Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Flu shots still available

According to the Smyrna AM, flu shots can still be had locally. Here is a list.

Voting in a new place.

It looks like a lot of people, including myself, will be voting in new polling places in the next election.
The Rutherford County Election Commission has approved the immediate relocation of 10 overcrowded voting precincts prior to the 2008 election cycle in an effort to better accommodate voters in future elections.

Moving from smaller precincts to larger facilities, rather than adding more precincts just a couple of years before the 2010 U.S. Census begins and district lines are redrawn will save the county considerable expense. (Listings of precinct changes with new precinct locations are listed below.)
The Smyrna/Almaville/LaVergne polling places affected are as follows.
Precinct 5-1 (LaVergne Civic Auditorium) moved to the LaVergne First Baptist Church, 375 Old Nashville Hwy., LaVergne.

Precinct 8-1 (Almaville Community Center) moved to the Blackman United Methodist Church, 4380 Manson Pike. Murfreesboro.

Precinct 9-1 (Almaville Fire Hall) moved to the Stewarts Creek Elementary School, 200 Red Hawk Pkwy., Smyrna.

Precinct 9-2 (Rock Springs Elementary School) moved to the Giles Creek Baptist Church, 7084 Rocky Fork Rd., Smyrna.

Precinct 11-1 (Smyrna Fire Hall) moved to the Smyrna Middle School, 712 Hazelwood Dr., Smyrna.

Precinct 12-1 (Nissan Fire Hall) moved to the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center, 460 9th Avenue, Smyrna.
You should get a letter describing the polling place changes in the mail..I would hope.

The elections for next year are as follows.
February 5, 2008- Presidential Preference Primary, Rutherford County Primary

August 7, 2008- State and Federal Primaries, and Rutherford County General

November 4, 2008- Presidential, State General, plus Eagleville, LaVergne and Smyrna Municipal Elections
Remember. An informed politician is as important as an informed voter. let them know what you think. Otherwise they will tell you how to think.

Here one day, gone the next.

I have no real issues with the growth of Smyrna outside of one. There seems to be no real plans to assist a bookstore to move here. a store that I feel is vital to a community.

My sister picked me up a local phone book called "Your Local Directory". It looks like it is put out by comcast of all things. I automatically looked inside for bookstores, and to my shock one was listed. Here in Smyrna bookstore exists, and I did not know about it.

"Carmen Lily's Books and Stuff" is located at 179 N. Lowry St.. Or I should say 'WAS' located there. You might know of the location for the older residents of Smyrna. The building that looks like an old motel converted to stores, that used to have an older firetruck parked in it near the road. I drove there Sunday and cruised slowly looking into each window and reading the store signs. No bookstore. I tried to call the number listed in the phone book, and it has been disconnected.

Dangit all. One was here and I did not even see it.

I'll drive by again today to see if I might have missed it, but I'm not holding out hope. The sad thing is that I could have been their best customer.

Does anyone know who Carmen Lily is? I've done a search for the last name, but no residents in Smyrna have that last name according to them.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

WGNS linked

I have added a new image link to radio station WGNS in Murfreesboro. I have posted in the past on what I called "Smyrna Radio", a semi-weekly show broadcast normally from the YMCA here in Smyrna. Because of the radio show from this end of the county I feel they should be linked to on "This is Smyrna, TN.".

WGNS, while a radio station first, has also gotten into the online news dissemination. I would link to their news page, but there seems to be several. A Blogspot blog, a wordpress blog, a WGNSradio newpage, and a Miocrosoft blog. While there are several sites, all are linked to from the WGNS mainpage. Maybe each radio personality has their own, because each of them have different posts.

Online and ready to read

While it may seem to many that I harp on the town council, they do a lot that I agree with.

One of the main issues I had with the ending of the Smyrna recodification was the lack of information. The MTAS codes seemed way out of date, and there was no current versions online, and all of the proposed changes were unattainable financially by many until less then a week before the final vote.

A lot of people were in the dark, and that is not a good way for any government, at any level, to function. During the September workshop the Town Attorney mentioned that she intended to get a copy of the current codes online for easy access.

A big thanks from "This is Smyrna, TN."and myself as it has come to our attention today that the codes were now online and updated. The individual chapters are in a PDF format so there is no need to download the whole set of codes, just what you feel you need to read.

Now all ordinance changes can be made to them and updated in a timely manner.


Now we just need to convince the town to add a "Single Subject rule" for future changes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The use of the blog format

It seems more and more groups are using the blog format to get news and information out in a timely manner. What started as individuals has now morphed into news services, companies, and even local groups.

While reading an article an advertisement flashed in the right column, and there it was. A link to the Rutherford county 4-H club's blog. After a few exchanged emails, I received permission to post the newest link in the right column of This is Smyrna, TN.

Welcome our newest local blog. The Rutherford County 4-H Network News.

Halloween is here, are you ready?

