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St. Luke’s + NNA SEEK TO

UNITE

THE NATIONS page 6

Second Annual

Taste of West Nashville page 14

Celebrate National

Biscuit Month

with the Loveless Cafe! page 24

August–September 2018 VOL. II, ISSUE 5


J O I N T H E N AT I O N S N E I G H B O R H O O D A S S O C I AT I O N A N D ST. LU KE ’ S CO M M U N IT Y H O U S E AT N A S H V I L L E ’ S L O N G E S T TA B L E !

Neighbors who live in The Nations are invited to grab a seat at our table to build friendships, celebrate community and strengthen our neighborhood. S AT U R D AY , S E P T E M B E R 8 T H | 4 P M - 7 P M St. Luke’s Community House 5601 New York Avenue, Nashville, TN 37209

TICKETS Tickets are available in advance at unitethenations.org or at the welcome booth on September 8th. A pay-as-you-can entry fee will ensure access for all residents of The Nations.

unitethenations.org


Editor and Publisher MIRIAM DRENNAN

Creative Consultant EVELYN MARIE PARRISH

Historian YVONNE EAVES

Copy Editor JENNIFER GOODE STEVENS

Senior Contributor NAOMI GOLDSTONE

Contributors KIMI ABERNATHY

PENNY ANDERSON

YVONNE EAVES

CLARE FERNANDEZ

HANNAH HERNER

BRIGID MURPHY STEWART

EMILY TULLOH

Art Direction and Design ELLEN PARKER BIBB

Photographers YVONNE EAVES LEAH HARRINGTON HANNAH HERNER WARNER TIDWELL

Social Media HEATHER CRAMSIE

Distribution DON GAYLORD

COVER Meadow Walk, Richland Creek Greenway by ELLEN PARKER BIBB Advertising Inquiries: 615.491.8909 or 372WestNashville@gmail.com. @372WN

@372Wn

@372wn

372WN is a print and digital magazine published every other month by Next Chapter Publishing, LLC. All content presented herein, unless otherwise noted, is the exclusive property of Next Chapter Publishing and cannot be used, reprinted, or posted without permission. 372WN is free for readers; excessive removal of the product or tampering with any of our distribution racks will be considered theft and/or vandalism and subject to prosecution.


CONTENTS VOL. II, ISSUE 5 | August–September 2018

MAIN FEATURE 6

St. Luke’s + NNA Seek to Unite the Nations

CURRENT HAPPENINGS 14 Second Annual Taste of West Nashville 18 Chaffin’s Barn Theatre Gets a Facelift

FEATURES 32 The Mother of Invention: Roger Dugger’s Modman

38 Mending Hearts: Restoring Women, Reclaiming Lives

46 A Castle to Some, A Hassle to Others 52 West Nashville Sisters Bring the Sudbury School Model to Nashville

58 Metro Government 101: How It All Works Together

IN EVERY ISSUE 24 372WestNosh Special: Celebrate National Biscuit Month with the Loveless Cafe!

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372Who kNew?


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ENJOY MORE SUMMER. Experience long, bug free summer evenings with our beautifully scented outdoor candle, each handcrafted by women survivors.

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@thistlefarms


SPECIAL FEATURE

St. Luke’s + NNA Seek to

UNITE THE NATIONS photos courtesy of St. Luke's Community House

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by Penny ANDERSON

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ifteen years ago, the neighborhood west of Charlotte Pike and north of White Bridge wasn’t often called “The Nations.” In fact, it was a neighborhood not often called anything but blighted, poor or scary after dark. In 2010, the great Nashville flood brought the community to the forefront of conversation with its devastation, relief efforts, and real estate opportunity. The neighborhood had the three things needed to ignite gentrification: proximity to in-town amenities; flexible zoning regulations; and property values low enough to ensure a profitable resale. “The Nations” is now one of the most popular in-town neighborhoods with $400,000 average home prices having doubled since 2013 and quadrupled since 2008. The changes to the residential landscape brought forth retail establishments, restaurants, lifestyle entrepreneurs and a walkable neighborhood.

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Not all the changes were positive for everyone. They came at a cost to the social and emotional health of the people who had called the neighborhood home before the flood. Some no longer felt welcome in the community they had lived in for decades. Many renters lost their leases because their homes would be sold for profits never before considered. The pressure on homeowners to sell was overwhelming at the mailbox, on the telephone and at the front door. Residents reported daily offers to buy their homes. As more and more new homes popped up, the older homes started to stand out in sharp contrast to the modern, stylized aesthetic. By 2015, there was a culture of the Old Nations and the New Nations. Two different neighborhood associations met. Each rallied around different candidates for Metro council. Old Nations clung to their homes as best they could and isolated themselves from the changes. New Nations residents were encouraged to call codes on neighbors who didn’t maintain their yards. Tensions mounted, and there was very little

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the two groups had in common. The irony of the neighborhood coming apart after a catastrophe that pulled them together is not lost—and the solution to the problem would lie with an agency at the center of neighborhood itself. Tucked into the heart of the neighborhood, St. Luke’s Community House had been operating from the same location since 1920. Evolving to meet whatever the neighborhood needs were, what began as a well-baby clinic was now a social service agency with a preschool, family resource center, senior services and a campus large enough to host a variety of other nonprofits like Needlink, the Nashville Diaper Connection, and Nashville Adult Literacy Council. The diverse clientele had largely been low-income, financially unstable and located within a five-mile radius of the campus. When the flood occurred, St. Luke’s was the lead agency in the recovery process, including being the administrator of local, state and federal funding. Once the neighborhood started to change, St. Luke’s engaged a consultant from Focused Community Strategies in Atlanta to

By 2015, there was a culture of the Old Nations and the New Nations. help them understand the gentrification process, the needs, and the opportunities for improvement. The conversations helped craft St. Luke’s direction within the neighborhood as a champion of gentrification with justice. The concept is to promote inclusion as a neighborhood changes and welcome new neighbors while continuing to support traditional ones. Community agencies should facilitate introductions, foster connectedness and provide opportunities for everyone to engage in meaningful dialogue


about the changes. Long-term success comes with the development of services that appeal to everyone. In short, help everyone find their dignity in stressful times and feel like they have a place to belong when the changes subside. After an intensive strategic planning process, which considered a wide variety of options for the future, St. Luke’s set its path forward. It would remain in its location. It would open its service eligibility to all Davidson County residents. The preschool would offer a full-pay rate for local neighbors who did not qualify for subsidized childcare rates at their highest-rated child-

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care facility. Senior Services would grow in both type and capacity. The campus would be optimized to host more partner services so that clients and neighbors would

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have ease of access. St. Luke’s would also take a more active role in connecting new and old. It would actively help build community in The Nations.

Guided by the belief that good neighbors make good neighborhoods and the best neighborhoods are made up of diverse, inclusive, caring neighbors who know each other and help each other, St. Luke’s reached out to The Nations Neighborhood Association. Through a series of free and pay-asyou-can events, the neighborhood would embrace each other and their common ground. Dubbed “Unite The Nations,” the collaboration would identify a series of events and activities appealing to a broad base of neighbors. The first activity was specifically chosen to help address one of the first, and most difficult, barriers between new and old: property upkeep St. Luke’s identified neighbors in need through the Seniors Program, with a focus on older adults who could not physically make necessary repairs or improvements to


their homes and yards. The Nations Neighborhood Association took the lead in recruiting neighborhood volunteers willing to take time on a Saturday to help. Bringing city resources, including access to a tool bank as well as Public Works, Mayor David Briley and representatives from his administration joined the Nations in service to one another. The first Neighbors Helping Neighbors day on May 19th brought out nearly 20 residents who helped clean, debris, mow, trim, and repair three properties during the morning. After hours of sweaty work, everyone was treated to free hot dogs and drinks from neighborhood favorite, Daddy’s Dogs. The next Unite The Nations event will be held on Saturday, September 8th. “A Meal Together” is a collaborative, social gathering. All Nations neighbors, from different backgrounds, are invited to dine together as one community at long tables

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To learn more and get involved, visit

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glass to the future of a neighborhood where all are welcome. Events like these help neighbors meet one another and put a human face on gentrification. When communities eat together, shop together, serve together, and educate their children together, they become resilient. In the coming years, it is the hope of neighborhood leaders that The Nations becomes the model for gentrification with justice in Nashville. WE

surrounding the St. Luke’s campus. Admission will be pay-as-youcan so that neighbors can each buy their tickets at a price their own budgets can afford. Financial sponsorships offset the expenses. The concept has seen buy-in from local businesses including Innophos and Renaissance Stone, as well as city-wide companies like Bass, Berry & Sims. The Nations continues to see rising property values but is also starting to invite density, affordability, and community. Resources like St. Luke’s, West Park Recreation Center and the dog park at 51st invite everyone to the table. On September 8th, the vision of a community meal together will become a reality as all Nations neighbors raise a

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SATU RDAY, SE PTE MBE R 8TH 4 PM -7PM St. Luke’s Community House 5601 New York Avenue, Nashville, TN 37209 Tickets are available in advance at unitethenations.org or at the welcome booth on September 8th. A pay-as-you-can entry fee will ensure access for all.


