COVID-19 Information, Tornado Recovery, Federal Stimulus and State of Metro

Dear Friends,
 
Since the tornado, things have moved so quickly, it has been difficult to sit down and compose a newsletter.  I’d like to give a very big public Thank You to Chelsea Moubarak, who has assisted several Council Members with putting together a comprehensive list of information, resources and much more.  She’s done a great job with compiling much of the information below.
 
Between the tornado and now a global pandemic, I know it feels like we’re living in the Twilight Zone.  There has never been a time more than now as your Council Member that I have felt more helpless.  My heart breaks for those that were impacted by the tornado and now we’ve been hit with the one-two punch in dealing with COVID-19.  That said, I have seen extraordinary service to one another and unparalleled perseverance.  Thank you to each of you for taking care of your neighbors and community.  Please continue to support small business and their employees who are struggling immensely now.  Take-out, delivery and curb side service are being offered by just about all our favorite local restaurants.

Vice Mayor Jim Shulman announced the creation of a Special Committee of the Metro Council that brings together the eight Councilmembers whose Council Districts were directly or indirectly impacted by the recent tornadoes that swept through Nashville and the Middle Tennessee area.  They are Kyonzté Toombs (District 2), Sean Parker (5), Brett Withers (6), Erin Evans (12), Kevin Rhoten (14), me (15), Freddie O’Connell (19), and Brandon Taylor (21).  This Special Committee will be responsible for four tasks: 

  1. Continue to assess the needs of the impacted areas (Do they have supplies, what about power problems, other concerns?)
  2. Allow impacted Councilmembers to continue to have a voice about the needs of their districts;
  3. Watch the flow of resources back into the community (Are funds getting to those most in need?); and
  4. Reporting back to the Mayor and the Metro Council on a regular basis regarding the first three items.

As always, please do not hesitate to let me know what resources or assistance you need as we continue to recover and rebuild.
 
I can’t express in words what The Donelson Fellowship and all our faith communities have done to help us recover from the tornado.  TDF’s partnership with Samaritan’s Purse meant that we had hundreds of volunteers on site within a day or two.  It was extraordinary to be part of this effort.  With the inclusion of our Donelson and Nashville neighbors from all over assisting each other, Saturday March 7th was the most incredible day of service I have ever seen.  We had approximately 2,000 volunteers and what an amazing difference each and every one of the volunteers made in our community.  Here I am with Pastor Russ King from Donelson Church of Christ and Pastor Tommy Swindol with The Donelson Fellowship on the morning of March 7th before we all got to work.  The second picture I took from the stage to show the first round of volunteers.  There were about 400 people waiting outside for the next round of orientation and project assignments!
 


 
March 31st was the first State of Metro address from Mayor John Cooper and suffice to say, it was focused on a message of perseverance and a conviction that we will get through these difficult times together.  It was held in the Metro Council Chamber and aside from program participants, the room was empty and everyone watched from home.  As President Pro Tem of Council, I participated in the program.  I encourage you to watch it on Metro Nashville Network, found online as well as Comcast channel 3, Google Fiber channel 3, Uverse channel 99 and is available on Roku.

I know many are very concerned with the announcement Mayor Cooper made about a substantial tax increase. We will focus on that next as a budget proposal is delivered to Council and I will share more details when we have a budget presented to us. It’s important those eligible sign up for the Tax Freeze program. The Trustee’s Office has extended the deadline to apply. Please visit their website here (https://www.nashville.gov/Trustee.aspx) for more information.

 
 

Summary of the local COVID-19 situation:

  • You can view the Davidson County case tracker and a lot of important information about COVID-19 in Nashville, including the Public Health Orders at the “A Safe Nashville” website here.  It is updated daily.
  • You can view the TN Department of Health’s website with statewide information on COVID-19 here.
  • The President, Governor, and Mayor have declared states of emergency.
  • Governor Lee announced a Safer at Home order for the State and statewide closure of non-essential businesses on March 30th.
  • The COVID19 Hotline is 615-862-7777, available 7am-7pm, every day of the week.
  • The TN Department of Health Hotline is 1-833-556-2476 or 877-857-2945.  These lines are staffed 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. CDT daily.

Mayor Cooper’s daily briefings:

 

 
These briefings typically provide updates from:

  • Mayor John Cooper
  • Dr. Alex Jahangir, Mayor’s Office Director of Coronavirus Response & Chair of the Metro Board of Health
  • Dr. Michael Caldwell, Director of Health
  • Dr. James Hildreth, President of Meharry & Renowned Infectious Disease Expert
  • Chief William Swann – Director of the Office of Emergency Management & Nashville Fire Department

Watch former briefings here on Metro’s YouTube Channel
 
Briefings are broadcast in full by all local TV news stations.  You can also watch on Metro Nashville Network via Comcast Channel 3, Google Fiber Channel 3, AT&T U-verse Channel 99 and here.
 