The Smyrna city website has posted some tips on how to have a safe and fun Halloween.
Wear clothing with reflective tape.
Accept treats on the door step, NEVER enter into a home without supervision.
Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.
Stay on Sidewalks.(If no sidewalk) walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
Obey traffic signals.
Stay in familiar neighborhoods.
Avoid eating treats until an adult can inspect it.
Don't cut across yards or driveways.
Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground, and are flame resistant.
Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house, or use face paint only.
Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props, never sharp objects.
Approach only houses that are lit.
Stay away from and don't pet unfamiliar pets or animals.
If no adult, travel in pairs or in groups.
Know how to call 911 if there is any danger.
As this is a kids holiday, and you may want to get in as much fun as possible, then the town is offering just what you need. The 11th annual Halloween in the Park at Sharp Srpings Natural Area Park.

click for larger image

Costume contests, food and games. Just what the holiday needs to be fun. Be safe.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Smyrna Judge in the news

Pictured is the Court of Appeals for the state of Tennessee. On September 27th William Bryan Cain(the second from the left standing) died, leaving an opening. It was announced today that Keta Barnes, our own Judge has applied for the position.
Smyrna General Sessions Court Judge Keta J. Barnes is one of 20 applicants for a seat on the Court of Appeals.

The Sept. 27 death of Judge William Bryan Cain created a vacancy on the court from Middle Tennessee.

Members of the Judicial Selection Commission will meet Nov. 15-16 in Nashville to nominate three candidates to Gov. Phil Bredesen.
We wish her luck.

More here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall Festival

The Rock Springs church has an event planned that you might be interested in.
Sunday, Oct. 28

Rock Springs Church, Smyrna will be hosting a Fall Festival on Sunday, Oct. 28 starting at 3 p.m. at Rock Springs Elementary, 1000 Waldron Road, La Vergne. There will be a hot dog roast with all the fixings, a chili cook-off, bounce house, games, candy, toys and a costume parade for kids of all ages. The event is FREE. Call the church office at 615-220-2220 for more information or go to
This looks like it is youth oriented, but I may drag myself there for some pictures.

Local school gets straight A's

A school with bad grades pulled itself up and made the grades people expect from it's school system.
FOX News Network recently reported that ... "education in the United States is on a decline." While this may be true on a national level, Smyrna, Tenn., can boast of just the opposite!

The quiet little Title I school of John Colemon Elementary, has pulled itself up from 2 F's, 1 D and 1 C to straight A's — something a very small percentage of schools throughout the county or state of Tennessee earn. Schools are graded every year on stringent qualitative and quantitative achievements in the categories: No Child Left Behind, Adequate Yearly Progress and Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program.
This plus the Cedar Grove PTO award shows a school system of quality.

SPD Citizens' Police Academy

The town of Smyrna has opened up registration for next years Smyrna Citizens' Police Academy. I took part in it last year and it was worth it in so many ways. The classes were held once a week and lasted from about 6pm - 9pm plus when I went.
The Smyrna Police Department is now accepting applications for the first Citizens' Police Academy in 2008. These sessions of educational classes offered to the public to promote an understanding and awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the Smyrna Police Department start January 24 and run to an April 10th graduation. This is a unique opportunity for citizens of Smyrna to learn about their police department and the work they perform in the community. The academy provides an overview of police operations, practices, and objectives. The classes are scheduled for Thursday nights, from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

With public support and understanding so essential to law enforcement, the Citizens' Police Academy has proven to be an excellent program to bring the community and law enforcement together for common goals. The overall goal of the Citizen Police Academy is "Understanding through Education". This is accomplished by the exchange of information from the citizen participants and law enforcement instructors of the class.

If you are a citizen who lives in Smyrna and have ever had a question about the police department and would like to get feedback in a comfortable setting-this is the class for you. The academy is free of cost, and enrollment is limited.

To learn more and to apply on-line or by mail Click Here ===> Citizens' Police Academy
You learn about more then just our police department, but also law enforcement in general. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about our police department.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hot and dry.

I knew it has been a long dry summer, but not to such a degree.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

YMCA tailgate party tomorrow

The YMCA is hosting a tailgate party tomorrow for LaVergne and Smyrna, and all are invited.
The North Rutherford YMCA will host a tailgating party from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in its parking lot before the game. It is the second year the YMCA has hosted the event. Last year, more than 1,000 people showed up.

"It will be a good time for fellowship before they go out and start hollering at each other," said Mack Barrett, a YMCA board member. "The Y is doing their part to be a good neighbor. It's just one of the many things the Y does to bring the community together."

The event will feature a DJ, food from Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q and inflatable games for kids. While Jim 'N Nick's is offering the food for free, donations will be taken for both schools.
Looks like it will be fun.

While on the subject of High school football. Is there anyone out there who would like to do some basic posts on the school scene, and school sports in Smyrna? You could do it as individual submitted articles, or become a regular poster here at This is Smyrna, TN.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Promise me I'll live another 15 years, that would make me 30 "

OK people I have an update on Brandon Brewer and this update is one that is going to make your heart heavy. I have heard from his mother today and she informs me that Brandon is in the first stages of liver failure. The doctors told her that he has about One year to live if he doesn't get the transplants that he needs. They are making plans now to head to Pittsburgh this weekend to see the doctors and try to figure out what to do next.

