Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Music on the Hill Series

Yesterdays event posting is part of a series run by the Smyrna Parks and Recreation. Information on all three are here if you're interested.

Hilltop - Rosenwald Building

Come enjoy live music, small treats, and a warm beverage!

$3.00 per per person at the door

December 9th - Cookies, Cocoa, and Carrols
January 13th - Jazz up the New Year
February 10th - Chocolate, hearts, and Roses

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fun for the kids

The Smyrna Parks and Recreation is hosting a fun get together for kids.You might want to apply early if you have children. I say that because the Parks and Recreation had organized a ginger bread house workshop and it was filled in 3 days.

2011 Lighting Ceremony

Here is some information on the Smyrna Holiday Lighting Ceremony.
As a part of its tradition, on Tuesday, November 29th at 6pm at the Town Centre, the Town of Smyrna will celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with its annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony.

Guest of Honor
Straight from the North Pole, this year’s guest of honor is none other than Santa Claus!

Musical Guests
Christmas songs will be performed by the Smyrna High School Jazz Band.

Santa Claus and Refreshments
Before and after the event, kids will have a chance to visit with Santa. Free pictures with Santa will also be available. Come and enjoy the festivities as the Town of Smyrna helps to get your Christmas Season off to a great start! Free refreshments will also be served.
Have a happy holiday to everyone.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Foggy morning

Foggy morning by David P James
Foggy morning, a photo by David P James on Flickr.

Sunrise in November through the fog. Percy Priest Lake Smyrna TN

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Guest Column

With the issue of the school board redistricting being in the news I asked County Commissioner Robert Stevens if he'd like to do a guest column on the subject to address the issue. Here is his first guest column for "This is Smyrna, TN."
Fair and equal representation is the backbone of our democracy. That is why I and some of my colleagues on the County Commission have been adamant about revisiting the makeup of the county’s school board and road board zones that are based on a 20+ year old map. Over much opposition, the Commission voted 12-7 at its November meeting to reconvene the Redistricting Committee and simply study the zones to determine whether to keep the existing lines or recommend modifications.

We should modify our school board and road board zones. For example, District 4, which encompasses a sprawling area from west LaVergne all the way to Eagleville and Midland, is no longer a contiguous district—it is made up of two unconnected islands (which is legally questionable). The City of LaVergne is divided into three zones, with LaVergne being the small part of each district. This makes it very difficult for a LaVergne resident to get elected, and it encourages elected officials to focus their time on the “majority” area of their districts, thus leaving LaVergne behind. Finally, one district in the middle of the county literally looks like a boat anchor (or a chicken foot), and another district on the east side encompasses much rural area, only to narrowly jut out into the western portion of the county in west Murfreesboro. The point: there is no logic or reason whatsoever in our current districts, and the people we represent deserve better.

When the Redistricting Committee redrew the County Commission district lines a few months ago, it adhered to three standards: contiguity, compactness, and common areas in the same district. These are certainly the appropriate standards to follow in the redistricting process. However, the committee did not spend a single minute looking at the school board or road board map, and therefore did not apply the standards to those districts. After much input from citizens, all I and the others want from the Commission is to apply these standards to the school board and road board districts and redraw them in a logical fashion.

Retooling the map is a complicated issue, both legally and practically, but it can be done. I came up with three alternatives in a short amount of time. With the technology available, the Redistricting Committee can easily create a sensible alternative in short order. Most of LaVergne can be grouped into its own school board district, which will allow that member to focus on that area’s schools, instead of also considering the needs of a sprawling rural district. Smyrna can also be drawn into a district that covers most of its residents. Also, the remainder of the county can be reshaped into districts that are more compact and focus on areas with similar interests. This will allow school board and road members to serve without divided loyalties and spend less time traversing the county.

In summary, the school board handles about 75% of the county budget each year, and making sure we have the best representation possible to decide how our school system will operate is a valid inquiry. To me, spending a few more weeks on the issue to study it and make an informed decision is a no-brainer. We must continue to pursue this issue until the map is modified, or until all available avenues are exhausted. I sincerely hope that the County Commission will modernize from the “status quo” and ensure fair and equal representation for each citizen of this county; you deserve no less.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11/22 sunset

11/22 sunset by Josh Beasley
11/22 sunset, a photo by Josh Beasley on Flickr.

