Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"The Butler Did It Again" by Signal Mountain Playhouse at the MACC in February

The Signal Mountain Playhouse will be presenting their winter play this February. Here is a synopsis: 

The Butler Did It, Again! is a murder mystery spoof with thinly disguised characters from the classic murder mystery genre.  There's Miss Maple, a faux Miss Marple; Mrs. Danvers, the despised housekeeper in Daphne du Maurie's Rebecca; Rick and Laura Carlyle, based on the charming Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man; Chandler Marlowe, a combination of the famous mystery writer, Raymond Chandler, and the detective he created, Philip Marlowe; Louie Fan, a knock-off Charlie Chan; Tony Tallchief, based on native-American novelist, Tony Hillerman; and Ruth Dice, loosely based on Anne Rice, the queen of the vampire tale.  This group gathers for a weekend mystery party in an old Louisiana manse.  Unexpected guests, petty jealousies, and an escaped sanatorium patient set the stage for comedic catastrophe.  

Performances are at the 
Mountain Arts Community Center, 
809 Kentucky Ave., 
Signal Mountain 

every Friday and Saturday night from February 10th through the 25th.  Tickets are $12 at the door, which includes coffee and dessert prior to curtain.  Dessert service begins at 6:45 PM with curtain at 8:00.  For more information go onlline to www.smph.org or call 886-5243.

The cast consists of many of your local favorites: 

Characters                                                                     Actors
Jane Doe - Attractive young woman                               Shandra Burnett
Chips - Family servant                                                    Keith Collins
Miss Maple - Dowager                                                   Janet McInturff
Mrs. Danvers - Sinister housekeeper                               Anne Roza
Linda Hayes - Fashion model                                          Kendra Gross
Chandler Marlowe - Tough private eye                            Rob Inman
Rick Carlyle - Debonair                                                   Don Strickland
Laura Carlyle - sophisticated                                            Sandy McCrea
Tony Tallchief - Western writer                                        Tim Forsythe
Louie Fan - ala Charlie Chan                                           Eric Schubert
Father White - English Vicar                                            Lee Abelson
Ruth Dice - Vampire writer                                              DeDe Young

I've been promised a "sneak peek" of photos soon, so keep watching my blog for more!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Future of Signal Mountain

In spite of my affinity for Calvin and Hobbes, I would like to resolve to blog more. This being an election year, I expect I will venture forth into national issues, however for now I'd like to discuss a place near and dear to my heart... Signal Mountain. As I have said before, I wasn't born here, but my daughter was... I wasn't raised here but my son was. I have lived in this community for over 18 years, longer than I've lived any place before. I have a great desire to see Signal Mountain continue to be a great place to live.

Growth continues to be a major issue for Signal Mountain. However, in spite of those who still worry about "unbridled" growth in the area, the facts (based on census data) are that the town is not growing at all and is probably shrinking. While some may find this a good thing, the recent tax increase passed by the Town Council shows the downside of our town's current policy. I have used my experience as a biologist and physician to guide my approach to town policy. I have in the past compared town growth to human growth. When our children are young, we all want to see them grow to be big and strong, but once mature, future growth can manifest as obesity or cancer. Thus a town has to be careful not to grow in an uncontrolled manner, metastasizing all over the countryside and dying from the center out. However, like in all science one cannot oversimplify. The reality is that even in maturity we are not stagnant. We must continually grow just to replace our body's dead cells and we should be continually focusing on nutrition and exercise so we grow healthy and build muscle, not fat. So, now that I've beat this analogy to death, we cannot allow our town to stagnate.  

When I joined the Town Council in 2006, we started on a growth plan that I thought we could complete in my four year term. First was to be a new Land Use Plan which we completed in my first year. We next planned to rewrite our town's zoning based on that Land Use Plan which was based on the progressive, environmentally responsible conservation development principles of Randall Arendt. We soon realized that we also need to rewrite our subdivision regulations as part of this process. We began this in early 2008 and have yet to finish. I have heard that the subdivision regulations are finished, after four years, but it is not clear if they have been formally adopted yet. They certainly aren't on the town's website and, if there have been major announcements of public hearings on these regs, I certainly haven't seen them and I do try to pay attention. At any rate, the truly "heavy lifting" of rewriting the zoning regulations has not even begun. I'm not optimistic about the outcome of this since the Planning Commission and Town Council's majority have long since rejected Mr. Arendt and his principles.

So, moving forward what is the vision for the town? This is a big year for our town. It is an election year and three positions (Lusk, Allen and Wallace) will be up for re-election. Also, at the end of the year we will grow through the process of annexation which was finalized a year ago. The neighborhoods of Fox Run and Windtree will both join our town. While this will bring some new income, it also brings expenses and the net effect is fairly minimal (about an extra $100,000 per year, if I recall, worth about 5 cents in property taxes). However, the true advantage of adding these neighborhoods is the addition of the intangible assets of these citizens, their talents and brain power. I find this most exciting of all.

This brings up an issue that I think needs discussion. I have heard discussed the idea of moving to having electoral districts in Signal Mountain. Red Bank and, I believe East Ridge (along with Chattanooga, of course) have district elections. As we expand not only in population, but more importantly in geography, it seems like a good time to start thinking about the idea of assuring representation of all areas of the town. I'd like to toss this out as a discussion point and hope to expand on it later. In all honesty, I don't know exactly what would be involved legally, but the first step is to decide if it is something to pursue. I would encourage my readers to consider commenting on this issue (or any issue) on this blog. If you prefer, you can email me (paulmhmd@comcast.net) and I will post your email as a comment if you give me permission.

Finally, I don't think it is premature to realize that our fair town will be 100 years old in 2019. That seems like a long time off, but it would be nice to consider starting some community based discussion on how we would like to celebrate our centennial.

So, our future can be bright, but we need to seize it and make positive decisions. We can determine what kind of future Signal Mountain will have. If you wonder if this is important, just go ask your kids!