Residents can also stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 updates from the Mayor’s Office and MPHD here and by following the Mayor’s social media channels below:
 
Twitter: @JohnCooper4Nash
Facebook: facebook.com/MayorJohnCooper
Instagram: @johncooper4nashville
 

Safer at Home Order:

 
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow, The Metro Public Health Department issued a Safer at Home Order, which includes the closure of all non-essential businesses effective at 12:01am on Monday, March 23.  Residents of Davidson County are directed to stay inside their homes and immediately limit all movement outside their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.  As noted below, grocery stores will remain open and the supply chain remains robust, so there’s no need to hoard food and other items.
 
Under the order, you CAN:

  • Go to the grocery store, convenience store, or Costco
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (confirm with your healthcare provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for carryout or order delivery
  • Care for or support a friend of family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, and be in nature including Warner Parks, keeping six feet between you and others
  • Walk your dog and take your pets to the vet

 Under the order, you SHOULD NOT:

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by the order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Be less than six feet from others while you are out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.

An overview of the order:

  • All bar and restaurant on-site services will be closed and can serve customers only through delivery, take-out, curbside, and drive-through.
  • On-site activities at hospitality, educational, fitness, sports, and entertainment venues, business, and facilities will close. On-line activities through these businesses may continue
  • Services that require direct human contact, including hair, nail, massage, tattoo and other such facilities will close.
  • Public and private social clubs will close.
  • Non-essential social and educational programs at senior citizen and other assisted living communities and centers will end until further notice.

All gatherings are strongly discouraged, and those with greater than 10 people are prohibited. Gatherings include any event or convening unrelated to essential services that brings together groups of individuals, including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers; and similar activities.
 
NOTE: As of March 24, playgrounds, dog parks, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic shelters, and skate parks will be closed until further notice. Parks, greenways, trails and golf courses remain open. Everyone using these open spaces needs to adhere to CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene, remaining 6 feet apart.
 
You can learn more about the Safer at Home Order here.


 

Metro Services:

  • Metro Nashville Public Schools (as well as all TN public schools) will be closed through April 24.
  • The Sheriff’s Office has suspended eviction notices until further notice and the Courts are not hearing these cases either.
  • If your car tag is set to expire in the next two months, you now have until June 15 to renew.
  • Metro Emissions Testing Facilities will be closed until May 18th and emissions inspections will be waived through that time. Call 866-329-9632 for information or visit their website here for more information.
  • If your driver’s license expires between March 12 and May 18, its validity has been extended six months.
  • All upcoming meetings of Metro boards and commissions have been canceled.
  • For the near term, Metro Council meetings are expected to be held electronically. They will remain fully accessible to the public.  As Pro Tem, I will likely still be in the Chamber should the Vice Mayor need me.
  • The Metro Police Department and all Metro Fire Stations remain open and fully operational.
  • Most in-person court appearances have been canceled.
  • All Nashville Public Library locations have closed until April 6, which may be extended.
  • Starting Monday, March 30, WeGo Public transit will begin operating a modified service plan until further notice, which includes the Star.  Most local bus routes will operate on its Saturday schedule during the week, plus supplemental service on select routes to accommodate downtown Nashville commuters on regional bus and train service. Please visit WeGoTransit.com for more information. The following routes will not operate until further notice:
    • 24 Bellevue
    • 35 Rivergate
    • 38 Antioch
    • 41 Golden Valley
    • 43 Hickory Hills
    • 73 Bell Road

Learn more about Metro Department responses here.
 

Private Business and Utilities:

  • All bars and gyms in Nashville have been closed.
  • All restaurants have been closed besides carryout and delivery.  Thanks to District 13 Council Member Russ Bradford for compiling this, here is a great list of restaurants in the Donelson and Hermitage communities to be sure you support.

 

  • See here for Ways to Support the Hospitality Industry
  • The Metro Beer Board voted last week to allow beer delivery from restaurants.
  • NES has suspended disconnections and is waiving late fees and credit card fees through May 31.
  • Piedmont Gas has suspended disconnections and is reducing rates.
  • Metro Water has suspended cut-offs and will waive late fees for the month of March.  Metro Water Services customers who have found themselves experiencing financial hardship may request a payment plan for outstanding balances by calling 615-862-4600.

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce website has assembled many helpful resources, including information about:

The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation has also assembled a list of Residential, Labor, & Job Services for individuals and businesses impacted, including a list of businesses who are currently hiring.
 
If you are experiencing Domestic, Physical, or Sexual Violence during this period of time at home you can call or text the Domestic Violence Hotline.
 
If you are experiencing a Mental Health Crisis or Emotional Stress you can call the TN Statewide Crisis Hotline at 855-274-7471.
 

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) information:

 
We know this unprecedented time brings unique challenges to our families and students. We’re working closely with our community partners to continue to provide meals to all students.
 
Breakfast and lunch for students: On Monday, March 23, and continuing every weekday that schools are closed, breakfast and lunch will be available to anyone under the age of 18, regardless of their school status; however, they must be present to collect the meals, per federal law. The bagged or boxed meals will be provided in a drive-through setup. Meals will be available for pickup between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the locations listed on the MNPS website here.
 
Delivery meals: Six MNPS school buses will be used to pick up approximately 250 meals each from preparation kitchens and brought to locations where children are able to pick up the meals.  Locations and times for the bus drivers to provide meals are listed here.
 
