Photo: Jeremy Harris

East Side Buzz, Friday, June 26

COVID-19 on the Rise and Tomato Art Fest Gets a Makeover

Be Seen in the Pages of The East Nashvillian!
A new issue of The East Nashvillian is now in the works! Just like our city, we’re still standing proud and ready to bring you the exclusive coverage of how recent events — the aftermath of the March 3 tornado, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new push for racial justice — are affecting your neighbors. To place your ad in our new issue, contact our sales team today at sales@theeasnashvillian.com.

And speaking of issues, our latest is still available for free when you order delivery from many local restaurants, liquor stores, and merchants. When placing orders online, simply look for The East Nashvillian on the menu and add it to your order or request it when you place your order by phone. Copies are also available for curbside pick-up orders and you can grab one from the rack by the front door of many restaurants. Check out the full list of participating restaurants and shops, and bookmark the page to check back for updates!

Mayor Reportedly Considering Mask Mandate
Just three days after Metro barreled ahead into Phase Three of the Roadmap to Reopening Nashville, Metro Health Department reported new cases of COVID-19 are growing at an escalated rate, and Mayor Cooper is reportedly considering issuing a citywide mandate requiring masks in public places.

As of Thursday morning, there have been a total of 8,644 cases of COVID-19 reported in Davidson County, an increase of 1,105 cases over last week’s total. Metro also noted an increase of 279 over 24 hours from Wednesday, June 24 — the third-highest one-day total of new cases since the outbreak began.

In the last week, a growing number of “hotspots” have been reported across Tennessee and the U.S. as businesses rush to reopen, with many individuals abandoning social distancing measures and the wearing of masks as the virus continues to spread. Meanwhile, growing evidence indicates that wearing a facial covering combined with reasonable social distancing measures are the most effective means of slowing the virus’ spread.

On Wednesday, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto declared a state of emergency and issued a mandate for all Wilson County residents to wear masks in public. He then admitted there was no way to enforce the requirement and reduced the declaration to a “strong recommendation.” This follows a mandatory mask ordinance passed by the Memphis City Council last week that is currently stalled in legal review while the number of new cases continues to grow in Memphis. Such local efforts to enforce the wearing of masks in public spaces have received no support from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who continues to encourage the wearing of masks in public statements but resolutely refuses to consider a statewide mandate.

We at The East Nashvillian advocate for the use of facial coverings during the pandemic. This is a public health issue, not a political issue. In order for our economy to reopen safely and without the need for further shutdowns, the case numbers must be reduced to a level at which community transmission is trackable and containable through the quarantine of those who test positive for COVID-19. With that in mind, we are starting an Instagram campaign called “It Looks Good On You“ which features portraits of our neighbors wearing masks. This series was conceived and photographed by Jeremy Harris, and selections from the series will also appear as a photo essay in our upcoming print edition. Check it out on Instagram, and see more of Jeremy’s work here.

Help us help you so we may all get back to doing what we do. It’s easy. Wear a mask.

More information and updates on Metro’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic are available at asafenashville.org.

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Tomato Art Fest Gets a Makeover

For 17 years the Tomato Art Fest has been uniting fruits, vegetables, and neighbors with good cheer in East Nashville. And even in a time of social distancing, it will continue to do so with a safe and fun celebration for all to enjoy.

TAF 2020 Official Artwork by Marshall Hall

This year’s Tomato Art Fest will encompass four days of activities and events between Thursday, August 7, and Sunday, August 9. The combination of in-person and online events will bring the same tomato-themed fun but with an eye on safety.

“While we would love to have the full festival this August, we are thrilled to continue supporting our East Nashville community with a weekend of tomato themed activities including a Tornado Relief Concert, porch parade and plenty of wacky (online) contests,” Good Neighbor Festivals head Jack Davis said in a press release.

The events will include the Art Show Pre-View Party on Thursday, August 6; a Tomato Art Fest Tornado Relief Concert on Saturday, August 8 in East Park; the third annual Tomato Art Fest Bloody Mary Garden Party (also on Saturday); and a Tomato “Porch Parade” in which homes, businesses, and apartments buildings will decorate with their tomato finest for friends and neighbors to enjoy as they walk, run, bike, or drive the parade route from August 1-8. All of these events will be managed with a serious eye for social distancing to keep revelers healthy and safe. Additionally, many of the popular contest and vendors will be moving online from people to enjoy virtually.

For updates on the festival, the online marketplace, contests, relief concert, ticket information, and more, visit tomatoartfest.com or download the new Tomato Art Fest app.

