Friday, November 30, 2007

Shop with a Cop

An effort by the Smyrna police department to make Christmas a bit better for some local kids could use your help.

The Smyrna Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 89 is looking for donations to sponsor needy children for its annual Shop with a Cop holiday program.

About $10,000 is needed to ensure 100 kids will be able to purchase gifts for themselves and other family members. Children are given $100 each and are required to purchase a coat and shoes for themselves, but can spend the remaining money any way they wish, said lodge President Sgt. Jeff Lucas said. About $6,000 has been raised so far.
........
Those interested in helping with the Smyrna Fraternal Order of Police’s Shop with a Cop program should send donations to: Smyrna FOP Lodge No. 89, P.O. Box 434, Smyrna, Tenn., 37167. Anyone needing to speak with someone directly should call (615) 459-9742 ext. 7409 or 7433.
This is a charity that has a direct affect on the local community. Any donation would be well received.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

This week's column

I have a few family members who work for the state and the cost of gas is starting to be felt big time. There is a simple thing the state can do and for some reason they are saying 'no' to the idea.

Only the state government can say that a good idea is bad with the only reason being "cause". Not "because", as that word normally is followed by a reason such as "because it would cost tax payers money", but the state response of "cause" as in "cause we say so" is their reason.
............
A simple thing called "flex-time" is something that could help many, but it's not allowed. Flex-time is the ability to make some changes to your schedule to make the cost of getting to work lower. Many state workers have jobs that they can still put in their required 40 hours without the constraints of a rigid schedule, and bureaucracy.

John Doe drives to Metro center five times a week for his state job as a clerk. Instead 'John' could shift to a four 10-hour day schedule, still get his work done, and cut 20 percent of the cost of travel. Jane Doe has the same job, and she wants to shift her schedule so that Monday through Thursday she works an hour less, but this allows her to use the Nashville bus service, and she only has to make the long drive one day a week when she works a 12-hour shift Friday.
Government, by its nature, is not flexible. The habit of putting people, and workers into columns, makes their job easier. The problem is that with today's gas prices the state is going to have to become flexible or they may lose a lot of good workers.

A relative of mine works in the Metro Center near fountain square mall in North West Nashville. They know of people who commute from McMinnville and Clarksville to work there. A crappy commute, but good jobs make it worthwhile.

The problem is that an inflexible state government and bureaucracy may make that good job less so, and they look for work in the private sector. The state government, and local governments, need to change with the changing society we live in. Flexible scheduling, and working from home are two that comes to mind.

No school trips for the near future

The Tennessee department of Education has halted all over-night field trips for Rutherford county schools and I suspect there are a lot of unhappy parents.

Rutherford County Board of Education is breaking state law, according to Tennessee Department of Education, and students may not have any field trips until the matter is cleared up.

The Department of Education issued a legal opinion Monday. The opinion said the school board is in violation of state law that requires school systems to have a policy to waive school fees for students who receive free or reduced lunch.

“This is not a matter in which the school board has discretion,” wrote Christy Ballard, the department of education’s general council, “this is a statutory requirement with the subject matter at issue clearly addressed by the Tennessee State Board of Education.”
I'm not sure if this includes band trips where they travel to competitions or not, but if anyone with kids out there that are affected by thes wish to comment please do so.

more>>>

Monday, November 26, 2007

Political money in Smyrna

A lot of people give money to political causes, and one of the more problematic parts of it is the fact you need to register your donation. Almost as if they fear an election may be bought. It didn't work for Perot, or Forbes, but the fear is still there. I checked on two separate websites for donations in Smyrna and posted them in brief here for you to view.

I declined to put down individual names or addresses as I feel donations should be totally anonymous, even from the government. I thought you may be a bit interested in donations to specific campaigns and PAC's (Political action committees).

From the Huffington Post a search for 37167 brings forth these results.

