Morning Roundup

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Front of the Book: Tennessean Departures, East Nashville Schools and Titan Troubles

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 8:05 AM

1100 Problems: In this week's print edition, a series of high-profile exits at The Tennessean — after all of the re-hires had been made for the "newsroom of the future" — have left staff wondering about the paper's leadership.

Last week came news that Peter Cooper, the paper's star music columnist and go-to writer for chronicling country music legends, was leaving too. Cooper's departure for the Country Music Hall of Fame was so glaring that it merited a news story and a comment from publisher Laura Hollingsworth, with a promise that the paper "will be recruiting for a significant new talent in this role."

The firing/rehiring process that got the paper into this situation has created deep distrust of current management. One staffer referred to the entire process as "Kabuki theater."

"If they were going to go with 'more' reporters, why did so many get eliminated in the restructuring?" the staffer said. "It was clear there were favorites and directives. The process was just a fancy way to let go of people."

If that's true, the reasons for changing have not been communicated to the staff.

"We were told, 'What we're doing wasn't working,' " another staffer said. "Nobody knows what that means."

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Is County the New City Where Taxes Are Concerned?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 7:37 AM

Whether city taxpayers are footing the bill for suburban communities to piggyback on their services is an argument that never goes away. It rises again in Charles Maldonado's story in the CP today about the roots and fruit of Metro Nashville's two-tiered tax-and-service system — a system that may be antiquated as clear divisions between the city and outlying communities disappear.

Deep in the story, you'll find two nuggets about how the city's Urban Services District — or USD, which pays a slightly higher tax rate for city services such as increased police presence, garbage/recycling and sewers — affected (and continues to affect) development issues very much of the moment:

USD expansion could explain, in part, why in 1975 a newly formed business interest called Hickory Hollow Mall Inc. began work on a shopping center precisely where it did — the far southeastern edge of a 1973 USD annexation, surrounded on three sides by what Metro government then categorized as non-urban land. (A tiny tract of land south of Bell Road, which now includes several mall-adjacent shopping centers, was annexed in 1981. Most of the rest of Antioch and the area around Nashville International Airport were later included in 1988.)

In a more recent example, the developers of May Town Center, the $4 billion multi-use complex that had been planned for Bells Bend, had applied for the land to be annexed into the USD. The Metro Planning Commission, in its June 2009 analysis of May Town, insisted that the application for USD status be included in the plan. (Note that USD status would have boosted May Town’s property tax rates from $4.04 to $4.69 per $100 of value and, once the project was completed, would create more than $46 million (2009 dollars) in annual revenue, according to a report by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Business and Economic Research.)

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Morning Roundup: Wamp's Web, Heavy Metal Move and More

Posted By on Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 11:28 AM

In a CP story gaining traction across the state, Stephen George and Ken Whitehouse look into Zach Wamp's suspect alliance with the Tennessee Valley Corridor, "a facilitator for networking among high-impact businesspeople and politicians, and a cash cow for Wamp’s friends and political allies." ... Did the flood finally present a way for the city to relocate perennial East Bank eyesore PSC Metals? Joey Garrison says it looks that way. ... Charles Maldonado raises a troubling idea: Is privatized prison company CCA backing Arizona's widely despised illegal-immigration law (and others like it, perhaps in Tennessee) to make sure the incarceration business keeps booming? ... A significant minimum-wage hike for Metro employees, championed by Mayor Karl Dean and Councilwoman Megan Barry, rides on today's Metro Council vote. ... Now that Danny Tate's conservatorship is over, he faces a lien on his house for $25,000 of the opposing counsel's fees. ... A confessed rapist now claims the rape was consensual sex and maintains he has written evidence; the Brentwood security firm that paid out a settlement on the crime wants its money back. ... A sobering statistic: Four of every five Tennesseans eligible for free legal aid can't get it. ...

G-O C-L-A-R-K H-U-B-B-A-R-D!!! ... From Presbyterians to Jehovah's Witnesses, local churches are doing the Lord's work with hammers, nails and care packages through flood relief. ... After a three-year struggle between church elders and Sylvan Park neighbors, the 89-year-old Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ building is no more. ... Scene food critic Carrington Fox gets a shout-out from Esquire. ... A woman's place is in the kitchen, just not as a superstar chef. Right? ...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Morning Roundup: What's in This Week's Scene?