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Second Annual

TASTE OF WEST NASHVILLE:

NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS

by Hannah

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est Nashville-area restaurants old

and new will come together to share their best dishes to help those in need at the Preston Taylor subsidized housing complex just blocks away.

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photos by

HERNER

Leah HARRINGTON

The West Nashville Dream Center’s second annual Taste of West Nashville event will be 5:30-8:30 p.m. on September 6 at Fat Bottom Brewing in The Nations. Area restaurants donate their time and food for the event, while patrons pay $35 ($15 kids, free for three and under), which goes directly to the Dream Center. Katie Kines, director of development and fundraising at West Nashville Dream Center, says the charity

event gives local restaurants a chance to shine, too. (In full disclosure, 372WN is the event’s exclusive print media sponsor.) “We don’t charge anybody to be a part of it. It’s free publicity for everybody who’s involved,” Kines says. “The heart of it is to continue showcasing the new and the old.” Last year’s event had 400 attendees and 14 vendors; the center hopes to see 600 attendees and 25 vendors this year.


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Taste of West Nashville will be in the brewery’s beer garden, as well as its event space called The Reserve. Fat Bottom moved to The Nations from East Nashville in February 2017. This time around, the event will expand into the parking lot with kids’ activities, and Fat Bottom has added a second bar to keep up with the number of attendees. “Family-friendly” might not be the first thought when hearing the word “brewery,” but it describes the environment Fat Bottom strives to offer. “Our venue is a really great place for family events because we have our large indoor space and then the outdoor space with corn hole and room to move around. We know kids don’t always just sit,” says Kassi French, event manager for Fat Bottom.

Coco’s Italian Market and Event Center is one of the veteran establishments participating this year. They’ll be bringing some crowd favorites—including their famous meatballs—to the event. In true Music City fashion, local musicians will provide the soundtrack for the evening. This will include covers from Alex Smith, who will return for this year’s event. “I loved playing it last year,” Smith says. “It was a really cool venue. There was such a great vibe, and having all the vendors there was awesome. I’m definitely looking forward to going and getting some more food and having a few Fat Bottom brews, and to hanging out with everybody.”

The Cause This year, the proceeds from the event will be directed to securing a new location for the West Nashville Dream Center, which originally started as part of Crosspoint Church. As of June 30, the organization was asked to vacate its office at 4007 Delaware Ave. The landlords are moving their own business into the space. Location is important to the Dream Center, as they consider themselves neighbors to the Preston Taylor housing projects—not just physically, but emotionally. As part of this neighborly mentality, Dream Center volunteers

Who Will Be There? At press time, the following participants have been confirmed: PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS Coco’s Italian Market Hop Yard Farm Burger Eat Well Nashville 51st North Taproom Frothy Monkey Bro’s Cajun Cuisine 51st Kitchen and Bar Hattie B’s The Ridge Miel

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SPONSORS

ARTISTS (ROSTER FULL)

372WN Magazine Yelp Fat Bottom Brewery  Signs First  Love in a Mist Events Spine and Strength  State of Restoration 

Opener: Cheryl and Adam Stark Act 2: Campbell Station Act 3: Conor Clemmons Act 4: Alex Smith Closer: Chris Bullard

Alcohol can be purchased by the drink and is not limited to Fat Bottom Brews.

Visit www.tasteofwestnash.com for the latest information.


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share their food to ensure that the West Nashville Dream Center can keep transporting food to those in need, and remain good neighbors.

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“Nothing we do depends on this building. And that’s what we’ve always tried to operate under. It’s nice and it’s a luxury to have a roof over our heads and it’s definitely the end goal. But it truly should not be anything that limits what we’re doing,” Kines says. West Nashville restaurants will

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go door-to-door monthly, just to check on people and serve immediate needs, such as extra food and house repairs. “Even though all the development around Nashville keeps getting bigger and better, that housing authority isn’t going anywhere. We want to make sure those people aren’t forgotten,” Kines says. The West Nashville Dream Center looks to do ministry differently, by not “reinventing anyone else’s wheels,” Kines says. They partner with other area nonprofits, such as the Oasis Center and Preston Taylor Ministries, and focus on fostering positive relationships between the neighborhood and area police officers. The center also focuses a lot on parents, as there are many single mothers in the neighborhood. They host a Mom’s Lunch each week, where mothers can get a breather, and often help out by transporting children to and from activities. “Success for us is when we meet a kid and then we meet Mom. Because then we can impact the entire family,” says Miranda Telford, marketing director for the Dream Center. Perhaps the most involved part of the charity is the mobile food ministry. Like many low-income neighborhoods, Preston Taylor is a food desert, meaning there isn’t access to fresh food within walking distance. West Nashville Dream Center “rescues” fresh food that would have otherwise been wasted from grocery stores around town and transports it to the families in Preston Taylor. “It’s a completely different world of people who are working hard, but a lot of them live in crisis. We’re here to help all of these families, who just need encouragement and support,” Telford says. In between locations, the Dream Center will mobilize as many of its services as possible and use other sites nearby.

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resident of Bellevue and recent graduate of The Ohio State University. She is also an alternative music fan, tap dancer and a Jeni’s ice cream enthusiast.

August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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Chaffin’s

BARN THEATRE Gets a Facelift by Clare

FERNANDEZ

photos courtesy of Chaffin’s Barn Theatre

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haffin’s Barn Theatre is the nation’s second-oldest dinner theatre. It’s also the nation’s

longest-running and continually operating dinner theatre-in-the-round with a stage that descends from the ceiling. Audiences have been enjoying this one-of-a-kind experience for 51 years. And now it’s getting an upgrade.

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A Mainstay in West Nashville Chaffin’s opened in 1967 on Highway 100 in Bellevue as the first professional theatre in Nashville, and it operates today in the very same building. In its inaugural years, actors were cast in New York. They would travel to Nashville, living upstairs from the theatre for the duration of a show and waiting tables before their performances. Today, the theatre employs some of Nashville’s best local and professional talent in both offand on-stage roles. Norma Luther, who purchased Chaffin’s in December 2016, crafted the theatre’s slogan of “The Next 50 Years.” Chaffin’s plays an integral role in Nashville’s theatre scene and in its rich history, and the team wants to provide another 50 years of memories for its patrons. “One of my reasons for buying the barn was the incredible talent and heart that every employee and performer brings to the barn.” Norma said. Martha Wilkinson, who has been artistic director since 2002, calls the history of the barn “very heartfelt.” She added, “We consistently have patrons telling emotional stories of trips to the Barn as children with their grandmas, aunts, uncles.” Many people attend shows in celebration of birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions, so it is important to the theatre’s management to keep the environment affordable and family-friendly— while presenting a variety of modern and classic theatrical entertainment. As it begins its next 50 years, Chaffin’s stands high on the hill as an important piece of the Nashville landscape.

Oh, What a Show! Chaffin’s Barn has employed hundreds of actors over its five decades. Tony Award-winning actress Cherry Jones made her theatrical debut at Chaffin’s in the mid-1970s, starring in “The Good Doctor.” Many local actors got their start in theater at the red barn, too. One such actress is Joy Tilley Perryman, who has been employed with Chaffin’s for 20 years. She directs and acts in shows and currently is production manager and props mistress. “I love that the Chaffin’s team is truly a family,” Joy said. “These are not only the people that I respect artistically and professionally, but these are the people that I know always have my back. And I have theirs.” There have been many memorable performances over the years at Chaffin’s. Martha’s favorite is “Singin’ in the Rain,” when they actually made it rain on the

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Chaffin’s is a fan favorite, having been voted Best Place to See a Play by The Tennessean and a Top 20 Nashville tourist destination by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. stage. Joy reminisces on too many shows to count, saying, “There are so many moments! So many shows that are dear to my heart.” Chaffin’s is a fan favorite, having been voted Best Place to See a Play by The Tennessean and a Top 20 Nashville tourist destination by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

New Renovations, the Same Enjoyable Experience Norma is most excited about retaining the history of the barn throughout the facility upgrade. Having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, the barn was in need of some updates. It will retain its iconic red color, and the dinner theatre in-the-round concept remains the same. Renovations include a new roof, new carpet and theatrical curtains, updated bathrooms, new dressing rooms and sound

Martha Wilkinson, artistic director

Joy Tilley Perryman


and lighting booths, and a repaved parking lot. These thoughtful renovations will improve the experiences of the actors, the operations and production teams and the patrons alike. The theatre remains fully accessible, and interpreters are provided for each of their shows. The new season opens in August and promises more entertaining dinner theatre for its patrons. The space can also be booked for weddings, community events and fundraisers. The menu will not change, and if you’re not familiar, it is quite a treat. Chaffin’s offers a prime rib buffet, which features assorted entrees, swamp soup (a Barn favorite that you’ll have to try for yourself, since the recipe is top-secret), apple strudel, homemade peanut butter pie and a salad bar. They also offer an a la carte small plate menu with vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Renovations include a new roof, new carpet and theatrical curtains, updated bathrooms, new dressing rooms and sound and lighting booths, a repaved parking lot.

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*All productions take place Thursday–Saturday with select Sunday matinees.

