Greenvale Goes for Broke

With only $50,000 in assets and between $10 and $15 million in debt, Greenvale Homes has filed for bankruptcy according to the DNJ.  I feel sorry for the creditors,

Major unsecured creditors include 84 Lumber Co. in Murfreesboro, which is owed $76,521, and HH Gregg in Indianapolis, which is owed $20,533. Local creditors include Smyrna Ready Mix in Murfreesboro, Thomas & Sons Electric in La Vergne and Wall to Wall Floor Covering in La Vergne.

Ouch.

Overextending yourself is not just a problem for average people like us, but for big corporations too.  Have you overextended yourself?  What can you do to get out from under debt?

  • STOP SPENDING money on things you don’t need.  You do need to pay for your utilities, rent or mortgage, food, and a vehicle (and keeping it running with fuel, insurance).  You do NOT need all the new shoes and clothes, carry out meals, and movie nights.
  • Take on a “cash only” mentality. If you can’t pay for it with cash, don’t buy it.
  • Get a second job and start paying off those credit cards… it’s no fun but important to get evened out and eventually ahead again. There’s no work, you say?  Mow lawns, babysit, go through your stuff and sell on eBay or Craigslist.
  • Clip coupons and use them. A friend of mine actually spends about $20 p/week on groceries for a family of three because she finds the double coupon deals and uses them.  While her magic touch probably won’t work for everyone, a savings of $10 a week by using coupons adds up to $520 p/year.

I’m not a financial planner and you can easily consult one, but by being conscious and realistic about what you spend is a good first step.  Good luck… hopefully we won’t see you alongside Greenvale in bankruptcy court.

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Early Voting Ends After Today

Today is your last chance to vote early in the primary elections of 2k10.   The LaVergne Civic Auditorium at 283 Old Nashville Highway will be open until 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.  After that, no more early voting for the primary!  I don’t know about you, but Basil Marceaux Dot Com has MY vote.

We Are LaVergne: Elizabeth Murphy

Elizabeth reitres after 51 years.It’s hard to imagine that an unassuming, polite woman may very well be the most widely known person in LaVergne. However, the sweet, white-haired lady who sits at the welcome window of the city’s water department is the one person all newcomers must talk with when they come to LaVergne. She will ask for proof that you live at your address and she will ask for a modest deposit. Elizabeth Murphy will then tell you when you can expect your water to start flowing. If you’re a longtime resident, she’ll smile or say hello as you pass by heading for the cashier window to pay your bill.

At least she will for just a few more hours… really minutes now measure how much longer will Elizabeth chat with water customers, eat with the city’s grant writer Montique who shares the same lunch break, and file whatever paperwork crosses her desk. After tomorrow, Elizabeth is calling it quits.

She started working at the age of 17 and now that 51 years have passed – the last four years with the city government – Elizabeth is retiring. Her retirement is bittersweet because she has loved getting to know the people of LaVergne. She’s been saying her farewells these past few months to her favorite customers like “Miss Mary” whose voice she always recognizes as she lilts “Hi Elizabeth!” on the telephone. She has said good bye to the man who always has a smile and cheerful greeting when he sees her. Elizabeth will miss them, along with countless other familiar faces who always speak with courtesy and kindness.

Some things won’t be missed, however. For example, the Wednesday water cut-off days are not particularly fun. Extremely irate customers come in or call, not willing to accept that their own non-payment is the cause of the water in absentia.

Working for the city has given Elizabeth first-hand insights on how the city functions. She believes as a taxpayer, there are things that should be corrected on behalf of everyone who lives in the city. Elizabeth believes the new human resources director is a good first step because he brings a new perspective and fresh set of eyes to the city. She hopes he will be able to make good recommendations to the mayor on how to affect positive change.

One very positive change for which Elizabeth is responsible as a city worker began in 2007. When new service customers came to open accounts, she began checking to see if they owed money from previously unpaid accounts. In just the first six months of instituting this system, she collected over $7500 that would have remained otherwise unpaid. Elizabeth hopes the water department will continue to collect past due accounts after she’s gone if the new service customers owe money.