As a 15 yr old young man I couldn't deal with this like he is dealing with this.I was told by his mother that Christmas is his favorite time of year and mine as WELL! They are going to be putting up the Christmas tree this afternoon and they are going to leave it up until he is feeling better. As most of you know I had a fundraiser this past month at the Smyrna bowling center and we ended up raising about $3837.00. Which will help with medical bills. The family has to pay out so much per month that they don't get to do anything for the family. I have decided that maybe we should do another fundraiser but this time make it a Christmas party/fundraiser. I know of a great band called Soul Incision and they are a group of doctors and such at Vanderbilt Hospital and by night they play music and when I heard this band I fell in love with them. I am going to see if they play for the event I will be planning. I would like to see if anyone out there would be able to help me plan a special night with music and food and gifts or donations? I would also need someone to donated a place to hold this event. Either a church or nightclub or a multi- purpose room would be great. I would like to have as many people in the area involved with this to make this such a special night for Brandon because people, this might be his last Christmas. Anyone that is willing to help out please email me at Check out his site here for all the updates He did the other day tell his mom and I quote "Promise me I'll live another 15 years, that would make me 30 " This tears up my heart something bad. I pray that he gets the much needed transplants and soon. want to donate alittle something then you can. Want to help me with doing another event please call me at 995-2636 and lets make this a great night for Brandon!!

The family of Brandon Brewer has a trust fund set up to help the family defer the enormous cost of medical bills. Send money to:
First Tennessee Bank
c/o Christopher Brandon Brewer
770 Nissan Drive
Smyrna, TN 37167

Music in Smyrna.

My column in the Smyrna AM came out, and it may surprise a few. Not one mention of the town council and what I think the town government is doing wrong.

On the 5th I posted that Elders Chapel UMC was going to be hosting choirs from several churches and it looked interesting enough to go and listen.

Now I will admit a certain bias. When I think choir performances I think of George Frideric Handel's famous work Messiah(link goes to download site). "and he shall purify" is the part I enjoy singing along with the most. With a voice in the bass range I have the habit of following my wife who is a alto-saprano when she sings. For many years she was in a local performance in Franklin Tennessee. Thus when she practiced at home, I sing along with her...quietly.

When I got there they quickly got to the business of singing. Singing energetic spiritual songs that got people standing, clapping, and saying praise. Outside of one single time as a youth when I accompanied a friend to his mom's Pentecostal church one Sunday, I have never been really exposed to this form of religious choirs.

When I walked into the door I felt awkward as I do in most social setting, but quickly got comfortable and found myself singing along with a few of the songs. Several songs used a "call and repeat" form of singing, and even a tone deaf guy musically uninclined guy like myself found it easy to follow along.

After 3 hours of spirit filled music the night ended with a few words from a few members of the church. I am really so glad that I went and had the experience of music like this.

School Sports.

Looks like the Smyrna High School Volleyball team has a chance to advance to the state tournament this year.
The volleyball team has gone deep into the season in large part because of its height.

With Alex Adams, Dymon Raynor, Breanna Poore, Ashley Helms and Caitie Paul, the Lady Bulldogs have no shortage of tall players to patrol the net.
Thursday, the team will see how it sizes up against some of the top competition Middle Tennessee has to offer when it plays in the sectional round. With a victory, Smyrna will advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2003.
Looks like the signs going up to recognize the SHS football champions may have company.

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Library Essay Contest

The Linebaugh Public Library System which does include the Smyrna public library, is holding an essay contest that has some nice prizes.
Linebaugh Public Library System is sponsoring an Essay Contest on the topic: What Does My Public Library Mean to Me?
A First-place winner will be selected from each category. Finalists will have their essays printed in the Daily News Journal.

Prizes include $100 savings bonds, courtesy of Wilson Bank, and cash awards, courtesy of the Friends of Linebaugh Library; additional prizes to be announced.
More information can be found on the library website. The essay is cannot be longer then 500 pages so the deadline of Oct. 31 gives the age groups lots of time.

Go float a boat

..and have fun while you do it.

The Stones River Watershed Association with the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Ass'n is having a river float that sounds like fun this coming weekend.
The Stones River Watershed Association invites the public to float the Stones River on Saturday, October 20 on the stretch of river between Walter Hill and Mona boat dock on Percy Priest Lake. This year's event is a joint Stones River Watershed Association / Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association float.

The group will meet at Walter Hill Park north of Murfreesboro at 10 AM and should be at Mona by 3 PM. This is a 5.6 mile stretch of river and lake. The first 2 miles is a series of pools and shoals with the last part of the trip on Percy Priest Lake. All shoreline is U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property and undeveloped. There may be a few horses alongshore as a horse trail follows the river. Parts of this section will be the site of Murfreesboro's Greenway extension.