Shop the East Nashvillian!
Looking for a way to display your East Side Pride? Then check out the new webstore for The East Nashvillian. Grab yourself a swank Shelby Bottoms shirt featuring the one and only Golden Pheasant or pay tribute to the East Side’s most famous Street (or is that Avenue? Or Pike?) Or score an East Side pride bandanna that can serve double duty  as both a handy face covering or a high-flying freak flag!  And you can also add a copy of the print edition of The East Nashvillian to your order. Place your order today!

Pounding the Pavement for Tornado Recovery
The tornado that tore through Nashville and Tennessee on March 3 may be almost four months in the rear view mirror, but a drive down Main, Woodland or Holly Streets reveals there is still rebuilding to be done. Do your part by volunteering for this weekend’s Hands on Nashville East Nashville Tornado Recovery Canvass. Volunteers are needed to talk with Saturday, June 27 from 8:45 a.m. to noon going door-to-door sharing information with homeowners about how to get additional assistance in their recovery effort. Canvassers will meet at the East Community Center for a brief training session before hitting the streets. Masks, hand sanitizer, and bottled water will be provided. For more info and to sign up, visit Hands on Nashville.

Y-CAP on the Road to Recovery
The former church that is home to the YMCA Community Action Programs (Y-CAP) at 122 S. 11th St. is currently being assessed for restoration. Constructed in 1911 as the home for the Russell Street Presbyterian Church, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was severely damaged by March 3 tornado.

The three-building property also includes a modernist building at 1011 Russell St. which is home to the YMCA Community Action Programs and a small house that was used for offices. Both of these buildings also suffered damage from the storm and the small house is scheduled to be demolished. A permit was also recently approved for repairs to the adjacent building at 1003 Russell St. which houses BoomBozz Craft Pizza and Tap House.

Stay Home for a Package of  Tennessee (and Texas) Pride!
A reminder that “Pride in Local Music,” a one-night-only Livestream event celebrating the music and the LGBTQ+ communities of two great cities — Nashville and Austin, is tonight, Friday, June 26 starting at 6 p.m. CDT. The program will feature music from LGBTQ+ artists in both cities and will be webcast on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and PrideInLocalMusic.org. The show will also raise funds for the non-profits  Health Alliance for Austin Musicians and the Music Health Alliance in Nashville. For more information,  including headliners, artists, and how to donate, visit PrideInLocalMusic.org and follow @NashLGBTCC and @AustinLGBTBiz on Instagram.

A Blackberry Stain to Remember!
Summer is here and that means there are blackberries ripening in Shelby Bottoms. Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms are celebrating the arrival of this sweet and tart summertime treat with their first Blackberry Recipe Competition.

Everyone in the community is invited to submit their favorite or most ambitious blackberry recipe for a chance to some sweet prizes. Entries must be submitted via social media or email and will be judged on photographic presentation, recipe originality, and creative use of blackberries.

The first-place winner will have their recipe featured on the menu at Lockeland Table along with receiving a $50 gift card to Lockeland Table, and two pints of blackberries from Delvin Farms. Second and third place winners will receive other great prizes from the contest sponsors that include Lockeland Table, The East Nashvillian, Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, and East Nashville Farmers Market.

For more information and complete contest rules, visit friendsofshelby.org and follow Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms on Facebook and Instagram.

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Quick Bits

  • Some happy news from beloved music shop (and former EN cover stars) Fanny’s House of Music. The local fav has been closed since the March 3 tornado, but they are now back open for business — with safety measures in place, Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check them out on Facebook.
  • The Metro Development and Housing Agency finalized its purchase of the former Family Dollar property at 600 Shelby Ave. The commercially zoned property was home to various grocery and discount stores since H.G. Hill acquired it in 1941. The property is considered a key part of the ongoing Envision Cayce development.
  • The forthcoming Vietnamese-style eatery, East Side Banh Mi, that we mentioned last week will be taking over the space at 1000 Gallatin Ave., formerly occupied by Pepperfire Hot Chicken. The brainchild of husband and wife team Grace Nguyen and Chad Newton, East Side Banh Mi should open in August but will be previewing their menu at Jackalope Brewing Co.’s taproom at 429B Houston St. on June 20 and 27, and July 11 and 18.
  • Full-scale work will soon begin on a mixed-use building for Main Street in East Nashville. The building will feature retail space on the street level with 20 studio and one-bedroom residential units on the top three floors.
  • A large 6.43-acre property located at 1505-1603 Dickerson Pike in the Highland Heights neighborhood has been listed for sale with an undisclosed asking price, according to the Nashville Post. The site is currently home to the property management company W.C. Company and a mobile home park.
  • A modernist office building at 529 Myatt Drive in Madison, near Yazoo Brewing Co., was listed for sale this week with an asking price of $985,000, as reported by the Nashville Post.
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