Elizabeth has more ideas she would like to see the city implement, including more firefighters and police officers, better roadway maintenance, and more restaurants. Elizabeth also wants to see the city spruce up the green areas of Murfreesboro Road by adding trees and flowers, and hopes business will do the same. “I want LaVergne to raise its standards and show some pride,” she said, adding that Ingram Boulevard is very nicely maintained with weeping willows and nicely trimmed grass.

However, Elizabeth has no plans to dwell on the things that will improve the city.  Instead, she plans to just relax for the rest of the summer. She might do some chores around the house like cleaning out closets and making minor household repairs, but otherwise you might find her at the ball park watching her grandson, Alex, play. While her sons are important to her, Alex is her pride and joy.

“He keeps me young,” said Elizabeth. “I have been a big part of his life since the day he was born and just love when he has his friends over, watching him play baseball, and spending time with him.”

In her retirement, Elizabeth also hopes to do some traveling. She’s always wanted to see the Eastern states and cities like Washington, DC, Williamsburg, and Boston. She looks forward to going to local flea markets and wants to find a flea market buddy. Elizabeth also hopes to do more research on her ancestry. She knows her great grandfather came over from Switzerland and she still has his papers where he was sworn in as an American citizen in 1862.

But overall, after 51 years of hard work Elizabeth plans to simply enjoy life. We hope she does – in abundance and with joy.

Ms. Murphy we thank you for your years of hard work, your kindness, and your generosity. You will be greatly missed by the citizens of LaVergne and we hope that if you pass us in the store or if we see you at a yard sale or ball park, you’ll stop and take a moment say hello.

A retirement reception is being held for Elizabeth on Friday, July 30th at City Hall starting at 3:00 p.m.

Lawsuit Over and Done With

According to the DNJ, Fifth Third Bank dropped its lawsuit again LaV developer Amnon Shreibman.

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, the bank’s attorneys, submitted a notice to the court July 20 that the suit had been dismissed without prejudice.

There you have it.

Open Letter to New LHS Team

Dear Mr. Ash, new administrators, faculty, and staff,

First, congratulations on your new jobs!  You have made some really great impressions somewhere in your educational careers to land the top job (and support jobs) at LHS.  Middle School Principal of the Year in 2009-10 is quite an accomplishment and we are very proud that a LaVergne school was recognized in such a positive way.

I was at the school on Monday night (the Blue Light Special) and really like the new paint in hallways.  I was unable to look around the rest of the school, but the smell of fresh paint was abundant.   I think the custodial crew must deserve some credit for that… good job everyone!

The “Blue Light Special” was a bit chaotic. I would have liked it better had it been spread out because crowds make me very very nervous and we had about 1000 people jammed onto the floor space of the gym.  For example, you could have had the juniors and seniors upstairs and the freshmen and sophomores on the main floor of the gym.  You did jump in about halfway through the evening to relieve some of the chaos by removing the seniors to the cafeteria, the juniors to the auditorium, and the sophomores to the second floor. Another suggestion is next time have the station signs hung above the stations rather than on the front of the tables. When the gym filled up, no one could read where the different stations were because the sea of bodies quite adequately blocked them.  Anyway, I’m glad you recognized the problem and addressed it.  Thank you for relieving that stress factor.

Meanwhile looking to the upcoming school year, you definitely have your work cut out for you.

I’ve heard about kids who make out (read between those lines… what you’re imagining is what I’ve heard happens) in the stairwells.  I’ve heard about kids who just trot over to another car and leave the campus in the mornings after being dropped off by their parents.  I’ve heard about the fights.  I’ve heard about bullies.  I’ve also heard about teachers who say one thing, then say another, and finally punish the students for being confused.  I’ve heard there are some really burnt-out teachers who no longer care and are just putting time in until retirement.

You have your work cut out for you.

