East Side Buzz, February 12

Hello and welcome to another edition of East Side Buzz! Will you be my valentine? Just kidding, my dog is my valentine. 

Big news! The latest issue of The East Nashvillian is on stands now! Surely you already know that you can grab a copy basically anywhere around the neighborhood, but did you also know that if you’re not into leaving the house right now (same) you can order a copy in our online shop and have it delivered to your door?! Grab a T-shirt while you’re there, support local media, we’re not owned by tax-deferring billionaires!

And here’s another little something to make you smile: On February 5 Tony Gooch, the uncle of East Nashvillian of the Year winner Ronald Gooch, Jr., stopped by the Girl Scout cookie table outside the Eastland Kroger and bought up all 150 boxes of cookies and started to give them away to Kroger shoppers. The next day, Ronald Gooch, Jr. and his father Ronald Gooch, Sr. did the same thing at the Inglewood Kroger, buying and giving away about 120 boxes.

“It’s cold outside and they’ve been selling their butts off,” said Ronald Gooch, Sr. “I want them to go home, and why not!? Everybody likes Girl Scout cookies!”

Sweet. Literally.

Don’t Miss The New Respects Play the Music Makers Stage Friday!

Tonight (Friday, Feb. 12) The New Respects will perform live from Delgado Guitars as part of the Music Makers Stage series. You can stream the performance here. Rock, soul, R&B, dance, and the occasional nod to classic TLC—The New Respects have it all and they will definitely get you dancing your way into the weekend. 

(Seriously, if you need a mood booster—it is cold and gray outside, after all—go blast “Say What You Want.” It’ll have you feelin’ yourself again in no time.)

Small Business Break-Ins Continue

In the early hours of Monday, February 8, someone or someones broke into Graze on Eastland Avenue. The restaurant had to close for the day to clean up the mess and repair the shattered front door. The robbery was similar to several others that happened in January when the nearby Portland Brew East and multiple businesses at The Shops at Porter East—HiFi Cookies, Whiskey Water, M Salon, NB Goods, Dirty Livin’, and Montessori East—had their front glass doors or windows smashed.

Business owners say cash and other items, including a computer, were taken and I’m told many other small East Nashville bars and shops have also been broken into in recent months, including Nicolettos, Chopper, Red Headed Stranger, Coneheads, and Retrograde Coffee.

Sean Newsome, the owner of HiFi Cookies, says the thief or thieves made off with the store’s cash drawer, but “thankfully nothing damaged was impossible to replace.”

“Honestly, having that door smashed hurt the most,” he adds. “My close friend Brian Kaspr did the sign painting on it.”

But one bright side has been seeing the community rally around the affected businesses.

“This community never ceases to amaze me,” he says. “Aside from all the well wishes and just overall positive energy, everyone came out when we reopened. My wife and I were able to do the clean-up ourselves but we received so many offers to help. I Saw the Sign was able to redo our front door for us in a short period of time. Police took a report, but honestly gave no evidence that they had any leads or any info on the break-ins.”

Sgt. Michael Fisher of Metro’s East Police Precinct says it’s possible the break-ins are related, but he’s careful to jump to conclusions regarding a motive.

“It is quite a reasonable theory that the same individual/s would be involved in this string of commercial burglaries considering the close proximity of the locations as well as the fact that a number of them occurred on the same night,” Sgt. Fisher tells The East Nashvillian.

“Although, speculating on a motive behind a property crime is just that – speculating. From experience, I have seen a number of different reasons people do these types of crimes. It could be to feed an addiction or it could also be, as we have seen quite often, that this is just what this person does. There are career burglars out there and they just break into places and steal to get by. I would imagine that the pandemic being the reason would be a very unlikely theory, only because you just don’t see folks lose a legitimate job then turn to burglary.”

Graze re-opened for business on Tuesday. Maybe go give them and all the impacted businesses some love this weekend—it’s hard enough to keep things running smoothly during a pandemic as it is.


Mayor Cooper Announces 2020-21 Spending Plan

On Friday, February 5, Mayor Cooper announced his $474.6 million capital spending plan for the year.

The biggest chunk of change—more than $123 million—is set aside for Metro schools, with $100 million of that being allotted for a new high school in Bellevue. Mayor Cooper also hopes to invest more than $122 million into transportation issues, including sidewalk and road repair, pedestrian improvements around Lower Broadway, and a new highway cap on Jefferson Street, which could, in theory, make parts of North Nashville more accessible to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Another notable item on the budget is the $14 million set aside to replace Fire Station #2, the fire station at 500 Second Ave. N., which closed in 2019. 