750 Romney
$6075 Thompson
$250 Edwards
$500 Ron Paul
$500 Tancredo
$15 Gravel
No listed donations for Giuliani, Obama, McCain or Hillary. The large ammount for Thompson is due to large multiple donations from one address. Seems one family really wants a Tennessee boy to win.

A similar search at Opensecrets.org brings these numbers
250 Romney
$500 Tancredo
$4125 Republican Committee(state and national)
$1755 PACs
$250 Edwards
$1000 Democrat committee
(left out donations to local and state politicians.)
Since there are some major differences between the two lists the information should be taken with a grain of salt on quality and correctness.

MidTnPolls want to hear from you

MidTnPolls is run by Mike sparks, the 11th district county commissioner. He has a new poll up on the subject of gas prices and where you think they will be heading next year. Drop by and vote, and leave a comment.

Worthy of a "Dishonorable Mention" ?

I will admit a bit of town bias here. A view that our town is better then others. It has a lot to offer and people would not be moving here if it was so bad.

Sadly others do not feel the same way, and their views can be seen here.

I was on a forum I go to regularly and they mentioned speed traps. I figured I would see if they had the few spots I see officers in wait listed. The two spots at the Nissan Blvd./ Lowry come to mind, and the spot in front of the Smyrna High School. I see police cars there often. I have not seen any police cars parked on Murfreesboro Road on the North side of hilltop waiting for speeders to crest the hill for a while. I think construction removed that one.

The first thing I noticed was that Smyrna was one of the top four in our state. This from the The Worst Speed Trap Cities In The United States page.

TENNESSEE

Worst Speedtrap: Nashville
Dishonorable Mention: Memphis, Piperton, Smyrna
Smyrna has its own page of listed "speed traps". I put quotations around the word for a specific reason. Their views that it is a speedtrap does not mean it is.

A good example is this comment on the "Smyrna High School"
I have been pulled over at this location twice and given a ticket. My first ticket here was the very first weekend I moved back to TN. Once for going 53 in a 45 and once for going 60 in a 45.
I guess it is a "speed trap" because he got caught.

Now if I read the city budget that can be downloaded in PDF form the cities revenue as listed on page 19 for the year 2006-2007 is 24,562,312, and the traffic courts listed on page 18 brought in 698,272(not counting traffic school, late fees and penalties). A small part of the general revenue of the city.

From this article on other cities a budget comment can shine a little light on the subject.
More than a dozen Missouri municipalities receive between a quarter and half of their entire budget from traffic tickets. The practice is so widespread that the legislature placed the state's "Director of Revenue" in charge of the speeding ticket point system.

In the north St. Louis County town of Bel-Ridge, for example, police issue the equivalent of three speeding tickets for each resident annually. About $699,000 of the town's total budget of $1.4 million comes from these traffic fines.
Since Smyrna is no wheres near that level, I can be comfortable in saying that Smyrna is not close to being a speed trap.

What part of your city budget is based on traffic court fines?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Smyrna auction

The Smyrna Senior Citizens Club is having an auction that you might be interested in.

The Smyrna Senior Citizens Club will host an auction Saturday, Dec. 1, at the center, 100 Raikes St. Breakfast will be served from 8 to 9 a.m., followed by the auction at 9:30 a.m. Items on the auction block include a 1998 Chevy 15-passenger van ($5,000 bid reserve required), dinner for 10 at the Sam Davis Home's Creek House catered by Jo's Custom Cakes and Catering, a Gatlinburg weekend getaway for two, antiques and collectibles, and autographed Tennessee Titans memorabilia, Christmas items and baked goods are also available.

For more information or to donate items for the auction, call Wanda Chandler at 615-459-4839. All proceeds benefit the senior center.
I have never had a chance to go to the Senior citizens center. This looks like a fun way to check it out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Little Women in Smyrna

Lamplighter'd Theatre in Smyrna will be performing Little Women for the near future.

