There’s Magic in the Air…But Not at the Gas Pump!

Spring has really sprung in Middle Tennessee!  I’m lovin’ this gorgeous, warm weather and plenty of sunshine!  I wish I could say the same for my peeps in SoCal.  Sorry guys, for a change it’s a bit nicer here.  But we all know that won’t last for long.  And on this lovely spring day, the world says goodbye to one of the greats: Liz Taylor passed this morning.  So sad to see her leave.  She spoke out courageously about AIDS when it wasn’t popular.  And her legacy will live on in many ways.

And, speaking of legacy…I had a ton of fun last week talking to two people who left their mark on my children and I’m sure many of yours.  Mary Pope Osborn, author of “The Magic Treehouse” series of books and her sister, Natalie Pope Boyce, author of the non-fiction companion research guides.  These women really helped spark the imaginations of so many kids while at the same time teaching them all about such weighty topics as science, history and literature.  My kids loved the books and it was a real joy to talk to them in person.  In fact, they’ve turned their stories into a live event that is now touring the country and bringing characters Jack and Annie right to the fans.  The show is in town this week.  You can catch it at the Brentwood Public Library on Friday March 25th.  Check it out!  

In case you haven’t noticed, gas prices are skyrocketing both in Nashville and in other major metropolitan cities around the country.  For many areas, that translates into reduced driving and more reliance on mass transit.  Last week, some of the countries top transit officials were in Washington, D.C. to urge Congress to pass a new transit bill.  I talked to Paul Ballard, CEO of Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority, to find out what these high prices mean for Middle Tennessee.  His answers may surprise you.  Check out his interview and then see if you can grab a ride on the Music City Star railroad!  

One final note, I saw “In The Heights” last night at TPAC.  It was wonderful!  Talented cast, great dancing, uplifting music.   Go see it, you won’t be disappointed!

Have a great week everyone!

It’s All About The Water

This week spring has really begun in Middle Tennessee!  Those Bradford Pear Trees are blooming and it’s allergy time!  Just around the corner are all the spring holidays, Steeplechase, graduation days and then sumer vacay before you know it!  So, here are some stories to get you inspired.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the Master Distiller from the Jack Daniels distillery down in Lynchburg.  Jeff Arnett has been overseeing the making of Old No. 7 for awhile now and his team of experts was the subject of National Geographic’s show “Ultimate Factories.”  They opened their doors to give us all a peek into how the iconic brand gets its distinctive taste (hint:  it starts with the water).  Of course, some of it is a secret, but Jeff managed to give me some great information. The factory is open to the public most days of the year so go on down and see for yourself why this hot spot made it onto the show.    And, here’s a link to the show segment so you can see it for yourself.  Ultimate Factories, Jack Daniels.

If you’re like most people, spring is the time to clean out your house and maybe embark on some necessary home repairs and remodeling.  But finding the right contractor is a scary business.  There are so many disreputable people out there just waiting to make promises, take your hard earned money and then scram, leaving you with an unfinished project.  And I learned that when disaster strikes, such as last year’s floods, the crooks really come out of the woodwork and prey on people who are traumatized and unable to make good decisions.  Kia Ricchi, a contractor down in Florida, wrote a great book to help you make the right choice of contractor.  It’s called “Taking the Con out of Construction,” and she’s got some great information.  You can get her book from Amazon and other major booksellers.  

Also, last week, I told you all about Harpeth River Watershed Association’s efforts to clean up 40 tons of trash by June 1st.  Well, last week they collected another 3 tons of debris.  That brings them closer to their goal.  Don’t forget to visit them online to find out how you can donate and help cleanup our precious waterway.

And finally, go see “In The Heights” at TPAC.  Check out their website for ticket info and to check out their other spring offerings.  You’ll never be disappointed at TPAC.

Have a great week everyone!

There’s Still Some Cleanup Needed

Well,  I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks.  After a whirlwind trip back to L.A. and a gaggle of family in town for my son’s senior piano recital at Vandy, I got slammed by a sinus infection and bronchitis.  Still dealing with the effects, but it’s time to get on with it.  On a brighter note, check out the blossoms on the Bradford Pear Trees!!!!!  I know for many of you, it’s an allergy nightmare, but before long the rest of the trees will follow and Spring will be here.

Well, onto business.  I had so much fun interviewing my friend Norma Shirk about President George Washington.  Norma is a war buff, attorney, compliance officer and one of the most interesting people I’ve met in Nashville.  She really makes history come alive with her amazing grasp of events and people and her talent for story telling.  I know we’ll be hearing more from Norma.  She’s smart, funny and a terrific interview.  Here she talks about a great book about the father of our country.  

This past week, I found out some staggering statistics about trash and other debris still littering our local waterways after last year’s historic flooding.  Michael Cain (no, not the actor), who is with the Harpeth River Waterway Association, talked to me about their cleanup challenge: 50 tons by June 1st.  They’re holding a series of cleanup events and asking for folks to donate to the cause.  The next cleanup is March 26th at River Plantation and they need all hands on deck, people!  I also learned so much about how our rivers and streams contribute to our quality of life in Middle Tennessee and why the remaining debris is a major problem.  Listen to Michael, then click on the link to their website to find out how you can help.  

There has been lots of controversy over the new Affordable Care Act.  Here in Tennessee, lawmakers want to give people the choice of opting out of the law and nationally opponents have been battling to see the ACA declared unconstitutional.  There’s no question this is not a perfect solution.  But small business advocates say it will be a big help for business owners trying to stay afloat.  I talked to John Arensmayer, CEO of the Small Business Majority.  He explained exactly how the ACA can help people and shed light on the tax implications too.  I really enjoy talking to John because he brings clarity to some very complex and frustrating issues.  Listen to John and check out the Small Business Majority’s website for more information.  

And finally, a couple of weeks ago I talked to some talented local people with a real history in Nashville.  The Princely Players is a group of performers who’ve been together since 1968!  These musicians started at the segregated Cameron High School and lived and performed through the Civil Rights movement and continue performing today.  Their combination of spirituals, poetry and gospel will move you to tears.  Check them out and check out their website to see where they will be next!  Princely Players

Well, that’s about it for now.  Just a little teaser, watch the National Geographic’s Ultimate Factories Thursday, March 10th at 9:00 CST.  Our very own Jack Daniels factory is featured.  Next week, I’ll be talking to their master distiller to learn some secrets!

Have a great week everyone!  And, don’t forget to  “Spring Ahead”!