Attendees should bring a lunch since the group will stop along the way for a picnic. To register contact Bob Higman at 615-376-3682 or
If you don't have a boat the article mentioned that there will be a number available for rent.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Haunted tours and more

event over

Bible Park update

We have commented on the Bible Park that may be coming to the Blackman area. For some there are more questions that they feel have not been answered. Armon Bar-Tur, the head of the Bible Park project plans on having some open dialogue to answer them according to this WGNS article.
Bar-Tur indicated that he hopes to request county approval for the theme park before the end of this year. However, he insists on conducting a series of information sessions to answer questions the public might have before asking for zoning approval.
Most people do not know, but this is not Armon Bar-Tur's first park. He was involved as one of the partners who put together the Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach.
Armon Bar-Tur '92, managing member of SafeHarbor Holding LLC said, "I am proud to partner with Ziel Feldman in putting together this distinguished group of investors including Africa Israel Investments and Polar International Real Estate to join us in creating this exciting park. This fusion of a great brand, great location and superior management team will ensure the success of this venture."
Note that Hard Rock Park is an amusement park, while the proposed Bible Park is a theme park.

Depot Day in the DNJ

DNJ(Daily News Journal) has a nice article on Saturday's Depot Day.
Saturday's inaugural Depot Days festival to celebrate the revitalized historic area on Front Street brought back pleasant memories for Mary Lou Thomas.

"It's like what Smyrna used to be like years ago," Thomas said while working at a booth for her congregation, Trinity Christian Church. "You see families walking up with babies in the strollers. It's just got that hometown feeling. It's great."
He estimated from 1,000 to 2,000 people attended Saturday's event.
This and more at the DNJ.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Welcome Depot Day visitors

It's the day after Depot Day festival and I want to welcome all of our new readers to "This is Smyrna, TN", our bit of Smyrna on the web. Mark and I really enjoyed meeting you, and I got the chance to met a lot of new faces.

Here at This is Smyrna, TN. we post on a wide range of subjects from politics to fund raisers to the local farmers market. We try to cover a lot of issues from a different perspective then the local media outlets. We live here so the issues that face our city are important to us.

We are also interactive in that you can comment on the individual posts and maybe even fill in the subject with more information. We invite you to become a part of the Smyrna online community.

Pull up a chair and hang around.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Welcome all

Gunner and myself had a great day today at Depot Days in Smyrna and we want to take the time right now to welcome all the new readers to our site. We enjoyed meeting each and every one of you on such a lovely day. We hope to have each of you leave comments and help us better our great town! Please take the time when you have time to look over the site and read on issues that mean something. Also watch for Gunner's column every Wednesday in the Smyrna A.M. We like feedback as well so leave those comments and lets make a difference in Smyrna!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Don't forget Depot Day is tomorrow

This is the First Depot Day in a while, and you shouldn't miss it. With the city closing the street, a carnival atmosphere will surely be at hand.

Joel P. Cox of Joe B's Furniture sent the following to me.
Depot Days will be held tomorrow from 10am to 8pm on Front Street in Historic Downtown Smyrna. Festivities will include Live Music throughout the day, a ribbon cutting ceremony at noon with town dignitaries (celebrating the completion of the Downtown Revitalization Project), all kinds of food, games and children's activities including a petting zoo, Smyrna's Got Talent (signups from 1pm to 3pm, contest from 6pm to 8pm), free gifts, drawings for giveaways, and much more!!!
Also you might want to note that the historic downtown district has their own website. Historic Smyrna has a lot of information of Depot Day and some nice pictures.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is that a gun, or are you just upset?

I have already broached the subject of the Calrksville man who took his own life after a negative vote from the Clarksville Town Council. It also created a nice comment thread worth reading.

In the Tuesday night town council meeting the Mayor mentioned it and what he would like done.
Mayor Bob Spivey has suggested those attending Town Council meetings be required to go through a metal detector before entering council chambers.

Spivey made the suggestion during Tuesday night's council meeting, saying he was disturbed by what happened at the Clarksville City Council's Oct. 4 meeting.
"These meetings get very intense sometimes, and I think we need to protect (audience members)," Spivey said.
I'm not sure what to say on this. Would it really protect the people there? An unstable person could easily just walk in with one, and not wait. Is this an over-reaction by the mayor, or a sensible precaution?Will vehicles be searched next?

What do you all think of this?

The flu shots are here

If you are one to get regular flu shots, then the time is ripe for you to go get them.
The chill that just entered the air should serve as a reminder that flu season is officially here.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season starts as early as October and can last until May. State health officials said there is no way to predict how severe this year's flu season will be.
The DNJ has a good article, and a very detailed list of places, prices, and times to help you find a good place to get your flu shots.

I'm one of the people who avoid flu shots. In the time I lived in Kansas, everytime I ever got a shot, I ended up with the flu later in the flu season.