Little Women
November 30, 2007 - December 02, 2007
Held at the Lamplighter’s Theatre, 14119 Old Nashville Highway at the corner of Rock Springs Road in Smyrna, TN. This holiday season, Louisa May Alcott’s beloved March sisters come to life as we watch “Little Women” on their journeys into womanhood and the bond which holds them together through hardships, tragedy, and the stresses of romance. 7:30pm on Fridays & Saturdays and 4:00pm on Sundays. Admission is $8.00 adults, $7.00 seniors (55 and up), children or students $5.00. Children under age of 4 not admitted. Contact Lamplighter’s Theatre at (615) 534-0148.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pass the word

A law enforcement road block is in the works for today on Chicken Pike. Pass the word.

State troopers will check driver’s licenses and watch for drunk drivers during the Thanksgiving holiday week.

Troopers will conduct a driver’s license checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday on Chicken Pike near Smyrna, said Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Jim Gunn. Troopers will check to make sure driver’s licenses are valid.
Please be careful this Holiday week. This is Smyrna, TN. would hate to lose any of its readers.

NOTE:
I went to get some pictures and at 10:40 a.m. there was not a single officer in sight. Maybe the state troopers are afraid of rain?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Accident

While driving home Sunday night I came across the Smyrna Fire Department and others clearing out a car accident on Hazzelwood on the street in front of Darlins.

My camera sucks and the giant lights used to illuminate the night destroyed most images in my camera, but did get two.




They were in the process of "cleaning" up. One person was sweeping and cleaning oil or gas, and there was a vehicle loaded upon a flat bed tow truck.

I really need to get a better camera then this cheap HanShing Cam my MIL purchased on ebay years ago. I got it out of pity.

Potluck in Smyrna - Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting

Join us for another Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting on Saturday, November 24th.

This meeting will be held at 2:00 PM at Bob Parks Realty in Smyrna, TN. Bring a covered dish and enjoy a good meal and even better company.

Drop a line if you plan to be there.

New stores coming soon

A new cell phone company and a pet store is coming soon

[Verison] [t]he nation's largest wireless service provider opens its new store on Sam Ridley Parkway West Wednesday.

Located at 480 Sam Ridley Parkway W. (near the Wolverine Trail intersection), the Verizon Wireless store replaces the one in the Hickory Hollow area of Davidson County.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand-opening celebration is tentatively scheduled for January.
and
Animal lovers will be happy to know PetSmart opens its doors in the Colonial TownPark shopping center Feb. 18. The 20,000 square-foot store will have a grand opening five days later, said company spokesman Jennifer Ericsson.

The Smyrna store will have, as do all stores, pet grooming, pet training classes and adoptions. Banfield Pet Hospitals will also operate within the store.
Sadly still no bookstore...kind of

On Lowry street in the Historical Downtown district is a store that advertises books for sale on its sign, and "other stuff". I have not been by while it has been open, and it looks like a second hand thrift shop, but there is hope for some used books of some sort. Anyone been by it?

Happy Holidays!!



May you and your family have the best in the holiday season!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Is Smyrna being invaded?

I have lived in Tennessee about 8 years total, and three of them in Smyrna. In all of that time I have never seen what I have seen three times in the last two weeks.

I was at a park near the airport and saw two large furry 'things' scampering/waddling across the far end of the parking lot. I saw that they were about the size of beavers, but with no big flat tails. I saw them about ten minutes later crossing a nearby road. The same two.

Today while near the Smyrna rescue squad I saw one again, and got close enough to look at it for details. A quick check online and I found that the furry 'thing' was a groundhog. Like this one.



Does anyone know if there is a ground surge of groundhogs? Are we on the verge of being invaded by an army of them, and the ones I have seen are the scouts?

Food drive update information

I talked to one of the workers at the Smyrna/LaVergne food bank and asked what were the items that were really needed. I was told that diabetic food(low sugar food), and specialty drinks like Ensure and Boost were needed for people on dialysis. Those two items were what was first mentioned.

