I Admit… I Am Impressed

I have finished three weeks on the new job with the city.  What an interesting three weeks it has been!

  • I’ve received inquiries from the city web page where people fuss because no one has answered them… but they’ve left no name, email, or phone number for us to reply.
  • Working with our IT guys to freshen up the city web page (more amazing to come).
  • Started an official city facebook page… not a lot on it yet, but here it is (we’ll get there!).
  • Planning to set up an official Twitter page for you twitterers out there for the city (getting there).

I’ve gone to the scene of emergencies a couple of times and have to say … what an IMPRESSIVE group of people our police force and fire fighters are.  I mean… jaw dropping impressive.  We were in a residential neighborhood Saturday and there was a happy ending (no one was hurt) because the officers knew what they were doing and did their jobs.

Here’s a photo from the day… I’ve blurred the faces of our SWAT team / police because I don’t want to just go “HEY! LOOK AT THEM!” without their okay.

After watching these emergency responders in action, my own feeling of safety and being in good hands has multiplied exponentially.

There are so many facets of the public relations director job – economic development, working with the media, promoting the library and programs at parks and rec, and more – I am constantly busy.  There are some really great things on the horizon for La Vergne (I promise), but this administration is also having to address the here and now, dealing with the fallout from past decisions.

So to my friends… I just want to say watch for lots of good stuff.  Some exciting (to me) items will be discussed at Thursday’s workshop (starts at 5:00 p.m.).   Then the proposals will be voted on at the actual Board meeting on Tuesday, March 1st (7:00 p.m.).  Please come to the meetings because you’ll definitely want to be part of the awesome.  Also remain active in our community.  Go to the library programs.  Support Parks & Rec.  We’ll be looking for volunteers soon for our Oldtimers Day festival.  (We are going to need LOTS of volunteers).

I have my business cards now so if you see me at the meeting or around town, grab one. Call with any questions. Or email.  Or comment.  The door is open at city hall for everyone.  Come by and say hello!


A New Chapter

On February 2nd of this year, we celebrate the fifth anniversary of This is LaVergne.com.  My first post was called Welcome to LaVergne and I simply pulled information about how the city got its name,

The history of the City goes back to the 1700’s when the ancestors of some of La Vergne’s current residents settled in the area to begin their new life. The man the city was named after, Francois Leonard Gregorie de Roulhac de lavergne, eventually moved to Tennessee from France.

Relatively new to LaVergne, I wanted to get to know people.  I looked around and was inspired by This is Smyrna… “Genius!” I thought.  What a great way to get involved AND to do something I loved – writing.  Even then, I thought our little site here could become an important source of news since there was no newspaper or other media dedicated solely to the city.  Even in my little bitty home town of 3,000 people in Kentucky, there was a weekly paper … not so in LaVergne.

And so we began.

We’ve had some ups and downs in these last five years.  It’s pretty clear this is not a drama-free zone, but that’s the nature of what happens when people are given the opportunity to exercise their first amendment right to free speech.  Unless commenters tiptoed into the dangerous territory of causing Ivy and me possible liability issues, readers have had free reign to speak their minds.

Many people have gained our trust.  I hope I earned yours in return because I applied for and today accepted the position of Public Relations Director with the City of LaVergne.  Here are my qualifications for the position.

  • B.S. in the communications field
  • 15 years at The Council of State Governments
    • 2 years as Research Associate publishing The Book of the States and supplementary directories
    • 13 years as Communications Manager for the National Association of State Treasurers
    • 10 years as lead staff of the College Savings Plans Network (where we lobbied and gained federal tax exemption on earnings for State 529 plans) and the State Debt Management Network
      • lead staff in talking with national media about 529 plans
      • conference planning of up to 12 events per year
      • oversight of all written and electronic communications
    • 1 year as Communications Specialist with the University of Kentucky in the Tobacco Research & Development Center
    • And all kinds of other stuff that I’ll be glad to share with you if you ask, including real estate, newsletters, speech writer, web design, brochure design, award-winning writer, editor, publisher, and more.

What will this mean for TiLaV?  First, we are very fortunate to have people in the city who recognize This is LaVergne can be used as an important communications tool for our town and its residents.  This is LaVergne lives on.  My friend and colleague Ivy is taking over as the lead administrator of the site.  Our other writers will continue their interesting and informative posts, as well.

Like the house guest who won’t leave or the bad song stuck in your head, I’ll still be hanging out here.  However, my role will be different.  Effective January 31st, my posts will be news from the city as the Public Relations Director. If there are other things I want to write about and they do not conflict with my new position, I’ll speak up.  (For example, I will continue to post lame pictures of birds and flowers… hahahaha…)

Ultimately, residents found a voice through This is LaVergne and we’d love more writers to volunteer to keep that voice loud and clear.

Meanwhile, I thank you for your support these last five years, LaVergne.

New Faces Coming to City Hall

Don’t Worry if Your Job Is Small
by Anonymous

Don’t worry if your job is small,
And your rewards are few.
Remember that the mighty oak,
Was once a nut like you.

The deadline has been extended on one big job at City Hall and another is opening.  If you’re qualified, you now have another week to apply for City Administrator of LaVergne.

There has been much discussion on the one prerequisite of “living where you work” for this position.  While I personally understand that it could limit the number of applicants, I still believe having the person live here is a good thing.  That way you have a personally vested interest in making sure the city is wonderful.  Can’t park in the streets?  Neither can you.  Raise taxes?  You pay, too.  Poor workmanship? That’s your tax dollars, too.  Need a neighborhood park for the children to play in?  They’d benefit your kids, too.  If someone is that much against living here, then I don’t want them to make decisions on behalf of me and my family.

