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East Side Buzz, September 21

Good News, Bad News, Taxing News!

Be Seen in the Pages of The East Nashvillian!
The new issue of The East Nashvillian is now in the works. It’s our 10th anniversary and this special issue will be taking a look back at a decade of the best in music, arts, and culture done the East-Side way! To place your ad in our new issue, contact our sales team today at sales@theeasnashvillian.com.

And speaking of issues, our supply of our most recent is down to just a few copies, so if you see one in the wild you’d better grab it fast. Or you can place an order for any of the deluxe merch we’re now offering through our webstore and get one of the few remaining copies as a bonus.  Place your order today!

COVID-19 Updates — Bars and Restaurants Expand Capacity as Metrics Tick Upwards
On Thursday Mayor John Cooper announced bars and limited-service restaurants in Nashville and Davidson County can operate at 50-percent capacity beginning Friday, September 18. A maximum of 50 patrons per floor and 50 at an outside dining area will be observed and bars can remain open until 11 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved Tennessee’s application for grant funds for the final two weeks of $300 lost wages assistance payments. Eligible unemployed Tennessean will receive two $300 retroactive payments for the weeks ending August 29 and September 5. The payments are the final grant payments Tennesseans will receive as part of the Lost Wages Assistance program.

Nashville saw a continued rise in key metrics this week. As of Thursday, the transmission rate was 1.02, indicating the spread of virus is increasing after several weeks of downward trends. A total of 705 new cases were reported in the last week. To date, there have been a total of 27,693cases of COVID-19 reported in Davidson County, with 257 total deaths. More information and updates on Metro’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic are available at asafenashville.org.

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Mayor’s Office Sounds Alarms About Proposed Property Tax Repeal
New efforts to place a charter referendum on the ballot repealing Nashville’s incoming 34-percent property tax increase have sparked alarms from the Mayor’s office and other civic leaders that the measure would be devastating to the city’s economy and services.

Proposed by the group 4GoodGovernment, the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act would repeal the property tax increase passed by the Metro Council in June 2020, limit property tax hikes to two percent, prevent Metro from giving away public land, and require all issued bonds over $15 million to be approved by a voter referendum. The group argues that with the nation battling COVID-19 and Nashville still rebounding from the March tornadoes, it is not a good time to increase property taxes. They have gathered more than 20,000 signatures to call for a special referendum in December at a taxpayer expense of an estimated $800,000.

The city estimates the amendment would result in a $332-million deficit for this fiscal year. The result would be a halt to most capital projects; massive cuts to city services, including partial to complete closure of parks, recreation centers, and libraries; severe reductions in services for the Hospital Authority, Metro Transit Authority, and the Sports Authority; and significant delays and bottlenecks for permits, licenses, and inspections. In addition, the repeal would lead to a wave of first responder layoffs that would leave one-third of MNPD officers and firefighters out of work, along with major cuts to services such as trash collecting and recycling, and drastic cuts to every Metro Nashville public school.

In a press release from the Mayor’s office, Mayor Cooper said the proposed repeal would “cripple our city and gut essential city services. After two natural disasters this year, we don’t need a self-inflicted one. This would severely weaken Nashville at a time when we need to build Nashville stronger.”

Former Councilman and owner of East Nashville Beer Works, Anthony Davis, remarked, “This proposal is just another dangerous far-right attempt to destroy the progress that we’ve made in Nashville. It would prevent Nashville from being able to pay our bills, invest in our schools, and maintain neighborhood infrastructure.”

The full text of the press release including comments from several community leaders is available at Nashville.gov’s News & Media page.

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BélO Wins Unsigned Only Music Competition
Haitian artist Jean Belony Murat, known as BélO, has been awarded the overall 2020 Grand Prize in the East Nashville-based Unsigned Only Music Competition. Hailed as Haiti’s musical ambassador to the world, Bélo is a socially conscious singer/songwriter whose music reflects the issues and challenges facing his home country and has always been committed to the causes of the less fortunate, the education of children, women’s rights, social solidarity, environmental protection, and peace in Haiti and around the world. Visit unsignedonly.com or a full list of this year’s winners.

Watch BélO’s moving acceptance statement below, and be sure sure to visit his YouTube page, BélO Haiti, for more from this uplifting talent.