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 9:10 AM

A repulsive movie about four hideous affronts to civilization arrives in local theaters this week. ... We've heard the cover of this week's Scene described as everything from "creepy" to "the most horrible thing I've ever seen." Its subject, Nashville filmmaker Harmony Korine, would no doubt take those as compliments. ... Meanwhile, Scene critics Mike D'Angelo and Michael Sicinski debate whether there's more trash than humping. ... After a well-publicized court battle, ’80s Nashville rocker Danny Tate is out from under a controversial conservatorship — but what has he really won? Brantley Hargrove reports, while argument rages in the comments sections. ... Jeff Woods surveys the budget battle brewing in the General Assembly. ... Vanderbilt grad student Stephanie Pruitt's growing success gives hope to aspiring poets. Check out Chapter 16 for more. ... The fantastic Ms. Fox checks out the new lunch options at ChaChah, Dose and Mambu. ...

Metro Councilman Darren Jernigan issues a challenge to the city with a new bill: no more building on Nashville's floodplain. ... Mayor Karl Dean to world: Come back downtown! ... Lee Beaman donates two acres of land off Bell Road to serve as Tent City's new home. ... Vanderbilt announces a $30 million addition to its children's hospital. ... West Nashville neighbors protest Greyhound moving its bus terminal from downtown to Charlotte. ... The trigger man gets life for the murder of Vanderbilt professor Pierre Colas and his sister Marie. ... Wow, nobody saw this coming: The Senate overrides Gov. Phil Bredesen's guns-in-bars veto. ... Police think they've nabbed the three teenagers responsible for a South Nashville stick-up spree and a pistol-whipping. ...

Two children are in critical condition after a car struck them as they ran from a neighbor's dogs. ... The Undersea World of Speaker Kent Williams holds up the budget. ... The Rumble in the Jungle, the Thrilla in Manilla, and now this. ... A culvert cave-in shuts down part of Granny White Pike. ...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Morning Roundup: Murderer on the Loose

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 9:24 AM

May 14 was a lucky day for convicted murderer Finis Lewis — released from the Metro Jail due to a clerical error — but a scary day for the rest of the city. ... A trial date has been set for Juana Villegas, the illegal immigrant who gave birth shackled to her bed while in custody of the Davidson County's Sheriff's Office. ... A motel clerk is pistol-whipped in Berry Hill.

In flood news: Franklin, Tenn., ups the estimate of the number of flood-damaged homes the city may buy through a federal emergency grant program. ... Kings of Leon's Nathan Followill chimes in on the flood, and suggests the band will discuss the situation at Bonnaroo. ... There are a zillion Dairy Queens, but only one Dairy King, and sadly, its post-flood future — as well as the future of its renowned deep-fried chocolate pies — is in jeopardy. ... At least someone is benefiting from the disaster.

A Nashville woman who owns beachfront property in the Florida Panhandle sues BP and other companies involved in the oil rig castastrophe. ... Smyrna Nissan plant gets a shout-out from the prez. ... We can't promise the hoopla of the 2008 presidential debate, but the gubers will be facing off at Belmont on July 12 and Oct. 11.

And finally, Gail Kerr compares state lawmakers to CMA Music Festival fans, and you'll never guess who comes out on top.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Morning Roundup: Good Breaks in Water Rates and Property Taxes?

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 7:56 AM

Even with an expected $200 million in water-department repairs, officials say they foresee no rate hikes. ... Hard-hit homeowners will also get a break on property taxes. ... As a reservoir of discontent swells around the Army Corps of Engineers, Charles Maldonado examines the performance of local dams during the flood. ... Of all Nashville's problems during the flood and its aftermath, looting wasn't one of them. ... Beverly Keel profiles a Pennington Bend family in the same boat as a lot of folks: severe losses, no flood insurance, and no home for the foreseeable future. ...