For ways to supplement your child’s at-home learning, check out these free at-home learning resources here.

Here is another source of help and info for those who might need it: the Crisis Line at Family & Children’s Service (FCS), one of Nashville’s oldest nonprofits that offers safety net social services directly to clients. You can call 615-244-7444 anytime, or text the word “HERE” to 615-502-HERE (4373) between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., Mon-Fri.
 
Additionally, the FCS Healthcare Access line is 866-475-7879; they help with TennCare, CoverKids, Marketplace insurance, and resources for those who are uninsured or underinsured. They have staff who speak Spanish, Kurdish & Arabic, so please pass this along to neighbors who might be able to use this help.
 

What is COVID-19 and how do I protect myself?

 
SPREAD:  Coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can travel up to 6 feet, which is why it is recommended to stay 6 feet away from others.  The virus can also remain on a surface or object and enter through the mouth, nose, or eyes. That is why you must wash your hands before touching your face.
 
PREVENTION:

 
SYMPTOMS:
 
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough, fatigue, or shortness of breath, you should call ahead to a doctor or healthcare provider and discuss your symptoms.  They can assist you with your individual needs.  It takes 2-14 days to develop symptoms after exposure to the virus.  The average is 5 days.
 
Most people who have COVID-19 do not feel sick and show no symptoms for two weeks, but are contagious, which makes the virus easy to spread.
Here are some animated simulations showing how it happens.
 
SEEK TESTING IF YOU ARE:

  • exhibiting symptoms
  • you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus
  • you have traveled recently to one of the high-risk countries

 
WHERE TO SEEK TESTING:
 
First, call your doctor and/or call Metro’s Coronavirus Hotline at 615-862-7777, as they can assist you with your individual needs and direct you where to go for testing if necessary.
 
Apple, in partnership with the CDC, FEMA, and The White House, has launched an interactive COVID-19 screening tool that will help users determine what steps they should take, including testing. The tool guides users through a set of questions covering symptoms, risk factors, and potential exposure. Users can also find links to these tools at Coronavirus.Gov and on Metro’s response website at A Safe Nashville.
 
OEM, the Department of Public Health, and healthcare partners, constructed three Community Assessment Centers across Davidson County.

  • Nissan Stadium Parking Lot N
  • Meharry Medical College
  • former K-Mart site on Murfreesboro Road in Antioch

These drive-thru centers are now open and serving the public from 9am-3pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Staff will collect a sample by swabbing your nose or throat.  HOWEVER, you must call the city’s coronavirus hotline, 615-862-7777, before going to a testing site so they can help you determine if you need to be further assessed at a center.
 
Click here to view a list of all the COVID-19 Assessment Sites throughout TN.
 
I’m thankful to the Nashville Fairgrounds for utilizing their facilities to assist our homeless and unhoused neighbors.  Read more about that here.
 
Help for Senior Citizens: Call FiftyForward at 615-743-3416, who can assist with food delivery, prescription assistance, case management and more for older adults in need of assistance.
 
Here is also another great way to volunteer and support our neighbors who are at a higher risk.
 

 
Call 211 for help with rent, electric bills, and any other concerns about lost wages, or if you are living alone and need food brought to you. 
 
Call 311 for Hub Nashville or use the phone app or website here for any ongoing Metro-related issues.
 
Resources at-a-glance:

Federal stimulus package:

 
On Friday, March 27, President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), to offer economic assistance to millions of Americans, healthcare workers, small businesses, and State/Tribal/Local governments to get through this challenging time.
 
The package includes:

  • $1,200 payments for qualifying Americans
  • $100 billion in direct support for hospitals
  • $370 billion+ to small business owners to keep their employees on the payroll.
  • $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for State ($1.25 billion+ per state), Tribal ($8 billion), and local governments

This aid comes on top of the Family First Coronavirus Aid Package, which increased the federal share of Medicaid payments through the emergency period by 6.2 percentage points and provided reimbursements to States for the cost of expanding certain public assistance programs.
 
State/Local/Tribal provisions include:

  • $150 billion in direct aid to State, Tribal, and local governments. Aid will be allocated primarily by a State’s population with each State receiving at least $1.25 billion.
  • $340 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak, with $274 billion going to state and local governments for specific purposes. This is in addition to the $150 billion distributed to states to cover their own separate efforts and forms a major part of the federal government’s plan to assist state efforts.
  • $5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, including $2 billion to existing CDBG grantees that received funding in FY 2020. The bill also provides $1 billion for states and insular areas to respond to COVID-19, including activities within entitlement and non-entitlement communities and requires that those allocations. Any remaining funds will be distributed directly to states on a rolling basis.
  • A $500 billion for loans and guarantees through an Economic Stabilization Fund that authorizes the U.S. Treasury to support eligible businesses and States and local governments to cover losses incurred as a result of COVID-19.
  • $100 billion for hospitals and health care facilities to reimburse expenses or lost revenues not otherwise reimbursed that are directly attributable to COVID-19.
  • $3.5 billion to allow States to expand childcare benefits for healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the frontlines of this crisis.
  • Additional federal funding for joint federal-state programs like Medicaid and unemployment compensation, along with other expenditures which will reduce some of the need for states to undertake new COVID-19 spending on their own.