It was cloudy, grey and rainy all day today but the day ended with a spectacular (albeit short) sunset! Very cool cloud texture to the sky. Unfortunately it was still raining or I would have moved to a place without those darn trees getting in the way. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fruit and Fudge Sale

The Smyrna High School band is raising money by selling fruits and fudges...Mmmmmm!
Sweeten your Holidays this season!

Fruit from Riversweet and Fudge from the Fudge Shoppe of the Smokey Mountains...the finest products available for over 30 years!Support the band by purchasing fruit and fudge from us this Holiday season! We take two separate orders...one for delivery by Thanksgiving and another for delivery by Christmas. We have a variety of products available from Riversweet Citrus and Fruit Co. and the Fudge Shoppe of the Smokey Mountains. Contact a band booster or ask a member to learn how to purchase these tasty items and help support your Smyrna High School Band at the same time!
For Christmas this would be an easy gift to give. Contact Richard Lutz for Smyrna, 615-893-5815 ext. 23739
The deadline to order for Christmas is Nov. 28, with delivery on or after Dec. 10.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Smyrna Citizens Police Academy

It is time to register for a wonderful experience. I went through the program in 2007 and enjoyed it immensely.
The dates for the 2012 Citizen's Police Academy. The class will begin January 19 and will end 12 weeks later on April 5. All classes will occur on Thursday night from 6 pm - 9 pm.

Go here to learn more and apply.
Details on what it is says...
Police Departments across the nation have adopted the "Community Policing" philosophy. Locally, the Smyrna Police Department has implemented different ways of working more closely with citizens on problem-solving in the community.
The Citizens Police Academy will provide participants with an opportunity to gain a broad perspective of the police profession. The 12 week Academy is designed to give citizens an overview of the department's functions and procedures, while providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns relating to the community. However, be aware the Academy is not designed to train the participants to perform any law enforcement services.

Classes will be taught by department personnel and guest instructors. Participants are always encouraged to express ideas, concerns and questions about any aspect of the department's operations. The classes are scheduled for Thursday nights, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The first class opened on May 1, 1997 with much success, and continues with your support.
I highly recommend this program for those who want to get more involved in our town and learn about one of the more important services the local government supplies.

Our Town

Here are the monthly and year total dispatched crime numbers for Smyrna.
These are the monthly and year to date dispatched calls for service that officers have responded to at the Smyrna Police Department. This is not the Uniform Crime Report that is submitted to the FBI and TBI. To access the Uniform Crime Report go to www.tennesseecrimeonline.com.

Event: Chocolate tasting party

All About Animals Rescue & Adoption is having a Dove chocolate tasting party to raise money for flea medicine & heartworm preventative.

Saturday, November 19 from 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Shoneys (KMart parking lot)
267 N Lowry Street
Smyrna, TN

Free to attend and taste chocolate! No purchase required (a food or beverage purchase would be a great thank-you to Shoneys for the use of their party room!) Door prizes will be given away, for those in attendance!


Dog of the Week: Biscuit

Biscuit is a tiny 5 month old girl that loves everyone and everything. She loves to play and loves to snuggle. Her size isn't very big, but her heart is. She is the best companion dog for a child.

Primary Breed Terrier
Mixed Yes
Sex Female
Altered Yes
Coat Length Medium
Grooming Needs Low
Shedding Amount Moderate
General Color Tan
General Age Baby
General Size Potential Small

Activity Level Highly Active
Exercise Needs High
Indoor/Outdoor Indoor
Requires a Yard Yes
Requires Home with Fence Any Type
Energy Level High
Housetrained Yes
Reaction to New People Friendly
Likes to Vocalize Some
Obedience Training Needs Training
Personality & Behavior Qualities Leash trained, Good in a car, Lap pet, Playful, Affectionate, Eager to please, Intelligent, Gentle, Goofy

Good with Kids Yes
Owner Experience Needed None
Compatibility Qualities Older/ considerate kids only, Good for seniors/ elderly, Apartment appropriate, Needs companion animal


Saturday, November 12, 2011

I need your help

Turns out our older cat is a one-cat-household cat. So that means we have a little 10 week old male kitten up for adoption. Litter trained, no accidents to report there. Friendly and comes with litter tray, some food, a collapsable shelter, and a need for a good home.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Making Smyrna better

Part of having a growing town is the growth of business. I recently found that Smyrna ranked tenth in Tennessee...and they gave suggestions on how we can be better.
Being business friendly has become a nearly universal motto for communities, with the economy on the ropes and competition for corporate recruitment constantly heating up.

