The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on February 14, 2006 · B1
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The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee · B1

Nashville, Tennessee
Issue Date:
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
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LOCALNEWS CYANMAGYELBLK page_____ TennesseanBroadsheet Master Template_Revised 11/01/00 TennesseanBroadsheet Master Template_Revised 11/01/00 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 TennesseanBroadsheet Master Template_Revised 11/01/00 TennesseanBroadsheet Master Template_Revised 11/01/00 5 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 5 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 1B B ■ If you have a news tip, call 259-8095 , fax 259-8093 or e-mail ■ If you have an event for Midstate Datebook, e-mail ■ Editors: Laurie E. Holloway, Deputy Managing Editor, 726-5944, Ricky Young, City Editor, 259-8068, TOREACHOURNEWSROOM TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2006 By LEE ANN O’NEAL StaffWriter Hundreds of Sylvan Park and Whitland residents had cast votes by yesterday’s deadline in a city- sponsored straw poll about implementing conservation zoning in their neighborhoods, a city official said. Results won’t be ready until either late Wednesday or Thursday, said Don Jones, director of the Metro Council office, which conducted the poll. “We’ve gotten a fairly good response,” Jones said. “I’d be hesitant to say what percentage.” The controversial zoning pro- posal has sharply divided residents of the two neighborhoods — with those on both sides of the measure claiming earlier surveys showed majority support for their position. Several council members voiced confusion about true public sentiment and Councilman John Summers of Sylvan Park asked the council office to conduct an impartial survey. Opinion cards were mailed to property owners, asking whether they support, oppose or are undecided on the zoning for their neighborhoods. That zoning would require additional city approval for teardowns, new construction and certain types of building additions. The cards were sent out Feb. 3, with a return deadline of 4 p.m. yesterday. People owning several parcels within the neighborhoods received a card for each one. Whitland Avenue resident Ralph Mosley said he believes the process was fair. “I got mine on Saturday and I put it in the mail Sunday (Feb. 4),” he said. But Jorge Catasus, who lives in Tampa but owns a house in Sylvan Park, said he did not receive a card in time to vote. Catasus said a council staff member told him the city had sent the card to the address on file, but he said he had moved and was told he could not vote by phone. Jones said he had heard concerns about out-of-state owners not having time to participate, but added: “Our out-of-state responses have been very good. In fact, most of our slow responses have been from people here in town.” ² Lee Ann O’Neal can be reached at 2598814 or Hundreds share opinions on conservation zoning Residents ofSylvan Park, Whitland neighborhoods await results ofpoll DIPTI VAIDYA / STAFF Former Attorney General John Ashcroft speaks to the media before his lecture at Vanderbilt’s Ingram Hall at the Blair School of Music. By KATE HOWARD StaffWriter Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft endorsed capital punishment as an effective deterrent and lifesaver during a lecture last night at Vanderbilt University. The death penalty can be credited with deterring some criminals — if not statistically, at least anecdotally, Ashcroft said. “The death penalty saves both innocent and guilty lives, because those who aren’t executed are free to commit more crimes in prison. … Further incarceration may deter deaths on the outside, but prison guards and inmates are still at risk,” Ashcroft said. Ashcroft, who held the Justice Department’s top office from 2001 until January 2005, spoke as part of the university’s “Project Dialogue” lecture series on crime and punishment. Comparing the 3,000 deaths from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, with the 16,000 killings each year in America, Ashcroft said the loss of life carries the same inten- sity. “We’re talking about one at a time — murder erodes, destroys, disrupts and destroys the lives and opportunities of Americans,” Ashcroft said. Before his speech, Ashcroft declined to comment on his position on the National Security Agency’s domestic wiretapping program ordered by the White House. However, he commended the position of current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “The authority to use military force after Sept. 11th endowed the president with the power to protect the liberties of the American people,” Ashcroft told reporters. The New York Times reported last month that Ashcroft’s top deputy was unwilling to approve aspects of the wiretapping program while Ashcroft was hospitalized. Ashcroft was also reluctant to approve the continuation of the program himself, the newspaper reported, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has asked the administration to waive executive privilege so Ashcroft could testify. Ashcroft wouldn’t say whether he’s been asked to testify in connection with the wiretapping issue. Ashcroft defends death penalty as life-saving policy Ex-attorney general refuses to comment on NSA’s domestic spying BILLY KINGSLEY / STAFF Douglas Johnson and Mary Ann Johnson replace flowers at a roadside memorial honoring their son Tommy Johnson, a football player at nearby Independence High School, who died at this spot on Columbia Pike last September. By JILL CECIL WIERSMA and BONNIE BURCH StaffWriters FRANKLIN — The death of Lynn George’s son Ryan in a car crash seven years ago still aches in her heart as she stops periodically to leave him flowers or to pray — even though it’s illegal. George pulls onto the shoulder along