Saturday, February 06, 2021

Keep the Nashville flag.

 by Rod Williams - I like our Nashville flag and see no reason to change it but there is a move afoot to do so. No bill to do so has been introduced yet but the idea is being floated by Councilman Colby 
Sledge.  He tweeted the following below tweets recently.  The first shows the proposed design and the second explains the symbolism of the design.

Our current flag is here: 

The seal shown in the center of the flag was adopted as the city seal as the first bill passed by the new Metropolitan Council in 1963 following the establishment of Metro government. It was bill 63-1.  The flag was adopted in December 1963. In an official ceremony, it was reigned in as the new flag on August 4, 1964, at the Metropolitan Courthouse. According to the resolution adopting the flag, the blue stands for the courage and conviction of the city's leaders throughout history, while the gold denotes the richness of city's land and resources.  

The seal displays a Native American holding a skull standing by a tobacco plant, an eagle, and a badge-

shaped shield decorated in a style similar to the American flag. The Native is said to be a representative of the "Woodland" culture contemplating the skull of a member of an earlier Native culture such as the Mound Builders. (link)

While the proposed flag is a nod to the political correctness of diversity and immigration and the civil rights movement, I assume those who favor the change, also find having a Native American on our flag holding a skull to be chauvinistic and embarrassing.  Just as the left loves to tear down monuments and even strip the name "Washington," and "Jefferson," from schools and place names, they want to destroy anything that honors and recalls our history.

Say no!  Keep our current Nashville flag! 

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Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Demoted ex-firefighter captain sues city over demotion over political incorrect Facebook postings

Captain Tracy Turner
Story highlights:

  • Tracy Turner was demoted from captain to firefighter in August 2020 over things he posted on his private Facebook page.
  • He was also required to undergo sensitivity training.
  • Capt. Turner has served the Nashville Metro Fire Department for 25 years.
  • He is suing the city for $2million.
  • His post disparaged the BLM and Antifa movement.
  • When called out over the inappropriateness of his comments, he issued an apology that said, "“I would like to put out a public apology to anyone I may have offended …I am a Conservative, I love my job as a firefighter and have worked in the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods in Nashville …some of closest friends are black fireman.”
  • His critics and the Department were not mollified.
  • These are examples of his Facebook post:
    • “If you’ve been mistreated by someone of a different race, most of the time it’s because one of you are a jerk. Not your skin color.”
    • “What we done? We have raised a generation of morons that think that police are evil, especially the white ones …that all white people are racist and privileged …what have we done?”
    • “These Protesters are the stupidest people on the planet, other than the arsonist and looters that hang out with them,” and, “It’s not that the Anti-Fa and BLM thugs are so strong that they are able to take over part of a city...It’s that the Democrat Mayors are so weak as to let it happen. Shameful.”
  • Nashville Metro Council Member Emily Benedict and Tennessee Democratic state Rep. Vincent Dixie pushed to have Turner fired.
For more on this story see link, link, link, link and link.

Rod's comment: I hope Captain Turner wins his lawsuit. The stifling of conservative speech has gone on long enough.  If one can be punished for saying critical things against BLM and Antifa rioters then  speech critical of the police and favoring the protest should be punishable also.  I do accept certain limits on speech of public employees.  Any employee advocating violence or promoting a neo-Nazi or neo-Communist point of view should be punished. Captain Turner's speech did not cross any unacceptable line as far as I can tell. He simply violated political correctness standards, he disagree with current liberal orthodoxy.  This is all a pattern of the cancel culture, shouting down conservative speakers on campus, big tech censuring conservatives and the thought-control, group-think being imposed on our county and the stifling of dissenting opinions. 

To contribute to his defense follow this link to he Go Fund Me page.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Amazon to spend $2 billion on affordable housing in Nashville and two other cities.

Highlights from this story.