MAINSTAGE SEASON

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December 7–8, 14–15, 21–22

Elf: The Musical November 15–December 29

BACKSTAGE SEASON

The Game Show Show

November 23–December 29

SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT Minnie Pearl: All the News from Grinder’s Switch September 7–9

CLASH OF THE PLAYWRIGHTS

Ollie’s Diner by Ron Osborne (2018 winner) September 14–16

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Children’s Holiday Show: All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

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A native Nashvillian, Clare Fernandez is an arts integration advocate, lifelong actress, obsessive proofreader and lover of coffee, wine and laughter. She works as a data analyst by day and enjoys spending her free time serving on the board of Poverty & the Arts, reading, hiking in various local parks, belting out showtunes off key, writing and exploring the growing arts and culture scene in Nashville. WE

Sister Act

August 2–25

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This fall, they will be opening Chaffin’s Station in a facility less than half a mile from the theatre. This restaurant will serve all the favorites from the Barn’s menu. You can dine in or order individual portions or family packs to go (with carside pickup) or for delivery. The Barn has always been known for its delicious dinner menu, and opening a restaurant was a natural addition. In 2019, Chaffin’s plans to add educational programs, as well as a children’s theatre camp. For more information on Chaffin’s, including purchasing tickets, please visit dinnertheatre.com. VI

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nterested actors can find audition information on the theatre’s website and Facebook page. To receive audition updates via email, send inquiries to info@chaffinsbarntheatre. com. The process for each show is a general audition requiring a one-minute monologue and 32 bars of a song in the style of the show. Actors chosen to attend callbacks may then be asked to sing music from the show, read from the script and learn dance combinations through an extensive dance call with resident choreographer, Everett Tarlton. Playwrights can submit to Chaffin’s annual Clash of the Playwrights competition. Started in 2017, this competition helps cultivate new works and promote local talent. The 2018 winner, Ron Osborne, will have his play fully produced in the Backstage at the Barn theatre, and Chaffin’s will produce the second-place winner in their 2019 season. To enter the contest, submit two bound copies of your play with a $5 entry fee. The play must be a mystery or comedy with no more than six to eight characters in a unit set, which is easily adaptable to the theatre’s space. Submissions for 2019 will open around late spring/ early summer of next year.

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372WN.com | August–September 2018


C E L E B R AT E

National Biscuit Month with the Loveless Cafe! by Brigid MURPHY STEWART photos used with permission by the Loveless Cafe

September is National Biscuit Month, and what better way to celebrate than to travel down Highway 100 and take advantage of Nashville’s very own nationally famous biscuit haven, the Loveless Cafe?

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he care taken at The Loveless Cafe makes sampling the award-winning biscuits, preserves and other delectable items on their varied menu more than just an experience. It’s a memorable event. When crossing the threshold, the aroma of buttery, fresh-baked biscuits envelops you, evoking Norman Rockwell images of a bygone era. Whether you hail from the South, North or other faraway places, these biscuits just smell like comfort and home.

“Our tagline is ‘Nashville’s Biscuit Since 1951’—especially fitting for National Biscuit Month!” said Loveless Cafe Marketing Director Laura Leatherman. “We will be turning out 10,000 biscuits daily for National Biscuit Month. We still use Annie Loveless’ original biscuit recipe, and it remains a secret to this day.” For the 30 days of September, visitors will be served biscuits, peach, blackberry and strawberry preserves, plus the many other culinary delights the cafe has to August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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offer customers who have a hankering for arguably the best, fresh and flaky morsels in town. Last year during National Biscuit Month, the Loveless Cafe’s “Random Acts of Love” campaign was an opportunity to “spread the love.” Biscuits and preserves were delivered to local groups and nonprofits nominated by Loveless Cafe employees for their service to the community. This year’s “Random Acts of Love” has expanded its scope to include nominations from the general public. “We’d like to continue to recognize local organizations,” Leatherman said, and this year, customers and fans are encouraged to nominate notable organizations for recognition—and biscuits—on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Posts with the hashtag #BiscuitMonth should include the name of the organization, reasons it should be considered and the tag @LovelessCafe. Posts must be public, the deadline is September 7.

to celebrate holidays with family or bring out-of-town guests for good, home-cooked meals. Over the 67 years since they first opened their doors, Lon and Annie’s roadside cafe has received nationwide acclaim and become one of Nashville’s destination restaurants.

CHANGES AND RENOVATIONS The site has changed hands multiple times over the years. The motel portion closed in the 1980s, and the

THE CAFE AND MOTEL HISTORY According to written and oral histories, the story of the cafe and its biscuit recipe goes all the way back to 1951 when Lon and Annie Loveless bought the Harpeth Valley Tea Room and reopened it as the Loveless Cafe. They welcomed weary travelers on the then-busy Highway 100 and Natchez Trace Parkway, offering hot biscuits and fried chicken right out their front door. In that pre-interstate era, word spread and the couple expanded the business, building a dining area and motel to accommodate the growing number of visitors. While Lon made guests comfortable at the motel and smoked hams in the smokehouse, Annie made sure no one went hungry. The Loveless Cafe gained fame around Nashville and surrounding counties for its down-home food and hospitality. Country music stars and visitors from all over the world made it a favorite stop whenever they came to Nashville, not to mention locals who frequented the cafe

Cafe before renovations Lon and Annie Loveless

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Loveless "Biscuit Lady" Carol Fay Allison

cafe was completely refurbished in 2003, getting new life that survives today as its legacy continues. Part of that legacy is Annie’s recipe for biscuits, which has remained a closely guarded secret. It is passed down only from biscuit maker to biscuit maker, and they are sworn to secrecy about the central measure of the success of the Loveless Cafe brand. Longtime Loveless “Biscuit Lady” Carol Fay Ellison was featured on myriad shows: “The Today Show,” “Throwdown! with Bobby Flay” on the Food Network, “CBS Early Show,” Martha Stewart’s show and Ellen DeGeneres’ show. She demonstrated her culinary skills and wooed audiences with her Southern charm until her death in 2010. Today’s biscuit makers are flouring and rolling out the dough the same way, following Annie’s closely guarded recipe. Cafe server Jason Manor, who hails from Waverly, Tennessee, summed up what really makes the cafe unique: “It is coming here over the years and having the same menu, the biscuits, the fried chicken, the same great food whenever you come.” While enjoying a generous serving of biscuits and preserves, longtime West Nashville resident and octogenarian Joan Strobel shared her reactions with


a sly grin. “These are almost as good as Mother’s,” she divulged, keeping her family’s proud reputation intact as she reminisced. “‘The key to good biscuits,’ Mother used to say, ‘was a heavy hand with the shortening and a light hand with the dough.’” Whatever the secret is, the Loveless Cafe has it.

“WHERE Y’ALL FROM?” Beyond biscuits and other rich fare, the emphasis on hospitality is another key ingredient to the Loveless’ success. Introductions by servers begin with, “Where are y’all from?” All employees wear nametags showing their hometowns, warmly interact with patrons, share stories and make everyone feel like family. Hospitality and outreach are important to the Loveless Cafe management. The cafe offers online and mail-order options to buy biscuit mix, preserves, hams and other items that ship all over the world, and they cater events throughout the Nashville area. Also available to the public are the Barn and Harpeth Room for weddings, meetings and parties year-round on the grounds, making special events even more extraordinary. Making guests feel welcome and offering great food and event spaces is one thing, but the Loveless Cafe also makes an effort to give back to the community. For instance, the cafe sent

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Dietetic Interns come to the Loveless Cafe every year with each new class.

biscuits and preserves to help the National Public Education Foundation (NPEF) show support for area teachers in May. “We hope to show our support for the community throughout the year. We work closely with the Nashville, Bellevue and Williamson County chambers of commerce,” Leatherman said. continued on page 30

Patrons can stock up on favorites or order online.

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Recipes from the Loveless Cafe And here are a few of our favorite recipes using the Loveless Cafe’s Biscuit Mix (“the next best thing to the real thing”).

CHOCOLATE CHIP BISCUITS

MAPLE BACON STICKY BISCUITS

Add a little somethin’ sweet to our world-famous biscuits at home for an extra special treat!

A yummy treat for the entire family! What could be better than Loveless Cafe’s maple bacon, biscuits and maple syrup all rolled up into one simple pleasure?

Servings: about 40 biscuits Ingredients 1 bag Loveless Cafe Biscuit Mix 2 2/3 cups Buttermilk 1/2 cup Sugar 1 tsp Vanilla 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels Directions 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Pour your full bag of Loveless Cafe Biscuit Mix, sugar, and chocolate morsels into a large bowl and mix. 3. Add buttermilk and vanilla begin folding. 4. Continue mixing until a smooth dough is formed. Do not knead! 5. Place dough on a well-floured surface (if you put down waxed paper first, cleanup will be a breeze!). 6. Dust top of dough heavily with flour. 7. Roll out with a floured rolling pin, adding flour to top of dough and rolling surface as needed to avoid sticking. 8. Roll out to 1/2 inch thick. 9. Re-roll dough no more than one time. 10. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter. 11. Place biscuits on a well-greased baking pan with the sides touching one another. 12. Butter biscuits with melted butter before baking and again when you remove them from the oven. 13. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10–15 minutes, rotating once about halfway through. 14. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Top with your favorite flavor preserves and serve!