Mack Hatcher Parkway in Franklin, just south of Liberty Pike, so she can tend the makeshift memorial. Yellow flowers cascade down a main cross that reads “my son.” A smaller cross stands between it and a cluster of weathered silk flowers. “That’s where he lost his spirit, that’s why I go there,” she said. George worries whether that will have to come to an end. Today, members of the House Transportation Committee will hear a recommendation that Tennessee follow Delaware’s practice of establishing “memorial gardens” where visitors can pay tribute to a loved one without being exposed to the hazards of the highway. The debate is this: For years, grieving family members have adorned the sides of roadways with crosses, flowers and mementos of their lost loved ones. It’s already illegal for people to do so on a right of way along state or interstate highways in Tennessee. While local officials and maintenance workers who mow there have long turned a blind eye in respect, there is now an effort to keep the memorials off the streets. George, and others who grieve, said they just don’t understand why. “This is something that gives peace to a mother,” she said. “There are bigger issues going on than this. I’m talking about a little cross on the side of the road. This is just some- Lawmakers consider plan to put roadside memorials in rest areas Tennessee considers traffic safety at personal tributes raised at crash sites By ALAN BOSTICK StaffWriter The celebrated U.S. flag known as Old Glory has been around the world atop an early 19th-century ship; concealed inside a quilt in Nashville during the Civil War; and finally donated to the Smithsonian Institution. In mid-March, Old Glory returns to Nashville for a special eight-month showing at Tennessee State Museum downtown. “Old Glory: An American Treasure Comes Home” showcases one of two American flags especially rich with history. The other — also owned by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History but not included in this show — is the Star-Spangled Banner, which inspired Francis Scott Key to pen our national anthem. “These are both historic flags of a heroic nation,” said Lois Riggins- Ezzell, executive director of the museum. “They go hand-in-hand as relics of our heroic past.” Measuring 10-feet-by-17-feet, Old Glory was presented to a Massachusetts sea captain named William Driver by his family before he set sail around the world in the early 1820s. The story goes that he exclaimed, “Old glory!” upon first seeing it. At one point, Driver’s ship, the Charles Doggett , rescued survivors of the infamous mutiny on the Bounty in the South Pacific. Driver retired to Nashville in the late 1830s and lived on Fifth Avenue South, Riggins-Ezzell said. When the Civil War heated up, and Old Glory was in danger of being found and burned, Driver, a staunch Unionist, is said to have had it sewn into his bed covers. Later it flew briefly from the state Capitol and was eventually given to the Smithsonian in 1922. Driver is buried in the Nashville City Cemetery. The state museum show also will feature other historic flags and replicas of famous U.S. flags. ² Alan Bostick can be reached at 259-8038 or at Old Glory returns here for eight-month stay at Tennessee State Museum If you go ³ “Old Glory: An American Treasure Comes Home,” Tennessee State Museum, Fifth Avenue and Deaderick Street, March 17-Nov. 26. Free. Call 741-2692. A true world traveler, the historic 19th-century flag Old Glory returns to Nashville next month for a special showing. More online ³ Read about a push poll used to influence the zoning issues in Sylvan Park and the ongoing debate in Sylvan Park and Whitland over whether to change zoning in those areas. Go to and type ZONING in the keyword search box. By ANNE PAINE and CLAUDETTE RILEY StaffWriters Lawmakers demanded to know yesterday how the Tennessee School Boards Association, which is funded by tax dollars, could have so little oversight that it took an investigative audit to disclose irresponsible spending and allegations of illegal activities. The officers and board that oversee TSBA were pointed to as among several weak links during a legislative hearing. The meeting came after a state audit that found nearly $1 million in financial irregularities. “These are, by and large, public funds intended to help children all across the state,” said Sen. Jamie Woodson, R-Knoxville, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, which met jointly with the house committee for the hearing. “It is disturbing there is so little oversight.” TSBA, a powerful, public school lobby, and the related trusts that provide liability and other insurance to public school systems were the focus. But lawmakers said they’re looking for ways to shore up accountability for all groups that get public funding. Woodson wanted to know, among other questions, why the board would allow $19,000 to be spent on retirement gifts for former executive director Dan Tollett, which included a Rolex watch, a cruise, a pearl necklace and lug- Loose oversight ofpublic school lobby irks lawmakers TSBA officers, board pointed to as weak links At a glance ³ Today, members of the House Transportation Committee will hear a recommendation that Tennessee follow Delaware’s practice of establishing “memorial gardens” where visitors can pay tribute to a loved one without being exposed to the hazards of the highway. Delaware has a new concept to allow family members to purchase an engraved brick to be placed in a memorial garden at a rest area. More inside ³ How other state departments are dealing with roadside memorials. On Page 4B Please see MEMORIALS, 4B See audit online ³ Want to read the entire investigative state audit of the Tennessee School Boards Association and two related trusts? Check it out online at Tenness- , keyword TSBA . Please see TSBA, 3B #2 Davidson 3

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