Friday News & Open Thread

These past two weeks have certainly been nothing short of interesting here in La Vergne (I put the space there especially for Angie!).  We’ve had some good news, bad news, and really bad news.  Here are the latest news links.

Judge says NO to quarry DNJ article

Injunction denied via Channel 4

New HR director departure DNJ article

The really bad news is – of course – about Amanda Dintelman and her traumatic injury.  Her family commented on our site that they really appreciate the prayers and support they are getting from our community, so please – again – remember Amanda, her family, her friends, as well as Christy Montes for how cloudy her future must seem right now.  I so want to hear good news about both young women… am hoping that there will be no permanent injury for Amanda and that she makes a full recovery.  Am also hoping that Christy will be able to find peace and that her future will be full of hope.

That said… let’s open the comments.  Any plans this weekend? Who’s applying for the HR job with LaV?  Think the quarry will ever have to pay their water and sewer bill?

Help Waldron Elementary Get New Playground

Today and tomorrow are the last days to vote at the Pepsi Refresh Project so that LaVergne’s own Waldron Elementary School can get a new playground.  Every month the ginormous corporation is funding special projects throughout the U.S. and our school applied to get $25,000 in grant money to go toward new playground equipment.

In the application, the need for second grade students was stressed,

There is only one playground creating a dangerous situation in which too many students are in an area at one time and seven year olds are playing in an area with eleven year olds.

If you want to vote, go to the Pepsi Refresh Project.  You will be required to register OR if you have a Facebook account, you can connect to it and vote that way from the same link.

EVERYONE IN LaVERGNE … please respond!  Thank you!

We Are LaVergne: Tony Vanatta

What better time than National Pay It Forward Day to tell about someone in our community who has a generous heart, who gladly gives their time to organizations like Box 100, and who has opened his home to foster children who are in need of a safe place?

Tony and his partner had a gorgeous 900-square foot home in Nashville, but lost it due to an illness.  He moved into a rental home for about a year and mourned for the small house he used to call home.  He mourned it until the day his best friend told him about the house next door to her in LaVergne. Tony did not want to move here because LaVergne took him out of his comfort zone in Nashville.  However, when he saw the 2200 square foot home that came with two acres, he was compelled to get it.  In hindsight, Tony realizes it was meant to be because raising seven children was a lot easier in the big house with lots of land than it would have been in the tiny house.

Because they are gay, Tony Vanatta and his partner of 20 years Tommy Gupton didn’t think they could get children, but they learned of the incredible need for homes for teens.  They went through the process everyone goes through that consists of home visits, being interviewed, and taking the mandatory classes with the Department of Children’s Services. The classes offer training on how to parent and show what to expect from the children.  Because getting someone else’s child is not like having your own, the classes teach how to cope with the situation and the role they play when children are reunited with their biological parents.

In 2004, Tony and Tommy opened their home to two children. Since then they’ve had 10 foster children in all, but consider seven to be “their kids”:  siblings Katie, 19 and Cody, 18; siblings Michael, 20 and Christopher, 18; Alexis, 10; and siblings A.C., 18 and Austin, 11.  Four still live at home.

Tony said they love having the kids around and they are a gift from God.  “A lot of people think kids are blessed to have us, but we are blessed to have them,” he said.  “If they were blessed, they’d be in their own home with their own parents and thriving with them.  That’s a child’s blessing – to be raised by their Mom and Dad.  We step into the role because there’s a real need, but we never tell them we’re their parents.  No one can fill that biological connection, whether they’re adopted or not.  I’m here if they need me, God has held his hands out to help me when I’ve fallen, so I’m here to help them if they do.  I want to encourage them when they need it.”

The children are thriving.  Tony formally adopted Austin, but A.C. is also like own child – in fact, all of them are.  DCS is helping A.C. and Michael with college and will also help Christopher when he starts next year.  A.C. wants to be a rapper, but through Tony’s guidance he is studying music and music management so he’ll have the education backing his talent.

Rap music? If you’re not a fan, you might as well accept that you’ve shifted into the older side of the generation gap!  Part of being a parent is you let a child be who they want to be, but you’re there to guide them and allow them to make their own mistakes. Tony said one of his children once said to him, “You just don’t know how wrong something is until you’re no longer in it.”

Tony feels that when kids are around people who are involved with drugs, alcohol, and all the bad stuff, they learn it as a normal way of life.  However, when they leave that environment and see how people work, buy their own food and earn their own money, they learn there are better ways to live.