What does this mean for my family?

 
It depends on your income. Most adults will get $1,200, although some would get less. For every qualifying child age 16 or under, the payment will be an additional $500.  Single adults with Social Security numbers who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will get the full amount. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400. And taxpayers filing as head of household will get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less.  Above those income figures, the payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn $198,000. According to the Senate Finance Committee, a family with two children will no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000.  You can’t get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult. In any given family and in most instances, everyone must have a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible. There is an exception for members of the military.  You can find your adjusted gross income on Line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax return.


 
Will I have to apply to receive a payment?
 
No. If the Internal Revenue Service already has your bank account information, it will transfer the money to you via direct deposit based on the recent income-tax figures it already has.
 
When will my payment come?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expected most people to get their payments within three weeks.  Check out this really helpful NY Times article with FAQs about the stimulus package, including individual payments, unemployment benefits, student loans, and retirement accounts, and charitable contributions.


  
The Emergency Cash Assistance provides two monthly cash payments to families that were employed as of March 11, 2020 and have lost a job or at least 50% of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency. This money is funded by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and provides:

  • $500 for a household of 1 to 2 persons.
  • $750 for a household of 3 to 4 persons.
  • $1000 for a household with 5 or more persons.

 
This assistance is available in addition to any unemployment benefits individuals in the family may be receiving.  To be eligible, families must have been employed as of March 11, 2020 but have since then lost employment or at least 50% of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency, include a child under the age of 18 or a pregnant woman, have a valid Social Security Number, must not have resources exceeding $2,000, and the gross and/or unearned monthly income may not exceed 85% of the State’s Median Income that’s currently:

  • Gross Monthly Income of $2,696 for a household of one.
  • Gross Monthly Income of $3,526 for a household of two.
  • Gross Monthly Income of $4,356 for a household of three.
  • Gross Monthly Income of $5,185 for a household of four.
  • Gross Monthly Income of $6,015 for a household of five.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is a federal workforce development and employment program emphasizing work, training, and personal responsibility. It is temporary and has a primary focus on gaining self-sufficiency through employment. Existing TANF customers receiving Families First benefits will be eligible to apply for this emergency cash assistance.  To apply, visit here.

Update on Disaster Assistance Centers for Tornado Recovery:

 
Davidson County’s three Disaster Assistance Centers in Davidson County closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The facilities, located at East Park, Hadley and Hermitage Community Centers were opened to offer in-person support to individuals and businesses recovering from tornadoes earlier this month.  Assistance is still available online or via phone call. Survivors can reach FEMA at DisasterAssitance.gov or 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585).  The toll-free numbers are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time, seven days a week.  May 4th is the deadline to apply.

Thanks to the Realtors Relief Foundation, assistance is available to qualified applicants towards mortgage or rent due to displacement or loss of a primary residence. Click here (https://tnrealtors.com/2020/tornado-relief-opportunities?fbclid=IwAR3XG4EiV6kDezTU_MoXIQrt_jnDEqeoKyse0wH3Ovvt-5Vy4xV4cNI-KfE) for more information.
 
Applications for assistance from the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) are available online. TDHS is accepting applications for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits and the Families First/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Cash Assistance program.
 
Metro Social Services office will remain open with abbreviated walk-in hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Continue to follow A Safer Nashville website for status on all Metro services.
 
Metro Action Commission (MAC) will be open for regular in-person business hours Monday through Friday from 8am-4:30pm at 800 2nd Avenue North. MAC has programs that help with rent, mortgage, and utility payments and rental deposits.  If applying for help with your utility payment and you are not able to walk in, the application is available on the MAC webpage here. Applications are available also by mail, email or faxed to you by calling 615-862-8860, Ext 70100 or by requesting via email at metro.action@nashville.gov.
 
Help Meet Immediate Needs
 
United Way and their partners are working to ensure every person in our community has shelter, food, clothing and resources to get through these challenging times.

If you were affected by the March 3rd tornado, please visit the Nashville Financial Empowerment Center page for in-depth information on financial disaster recovery. Also, please visit Metro Nashville’s Storm Response website for information on additional resources.
 
Support Long-term Recovery
 
In addition to continued support from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the United Way of Greater Nashville will mobilize their Restore the Dream fund to support our community’s long-term recovery efforts. The road to full recovery is long and takes a significant, community-wide response.
 
Funds will be distributed to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations through an independent application process. Fund distribution will remain separate from United Way’s general Community Fund. All decisions regarding fund distribution are made by the Restore the Dream Committee, which is made of up leaders from United Way’s Board of Trustees and community members.


  

Metro Nashville Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Announces Emergency Supply Drive for Medical, Protective Equipment:

 
In response to a critical shortage of medical and personal protective equipment (PPE), OEM has announced an emergency supply drive. OEM is asking community members, including local medical facilities and professionals who are not involved in caring for COVID-19 patients, to donate new and unused medical and PPE that could protect staff members and providers involved in the city’s response.
 