In other news, the city will also soon be seeking someone for public relations.  According to the DNJ,

While a position has yet to be posted, [Fred] Gaston said he is working on a job description for a public relations director who would field calls from the media and write news releases and marketing materials, but also advise the mayor, aldermen and other La Vergne officials in proper ways to work with the media, among other duties.

From TiLaV, our sincere thanks to Angie Mayes for her years of service to LaVergne.  She helped to coordinate many very nice events – from Oldtimers’ Day to National Night Out.  Angie was also an extraordinary photographer for the city, capturing wonder in a child’s eye, excitement, and historical moments.

These next few weeks in LaVergne are going to be pivotal to the future of the city … my prayers are with our elected officials at this time to make the right decisions.  They need our support right now more than ever.

Poem from the Poetry Foundation.

10 Things I Love About LaVergne

  1. I love that several times every year, the fireworks store on Murfreesboro Road lets it rip… fireworks up to Independence Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve!
  2. I love how the guys at Mixed Grill Gyros will make you a cup of hot tea – their own special blend not on the menu – if they like you.
  3. I love that the street lights sometimes pop on or off as you drive underneath them, making you feel magnetic or magical or … worried (?!) !!
  4. I love that from almost anywhere in LaVergne, you can get to downtown Nashville in just 30 minutes, depending on traffic of course.
  5. I love that there are two boat ramps here, along with at least one walking trail lakeside.
  6. I love that there are so many talented musicians in this town, evidenced by the phenomenal performance of The National Anthem during the November swearing-in ceremony.
  7. I love how sometimes when I drive home at night, I see deer.
  8. I love that when the USAF Thunderbirds come to our area to perform, we can often see them from our own front- or back- yards.
  9. I love that roundabout.  I really do.
  10. I love that you can walk through Kroger and say hello to at least one or two people you know.

What do you love about LaVergne?

Merry Christmas!!

Good or Bad: Make a Call

In the early days of our website, I was chided by a city worker about how easy it was to pick up the phone and talk to the Mayor and Aldermen about concerns.  Perhaps it is time to make that happen… pick up the phone LaVergne and tell our elected officials how you feel about last night’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

Mayor Senna Mosley
(615) 405-1571

Vice Mayor Chris Farmer
(615) 566-5517

Alderman Tom Broeker
(615) 207-8030

Alderman Sherry Green
(615) 793-6982

Alderman Dennis Waldron
(615) 397-7027

Open Thread: Holiday Craft Fair

Proof that I'm not a hoarder.

No, there isn’t one that I know of here in LaVergne.  I write this hoping there actually IS ONE that someone can tell me about!  I have the bug to go to a craft fair!  Wouldn’t it be a marvelous idea for the city to hold one either at the Multipurpose Building or the Civic Auditorium in early December?  I make beaded ornaments that are nice, but want to learn how to make jewelry.  HEY!  Maybe offer a class on making jewelry?!

I think I’ll mosey down to the Mayor and Aldermen workshop tonight at City Hall.  The meeting starts at 5:00 p.m.  Who else is coming?

What’s on your mind, LaVergnians?  LaVergnites?  LaVergnians definitely.

Want Allure? Think LaV

Perhaps its the low tax rate.  Maybe it’s our generous water policy.  But personally I think it’s the friendly villagers we should be thanking for our high ranking when it comes to being attractive to business.  Don’t believe me?  Look at this article in the DNJ called Think tank ranks LaVergne high for business,

In the Economic Vitality category, Smyrna was ranked seventh, Murfreesboro was ranked eighth and La Vergne was ranked ninth place.

In the Business Tax Burden category, La Vergne was ranked seventh, Smyrna was ranked 15th and Murfreesboro was ranked 29th.

In the Community Allure category, La Vergne was ranked 12th, Murfreesboro was ranked 29th and Smyrna was ranked 49th.

Right now it looks like Smyrna and Murfreesboro are ahead of us in the Economic Vitality category but we’ve left them in the dust in the categories of Business Tax Burden and Community Allure.   WTG LaVergne!

Let’s sidetrack for just a bit.  I have long said to whoever will listen that there is NO reason LaVergne can’t be one of the BEST places to live in Middle Tennessee.  We have a lake right next door, we are but a stone’s throw from Nashville/Davidson County, great access to transportation thoroughfares, great tax rates, affordable housing, etc.  AND for the most part, we are an extremely friendly group of residents.

It is hugely vindicating for LaVergne to see this report by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research – a group that is non-political, independent, not-for-profit – and to be ranked so favorably.

What we have to determine as a community (together with our new leadership) is how to translate and utilize the ranking of 6th friendliest Tennessee city to broaden our opportunities.  I would like to see LaVergne work more closely with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce.  I would like to make sure our local industries know that where they enjoy the benefits of our low tax rates and strong work-force, they should expect to give equal support back to the community in which they are located.  (Don’t get me started on how one local industry has “adopted” a low-income school in another town.  They essentially enjoy the economic perks of operating their business here, but their community pay back goes elsewhere.)

It’s time the city really concentrates on the *real* things that will attract business and then all-hands-on-deck.  Use county resources, state resources, and federal resources.  Use our residents who have amazing backgrounds in management, business, public relations, advocacy, and community outreach.  You might be shocked if you knew the finely honed talents our citizens possess.  With them, we can accomplish grand ideas.  Other towns have done it.  We can too.

So yay LaVergne!