The codified laws passed

Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

And yet in the final moments before they voted there was still confusion over issues such as buses, and wreckers.

The issues of wreckers, trucks specifically targeted by Mayor Bob Spivey, was addressed by a few truck driver/owners that showed up. They were less then pleased, as I am also, that the city has decided that these trucks are now "bad". I'll address why their definition of "bad" is so bothersome.

When they could not decide on weight limits James Yates put forward a proposal to amend the exemptions to not just allow school buses, but also allow wreckers in the same section. The silence was deafening as no other council member would second the motion. because of that the fine town of Smyrna has driven wreckers from the drives in residential areas.

If you are someone who've saved money and financed your own wrecker truck, a humble attempt at the American dream. Well the town of Smyrna has voted that your dream is in the way of their current trend of "pretty'fication".

Now the issue of buses show that bad is arbitrary.
Arbitrary is a term given to choices and actions which are considered to be done not by means of any underlying principle or logic, but by whim or some decidedly illogical formula.
The old town codes allowed a certain weight limit, but buses were exempt. There were some complaints from some people, but in any situation there will be someone who complains.

In the recodified meetings they decided to raise the weight limit, but exempt buses.

The old weight limit was 7000 pounds. In the proposed recodified laws they raised it to 12,000 pounds, but removed the exemption for school buses, but kept the exemptions for refuse trucks, emergency vehicles, and some construction vehicles.

Now this implies that school buses are bad. No buses good, one bus bad.

Then in the September meeting they made the change that One was now good, but more was bad. An arbitrary change. Then in this months town meeting they decided that two were good, but more was bad.

One was bad, then good, two was bad, then good. The "pulling numbers out of their arse" method of codes making is a bit sad to view. The mayors desire to remove wreckers was successful as I pointed out, so at least someone ended up happy.

Several issues were not addressed that I thought were even more important. One was the extreme limits placed upon cargo containers, and semi trailers that are being used for storage by many businesses around town. The other was the requirement of a 6 foot opaque fence around property where commercial vehicles are parked when on dirt. I guess if I see an 15 foot tall semi behind that 6 foot fence, I won't notice it. A simple extra charge for businesses to make things look, or at seem pretty.

Limits on businesses, independent drivers, and even you. All under the guise of removing "unsightly" things to make the town look pretty. If I wanted everything I have controlled to make things pretty, then I would move to Williamson county.

Recodification has left a bad taste in my mouth. My view of the council has also been tainted.

Just another day in paradise

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tuesday town meeting

A brief heads up for the town meeting tomorrow night for those attending.

The meeting has only three people listed on the agenda for "citizens comments". The first two are residents from Eastland drive who wish to talk on the issue of "construction behind residence". This is the construction behind the "old" Krogers on South Lowry. Not sure what their complaint is.

The third person is Janet Johnson who wants to address the council on the issue of "Codification of Ordinances Pertaining to School Buses". I wonder if she knows of the changes to material that it has to be parked on such as gravel or cement, the opaque fence that will be required, or the back/side yard issue. Changes to how buses are to kept are multi-faceted, and complex. Much more then just the exception on them weight wise.

In my opinion there are simply too many changes to force down the throat of our town at one time. I think almost all of my concerns would disappear if they voted on two chapters a meeting, instead of all at once. This would allow time for people to read, comment, and maybe suggest alterations to the codes, instead of this week of rushed reading that some are going through.

Yes this would take 7-8 months, but the time would create a stronger feel of an open government, then the "one week is good enough" that is occurring.

Likely tomorrow night, or the day after, I'll post my last "Where oh where did the city codes go?..." unless the meeting gets real interesting. I also suspect that my column for next week in the Smyrna AM will be on the meeting also.

Thank you LaVergne

I totally forgot that this week is fire prevention week and thanks to an informative post at "This is La Vergne, TN." I only missed it by one day.

Smyrna's website has some information on an open house that the fire department plans.
It's time for Fire Prevention Week, and from October 7-13 Smyrna Fire Department is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind local residents to 'Practice Your Escape Plan.' During this year's fire safety campaign, firefighters and safety advocates will be spreading the word about the dangers of home fires and teaching local residents how to plan and practice escape from a home in case a fire occurs. The Smyrna Fire Department will be hosting an Open House at our Station 1, 401 West Enon Springs Road on October 14, 2007 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
I have no idea that Smyrna had a Dragon infestation, but thanks goodness our brave men and women in the town's fire department are there to fight them.
“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending.”

Smyrna AM link

I created a Smyrna AM image to add to the right hand column. What do you all think of it?

I could not find a premade image, or logo, so decided to make one myself..

Looks good?

Taylor Loyal and an anony commenter gave a premade image that is the proper size for linkage.

Will use that instead. Although I think mine is prettier.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Depot Days

Depot Days is just one day this year, and that leaves me a bit in a quandary.

I went to check out how much a table/booth would be. I have had the idea since I first first heard of depot days of setting up a "This is Smyrna, TN." table. Maybe print some fliers and even make a few t-shirts for sale. Kathy showed me how easy it would be to put some graphics on the shirts.