The food drive by the Smyrna fire department will run through tomorrow evening, so there is still time to donate through them. When this drive is over you can still donate anytime at the food bank at 130 Richardson Street, Smyrna, TN 37167 (map link)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Smyrna Holiday lighting ceremony Sunday

repost to pull to top

Sharon Michon of the Town of Smyrna Beautification Committee emailed the following to me, and it looks like it could be a fun time for the kids, and family.
We want to invite everyone in the area to a special Holiday Lighting Ceremony we are hosting at the Smyrna Town Center on Sunday November 18, 2007 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Our special guest speaker will be Amy Watson, news anchor for WTVF Channel 5. The event will feature many Town of Smyrna officials, with special performances by the Lamplighter Theatre Group, singer Susan Meredith Beyer, and the Thurman Francis Orchestra, among others.

Santa Claus will be making a special appearance and taking pictures with the children beginning at 3:30 p.m. and throughout the event.

Everyone is invited to come out and help us kick off the holiday season in Smyrna. This promises to be a great time for all the family!
Leave your schedule open for that Sunday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Let the Sunshine in

This issue does have merit on the surface.

Rutherford County legislators and local elected officials should lead efforts to turn back a proposal that would pull the curtain on Tennessee's Sunshine Law.

A measure approved by a subcommittee of the state panel appointed to strengthen Tennessee's open meetings law would allow members of elected bodies to gather for meetings as long as they don't have a quorum of members.
Tennessee Sunshine laws are one thing that we should be proud of, and never relinquish one bit of these hard fought laws for any reasons.

Now those who wish them rolled back does have a few good points.
Some officials believe Tennessee's law is too strict, that it should be OK for two or three members of an elected body to chat about policy during "chance meetings." They believe such talk could take the power out of the hands of bureaucrats who aren't bound by the open meetings act.
I can understand the desire to simple talk on issues outside of the public, but the history of backroom deals have left a foul history in Tennessee, and we must stand strong against this change.

Recently the town council talked openly about a resolution that stated that they were against a change in the cable franchise laws. That change was small compared to a roll back of the sunshine laws. A simple email to our town council can get this moving forward as it should.

Think of giving next week.


This coming week the Smyrna fire department is having a holiday food drive. A time to give to someone you most likely will never see.

The Smyrna/LaVergne food bank supplies are running low for this holiday season. Last year they were able to provide over 8,000 meals to families needing just a little helpful hand. This has really depleted their supplies and we want to make sure that no one gets turned away. The Smyrna fire department has teamed up with local schools to try and make sure that no family goes without this holiday season, but we can not do it alone. We need your help to ensure that there is enough for everyone in need. Please bring any non-perishable food item, baby food items, baby diapers, and personal hygiene items to anyone at the 5 Smyrna fire stations. While you're there ask for a tour of the station or even sit in one of the fire trucks. We will begin receiving goods on Monday, November 12, 2007 and continue through Sunday, November 18, 2007. With your help we can make this a happy holiday season for those less fortunate in Northern Rutherford county.

Fire Station 1 LOCATED AT 401 WEST ENON SPRINGS ROAD
Fire Station 2 IS LOCATED AT 644 FITZHUGH BLVD
Fire Station 3 IS LOCATED AT 630 EAST ENON SPRINGS ROAD
Fire Station 4 IS LOCATED AT 145 SOUTH LOWRY STREET
Fire Station 5 IS LOCATED AT 2200 ROCK SPRINGS ROAD
I know from my childhood how much an anonymous box of food on the porch can make a holiday a lot better, so this is truly a worthy cause to think of giving to.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My friends wrinkles....



Most of us bloggers know Kathy T. as a great writer! She is in her second year doing her wrinkle series and I, myself find it very interesting. Kathy T. has a way with words and when she writes about someone for her series it makes most of us sit back and realize how others have grown up and lived their lives. Today she wrote for her series about a true and good friend that most of us know as Gunner. Gunner works and goes to school while most of us just work. He loves the learning process and I feel he thinks its never too late to learn something new. I am very happy to have a good friend like Gunner.