Tony is passionate about telling people about the need for foster parents.  He received the “Foster Parent of the Year” award in 2007 from Davidson County and believes it’s because he stays involved with his children.  If there is a hearing in court, he doesn’t ask the case manager to go with the child.  If there is a doctor appointment, he takes them rather than handing them to the case manager.  Tony said what has helped tremendously has been the support system he has from family and friends in LaVergne.  In addition, his church in Nashville – United Holy Trinity Community Church – has been a great help.

Tony is concerned that the news about foster children is rarely positive.  Only 8 percent of children in the state foster care system are “problem” children, but 92 percent only want a good, loving home to live in.  Children do not enter the foster system due to juvenile delinquency, but are there because of bad parenting. The need for parents to foster teenagers is big because most parents want young children.

Tony credits teenaged children with helping families as much as they are helped.  He said that one of his kids actually set up his computer and taught him how to use it.  In addition, with teenagers parents are not tied down to the same demands that infants have.

Being tied down would be challenging for Tony who runs his own business, Vanatta’s Cleaning Service.  The residential cleaning business has remained steady even during this recession, but Tony is accepting new clients between LaVergne and Nashville.

When it comes to LaVergne, Tony wants all citizens and city workers to be treated fairly.  He realizes that everyone in LaVergne can’t be satisfied and that the city can’t do everything because we just don’t have the money.  However, he feels doing things for certain special people is not good either and that’s how the city is perceived.

Tony hopes voters will elect leaders who do their homework and research issues before making decisions.  He would like to see all major policymakers and administrators actually live in the city because the decisions they make should affect them personally just like it affects the rest of the residents.

In addition, Tony would like sidewalks to be built on Cheney Drive going to LaVergne High School, “I see kids walking in the grass that comes up to their knees.  I’ll also see kids walking in the middle of the road half asleep.”  He worries that an inexperienced driver on the way to school might not be able to avoid hitting someone walking in the street if something unexpected happens.

If you are interested in being a foster parent, here is the contact information:

Rutherford County
Department of Children’s Services
Deirdre Lackey, Team Coordinator
434 Jayhawk Court
Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37128
Phone: (615) 494-4540
Fax: (615) 898-8038

In addition, Tony recommends contacting Sarah Stephens who is his foster care support person at (877) 327 5437.  Foster parents can be single or married, be with or without children of their own, be employed or not employed, but able to financially meet his/her own needs, must be in sufficient good health, should be at least 21 years of age, and be a homeowner or renter.

All potential foster parents must provide five references and will be fingerprinted and will have to undergo a complete background check. In addition, each potential foster parent daily participates in a home study that assists the department and the families in making decisions regarding the foster home approval process.

Fan Pages & Amanda

I am so pleased to see neighbors getting talking with neighbors… even if half of us don’t do it in person anymore, there’s always electronic communication!  If you have set up a “fan page” or neighborhood “group” on Facebook, let us know!  Meanwhile, be sure to join This is LaVergne’s fan page.

Woodland Hills Subdivision, LaVergne

Cottages of La Vergne Town Home Community

Amanda

Also, I’d meant to comment about Amanda Dintelman who graduated last year from LHS.  I saw on the news that she was severely injured last week while joy riding with a friend.   Her aunt has been updating her facebook page and said she had cranial surgery and is fighting for her life.  If you pray, please remember both her, her family, and Christy Montes who was driving. You know these girls and their families are going through an incredibly difficult time.  I also want her family (if they read here) to know that she was very kind to my daughter when they were in middle school.

Election Schedule for LaVergne

Given that we are already hearing about people running for office in LaVergne, I wanted to provide readers who are interested in seeking office with some preliminary information provided by the Rutherford County Election Commission.

The election date is November 2, 2010 and is in conjunction with the State General Election.

You may pick up your petitions to run starting on May 21, 2010 from the Rutherford County Election Commission.  This petition must be signed by at least 25 qualified, registered voters who live in LaVergne.

The qualifying deadline for independent candidates is August 19, 2010.