Regretfully they want $50 dollars a booth. Not a big amount, but I'm short of funds right now, and the timing can not be worse.

Options. Do I ask the rich readers(ha ha) of This is Smyrna, TN. to help fund it, or just walk through the crowds handing out some informational fliers?

Any suggestions? I see Depot Days as a chance to let more people know of this website and other connected web pages, and I don't want to miss the opportunity.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Lawsuits and Smyrna

About this time last year I posted on a lawsuit that had been filed against the town of Smyrna, the council, and several other town employees.
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.
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.
At the September 27th town council workshop town attorney Michele Elliott announced that the case had been dismissed with prejudice. Meaning that it could not be refiled.

She also announced that the city had won a partial summery judgement in a lawsuit that involved Percy priest lake and water rights. I don't know enough on this subject to give details, but Smyrna AM or the DNJ will have an article in the near future with more details. I do know that it involved a multi-million dollar claim against the city.

Remember the Jena 6 t-shirt at the Smyrna High School? Seems that the student has filed a lawsuit against the school district.
A student who was not allowed to wear her "Free the Jena Six" T-shirt to her high school filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the Rutherford County Board of Education and her school's assistant principal, alleging they violated her First Amendment rights.
The Supers' attorney, W. Alan Alder, is a civil rights attorney in Nashville. He said the school does not have the authority to censor shirts based only on a fear that something might happen.

"It must be substantially more than that," he said, citing Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, a 1969 Supreme Court case that ruled public schools may only censor student speech if they can reasonably forecast it will cause a material disruption or invade the rights of others.

The lawsuit asks for an injunction to allow students to wear shirts that say "Free the Jena Six" to school. The Supers also are asking for a non-specified amount in damages and attorney fees.
I wonder how many Jena lawsuits against schools are being filed, or planned.

Well that's it for This is Smyrna, TN.'s lawsuit roundup.

Friday, October 5, 2007

What they will not bring to Smyrna

News of an IHOP coming to town made a lot of people happy, and news of what they will not bring to town will make more happy. Trans-fats.
IHOP today announced that it will eliminate the use of frying oil with trans fats in all of its restaurants by December 31, 2007. IHOP, one of America's favorite restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner, has worked closely with its suppliers since 2006 to test fryer oil that is free of artificial trans fat, and to ensure that changes will not affect the taste or quality of its menu items.
IHOP is continuing work with its suppliers to eliminate artificial trans fats from the balance of its menu.
With people going out of their way to eat better, the choises for eating a low trans-fat diet increases daily due to market demands.

A not so final total of money raised.

I have collected almost all of the silent auction money and I am now over at the Brewers to give them the money that we have raised for them through the fundraiser at the Smyrna bowling center. I have a few items left to collect over the weekend but right now our total so far is $3553.00 plus about $300.00 more on the uncollected items. I want to thank everyone that has put in so much of their time and effort to help raise money for this family. We will be taking some pics in the next coming days to place online to show everyone! We are going to go ahead and plan a roadblock for the next few months plus I am going to get with the volunteers and work up a fundraiser for February at the Wildhourse Saloon.

Update on Brandon's condition is fair and when I am over at the families home he seems to be in OK spirits. He really enjoys playing video games online while his Xbox is being repaired. The family and I have become very close and I feel like I have known them forever. His mother hardly ever gets to do anything for herself for all her time is for her son Brandon. She spends most of her waking day taking care of all medicines or running to pick up Rx. She has asked me to go to an awards dinner for doctors from all over the United States at the Opryland Hotel on Wednesday this coming up week and I have accepted to go and we are going to be presenters so this will be a fun evening out. I am working on getting my Sunday dress ready for I don't even own a suit or tie.

I have realized during all this fundraiser activities that life is so sweet and dear, and we all take life for granted. If anyone still wants to donate please call Brande Brewer at 459-7449.

Saturday music

If you are in the mood for choral music tomorrow a local church is offering what looks like some good music.
Elder’s Chapel United Methodist Church Choir will be hosts to choirs from other churches in a program beginning at 6 p.m. For more information, call Gwyn Daniel, Elder’s Chapel choir president, at (615) 582-7897. The church is located at 210 Front St. in Smyrna

SHS band yard sale tomorrow

The band's yardsale is tomorrow and as my brother was a member for most of his time at SHS I hope you go to show them support with your cash.
Smyrna High School Band Yard Sale
7 a.m.-4 p.m., Yard Sale for the Smyrna High School Band, Location" Parking lot beside Taco Bell, Lowry Street, Smyrna.
Help support the Smyrna High School Band!

Protect the zoning

Part 1 2 3 4 5 6

The first layer of government a person deals with in their daily life is the police. They are seen driving their patrol cars around any municipality and represent the government.

