Jeff Syracuse

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Annie Martin

Annie Martin

On a beautiful Fall afternoon of Sunday, October 4, 2015, I had a wonderful opportunity to be present for the dedication ceremony of a stone bench dedication at Two Rivers Mansion by the Two Rivers High School Class of 1965 on their 50th Anniversary.  I was also beginning to put together my questions for my next Hearts of the People blog featuring Mrs. Annie Martin.  “Ms. Annie” as most folks call her, is 92 and has seen more in Donelson than most.  It struck me that Ms. Annie probably had great memories and stories of Two Rivers Mansion and this event would be a great time to do my interview before the event and invite her to come with me as it probably would trigger more memories.  I arrived at Ms. Annie’s house about an hour before the bench dedication to interview her.  As it turns out, Ms. Annie told me her son graduated in 1965 from Two Rivers High School rival Donelson High School.  It did indeed trigger some great memories.  She remembers Mrs. McGavock twice a year inviting kids in the neighborhood to come to her front porch and she would serve them fresh baked cookies.

Annie’s parents married in 1898.  She recalled her days growing up in Gallatin in the 1920’s and 30’s.  Her dad worked for the Corps of Engineers and was also a lock master at Lock Two at the end of Pennington Bend.  (Just recently, Lock Two was one of the properties that received a historic overlay as proposed by Mayor Dean’s administration).  Her mom was a teacher and Annie remembered stories of her Mom recalling riding their horse and buggy every day to the school where she taught, going through the Toll Gate, which was near one of the Donelson Gateway Project sites at the intersection of Stewart’s Ferry Pike and Lebanon Pike.  Today that site has a small toll gate acknowledging that site’s history.  Annie also remembered stories of her Mom recalling riding by McGavock Pike while it was still an unpaved road.  Mrs. McGavock would refer to it as “her road”.

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Donelson Non-Profit News - August/September 2015

The weather is starting to cool off a bit and there are some great events to enjoy in the weeks ahead!  Don’t forget the Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market is going strong every Friday until the end of October.  Lots of great information about what’s going on at the market can be found at their website.

I had a blast the weekend before last helping out the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association in building a new access point to Mill Creek.  It is located just off Elm Hill Pike under the bridge going over Mill Creek, just across from the site of the Buchanan Station Cemetery.  It was hard work, but a lot of fun and I met some new friends.  The TSRA built a very successful access point on Stones River near Kohl’s a couple years ago.  I’m meeting with them soon about a couple other possible locations to build access points in Donelson.  Check out their website above to learn more about what this great organization is all about.

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Donelson School News - August/September 2015

Stanford Montessori is having their annual Fall Fest on September 19.  They are also seeking vendors.  See the two flyers below and come on out to support them.  You’ll find your new Councilman supporting the festival by being in the dunk tank at some point during the event!

Stanford Montessori Fall Festival in Donelson

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Donelson Business News - August/September 2015

The Donelson-Hermitage Chamber calendar has some good events coming up to share.  Nashville Shores is hosting a “Business Card Exchange” that the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber, Mt. Juliet Chamber and the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber invite everyone to on September 9.  See link above for details.

SmartSpace President Floyd Shechter will be the guest speaker at the DH Chamber’s September’s General Membership Luncheon on Thursday, September 10, addressing growth and development in the Donelson, Hermitage and Old Hickory areas.

Congratulations to Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace for having a very successful grand opening and incredible first couple of weeks.  The marketplace is still in progress and should be open later in the Fall.  It’s a great new neighborhood business and my thanks to Robin Davis and Jennifer Starks for bringing it to Donelson.

Check out these photos of beautification done by The Print Shop.  They’ve been in business since 1975 and we thank them for continuing to serve the community with pride!

The Print Shop Beautification in Donelson

The Print Shop Beautification in Donelson

The Nashville MTA/RTA Strategic Planning process, nMotion2015, continues with the release of Service Improvement Strategies, posted on their website.  I encourage everyone to sign up for updates, attend and participate at the meetings and stay involved in this issue that has become one of the most critical challenges we face in our region.

