on Livejournal in 2003, and has been blogging away ever since. She is now a paid blogger for ParentsConnect, Viacom's new parenting website.

Blogs
Personal: http://badbadivy.wordpress.com/
Business: Curbly

Christian Grantham
Christian Grantham is a producer for ABC's Nashville affiliate WKRN News 2. Besides on air content, he is responsible for implenting blogs for WKRN's video journalists. Grantham graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1997. He was an intern in the Clinton Gore White House and later worked as an independent consultant on domestic policy forums in the second term of the Clinton Administration. Grantham later became a talk show host with a company that became a channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. He ran his own commercially licensed webcast for three years that became two music channels on Apple's iTunes.

Grantham recently returned to Tennessee with his partner of seven years and currently lives in Murfreesboro.

Blogs
Personal: christiangrantham.com

Elizabeth Miller

Elizabeth is a socially reserved individual with interests in computers, her admittedly strange husband, the internet, all things electronic, needlework, books, and guns. Her main claim to fame, such as it is, is being the owner of one of the most creative blog names on the internet. She currently works as a secretary for the state, and at restraining her husband's impulses (See: Gunner - NoQuarters). In her not-so-copious spare time she occasionally posts on her blog: "The Harelipfrog" and has been invited to post on "This is Smyrna". She likes music of almost all kinds (IE Handel, David Bowie, Alison Krause and Pink) and books of almost all kinds as long as they are well written (no modern romance novels please).

Blogs
Personal: harelipfrog.blogspot.com
Community: thisissmyrnatn.blogspot.com or thisissmyrnatn.com

Gunner Miller

Gunner is a disabled pre-press technician who found blogging as a form of expression to his political views and frustration of the political system and todays society. His interests include reading, computers, privacy rights, and firearms. He's been married 17 years and currently lives in Smyrna Tennessee. He considers his family the most important thing in his life. He posts on "No Quarters", "This is Smyrna, TN", and occasionally on "Say Uncle" and "Harelipfrog". He is a strong believer in Vermont carry. He likes his steaks medium well, his Rum and coke heavy on the rum and fries over baked potatoes anyday of the week.

Blogs
Personal: noquarters.blogspot.com and harelipfrog.blogspot.com
Community: thisissmyrnatn.blogspot.com or thisissmyrnatn.com

Katherine Coble
Katherine Coble is a writer who majored in Political Science, Philosophy and English Literature at Taylor University. That means she's spent the last fifteen years of her life holding down odd jobs. Perhaps the oddest job she's ever had is being a blogger. Admittedly there are long hours and low pay, but at least the dress code is workable. She considers blogging to be some sort of chimera of creative writing exercises, journalism and old men whittling in rocking chairs.

Her blog "Just Another Pretty Farce" is read either by three hundred people a day or three people one hundred times a day.

Blogs:
Business and Personal: mycropht.blogspot.com

Kathy Tyson

If you smell something burning, it’s probably just campfire smoke. Kathy Tyson is a Girl Scout leader, former PTO president, a published writer, Mom, do-gooder fundraiser, Realtor©, and community rabble-rouser. When her community web log causes a stir, it confirms to her that blogging is the world’s next mighty tool for mass communication. Kathy holds a B.S. in communications from Murray State University. She served as the director of communications for the National Association of State Treasurers and was the founding staff member of the national College Savings Plans Network, an organization that provides a one-stop resource for state 529 plans.

Blogs
Community: lavergne-tn.blogspot.com
Business: midtnrealty.blogspot.com
Personal: mom2spoiledkids.blogspot.com

M. McManus
In real life, M. is a Web Marketing Specialist for a global supply chain management company and an e-Communications Chair Person for a Marketing and Communications Association. While disengaged from the demands of adulthood, M. studies martial arts, Mandarin Chinese and blogs for "This Is Smyrna, TN" (and owns the domain, thisissmyrnatn.com and .org), "Comment Tater" and "Warehousing and Distribution".

M. likes the ambiguity of being M. and enjoys bringing people together. M. founded the Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group with the first meeting being held in a park on October 22nd of 2005. M. studied Business Ownership and Management, Computer Programming and Civil and Construction Engineering at Nashville State Tech. M. hopes to live long enough to see the day where science will allow us to live long years without hunger, disease and pain. M. loves the concepts of physics and science and is a subscriber of The Bleeping Herald.

Blogs
Personal: commenttater.blogspot.com
Community: thisissmyrnatn.blogspot.com or thisissmyrnatn.com
Business: thirdpartylogistics.blogspot.com

Malia Carden
Blogging since April 2005, Malia Carden is a stay-at-home mother of two children, a daughter age 6 and a son age 2. A former research assistant for a long-term care insurance consultant, Malia has found herself back on the Internet but instead of reading about home health care, is now interacting with the lives of old friends, family members and the Nashville is Talking community. Joining the ranks of the “MommyBloggers” blogging on "Musings From Malicious", Malia finds blogging an intriguing outlet for the adventures and trials of being a parent and a way to express herself in a grown-up world while living in a decidedly child centered atmosphere. Malia enjoys reading, playing bunco with friends, trying new restaurants, shopping on ebay and listening to music. She is married to her high school sweetheart, David.

Blogs
Personal: maliakcarden.blogspot.com

Michael Hickerson

Blogger by day and superhero by night, Michael Hickerson began his Nashville famous blog, Big Orange Michael, close to three years ago with one mission in mind--to meet women. Alas, his first desparate pleas for attention failed to garner any real interest and he settled in to obsessing about UT sports, TV shows and any other random event in his so-called life that he felt the Internet just had to know about.