Did an alleged Watergate-style "professional" break-in at a Teamster lawyer's office liberate secret recordings and troubling documents concerning former Chief Ronal Serpas' now-disputed crime stats? ... Meanwhile, Phil Williams says the police department is pressuring cops to find more DUIs. ... The school board votes tonight whether to outsource custodial duties for $20 million a year. ... Sixty fresh-faced Teach for America recruits will arrive in Nashville this fall. ... A jury is seated in the heinous 2008 murder of siblings Pierre and Marie Colas. ... Police seek a convicted rapist in connection with the stabbing death of Faye Burns, 57. ... In The Huffington Post, Molly Secours discusses the case of Cyntoia Brown, the Nashville girl handed a life sentence at age 16. ... Who Smells a Con Dept.: Was a mole trying to goad counter-protestors into attacking Westboro Baptist Church provocateurs so the Rev. Phelps and his loony clan could sue? ... An environmental magazine says Trader Joe's isn't the green machine you might expect. ...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Morning Roundup: GOP Candidates Pander to the Tea Party

Posted By on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 8:26 AM

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Zach Wamp, Ron Ramsey and Bill Haslam join four nutjob candidates for governor in a debate at the Tennessee tea party convention in Gatlinburg. "But I'm tired of giving money to the king. I do intend to damage the revenue of the king,” somebody named Samuel Duck declares. Ramsey and Wamp take jabs at each other. Who's as dumb as a boot? The tea partiers go after Haslam on guns. Stacey Campfield reports on the fireworks. ... On Saturday, one of the convention's lead-off speakers calls President Obama "the culmination of the Islamic-leftist alliance." ... Wamp takes heat for signing a pledge to give more money to the Med in Memphis. Ramsey: "It is irresponsible political pandering to sign a pledge obligating every Tennessee taxpayer to unlimited financial support of The Med."

The City Paper looks at whether the Army Corps could have done a better job managing the floodwaters. ... What happened to the residents of Tent City? ... Tennessee becomes more bicycle friendly. ... Rep. Joe Carr wants to praise Arizona. ... Tennessee may execute four prisoners in a single year. ... The Commercial Appeal's Otis Sanford with praise for the governor:

My kudos to Gov. Phil Bredesen are for his gallant, albeit symbolic, stand last week in vetoing the guns-in-bars bill, unquestionably one of the most ludicrous pieces of legislation to gain approval by the General Assembly in years.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Morning Roundup: Fighting Water with Firemen

Posted By on Fri, May 21, 2010 at 7:47 AM

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In this week's Scene, Liz Garrigan profiles Tommy Murphy, a retired Jersey City firefighter who came to flood-ravaged Nashville to pitch in the way he did in Lower Manhattan after 9/11. ... You think musicians have a hard time making a living in Nashville? Try Tehran. ... Oh, those Torturous Threes. ... What does the Big Ten's possible expansion mean for Vanderbilt, UT and MTSU? ... The late Alex Chilton's bandmate leads an all-star tribute at the Mercy Lounge. ... Click on the photo to check out our annual Summer Guide. ...

The Army Corps of Engineers says it took proper steps to alleviate flooding at area dams. ... Rebuild Clinics open tomorrow in locations across the city to give advice on flood repair and recovery. ... Bill Clinton's FEMA chief may assist with flood recovery. ... Good news for Second Avenue: The Wildhorse should be romping and stomping again by CMA Fest week. ... We don't even play, and we'd still want Jack White's marimba. ... At a Franklin book signing yesterday, a woman attempts to arrest Karl Rove for war crimes as protesters strike. ... Police put a cap on a West Nashville 'shroom operation. ... Two companies unlicensed to sell insurance in Tennessee are zeroing in on local consumers. ... Wire fraud and bank fraud are a few of the charges facing an FBI special agent accused of palming himself off as a music-company president. ...