Metro is asked specifically for these donations:

  • Surgical face masks & N-95 masks
  • Isolation gowns
  • Disposable exam gloves
  • Sani-cloth wipes
  • Face shields
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Specimen bags
  • Red top viral tubes (lab supply)
  • Nasal swabs (lab supply)
  • Large trash cans

“We are preparing our collective resources to ensure we can care for those who may become ill in the coming weeks,” said Chair of Metro’s COVID-19 Task Force Dr. Alex Jahangir. “Though we are taking all appropriate steps to preserve our resources, we must prepare for a shortage. Medical and PPE supplies are essential to our ability to care for each other and keep our healthcare providers and first responders safe. We are so grateful to the individuals and business leaders who are willing to support our efforts by donating supplies in the name of public health.”
 
Anyone with unused and new medical supplies or PPE to donate may contact OEM at OEM@nashville.gov or complete the donations form.
 
For smaller donations, donors can drop off the medical supplies and PPE Monday-Saturday, 10 am-4 pm at the Community Resource Center, 218 Omohundro Place, Nashville, TN 37210
 
At this time, Metro is only accepting the donation of the new, unused medical PPE that is noted above. Medical devices, medications, food, linens or handmade masks, caps or gowns will not be accepted at this time.
 
Ideas to Stay Engaged and Connected

There are great, live Facebook events from the St. Louis Aquarium and the Nashville Zoo is also posting fun and adorable animal videos to be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
 
Live streaming Nashville music
You can tune into Music City Bandwidth, hosted by Visit Music City, where Nashville’s favorite artists and local venues are live streaming concerts.  Many musicians have begun to utilize online concerts to assist them as the hospitality industry suffers immensely and many musicians are out of work.  Please support them and the venues like Exit / In, Station Inn, 3rd & Lindsley and all others as you’re able.  They are the life-blood of Music City.
 
Virtual Offerings from Nashville Attractions
There are tons of offerings to choose from, including from the Adventure Science Center, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Escape Game, Frist Art Museum, Jack Daniel Distillery, and the Nashville Symphony.  View Virtual Offerings from Nashville Attractions
 

Due to COVID-19, the Census is temporarily suspending field operations. Please do your part by having your family fill out the census by phone or online. Call the numbers below or visit: http://my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020.  For Spanish, call 844-468-2020.
 
The results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade.  That funding shapes many different aspects of every community, no matter the size, no matter the location.
 
Census results influence so much, including:

  • highway planning and construction
  • grants for buses, subways, and other public transit systems
  • how money is allocated for the Head Start program
  • grants that support teachers and special education
  • programs to restore rural areas
  • wildlife programs
  • programs to prevent child abuse
  • wildfire preparation measures
  • housing assistance for older adults

We lose $1,091 per person, per year of funding from FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentage) for each person who does not complete the Census. (**per The George Washington University Institute of Public Policy).  At least 22 Federal Grant programs use Census Data. When you don’t complete the census, our community suffers.
 
To conclude on a positive note, I was honored to be able to help with the grand opening of our new American Legion Post 88.  It was held on Sunday, March 8th, the day after our massive day of service and volunteerism.  Thank you to Commander Len Chappell and all the leadership and members of Post 88 for this great new facility in the community to support our veterans.  It was a beautiful sunny day and as an example of how great our community is, at the opening, I was discussing with members of the Ladies Auxiliary how Two Rivers Middle School needed assistance replenishing food and supplies that had to be given away or tossed because of the power outage at the school from the tornado.  They immediately took to action and delivered much needed supplies for our students and families that depend on Two Rivers Middle as an accessible community pantry.
 


 
I know this was a long newsletter, so if you’re reading this, you made it all the way through!  As always, I am here to serve you.  My cell is 615-886-9906.  Call me anytime if I can be of any assistance to you during these challenging times.  We will come back stronger and we are already seeing the indomitable spirit of how strong and resilient our community is.
 
Best,
 

615-886-9906

COVID-19, Donelson Council News, Federal Stimulus, Tornado Recovery

Donelson School News – March 2020

I am thankful to MNPS Interim Director Dr. Adrienne Battle and her leadership team for presenting the proposed FY20-21 school budget at various meetings across the county.  I am impressed in that it acknowledges the difficult budget season we face and presents options for funding various areas of MNPS depending on what revenues are available.  Here is a two-page brief on the proposal.



 
Schools and public safety need to be the top priorities of this budget.  We must take better care of our teachers and support our MNPS leadership’s efforts to be able to recruit and retain the best and brightest.  Our children deserve it and we must deliver.  Here is the full 28-page budget presentation for your review.

Donelson School News

Donelson Non-Profit News – March 2020

Come visit Two Rivers Mansion on Sunday, March 15th from 1pm – 4pm for the annual Open House – “Phil the House with Arts and Friends”.  Admission is Free.  The artist spotlight this year is Randy Purcell.  This event is hosted by the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion.  Please consider becoming a member and supporting this wonderful group who continue to showcase this historic gem in our community.  Many events become free with membership.