  • Amazon pledged $2B for affordable housing to be spend in cities where it has a large workforce.
  • The cities are Seattle which is Amazon headquarters, and Nashville, Tennessee and Arlington, Virginia where it has hubs.
  • It will build or preserve about 20,000 affordable units.
For more on this, see link and link.

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Cost of Living in Nashville, TN 2020

By: Davina Ward, Apartment list, Nov. 2012 - Nashville, Tennessee, is known as a music mecca, especially for
fans of honky-tonk country music. Not only has the city been the birthplace of many country music legends, but it's also got a lively culture of its own. This might sound like a dream for many prospective renters looking for a new city to call home. However, you should consider a few things before packing your bags and booking the next flight to Nashville. The cost of living in Nashville is generally more affordable than that of similar metropolitan areas. However, just because it's considered more affordable doesn't mean that all prospective renters will be able to afford to live there. 

To determine whether Nashville's cost of living fits into your budget, you'll need to have an in-depth understanding of what those costs look like in Nashville. Here's everything you need to know about the cost of living in Nashville, Tennessee, and how you can get the most bang for your buck in Songwriter's City. 
  • Nashville Housing Costs 
  • Nashville Transportation Costs 
  • Nashville Food Costs 
  • Nashville Healthcare Costs 
  • Nashville Utility Costs 
  • Fitness and Entertainment Costs 
  • Other Expenses to Consider in Nashville 
  • Recommended Salary in Nashville 
Nashville Housing Costs 
Now might be a good time to dive into Nashville's rental market, especially if you’re looking for a low-cost luxury apartment. Rent prices are experiencing a downturn. They’ll likely take some time to rebound. In short, making your move now could save you hundreds, if not thousands, on your rent. This is saying a lot, as Nashville is already among some of the more affordable cities in the US, similar to Dallas and Denver. Compared to the median rent prices in other large cities, like San Francisco, a renter can save over $1,000 a month. Nashville boasts a low median rent cost. A one-bedroom apartment will set you back $1,055. The average rent cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,217. Typically, the cost of a Nashville studio apartment will be less expensive. 

Nashville Transportation Costs 
Transportation in Nashville can be a bit of a challenge. That’s especially the case if you're considering an apartment that lies outside of Downtown Nashville. The streets are overtaken by the huge number of residents that own a personal vehicle. So, wherever it is that you plan on going, don't expect to get there quickly. The traffic-ridden streets will certainly slow you down. 

Public transportation in Nashville is handled by the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (NMTA). They offer busing services to residents and private paratransit services for passengers with disabilities. A one-way ticket costs $2 for an adult passenger. Nashville has no other public transit service beyond its bus lines. A referendum to add a railway and expand busing services was voted on in 2018. However, residents quickly shot it down. This is partially due to the lack of effective traffic decongestion that the plan would have provided, especially because it would’ve lacked service to the sprawling suburbs on the city's outskirts. Additionally, it would have significantly increased taxes for residents. Since there are no railway plans for the future, and bus service is limited, it might be ideal to own a vehicle, bike, or choose walking as your preferred mode of transportation from your Nashville apartment. 

Nashville Food Costs 
Nashville is known as a foodie paradise with Southern cuisine mixing with ethnic influences in the Music City. The average single Nashville resident spends just $291.13 a month on groceries and dining out. If you intend to enjoy a meal in the city, expect to pay around $15 for a single person at an inexpensive restaurant, according to data collected by Numbeo. If you're a person who eats out for lunch during the weekdays, that can mean your lunch budget alone will swell to $300 a month. In short, your personal preferences and level of frugality will determine just how large (or small) your food budget is in Nashville. 

Unfortunately, food prices are going up all over the country. If you want to get the most out of your food budget, clipping coupons, shopping at a co-op, and buying pantry items in bulk can often help you save big. 