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Servings: About 24 Ingredients 1 pound Loveless Cafe Maple Bacon 1 cup Maple Bacon grease (reserved while cooking) 1 cup unsalted butter (1/2 pound) 2 pounds brown sugar ¼ cup Loveless Cafe Maple Syrup 1/4 cup water 1 bag Loveless Cafe Biscuit mix 2 2/3 + 3/4 cup whole buttermilk (do not use low fat) 1 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups raisins 3 tablespoons cinnamon All-purpose flour (about 1 cup for rolling out dough) Parchment paper or wax paper (for easy cleanup) Directions 1. ​Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Grease two 9 x 13 pans well; set aside 3. Cook Loveless Cafe Maple Bacon to package instructions, crisp, reserve grease; set aside. Chop bacon when it is cool and divide into 4 equal portions. 4. To make caramel, bring butter, bacon grease, brown sugar, water and maple syrup to a boil until smooth; set aside. 5. In a separate bowl, mix together granulated sugar, raisins and cinnamon; set aside. 6. On your work space place a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper dusted with flour. 7. In a large mixing bowl, pour in your Loveless Cafe Biscuit Mix


(if it’s lumpy, work the lumps out with your hands), then add your 2 2/3 cups of buttermilk and mix until buttermilk is incorporated. Dough will be sticky. 8. Place 1/2 the biscuit dough on the flour, dust liberally with more flour on top and fold the dough 2-3 times, adding more flour if necessary. 9. Roll your dough into rectangle. 10. Brush liberally with buttermilk and sprinkle with half of the raisin and sugar mixture and 1/4 of the chopped bacon, keeping one long edge of the dough wet but clean of the raisin and sugar mixture so the roll will seal. Repeat with second half of dough. 11. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices with a serrated knife. 12. Pour the caramel into the two greased pans in equal portions, sprinkle each pan with 1/4 of the chopped bacon. 13. Place the slices of biscuit roll into the mixture, nestling them into the caramel and making sure they are not overcrowded in the pan. 14. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. 15. Remove from oven and carefully invert the pan of sticky biscuits onto a serving platter and enjoy while they are warm. ​ rab a fresh cup of coffee or a tall G glass of milk and enjoy!

WE NEED YOUR HELP! Take the

Readers’ Survey! www.surveymonkey.com/r/9SQGPC8 December 2017–January 2018 | 372WN.com

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NATIONAL BISCUIT MONTH continued from page 27

A BLACK FRIDAY ALTERNATIVE

What could be better than Loveless Biscuits and Preserves for dessert? 12–15 Servings Ingredients 1/2 batch Loveless Cafe biscuits (follow recipe for 1/2 bag) 4 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 cups heavy whipping cream 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 pound fresh strawberries (hulled, cut into bite-sized pieces) 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups Loveless Cafe Strawberry Preserves 1/8 cup toasted coconut (optional) 1/4 cup Loveless Cafe Spiced Pecans (optional) Directions 1. ​Bake biscuits as directed on Biscuit Mix packaging; cool completely. 2. Finely crumble cooled biscuits with hands into a medium bowl. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon over the biscuits; mix with hands. 3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and the vanilla; beat on medium high until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use. 4. Place strawberries in a medium bowl; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar; mix gently. 5. To assemble trifle, place about 1/3 of the biscuit mixture in the bottom of your bowl; press lightly to compact. Sprinkle 1/3 of the strawberries, then 1/3 of the Loveless Strawberry Preserves, then top with a layer of whipped cream. Repeat layers ending with whipped cream. Top with toasted coconut and spiced pecans. 6. Store trifle in refrigerator until ready to serve. Trifle is best served the same day it is made.

LOVE OUR LOCALS A bonus for West Nashville residents: The retail stores offer 10% discounts year-round for anyone with a Tennessee ID as part of the “Love Our Locals” campaign. Other discounts include military, senior, AAA and educators. Some discounts only apply to retail purchases, but others include food, according to Leatherman. Insider tips for 372WN readers: To avoid long waits, visit midweek for great dinner specials. Just be aware, big holidays, spring breaks, tourist season and other big travel times are when they are at their busiest. January and February are always a good time to come to the Loveless Cafe. Most importantly, Leatherman left us with this reminder: “Don’t forget to stop by the biscuit room in the cafe and watch our made-from-scratch biscuits being rolled out, brushed with butter, and baked fresh all day, every day!” Since September is dedicated to biscuits nationwide, there is no excuse! It is time to bring your friends and family, any visitors, newcomers to Nashville, or business associates for a truly Southern dining experience. Just look for the iconic neon sign along Highway 100, and be sure to arrive hungry! LLE

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Tips • You can easily make this into individual trifles using small glasses or Mason jars! • You can substitute the fruit and preserves with fresh peaches and Loveless Peach Preserves or fresh blackberries and Loveless Blackberry Preserves.

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The Loveless Cafe also provides family fun events, such as their “Family Friday” alternative to Black Friday. On the day after Thanksgiving, visitors to the Barn are treated to free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, cooking demonstrations, holiday shopping, as well as coloring, crafts, mini train rides and (weather permitting) inflatables for the kids, and of course lots of fresh, hot biscuits! Leatherman said, “I have heard so many people say it has been years since they have been here.” She points out that for locals who haven’t come by in a while, it is time to make a return visit, whether it is for the great Southern cooking or to visit the retail shops. The cafe’s retail stores are more than your typical souvenir shops. They carry Loveless Cafe, Nashville and Tennessee merchandise and seasonal gifts, home décor, homemade arts and crafts, as well as clothing and jewelry for a “one-stop shopping” experience. Leatherman highly recommends the home décor items, admitting she has bought many items for her own home. The mail-order room and smokehouse are also worth checking out.

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er and editor who always considers West Nashville her stomping grounds, regardless of where life takes her.


DISCOVER NASHVILLE’S BEST RADIO STATION.

WXNA is Nashville’s all-volunteer, non-profit, freeform community radio station with over 90 different shows featuring everything from funk to metal and all points in between. And while our signal doesn’t reach all the way to Bellevue quite yet, you can stream us on WXNAfm.org, the TuneIn app or just ask Alexa to play WXNA. August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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The Mother of Invention:

ROGER DUGGER’S

MODMAN by

Emily TULLOH

photos by Warner TIDWELL

“A guitar is a very personal extension of the person playing it. You have to be emotionally and spiritually connected to your instrument. I’m very brutal on my instruments, but not all the time.” –EDDIE VAN HALEN

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n 1980, I really wanted a guitar I couldn’t buy off the shelf,” says Roger Dugger, owner of Modman Guitar, a guitar repair and modification shop in The Nations neighborhood. Laying the second guitar he ever modified atop an altar of sorts, he begins a brief origin story: “This was a used 1976 Kramer with an aluminum neck.” The table where it rests was made for one singular purpose—

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the safekeeping of an instrument. There is a soft bed for the body and a cradle for the neck. The instrument’s mahogany body has been outfitted with a pearly lacquer finish that changes color with the light. A photo transfer was applied to the surface using a technique Roger “stole from the hot-rod guys.” It’s been hermetically sealed with 28 coats of clear lacquer. Dugger comes alive when talking

about his craft. His twangy drawl quickens as he transitions from curly maple and alder bodies to candy apple and butterscotch finishes. He plays a few country licks to demonstrate how a guitar made out of swamp ash lends itself to a bright, snappy sound, while a mahogany body creates a warm, fat sound. “The woods do make a subtle but very crucial difference in all of these instruments,” he says.


Dugger is a luthier. The term is archaic—a French word that originally referred to a maker of lutes. Today, it’s used to describe a person who makes or repairs any stringed instrument. It’s a modest title for Dugger, whose skill set extends far beyond building and repairs and collides with the fine arts. He pulls a sparkly turquoise guitar named Evinrude from the lineup on the wall and holds it up to catch a ray of sunlight. The metal flakes in the paint break the light into a thousand blinding shards. He raises his eyebrows and says, “This one has a pretty neat little trick under the hood.” He hits the kill switch (it’s a rock ’n’ roll thing) to reveal a red light that’s been installed under the mirrored pickguard. His creativity comes to life in these kinds of modifications. He confides that he “likes the small details . . . I hate to use the word perfectionism, but I want it to be almost perfect. This is why I’m doing this now, because I’d wanted things done to a level of detail that I couldn’t get. So I thought, ‘I’ll have to do it myself.’” Born on the cusp of 1960, Dugger describes his early musical preferences: “I was really big into the ’70s music scene, the rock scene.” He

rattles off names like Jimi Hendrix and Free. He started playing guitar after being inspired by his older sibling’s album collection and love of music: “I had a pawn shop guitar that I bought for $25 and a chord book. I had to figure out how to hotwire it into my sister’s stereo and play her albums . . . and that’s how I learned to tune a guitar.”

