Hurricane Gustav: Can LaV Help?

Like the rest of the country, I’ve been following the progress of Hurricane Gustav with a knot of worry in my stomach.  My best friend from college and her husband – who live 30 miles east of New Orleans – evacuated today at 5:00 a.m.  What usually takes an hour and half to get ot Mobile took 6 hours.  I’ve invited them and their 3 cats to stay with us, but I’ll be surprised if she takes us up on it.

Meanwhile, what can LaV residents do to help?  I saw last night on the news that Second Harvest Food Bank is seeking monetary donations.  You can go to their web site to donate onlineThe Red Cross also needs donations.  Here’s the link to Nashville’s Chapter.

In our own backyard, the National Guard Training Center (is this the armory?) is set up to take evacuees.  When Hurricane Katrina hit volunteers helped at this Smyrna site.  I don’t know what kind of help (I saw clothing donations were being accepted) they need for this one, but I’m sure news will be all over the local news.

Meanwhile, I think anyone who prays should be doing this for the safety of our neighbors to the south.  Let’s hope their families, friends, homes, pets, and belongings stay safe.

House in NOT LaVergne. Oh Wellz.

Here’s a house I listed a couple of weeks ago located in Smyrna. Yes, I know it’s not LaV but I also wanted to test posting this video directly from Animoto.com. Besides, it is a pretty house. If you’re interested in buying, let me know!

Another Reason to Love Our Kroger

I’ve got health-care on my mind today. You see, my wife’s employer announced yesterday that they will be loosing their health insurance, and that scares me. I’ve lived without health insurance before, and inevitably, as soon as the insurance is gone, a medical emergency arises. Its Murphy’s Law #249. Now, for the average family out there, no sweat, you’d add your husband/wife to your company’s health insurance policy, case closed. But for us, it’s a bit more complicated. After a quick check with my human resources department today, I was advised that although my company is quite progressive in many ways, domestic partner benefits are not available at this time. Wifester and I were married, legally married, with a license and everything, in Canada in April of 2007. Unfortunately, that amounts to a hill of beans here in the good ole’ USA, land of the free. I’m not here to argue politics about gay rights, equality, or sanctity of marriage. I do that stuff on my own blog. I just want my wife to be able to have access to health-care. I think it’s pretty ironic that she is a nurse, working for a physician’s clinic, providing health care on a daily basis, and could now potentially be one of the 42.6 million Americans without health insurance and access to the same care she gives her patients. The problem is the clinic is small, only one doctor. She says she simply can not afford to continue to keep the insurance for her employees any longer.  Now that’s just not right. Why is health insurance so expensive that a physician can’t afford to provide her 4 person staff with coverage? That answer has so many layers, most can be argued until we are all blue in the face, but the facts are, we have placed the power of substantial profit in the hands of politicians,  insurance companies and the drug manufactures. Case in point: Since we’ve been shopping at the new Kroger, we decided to take them up on the offer, via a coupon, to transfer my prescriptions from Walgreens to Kroger. In exchange, we received a $60.00 credit toward groceries. Bingo! It was time for me to have my epi-shot refilled, among other meds, so we dropped them off and shopped. Epi-shots, for those of you who don’t have severe allergic reactions, are very expensive. Of course I did have a coupon for $20.00 bucks off, but still, when the prescriptions were ready, and I whipped out my visa to pay, the total, for the shot, and two other prescriptions, came to under $40.00! I was shocked. I asked if there was a mistake. The pharmacist advised me that he was able to get some of the medication at a lower cost than my insurance charges, so he didn’t run it through my insurance. WOW! Walgreen’s never did that. (Yet another reason to big pink puffy heart our new Kroger, by the way.) Plus, yes, there’s more here… he filled THREE MONTHS worth, rather than one month, still at a lower cost than my copay. Walgreens never did that either. So now, at Kroger, I have three months worth of medications for less than one month’s at Walgreens. I have epilepsy. I take seizure medication daily. It’s expensive too. The Kroger pharmacy just saved me $240 a year on medications, simply by filling a three month supply at the rate that Walgreens was filling a one month supply. *batting eyes* Is it any wonder I’m in love with my new pharmacy? But it leaves me to ponder, why do our insurance companies charge us such higher prices than our darling pharmacists can get our medications for?

Because they hope that we don’t know an honest pharmacist, and because they know that we’ll pay whatever the cost for potentially life saving medications – making them even more money.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that nothing changes if nothing changes. I believe that the current system is in dire need of a serious overhaul. Leaving it as is will only drain our economey even further, hurting more and more businesses, who can not afford to keep insurance for their employees, while jacked up medication prices and astronomical hospital charges set the precedent for yet more and more inflated prices in the future. Yes, its time to stop the cycle. Meanwhile, at least I know that we can go to our new Kroger *love* and fill Wifester’s epi-shot  without insurance, if necessary, and pay way, way, WAY less than we were paying at Walgreens.  And you know what? That pharmacist at Kroger talked to us. He joked around. He smiled and greeted us and get this, he THANKED us for our business. But above and beyond all of that, he saved me  $240.00 a year on one medication alone, and that’s not even counting the $60.00 store credit, and that’s something to feel good about right here in La Vergne.

