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Thursday, February 26, 2015

$100 Million Downtown Nashville Flood Protection Program Fact Sheet

Mayor Karl Dean was joined by Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter to detail a downtown flood protection system that would protect the city during future flooding events.

"I look at this downtown flood protection system as an insurance policy," Mayor Dean said "We're going to pay a premium so we can reduce our risk of catastrophic flooding in the heart of our city. We're making an investment in downtown that will pay for itself with the protection it will provide, the people it will keep safe and the businesses it will keep going if our typically peaceful river rages over its banks."

Metro Water Services has been actively working with local, state and federal agencies on flood mitigation efforts to improve public safety and minimize damage to public and private property since the destructive May, 2010 flood. This system would protect downtown from a flood of even greater magnitude and depth than the one that hit the city in May 2010 and caused $2 billion in damages in Davidson County.

"Like other river cities, Nashville can be protected by a floodwall system," Potter said. "The cost of a protection system is minimal compared to the much larger expense of recovery."

Others in attendance included Larry Atema, Riverfront Park senior project and development manager; Shannon Lambert, lead engineer at Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon; and Casey Cooper, project engineer at Metro Water Services.

  • A downtown flood protection system was identified as a flood damage reduction solution for downtown Nashville in the Unified Flood Preparedness Plan, which was released in January, 2013, and the SoBro Master Plan in 2012. One component of the protection system - a flood wall - was announced in August, 2013 in conjunction with the unveiling of the West Riverfront Park Master Plan.
  • Approximately $139 million has been spent on flood recovery and mitigation across Davidson County. Some $127 million of it has been spent outside of the downtown area to improve the MetroCenter Levee, buy and demolish 225 flood-prone properties and develop tools to better respond to flooding and keep the public informed, among other projects.
  • The May 2010 floods resulted in $3.6 billion in lost revenue; 13,000 jobs that were temporarily or permanently lost; and 2,700 businesses that temporarily or permanently closed. Since then, $1.2 billion in building permits have been issued.
  • The downtown flood protection plan is a Metro Water Services project that would include four main components:
    1. A 2,100 foot long flood wall that includes 900 feet of permanent wall located inside West Riverfront Park and 1,200 feet of removable flood wall along First Avenue from the Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to Fort Nashborough. The flood wall will include a below grade cutoff wall to prevent water undermining the wall. The top of the floodwall will be at Elevation 422, which is two feet above the crest of the May 2010 flood. The floodwall within the park will look like a stone wall with a cap for seating.
    2. Construction of gate closure structures to close off the Wilson Springs Sewer and Wilson Springs Storm Tunnel to keep the Cumberland River from backing up into the system and flooding downtown.
    3. Construction of a flow control structure to close off the First Avenue Tunnel to keep the Cumberland River from backing up into the system and flooding downtown.
    4. Construction of a Stormwater Pumping Station at Riverfront Park. The pumping station would take rainfall that is being held back by the floodwall and the closed tunnels and force the water into the Cumberland River to prevent flooding downtown.
  • All components of the flood protection system must be built and operational in order to protect downtown from flooding. Each component is equally important.
  • The project will take another six months to finish design and about three years to construct. Total cost of the project is $100 million that would be spent over some four years and financed over 20 to 30 years using municipal revenue bonds. Funding was approved by the Metro Council in Metro Water Services' 2015 Capital Improvement Budget.
  • Timing in building the protection system coincides with construction of Riverfront Park.
  • The temporary wall can be assembled in eight hours with a 10-person crew. Other municipalities and private industry in the United States have recently begun to recognize the combined aesthetic and flood protection benefits of a removable system, and an increase in widespread application across the country is anticipated. A similar system with removable panels has been installed to protect Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel from flooding.
  • An estimated 100,000 linear miles of levee/floodwall in the United States protect numerous American cities from catastrophic flooding. While each flood protection system is specifically tailored to local needs, most of them include a floodwall and/or levee and a stormwater pumping station. Regional examples include Louisville, Memphis, Paducah and St. Louis.
  • The downtown flood protection system will not make flooding worse in East Nashville or downriver. The water will flow faster downstream rather than being diverted toward East Nashville. The velocity of the water (speed of flow downstream) will increase 4 percent, only increasing the depth 0.005 feet (1/16 of an inch) as predicted by hydrologic and hydraulic computer modeling.
  • The majority of Riverfront Park and the under-construction amphitheater are above the flood protection elevation. The northernmost portion of Riverfront Park, which is below the flood protection level, will have a permanent wall.
  • Metro Government has completed several flood mitigation projects. They include the following:
    • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (Home Buyout):Directly after the May 2010 flood, FEMA approved six Hazard Mitigation Grant Program applications and awarded funding for the acquisition and demolition of 267 homes. Of those 267 properties, 225 have been acquired and demolished, and 42 have withdrawn from the voluntary program. The total estimated cost of the six home buyout applications was approximately $48 million.
    • MetroCenter Levee:The MetroCenter Levee performed as designed during the May 2010 flood and protected the 1,000-acre MetroCenter commercial and industrial development from flood damage. During the May 2010 event, the Cumberland River water level rose to within a few feet of the top of the levee. The levee performed as designed, but vulnerabilities were recognized and damages that occurred during the flood caused further concern. Additionally, the MetroCenter Pumping Station was not capable of maintaining the lake level due to the extreme volume of runoff without bringing in additional portable pumps. Improvements were made to the levee system to increase its reliability for future flood events, and a new pumping station was constructed. Four new pumps, which are capable of handling a 500-year rainfall event, were installed with a standby generator. Two were installed in the new pump station and two in the old station.
    • Situational Awareness of Flooding Events (SAFE) Program: The May 2010 flood emphasized the need for a thorough assessment of the services provided during flood emergencies by federal and local agencies. Nashville SAFE is a partnership between Metro Water Services, Metro Office of Emergency Management, Metro Planning Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Weather Service, with the consulting assistance of AMEC Earth & Environmental. The SAFE program allows Metro to monitor actual and forecasted river stages and acquire information that can be used to dispatch resources and respond more efficiently to flood-related emergencies.
    • Nashville Emergency Response Viewing Engine (NERVE):
      NERVE is a free online tool developed by the GIS Division of the Metro Planning Department to provide information to the public during any natural or man-made disaster, such as last week's winter weather situation. NERVE was created after the May 2010 flood in response to residents who said they wanted more information about disaster response services. As an emergency arises, this site provides real-time information about road closures, evacuation areas, school closings, locations of emergency shelters, food and water distribution centers, and disaster assistance centers. NERVE can also help navigate residents to the closest shelters and other emergency resources by routing them around closed roads and evacuation areas.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Former Klansman Sentenced in Nashville for Cross Burning