So who tops the list in Tennessee? The Beacon Center of Tennessee, a free-market group previously known as the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, has its own annual rankings.
Their comment on Smyrna stated that...
Smyrna represents the eighth Middle Tennessee to finish in the top 10. Its strength lies in its strong job growth, lower than average business taxes, and low crime rate. If it improved its individual tax burdens, educational performance, and median income, it could rise even further in future rankings.

Business Tax Burden Ranking: 68.5; Economic Vitality Ranking: 61.0; Community Allure Ranking: 68.6; Overall Ranking: 65.5
The comment on the tax burden does not just include property taxes, but everything from drink taxes to hotel room taxes. This would be an ideal place to start. Education is part of the county so the efforts of the people of Smyrna there would be limited. Medium income, the third item they said could be improved on in harder to define. If they imply that it is to high then there really is little we can do. The property values in Smyrna lead to a family with a slightly higher income as the norm, so unless they ship in 'poor people' this would require expending fund (tax money) to create low cost housing. In many ways this could lead to unintended consequences...thus there is little that can be done on this one.

I'm happy Smyrna is ranked in the top ten...the efforts of the community have made it possible.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Occupy Smyrna

With all of the news recently of the occupying movements in different towns and cities I thought to share the time that Smyrna was occupied.

After the civil war the south became the source of groups such as the Pale Faces and the Klan. In other areas there was no need for such organizations and people performed acts of violence on their own. Smyrna was a small town but that did not spare it the issues such groups created. This is the story and time line of one short week in 1869.

Memphis daily appeal., August 31, 1869

Lawlessness in Middle Tennessee
Nashville August 30 Nearly 100 negroes have come to this place from the neighborhood of Smyrna, in Rutherford county, and report that they have been driven away from home by bands of lawless white men. These negroes have been working on shares with the planters, and they as well as the planters will lose heavily if they are not protected in securing the crop. A well known planter from that neighborhood, who makes about 300 bales of cotton , has been threatened by the regulators, and he was here to-day to see what could be done to protect himself and the negroes in his employ.
Bands of Lawless man are also operating in Sumner County, visiting the negro cabins and taking the negroes out and whipping them. The men engaged in this work are wholly irresponsible and will not work themselves and desire to prevent others from enjoying the fruits of their labor. Gov. Senter's proclamation warning them may have some effect, but it is probable that the planters will have to form combinations for self protection.

It would be an understatement to say things were looking bad at this moment. The next day the following was printed in the same newspaper.

Memphis daily appeal., September 01, 1869

The Rutherford County Disturbance - Meeting of Negroes in Nashville
Nashville Aug. 31st. A meeting of colored men took place this evening, to investigate the cause of the disturbance at Smyrna, Rutherford Co. A number of refugees from that vicinity were present. Hon. Jno Trimble, Neil S. Brown and Henry S. Foote took part. The meeting adjourned, finally, without doing anything, to 2 o'clock p.m. to-morrow.

The next day the newspaper went into more detail on the issues effecting the county. Maybe it was their attempt to try to lay some of the blame on the 'Negroes' or maybe there was a lot of truth to their words. Either way they openly say the Governor should act on the happenings.
Memphis daily appeal., September 02, 1869

Some unhappy troubles have lately occured in Rutherford county, which have drawn forth a proclamation of the Governor. Some white men have undertaken to act as "regulators" near Smyrna, but against the wishes of the people of the county generally.

This, however, seems to have been caused by bad conduct of the negroes. Certain mean whites advised the negroes unfortunately, and originated bad feelings in that manner. One SKILLMAN, with some others of the abandoned whites, told the that they "must do something," that they must "raise hell generally" or the "rebels would keep the upper hand and put them back into slavery."

They taught the negroes that by bringing about the collision and trouble they would gain the only chance they had of procuring the intervention of the Government to put STOKES in the Governor's chair. The negroes [t]hen attempted the assassination of Mr. William Smith and burned barns, cribs, stables, and gin-houses extensively.

The character of these acts showed plainly by when they were committed. Under such circumstances how is it possible to visit these "regulators" with the severest of censure? Must we utterly forbid self-defense against depredators, against life and property, with fire?These acts of the Regulators may have been rash, uncalled-for and wrong; they may be irresponsible or bad and criminal men for aught we know. But they who handle fire should be satisfied to take the consequences. Excess in retaliation and punishment is to be expected under such damning circumstances. Our sympathies must be with those, who, however irregularly attempt the suppression of crime.

