Category Archives: Published Articles Written By Betsy Thorpe

Saddle Up!

Having grown up in the saddle and with a driving force to serve and broaden the horizons of challenged children, Saddle Up! co-founder Alton Kelley worked with Nancy Wennberg, Charles Crafton and Lynne Evans to establish one of the nation’s first recreational therapeutic horseback riding programs. Designed specifically for children and in compliance with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) Saddle Up! was founded in 1989 to provide services to local disabled children and youths. With a stable of twenty specially trained horses, Saddle Up! served one hundred and eighty seven challenged riders last year, providing them the opportunity to grow and develop through recreational activities with horses.

Accepting of devices and equipment and forgiving of inexperienced or unbalances riders, the program’s therapy horses are all obedient to both voice and leg signals and are comfortable with a variety of handlers and experiences. The abilities of each individual child is the focus of all that happens at Saddle Up! but it is the power of the horse, whose movements, emotional connections and spirit, that forms the foundation of the program.

In November of 2009 the relationship, that rider Andrew W had formed with his horse Elvis, brought national attention to Saddle Up! Recipient of the prestigious NARHA Independent Youth Equestrian Of The Year Award, Andrew W was recognized not only for the special relationship he had with his horse , but also for representing the power of equestrian assisted activities to improve lives.

Almost exclusively relying on donations and grants to cover their direct program cost, Saddle Up! operates with a full-time staff of eight, a part-time staff that averages twenty and close to three hundred volunteers who all work to serve the program’s young riders. Co-founder and regular volunteer Alton Kelly, spoke for both the staff and volunteers when he stated that working with the children at Saddle Up! is a fulfilling and inspiring experience.

Saddle Up! is located at 1549 Old Hillsboro Road, Franklin. To learn more about Saddle Up! or to inquire about volunteer opportunities please call 794-1150 or visit their web site at


Bellevue Groups Displaced By Flood Announce New Meeting Places

Listed among Bellevue’s most seriously damaged commercial buildings, Shoney’s Restaurant on Highway 70 South has been closed to the public since flood waters overtook it on May 1st. A popular and consistent meeting place for numerous church based, civic, political and private groups the restaurant’s temporary closure has displaced these groups, forcing them to either find alternate meeting locations, or cease meeting until the restaurant reopens.

The Bellevue Exchange Club is now meeting at Tee’s Fireside Cafe on Tuesday mornings.

The Edwin Warner Model Aviators will meet at the park Pavilion near the flying field on the second Tuesday of each month.

The status of the Bellevue Of Church Christ Thursday breakfast meeting is yet to be determined. Pastor Steve Blackman will notify members when a decision regarding the group’s new meeting place is reached.

Group coordinator Betty Hood will soon announce where the Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club will hold their June meeting.

We were unable to confirm where the River Plantation Alley Kats, Bellevue’s United Methodist Veterans Group, The Barbi Club or The Kingston Springs Seniors plan to hold their future meetings. According to the official Shoney’s Facebook page the company is planning on reopening their restaurant on Highway 70 South very soon and representatives of the Edwin Warner Model Aviators, the Bellevue Church Of Christ and the Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club, all stated that their groups will resume meeting at Shoney’s once the store is reopened.

Known As The State’s Attic, The Tennessee State Library And Archives Holds Hidden Treasure Waiting To Be Discovered

Unlike many states, the official state library and permanent repository for Tennessee’s archived original documents and materials, are all housed in one building. Often referred to as the “The State’s Attic” the Tennessee State Library and Archives serves the State’s Legislature and state agencies as well as scholars, lawyers, researchers and genealogists and all members of the general public.

A non-lending library located in the facility’s Tennessee Room, the bound books and periodicals that make up the State Library’s catalog cover a broad spectrum of subjects and interest. First housed inside the State Capitol building, the State Library was established in 1854, with Return Johnathon Mieggs serving as Tennessee’s first State Librarian. Today the library holds a rich and varied collection of books by Tennessee authors as well as volumes of historic city directories, published Supreme Court cases,and the Journals of Tennessee’s Constitutional Conventions. Also on the library shelves are more than ten thousand books relating to Tennessee’s culture, natural resources, geography, music, art, industry and history.

In addition to permenant state records , papers from all of Tennessee’s governors as well as the Tennessee Historical Society’s collections are held in the archives and manuscripts holding stacks. Dating back as far as the 1790’s, historic materials such as maps, land grants, letters, post cards, journals, broadsides, and photos are accessible to State Archives visitors.

It is believed that around 1955, Tennessee became the first state to record meetings of the State’s General Assembly and those audio recordings are available to the public in the Legislative History Area. Micro-filmed copies of all Tennessee’s historic and current newspapers in addition to filmed copies of many archived original documents, vital records, and personal and official papers, are accessible to State Library and Archives visitors.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is located in Nashville at 403 7th Avenue North. The Tennessee State Library is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00-6:00. The Manuscripts Services area is open Monday through Friday 8:00-4:30 and on Saturday’s by appointment. For more information on the Tennessee State Library and Archives please visit

West Nashville Students Honored For Academic Excellence

Nashville Judge Bill Higgins With West Nashville Y.E.S. Straight A Students, At Honors Dinner

On April 15th, more than forty students from West Nashville’s “Nations” neighborhood were recognized for Academic, Excellence, Achievement, Improvement, and Diligence at an Honors Dinner hosted by the staff of West Nashville’s Youth Encouragement Service (YES). The honored students, all participate in the daily after school tutoring program offered by Y.E.S.