The second layer of government a person deals with is normally at the town/city level. Be it a mayor, a council, or a codes official. There is a variety of reasons that a person could be dealing with the city, but the first and foremost seems to be zoning issues.

Zoning is a form of regulating the land for the 'good of the city'. Many feel that zoning is required, and a necessary evil for the most part. I would agree on the evil, but not the necessary. A fine example is Houston Texas. This small blurb from wikipedia may sound like a footnote, but it echoes to a larger problem.
Houston, the largest city in the United States without zoning regulations, has expanded without land use planning. Voters rejected efforts to have separate residential and commercial land-use districts in 1948, 1962, and 1993.
Now I channel Bill Murray.
"Without zoning it will be chaos. Dogs and cats living together".
But it isn't like that. While things do not always run smoothly is that metropolis, the way things are controlled are done individually. This is from an article by the Foundation of Economic Education.
Even without zoning, home buyers wanting control over the development of land in their neighborhood have a choice called “deed restrictions.” Usually, these deed restrictions are initiated by an original developer to cover all property purchased in a subdivision for 25 or 30 years. Restrictions are often renewable after that period, and most homes in Houston built since World War II have such renewable restrictions. Enforceable by civic associations with help from the city, the document can prevent businesses or apartments from entering the neighborhood. It can even require residents to keep their lawns manicured or their homes painted only certain colors. However detailed, deed restrictions contain rules voluntarily accepted by home buyers, unlike the edicts issued to property owners by a zoning commission.
Houston shows that a city can work and be successful as a place people would want to live in. It also says a lot when something that so many people claim is required and vital to the success of a cities future, has been voted down three times by the citizens of Houston.

I write this because last night in Clarksville Tennessee a horrible incident occurred that had a lot to do with zoning.
A business owner shot and killed himself during a City Council meeting Thursday night after members voted against his request to rezone his property, witnesses said.

Ronald "Bo" Ward, owner of Bo's Barber Shop, had told the council his business would go under if he couldn't get his home rezoned as commercial. After the 5-7 vote Thursday night, Ward stood and walked toward the council.

"Ya'll have put me under ... I'm out of here," he said before shooting himself in the head with a small handgun.
Ward had said the rezoning would increase his property value, allowing him to secure a loan to offset debt he incurred when he expanded his shop.
I would sound extremely biased if I said the zoning issue was what drove him to this futile act. There surely is much more to this story, more depression and stress in his life that built up inside of him.

What it does show is what seemed to the council as a simple vote of zoning, can mean so much to one person. That last plank he was holding onto to keep his head above the water. When it was removed it was over for him, and he took his life.

I have seen in the past several people come to our own town government asking for changes to allow them to do things. A young women who wanted to have a few more children at her house as she runs a small day care center there. Sadly her yard was to small and as rules must be followed, she was turned down. I viewed her several times during the summer online and the final time in front of the council as she was voted against time after time. I saw a representative of a business who wanted to split their property as it would make it more easy to sell. The board voted against it because of entrances and distances between building, even after the representative said that without the property split the possibility of selling it is low.

I've also seen the council vote against several rezonings as they viewed it as "spot zoning" where one section wants to be commercial, while the rest are residential. What they view as "spot zoning", is a persons land.

Last night the Clarksville town council voted 4-7 against this man, and his last hope was gone.
Many in the room immediately screamed — audience and council members alike — but few moved as Ward's wife Mildred threw herself on her husband.
And people wonder why I'm a small government advocate.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

On patrol

Yesterday I saw that the Police officer cutout had been replaced at it's front street patrol position. I did notice that Officer Miller had been replaced by another officer.

Sadly I was driving to fast to see if I recognized him.

Smyrna Radio

Today is the Smyrna Radio show hosted by County Commissioner Mike Sparks. This week's show will not be broadcast from the YMCA, but from the parking lot of Smyrna Pawn and Gun on front street. Now part of the new Smyrna historical district.

The show is at 3pm and you are more then welcome to come by and watch.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Where oh where did the city codes go? - Draft online

Part 1 2 3 4 5

My column two weeks ago was on the recodification and how the town was leaving a good chunk of people in the dark because of the cost of printing. I suggested putting it online, as most people are smart enough to know that "draft" and "proposed" does not mean final.

During the last workshop(September 27th) the city council asked if it was possible to put it online. Michele Elliott said it would take a few days, but they would get it online. There were some misgivings voiced by some on confusion.

Today it finally got online in PDF form for downloading, but after you say "Okay". Seems you have to click an "I accept" button after reading this.
"I acknowledge by clicking on the "accept" button that I am accessing a WORKING document. Specifically, I have been advised that the Smyrna Municipal Code placed on the website at this time is a DRAFT of the re-codified Smyrna Municipal Code as it has been passed on First Reading by the Smyrna Town Council on September 11, 2007. A copy of the Smyrna Municipal Code as it is currently in effect is available for review and/or copying in the Town Clerk's Office, City Hall, 315 S. Lowry St., Smyrna. The Draft version of the Code attached hereto is not a binding, legal document at this time, and it is available for reference only."
I'm glad to see this finally go online.