Gunner was raised by a handicapped mother who was born without a right arm and with a deformed right leg that was amputated when she was seven or eight years old. His mother was strong-willed out of necessity rather than choice. They always joked that his mom could do everything except knit and chase him when he misbehaved. He quickly learned, though, that he’d have to return home sooner or later and face the punishment she doled out. When he stopped running, knitting became her only handicap.



Want to know more about our friend Gunner please go and read about him in Kathy T.'s Wrinkle series

The views of Smyrna

A lovely sight seen on Sam Ridley blvd Friday



A less atractive sight seen on S. Lowry St. the same day.



We are happy to post images of Smyrna that you wish to share.

Friday, November 9, 2007

No metal detectors

...for now. the Smyrna town council voted against the use of a metal detector during town council meetings.

Smyrna Town Council refused to give in to the politics of paranoia Tuesday night as it opted against metal detectors and extra security at meetings.

It was the right decision because putting up a wall of security around council members would only create an unnecessary barrier between the public and elected officials.
.......
The council considered buying two hand-held metal-detecting wands and paying two police officers overtime for attending meetings. Fortunately, Spivey and Johns were in the minority.
I understand why they feel it may be needed, but I agree that this is not the time nor the place for an overreaction.

Note

It has been brought to my attention that town council member Paul Johns is going in today for surgery. Please keep him and his family in your prayers. He's a real asset to our town in so many ways, and has served this town in many manners in the past.

The Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting

Hello all. Well it is almost time for our regular scheduled get together for the Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group Meeting. As we have in recent past, we will meet at Bob Parks Realty in Smyrna, TN thanks to our kind host Kathy T.

2pm Saturday November the 24th.

See you there.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Team loyalty

Whenever I go to the website Flickr I type into the search engine "Smyrna" to see if any interesting images pop up. Well boy did I find a couple recently. With permission of the photographer, 8KAB18, I share with you two images of team pride.

image one



image two



The pictures are tagged as Smyrna, so does anyone know where they are in town? Being Orange, our favorite Big Orange guy might know.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Repealing a law

Our town just a short time ago went through a long and protracted fight to try to change the alcohol package laws. A very public display of how hard it is to change laws on certain hot issues.

I asked myself a few weeks ago a simple question. How hard would it be to change a foolish and non-threatening law? Not liqueur or anything "adult" in nature, but one of the many laws that I feel are small, and simple not something we should have controlling us.

My Smyrna Am column for this week, "Let's 'unpass' some silly laws", talks about the issue of laws that are not needed for the "health and welfare" of our town, and are on the books for no discernible reason.

I noticed that at the end of proposed ordinances here in Smyrna, they attach the phrase "health and welfare of the Town of Smyrna requiring it". Well, I would not want to be against the health and welfare of our town, would I?

Smyrna just recently finished the recodification of our town codes. They made numerous changes, and added a few ordinances to our town codes. I just don't remember them doing one thing. I don't remember them fully dropping any codes.

No one said "This law has not one darn thing to do with the health and welfare of our town" and then voted it out of the codes. If codes are passed for the health and welfare of Smyrna, then if we find they have nothing to do with it, then are they dropped? You may not like the answer.

Have you heard of any law totally being dropped, not modified, but wholly removed from a municipalities ordinances in recent history?
To get a code added to the ordinances of our town requires 4 people on the council to vote for it. 4 people to make a law, but as the package liqueur law fight shows, it takes thousands upon thousands to repeal or strike down one.

Now I'm wanting to try something small. I want to see how hard it is, and the reaction from the council, to strike a law from the books. In the recodification process many changes were made by the council, and the voices of the people during the last meetings got a few changes made.