Michael has a degree in communications with emphasis in journalism from the University of Tennessee, where he spent five years. In his varied career, he's been a sports editor, worked in customer service, delivered live golf scores and content, run a small business and is currently the web site coordinator for a local family-run business. Michael is a resident of Smyrna, Tenenssee, where he spends a lot of time spoiling his niece and nephew.

Michael writes for "Big Orange Michael" is a contributing writer to the Nashville media-related blog, "All Along the Watchtower," and is a contributing member to "This is Smyrna, TN".

Blogs
Personal: bigorangemichael.blogspot.com, aatwfilm.blogspot.com
Community: thisissmyrnatn.blogspot.com or thisissmyrnatn.com

Thursday, September 28, 2006

2006 Christmas Challenge Companies

Graphic lovingly created by our friend in Norway, Tim of A Tennessee Redneck In King Harald's Court

Below is a listing of companies that participated in the 2006 Christmas Challenge which helps raise money for the Bob Park Realty Christmas parties. To get your company listed for an entire year, make a contribution. To donate, contact Kathy Tyson of the LaVergne blog and Bob Parks Realty realtor.

Smyrna Skate Center
Located at:
1505 Plaza Drive
Smyrna, TN 37167
(615) 459-7655
Email: smyskate@bellsouth.net
Web Site: http://www.skatecenter.com/Smyrna/

Ernie Dunbar Agency
5168 Murfreesboro Road, Suite B
LaVergne, TN 37086
(615) 287-9150
Web Site: http://agent.allstate.com/ErnieDunbar/Welcome

Dempsey Howard of LaVergne, Smyrna & Nashville City Guides

Starbucks

Tom's florist

Dan's BBQ

M & E's Donut Palace


Hickory Falls


Mothership BBQ

Smyrna Fire Department
Town of Smyrna - Fire Department Headquarters
145 South Lowry Street
Smyrna, TN 37167
615.459.6644
Info. Line:615.459.9742
ext.7550
Hours of Operation
8:00a.m. - 4:30p.m.
Monday - Friday

Smyrna Skate Center Participates In Christmas Challenge

According to Mark, the Smyrna Skate Center will be have a special skate night on Tuesday, October 10th from 6:30 until 9:00 to support the Bob Parks Realty Christmas fundraiser. $2 of all admissions will go toward this initiative. According the Kathy T. of the LaVergne, TN Blog:

Some background. Every year, Bob Parks Realty hosts Christmas parties throughout middle Tennessee for children who have been identified by school counselors as being in need of some extra support from the community. In the past, we have raised enough money to buy each child a set of clothing (including gloves, hats, and coats) and a toy. Many parents request that the children not open their gifts at the party because otherwise they won't have anything to open Christmas morning.
The local blogging community has banded together in support of this initiative and I am calling my part the Christmas Challenge. Over the weekend I will build the page and the link off the main page to the Christmas Challenge Supporters page. Get your business listed there by donating to this cause. You will be listed for a whole year as a contributor. Simply contact Kathy T. at the LaVergne blog for more information on how to donate.

Information on the new Home Depot

It's kind of hard to miss the behemoth being raised for the new Home Depot. Another big box company coming to town.

What you might not know is that this Home depot will not be a regular one, but a new test store. Home Depot is offering a service that may compete with the Kroger store next door.

Home Depot, meanwhile, announced that it is expanding its gas-station test, opening its third Home Depot Fuel store, in Acworth, Ga. (The first two are in Tennessee.) Designed to attract more contractors to Home Depot, the stations feature separate diesel islands, as well as a car wash suited to larger trucks, and a convenience store. A spokesman said the company is set to begin construction on a fourth test store, in Smyrna, Tenn., next week, and is in the permit phase for another station in the Atlanta area
This article, dated Spt. 28th, said they are going to begin construction next week. I'm not sure if that is incorrect, and they really mean the big box, or will there be another building here in town?

More competition means better prices...I hope.

Update:
Just heard back from Home Depot's head office. Their press people inform me that the new Home Depot being built, is one of the new test stores. I'm rather intrigued how a Home Depot quicky store will look.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Christmas Challenge

That's right folks. I know the a/c's have barely stopped running (if at all) and I'm already talking about Christmas. Well, if you don't mind, it is for a very good cause. Please help spread the word.

Our kind and gracious neighbors over at LaVergne Blog want to bring our attention to a Christmas charity that Bob Parks Realty does every year. Mrs. Kathy T. has requested your help. I want to go one step farther and let the businesses of Middle Tennessee know that if they donate money or toys to this initiative we will give you mention on our November Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting Podcast and will post a special Thank You Middle Tennessee page for all the businesses that participated right here on the Smyrna Blog.

This year this blog has received more than 24,000 visits. Now, ask yourself how much is it worth? I can tell you that today we had an opportunity to run a banner ad on a site for $1800 for one year and it was one click away from the home page. I'm offering you one click away for a mere donation to the charitable cause.

Donate to the cause and you'll get:

  • Mention on one of the best Middle Tennessee Podcasts
  • Year long link to your website (if you have one) on this blog
  • Phone Number, Address and contact information listed on this website all year long
So, take note of the call to action below and let's help some kids out!