Offices up for election in LaVergne because term ends in November, 2010:

Mayor
Vice Mayor (via Alderman position held by Jerry Gann)
Alderman (Sherry Green)

So far from this site, we have heard from Chris Farmer that he intends to run for Alderman via a comment,

Let me start off by introducing myself I am Chris Farmer, I am a Paramedic for Rutherford County Ems and I am work at the Lavergne station and also live in Lavergne. I have been a working on the ambulance for 18 years. I moved to Lavergne from Arkanasas 5 years ago this November. Arkansas was where I was born and raised, but since I moved to Lavergne this has turned into HOME for me and my family. We love this town and the friends we have made here are wonderful and will not move anywhere else. I am Assistant Chief of Box 100 and my wife and 16 year old son are also members of Box 100. Now with all that being said I am going to answer the question of who is running for alderman. ME. It is not official as we all know the paperwork can not be picked up until May 21. I want anyone who has questions or concerns to feel free to contact me at chris-farmer@comcast.net. I will answer any questions I can to the best off my knowledge. I truly do look forward to serving the people of Lavergne if I get elected. As soon as it is Official that my name is on the ballot I will post my phone number on here so you can call me with your questions or concerns. I would be happy to meet anyone who does not know me or wants to sit down and talk just shoot me an email and I will respond and we can get together and discuss any concerns. I hope to hear from you and I will be posting comments on here also. Thank you for taking time to read this lengthy post, but I felt that I should at least let everyone know who I was and that I was running and not try and hide behind an anonymous post as some others appear to be doing.

Senna Mosley also indicated she’s running for mayor via a comment when Sherry asked if Senna was ready to step up to the plate,

YOU BET!!!!!!!!! If yall are willing to give me a chance I am willing.

And I just confirmed this on the phone with her that Senna Mosley is indeed running for mayor.  I’ll leave this post open to comments if anyone wants to add anything.

Candidates may say they are running, but legally cannot accept donations or set up any accounts for campaigning.

Congratulations to Chris and Senna for unofficially announcing and THANK YOU for letting us know here at This is LaVergne first!

Some Quickies for a Saturday

I am staring down the April 30th deadline for first-time home-buyers to be under contract in order to get the $8000 tax credit from the Feds, and suddenly I’m swamped with buyers.  So with apologies for such a quick post here, I did want to share some of the recent information sent by the city.  Next week I’m introducing another person of our community on the “We are LaVergne” … look forward to hearing about how this person has made a difference in the lives of many young adults.

From the city:

Senior Prom in Two Weeks

The annual Senior Prom for senior citizens will take place May 8 from 5-8p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Building behind City Hall, near the ball fields. This event is for seniors 60 and older. Tickets are available at the Center, 337 Stones River Road. For more information, contact the Center at 793-3048.

Ready to Send the Kids to Camp?

The summer camp sign-ups will take place May 8th at the Parks and Recreation Building at 294 Sand Hill Road. Time is 9 a.m. We will take the first 50 young people who are rising first graders to rising sixth graders.

The summer camp sign-ups will take place May 8th at the Parks and Recreation Building at 294 Sand Hill Road. Time is 9 a.m. We will take the first 50 young people who are rising first graders to rising sixth graders.  We will have a waiting list. Cost is $25 registration fee per child. Weekly cost is $60 per week per child. Before care is $10 per week. After care is $10 per week. Camp is Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Before care is from 7 – 8 a.m. After care is 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Camp is June 14 – July 2 and July 12 – 30. For more information, contact Parks and Recreation at 793-3224.

What Would You Do With $11.8 Million?

After two budget workshops by the La Vergne Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Mayor Ronnie Erwin is happy to report the the budget is finalized.

“Right now, we’re $31,000 to the good,” he announced Thursday. “And that’s with the insurance going up, a three percent raise for employees and the non-profit donations.”

The budget workshops are completed. The completed budget, set at $11,834,000, will be submitted to the Board for their approval in May and June. It takes two votes by the Board to pass a budget. A workshop will be held at the June 1 meeting.

Once approved, the budget will take effect July 1, 2010.  For more information, contact Mayor Erwin at 394-2821.

Meanwhile, if you’re thinking about making the deadline to buy a home, don’t forget about my listings… look at the videos on the right hand side to see 281 Bill Stewart Blvd. ($129,900) and 5137 Morningwood Dr. in Cane Ridge ($246,900).   Also, a friend of mine has 1714 Jimmy Cove ($149,900) that is perfect with over 2000 square feet and in beautiful condition!

And if you haven’t already, become a fan of This is LaVergne on Facebook! This is where you can write your own updates for over 300 “fans” to read and discuss!

Get a DQ Blizzard for a Quarter

I’m busier these days than a one-armed man playing the harp, but hopped over to our “Fan” page on Facebook to find Amy had posted about a blog site she maintains called SavingWithAmy.com.

First, you should go bookmark her.

Second, scroll down until you find how you can get a DQ Blizzard for just a quarter.  You print a coupon which she links to, buy one at full price, then get the second one for a quarter.  THROUGH SUNDAY ONLY!

Sounds like a delish way to spend a sunny day with someone you love!

Thanks, Amy!