Nashville Healthcare Costs 
Overall, the average annual health insurance premium for employer-based single coverage has increased by 3%. It now sits at $6,896 for a single coverage policy. On average, employees pay 18% of the premium cost for a single policy. This translates to $103 a month for employer-based coverage. Policies that extended coverage to families were higher, with employees paying $294 a month for their insurance premium. That said, healthcare costs will vary widely depending on your personal circumstances. It's essential to research all your health insurance options before making a final decision. This’ll allow you to choose the most cost-effective and beneficial policy. Nashville local government put together an awesome resource covering free and low-cost healthcare options for residents to consider. You'll find a similar list of free and low-cost healthcare options put together by the Housing and Urban Development Department. It might be helpful to keep an eye on politics when shopping the health insurance market. Currently, the Supreme Court is deciding a case that could completely overhaul the current system. Depending on the ruling, you could expect to see a major change in costs. 

Nashville Utility Costs
Utility costs can vary greatly from apartment to apartment. Beyond accounting for the various things that influence the cost of utilities, there's no real guarantee that you'll pay the number you come up with on your budget. In short, it's a budget category that you should overestimate until you get your first bills after a full month of use. That said, Numbeo offers some average costs that you can use as the foundation of your budget. Basic utilities for a 915 sq. ft. apartment unit will cost you just under $169 a month. This includes electricity, water, garbage collection, heating, and cooling. Keep in mind, this number only fits in this specific circumstance. In some cases, your landlord may include your utility costs in the rent itself. In this case, you'll have a single bill to worry about on a monthly basis. However, this setup can also mean that you'll see an inflated rent price. So, if you're looking for an affordable Nashville apartment, tread carefully. 

Fitness and Entertainment Costs 
You've moved to a great new city, so why not enjoy everything it has to offer? Regardless of your personal entertainment preferences, there's something to do for everyone in Nashville. Here's what you need to know about common entertainment costs. 

According to SeatGeek, the average cost of a concert ticket in Nashville is $135. Whether you decide to pay less for the nosebleed seats or more for the front row is up to you. There are a plethora of venues in the Music City famed for the country music tunes and legends that have emerged from the city. Ryman Auditorium is one of the largest and oldest venues that many artists fight to book. For larger shows, expect to jam at Nissan Stadium. 

Truthfully, the cost of fitness is pretty much free if you don't mind sharing the monkey, er, pull-up bars with children at the park. However, if you're looking for something that’ll help you avoid playground arguments, you can sign up for a membership at one of Nashville's many fitness centers and gyms. The average cost of a gym membership for a single adult is around $45 a month, or $540 a year. Keep in mind, many gyms have implemented application and first-time membership fees that may cause your costs to rise. If you don't mind the investment, many gyms are also offering completely virtual memberships that’ll enable you to follow along to various fitness classes from your home. 

Outdoor Recreation 
This type of recreation is always free, minus the cost of equipment. Luckily, Nashville is loaded with tons of outdoor recreation options that you can enjoy throughout the year. Percy Warner Park, which is just two massive parks separated by a street, is one of Nashville's most popular parks. The parks span 3,100 acres. They make up the second-largest park in the state. You'll find trails for running, walking, and biking. There are two full golf courses, a dog park, and sports fields. Not to mention, access to several hiking trails. Though this is only one park, there are tons more in the city. So, you can enjoy a full day of fun without paying a cent. 

Other Expenses to Consider in Nashville 
Though we've run through the most common costs to consider when moving to Nashville, there are a few more that merit mention. 

Phone, Internet, Cable: These are costs that you'll carry with you even after a move. While many are pulling the plug on cable and opting for streaming platforms like Netflix instead, your phone and internet are necessities in this day and age. 

Vehicle Ownership: As stated earlier, Nashville doesn't have a robust public transportation system. So, you'll likely be responsible for the costs of owning a personal vehicle, including gas, maintenance, and insurance. 

Childcare Costs: Childcare can often be one of the biggest expenses for families with young children. In Nashville, this cost sits at around $1,122 a month for a single child with full-day care. 