“I’d wanted things done to a level of detail that I couldn’t get. So I thought, ‘I’ll have to do it myself.’” He perches on a barstool, his legs neatly crossed. The hems of his dark jeans expose his low, black Johnny Cash-style boots—a subtle reminder of his rebel past. His ges-

ticulations are gentle as if his hands are moving through water, and the cadence of his speech adds a reverence to everything he talks about, from his family to rock ’n’ roll. “[Eddie] Val Halen was a big inspiration for me,” he explains, his distinct accent a vestige of his origins in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee, where he lived until high school. “He had taken a Fender Stratocaster and put a Gibson pickup in it with a whammy bar . . . so he had something that kind of changed everything for guitar players.” While his musical interests weren’t influenced by the bluegrass pickers and revival musicians of the mountains, his ability to innovate can be directly attributed to his humble childhood: “I would build

August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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my own bicycles when I was younger . . . I would take old parts and make cool choppers because I didn’t have the money to buy the nice store-bought ones. I would come up with these crazy ideas, and it kind of bled over into guitar-making.” At the age of 12, Dugger joined his father in Nashville after the untimely death of his mother. He learned a lot from his father, who was a diesel mechanic. He describes him as “a hard-working man that could fix anything with an engine, but he didn’t care for the small detailed work. So we were different in that respect, but he had an incredible talent. I was blessed to get some of those genetics.” While he obviously inherited some raw ability that elevated his technical work, Dugger was more artistic. “As a kid, I would draw constantly and create art,” he explains. “It all naturally led up to the music, because that was another creative outlet.” Even in Nashville, his rock roots remained strong. He reflects on his father’s music as “the cryingin-your-beer country music, and I didn’t like it . . . I wanted something with more excitement that would get your heart racing.”

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After graduating from Cohn High School, Dugger went to Nashville Tech where he “took courses in hydraulics and pneumatics and art. At that time, there wasn’t a lot on guitar-making.” When he exhausted his opportunities to learn related skills in the classroom, he sought out people who could teach him the things he wanted to know. “I’ve been blessed to have some really

wonderful mentors in my life,” he says. “I would watch people and get them to show me how to do something . . . I was always thinking, ‘How can I take this and do it more proficiently and make it my own?’” Through persistence and a lot of curiosity, he honed his skills and cobbled together an education in luthiery and guitar modification. “I would look for people who had knowledge in areas that I didn’t have,” he says. “I found a guy who knew how to use a spray gun and could paint cars and motorcycles . . . I got him to teach me how to use one, and so I used a really high-quality automotive lacquer to do my first guitar. It came out really awesome,” he says with a nod and a chuckle. In 1998, Dugger started repairing guitars as a side gig, a supplement to his industrial supply company. During the recession, his supply business took a hit, but his guitar business was on an upswing. Since then, Modman Guitar has been his main focus. And in 2010, it really took shape. “Modman was a business, and I had a shop, but I was in a place that had no exposure and no foot traffic,” says Dugger of his original location on a side street in The Nations.


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being the creative voice behind some of Nashville’s favorite businesses and brands. She has lived in Hillwood since 2010.

LIVE MUSIC sun 9PM MON 8PM TUE 8PM WED 8PM WED 8PM THU 7:30pm THU 8PM FRI 9PM SAT 5PM

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and in life, is to do a little better and be a better person, and get better as I go. That’s a way to be content in life.” WE

brings rare sharpness to every job. In an age of mass-produced everything, his work is just as relevant and valuable to musicians now as it was when he modified his first guitar in 1980. Dugger’s personal mantra reflects the constant evolution of the instruments he works on: “My goal every day, in business

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He moved into a coveted space on 51st Avenue just over a year ago and comments on the change: “When I moved here, it was like a rebirth. It’s like a new baby almost, a new start.” The building, which sits at the intersection of 51st and Centennial, was erected in 1902 to house a bakery owned by Swiss immigrants. The creamy brick exterior is grimy and smoke-kissed, a natural patina that hints at its turn-of-the-century roots. A sign bearing the name Modman Guitar, derived from Dugger’s passion for modification, hangs in understated iron above the door. In the shop, he does a lot more than modifications: “I do a full spectrum of guitar repair and amp repair, and I do buy, sell and trade.” He continues, “And I build custom guitars and custom pedal boards.” He holds up a 40-year-old guitar that he’s just finished refretting and takes a seat next to an antique, hand-crafted pedal steel that’s waiting to be restored. “I have a lot of professional guys who bring their guitars to me to keep them working and roadworthy. My forte and my bread and butter is my set-up work and my repair work,” he says. He works with individuals and sometimes entire bands to ensure that their instruments are in the best shape possible. His goal is “to make the guitars better than they ever were before, maybe even when they were brand new, so my customers can play them as proficiently as possible.” While his set-up work keeps him busy, he still creates custom, one-of-akind instruments: “I do what I call conversions—like maybe I’ll take an old Fender Strat body and build a custom neck for it and turn it into a Modman.” Dugger’s work is truly a labor of love. He’s a renaissance man, an artist with an insatiable desire to understand how things work and make them better. He is neither left-brained nor right-brained, but a perfectly proportioned thinker who

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Restoring Women, Reclaiming Lives by

Naomi GOLDSTONE

photos courtesy of Mending Hearts

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Charlotte Frierson

“I was born and raised addicted,” says Charlotte Frierson, one of the co-founders of Mending Hearts. “My Mom used drugs the whole time she was pregnant with me. When I was teething, they would shotgun marijuana in my face to keep me calm. My real Mom and real Dad were addicts, and my Dad and stepmom taught me how to use drugs.” And so began Charlotte’s struggle with addiction. Originally from Florida, Charlotte fled to Nashville about 25 years ago to avoid legal troubles in Ohio; she left her baby in Ohio until she could get settled. She went to get her a few months later but now says that “it was a mistake.” Although Charlotte was trying to stay clean, she was living with a woman who was a recreational user. “I’m not like that,” Charlotte said. “You give me one, and I go full throttle. I got more drugs and ended up staying at the dope house with a man and was locked up with him for two months straight.” Charlotte said she didn’t want to leave because she was getting high and “it was free,” but when “the dope man” got tired of her or wanted something new, she says he told her she had to “go out and find some money.” This is when she turned to prostitution to feed her addiction. “I was walking down the street, and there were two guys standing there. They asked me if I wanted to learn how to make money quickly, and I said yes. I wanted to because I wanted to get high.” These men took Charlotte to Dickerson Road and taught her “how to turn a trick with a guy.” She says she did this for almost six years straight. “I lived to use and used to live,” she said. “I did not have a stable place. I turned tricks 24/7 and used drugs 24/7.” While she was in the dope house, she lost custody of her daughter to her father and stepmother, and in all, she was arrested 112 times. “They were mostly petty crimes, like prostitution and drug paraphernalia,” she said. Jail, Charlotte said, was a welcome reprieve from the streets and from using. “When I was locked up, I saw that as a vacation—I could eat well, get clean, sleep, bathe,” she recalled. What was Charlotte’s “bottom”? “Facing a lot of jail time,” she said. Charlotte says her addiction was so severe that she was stealing and robbing people, though she herself never held a gun on anyone. She said she also got tired of having sex with men. “Instead of having sex with them,” she said, “I would see where they would put their money and steal from them.” She was looking at a felony and at least two years in prison. Charlotte’s probation officer told her that if she went through treatment in jail, he would get her an early release. “I was just going to do it to get out of jail,” Charlotte remembered. At the end of her treatment program, she was asked if she wanted to go to a two-year treatment program. “When I would get out of jail, I never had anywhere else to go—I had no family to help me, so I always went back to the people I knew,” Charlotte said. So, she signed up, and at 26, she was finally clean and sober. August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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Trina Frierson

“I wasn’t really a drug dealer,” says Trina Frierson, the other co-founder of Mending Hearts. “I was selling drugs to have more drugs to use.” Born and raised in East Nashville, Trina graduated from Maplewood High School, where her picture is still on the wall for her basketball achievements. A forward on the school’s basketball team, Trina was all-city/all-state/all-region MVP. Scared that she would not succeed at a big school, Trina accepted a scholarship from Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin rather than one from UT-Chattanooga. Trina, however, would leave school before graduating. “I got on drugs and then got pregnant,” she said. She had entered into a relationship with a man who used drugs, and soon she was hooked. “Every drug that I was introduced to was by a close person—family, close friend, loved one—and that’s how I got addicted,” she said. Trina would end up having two more children, and because of her addiction, she eventually lost custody of them all. A 17-time convicted felon, Trina finally hit rock bottom when she was in a treatment center and called her youngest daughter. “I told her that when I got out that I was going to take her to the park and to the movie, and my daughter said, ‘Momma, you say that every time you go to jail.’ It was like someone had stuck a knife in me and twisted it,” Trina said. A counselor challenged her to get sober, and when Trina left prison, she went to a halfway house. “Miss Kelly picked me up at the prison gate,” Trina recalled, “and she took me straight to this halfway house where the women greeted me, introduced me to the rules, told me what I needed to do on a daily basis.” Trina also went to daily outpatient therapy for two years. When Trina was awarded custody of one of her children, the women at the halfway house stepped in to help raise her. “They saved us,” she recalled. She has been clean and sober since April 22, 1996.

“Miss Kelly picked me up at the prison gate, and took me straight to this halfway house where the women greeted me, introduced me to the rules, and told me what I needed to do on a daily basis.”