One Year Later, Still No Arrests in Shelby Golf Course Murder
Tuesday, September 15 marked a tragic anniversary in East Nashville. On that date in 2019,  71-year-old George Carpenter was shot and killed as he was leaving work at the Shelby Golf Course around 7 p.m. Fellow employees heard gunshots and saw a car driving away slowly after the shooting. Carpenter was found just a few feet from the front door of the clubhouse., and no signs of a robbery were reported.

Detectives later reported they potential suspects in the case, but no arrests have followed. If you have any information on who killed George Carpenter, please call Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.

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Nashville’s Creative Community Rallies Behind A Smokefree Nashville
As Nashville works to reopen its bars and music venues in a safe manner, the community’s musicians are pushing for a crucial step in ensuring everybody’s wellbeing: eliminating smoking from these workplaces.

Musicians for a Smokefree Nashville is a coalition created to advocate for healthy work environments for the singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists who represent the heart and soul of Music City. For those who regularly perform onstage, clean air plays a crucial role not only in elongating their career but in maintaining their overall health.

Todd Sherwood, the owner of popular East Nashville venue The 5 Spot, says his bar’s decision to go smokefree in 2014 wasn’t just good for business, it was good for his employees, too.

“No one stopped coming here because we went non-smoking,” explains Sherwood. “We gained more customers, and a lot of our staff quit smoking once we made the change.”Small business owners and medical experts aren’t the only people speaking up. “You’re Not Alone,” an original song written by Musicians for a Smokefree Nashville’s coalition leader, Jamie Kent, is a rallying cry for a tobacco-free industry, with acclaimed local songwriters Michaela Anne, Sarah Potenza, Kyshona Armstrong, Szlachetka, Sarah Aili, Bob Lewis, and Megan Palmer all lending their voices to the track. The lyric video is below:

An official Livestream launch concert from The 5 Spot happens Thursday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. CDT at smokefreenashville.com.

Good News From Inglewood!
Everyone can use a good story in our current times, and East Side resident LaShenda Williams’ story has taken the web by storm over the last week. A little over eight months ago Williams was homeless, living out of her car and often spending her nights parked in the Inglewood Kroger parking lot. When Kroger store management posted a job fair flyer, Williams wasted no time in applying in person.

Eight months later Williams is a beloved employee at the store, has her own apartment, and is fast becoming a celebrity thanks to a recent story in The Tennessean that went national and has been picked up by USA Today, The Washington Post, and many other major media outlets.

So the next time you’re shopping at Kroger and LaShenda checks you out, be sure to say hello!

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Don’t Forget to Vote Early or Absentee!
A reminder that early voting for the November 3 General Election begins on October 14 and will run through October 29. Two additional Early Voting locations have been added for this election — The East Nashville YMCA and Friendship Baptist Church in North Nashville. A complete list of early voting locations and hours is available from the Election Commission’s website.

You can also now request an absentee voting ballot for the November 3 General Election. Although the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision that allowed Tennesseans to vote absentee for any reason, there are still a wide variety of reasons Tennesseans may do so — including having an underlying medical condition that puts you at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or if you are the caretaker of someone with a disability or underlying medical condition.

For more information, a link to the CDC’s list of underlying medical conditions that place you at high risk, and to request an absentee ballot, visit the Davidson County Election Commission. Absentee ballots are scheduled to begin mailing to applicants on September 19, 2020. Once you receive your ballot, be sure to mail it in as early as possible to make sure your vote counts.

Quick Bits

  • Nashville’s first plant-based taqueria, Succulent Vegan Tacos, currently at East Nashville’s Citizen Market, will be moving to a larger space inside the Nashville Farmers’ Market this fall. Owners Adriana Ortega and Ronald Cerdas launched their business in 2017 out of a business incubator program and has since made monthly appearances in the Nashville Farmers’ Market’s Grow Local Kitchen. Succulent Vegan Tacos offers tacos, tamales, enchiladas, tortas, and more, all with strictly vegan ingredients. For updates, follow them on Facebook.
  • The new development already under construction at 1012 Main St. received a key permit this week. The mixed-use building was originally announced in October of last year and will include 21 townhomes and a roughly 1,500-square-foot retail space.
  • A local developer/real estate investor has acquired a property located about two blocks south of Wedgewood-Houston’s commercial epicenter for almost $1.7 million — 18 years after it changed ownership hands for $80,000.