We think the governor does well to suppress disturbances of this character, and that the people are quite right in fully sustaining him. Mobs cannot be permitted for any purpose. Men have no right to band together and take the law into their own hands, and must be put down when they attempt to do so. Nevertheless it is not easy to believe that a disturbance originatting in crime and and an illegal effort to suppress it is one which is without excuse on the part of the "regulators," and one in which their criminality should be looked to. We are as earnestly for making an end of lynching as it is possible any one could be. But our mode would be extend the shield of the law over all the citizens alike.

The men who most deserve punishment are those incendiaries who incited the negroes to depredations, deceived and fooled them. We hope Gov. Senter will hang all those before he begins with any others. Do justice first, and do the hanging afterwords. The Nashville papers call on the people to put down all this lawlessness on every hand. They say it is idle to protect the reputation of the state by merely denouncing the reports of outrages as fables.That is true. But the true remedy is to strike at the root of the matter and punish the scoundrels who are inciting the freedmen to crime. Do that, and though there may be lawless youths about, we believe the influences of their seniors will then be all sufficient for their control, and the negroes will go lazily to work.
Two days later in a short insert they announced that Smyrna and Murfreesboro would be re-occupied by Federal Troops. This sadly is the end of series on the troubles in our county for that year.
Memphis daily appeal., September 04, 1869

That is how in 1869, years after the end of the Civil war that Smyrna found itself reoccupied by Federal Troops.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The wildlife of Smyrna

I hope you enjoy this small sampling of some of the wildlife of Smyrna. I'd like to thanks the photographers for putting their setting so their images can be shared. I'm often amazed at how such a simple image can come out looking so lovely due to the skills of a good photographer. Thanks to all of them.

Red-tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) in flight.

As I was taking this, birds of a different kind (the AV-8B/+ Harrier jets) were sneaking up on the left! :)

Merlin with kill (40/365)

Looks like it's dining on Northern Mockingbird!

It was very, very windy today so flying very far with the kill was not an option for this Merlin. Made it a bit easier to photograph at least. :)

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

These guys were all about their lunch this morning. They gave no cares at all to the cars coming right at them. It's amazing how tenacious they can be. They're also huge! (27"/6lb) and apparently it's not unheard of for these particular birds to kill newborn cattle.

I have no idea what they're snacking on. I'm thinking opossum.

Duck v.4

This friendly little fellow will come right up to you and let you pet him if you feed him.
Sharp Springs Park, Smyrna, TN

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk by paminia
Cooper's Hawk, a photo by paminia on Flickr.

Dec '08 in Smyrna, TN

Yellow Goldfinch

Yellow Goldfinch by paminia
Yellow Goldfinch, a photo by paminia on Flickr.

Christmas Day in Smyrna, TN

roadside buck and fawns

roadside buck and fawns by David P James
roadside buck and fawns, a photo by David P James on Flickr.

foggy morning inside Smyrna TN city limits


PICT0021 by David P James
PICT0021, a photo by David P James on Flickr.

Smyrna TN June 2007

Turkey and chicks

Turkey and chicks by David P James
Turkey and chicks, a photo by David P James on Flickr.

From the greenway along Weakley Lane Smyrna TN

Whitetail Deer

Whitetail Deer by David P James
Whitetail Deer, a photo by David P James on Flickr.

Smyrna Tn city park

"Alligator" Snapper

"Alligator" Snapper by susanc59
"Alligator" Snapper, a photo by susanc59 on Flickr.

Discovered this big guy at our creek in Smyrna, TN

In the Road

In the Road by Tom C. Frundle
In the Road, a photo by Tom C. Frundle on Flickr.

Walked right up to me. I didn't stay long enough to ascertain whether they were nice or not.

Blue Heron

Blue Heron by David P James
Blue Heron, a photo by David P James on Flickr.

Stewart Creek Smyrna TN

Blue Winged Teal

Blue Winged Teal by paminia
Blue Winged Teal, a photo by paminia on Flickr.

Smyrna, TN

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper by paminia
Spotted Sandpiper, a photo by paminia on Flickr.

14 May 2011, Smyrna, TN

Black-Crowned Night Heron

On Stewart Creek