Christmas May be Cancelled

Although it isn't yet Halloween - and even as we're getting ready for the awesome Trail of Treats - it's starting to look like Christmas may be cancelled this year for about 120-200 children from LaVergne and Smyrna.

Some background. Every year, Bob Parks Realty hosts Christmas parties throughout middle Tennessee for children who have been identified by school counselors as being in need of some extra support from the community. In the past, we have raised enough money to buy each child a set of clothing (including gloves, hats, and coats) and a toy. Many parents request that the children not open their gifts at the party because otherwise they won't have anything to open Christmas morning.

We need to raise $14,000 each year to make this possible. At this time, we've only raised $4,000. We've received support in LaVergne from one insurance agency (thank you Ernie Dunbar) and that's it. I am posting this to give our local bus inesses the opportunity to step up to the plate and make this event happen this year for the children of LaVergne and Smyrna who are not as fortunate as other kids.

If you read this and you own a company or work at a company, please please please be generous. Give us $10. Give us $100. Give us $1000. Ask your bosses if they can help. Pass the hat around the office if the company is unwilling to step-up and see if your colleagues can.

If you have any questions or you would like to make a tax-free contribution, you are welcome to contact me at 491-2161. If you don't want to talk to me, call my office and talk to my broker John Mayfield or our office manager Debbie Bricco at 459-4040. But please help. This is not for my company or for me. It's for our kids in this community. Can you help, LaVergne? Thank you.

Can you help, Middle Tennessee?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What Makes A Great Town?

During the last blogger and podcaster's group meeting, the question was raised about what makes a great town. I want the residents of Smyrna and our surrounding towns to hear what people have to say so tell me here about what you think makes a great town. My personal favorites are:

Green spaces
sidewalks
Cleanliness
Underground utilities

What else? What about a variety of retail?

Smyrna's Home Depot is Now Hiring

Looking for a job? I've known folks who have worked at Home Depot and loved it. Smyrna's Home Depot is not yet done but they are hiring. Home Depot is located between Kroger and Publix on Sam Ridley Parkway.

Smyrna's Malco Theater Ground Has Been Broken

Noticed it this weekend, myself. Smyrna's Malco Theater has broke ground. In case you didn't know we will soon have a 14 plex theater in Smyrna down from Lowe's and across from Kroger and Publix.

Looking forward to it myself.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

We Love You Smyrna, TN... Don't Be Shy

Got something you want to promote? Events, organization meetings? There's few things that the contributors of this blog like to talk about more than Smyrna, TN so don't be shy, email us with your event, promotion or thoughts. You can now email thisissmyrna (at) yahoo.com.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Are we Google worthy or even ready?

I was looking up an article on Google News and started to wonder how hard it would be to get our humble website listed. We are a news service for this community. We produce original material and perform a community service.

But are we Google worthy?

I went to see how to get us listed and found this.

What are the technical requirements to be included in Google News?
Let's see.
1. Each of your pages that displays an article's full text needs to have a unique URL that doesn't change. We can't include sites in Google News that display multiple articles at the same URL.
We do have multiple articles on one page, but we also have individual pages for each article. I checked and found other blog based websites listed so I think we are covered in this instance.
2. The URL for each article must contain a unique number consisting of at least three digits. Please note that this number can't consist of only an isolated four-digit number that resembles a year.
Now this one worried me. The link for a This is Smyrna, TN post looks like this
http://thisissmyrnatn.blogspot.com/2006/09/get-best-gas-prices-in-town.html
I see the date, but they seemed to imply that it was not enough.

I looked at the link for the previously mentioned blog, Hammer of Truth, that was listed, and it uses a similar post/address system
http://hammeroftruth.com/2006/09/19/libertarians-should-be-good-shots/
It IS listed, so I feel that we might be ok on this one. I know we can change a setting in Blogger to create a number based link if needed.
3. Our robots can't crawl sites for which the URL of the main page changes on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. This prevents us from crawling the site for new content, as we are unable to detect the most current URL to be crawled.
The main page stays the same here so I know we're fine on point three.
4. Our automated crawler is currently best able to crawl regular HTML links. We're unable to crawl image links or links embedded in JavaScript.
All links on this site are HTML, so once again we are looking good.

I did not submit the website to Google yet as I wanted your opinions on the subject. I think it would be a good idea. People doing searches for Smyrna Tennessee, will find up to date information and happenings. My main worry is that there might be an issue with the blog nature of the site. Would submitting one of the newer sites that M has acquired be better, or would the individual links with the blogspot address cause issues.

What say you people?

Get the best gas prices in town

You might think we've been hacked and I'm about to sell you something. Nope. This is about making the dollar you have in your pocket last longer then normal. One way to do that is to find the best deal for an item.

Now groceries are complicated. You may find certain items cheaper at one store, and others at another. The problem is that by the time you've run from store to store, the gas prices and travel have destroyed any savings you might have achieved. A pyrrhic victory at best.

One item we all have to buy is gas. A product that is vital, and darn costly. The desire we all have to cut prices raises it's scrooge like head and demands that we find the best deal. The problem is who is giving out the information and how accurate it is.

A quick search on my favorite search engine, currently, brought some good websites. Each claimed that they could lead you to the best deal in Smyrna.

Of course they did not totally agree, but they do have a good sight on the target. In life nothing is so simple that an easy solution is handed to you.

At automotive.com the best price for regular gas is being sold at Mapco on 1021 Almaville Rd Smyrna , TN 37167 for $2.369

At Nashvillegasprices.com the best deal can be found at Citgo on N. Lowry St. & Nolan Dr. for $2.38

At MSN.com Auto the best deal can be found at Kroger on 463 SAM RIDLEY PKWY W for $2.299.

At Internetautoguide.com the best deal was found a tie between Kroger on 463 Sam Ridley Pkwy W and Mapco Express at 1021 Almaville Rd for for $2.37

Mapco, Kroger, and Citgo. Looks like these three sites stand out enough that dispassionate sites like these can almost agree.

With my suburban's 35 gallon fuel tank I know the pain of high gas prices. I also know that finding a way to save a few greenbacks here and there is important to all.

My personal recommendation is Kroger. With a Kroger card, and spending over $100 a month, you get a dime per gallon knocked off the price. It builds up over time to a nice amount.

Trouble at Smyrna High

The High School finds itself at the center of a storm after accusations of some questionable deeds by one of it's faculty.

A teacher and coach at Smyrna High School has been suspended without pay while the school district and the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office investigate accusations that he kissed two female students on the cheek.

Charles Hardee, a history teacher and boys soccer coach for two years in Smyrna, was suspended Friday afternoon, the school system said in a news release. Hardee has denied kissing either of the girls, the release said.
The details are few, and with the investigation as it is, no one is talking.


This Thursdays meeting of the Rutherford County School Board at 5pm will be rather interesting.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Town meeting for the parks department

The parks department is having an open meeting this coming thursday that may be of interest to you.

Park Master Plan Meeting #3
Thursday, September 21st, 2006 at Smyrna Town Centre at 6:30pm
We welcome your input and vision on the development and expansion of Smyrna's park system and recreation facilities. Please join us for our third Public Meeting to help in the process of developing our 10 Year Master Plan. For more information call 459-9773.
At the last town meeting the Mayor mentioned that the Charatte meeting and the last parks meeting had a low attendence.

Also in park news. The posted last day for the new water park is getting close.
The splash pad's last day of operation will be October 1st for the 2006 season weather permitting!
So go and have fun while you can.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting Recap

Today was the Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting.

I arrived at Espresso Joe's in Smyrna, TN at 1:05 PM. The meeting didn't start until 2 but I had to set up the podcasting equipment and was planning to use a new tool to record the show and wrote up my show notes. All this took more than the 55 minutes I allotted. As the members began to arrive, I was still downloading.

Big Orange Michael began recording while I downloaded and made test audio and played back. Then I created the new file and we began recording. At the end of the show, I saved the file but now it has no content, so I will have to figure it out. However, I recommend that you go out to WildVoice.com and have a look at their free podcasting software. You can mix and create sound effects while you record. We had some good stuff but I have my notes and am going to recap as best I can.

To begin with, we spoke about the special announcement. The special announcement is that the October Blogger and Podcaster's Meeting will be a little different in that we will be meeting as a panel of experts at Belmont University. We will be live podcasting, streaming directly to iTunes for this event. Asked to participate are: Amy D., Kathy T., Michael H., Gunner, Michael A., and Kathryn C. The invitation has been extended to Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster Group Members. If you are a member and would like to participate, let me know. For those who have confirmed, I will need a bio and a image. I also ask for your permission to post on the MTBPG members page. Thanks to Paul Chenoweth of Chasing the Dragon's Tale, for kindly orchaestrating this. I look forward to the opportunity as do others of MTBPG.

Next, I made the announcement that Blonde Mom and Malicious were planning a blogger's Bunco game at Mothership BBQ in Nashville, TN on September 29th from 6:30 until 8:30 pm. for more information, visit Musings from Malicious.

Kathy T. got mention, again, in the Rutherford A.M. on page 10 of the September 13th issue. It was regarding the name of LaVergne Lake Elementary School. Lately, a lot of controversy has surrounded her blog. Go out and check it out at http://lavergne-tn.blogspot.com.

Discussion about the happenings of the LaVergne blog led to discussion about what makes a town a good town and what it was that some businesses were saying that was holding LaVergne back. Michael H. of Big Orange Michael mentioned that a business person he knows pointed to the fact that LaVergne doesn't have liqour by the drink and that high end restaurants weren't coming there because of it. I happen to agree that this is mostly true. It was shortly after Smyrna passed theirs that Logan's moved in.

Amy D. of Bad Bad Ivy and LaVergne, TN blog also threw out the idea that LaVergne needs better retail selections and not just auto stores. I'm going to back her up 100% on the idea of bringing IKEA into town. I'm a Smyrna advocate and don't really care which end it is on but I'm all set to spend some of my disposable income on IKEA products and believe that if Smyrna or LaVergne would build it, they would come. I believe they would come from all around. This is the kind of store that attracts young, affluent people and since Williamson County doesn't have one, I bet you they'd be willing to travel to LaVergne or Smyrna to shop at it. Either town, build it and then let's all, collectively, say, "Go Rutherford County, Go Rutherford County!" When I lived (briefly) in Denmark, IKEA was the cool store. It brings back some fond memories.

Then we began the discussion about what was pulling some of our communities down and it became apparent that we all have the best interests of our communities at heart so I think we all need to partner together to make our neighboring communities the best they can be and support our neighbors as they support us because we will always only be as good as our nearest neighbor. And if our nearest neighbor sucks, then, eventually so will we so if you are reading this post, take pride in your neighborhood. Help your neighbors out and reach out to other communities to help them as well.

Gunner of No Quarters and This is Smyrna, TN talked about the Smyrna Town Meetings he's been attending and some conversations he's had with the local government workers who are actually reading the Smyrna blog. Gunner says that the the city attorney, Michele Elliott, reads This is Smyrna, TN. Gunner does a great job of covering local politics and is a true citizen. Oh, and Michele, drop us a line sometimes.

We also talked about the new development, Lenox of Smyrna. I gotta tell you, I drool over this concept of the older style homes, sidewalks, shopping and greenspaces all within walking distance. I think this is the most awesome concept. I think the smaller shops in neighborhoods is an idea whose value has been once again realized. There are so many advantages to having shops close to home. Take a closer look at the planning here. This is fantastic, I think.

Michael H. talked about Mr. Roboto's charity event coming up. I suggested doing a Rutherford County Blogger's charity event so if you have ideas, let me know.

The topic of conversation then turned to Michael A. of Mashby. Hey, Michael, I aspire to be as geeky as you. If you haven't visited his blog, go on out there. He has created a podcast called Simply Digital and it is worth a listen. Michael is also a volunteer member of the Nashville Palm User's Group. Don't know what this is? Visit http://www.npug.org to find out more. They are giving away some cool stuff at the next meeting and I'm seriously thinking about attending.

I suggested that the blogger's get together and turn a camera on and do some improv and see what we come up with. Anyone interested, drop me a line. This is somewhat in the vein of Whose line is it anyway if you want to think of it that way but it can be something much greater.

Those who we missed:

Kathryn Coble
who is liveblogging a yard sale
Malia
Christian Grantham
Kerry Woo
Chip

Also, This is Smyrna, TN may have a new contributing member. We were waiting to meet Amber M. who contacted us about contributing articles but, sadly, she was unable to make it. Contact us, Amber, and perhaps we can schedule something.

If I've missed something, please let me know.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Video Gaming Technologies of Smyrna Gets A Round of Applause

While doing some research the other day I happened across Inc.com's 500 list and was floored to find Video Gaming Technologies of Smyrna, TN listed as number 25!

The Inc.com list of 500 is a list of the 500 fastest growing private companies. According to the site:

Ranking 25
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1991
3 Year Growth 1957.1%
Revenue $152.1 million
Web site http://www.vgt.net
Employees 140
Past Honoree 2005

Tremendous honor, indeed. Now, everyone say, "go Smyrna, go Smyrna!"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Special Announcement on Saturday! Don't Forget the Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Meeting

Join us, Saturday, September 16th for the monthly Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting. I have a special announcement for all our hard core bloggers!

Plans are set for Saturday, September 16th at our old friend, Espresso Joe's in Smyrna, TN. Come out and chat with the Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcasters in person. And if you are running for a public office, WE WANT TO TALK TO YOU! Our topics of conversation tend to flow from personal to political.

We'll meet around 2 p.m CST on Saturday, Sept 16th.

Espresso Joe's Coffee Co is located at:
901 Rock Springs Rd.
Smyrna, TN
615-220-2870

Grand Opening of Little Ceasars in Smyrna, TN

I can't quite remember eating Little Caesars but I'm fairly certain that years ago I ate plenty of it and I think it was actually tasty and affordable. So, I'm thrilled to find that Little Caesars is opening up in Smyrna, TN - I think.

You may find in your mailbox, along with your other weekly junk mail, a flier of Little Caesars'. Right now they have a large pepperoni pizza for $5. I'm pretty sure they have other meat choices but they are heavy on the pushing of pepperoni.

Little Caesars is located in the Smyrna Square Shopping Center at
211 South Lowery Street
(next to Goodwill)
355-1996

Update on search for Analyce Guerra

Back in July we posted that the Smyrna police wanted to drain Stewarts creek in the search for the missing child. It was announced today that the city has taken the next step in this process.

The Town Council approved a $106,000 emergency purchase Tuesday for the police department for equipment needed to dam a portion of Stewarts Creek to look for 2-year-old Analyce Guerra, who has been missing since April 23.
This was not done at the town meeting so I'm not sure when they approved it Tuesday.

The town meeting became very interesting

Last nights town meeting started with a lawsuit for $800,000.00. I was setting up my camera and a lady walked around handing out some xerox papers that had been stapled together. Thinking it was the meetings agenda, that I already had, I declined. She said this is a lawsuit and gave me a copy.

It seemed that at the end of last month a federal lawsuit was filed in the Federal District court middle division, Nashville division by Gloria Chellman-Shelton and Richard Shelton. "Court action #3:04-CV-0403"

The situation that brought about this suit started in 2000 over a fence built on the Shelton's neighbors property, next to 106 Vanderford Lane. This was followed by code complaints, issues with the town council, issues with the codes department, possible uninformed code changes, and complaints of being denied the right to address the city council.

In the suit the Shelton's claim the following damages.

(26)"As a result of the actions and inactions of the defendants the Plaintiff's constitutional rights have been violated and they should be compensated for such violations"
(27)"As a result of the actions and inactions of the defendants the Plaintiffs' property rights were damaged. A cloud was placed upon the title that they had to the Vanderford property and as a result they were unable to sell it. They incurred attorney fees, time, and expense in order to pursue enforcement of the ordinances cited above"
(28)"As a result of the actions and inactions of the defendants, the Plaintiffs have incurred mental and emotional distress."
(29)"The plaintiffs seek an award of their attorney fees."
(30)"The plaintiffs seek an award of punitive damages"
(31)The plaintiffs seek an award for all other damages compensatory consequential or otherwise under the law"
The plaintiff, Gloria Shelton, was on the agenda listed as "citizen comments". Before she spoke Mayor Spivey stated that because of the lawsuit that the council would not be commenting on Mrs. Shelton's statement.

Sadly I had not connected the citizen comments with the lawsuit until to late and only was able to get half of it on tape. Impassioned is the word I think summed up best the comments she made on the suit and the slights against her and her husband. She quickly gained my attention by emphasizing certain points of outrage with a thick pile of papers. Comments that were cut short when the three minute mark was announced by Michele Elliott, the town attorney.

Not sure how this lawsuit will work out. Mrs. Shelton seemed to me someone who is not going to back down from this fight. It reminds me of an old saying.

"when someone sues the government, the ones who lose are the taxpayers"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Happenings

This coming Saturday the Sam Davis home is holding an event that is made for a family outing.

Movie Night: "Gone with the Wind". Saturday, September 16, 5pm.
Come join us in the Henry King Theater at the Sam Davis Home for a viewing of a great classic movie. Also enjoy a traditional BBQ dinner. Cost: $20 per person. For more information or to make reservations, please call (615) 459-2341.
The recent BBQ festival they had was the first time there and I enjoyed it greatly. If you want some good food and a classic film, this is what you need.

Later this month at Sam Davis home is something I know I'll be attending.
Heritage Days, Thursday & Friday, September 28 & 29
Living History celebration featuring over 20 demonstrations such as spinning, weaving, lye soap making, etc. Housrs are 9 AM to 1 PM. Admission is $5 per person ages 3 and up. Advance booking is appreciated for groups over 10. For more information, call (615) 459-2341.
I have always had a love of learning old skills like this. In the last year my wife and I have done canning and learned how to ferment kraut. This is right up my alley.

Town meeting tonight

Tonight we are going to have a town meeting for any who wish to go. My wife(Harelipfrog) and I will be going tonight if any want to meet up.

The agenda tonight is filled with the standard rezoning issues and a few housekeeping issues. Only one stands out that is of interest to me. A proposed graffiti ordinance is being put forward and one that I find a bit worrisome.

The issue of graffiti was talked about last month during the August town meeting. They talked briefly about graffiti and how to best deal with it. The only two options that were brought up was the business/land owners dealing with it, or the city.

In the audience was a group of boy scouts. Loren Dennis, a friend of mine, was one of the scout leaders. We talked after the meeting and he asked me why the city had not looked into other options on dealing with the problem. He said scouts would be a good idea. A service to the community badge or Eagle project would be the perfect platform for organizing regular donors of gear, and paint and worker scouts to go and eradicate graffiti every two weeks or so.

If the idea of scouts is worrisome from a legal position then that leaves the gates open for groups like VFW, Lions, or The Rotary club for example. With the plethora of private service groups in Smyrna, why does the city reach for a blank form to create an ordinance before reaching out to the community?

As a small government advocate I hope the city will pause and look at all of the options before passing this ordinance.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

I remember sitting in my office on 9/11. It was a normal work day, I was there early and had already been quite productive. Not much could prepare me for what was about to unfold.

I knew the instant I heard the first plane had crashed into the twin towers that it was terrorism. What darkness in me could draw such a conclusion so quickly? I'm not sure. I suppose I'm a pessimist. One who thinks the worst. When the receptionist told me what had happened, I immediately told her that it was terrorists. I think she dismissed me until the second plane had struck and after that, we've spoke little on the matter.

That day, each moment that passed was a nervous and anxious moment for me. The confusion and chaos and concern over biological attacks was almost too much to bear. I wanted to be home with my family and clutch them close to me and keep them safe. I was one of those buying the long shelf life groceries and the plastic sheeting and duct tape. Now that I think back I wonder just what the heck I was going to do with all that crap. It harkens back to the 50's and 60's educational films, you know the ones where they instruct you on safety measures that could not possibly save your life?

9/11 can never be forgotten by me. I remember 9/11 every day. I've taken my few moments today in honor of those who died. I wish the families and loved ones that were left behind all the blessings that this life can bring. Use this day as a day of true thankfulness of what you have, who you have and that you have this day to share with friends and family members alike.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Halloween in the Park 2006

Interest in Halloween in the Park has picked up. Thanks to a reader for emailing me and letting me know I needed to mention it so folks don't come across the 2005 post and get confused.

Halloween in the Park is my favorite Smyrna festivity. Every year my family and I head over to the Sharp Springs Natural Area to take part in Halloween in the Park. Year after year you can expect costume contests, food, inflatables, hayride and music. It is a great time for the whole town.

The Town of Smyrna has more information on their website at www.townofsmyrna.org but here are some of the highlights.

Comments Appear to be Down

Folks, no worry, comments will be coming back, hopefully soon. For right now, please bear with me. I did not turn comments off. We welcome the feedback.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Take a flight


An historical visitor is coming to the Smyrna Airport and you might want to drop by and visit. The plane is a Ford Tri-Motor. Yes Ford. Known mostly for their trucks and cars, they did dabble in other fields. This is one of 199 ever built.

Between 1927 and 1931, Ford Motor Co. built 199 Ford Tri-Motor airplanes for passenger service, said Dave Swindler of the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. One of the last three believed to be in flying condition will land at Smyrna Airport Sept. 14 for a four-day stop.*
I liked how the Daily New Journal phrased it "One of the last three believed to be in flying condition". If it is just "believed" to be in flying condition then why would they sell tickets to fly in it? I want them to be assured that it is in flying condition.
Each day it is here, the Tri-Motor will take passengers, including Swindler, on a 15-minute ride over Smyrna. Regular seats — all with a window — are available for $50 each. Co-pilot flights are $100. Reservations can be made by calling (8008) 843-3612, or by visiting the plane's Web site, www.flytheford.org.
A bit costly for a 15 minute trip, but historically inclined people would think it's a good deal.
High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up, the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee
1922-1941

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Going to be a busy Saturday

I hope you're hungry, because there is going to be a fish fry at the airport this weekend for a good cause.

Smyrna Rotary Club will hold its fourth annual Wings of Freedom Fish Fry Sept. 9 at the Corporate Flight Management hangar at Smyrna Airport. Proceeds from this year's event will go to organizations such as The Boys & Girls Clubs of Rutherford County, Smyrna Senior Citizens Center, Rutherford County Habitat for Humanity, Sam Davis Home, Smyrna/La Vergne Food Bank and many others. More than 600 people attended last year's event, which raised more than $50,000 for local nonprofit organizations.
.........
The night begins at 5 p.m., with dinner being served at 6 p.m. The all-you-can-eat menu consists of fish, fries and hushpuppies, Cole slaw and drinks. Body & Soul Band will entertain the crowd.
Don't worry about a time problem with the Nashville party. The WKRN get together is set for 10AM and will be out in time for food at the airport.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Meeting - Running For Public Office in Tennessee?

Greetings friends. The next Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting is nearing. Plans are set for Saturday, September 16th at our old friend, Espresso Joe's in Smyrna, TN. Come out and chat with the Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcasters in person. Our topics of conversation tend to flow from personal to political. We've had a long standing open invitation to folks who are running for governor to come out and join us and get their message heard on our podcast. I'd like to expand on that invitation.

Are you running for public office in the State of Tennessee? Having problems being heard? Email me and we'll get you on our schedule to speak at the Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting.

We'll meet around 2 p.m CST on Saturday, Sept 16th.

Espresso Joe's Coffee Co is located at:
901 Rock Springs Rd.
Smyrna, TN
615-220-2870

WKRN Blogger's Meet-Up

I'll be heading to Nashville next Saturday for the WKRN Blogger's Meet Up. Anyone interested in car pooling?

Congrats to My Friends Over at Lavergne, TN Blog

Congrats to my friends over at Lavergne-tn.blogspot.com for their mention in the Daily News Journal.

Hats off to everyone.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Details of our city

Most cities have some sort of fire department. While they differ in the fact that some are volunteers and others paid, they all have something in common. That commonality is gear.

Smyrna's first fire engine was not a truck or originally made to be a fire engine. The year was 1916 and the vehicle started it's life as a 1913 Studebaker(example image).

The story is rather interesting as the Smyrna fire department's website shows.

In 1916, the need for fire protection was realized by the citizens of Smyrna. Prior to this date the only fire protection was a bucket brigade or the occasional barrel placed under downspouts of the homes, however several times fires were responded to by the matter in to his own hands and built the first fire apparatus. Using a 1913 Studebaker belonging to the family, Mr. Hager set out to make a fire truck. A wooden tank was secured to the stripped body of the car. The following is a description of the apparatus taken from Walter King Hoover's book Smyrna: The Town and the Church:

" In the event of a fire , this equipment was driven to the vicinity of the fire, and after being blocked under the wheels to keep from rolling, the right axle was lifted with a hand jack placed under the axle. This let the wheel turn freely without the vehicle being in motion. From a pulley attached to the hub of this wheel , a belt properly placed, powered a water pump, that was mounted on the edge of the truck above the wheel. A two inch hose about thirty feet long was attached to carry water to the fire...."

The first engine was used for not only fires but also to sprinkle the dusty streets that were prevalent for this era.
They did not start paving the city streets of Smyrna until 1929. Wow!

This is a detail of our city

Do you live here?

The city of Smyrna is pretty open about rezoning and letting you know about them. One problem. Outside of town meetings that is lightly attended, and the newspaper, which I don't read, the main way to get the info out is the net.

That sounds good, until you try to figure out WHERE it is.

A good example is the Paul Wisdom rezoning.(PDF link)

Here is the included map.



The other three rezoning issues are just as bad, if not worse. This is an example of what happens when an ALDI/Big Lots scanner is used by a city.

I have never used a scanner, but is someone out there up for a city project? Would someone be willing to drop by and see if you can help them improve their scanning skills? A public service from the cities bloggers to the citizens who come across these scans.

Do you know what a Charette is?

I came across the word on the Smyrna city website and will openly admit total ignorance of the word. A word that has never crossed my path in this life.

The oddly worded link was on the meetings page.

Public Charette For Smyrna Comprehensive Plan
Not sure what it is, but it sounds painful if done wrong. Well off to Wiki to see what a Charette is.

To start with, what it is may be misspelled.
A charrette (often misspelled charette and sometimes called a design charrette) consists of an intense period of design activity.
Ooops!
The word charrette can refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people. Compare workshop.
Sadly the city of Smyrna has a habit of putting releases such as this out in PDF form only. With the magic of screen shots, and a little work in MS Paint, I bring you the Charrette for the city.


The second image mentions the Wilbur Smith Associates. On this page they are described as this.
Wilbur Smith Associates (WSA) provides a wide range of specialized services in the field of environmental and municipal engineering for governments and public agencies, institutions, industries, military installations, airports, and private land development projects. Our professional staff includes civil engineers, sanitary engineers, mechanical engineers, hydrologists and other related experts. These services are provided from various offices throughout the country, and range from preliminary studies of feasibility through all stages of design and construction engineering.
This is a meeting that people who want to live here, and have a say in the cities future, needs to attend.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Smyrna in the news

Google news informed me of some news based in our town.


DARE is a program that makes an attempt to get kids from using drugs. At least that is what the Smyrna Police website says.

Project DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a substance use prevention education program designed to equip elementary school children with skills for resisting peer pressure to experiment with tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. This unique program, which was begun in Smyrna in 1994, uses uniformed law enforcement officers to teach a formal curriculum to students in a classroom setting.
DARE TARGETS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN.
Junior high and high school drug education programs have come too late to prevent drug use among youth in the past. Therefore, substantial numbers of young people have reported initiating use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana by junior high school.
While this may be an act that is worthy of applause, the reality of the police effort may be more costly then you think.


Looks like one of the Smyrna Police officers, since resigned, may have been involved in some questionable activities with DARE money.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is investigating funds missing from the police department's D.A.R.E. account, once headed by former sergeant Ken Hampton. Hampton, 42, submitted a letter of resignation to Police Chief Mike Beach July 12.

Hampton had been employed with the department since March 14, 1994. During his employment, he served at the department's public information officer, coordinator of the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, Citizens Police Academy and fundraiser for Special Olympics of Middle Tennessee and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
..........
"I can confirm that we are investigating some allegations of missing funds related to the Smyrna Police Department's DARE account. No one has been arrested at this time and the investigation continues," she said in an e-mail to The Daily News Journal.

Town officials are unsure how much money is missing, but a Nashville television station reported it could be as much as $20,000.

His resignation had nothing to do with DARE. Seems he did not pay a ticket in Kentucky and lost his license. The driving around on duty without one for over a year was likely bothersome to his bosses.

The DARE information seems to have come to light since he left.

Now $20,000 is a lot cash, if the number is correct. Assuming that the amount is correct, it brings up a question. What is the full budget of the Smyrna DARE program?

I ask that because recent news from Government accounting Office in Washington DC seems to show a major problem with the government anti-drug programs. It doesn't work as planned, or at all.

A Government Accountability Office report on research tracking the impact of the federal government's $1.2 billion anti-drug ad campaign concludes that "the evaluation provides credible evidence that the campaign was not effective in reducing youth drug use, either during the entire period of the campaign
........
Westat's evaluation indicates that exposure to the campaign did not prevent initiation of marijuana use and had no effect on curtailing current users' marijuana use, despite youth recall of and favorable assessments of advertisements." In fact, during some periods and for some subgroups, exposure to the ads was significantly associated with an increased tendency to smoke pot
As someone living in Smyrna I think of how much good the DARE money could have done if spent elsewhere. Better after school programs, parks, or maybe simply taxing us less so we make our own choices how our money is spent.

More Smyrna DARE investigation information HERE and HERE

Smyrna is growing

Smyrna sure seems to be growing. I see al around major projects going in and land being torn up for the future.

I took a small trip around the Lee Victory, Nissan drive, Sam Ridley parkway loop and got some nice pictures of what is "growing" in our city.



Project one is the giant development across the street from the famous Nissan plant. A super site of stores, shops, and other establishments built to separate you from your money. I call it a free market system in all of its glory. This one is still a bit away.

Oddly enough I could not find a good article to link to with details of this project. My main worry for the site is traffic during the shift change at the plant. The oddly laid out interchange there could make traffic there "fun" during certain times during the day.

Project two is a small business popping up near the laundry/carwash businesses across from Foodlion. I asked one worker but due to a language issue I could not get an answer to what this will become. What I do know is that the building will become another business employing more people.



At site three we have an industrial development going in. With almost a whole block being torn up this one is big.



All I can say with the next two images is FINALLY. When a building goes in a lot of information is studied. Traffic, land, use of facilities. Who ever designed this building, or attempted to figure out daily projected usage, Failed in a grand style. From day one the demand outstripped the ability for the YMCA to deliver a comfortable place to go.

I quickly found that my comfort level was exceeded by the crowds past about 10am. A large child to adult mass has kept me away most of the summer. Even Big Orange Michael was less then impressed with the "Y". I cannot find fault with anything he said.

The first picture is the expansion of the wellness center at site four. Seeing the masses of people, numbers not weight, waiting for a free machine showed early a problem.



This is the other big problem. Circling a lot to find a free spot is not a good way to start a day. This lot expansion is the other major need that needs "fixed".



I have heard talk that another pool is in the works. I hope so. The pool is the third leg of bad planning at this site. Crowding is pretty bad at peek hours. Sadly this may be just rumor. Their website does not list any pool work in it's plans.

We're Growing for You!
A new 3,700 foot Wellness Center nearly doubles our available space
We are expanding our parking lot by 114 spaces
Watch for our New Athletic Field!
Criticism aside. The crowds at the "Y" shows that there was a large need for this service. The service they give is better then traveling to another town. The Towne Center is about the only other option in Smyrna. One advantage that the Y has over the Towne center is a graduated cost based on income. Poverty for my wife and I has its pluses.

Smyrna. Growing one torn up lot at a time.