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Trina and Charlotte, Empowered Together “I was her drug peddler,” Trina said about her earlier relationship with Charlotte. After sobriety, Trina often went back to the jail to visit her girlfriend on family day. That’s where she and Charlotte reconnected. When Charlotte got out, Trina felt a strong connection to her and wanted to help her stay clean and sober. “She took me to my first NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting,” Charlotte recalled. The two women continued to spend time together, and it was after a Halloween party at Charlotte’s halfway house where she finally told Trina how she felt about her. Trina said she asked Charlotte if there was some sort of attraction between them, and Charlotte said her reply was quick: “Duh! Have you not seen?” Trina said that she was trying to make sure she was reading the signals from Charlotte correctly. They went on their first date on

December 5, 1998; had a civil union marriage in 2004; and on October 23, 2016, they married legally. Both women eventually got their children back, and together they raised four children—Trina has three children and Charlotte has one—while they worked to help other women find hope in sober living. Trina and Charlotte said it was very difficult at first establishing a relationship with their children because they had spent so much time in addiction that they did not know what it meant to be a good parent. “We had to do therapy, and I had to be open to listening to their feelings of abandonment and neglect,” Trina said. “But I told them they never had to worry about me abandoning them again.” Today, all of their children are adults and “love hanging out with their Moms. They are who they are because God put this family back together,” Charlotte said. August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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Mending Hearts: A Hope House

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nce she was clean and sober, Trina said she started getting calls from women in jail. They would ask her to come back and speak to them because she was an inspiration to them and they wanted to know what they could do when they got out. “I started writing down where people should go when they got out. This was a huge need, and I really wanted to start a resource center,” Trina said. She knew that she also had to find housing for these women. Fifteen years ago, she and Charlotte opened their first transitional housing in North Nashville; three years later, they bought their first house in The Nations, a six-unit complex on a street where people were selling drugs from their front yard. “It’s one thing to want to restore the women and help them reclaim their lives,” Trina recalled, “but what about

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When she’s not being dragged around the Nations by Ernie Banks, Lena Horne and Butterfly McQueen, Naomi Goldstone is a professor of English and coordinator of the African American Studies program at Austin Peay State University. She is the author of Integrating the Forty Acres and writes about race and culture.

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Classes start Sept. 4

er words, they would treat women who had just come in off the street from using drugs as well as women who needed to stay for an extended period of time in long-term recovery. They also wanted to make it affordable for every woman they encountered. “Charlotte and I had a cleaning service, and we decided that everything we didn’t need would be used to help the women who came to us so that they wouldn’t have to pay anything to come into the door,” Trina said. Women can stay at Mending Hearts for up to two years, and their cost depends on the program they are in. Each woman has access to a medical director, a nurse practitioner and counselors, and the organization has partnered with employers in the community to help the women find steady jobs. Mending Hearts also has a “Moms and Kids Program” where women can bring up to two children to live with them in a furnished unit. The name “Mending Hearts” is appropriate, since its most important goal is to help women reclaim their lives. Today they have the capacity to help 102 women, and after construction is finished on one of the houses, they will eventually be able to help 116. “Think about women who have been hurting and are cracked and fragile.” Trina said. “How do you put that back together? How can we change the hurt?” For Trina and Charlotte, mending “pierced and punctured” hearts is their mission, one woman at a time. N

would soon become a “hope house”; it would provide shelter and healing to women who “may be homeless due to addiction, co-occurring mental health and substance-related disorders.” Trina and Charlotte’s ultimate goal was to create a home that was “a full continuum of care”—in oth-

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the communities we’ve helped to destroy?” It was this inspiration that led them to “step out on faith” and purchase the complex. They went to Home Depot and got a book to learn basic carpentry skills, and they rehabbed the building themselves. Trina said that what was once a “dope house”

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There are many ways to help Mending Hearts. Like most nonprofits, they could always use money; they often work with indigent women who are starting over with nothing but the clothes on their back. They also need people to bring their gifts and talents. They welcome people to serve as board members or on committees; a nutritionist to help the women learn how to eat healthier; and tutors to help women rebuild their confidence and job skills. They could also use your stuff—bus passes, gift cards for groceries, copy paper, umbrellas, lawn furniture, and clothes, undergarments (especially larger sizes).

The address for Mending Hearts is 4305 Albion St. in The Nations neighborhood. Find more information at

mendingheartsinc.org

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A Castle to Some, a Hassle for Others written and photographed by

Yvonne EAVES, unless otherwise noted

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Driving down Centennial Boulevard, you can’t miss the old Tennessee State Penitentiary, with its massive tower of turrets and dormer windows. The prison opened in 1898 and was designed by Chattanooga architect Samuel Patton. The Administration Building is Romanesque design, with the main building and wings standing 50 feet in height and reaching 700 feet in length.

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Aerial view, March 28, 1960. photo courtesy of Nashville Public Library

History Tennessee’s first state prison opened in 1831, and by 1858 a second prison had been built. Both prisons were near today’s 16th Avenue and Church Street Nashville Land Improvement Co. owned 1,128 acres of land in West Nashville, and the company was in financial trouble. So in 1894, they agreed to sell the property to the state of Tennessee for a prison. All of the inmates—764 men and 43 female inmates—walked to the new facility in Cockrill Bend. Within six months after opening, the new state prison’s population grew to 1,525 inmates.

Build It, They Come Once the prison was part of West Nashville, builders started building houses to accommodate prison employees and families of prisoners. Two modes of public transportation were available for employees and visitors: electric railway passenger car, which ran every 15

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minutes, and a parcel or freight NC&StL railroad car, which stopped at the facility four times each day.

Farm The state prison farm was impressive. By 1903, the prison had rented 250 acres from the Cockrill family for the prisoners to farm. The annual profit from the prison farm was $5,000, with the monies turned over to the State Treasury. The prison grounds operated a dairy farm with Jersey cattle. Some of the milk was used to make butter that was sold to the community. By the 1950s, the prison farm was producing 200 gallons a milk a day. In a week, they could produce 300 gallons of buttermilk and 50 pounds of butter. The cattle were fed a special silage mix that was grown and stored in a 600-ton silo on the site. By the mid-1950s, the prison farm had 600 head of livestock, including hogs and beef cattle. The prison farm fed the entire population of the state prisoners.

All aspects of farming were done on the prison grounds: the livestock were raised, slaughtered and prepared for consumption; over 43,000 gallons of food were canned and prepared. Some of the produce grown at the prison farm included potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes and onions. They also milled sorghum. A 1953 article reports the prison meals were provided at a cost of 43 cents a day.

Manufacturing There were 50 buildings on the prison campus, and over 20 different industries operated inside the prison walls. By 1900, the prison was considered a little city in itself and included a modern, up-to-date manufacturing institution. Local business owners took advantage of cheap prison labor. May Hosiery Mill built a factory shortly after the prison opened. The manufacturers used 280,000 square feet in different buildings on the prison. The metal plant


made license plates, highway signs, steel park benches and barbecue grills for parks. The businesses operated under the watchful eye of the Tennessee State Industries.

“Old Sparky” Life at any prison is not pleasant—incarceration is punishment for committing a crime, after all, and some prisoners were sentenced to death. This sentence was initially carried out by hanging, but by 1913 Tennessee had adopted electrocution as its means for carrying out the death penalty. The electric chair used was nicknamed “Old Sparky,” and some West Nashville old-timers used to say that when Old Sparky’s switch was flipped on, the lights in West Nashville would go dim. After 47 years and 125 prisoners, “Old Sparky” was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and the use of an electric chair was suspended. If a prisoner was sentenced to death, a lethal injection was used; this practice is still used today.

Riots and Uprisings The State Prison saw many disturbances. In 1939, an inmate was murdered in the metal shop—but his remains weren’t found until 15 years later. Prison officials thought he Voluntary segregation, November 3, 1974. photo courtesy of Nashville Public Library

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had escaped. His murderers had thought he was informant against a drug ring. Riots and escapees were a big concern. The general public feared the taking of hostages behind the prison walls. The population of the prison was growing, and the conditions at the prison were deteriorating. In 1975, a group of prisoners took four counselors hostage. After three days, Governor Ray Blanton called in the National Guard to help. In the same year, another protest known as the “Pork Chop Riot” or the “Bologna Battle” occurred when the dining hall ran out of pork chops and began serving bologna sandwiches. An inmate took his anger out on a guard while other

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inmates cornered a group of guards and prison staff. Before the altercation was over, about 450 prisoners took control of part of the prison.