Nashville Judge and West Nashville native, Bill Higgins who serves on the Board of Youth Encouragement Services attended the dinner. Serving a community where almost half the adults have not obtained a high school diploma, and where the current drop out rate at the local high school is twice the county average, Higgins said that he “was proud to be small part of this wonderful organization that helps lift up West Nashville’s children.” Active in the local community Judge Higgins is committed to serving West Nashville and was instrumental in establishing the YES center four years ago.

West Nashville’s Y.E.S. center directors Dave and Suzie Estes work daily with their students and provide innovative methods to inspire and encourage the children in their program. In February the center hosted fifteen Fulbright scholars from fourteen different countries. Representing multiple fields of study including engineering, archaeology, architecture, and political science , the visiting scholars met the center’s high school students and discussed the importance of setting and fulfilling educational goals.

To learn more about Youth Encouragement Services visit The center is located at Saint Lukes Community House at 1605 56th Avenue North.

Roots Music At It’s Finest, Cherryholmes With The Nashville Symphony

On April 18th the Grammy award winning Nashville Symphony joined neo-traditional Bluegrass family ensemble, Cherryholmes, inside the Laura Turner Concert Hall closing three nights of informal and lively Roots themed music, part of the Bank Of America Pops Series.

Under the energetic direction of resident Conductor George Schram, the orchestra opened with a selection of European folk influenced music that included an outstanding presentation of Georges Enesco’s Romanian Rhapsody. Reminiscent of traditional Gypsy music the piece led the audience on a syncopated journey through Romania’s colorful cultural landscape. Segueing into American folk based music, Shrachm surprised and impressed the audience by delivering a vocal a duet with eleven year old Jake Moor. The contrasting tones of Schram’s mature raspy voice coupled with Moor’s warm and bright timbre gave emotion and depth to their rendition of David Frost’s, “I Love This Land.” When closing the evening’s first half, Shchram offered a playful apology to Vanderbilt’s fans and alumni before exuberantly leading the orchestra in a rousing performance of “Rocky Top.”

Molly Cherryholmes arrival in front of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra announced the beginning of a remarkable and versatile performance by Cherryholmes, a four time Grammy nominated band. Joined by her sister Cia, brothers Skip and B.J. and her parents Sandy and Jere Cherryholmes, Molly took the stage first, giving the audience a preview of her fierce and driving instrumental style and beautiful voice.

First noted for their authentic Bluegrass sound, Cherryholmes is now also known as a group of innovative and able songwriters. With a talent for composing diverse songs that combine the complicated components of Jazz and Celtic music with traditional Appalachian musical elements, the Cherryholmes Band continues to creatively evolve and mature.

Delivering one the evening’s most memorable performances, Cia Cherryholmes sang “Weaver of Lies, ” an original song featured on the band’s upcoming CD, “Common Threads.” Accompanied by her sister Molly on fiddle and symphony cellist Julia Tanner, “Weaver Of Lies,” exemplifies Cia’s outstanding lyrical sophistication and her musical virtuosity.

Following their opening night performance with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra Sandy Cherryholmes stated that performing with Nashville’s prestigious Symphony was a tremendous honor. Noting that the orchestra adds a new and exciting dimension to their music, she also went on to say that “The blending of classical and acoustic, shows that downhome music can also have an artistic, beautiful side.”

On May 6th, 7th and 8th, contemporary 80’s recording artist, Christopher Cross will join the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in the next Bank Of America Pop Series program.
On June 2nd the Cherryholmes Band will release their new CD “Common Threads” at the Loveless Cafe Barn, where they will perform on “Music City Roots” a weekly radio show. The live show will also feature a performance by Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs.

Juvenile Court Clerk Candidate Eric Crafton, Guest Speaker At April Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club Meeting

Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club, April 3, 2010

On Saturday April 3rd the Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club held their monthly meeting. Led by speaker Eric Crafton ( who is currently running for the office of Juvenile Court Clerk) the meeting was well attended and the club’s visitors included a number of candidates hoping to gain support in the upcoming Metro and State elections.

Crafton , who stated that he feels the degrees in math and economics he earned at Vanderbilt, coupled with his public service as a metro councilman makes him the most qualified candidate for Juvenile Court Clerk , is a long time member of the Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club. Following the meeting he praised club coordinator Betty Hood, for her ability to find interesting guest speakers and to lead lively discussions.

The Bellevue Republican Breakfast Club meets on the first Saturday of every month in the private dining room at the Shoney’s located on Highway 70 South. The meeting is open to the public and anyone interested in learning more about the candidates in the upcoming election cycle is encouraged to attend. The dining room opens at 7:15 AM and the meeting starts at 8 :00 AM.

Free Income Tax Preparation Services Available At West Nashville’s St. Lukes Community House

Saint Luke’s Community House is offering free income tax preparation services to local residents with less than a $49,000 annual household income. Working with the IRS sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, trained community volunteers help tax payers with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, the program also offers free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper, and clients who have their refunds deposited directly into their bank account typically receive their refund in seven to ten days.

Last year the VITA volunteers at Saint Luke’s Community House served more than 300 clients and helped the collective local community save approximately $70,000 dollars in income tax preparation fees. VITA services at Saint Luke’s are available to anyone living in Davidson County, residents from communities such as White Bluff and Pegram are also welcome at the site. VITA services are offered to Williamson County residents at the Fairview Public Library.

To find out more about VITA or to make a free income tax preparation appointment at Saint Luke’s Community House, call Jessica Brady at 350-1134. For information on the VITA program at the Fairview Public Library call 799-0235.