Increased Development: This is not a cost per se, but it's something that you should keep an eye on. Nashville is enjoying mass expansion. While the pandemic has certainly slowed that down, it's likely to start back up again. This typically correlates to higher living costs for every resident. 

Generally, your expenses are tied to your lifestyle more than anything else. While the costs of these budget categories may change, it's unlikely that you'll add a new one simply due to a move. So, perform an audit of your current expenses to gain an accurate idea of what you should include in your budget for a new city. That way, you'll have a solid foundation to build on if you do pick up new expenses after the move. 

Recommended Salary in Nashville 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the average Nashville resident's annual wage at $49,890 or $23.98 an hour. However, that's not necessarily the wage you should aim for when moving to this city. As housing costs often make up the largest portion of an individual’s expenses, it's ideal to base your budget on this metric to ensure that you have enough to cover your housing cost. The best rule to follow is that rent should only be 30% of your monthly income. The median cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Nashville is $1,055. This translates to a recommended monthly income of at least $3,517 or around $42,300 a year. 

Final Thoughts 
Making a move to any city can be challenging. However, the biggest challenge is determining whether you can afford to move to the city of your dreams. That's why it's essential to create an accurate budget that accounts for all expenses. Not only will this put you in a better financial position, but it enables you to plan ahead to meet your financial goals well before making the move. Once you've got the budget in place, the next big task is finding the right apartment. Luckily, Apartment List is here to help! Just get started with our quiz to find your dream Nashville apartment. 

AUTHOR Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B.A. in English from SUNY Geneseo.

Rod's Comment:  I find it interesting how others view our city and how they report on Nashville. The above underlining is mine. While everyone cannot afford to live comfortably in Nashville, we do not have a housing crisis.  The average Nashvillian can rent an apartment and it consumes less than 30% of his income. When  compared to other similar size cities with even less to offer, Nashville is still a bargain. 

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Monday, February 01, 2021

Nashville students to return to in-person learning starting this week

Story highlights

  • In-person learning will be optional.
  • Phasing in the return to the classroom begins on Thursday Feb. 5th, starting with students with disabilities. Grades K-4, as well as preschool, will be able to return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Feb. 9 
  • Grades 5 and 9 will return on Thursday, Feb. 18 
  • Grades 6 to 8 will return Feb. 25 
  • High school students in grades 10 to 12 will return March 3 
  • About 55% of students are expected to return in-person 
  • Reopening comes days after Gov. Bill Lee gave Metro Schools a deadline.
To read the full story in the Tennessean, follow this link

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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Linda Josephine Simmons Upchurch, 1948 - 2021, Rest in Peace.

Linda Upchurch
by Rod Williams ,Jan. 31, 2021 - My aunt, Linda Upchurch, passed away on January 28th.  Although she was my aunt, she was a year younger than me. We were always close.

When we very young, maybe three and four, my family lived with Granny and Linda and her older siblings, Sonny and Aunt Lila, for a few months.  I have one memory of that period.  Momma told me I was too young to remember it, but I do.  Mom had a beautiful blue flowing dress that had applied polka dots. Linda and I would get in the closet and if you bent the applied dots, they would break and you could peal them off.  We did.  I must of got a spanking for that because it sticks out as one of my earliest memories. 

As children, Linda and I usually saw each other a few days in the summer and a couple days around Christmas.  We lived in Seymour, Tennessee and they lived in Sparta Tennessee and that was as about as often as we could visit.  Despite the distance and infrequency of our visits, Linda and I remained close and getting to visit was an exciting time and something I always looked forward to.  

When I reached my preteen years I started almost annual summer stays with Granny and Linda of a week at a time.  We had so much fun.  Seymour was a rural community, a suburb of Knoxville.  Sparta was a small town.  Even as pre teens we could walk the few blocks to town by ourselves. I remember going to the drug store and getting ice cream floats.  

My life at home was more restrictive than when I visited Granny. My family was of modest income and frugal.  We were also very religious and did not believe in dancing or going to movies and certainly did not have trashy magazines.  