Timothy Flanagan, 33, was sentenced to nine months and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee, for his role in the April 30, 2012, cross burning in front of an interracial family’s home in Minor Hill, Tennessee, the Department of Justice announced. Flanagan previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with others to threaten, intimidate and interfere with an African-American man’s enjoyment of his housing rights, and one count of interfering with those housing rights.

Flanagan—a former member of the Church of the National Knights, a Ku Klux Klan affiliate—admitted during the plea hearing that on the night of April 30, 2012, he and two other individuals devised a plan to burn a cross in the yard of an African American man in Minor Hill, Tennessee. Flanagan’s co-conspirator, Timothy Stafford, constructed a wooden cross in a workshop behind his house. Using Flanagan’s credit card, Stafford and co-conspirator Ivan “Rusty” London then purchased diesel-fuel with which to soak the cross. Flanagan and the other co-conspirators then drove the cross to the victim’s residence and, upon arriving at the residence, Flanagan and London exited the truck. The cross was placed in the driveway leading up to the house and was ignited. The co-conspirators burned the cross with the purpose of intimidating the African-American male who resided at that residence.

Timothy Stafford, 41, of Minor Hill, Tennessee, and Ivan “Rusty” London IV, 21, of Lexington, Kentucky, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy, and will be sentenced on March 3, and March 26, respectively.

“Hate-motivated crimes will not be tolerated in our country,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute individuals that violate the rights of others because of race.”

“There can be no tolerance for such acts of intimidation when innocent persons are targeted simply because of their race,” said U.S. Attorney David Rivera of the Middle District of Tennessee. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to protect the civil rights of all persons and bring to justice, anyone who would attempt to impede the constitutionally protected right to liberty of any person.”