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Donelson Neighborhood News - August/September 2015

Councilman Claiborne and I led a meeting on September 1 with Public Works and neighbors on Fairway Drive to discuss a sidewalk project coming early next year.  CM Claiborne has worked on securing funding for this project for several years so we have him to thank for this finally happening.  This project will connect Stanford Montessori with our Donelson Library.  There are a number of logistics to work out over the coming months and if all goes well, it should begin in early 2016.  It should be completed in about 6-months.

Fairway Drive Sidewalk Project

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August 2015 – A month of Preparation & Transition

Dear Friends,

This past month has been truly extraordinary and I am quite blessed.  Each and every message of congratulatory well-wishes has truly meant a great deal to me.  Sincere thanks goes to our Councilman, Phil Claiborne, for all his time, support and effort over the past couple of years as I worked towards running for the District 15 seat.  It’s made the transition to hitting the ground running that much smoother as well.  There are strong long-term initiatives and specific projects that began with CM Claiborne that the community will benefit from in the years ahead.  I believe there is a collective feeling in Donelson that very bright days are in front of us.  The energy in the community is palpable.  Look for an announcement coming soon about my first initiative to bring all our diverse neighborhood leadership together to help me be a strong voice for our community’s growth, development and preservation.  There is much to learn from each other and collectively support the variety of issues we face.

I’m proud to share the video of me taking the Oath of Office, administered by Judge Randy Kennedy.  Thanks to neighbor and friend Chris Lackey who was there and caught the memorable moment of Judge Kennedy recalling all the prior District 15 Council Members since Metro was formed and reflect on his time as a Metro Council Member in the Donelson-Hermitage area.  Big thanks to my lovely Markey for standing beside me, as well as CM Larry Hagar and my good friend Andy Depuy.  I also received the below Official Certificate of Election from the Davidson County Election Commission.

Official Certificate of Election - Jeff Syracuse Metro 15

My next Soul of a City blog is online.  It’s poignant that I feature Roland White & Diane Bouska as I reflect on another past big milestone of helping strengthen my neighborhood.  Not having organized a block party before and it being something never done in the neighborhood that anyone could remember, I had a little anxiety if anyone would show up.  Not only did 100+ neighbors come, everyone brought an amazing variety of homemade delicious food to share.  Roland and Diane and a handful of other talented neighbors shared amazing music with us.  They also gave a wonderful performance for the whole community at Music at the Mansion a couple years ago.  Enjoy the selection of their tunes and be sure to catch one of their shows down at The Station Inn!

Our first official Metro Council meeting is Tuesday, October 6.  In future newsletters, I will include a section to inform you on Council activities and decisions.  Please make sure you get out and vote in the run-off election coming September 10.  Early voting is going on now.  All voting information can be found at

I look forward to seeing you soon out in the community!


Councilman Jeff Syracuse Metro 15

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Roland White & Diane Bouska

Roland White & Diane Bouska

Roland White and Diane Bouska have been great Donelson neighbors for many years and they add to the diverse fabric of “Music City” in keeping the tradition of Bluegrass going strong.

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Thank You Donelson!

Thank You Donelson!

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

I am humbled and filled with deep gratitude for the strong victory last night electing me your next member of Metro Council for the 15th District.

I’m very proud to say that the confidence you have placed in me is not a statement of “now it’s time to get to work”, it’s a statement of “let’s continue the work we are doing on a greater and deeper level”. Just over the past month, the facelift of McGavock High School has begun, two Neighborhood Watch’s are being formed by new neighborhood leadership in Sunset View and Eva Mor Heights and the hard work and challenge of revitalizing the heart of Donelson’s business community continues. By electing me to be your next Councilman, you’ve given me the great honor of serving all our neighborhoods, schools, non-profits and businesses in Donelson. I love this community and will continue being an attentive, focused and dedicated public servant. I look forward to the years ahead and am confident of Donelson’s bright future.