Granny and Linda lived just a couple doors down and across the street from a little neighborhood store.  While at home, soda was a treat, but when visiting with Linda we would frequently, daily as I recall, go the store and get a Dr. Pepper and a candy bar and just put it on Granny's account. We also went to movies which was the only time I ever got to see a movie, and Linda had trashy magazines like Redbook and True Romance and Movie magazine.  It was so much fun visiting Linda.

As we entered our older teen years, Linda would come visit me and stay with us also.  I had free use of my mothers car and we run all over Seymour and Sevier County and had fun as teens and double dated some. 

As a young adult Linda moved to Nashville and a few years later after, I got out of the service, I moved to Nashville also. I frequently ate at her house and we went places together, including going out to listen to music.  She was the only family I had in Nashville and we enjoyed doing things together and sharing what was going on in our lives and confiding in each other.  

My daughter, Rachel, was born in October 1982 and Linda's only child, Thomas, was born six months later.  With children only six months apart, we often did things together focused on children, and Rachel and Thomas were close. Linda lived in a big house on Richland Avenue with her husband Richard and Thomas.  Richland Avenue makes a big deal out of Halloween with lots of homes going to great lengths to decorate and the people of Richland Avenue hand out good candy.  Several Halloweens Rachel and Thomas went trick 'er treating together and I spend Halloweens with Richard and Linda. 

We went camping together some and  visited extended family together and I joined them for the Whitland Avenue 4th of July events most years and spend New Years Eve with them at a big party my sister Becky and her husband Dale threw each year.  Other than my immediate family, Linda was the person I was closest too in the whole world.  When I went though a messy divorce and then child visitation issues, Linda was always supportive and a sympathetic ear. I miss her. 

Below is her obituary.

Linda Josephine Simmons Upchurch, 1948 - 2021

Linda Josephine Simmons Upchurch of Nashville, TN, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her loving family on January 28, 2021. She was 72 years old.

Linda was born on May 15, 1948 in Anderson Co., TN, to Martha Lena Carter and Willis Simmons. Linda was a 1966 graduate of White County High School and attended college at Tennessee Technological University. Linda worked as a gifted administrative assistant for many years at the Kennedy Center at Peabody (now Vanderbilt). Her true passion, though, was children; she was a foster parent for several children, and after becoming a mother herself, cared for a total of 15 children over the years in her home.

Linda was a true southern lady with fiery red hair, a sharp wit, and a mischievous sense of humor. She was the consummate hostess and her home was the epicenter of family life. From wedding and baby showers to eating beans and greens on New Year's Day, no event was too small to be celebrated with gusto and the perfect appetizer.

Linda was preceded in death by her mother and father; sisters Ouida Faye Williams and Lila Jane McCalman; brother Basil Carroll Welch, II; and infant daughter Martha Leah Upchurch.

She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Richard Leon Upchurch; her beloved son, Thomas Carter Upchurch and daughter-in-law Elizabeth Janette Upchurch of Memphis; grandchildren Asher Andrew, Annelise Leah, and Eleanor Nicole Upchurch; a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and great-great nieces and nephews; as well as many devoted friends and family.

The family would like to thank all of the friends and family who reached out during Linda's final days to express their love. Due to COVID-19, a memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Susan Gray School, Peabody College, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville TN 37203.

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Rutherford County considers policy change to end ban on employees carrying concealed firearms

Story highlights: 

  • Six member ad hoc committee studying the issue. 
  • Commissioner Craig Harris opposes most county employees carrying guns at work due to liability. Commissioner Pettus Read says only trained law enforcement officers should carry guns while working.
  • Rutherford County has 1,332 employees, including 253 law enforcement officers. Only that 253 may carry guns.
  • Mt. Juliet allows city workers to carry guns to work.
  • In 2020 the Rutherford County Commission declared its jurisdiction a Second Amendment Sanctuary County

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