“We didn’t take care of what we owned enough and ultimately the heating and electrical system just could not be patched up one more time,” says Cooper about the decision to close the station, later noting that “If the crew had been there, if FS2 had not been closed, they would have been the first fire responders to the Christmas bombing.”

The station and its crew also would have been able to quickly respond to the aftermath of the March 3 tornado.

If the budget is passed, the new building would be built on the same site, at 500 Second Ave. N., and serve Downtown Nashville, Germantown, North Nashville, and parts of East Nashville. Cooper also says the city will “pursue a gold-level LEED certification” to make the station an environmentally sustainable project.

He cites the East Bank development as one reason why it’s a good time to replace the station.

“You’re on the verge of a large amount of growth, not only to the north up through Germantown but on the East Bank, so [it’s important to have] specifical capability equipment and an appropriate facility for the fire department.”

He hopes to use another $15 million to purchase pump trucks and aerial ladder trucks for high-structure fires.

As for other parts of the budget, more than $23 million is set aside for the Parks Department and $12 million is allotted for the proposed Southeast Police Precinct on Murfreesboro Road

The budget has to be approved by Metro Council before spending can start with a vote expected to take place next month.

{and now a brief interlude for your listening pleasure. in celebration of the lunar new year, the @mightyjoenolan releases “Je Ne Sais Pas”.}

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Governor Bill Lee Makes State of the State Address

On Monday, Feb. 8, Gov. Bill Lee delivered his third State of the State address and in it, ran down his own budget proposal. The largest chunk of federal money, nearly $1 billion, will go to “capital improvements and maintenance on both state buildings and higher education campuses.” 

It’s “the largest capital maintenance budget in our state’s history,” says Lee. 

Other notable items include:

  • $200 million to “achieve our goal of every Tennessean having access to high-speed broadband”
  • $120 million for teacher compensation (in addition to the $42 million allocated for teacher pay raises in January’s special session)
  • $6.5 million to extend postpartum coverage for new mothers from 60 days to 12 months

Lee also announced that he will be “reintroducing Constitutional Carry legislation,” because “now, more than ever, Tennesseans want a strong commitment to the Second Amendment and the right to protect themselves.”

We can’t shoot COVID-19, dude, but OK.

You can watch the 45-minute speech here.

Quick Bits

  • Nashville will soon move into Phase 1b of the vaccination distribution plan; teachers and other school staffers will be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine starting Feb. 20. So for more than 108,000 doses have been administered to people who live or work in Davidson County and there were 2,616 active cases in Davidson County as of Thursday afternoon.
  • The Picasso. Figures exhibit is now hanging at Frist Art Museum through May 2. There are 75 paintings, sketches, and sculptures on display and Nashville is the only city in the U.S. to show the collection.
  • St. Vito Focacciaria has moved into the former Setsun East space at Vandyke Bed and Beverage. They’re open for dine-in, take out, and limited delivery 4-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, plus their Torta all’Arancia (orange pound cake served with Cara Cara marmalade) looks life-changing.
  • Soup Sunday sales have begun! Nearly 20 local restaurants are selling tasty soups by the quart to benefit Our Kids, a local organization that supports children and families impacted by child sexual abuse. 
  • Don’t forget to celebrate Yardi Gras on February 16, Fat Tuesday. More than a dozen houses all over East Nashville have gone all out to decorate their homes and yards and one lucky winner will get a gift certificate to Lockeland Table. More info in the February 5 East Side Buzz and also on the Facebook event page. Please note: The Moon Pie &  bead throwing event originally scheduled for Saturday the 13th has been canceled and will join with the main event on Tuesday the 16th.

Love Buzz

Did you see the fantastic Joy Oladokun make her Tonight Show debut Tuesday night? The Nashville-based singer-songwriter performed her heart-breaking ballad “breathe again,” and yes, I cried. The song, which she says she wrote about her own experience with anxiety, has deeply resonated with me in recent months. I mean, who hasn’t been feeling especially anxious and overwhelmed for the past year or so? (If you’re like, “Me, I haven’t been feeling especially anxious and overwhelmed for the past year or so,” then congratulations and please tell me your secret and/or what cocktail of meds you are on.)


Listen to her album in defense of my own happiness (vol. 1). The song “mercy” into “breath again” is the most beautiful song transition of 2020. It kills me every time.

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