One note – this election season is not yet over. As you know, there will be a run-off election on September 10th for Mayor and Council At-Large. Encourage your neighbors who may not be registered to do so by Monday, August 10. They will then be eligible to vote in the run-off. Head to for all voter information.

With a grateful heart, I am sincerely yours,


Jeff Syracuse Councilman 15th District

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July Neighborhood News

Metro Nashville Police Department and Nashville Fire Department will host a Traffic Safety Event & Share the Road Awareness Event at Centennial Park on July 25.  There will be auto-theft VIN etching, shred-it and pill drop-off services and more.  See flyer for details.

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July Non-Profit News

The 2015 Music at the Mansion at Two Rivers Mansion series kicked-off with a great concert from the Nashville Symphony in June and the The Moonlighters in July.  August 22 will be the 5th Anniversary of Nashville Blues Society being part of Music at the Mansion and will feature Eight O’ Five Jive and Markey Blue

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July School News

First day of school is just a few weeks away on Wednesday, August 5.  Head to Back to School Central for great information on the upcoming school year.

Great news for Pennington Elementary!  There are a number of school improvement projects in this new fiscal year’s budget for Metro and Pennington Elementary is to receive $4 million for a much needed expansion.  There is a new website for MNPS called where you can follow the progress of school construction projects.

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July Business News

The Texas Troubadour Theater in Music Valley has a variety of events from an Elvis show, church on Sunday morning and of course the Midnite Jamboree.  It’s also available for rental.  Check out their website for details.

Blues Vintage Guitars is a great business located on Elm Hill Pike and owned by Donelson-neighbor Gabe Hernandez.  They offer a wide variety of guitars for sale and the inventory is available on their website as well.

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July Campaign News - Early Voting is here! Spread the word and let’s win this!

Dear Friends,

The campaign is firing on all cylinders with door knocking, phone calls, a mailer and much more.  Early voting started July 17 and will expand to include the Hermitage Library on Thursday, July 23 through August 1st.  I will be there most all of that time to greet you.  I’ve given this campaign all my energy and I need your help one more time encouraging each other to get out there and vote and let’s win this big!  Here’s the full Early Voting Schedule:

Early Voting Schedule For Metro 2015 Elections

Ballot Distric 15 - Vote For Jeff Syracuse

My next Hearts of the People blog features our neighbor, Marylee Locey.   She sets the bar for community service to both our “two and four-legged” neighbors.  Thanks for all you do, Marylee! 

Thank you again for all the continued support!  If you received this newsletter as a forward or viewing it from social media, sign up at my website on the Get Involved page.  Please continue to get the word out about Early Voting and encourage your District 15 friends and neighbors to be sure to vote!


All The Best From Jeff Syracuse

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Marylee Locey

Marylee Locey

A native of Illinois who has also spent some years on the west coast, Marylee Locey has lived in Nashville for over seven years and in that time has set the bar in this community with the love and support she has shown both her neighbors and the “furkids” of our families alike. Most have known Marylee from her tireless devotion to the Hip Donelson Lost & Found Pets group, but she has supported and volunteered with many animal shelters and rescue organizations ever since she was a child. Marylee remembers always having multiple animals in her life. Her first dog, Fritzie, was a retired K-9 shepherd who Marylee describes as her first sibling and remembers they “conquered the world together. He was my protector, my confidant and my partner in crime. He never left my side.” Advocacy for animals has always been part of Marylee’s life and some of her earliest memories are of bringing rescued animals home. She grew up in rural Illinois and remembers always bringing home a friend to fix up and care for. As a teenager wanting to make an even bigger impact in the lives of animals, Marylee saved up enough money to take a trip to Utah to see the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest no kill sanctuary in the world. A major aspect of animal advocacy that Marylee learned is that the best way to reduce euthanasia rates at local shelters is to support spay and neutering. She has volunteered for several low cost spay/neuter clinics while attending college. Local Middle Tennessee spay/neuter clinics that Marylee has worked with and encourages everyone to check out are Pet Community Center, Nashville Humane Association’s ROVER and Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance.