A Few Positives As uneasy as prison life was, being incarcerated was not necessarily the end of the road for some inmates. Educational programs were offered, and some finished high school through the GED program. Inmates could also attend a program with college courses. Recreational time was spent playing baseball and basketball on prison grounds. Prisoners painted a mural on a wall in the dining room depicting Tennessee’s landscape. A chapel was available for different religious denominations, and

it was also a venue for concerts. Over the years, the prison saw several Nashville entertainers’ performances at the prison. Johnny Cash, Sonny James, Eddy Arnold, Minnie Pearl and others would make appearances at the prison. Rev. Billy Graham also spoke to the inmates. The prison had a group of inmates who performed; in fact, “The Prisonaires” had a contract with Sam Phillips of Sun Records. They scored a big hit, “Just Walkin’ in the Rain.” The main building on the prison grounds has some cachet, too. HBO used the old prison building for the filming of the movie, Against the Wall, a story about the Attica Correctional Facility. The white-brick building was painted


Administration Building, August 6, 1959. photo courtesy of Nashville Public Library

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1985, federal Judge Thomas Higgins ruled the prison was unconstitutional. By 1992, all of the prisoners were transferred to Riverbend Maximum Security in Cockrill Bend. A

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Long considered West Nashville’s historian, Yvonne Eaves spends a lot of time documenting its changes through the lens of her camera. She is the former president of the Cohn High School Alumni Association and author of Nashville’s Sylvan Park (along with co-author Doug Eckert, Arcadia Publishing). WE

red to resemble the Attica prison. CBS filmed The Conviction of Kitty Dodds, a true story of a woman who kills her abusive policeman husband. That film starred Veronica Hamel. The film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Green Mile and The Last Castle starring Robert Redford were filmed there, along with Ernest Goes to Jail and several music videos. The building’s exterior is reminiscent of a castle; however, the occupants were never treated like royalty. Population at its worst was 2,600 inmates. In

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Nashville Violins LESSONS | RENTALS | REPAIRS | SALES www.nashvilleviolins.com

BACK TO SCHOOL RENTALS!

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5109 GEORGIA AVE. 37209 | (615) 292 5196 August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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written and photographed by Hannah

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HERNER


What kind of school doesn’t have teachers, classes or grades? Exactly the kind of school West Nashville sisters Sonia LeBlanc and Clare Fernandez are going to bring to town. This fall, the Nashville Sudbury School will open its doors.

August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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The Story of Sonia and Clare Sonia describes herself as a “recovering public and private school educator.” She’s had a lot of experience in the education system, having earned two master’s degrees in education and worked for a private Catholic school, a public school and a charter school. In between, she had two daughters, who she started in traditional schooling and ultimately pulled out. Now, she lives with her husband and mother, who financially support the family while she “un-schools” her children. Clare, who works in technology full-time, fills her free time with work in the arts, including serving as one of the founders of the local nonprofit, Poverty and the Arts. This experience, coupled with her passion for community development, brought her on board to help figure out the logistics of making a nontraditional school happen. Both women went to private Catholic school growing up and had very different experiences. Clare responded well to the traditional school system, getting high grades, while Sonia struggled to keep her grades up. Both said they feel like they missed out on something. Sonia remembers failing a science test in fourth grade, which turned her off

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to the subject for years. She used to love ice-skating and would get up really early to skate before school, but soon stopped because she ran out of time. Clare, who majored in theater at Vanderbilt, says she wishes she could have focused on the arts more, and maybe she could have a full-time job in the field if she had.

The Making of Nashville Sudbury Sonia says she realizes she is privileged, getting to stay home with her kids, so she wanted to help parents who want or need to work during the day while still giving their kids self-directed education. Some research on the Sudbury method

sisters Clare Fernandez and Sonia Fernandez LeBlanc

and a visit to the Atlanta Sudbury School cemented in the sisters’ minds that they must bring this education model to Nashville. The Nashville Sudbury School’s founding group was formed through a Facebook group started in 2015. Many of them have experience with self-directed education in other cities and were looking for options in Nashville. Sonia and Clare say this group, which has met monthly for years, has been instrumental in getting the school off the ground. The Nashville Sudbury School will be leasing the site of the now-defunct Nashville Christian


Advancement Academy at 3551 Dickerson Pike in North Nashville. It was important to Sonia and Clare to find a venue with plenty of outdoor space for the kids to play. The school sits on four acres and also has classroom space and a kitchen. In keeping with the model, the students will decide what each room is used for based on their interests.

What is a Sudbury School? The Sudbury model was founded in 1968 with the original Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts. Since then, about 60 Sudbury schools have popped up around the world. The school has very little structure, aside from students ages roughly six to 17 showing up from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. “Kids can come, and they can do whatever they want all day long,” Sonia says. “If a kid comes in and they just want to play outside all day, they can do that, all day. They don’t have to eat. If they want to eat, they can eat. If they want to play video games all day, they can play video games all day.” If there’s something that sparks their interest, students can research it independently, and if it’s something they need help with, they go to a staff member. The staff member helps coordinate a partnership with someone in the community who can teach that skill and creates a contract that the student and educator sign, agreeing to put in the work. There is no testing, no grades, and no teachers. Parents are encouraged not to meet with a staff member to discuss their child’s progress, but to discuss it with the child directly. Sonia says the Sudbury is both the hardest and easiest type of school to attend. “You have to fill hours and hours of your day, and nobody is giving you a map or a tool. Nobody’s giving you a game plan for that,” she says.

With this, the school is really driven by a child’s boredom and curiosity. Sonia says this boredom can be an asset, and a bored kid is not a danger to society. “To develop those skills early on, that ability to try something and then discard it and move on and try something else, to figure out how they want to fill their days before they’re even adults —those are tools. When they enter into what we call the adult world, they’re going to have a different perspective,” she says. “In that boredom, in that freedom to be bored, you find out what your interests are in a way that some people don’t ever figure out, even as adults.” The school is set up as a participatory democracy, meaning all students and staff are on equal footing. There is a weekly school meeting where staff and students vote on

laws, use of budget and other major issues. Each person, regardless of age, has one vote. A judicial committee meets daily to deal with any disciplinary issues, and both kids and adults can get written up. The committee, made up of several students and one staff member, will “try” anyone who has been accused of breaking the rules established through those weekly school meetings. “It’s like everybody is on the same page as long as you’re being respectful to the community and to those around you,” says Sonia. “But if not, you’re going to get written up, and you’re going to have to go speak your case in judicial committee.”

The Legalities In order to avoid state testing, the Sudbury School is registered as a private school under a religious or-

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ganization. The sisters started their own, called Two Springs Fellowship, which they call a secular religious organization with the purpose of lifelong learning. In the future, they can help others who want to start self-directed education under that Two Springs umbrella. The Nashville Sudbury School will offer two tracks of education eventually. This year, students can enroll in the private school track, which requires five days a week, 6.5 hours a day. In the future, they will offer a homeschooling option, with a minimum of two days a week for 6.5 hours, though they can attend more. Sudbury staff will be responsible for reporting the students’ enrollment to the state, as the government requires that children ages six to 17 must attend school. The enrollment will cost $6,000 a year for 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., so that includes after-care for parents who work a typical full-time job. For the first year, all staff members

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will be volunteer and will mainly be made up of parents who would be unschooling their kids anyway.

How does it compare to other school models? It’s common for people to try to compare the Sudbury model to other school systems, such as Montessori, Waldorf, homeschooling or progressive schooling. Sonia says if all these schools were placed on a spectrum based on how much freedom of choice for the student they provide, the Sudbury model would be off the charts. The thing that most of the other models have in common is that they are run by an adult, which contrasts the way of the Sudbury model. The Montessori, Waldorf and progressive schools allow for more freedom and flexibility than a traditional school, but they still have teachers and classes and their own model to follow. Sudbury doesn’t have any of those things.

“There are no grown-ups creating things and hoping that kids will want to be engaged in it. We want to leave it to the children to figure out what they want to do,” Sonia says. “The only thing that’s the same is that the kids are actually meeting in a community where adults and children are all together. That’s where it ends.” The closest would probably be unschooling, as they both fall under the self-directed education model, but at a Sudbury school, kids aren’t influenced by the way the family runs. Sonia and Clare admit that the concept of a Sudbury School can be a difficult one to wrap your head around. And there’s a term for that, “de-schooling.” It’s the time and actions it takes to look at education differently than the way most encountered it growing up. “When you break away from the traditional model of the school system and what society deems as


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A recent dive into Sonia and Clare’s genealogy showed that their family had been a part of the Nashville community since the 1860s. Through the

atives, so many freelancers, artists, developers,” says Clare. “This city has so much to offer, so why would we not want to integrate that as much as we can and show these kids—look at all the cool things that are out there that you can do.” WE

Why Nashville?

school, they hope to be a part of the community for many years to come. The sisters see the importance of developing partnerships with the community, because having locals involved in the students’ education is so important to the model. “We live in a really cool city. And we live in a really awesome city for this model, because we have so many cre-

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the path that everybody should be taking, you walk away from that and you start looking at things a little differently,” Clare says. “There is a level of de-schooling.”

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tap dancer and a Jeni’s ice cream enthusiast.

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Metro Government 101: by Kimi

Ordoubadian ABERNATHY

I don’t want a STRP next door!

I run a STRP as my job.

NO TAX for transit! The roads are TOO crowded!

GENTRIFICATION!

Why don’t WE have sidewalks?

We need a Community Oversight Board.

Tall skinnies are taking over Nashville! 58

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Two, three or four houses where one once stood;

NONE AFFORDABLE.


How It All Works Together There are concerns that Nashville residents—new and longtime—are voicing about the changes that growth has wrought. What’s a citizen to do? What are some effective ways to engage with Metro government and make it work for you and our city? Part of growing into Nashville’s “It City” status is growing into our responsibility as citizens. That means being educated, proactive and engaged with the Metro Council, the Mayor’s office, the Vice-Mayor’s office and the committees that handle legislation brought before the council.