I remember going to see a school play and seeing a mouse run across the stage.  There are cleanliness and rodent issues that you’re already addressing with your new staff.  I’ve heard about items being stolen from gym lockers after the kids dress-out and go to class.  You have students with anger issues.  You have students who are disrespectful.  You have students with a mile of attitude who have been raised to scorn education and intelligence.  It saddens me to see what could be good minds (perhaps the person who might have found the cure for cancer) wasted through learned ignorance and defiance.

I hate seeing underwear because kids have their pants drooped to their knees in the name of fashion.  Those are the things that distract other students, not a pink streak in the hair.  Hoodies?  I see nothing wrong with wearing them as long as they aren’t UP and hiding headphones.  I would rather see a UNIFORM for everyone than trying to navigate complex and silly dress code rules.  (The kids may not agreed, but still…)

Meanwhile, please remember there are a lot of GOOD students who also attend.  Sometimes these good kids make bad decisions and they should be held accountable.  But remember a lesson can be learned sometimes with just a simple talk with the principal or assistant principal.  Not every kid has to be suspended, expelled, or radically disciplined.  Recognize that punishment must fit the crime. Anytime a kid is removed from class for a minor reason (e.g., a tiny hole in their jeans) it’s an hour (or more) that the child loses in education.   We aren’t perfect as parents, you aren’t perfect as academicians, so let’s try to remember learning is the reason they are there… and WEIGH the value of education against a minor infraction.

Recognize that some of the kids who get in trouble may just need to see that an adult cares about them and their future.  Recognize that there are children who fall between the cracks and who could blossom with a kind word.  Yes, education should provide opportunities for everyone, but perhaps some of these kids have not been raised in an environment where learning is emphasized.  You can teach them that every decision they make today could impact their future.

If they act like they don’t care, bring in people to talk with them who have survived car wrecks, child abuse, neglect, parents in prison, and unmotivated lifestyles.  Show them they can make good decisions – to read a book, to turn off the cell phones, to carefully choose their friends.

You have your work cut out for you.  So meanwhile as a parent, I pledge to do what I can to help you, the teachers, the staff, and MY CHILD. The phone will be confiscated at 9:00 p.m.  There will be no TV or computer until homework is done.  If I get attitude, it will be corrected.  I will hear the teachers side of the story before I jump to conclusions and swear my angel did nothing wrong.

But listen to us, too.

We can survive high school by working together to support our children.  Are you in?  What else can we do to help?

Remember law is not always justice.

And,

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.  ~Jonathan Swift, A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind, 1707

(Let’s catch the wasps and hornets at LHS!)

The more laws the more offenders.  ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

(And let’s make the rules count… not silly!)

Finally,

They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.
— Anonymous

Good luck for the 2010-11 school year!

Water Report (Submitted)

Chris Farmer emailed me the report he received after having his drinking water tested. You’ll probably need Word to read it, although some word processing software may be able to decipher it.

139398 – Drinking Water Report (Chris Farmer) 7-12-10

AND since it means nothing to me but mumbo jumbo, let me add that Chris wrote in a comment that the result were “normal” and he gave a hat tip to the water department for doubting them.

LaV Baton Twirlers Win at National Championships

Poo-poo me if you’d like about all these baton twirling posts, but I’m still too proud to ignore this!  The Tennessee Twirlers competed last week in Savannah, Georgia during the national championships and their teams WON BIG!

The team “Follow Him” took TWO first place trophies in large dance twirl categories and the team “Kooza” won a first and a second place in small dance twirl.  Both teams competed against top twirling teams from across the nation – California, Ohio, Maryland, etc.

Weekly twirling classes are expected to start again in August.  The cost is $95 per semester for kids ages Kindergarten through high school.  You can purchase batons at the class, but in the beginning we have some that can be borrowed.  We must have at least five or 10 students to keep the program going in LaVergne.

If you have a clunky, awkward duckling who just wants to be involved in something (and you can watch them grow into a graceful swan), you might ask if they’d like to try baton twirling.  The instructors will be the same girls who started five years ago in their clunky, awkward stage of life and are now state champions, former queens, and now also national champions.

Call me if you’d like more information at 491-2161.