I have decided to try to get a law removed. Not a specific one, but one I'm asking people to choose for me.
Thus I am going to ask you for help. The city codes of Smyrna are now online at the town's main Web page, townofsmyrna.org. Go and look through the city laws and e-mail me one or two that you feel have no place in our town. Ones that if they were unpassed, would not leave us worse off.
I hope I get at least a few emails, from the newspaper or from here with some good examples.

A fine example of what I am talking about can best be shown here.



Now I asked this question in the Smyrna AM.
Yes. Even if you are 'endowed with supernatural powers' as the codes say, you cannot attempt to make a living with them. What does our town have against its supernatural brethren?
Would Smyrna be worse off if this law is removed from the books?

There are many laws that have nothing to do with the classical view of what a government is allowed to do under the enumerated powers given to them. Time to try to roll one back in a rather public display. let's see if the ordinances are stronger then the reality of their worthlessness.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Coleman House Available

I had the privilege today of touring the historical home in Smyrna that I said last week was coming. The Coleman House is just gorgeous if you’re into older homes. Original hardwood throughout, doors with the windows above, huge front porch, and gigantic bedrooms complete with sitting areas. If I could talk the husband into it, I’d be all over that house. It would be perfect for a bed and breakfast or restaurant (if you could get zoning).

Listed at $254,500, it has 3,048 square feet, 5 big bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, an eat-in kitchen, plus a formal dining room. Here are photos!




Bedroom has sitting room (probably where this photo was taken from).

Beautiful woodwork on this living room fireplace, plus the hardwood runs diagonally. Also see the windows above the doors?



The dining room also features a fireplace with a glass cabinet built in above it, as well as a butler’s pantry to the right of the fireplace.



Hardwood under the stairs. This is hard to describe, but once you reach the top of the stairs, there’s a landing to the sides and behind the staircase. In addition, the home also has a small cellar (with inside stairs that lead you to it) - about 10×10′ish. I’d love to know more about the history of the Coleman House.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Smyrna Holiday lighting ceremony

Sharon Michon of the Town of Smyrna Beautification Committee emailed the following to me, and it looks like it could be a fun time for the kids, and family.

We want to invite everyone in the area to a special Holiday Lighting Ceremony we are hosting at the Smyrna Town Center on Sunday November 18, 2007 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Our special guest speaker will be Amy Watson, news anchor for WTVF Channel 5. The event will feature many Town of Smyrna officials, with special performances by the Lamplighter Theatre Group, singer Susan Meredith Beyer, and the Thurman Francis Orchestra, among others.

Santa Claus will be making a special appearance and taking pictures with the children beginning at 3:30 p.m. and throughout the event.

Everyone is invited to come out and help us kick off the holiday season in Smyrna. This promises to be a great time for all the family!
Leave your schedule open for that Sunday.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Another Choir Day

While this is not a Smyrna event, I have to say that if it is close to the one I enjoyed here I have to recommend it.

Spring Hill Missionary Baptist Church Choir will have its annual choir day at 3 p.m. Spring Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 209 S. Bilbro Ave., Murfreesboro. For more information, call 615-890-9183.
There was a youthful choir with red t-shirts at the Elders Chapel choir sing that I believe was from Spring Hill, and if it was, you should have a great time.

Other religious activities for this weekend and next week can be found here at the DNJ's church calendar

Thursday, November 1, 2007

At least our state is not top ten

11th is bad enough.

Here are the 35 most populous states ranked by their corruption rate:

Louisiana (1)(7.67),
Mississippi (2)(6.66),
Kentucky (3)(5.18),
Alabama (4)(4.76),
Ohio (5)(4.69),
Illinois (6)(4.68),
Pennsylvania (7)(4.55),
Florida (8)(4.47),
New Jersey (9)(4.32),
New York (10)(3.95).
Tennessee (11)(3.68),
.........
Tennessee. Ford tough.

I wonder why they list our state so high? Inner city political corruption, state government corruption, or the remains of the good ol' boy networks?