Since studying art at MTSU, Randy has been fascinated with art’s impact on memory.  The connection between the two has been the constant theme in his work.  He strives to make paintings that feel like old, happy memories.  To achieve this, he uses “encaustic art,” a process which means to ‘burn in’ and usually includes pigmented beeswax.  Randy uses beeswax as a base to create a patina, and magazine ink to add color and visual texture into the subject, like the text and imagery make up a living thought.  Adding various colors in a mosaic style allows for different lights to make up the subject.  The final effect is an iconic image reconstructed with a fluid, emotional value.  Randy’s work has been received with praise locally and beyond, with showcases that included a mural for Nashville’s ARTober celebration, a Metro Arts Nashville bike rack design, Artclectic at USN, Harding Academy, frequent showcases in the downtown Nashville art crawls, art school technique demos (including MTSU) , Artfields in SC, and international showcases like ArtPrize and solo gallery exhibits.  He is also on the board of two non-profits, Number Inc. Magazine and Turnip Green Creative Reuse.
 

 
Join FiftyForward Donelson Station for a fun night of Big Band Swing Dance.  I am a proud member of the Board of Directors of the Nashville Youth Jazz Ensemble that will be performing.  It’s a fundraiser for both organizations, so get your dancing shoes on and come have a good time for a great cause.
 

 
March 17th is the last day to order a tree in the Nashville Tree Conservation Corp’s 3rd Annual Nashville Tree Sale.  Learn about the details of this great program here.
 

 

Donelson Non-Profit News

Donelson Neighborhood News – March 2020

This newsletter’s Neighborhood News section is about honoring people.  At the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber’s second annual Influencing Women Awards Gala, a few 15th District community members were honored.  Big congratulations and well-deserved awards went to Nicole Vaughan with the Heart of Donelson-Hermitage Award, Kerra Bennett with the Woman to Watch Award, and Laurie Eakes Ford and Mill Creek Mercantile with the WOW (Woman-Owned Workplace) Award.  Congrats to all the well-deserved winners.  Photo credit to Sarah Boyce Photography.

 

A great new blog post from April Bowers about Wendy House and Stillhouse Herbals as part of her series, “Women Own Nashville 2020”.  Here’s another about Michele Mazzu, also our 15th District Beautification Commissioner.
 
Big congratulations to Eli Beaird on his Academy of Country Music nomination for Bass Player of the Year!
 

 
Finally, I’d like to honor a great Donelson neighbor and one amazing musician.  Jim Williamson passed away recently after a battle with cancer.  Jim was an incredible trumpet player and he led the Nashville Jazz Orchestra.  His repertoire and musical experiences were vast and he played with so many musicians here in Nashville.  He loved and supported Donelson and will be sorely missed.
 

Donelson Business News – March 2020

Big news was announced for the former headquarters of Bridgestone at 535 Marriott Drive.  Genesco announced it will relocate its corporate headquarters next year, create new jobs and invest more than $30 million in Davidson County over the next five years.
 
Check out the updated website for Donelson Plaza.  There are new images of what the final renovation will look like.  Note: The architect of our new Donelson Library will be chosen soon.  The depiction of the library in the images is just a placeholder for now.  Also, check out this news clip from WKRN Channel 2 about the Plaza as well.

One Century Place is offering 10% off the use of their all-inclusive conference center.  See website for details.
 

 
Remember that SoundWaves at Opryland offers a Davidson County resident discount of up to 40%.  Check out this link for more information.

Donelson Business News

“The State of Donelson and Hermitage” Forum Coming Plus the Next Mayor’s Night Out and Budget Meetings

Dear Friends –

The Donelson-Hermitage Neighborhood Association is hosting a “State of Donelson and Hermitage” forum at FiftyForward Donelson Station on Monday, March 9th at 7pm.  See flyer below for details.  See you there.


Thursday, March 12th from 6pm – 8:30pm at Hickman Elementary School will be the next Mayor’s Night Out.  See below for details.  I look forward to seeing you there.
 

 
Thursday, March 12th is also the night is also one of the Budget & Finance Community Meetings.  It will be from 6pm – 7:30pm at the Hermitage Branch Library.  Unfortunately, there was no way to avoid this scheduling conflict with the Mayor’s Night Out.  Initially, this budget community had been scheduled on a different day but had to be moved.  As Budget & Finance Chair At-Large CM Bob Mendes states, “the idea behind these meetings is to give the public an opportunity to see and hear the budget information that the Council has seen and heard over the last 90 days.  During that time, the Council heard from the Comptroller for the State of Tennessee and Metro Finance Director Crumbo about the size and scope of the city’s budget problems and the types of solutions that are available.  We want to make sure the public has this same information and an opportunity to talk about it before Mayor Cooper presents his budget on March 31, 2020.”  Here is the presentation CM Mendes and Budget & Finance Vice Chair District 2 CM Kyzonte Toombs will use to lead the community meeting.
 