Nine Metro middle schools have suspended more than 50 percent of the black boys enrolled there, significantly more than any other group. ... A 20-year-old male prostitute is arrested trying to set up shop in the Renaissance Hotel. ... A Nashville woman running a prostitution ring admits she put teenage girls in service. ... Gaylord, Healthways and Advocat are among the local stocks taking a tumble in yesterday's market slide. ... Comcast's coming all-digital switch may cause some static. ... The Greyhound terminal relocates for the time being from Eighth Avenue to Charlotte. ... We're loving Mike D'Angelo's Cannes reports in the AV Club. ... Up in Heaven, Charlie Hawkins smiles. ...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Morning Roundup: Cash for Flood-Ravaged Houses?

Posted By on Thu, May 20, 2010 at 7:43 AM

More details surface of Metro's proposed program to buy and raze flood-damaged homes in Nashville's floodway, with FEMA footing 75 percent of the bill and the city splitting the rest. ... Meanwhile, the estimate of private-property damage rises to $1.9 billion. ... Among the flood-repair expenses: $15 million for Schermerhorn Symphony Center, $2.5 million for LP Field. ... State legislators want answers about the release of floodwaters from area dams. ... Find out if you qualify for a free cell phone giveaway. ... Some 31,000 tons of flood debris is being sorted out according to FEMA regulation. ... Los Angeles gets an eyewitness flood account from an unexpected correspondent: Harmony Korine. One word: Elephants? ... The flood won't dampen plans for Nashville Pride to proceed next month at Riverfront Park. ... Come back downtown, Second Avenue businesses say, facing big drops in attendance and revenue. ...

Police say an 18-year-old former Pearl-Cohn student admitted emailing death threats to school administrators in a fit of pique because he was expelled. ... Video catches a teen on a class trip jumping into the Tennessee River from a ferry boat's top deck. ... Hillsboro High is getting a new principal as the school's controversial former chief moves to another assignment. ... A mother demands to know how her 1-year-old received third-degree burns at her Clarksville day-care center. ... A ninth-floor fire is quickly contained at Belle Meade Tower condominiums, but not before an 82-year-old woman dies of smoke inhalation. ... Free wi-fi will soon cover much of downtown, Erin Lawley reports. ...

Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and Miley Cyrus are among the nominees for the 22nd Annual MusicRow Awards. ... Chris Johnson continues his holdout, but so far the Titans show no signs of budging from his current contract. ...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Morning Roundup: It's Smith vs. Crafton

Posted By on Wed, May 19, 2010 at 7:13 AM

David Smith's two years of campaigning pay off, as he deals incumbent Juvenile Court Clerk Vic Lineweaver a nearly 4-to-1 defeat in the primary. David Torrence also handily retains his Criminal Court Clerk seat. Fewer than 7 percent of the city's voters turn out. ... News of Ronal Serpas' recent raise has the FOP seeing red — they want the loot divided among the rank and file. ... Middle Tennessee's seniors need help in the wake of the flood. ... Former First Lady Laura Bush visits flood volunteers in Madison. ... It'll take more than Gov. Bredesen's veto to kill the guns-in-bars bill, supporters say. ... Restructure the city's debt, shoo big rigs away from residential neighborhoods — it's all in a night's work for the Metro Council. ...

After a phone tip, police charge Rachel Meadows, 27, with killing her newborn son. ... A handyman faces charges that he installed a little something extra near a LaVergne woman's shower: a camera. ... Firefighters say there's something suspicious about a house fire on Fifth Avenue North in Germantown. ... 1100 Broadway reports that baptisms are up. ... There Is No God Dept.: "Whiffin' " Lane Kiffin somehow nabs a $4 million salary at USC. ... Titans fans wince as first-round pick Derrick Morgan sits out practice with a "tweaked" hamstring. ... It's like a Monopoly set up in here: First the red umbrella, then the boot — now look out, Tennessee politics, here comes the PLOW! ...

TDOT worker David Shelton's fast action saves motorists from a sudden sinkhole on I-24. ... Here's an interesting Chris Echegaray piece about the booming local trade in international calling cards, which often run significantly cheaper than the local phone company. ... Betsy Phillips starts an argument about Walmart. ... Check out Harold Huggins' story about Verner "Red" Dean, believed to be Vanderbilt's oldest sports fan at age 90. ... Congratulations to Overbrook School third-grader Isabella Nunez, who's now in the national "Doodle 4 Google" drawing contest. Vote for her here. ...

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