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Extra Duty Officers from @MNPDNashville have Increased DUI Arrests by 40%

Officers paid through a Governor’s Highway Safety Office grant charged 16 persons with DUI last week in the police department’s continuing DUI initiative using extra duty officers. These officers target impaired drivers in areas with a propensity for fatal crashes, crime and DUI arrests.
Additionally, the DUI Unit charged 21 persons last week with driving under the influence.   
Enhanced visibility on Nashville’s roadways and zero tolerance for impaired drivers are the cornerstones of the police department’s DUI initiative. So far this year, extra duty officers working under the grant have arrested 77 suspected drunk drivers, a 40% increase over this time last year.  The DUI Unit has arrested 125 suspected drunk drivers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Must Read Book by @AmandaPalmer "The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help"

Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world's most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn't alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help.

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

“Beyond Traffic,” a 30-Year Outlook on the Future of Our Nation’s Infrastructure

On Monday, February 2 at 3 p.m. PST/6 p.m. EST, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will join Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to unveil “Beyond Traffic,” a new analysis from the U.S. Department of Transportation that anticipates the trends and choices facing our transportation system over the next three decades.

Thirty years from now, America will be home to 70 million more people, many in cities in the South and West, transforming the way we move people and goods. Twenty-nine billion more tons of freight will need to cross the country as we simultaneously imagine and adapt to the promise of new technologies and innovation.

America is changing, and our transportation system must get ahead of that change or be overwhelmed by it. "Beyond Traffic" is offered to the public as a draft to ignite a national conversation about our shared future. A final report will be released later in 2015. The public may watch the unveiling of “Beyond Traffic” live online here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

#AmericanIdol Winner Phillip @Phillips Sues Shows Producers Over Oppresive Contract

For those who would give almost anything for a chance at superstardom, American Idol might be the entertainment industry's version of a Faustian bargain: Through 14 seasons, the very successful Fox show has exploited the fact that there are millions of singers who are willing to sign onerous deals for the chance to compete. But season 11 winner Phillip Phillips isn't going to let the deals he made as a precursor to his fame go unchallenged.

On Jan. 22, Phillips lodged a bombshell petition with the California Labor Commissioner that asserts that Idol producer 19 Entertainment and its affiliated companies have "manipulated" him into accepting jobs since he hit it big. In a filing that reveals some of Phillips' post-show tribulations, including being forced to perform for free for one of Idol sponsors and not even knowing the title of his last album before it was announced publicly, the singer is seeking to void his various agreements with 19, said by the star's lawyer to be "oppressive, fatally conflicted."

"I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on American Idol," says Phillips. "The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me. However, I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with.  I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans."

The petition to determine controversy is grounded on the Talent Agencies Act, the California law that says only licensed talent agents can procure employment for clients. In the past, the law has been used as a cudgel by Hollywood artists from Arsenio Hall to Kesha who wished to escape paying commissions to their managers. Phillips now hopes to have the TAA applied to an entertainment company that has had its hand in his pocket even since he won Idol's 11th season on May 23, 2012.
Before Idol viewers voted him the winner that year, Phillips signed a series of contracts governing his management, merchandising, recording and publishing. The deals are quite favorable to 19 Entertainment, a company founded by Simon Fuller that also produces other shows such as So You Think You Can Dance. For example, according to the complaint, when Phillips does endorsements, 19 gets as much as a 40 percent cut.

Nevertheless, Phillips tells the California Labor Commissioner that 19 has a fiduciary duty to him, and that the company has breached such duty by compelling him to take jobs that are of benefit to the company and its affiliates rather than to him.

In the time since he's been on the show, his managers at 19 have lined up gigs like performing at the NBA All-Star Game, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a World Series game, and appearing on such shows as Letterman, the Today show, Ellen and The View. The appearances are said to have been "procured" by 19 despite not being licensed as an agent. This, the petition argues, amounts to a "pattern and practice of flagrant violations of the [TAA]."

While some of these gigs boosted Phillips' profile and are arguably in his interest, some other appearances by the singer may have done little to boost his career. For example, the petition says he did a live show without compensation promoting JetBlue in 2013.