The Metro Public Health Department is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) newest guidance to plan for the likelihood of local transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.  Preparing for and responding to outbreaks of diseases is a routine part of Health Department’s activities.  In close and continuing consultation with the CDC and the Tennessee Department of Health, MPHD is taking an approach to COVID-19 similar to that used for other potential  threats such as the H1N1 flu virus, SARS, Ebola and Zika, and the re-emergence of more endemic diseases such as hepatitis A and measles.  As part of the effort to prevent local transmission of COVID-19, they have been monitoring Davidson County residents who meet CDC’s guidelines, based primarily on symptoms and travel history, and/or close exposure to a known positive case.  None identified locally have had the virus.  There has been no local transmission in Nashville, or community-wide spread anywhere in the United States.  While the goal is to prevent local transmission, MPHD’s obligation is to prepare for it and they are doing that.  The Health Department is working with the Mayor’s Office and local partners to ensure that we respond timely, appropriately and efficiently should the need arise.  Mayor John Cooper has indicated any additional resources will be made available should the need arise. 
 
MPHD will provide timely, accurate and appropriate information to the public and to partners on a regular basis.  To date MPHD is communicating with the CDC and TDH; reviewing its local preparedness plan; implementing an Incident Command System within the department to ensure direct and frequent communication both internally and externally; monitoring travelers who recently have been to China, per CDC guidance; briefing the Mayor’s office and other Metro department heads; and providing local media updates and social media communications.  Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as pneumonia.  The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019.  Currently, most of the confirmed cases of the illness in the United States are associated with people who recently traveled from China.  There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection.  The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
 
Even though the risk of COVID-19 is low in the U.S., the Health Department recommends everyone take routine precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as this one, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What follows are links to the CDC’s, TDH’s, and Metro Public Health Department’s websites with more information and guidance specific to 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Our Metro Nashville Police Department’s Body Worn and In-Car Camera Program is finally being launched.  The Metro Council Public Safety – Beer and Regulated Beverages Committee held a special meeting at the Music City Center where MNPD leadership explained the process and demonstrated their use.  I have high hopes their use will be a tool that will help bring greater transparency and trust as well as stronger support of our men and women who protect us each and every day.  I enjoyed the demonstration and thank Chief Steve Anderson and his leadership for implementing a robust and intricate system.  Pictures below are the personal tour of the demonstration vehicle I received from Captain Blaine Whited, who will lead this program.  Thanks to MNPD’s Don Aaron for the photos.  Visit this link for more information and a great video about how they will be used.
 


 
Railroad crossings along our major corridors that are blocked during morning and afternoon rush hours is something that I hear quite often.  I have shared this on multiple occasions with US Representative Jim Cooper.  I’m pleased to report that as he was asked to appear before the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, he asked me to submit written testimony to support his appearance at the committee.  Thanks to the many neighbors who provided examples and personal experiences that I included in the below letter I sent in support of the effort to look into this issue.
 

 
Save the date!  Our Spring Neighborhood Clean-Up and Bulk-Item Drop-Off will be on Saturday, April 25th from 8am to noon.  Thanks to the Beautification Commissioners in Districts 12, 13, 14 and 15 for organizing this.
 

 
I had the opportunity to attend the Jewish Federation’s “Stronger Than Hate” event to stand together against anti-Semitism and support our Jewish community’s initiative to strengthen security at their institutions and places of worship.  I enjoyed the event and was moved by the keynote speaker, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, who was involved in the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history.  Read about it here.  At-Large CM Zulfat Suara and I attended the event along with Vice Mayor Jim Shulman and other elected officials and many community members.
 

 
I’ve truly been enjoying being in the Class of 2020 of Leadership Music.  There was a recent opportunity to support One Country Give, in association with Numana, Inc., in hosting a meal packaging event at Cross Point Church to stock up Second Harvest Food Bank.  The event helped pack about 150,000 meals!  It was an extraordinary operation and fun to be part of.  Here’s Deb Barnes (LM Class of 2016) and me showing off our efforts.
 

 
As part of the new fare collection project, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Board authorized WeGo to enter into a construction contract with Stansell Electric Company, Inc, to install new ticket vending machines (TVMs) and platform validators at all WeGo Star train stations.  These installations will enable customers to purchase new fare cards at each rail station and scan either their phones or card at the platform validator before boarding the train.  The project duration will take approximately four months upon starting and is funded through the FY2019 Capital Plan, utilizing federal dollars matched with state and local funding for a not-to-exceed project total of $450,314.81.
 
Here is some valuable information on Census 2020.  It’s very important we get this right and be counted accurately for this decade with the incredible growth that’s occurred.  Let’s get every bit of federal investment we can that is reflective of our great needs in keeping up with growth. 



Best,

Donelson Council News

McGavock Pike after tornado in Donelson Tennessee

Tornado Response and Donelson Community Support Day – Saturday, March 7th

McGavock Pike after tornado in Donelson Tennessee
 
Dear Friends –

My heart goes out to everyone who was in the path of the tornado. The outreach and support from neighbors and the community at large has been inspiring and words cannot express the appreciation and love we all feel towards those that are assisting with this recovery effort.

The 15th and 14th District’s (Council Member Kevin Rhoten’s district) were the hardest hit on the eastern side of Davidson County. The Donelson Fellowship has become a base of operations supported by Samaritan’s Purse Ministry. They have been gathering at 7:30am every day to coordinate efforts and go into affected neighborhoods all throughout Nashville and surrounding areas. On Saturday morning, they will be joined by members of Donelson Church of Christ to support these efforts. For all those that would like to support this effort as well, I encourage you to come this Saturday morning at 7:30am with your gloves, chainsaws, and other tools you feel you might need to support our neighbors in the Donelson area with brush, debris, and especially fallen tree clean-up. Lunch will be provided thanks to Hunts Pizza.

