“The Dose,” a weekly dose of news you can actually use.
Ayrika L Whitney, The Tennessean
Hello from The Dose, a place to share the news we’re all talking about — and actually experiencing. Each week, you’ll find: a stat worth digging into, a dose of news from our Tennessee community, something you *should* pay attention to on social media and a burst of happiness.
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I’m Jessica Bliss, a human interest columnist here at The Tennessean. I’m a mom, a triathlete, a writer. And, the curator of this newsletter. Definitely send me your feedback and what you’d like to see. My promise? This will be a positive space for all perspectives.
This week’s dose of news
This weekend’s NFL Draft features hometown stars with heartfelt stories
Emanuel Hall’s father was gone. He died, unexpectedly. Mental illness. An overdose.
“A lot of people don’t talk about mental health,” says Hall, a former Centennial High star and University of Missouri wide receiver. “A lot of people are too prideful to go get help.”
Hall, who grew up in Franklin, Tenn., hopes to get the call to the NFL this weekend. He wants to use the league as a platform, he says, to talk about mental illness and help others understand the struggle is persistent, and the crisis is growing.
Hall is just one of more than a dozen players with Tennessee ties who hope to be drafted: Another is Vanderbilt cornerback Joejuan Williams.
Long before he was a coveted NFL Draft prospect, Williams lived in Nashville public housing projects, having been evicted from multiple homes. His single mom had done her best working multiple jobs to provide for her sons, but there was still one Christmas break the family could not afford new clothes — even though Joejuan had hit a growth spurt.
If you are looking for a few players to root for in the NFL Draft, you have your pick. And you can catch up on all the draft moves and the action downtown on our NFL Draft page.
After a 40-minute deadlock, bill giving parents public money for private school narrowly passes House
Discussion on the bill began at 9:45 a.m., but it wasn’t until shortly before 1 p.m. that lawmakers finally broke their deadlock on the controversial school voucher bill.
It all unfolded in a dramatic series of events. With one lawmaker absent and the vote stuck at 49-49, the clock ticked on. House Republican leaders held behind-the-scenes negotiations, hoping to sway on-the-fence lawmakers. And they got one.
After a 40-minute deadlock, