Tuesday, February 27, 2007

One year ago

A quick look at the archives for This is Smyrna gives us a glimpse at what happened a year ago.

Big Orange Michael won the Ms. Cheap's Valentine's Day Contest.

I started as a contributor to This is Smyrna, TN.

Daily Diablogger enjoyed live blogging and giving restaurant reviews.

Another very important occasion occurred that is worth noting last year. Our friends in LaVergne started Lavergne,Tn blog on February 2nd 2006 with this initial post.

Welcome to LaVergne, TN
LaVergne, Tennessee. According to the city website, "The history of the City goes back to the 1700’s when the ancestors of some of La Vergne’s current residents settled in the area to begin their new life. The man the city was named after, Francois Leonard Gregorie de Roulhac de lavergne, eventually moved to Tennessee from France. He lived on the land, often turning his cattle onto what he reportedly termed as “la vergne.” Many historians have translated that to mean “the green” -- as in green pasture -- and say that’s how the town got its name.Others however, say that the town was named La Vergne because of Roulhac’s family name. However the name came to be, the United States Post Office officially gave the city its name the same day that Roulhac died in 1852." Read more about LaVergne's history by clicking HERE.
With this being your first full year, we at This is Smyrna, TN. are happy to extend a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our neighboring community blog.

Monday, February 26, 2007

What's in that jar?

We all have in the back of the garage, or workshop, unlabelled jars full of unknown liquids. Maybe it is just a regular known chemical way past it's age of usefulness.

Instead of stealthily dumping it at the city dump hidden under a layer of coffee grounds, you now have a chance of getting them out of your house, and life, safely.

APRIL 21, 2007
FROM 8AM TO 1PM
@
OLD FORT PARK
MURFREESBORO

This is a public service that attempts to safely dispose of unwanted household hazardous wastes appearing on the following list. Simply place your household hazardous waste(s) in the trunk or bed of your vehicle & drive-thru the pick-up line. Workers will remove the items while you remain in your vehicle.

(This valuable service is meant for households ONLY, therefore businesses CANNOT participate. Used oil from any type of vehicle is to be recycled at your local automotive supply store, NOT at this event!!)

AUTOMOTIVE & MARINE PRODUCTS
Oil and fuel additives
Grease & rust solvents, naval jelly
Carburetor & fuel injection cleaners
Starter fluids
Body putty
Antifreeze/coolant
Gasoline

HOME MAINTENANCE/IMPROVEMENT PRODUCTS
Oil-based paints
Used stripper & thinners
Adhesives
Driveway sealants
Roofing tar
Wallpaper removers
Stains & varnishes

HOME LAWN & GARDEN PRODUCTS
Pesticides
Fertilizers
Wood preservatives

MISCELLANEOUS
Batteries
Pool chemicals
Photo processing chemicals
Medicines & drugs
Aerosols & compressed gas
Mercury thermostats & thermometers
Fluorescent tubes

ELECTRONICS CPUs
TVs (dismantled consoles)
Monitors
Printers
Keyboards
This is way in the future so I will repost this in early April.

Vanderbilt bowling in Smyrna.

I found this picture spread of the Vanderbilt bowling team. Seems that they practice here in Smyrna at the Smyrna Bowling Center .

The Smyrna Bowling Center is where the Commodores practice. The center is considered the finest in Middle Tennessee.
One of the pictures shows how technologically advanced their computer system is there. The system can set up any combination of pins so you can get practice on the hard sets.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Blogger meetup Saturday

Saturday we enjoyed a fun Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group meeting at Expresso Joe's.

In attendance was
Myself(Gunner) from No Quarters and This is Smyrna, TN.
Kathy T. from Lavergne-Tn, and Where's the Mute Button
Dailydiablogger(Michelle) from The Comment Tater and This is Smyrna, TN.
Linda from How about you just call me Linda?
Michael from Big Orange Michael and This is Smyrna, TN.
Malia from Musings from Malicious
Chip from Chip Manor
Elizabeth from Harelipfrog

We also had a new blogger drop by. Nathan McIntyre from An American Front Porch

I was disappointed that the two people I had questions for were no shows. Amy, from The badbadivy experience, and Ginger, from Ginger Snaps. I wanted to ask Amy and Ginger about their new jobs.

Kathy T. has a nice writeup on the meeting.
I'm think I have hit link saturation on this single post.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Citizen's Police academy - Night 2

Thursday night's citizens police academy started out with an address by the acting city police chief Kevin Arnold.

Chief Kevin Arnold was there to talk about the hiring process for the city. To even get your foot in the door you need to meet one of the following criteria.

1 Minimum of 60 hours at an accredited college. No cosmetology school.
2 Served in the military and left honorably
3 Be a certified police officer
This is followed by interviews, medical and psychological examinations, field training, academy training, and a whole litany of steps needed before the big "Okay" is given. All of this keeps the "he got hired because he's a good ol' boy" aura away. Continual training each year was also addressed.
Small bit of trivia.
Chief Arnold got his start as a library guard at MTSU
.
Chief Arnold then talked about the trouble getting candidates. He mentioned that people with convictions apply and seemed confused that the convictions could be a problem. The lack of enough minority candidates was talked about and how Smyrna wants to go to more job fairs at colleges and universities such as Fisk.

Next up was Sgt. Bobby Gibson. Bobby Gibson is one of the towns K-9 officers, and the primary point of contact for the media. When the media is clamoring for information he is the one they go to. One of his jobs is contacting the media with information to assist the police in their investigations. The Analyce Guerra case is an example of when getting the information to the media is so vital.

He also had a couple students do a mock question and answer skit to show how dealing with the press is much more difficult then it seems.

The next speaker was Teresa Winnery(I hope I got her name correct). She addresses the subject of communications with the assistance of Judy a second shift dispatchers.

She, Judy and a couple of victims volunteers showed how they have to juggle 911 calls, officer dispatch calls, and walk in calls. The confusion was humorous, but also showed the level of details needed to perform their job.
Quick question.
Do you know the non-emergency number for the Smyrna city police?
459-6644
Then she exposed us to the grit of her job. The 911 calls. Not the "My cat is in a tree" call, but the "My friend has been shot what do I do" through the screams calls. You listen to just one, and you come to the realization that they likely are not getting paid enough. Calls that can be so bad that counselling is available if desired.

Smyrna Dispatchers are also well trained in areas you may not think are required.
Each dispatcher is required to complete 32 hours of training in field tactical dispatch training including an 8 hour scenario with an active S.W.A.T. operation.
The next speaker was a total surprise to me.

Joe Johnson, Chief of Public Safety at the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport spoke of his job and the job his people perform at the airport. I knew the airport had their own fire department, but had no idea of its many duties. The public safety department is responsible for security, fighting fire, and policing the whole airport. Each Public safety officer is triple licensed in EMS, law enforcement, and fire/rescue.

They are a busy department as they answer over 4600 calls a year. With homeland security assistance they now have a security system that gives them 98% night vision coverage of the airport by camera.
FYI.
Tours of the airport are available for classes and groups by calling 459-2651
We ended the night with a show of the airport authorities fire fighting equipment in the main garage.

night 1

Friday, February 23, 2007

Smyrna's Idol

As a first-time American Idol watcher, I find the show entertaining, horrendous, fabulous, and interesting. What I didn't know is the bald guy whose wife went into labor and delivered a baby during his Memphis audition was from Smyrna. His parents still live here and Mom works at Stonecrest Medical Center.

Luckily, Phil is one of my favorite male singers so let's wish him loads of luck, good lyrics, great rhythms, and only nice comments from Simon. Read the article from this week's Daily News Journal here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

You're Invited! Saturday February 24th - Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting

It is time again for the Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group meeting. Meet us Saturday, February 24th at 2:00 PM at Espresso Joe's in Smyrna, TN. Come out and talk with your favorite bloggers and podcasters... Introduce yourself and join in the live, face to face conversation and recording.

Our topics range from technology to television. You're sure to find a thread that is of interest. I would like to have someone from the Linux community come out and speak with us about the lastest release, Ubuntu 6.10.

Last month's cast of characters include:

Ivy of Bad Bad Ivy
Shauna of Oh Pish Posh
Michael of Big Orange Michael and This is Smyrna, TN
Kathy T of LaVergne-TN and Where's the Mute Button
Ginger of Ginger Snaps
Chip of Chip Talks
Malia of Musings from Malicious
Elizabeth of Harelipfrog
Gunner of No Quarters and This Is Smyrna, TN
and the delightful Megs of a future blog

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The people of Smyrna, TN


This is the first of what I hope to make a regular column. I have come across so many interesting people recently that I thought a series written by the people of Smyrna Tn. would fit in nicely on this site.

With my time watching the town meetings, I felt that the first people to invite should be the ones who represent us on the city council. Our first responding guest columnist is James Yates. A Smyrna Town Councilman At Large and in real life a Realtor and General Contractor.

He asked me if there was a specific subject I could recommend. "Why he decided to run for the council" was my suggestion.


Politics has always interested me. A few years ago I made a decision to throw my name into the local political arena. After a conversation with my family about concerns I have in our Town, I decided to be a decision maker rather than a bystander. I announced my intentions to my family at a Thanksgiving Dinner. Life intervened and various things caused me to delay my plans. After a slight set back, the time finally came to make the move.

First, I began talking about it to “poll” people and get a feel for the support level. Once I decided I had enough encouragement, I picked up my qualifying papers and began my trek.

The undertaking proved to be a BIG challenge. It consumed an enormous amount of time, required me to miss a lot of work, and helped to define me as a whole. I must admit… It was a hard row to hoe (as my father would say)!

The election came to a head in a very unique way. My opponent and I tied! That’s right… we tied! Each of us had the exact same number of votes! To my knowledge, that has never happened before in the Rutherford County area. Never again can anyone say to me that their vote doesn’t count! All it would have taken was for one more person to go to the polls, for either candidate! This led to a runoff race that essentially made me start the entire process over again.

At the end of the runoff, the citizens made their choice and I was graced with the position. I was blessed to have run with others who did not encourage or participate in “mudslinging”. I never saw anyone, especially my direct opponent, say or do anything that was less than “professional”. All of Smyrna should be proud of this fact.

So, in conclusion, I hope I am making the Town’s citizens proud with the way I conduct myself and with the way I vote. Thanks to all for allowing me to serve as your Councilman!

Sincerely,

Honorable James Yates
Smyrna Town Councilman At Large
www.TownofSmyrna.org
Thank you Mr. Yates.

Monday, February 19, 2007

New leagues forming now!!


I am now forming a new league for those that work in a restaurant. If you work for a full service or fast food restaurant and enjoy to bowl then you need to make sure you attend our free bowling party on March 4Th which is a Sunday night from midnight till 2am. You will be able to bowl for free for the 2 hours. Our snack bar will be open for you as well. I already several that will be attending this night so I hope there is alot more folks that make it. We will decide on this night how long we want to run this league. The number per team will depend on how many folks we get to join. You will also get to bowl from Sunday thru Thursday for $1.00 a game since you are on a league which is a great value!!! If you are interested in this please leave me a comment or email me at bearroller9640@yahoo.com thanks again guys and hope to see you march 4th Sunday night!!! You go can go to our blog here

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The invitations have been delivered

Monday of last week I made a small stop at the city hall. With my wife's help on mail merge I created 9 individual invitations. They went to the city council, the Mayor, the town attorney, and the town manager.

This is Smyrna, TN, would like to invite you to participate as a guest columnist for our website. The column can be on any subject, and of any length, that you desire. Talk about yourself, the city, your time with the city, or the latest headline news. It's open season on any subject. Write about what grabs your fancy

The idea behind the series is to let a wider audience have a chance to get to know you better.

If you would like to take part in this, just email me the finished column and I will post it unedited on the website in a timely manner.

A response is appreciated

Thank You


Gunner Miller
*******@bellsouth.net
I talked to the town attorney Tuesday and she said that she had gotten hers and the council would get theirs in their Thursday packets before the retreat.

The retreat is over, and I soon hope to be posting their columns in the near future.

I threw this idea by M(Michelle) last week and if it works out nicely it may become a regular series of guest columns. A sort of "This is the people of Smyrna, TN" series of posts. But for now, I simply await the first 9.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Cooking in Smyrna

This is something I just did myself one day and it worked good. I call it "pepper oil" and it likely is unhealthy and risky as heck.

I had some spare jalapenos and wanted to put them to use. After cleaning and deseeding them I sliced them thin. Like french cut green beans. I then drained off some olive oil from a small bottle I had. I filled it up till the peppers filled it and pushed the oil level to the top. I then capped and set it on the counter.

I figured I would have some oil with pepper "aroma"

Several weeks later I noticed that it looked "bubbly" on the pepper slices, and that the slices looked "soft". I rotated the top to smell it and heard "FZZZZZZ!" like a pop bottle. all of a sudden bubbles started rising like it was carbonated, and oil bubbled out of the top. I recapped it and just stared at it. "what had I done" was all I could think.

All I can figure is that the peppers had fermented in the oil.

I then released pressure every few days over the next couple of weeks and noticed the change to the peppers. They seemed to break apart. The oil took on a thicker look, almost milky.

After a month the peppers had broken/dissolved into little pieces and I found that cooking with this oil was tasty.

I would give the bottle a good shake, to stir up the pepper "glop" on the bottom and season my pan. Frying eggs leaves you with a standard fried egg, with little pieces of red and green pepper in the white, and a nice mellow "warm bite" to the taste. Good for most meats you want to kick the flavor up with.

I've done this three times since and it "ferments" every time. I call it my "pepper oil". Today I noticed that the bubbles were nice and formed. I released pressure and flavored meat I was cooking.

If you don't think it will kill you, you ought to give it a try.

UPDATE:
It was pointed out to me that some people do not recommending the use of fresh peppers in oil as there is a chance of botulism. How big a chance was not said. They recommend dried peppers.

Baby Day

Baby day is a joint effort between Farmers Insurance and Publix to help you protect your children. Baby day is occuring February 24(Saturday) 10Am-4PM, and you can get a needed finger print kit there. Smyrna city police will be in attendance.

They are also giving you the chance to sign up for a software package. This home organizing kit will help you with receipts, bills, and all of the other things in life that make you pull your hair out. It also has a helpful option that allows you to make picture ID of your children and then reminds you every 6 months to update your childs picture. If, heaven forbid, something bad happens to your child. A recent picture is a useful tool for police departments.

This package will not be given out at Publix as they will order only as many needed to fullfill demand. It will be sent to you at a later date.

Citizen's Police academy - Night 1

I was not quit sure what a citizen's police academy looked like so I went with no preconceived notions. What I saw last night of a room full of interested, and interesting people. The first night of the academy was mostly basic introductions and a little of what we would be going over in the next two months.

One surprising item that I did not expect, was that we would be doing ride-alongs with the officers on patrol. That means if you see me in a police car in the next month or so, I probably didn't do anything....probably.

We had four speakers last night. Officer Kriebs, Patrol Commander Dwyer(Seen here), Captain Keith Lowery, and Division Commander Laura Williams. Each went over their specific division and what it did. a lot of stories from their past in the Smyrna police department and the departments history.

For me the most interesting speaker was Mr. Lowery. He's in the tech. division and some of the future plans, and "wants" for Smyrna are pretty impressive. He was a true font of information.

One is the fact that Smyrna police vehicles may be getting a information station for their cars. You have likely seen them in the movies. A small computer keyboard and monitor that links in to national databanks, DMV records, and other needed tools that can speed up their reaction and effectiveness.

He also mentioned something that impressed me. ALL Smyrna police cars have dash cameras. They're there for the protection of the police, and citizens of Smyrna and something I am an advocate of. He mentioned one item that surprised me. They are on the entire shift and it records the data to a hard disc that then burns a portable disc. Mr Dwyer talked about the older VHS recorders that would loose tracking and sound and was a general pain.

Mr Lowery also talked about a full city wide wireless mesh system. It could connect all cars, cameras, and even other surprising items. Imagine if you woke up and could hop on line and see what roads have been plowed as all plows have GPS trackers? The police dispatchers could see exactly were all the patrol vehicles are and send the nearest one to a crime scene. Cutting down response time can easily save a person's life.

The wireless mesh could also connect police close circuit TV cameras at parks and other areas.

One ominous thing he did say was that speed/red light cameras may, just may, be in our future. Ick for many reasons.

Now this wireless mesh system needs big towers, and that costs money. Unless you're smart and piggy back them on other towers, like the future tornado siren towers that are in the planning stage. That's the ideal outcome..

Division Commander Laura Williams talked generally about crime in Smyrna and surprised me with one bit of information. Smyrna has a growing gang problem. We've all seen wannabees walking around looking "thuggish" in a clown like fashion. It turns out there now seems to be the real deal making their presence known.

We also were introduced to the CPA alumni association. Turns out the Citizen Police academy is 11 years old this year. The alumni association does a lot of good things in the community in cooperation with the police department. Helping with parades, working with the "Shop with a cop" program, and other police functions that do not require law enforcement.

All in all, a very pleasant evening.

I also introduced a lot of people to this website. So "HI!" if you're from the academy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bright lights, growing city

Mayor Spivey announced last night that he has been holding talks with our state senator and that the state likely will be putting forward about $100k to help finance the construction of the light at Sam Ridley Blvd, and Motlow College.

Anyone who has tried, with white knuckles, to turn there knows how great this news is.

Thanks Mr. Spivey!

Odd happenings last night

Last night something that I titled "ODD" in bold in my notes happened. The town has just finished a master plan for the city parks system. For the most part the city council have been rightly proud of this plan. It looks into the future and tries to make Smyrna a city that everyone can enjoy.

Last night the Mayor talked about the current dealing with the county and that a pretty solid number for the land had been worked out. Up to now the numbers had been pretty costly.

The council offered $1.5 million for the site last summer, but county officials turned it down, saying they wanted $2.2 million for it. That's $27,500 an acre, compared to the $12,500 per acre the county paid for the property a few years ago. Smyrna also spent $3 million to extend sewer lines to the site.
Last night the Mayor said the number very likely would be $17,500 per acre.

Now this is strange on the surface. As 80 acres at $17,500 equals $1,400,000. A cost that is supposedly $100,000 LESS then the DNJ article said had been earlier offered.

I asked someone in the know and they said that there was a changing of the guard in the county and more agrreeable people came into office. This likely lead to the lowering of the cost. To the advantage of the tax payers of smyrna.

Then the really ODD thing happened last night.

Lance Lee brought a worry forward that he had with the whole master plan. Financing the purchases is all good, but can the city afford to maintain it? An 80 acre park, and all the rest that the city will cost a lot in upkeep, and if the city budget is tight now, how bad will this giant park and other expansions make the budget look? He said all of the residents he had talked to were all for the parks, but were also united in that they did not want more taxes to support it.

Mr Johns, also said he would be against the park if more taxes were required.

I had heard no ripples of discontent against the plans until last night and I was honestly surprised when two council members spoke up as they did.

Last night made the whole 80 acre park issue a little more interesting then it was a few days ago.

Last nights town meeting

Last nights meeting started with a crowded room and a LOT of people who wanted to talk about one specific issue. The annexation of the ROW(right of way) on Seminary road(PDF). So many showed that it was standing room for some. The room was simply not big enough for all the people.

This Map shows the part of Seminary Road that the city wanted.



The first people who addressed the council told of a whole list of problems that they had with the road at this time. Everything from flooding, to bad lights, to slow law enforcement response. The first commenter used the term "seminary raceway" when she talked about road racing that occurs there. In all a lot of problems were brought to the city councils attention.

James Yates was really the first council member to talk about the ROW last night and said the residents had many legitimate issues. He sounded so supportive that the audience broke out in applause. This caused the mayor to chastise the people a bit.

H.G. Cole brought up his main worry.



The I-2 lot to the right of the map is going to become a recycling center. I'm not sure who would have been the owner, but it pretty much depended on the side entrance. The Seminary road is not made for industrial and the recycling company would have improved it up to their entrance. The red line on the above map shows how far they would have upgraded the road. Now on the surface that may sound good, but it leaves an opening for the city to get shafted down the road. No pun intended.

H.G. Cole's main worry is based on the future us of the northern I-2 lot. If another industrial business moves in, they would be responsible for upgrading the road along the edge of their property. That's the yellow line.



At this point the city, and you the tax payer, would be responsible to repair regularly, or upgrade the red section of this map. The part the recycling center does not plan on upgrading.

H.G. Cole was not comfortable with that idea, and it seemed others on the council agreed. That, with the many issues the city would have inherited, made this annexation fail unanimously when the council voted. The crowds were not subdued when the vote went their way.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Smyrna Police and I

The process to hire a new police chief has officially started.

Qualifications in the job description include:

A bachelor's degree in criminal justice, public administration or similar field (master's degree preferred).

FBI National Academy preferred.

15 years of law enforcement experience with 10 years in a managerial position. Five of those 10 years to be served at a rank of captain or higher, or with duties equal to the town's police captain position.
The position opened last year with the surprise resignation of the last chief.

Now the "I" part.

Looks like I will be going to my first night of the Citizen's police academy this coming Thursday night. It is being held at the fire station on, or near, the airport.

I found myself stuck between a small road trip and this academy. The town council and most of the department heads are planning on a retreat this Thursday and Friday. I had wanted to attend, and as I couldn't be at both places at the same time, I had to decide which one had the most to offer me.

I was inclined to go and watch as these items were to be addressed.
Among the items to be discussed are a possible ordinance requiring restaurants to require a no-smoking section, the community development plan and an ethics ordinance, which the 2006 General Assembly requires all local governments have in place by July 1. The rest of the time will be devoted to budget priorities, said Town Manager Mark O'Neal.
I wanted to hear more on the smoking ban and what is being done on it. I also wanted to find out more on the new ethics rules, and board as the subject intrigues me. Especially since I put my name in for a board. what are the odds?

I'll be going to the town council meeting tonight. I'll be getting a schedule of the retreat as my wife says I should still go. I could leave the academy and drive down to the retreat and catch the last part of Thursday and all of the Friday activities. Maybe.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Smyrna High School Winter Guard

Smyrna Wintergaurd travels to Russellville, KY today to compete in their second Competition this season.

Two weeks ago The guard visited Oak Grove, Al for a field day exibition. The guard scored well then, and even better today. Smyrna's score today was only 6 points away from first place. Way to go guard!

This year the group is performing to the song "It's a beautiful day" by U2

Good Luck Guard!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Host Families Needed

My company is sponsoring Up with People, an organization that offers young adults the opportunity to experience the different people, countries and cultures of the world firsthand while connecting with local communities in a meaningful and impactful way. From across the world, about 50 young adults ranging in age from 18 to 29 are coming to Smyrna and Nashville March 12-19 and will be working at the Wherry Housing on Weakly Lane. We desperately need host families to give them a place to stay, provide meals, and drive to the worksite.

Two Up with People concerts will also be held and host families will receive free tickets. If you are interested in hosting please contact Kathy Tyson at 491-2161 or Butch Roth at 477-8483. Please help - maybe your own children or you will be inspired to be a part of this international phenomenon.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

New To Smyrna, TN?

We'd like to know what you are most interested in reading about.

Leave your comments here.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Music in Smyrna

When I think music award presentations I think of Nashville, New York, or Hollywood. I do not think of Smyrna. That's changing now.

On April 17th SEE UPDATE, Smyrna will be the host city for the Southern Gospel news 2007 SGN Music Award.

Deon and Susan Unthank, administrators of SouthernGospelNews.com, are proud to announce the nominees for the 2007 SGN Music Awards. As in year’s past, the nominees were chosen by the staff of SouthernGospelNews.com. Starting on February 1, 2007, the fans will get a chance to vote for their favorites in each category.

"Our awards have grown so much over the last couple of years,” mentioned site administrator Deon Unthank. “We feel like these nominations are some of finest ever. We can’t wait to let the voting begin and see who comes out on top!”

“Even our SGN Music Awards Celebration has turned into something really fantastic,” said Susan Unthank. “This year’s awards celebration is looking to be even more exciting than the last two years!”
I cannot find the specific site in town where it will be held, but voting for the winners is open if you are interested.

UPDATE:
Just heard back from the Southern Gospel news people and the music award festival will be at the following.
River of Life Assembly of God in Smyrna, July 24-28, 2007
If anyone plans on going and would like to report on it drop us a line.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Tennessee crosses the Rubicon

There was in Italy a river called the Rubicon. It was more then a waterway, it was also a border between action and limits. For you see when a commander was returning to Rome from a campaign, he could not bring his legions south of the Rubicon. This line was there to keep a man from feeling that he not only ruled the battle field, but should rule the Roman senate. If he did bring more then his private staff with him across the Rubicon, then he had gone over the line.

"Crossing the Rubicon" has morphed into a modern saying that implies there is no going back. A point has been crossed, and it cannot be uncrossed.

We, as a nation, and state, have crossed the Rubicon, and cannot retreat.

Tennessee, and to a smaller extent Smyrna, are in the middle of a political and social storm. Should a public smoking ban or limit be instituted? Let me rephrase that. Should a smoking ban, or limit, be enforced on us? We should at least be honest when approaching how it will be carried out.

Now I have posted previously on the subject of the proposed smoking ordinance that James Yates will soon be putting forward for council vote. I am against it for many reasons. One reason why I am against it that is hard to articulate without a bit of ancient and modern history thrown into the post.

I have no doubt that this new law from the legislature in Nashville will soon pass. Why? Because politicians do not get re-elected for NOT doing something. Action, even if misguided, gets votes. I have never heard of a politician who got elected on the platform that "I did nothing during my last term". A politician must have something to take credit for so they can fill the airwaves with the soundbites of their deeds.

We are reaching the point where everything in life is regulated. From the tank size of our toilets, the water flow from our shower heads, and even to the size of the holes in cheese. However, the things the government can control and legislate are finite. With that limit approaching they must turn their controlling eyes towards us.

That's you and me for sake of this post.

Now to be truthful, they do not see it as control. No sane person has a desire to control and manipulate the actions of others. The problem is what our government has become as it has evolved through time. In history there is a philosopher named Kant, a man under-taught in schools today. He formulated his ideas of freedom and liberty in Principles of Rights.

The first of these rights was the "Liberty of every Member of the State as a Man". A certain part of it stands out as important in this debate on smoking and other acts.

:*'No one has a right to compel me to be happy in the peculiar way in which he may think of the well-being of other men; but everyone is entitled to seek his own happiness in the way that seems to him best, if it does not infringe the liberty of others in striving after a similar end for themselves when their Liberty is capable of consisting with the Right of Liberty in all others according to possible universal laws.'*A Government founded upon the principle of Benevolence towards the people*after the analogy of a father to his children, and therefore called a paternal Government*would be one in which the Subjects would be regarded as children or minors unable to distinguish what is beneficial or injurious to them. These subjects would be thus compelled to act in a merely passive way; and they would be trained to expect solely from the Judgment of the Sovereign and just as he might will it, merely out of his goodness, all that ought to make them happy. Such a Government would be the greatest conceivable Despotism; for it would present a Constitution that would abolish all Liberty in the Subjects and leave them no Rights.
I remember as a youth asking my dad to shoot off some fireworks. he told me that I was too young and that they were dangerous. He was my father. I look and see municipalities banning fireworks for the same reason. Daddy government? Paternal you might even say. I also remember going about building a small cabin with my cousin. We were halted from the first site because my Uncle said it would be a problem there. Today if I try to build a shed in my backyard I would need to get the local governments permission and OK. Daddy government again?

We have so silently slid into the paternal government that Kant warned us of so many years ago.

Now a smoking ban on public places may seem such a small thing when compared to the ills and sins of the world. "It's just smoking" you may say.

Back to the Rubicon.

When you cross that point there is no going back. Tennessee is standing in the river and can still see the line below it's feet, and the next few months may be very important to all of us.

Some states have crossed the river long ago. You could not find a finer example then New York. Here is just a short list of things that they have tried to ban, or have banned, in that state.
* Trans-fats.

* Aluminum baseball bats.

* The purchase of tobacco by 18- to 20-year-olds.

* Foie gras.

* Pedicabs in parks.

* New fast-food restaurants (but only in poor neighborhoods).

* Lobbyists from the floor of council chambers.

* Lobbying city agencies after working at the same agency.

* Vehicles in Central and Prospect parks.

* Pit bulls

* Cell phones in upscale restaurants.

* The sale of pork products made in a processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C., because of a unionization dispute.

* Mail-order pharmaceutical plans.

* Candy-flavored cigarettes.

* Gas-station operators adjusting prices more than once daily.

* Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

* Wal-Mart.
California follows the state of New York with attempts to ban smoking in your car when children are in it, and even Incandescent light bulbs. Berkley California has even banned coffee they don't like. After all, Daddy knows best.

These states crossed the river so long ago that it has become a faded memory. Tennessee stands shakily on that line, not sure whether to go forward, or pull back.

Now it rests upon the shoulders of the politicians and that frightens me.

Last night I sat in the Smyrna city council chambers and watched the latest town workshop. A short one when compared to others. It ended for me on a foul note. Mr Yates asked the town attorney if she was still working on his smoking ordinance. One that he is putting forth to require a smoking section in all restaurant's. The mayor, Mr Spivey, laughed and said that the way things are going in the capital, that it would not be needed. That moment of laughter from several made me think.

Why are they working on a limitation, when a ban would soon be enforced from Nashville? Why waste city time, and resources?

It was at that moment that Kant famous words came to mind.
These subjects would be thus compelled to act in a merely passive way; and they would be trained to expect solely from the Judgment of the Sovereign and just as he might will it, merely out of his goodness, all that ought to make them happy
It's hard for a government to break the habit of control.

We all stand as a state in the river Rubicon. Tomorrow we will find if we have crossed that line.