If you want a free printed copy, you can get one at town hall Thursday(Oct 4th).

Part 7 Town council meeting (Tuesday Oct 9th)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What does your meta tag say about you?

I tried something over the last week and it has had a very positive effect on this blog. I changed my meta tags.

In your templete you may have some coding like this.
#meta name="keywords" content="#$BlogTitle$#" /#
#meta name="description" content="#$BlogTitle$# - #$BlogDescription$#" /#
I changed the "<" and ">" symbols to # for ease of viewing.

I noticed our meta tags were still in the default setting as this shows. I then changed them to read this after a little research.
#title#This is Smyrna, TN.#/title#
#meta name="keywords" content="This is Smyrna, TN." /#
#meta name="description" content="This is Smyrna, TN. - This is Smyrna, Smyrna, Tennessee, blog, city government, Rutherford county" /#
In the last week This is Smyrna, Tn. has moved from 8th to 4th position when you Google "Smyrna Tn", and from 7th to 3rd position when you Google "Smyrna Tennessee".

A few small changes to a default setting can change your search engine ranking big time.

Google has a whole tutorial on how to effect changes, or even add meta tags, to your webpage.

Depot Day festival

I recently exchanged some emails with a person who was thinking of moving to Smyrna. One question she asked was "Where is the center of town?". As Smyrna developed as a depot town, there is no traditional downtown such as the one Murfreesboro enjoys.

What we do have is Front street as our downtown, and the businesses there want you, and new Smyrnan's (Smyrnians? Smyrnites?)who have recently moved in, to know about it by hosting the Depot Day festival.
The upcoming Depot Day festival, set for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 13 along Front Street, may be what's needed to restore identity to the area. The historic area, which evolved when Smyrna served as a stop for steam engines along the Chattanooga/Nashville Road, includes roughly 50 businesses along Front and Lowry streets between College and Jackson streets.
Joel Cox of Joe B's Furniture, the event chairman, remembers the last festival being about 20 years ago, when about 16,000 people lived here. Since then, Smyrna's population has doubled.

"I think Depot Days is an important part of restoring the community feel the town enjoyed many years ago. Since Smyrna has been booming so much in that last 15 to 20 years, you've sort of lost some of that feel. But I think Depot Days will help in restoring that," he said.

Business owners have committed to offering activities such as apple bobbing, craft sales and face painting. Cox expects the biggest draw will be the petting zoo Smyrna Feed & Supply owner Darrell Harrington is arranging.

"We ourselves are going to sell homemade pies and do a drawing for a gift certificate. We haven't decided if it will be $350 or $500, but it'll be significant," he said.
With the newly refurbished downtown, and all of the parking, plus the petting zoo, this should be a fun day for the family.

I'm going to look into setting up a This is Smyrna, Tn. table myself.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Where oh where did the city codes go? Part 5

Part 1 2 3 4

Where they are finally going, is online.

In last Thursday's town workshop near the end of the discussion on recodification of the town laws, and multiple changes, the question was brought up by H.G. Cole if it was possible to put the proposed version online.

A brief discussion occurred on the best way to do it. Town Attorney Michele Elliott said that they could get a copy up, but it would take several days as MTAS would need to get involved. Hopefully by mid-week they will have it up.

Town manager Mark O'Neal and Michele Elliott did not seem comfortable about putting the draft codes online to avoid possible confusion between the draft and what they will finally vote on.

Two points I feel need to be addressed here. The state and federal governments puts proposed codes online yet the town of Smyrna feels confusion may occur if they do it. I trust that the people of Smyrna are smart enough to know that a draft is not the final copy. I understand that if confusion occurs it would likely end up on their desks and they would have to deal with irate citizens, but the benefits of people having this information outweighs the possible negative outcome.

The other issue is changes. Thursday night there was still talk of changes to the draft. The Mayor asked about lowering the weight limit on vehicles parking in residential areas as a way to get wreckers out of people drives, and the width of roads were also discussed. Less then two weeks before final vote and changes may still occur. This gives the people of Smyrna not a lot of time to address the equivalent of dozens upon dozens of ordinance changes at the same time.

A lot to swallow at the same time in my view.

That still allows less then a week for reading over 782 pages to see if there are changes that effect you, and that you feel need to be addressed to the council.

They did mention that the Thursday before the October town council meeting a person could go in a get a free copy of the codified ordinances. Even Mayor Spivey laughed about how that would be fun reading for a weekend.

Michele Elliott said that after the recodification is over that her her next goal was to get the town ordinances online. That way all ordinance changes would be added and a current version of the town code would be accessible to all. In the future I hope that the town can place full copies of future proposed ordinances online for viewing, not just copies of the legal notices as is their current practice.

By the end of this week the draft should be online. A good step. News of putting the city codes online in the near future is also good news.

Part 6 will likely be a report from the town council meeting. With the many changes I plan on getting there early as it could be a packed house.