We will have volunteers bringing wheel barrows and chain saws. The wheelbarrows will need to be put together, so there will be plenty of needs and opportunities for everyone to serve and help.

Important Resources:

* AirBnB is offering free housing through March 24th.

* Tennessee Housing Development Agency or by phone at 1-877-428-8844: Individuals or households that have been displaced by storm damage can use this resource to locate short-term or permanent rental housing options. The listings have been provided by property managers and landlords and includes information about specific needs, such as income restrictions, pets and accessibility. The site is also available in Spanish.

* Storage: U-Haul: Various locations; 615-356-2550 to be routed to closest location; Offering 30 days of free storage to tornado victims.

Navarre Corp: Offering transport services for wheelchair-bound individuals. tyler.pinson@navarrecorp.com or (229) 328-9182

Conexion Americas: 2195 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211; 615-320-5152; Provides support and advocacy for New Americans navigating the disaster relief.

Crisis Center 211 or call 211 for community needs and service support

* Impacted residents can complete a voluntary damage assessment through a reporting site that will help Metro Nashville determine the extent of damage across the county.

* Prior to accepting an offer to purchase your home, seek council from a trusted adviser. Do no pay contractors in cash. Make payments in installments based on an agreed upon contract and verified scope of work. Keep receipts and take pictures of everything. If federal aid becomes available, this documentation will be crucial to your aid application. If you have insurance, start with a call to your insurance company. The Department of Commerce & Insurance has mobile sites up to allow people to register claims.

Ways to serve:

* Ongoing volunteer needs: If you’d like to register to volunteer, visit Hands on Nashville and click the blue button on the home page. You can get the latest updates on volunteer needs via their blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

* Donate money: The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is managing an emergency response fund.

* Donate items: The Community Resource Center, which is in particular looking for personal hygiene items, bleach, trash bags, gloves, box cutters, baby and toddler clothes, formula, underwear, bras, batteries, and baby food. These items can also be brought to The Donelson Fellowship.

* Donate food: Organize a drive through Second Harvest Food Bank .

Curbside Debris Pickup:

Metro Public Works has issued the following preliminary guidelines for residents who need to place debris at the curbside for collection:

All items and materials MUST be separated into three different piles and placed at the curb or street side for collection. If the debris is not separated, it will not be collected. The three different classifications for collection are:

1. White goods and metals (appliances, etc.)

2. Construction and demolition debris (lumber, windows, etc.)

3. Vegetation (brush, limbs and all other yard waste)

Items should NOT be placed in public alleys. Alleys need to remain clear for emergency crews and trash collection services. Household trash should be set out with regular weekly curbside garbage pick-up.

While Public Works is still finalizing a comprehensive plan and schedule for debris collection, residents can go ahead and place items out for collection. All debris and tornado-damaged items should be placed at the curb/street side for collection. Davidson County residents SHOULD NOT bring these items to Metro Convenience Centers for disposal. For additional information, residents can use hubNashville by calling 311, downloading the hubNashville app, or visiting hub.nashville.gov.

There will be continued needs in the weeks and months ahead as recovery and rebuilding continue. Again, my heartfelt thanks to the extraordinary volunteer spirit I am seeing in our neighborhoods. We will recover and be stronger as a community.

Don’t hesitate to call me if I can be of assistance.

615-886-9906

Donelson Tornado, Storm Recovery Donelson

Donelson Neighborhood News – February 2020

I was honored recently to present two proclamations to constituents on very special occasions.  Congratulations to Billy Sanford on his 80th birthday and Ann Clayton on her 100th birthday!  Billy Sanford is a great musician and the day he moved here in 1954, Roy Orbison asked him to be in his band.  The famous guitar work we all know in Pretty Woman is none other than Billy.  And Ann Clayton is an extraordinary neighbor as well!  She celebrated her 100th birthday with family and church friends and the next day went on a big cruise!  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to recognize neighbors on their special days like these.


Donelson Neighborhood News

Donelson Non-Profit News – February 2020

I recently enjoyed my visit with Community Options, a non-profit supporting people with disabilities for over 30 years.  They’re located here in District 15 and do great work to ensure our neighbors with disabilities have affordable housing and the care they need.  Thanks to Executive Director Meika McClendon for the time spent with me and also giving me a tour of one of their homes.  Please visit their website above to learn more about them and how you can get involved.


 
I’m excited to share there will be a public art piece installed at the Briley Parkway / Lebanon Pike site of The Donelson Gateway Project.  Thanks to Metro Arts THRIVE program, Brian Somerville will receive funding to create an art piece to display on site. It will be temporary (for about a year) and then we will find a permanent home somewhere indoors. As part of the process, community engagement is required and so there will be two meetings to provide an opportunity to learn more and provide input. That will help make it an even more meaningful art piece that will create deeper appreciation by everyone in the community. I look forward to seeing you either Tuesday, February 11 or Thursday, February 27, both at 6:30pm at the Donelson Library.

Donelson Non-Profit News