Brandon To Be Parade Marshal

Our friend Brandon Brewer will be the grand marshal of the Oldtimers’ Day Parade!  His Mom hopes to use the event to bring more awareness to organ donation and hopefully they’ll be able to raise some additional funds on behalf of Brandon.  When we set up a tent last year to raise money for Brandon’s medical bills, we collected – I believe – between $200 and $300.  With money so much tighter this year, I hope people will be generous and help him out.

Here’s Mealand’s story about Brandon being parade marshal.  An excerpt:

With everything that’s going on, it was nice of them to think of him,” his mother, Brande Brewer, said. “Brandon was so excited about it. He’s going to ride in the parade with his girlfriend, Courtney Perry and his brother Johnathan.”

New Police Substation Almost Here

Remember about a year ago when someone suggested that the LaVergne police department open a substation in Lake Forest Estates – get the city to buy a foreclosed home to make an office right in the neighborhood?  Well, someone did have the good common sense to consider it and look what we’re getting!!  When I talked to Chief Boyd a couple of months ago, he said they were just waiting for the parking lot to be poured and the utilities to be run… check, check. 

Police Substation

Police Substation

I am pretty pleased there are trees around it – it makes it look more welcoming.  I am very curious about whether they’ll tie it down so that it’s considered a permanent foundation.  Otherwise they’d better make friends with the neighbors in the event of bad weather.

I still hope the city examines its zoning laws to allow for some other artsy-type businesses.  Dance studio.  Art studio.  Ceramics studio.  Or wouldn’t a Mom & Pop grocery store be neat?  Man I have a thousand ideas if only someone could invest in them!  :)

Meanwhile, I’ll be glad to see the substation open.  If this one works out well, maybe the city will consider opening another one on the newer side of Lake Forest – near the fire station?   Kudos again to whoever made this possible (city, police, planners, committee, etc.)!

Twitter Talk

Do you Twitter?  Here’s a sampling of what people are thinking this week in 144 characters or less.

While I hate that Christmas music is playing, I love it that it’s Asleep at The Wheel….Let it play, let it play, let it play!

Hurricane Gustav looking increasingly like skunk at McCain party. Oh, and it could destroy what’s left of New Orleans.

As usual, everyone in my dept. is busy talking as I work. Grrr

Someone should create a sheet music wiki. Like The Real Book but web-based.

Red Lobster…finally after 1 year, I broke down and went…had a nice Salmon Steak.

Now I can’t be on American Idol because I know one of the judges.

I go through that a lot. I write about the alienation of rural politics. **crickets** Bigfoot, 40,000 page views in a day. le sigh..

In response: well, I’m at least encouraged by the fact that 4x more peope read about Bigfoot than a trashy chick on a playground. :)

Now entering the anger phase of insomnia.

Aaaaaand now entering the bargaining phase of insomnia. “If you let me just get three hours…”

I forgot how tasty ice cream sandwiches are. If you’ve forgotten too, I’ll update you: they’re TASTY.

I’ve been watching DNC & RNC forever. Same shit every time. Schools. Neighborhoods. Working folks. Jobs. Shut up and give me a flying car.

Don’t make me bring out the monkey story that my dad told me over and over and over.

Oooh! Fruit Stripe gum! It will be a fun afternoon after all!

Twirling & Girl Scout Sign Ups

On a lighter note from what we’ve been reading here lately…

I will be deliverying flyers for baton twirling at the LaVergne and Smyrna elementary schools the rest of this week.  Baton classes are held in LaVergne on Monday evenings at the recreation building behind the city hall and police station area.  Boys and girls have the opportunity to learn basic routines and learn some modeling.  All twirlers enrolled in classes may audition for parade corps.  The parade corps twirlers will be marching in the Oldtimers Day parade this year as well as performing at the state fair. 

Just to clarify, there have been many extremely talented BOY twirlers so this is not limited to just girls.  In fact Glenn, one of the most highly-skilled and in-demand coaches, was a national twirling champion.  So don’t be shy if you have a son interested in twirling!  Information about twirling is available at LaVergne’s Parks & Rec department, or you can comment here and I’ll forward information to you.  Classes start September 8th.

Camping at Camp Sycamore Hills

Camping at Camp Sycamore Hills

In addition, Girl Scouts are now recruiting.  There are several events planned at schools – both daytime assemblies and night events.  Parents should really consider volunteering to be leaders, as well.   You do need to be somewhat organized, but the scouts offer training, etc. for all leaders.  

The girls in my troop have gone horseback riding, rapelling, canoeing, camping, flown on a zip line, team adventure (to build team skills), and the gigantic sling swing.  We’ve gone to see the Nutcracker & the Rockettes, bowling, skating, participated in festivals, picked pu litter, and so much more.  Girl Scouting truly builds strong character, teaches life skills, and allows the girls to make life-long friends.  If you’d like more information about joining, call the Service Unit Hotline at 355-8873 or Roxanne Warner, the Murfreesboro Service Center’s membership manager, at 890-2451.