What happened to affordable housing?

I have a right to sell my house to a developer and make as much money as I can!

Developers are bringing positive change to Nashville. History seems to come second, developers first. August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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Nuts and Bolts BURKIT T RD

D HICKO The VVDD RY B BLL

The Metro Charter provides for 40 council members. Thirty-five are elected from districts that currently represent 15,000 to 17,000 residents. Five council members are elected as at-large members, meaning they are elected by the entire county and thus represent the whole county. Metro Council members serve part-time for four-year terms, while generally maintaining fulltime jobs. Regular meetings are every first and third Tuesday of the month in the David Scobey Council Chambers on the second floor of the historic Metro Courthouse. All committee meetings are in courthouse meeting rooms. Council meetings and committee meetings are open to the public and are televised on Channel 3. Special meetings can be called with a 48-hour public notice. The vice mayor, who is popularly elected and not a member of the council, serves as the president of the Metropolitan Council and presiding officer, only voting when there is a tie. The Metro Council elects a president pro tempore from among its members to serve when the vice mayor is not available.

ndall

The inner workings According to Kathleen Murphy, Metro councilwoman for District 24, most people engage with city government via a phone call or email to their council member when they have a problem. She hears from her constituents and from those in other districts. She will take the information and pass it to the appropriate council member. The council member often educates the constituent about the way ordinances are finalized and the departments that are involved. Few people realize how complicated it can be, or that the final reading they see on television is not the only reading. “Many people do not realize an ordinance

There are three ways an idea may enter the system to become an ordinance: 22. Sheri Weiner 23. Mina Johnson general legislation, administrative legislation and through the Planning Department. C'MON, HELP US OUT HERE! Take the

Readers’ Survey! www.surveymonkey.com/r/9SQGPC8

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The mayor’s office serves as a separate administrative branch of the government. The mayor may sign or veto resolutions or ordinances, but vetoes can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of the council.

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26. Je

Kathleen Murphy, District 24 Council Member 24. Kathleen Murphy 25. Ru


is the same as a law, or the steps involved in passing it.” So how does an ordinance move through the council? There are three ways an idea may enter the system to become an ordinance: general legislation, administrative legislation and through the Planning Department. Below, we outline each process.

General legislation A council member has an issue he/she wants to address. As an example, council member Murphy was contacted by Nashville residents concerned about pets coming from puppy mills being sold in pet stores. She researched the issue, felt the city had some ownership and could do something about it. She developed a Puppy Bill. Murphy took her concerns to Metro’s legal staff. They who checked to see what was doable, wrote a legally appropriate ordinance and returned it. She then signed it and filed it with the Metropolitan Clerk’s Office. The clerk’s office assigned it to the appropriate committee; in this case, the Health, Hospitals & Social Services Committee. The Puppy Bill was read at a Metro Council meeting. It was next brought before the Health, Hospitals & Social Services Committee, which decided whether to recommend the ordinance to the entire council. If the ordinance triggers a fiscal note (costs money), it must be determined if there are funds available. If not, the bill is dropped. The Puppy Bill survived committee, and the ordinance was read a second time to the council at a subsequent meeting. The third and final time the bill was read to the council, it required a majority vote of all council members (21 votes) to pass. The mayor may veto or sign a bill. The mayor signed Murphy’s Puppy Bill.

Have you ever watched Metro Council meetings— in-person, online or on television—and wondered what’s taking place?

Administrative Legislation Issues that are relevant to particular departments are brought to the council by those departments. For instance, if a right of way is deemed necessary by a department, they will work with their attorneys to write legislation to be brought before the council. This legislation will follow the same path as the general legislative ordinances: three readings, committee vote before second reading, pass by majority vote. August–September 2018 | 372WN.com

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From Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with roots in Hillsville, Virginia and Tabriz, Iran, Kimi Abernathy has worked in education for over 25 years. She spent 30 years as a military spouse while raising 5 children. Kimi is currently working in politics and has an educational counseling practice helping young people in Nashville and internationally find educational opportunities. She is married to Nashville native, Bill Abernathy. Kimi attended Northwestern University, graduated from Middle Tennessee State University and graduated with honors from the UCLA two-year college counseling certification program. N

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The council also passes resolutions; these are simpler than ordinances. Rather than three readings, resolutions may be passed with only one reading. Have you ever watched Metro Council meetings—in-person, online or on television—and wondered what’s taking place? They often move swiftly, and at times they’re difficult to follow. They don’t always explain the bills they’re taking up: the vice mayor calls out bill numbers, the council votes and they move on. There are rarely comments on the bills unless they concern a highly contested issue, like sanctuary cities or the rules for short-term rentals. This is because the bulk of the discussion and work is done in committees. All committees have standing meeting times, and the meetings are broadcast and archived. Committee meetings are also public, but public comments are not allowed unless the chair has approved the comments, they are relevant to the topics on the published agenda and they are informational in nature. Last year, Murphy moved to require a quorum (a minimum number of committee members in attendance) for committee votes, which is now in effect. Each year, in late July or August, the vice mayor appoints new committees and chairs, and the new committee assignments begin on September 1. Knowing who is on which committee is important so

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What about Resolutions?

to residents. “Sometimes we can help,” Hayes explains. “Sometimes we try, and can’t. But people want to be heard. Things happen, but we do not want people to be frustrated. We want to help.” A second new constituent services opportunity was added in June: online registration to speak before the council. At the second meeting of every month, from 6:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m., up to 10 people can address the Metro Council for up to two minutes on an issue about which they are concerned. Signups are first-come, first-serve and are designed to allow more open communication between residents and the council. So, what if a constituent gets angry or frustrated? Should they go speak for two minutes? Fill out a complaint? Yes and yes. But they also should stay abreast of the issues facing the council. All agendas are posted online, and it is easy to sign up for reminders of these and other important meetings. To track neighborhood projects, residents can watch the Planning Department meeting agendas to see which developers are asking for variances. It’s a great way to keep up with which houses are about to be rezoned and stay abreast of who is coming from out of town to cash in on Nashville’s growth. Metro council members are generally very good people, and they are accountable to their constituents. Voters put themselves at an advantage when they understand how things work, stay up to date and get engaged. H

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Legislation is prepared by the Planning Department through districts and in conjunction with council members, who may or may not have requested it. If the council member is in agreement, he/she will sign the legislation and file it with the clerk. It will then follow the path as described above with an added public hearing during the second reading. All zoning issues must have a public hearing.

that if an issue is before a committee, you’ll know who to contact prior to a vote. Roseanne Hayes, chief of staff for the Metro Council and vice mayor, has more than 40 years of institutional memory. She says people sometimes give the council members a bad “rap,” saying “so and so won’t do anything to help me,” or “she/he won’t call me back.” Hayes encourages constituents who feel they’re not being heard to call the clerk’s office for help. Some of the most exciting improvements Metro has made, Hayes says, are in constituent services. The hubNashville site went online in April 2017; it is a centralized system for contacting the Metro government about any issue. For example, if a resident is concerned about the status of a paving project on a particular street, they can sign on and ask about it – even uploading photos of the street. They can then track the progress of the request on the website or on a smart phone. According to Hayes, the appropriate council member will be notified of the request, as well, so they can take action should that be necessary. “We are still working out some kinks,” she explains. “But this makes the complaint system more efficient and easier for constituents. It makes a difference, because council members just do not have staff to handle this.” Metro Council members do not have staff members, and they maintain their own correspondence and schedules. The clerk’s office provides staff support to council members as needed. According to Hayes, “There is never a dull moment with the council, especially lately. I have seen a lot of changes. Some legislation is now coming back. We tried it before, and it didn’t work. Now it does. Constituent services is probably our biggest area of growth.” The office is focused on being more transparent and accessible

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Additional Resources Metro Clerk’s direct number: 615.862.6780 hubNashville https://hub.nashville.gov/s/?language=en_US Metro Council Resources http://www.nashville.gov/Metro-Council/Metro-Council-Resources.aspx Council and Committee meetings and agendas https://www.nashville.gov/Metro-Clerk/Council-Meeting-Schedules.aspx Metro Council broadcast times http://www.nashville.gov/Metro-Clerk/Metropolitan-Council.aspx Metro Council Legislative Information Center http://www.nashville.gov/Metro-Council/Legislative-Information-Center.aspx Metro Council Minutes Archive http://www.nashville.gov/Metro-Clerk/Legislative/Minutes.aspx

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372Who kNew? Name: What’s your relationship to West Nashville? How long have you been here? Favorite thing about West Nashville? Favorite food? color? drink? dessert? hobby? Where will you be on Friday night? Dog or cat? Mustard or mayonaise? Mountains or beach? Dream occupation when you were five? What’s your hidden talent? What’s your superpower? What excites you about West Nashville?

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615-352-9400 6962 Charlotte Pike Michael Illobre Funeral Home Manager

Nashville, TN

CELEBRATE LIFE. REMEMBERFOREVER. FOREVER.™ CELEBRATE LIFE. REMEMBER ™

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6962 Charlotte Pike Nashville, TN 37209


372WN vol ii issue5  

August–September 2018

372WN vol ii issue5  

August–September 2018

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