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June Neighborhood News

Neighbors interested in learning about the inner workings of our Metro Nashville Police Department are invited to apply for the 31st session of the Citizen Policy Academy.  Go here for more information and to sign up.

There will be a Community Meeting at the Hermitage Precinct on Monday, June 15th from 6:30pm – 8pm.  The agenda will be about domestic violence issues.  See flyer below for details.

Community Meeting in Hermitage Precinct on June 15

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June Non-Profit News

Music at the Mansion 2015’s series kicks off Thursday, June 18th with the Nashville Symphony!  We have an exciting line up of fantastic music for you this summer.  See flyer for details and mark your calendars for all four events.

Music At The Mansion 2015 Concert Series

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June Business News

Big news from Xerox!  They plan to triple their Nashville operations and add 400 jobs to their Royal Parkway site.  Check out this article here from the Nashville Business Journal about this exciting development.

Picture This has done a great wine tasting and art event on the “Third Thursday” of each month.  They come to Donelson at 115 Cottage Lane on Thursday, June 18th from 4-7pm.  See flyer below for details and come enjoy an evening supporting this great local business and artist Jim DeVault.

Third Thursday On The Road June 18, 2015



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June School News

Everyone knows about the incredible turnaround that has occurred at McGavock High School, yet the outside hasn’t changed much at all since the school opened in 1971.  As I worked to expand the mission of The Donelson Gateway Project to include beautifying figurative “gateways” into the community, we did three school projects at Two Rivers Middle School, Hickman Elementary and McGavock Elementary respectively.  I’ve always wanted to do a large-scale project at McGavock High School, but knew it would take a dedicated planning and funding effort.  Thanks to Gresham, Smith & Partners for creating the architectural rendering and  for putting together the landscape design.  We are well on way to raising the $10,000 needed for the landscape installation and are working with MNPS to address some of the maintenance / enhancement items that were suggested in the GS&P rendering.  This is a milestone project for The Donelson Gateway Project and one that I have spent the past couple of years putting together.  It will be a very special project to begin my first term as your next member of Metro Council for the 15th District.  McGavock High School needs and deserves this investment and I’m very thankful for all of the donors who have supported this project.  Special thanks to the early supporters – CMT, Dale & Associates, Hip Donelson, HJL Management, Metro Nashville Airport Authority and Piedmont Natural Gas.  If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit DGP’s website here.

McGavock High School Entrance

McGavock High School Front Landscape Plan

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June Campaign News

We will soon we will be doing some phone banking, so if you’re interested in helping out with that or canvassing neighborhoods with me, please let me know.  I have a list going of folks who have expressed an interest in helping out with this, so I’ll be in contact shortly.

I began taking this campaign into our neighborhoods door-to-door a couple weeks ago and started with Bluefields.  I probably knocked on 250 doors in one afternoon.  Thank you to neighbors in Bluefields for sharing thoughts and feelings about where we were, are and going in the community.  It’s very helpful for me to hear directly from you.  I hit every street except for a couple, but will get back there as soon as I can.  If I missed you at home while coming around, I put a door hanger on your door that has all my contact info, including my cell number.  Please don’t hesitate to call me.

Syracuse For Metro15 Door Hangers

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May Neighborhood News

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office will be having their next Sheriff’s Safety Days on June 6 from 9am – noon at Donelson Bowl at 117 Donelson Pike with a number of great services for the community featuring safe disposal of items, shredding, fingerprint identification for kids and much more.  See the flyer below for details.  Thanks to Sherriff Daron Hall and all the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department for all you do for our community.

Sheriffs Safety Days - June 6, 2015

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