"In response to Petitioner's questions about why this deal would make sense, 19 admitted the deal was being entered into in exchange for JetBlue's support for the 2013 American Idol Live Appearance Tour," says the petition. "Since Petitioner was not performing on the 2013 Idol Tour, the only conceivable purpose for Respondent booking the performance was to help the struggling finances of Respondent's Idol Tour."

Similarly, Phillips says he performed at a corporate event for an insurance company — only it was labeled an endorsement deal. Raising a problem with this gig, he says 19 took the position that it was subject to the Merchandise Agreement, with a 40 percent commission. Phillips argues, "If Respondent was truly putting Petitioner's best interest above their interests, Respondent should have taken the position that the performances should be commissioned at the 20% commission rate provided for in the Management Agreement."

The petition also chronicles other indignities that Phillips has faced in the past couple of years. He says that 19 lined up a producer for his first two albums that compromised his interests. He says 19 lied to him, saying that the producer wouldn't receive greater mechanical royalty rates than he would. He adds that 19 has repeatedly withheld information regarding his career, including the title of his Behind the Light album released last year.

It's not unusual for those successful on reality TV shows to renegotiate deals at some point in their career. Phillips says that he "frequently requested" this, but suggests that the relationship between his management company and recording company frustrated any hope of doing so. According to the petition, "Because 19 Recordings, Inc. is also Petitioner's record company, 19, as Petitioner's management company, failed to secure even a single improvement to the terms of the Recording Agreement, in breach of Respondent's fiduciary obligations to Petitioner."

Represented by attorney Howard King at King Holmes Paterno & Berliner, Phillips is making a bold and ambitious attempt to bring entertainment companies like 19 within the scope of the TAA, a law that has been controversial since it was added to the books in 1978. Phillips' attempt to challenge his Idol deals figures to spark jurisdictional challenges and raise issues about the corporate structure of 19, which is owned by CORE Media Group. Phillips will likely also have to get around a notable exemption in the TAA for the procurement of recording contracts. But if Phillips is successful in voiding his deals as a violation of the TAA, the ramifications would be huge — potentially impacting other successful competitors on Idol as well as perhaps other reality TV competition shows. The adjudication of TAA disputes also tends to be a very, very slow process, with rulings often happening many years after the initial filing of a petition. The result of the creeping pace could put a number of deals in legal limbo, undoubtedly a concern as Idol and other shows move forward.
A spokesperson for 19 Entertainment tells The Hollywood Reporter, "We’re very proud of everything we’ve accomplished together with Phillip, working closely to help nurture his extraordinary talent and advance his career. We have always acted in the best interest of Phillip. We will vigorously defend ourselves from any baseless claims to the contrary and from any attempt to interfere with our rights and relationships."

Thanks to Eriq Gardner.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The long-awaited, all-access biography of a music legend: "Billy Joel"

In Billy Joel, acclaimed music journalist Fred Schruers draws upon more than one hundred hours of exclusive interviews with Joel to present an unprecedented look at the life, career, and legacy of the pint-sized kid from Long Island who became a rock icon.

Exhibiting unparalleled intimate knowledge, Schruers chronicles Joel’s rise to the top of the charts, from his working-class origins in Levittown and early days spent in boxing rings and sweaty clubs to his monumental success in the seventies and eighties. He also explores Joel’s creative transformation in the nineties, his dream performance with Paul McCartney at Shea Stadium in 2008, and beyond.

Along the way, Schruers reveals the stories behind all the key events and relationships—including Joel’s high-profile marriages and legal battles—that defined his path to stardom and inspired his signature songs, such as “Piano Man,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “New York State of Mind,” and “She’s Always a Woman.” Throughout, he captures the spirit of a restless artist determined to break through by sharing, in his deeply personal lyrics, the dreams and heartbreaks of suburban American life.

Comprehensive, vibrantly written, and filled with Joel’s memories and reflections—as well as those of the family, friends, and band members who have formed his inner circle, including Christie Brinkley, Alexa Ray Joel, Jon Small, and Steve Cohen—this is the definitive account of a beloved rock star’s epic American journey.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Final En Fuego at @AnthemNashville #EnFuegoNashville.

After six years of making you move, shake and sweat at the city's largest Latin music event, this will be Colombian Party Cartel's final En Fuego.​

Let's make the last En Fuego the best ever!

Don't miss this grand finale.

LOCATION: ANTHEM, 125 12th Ave N

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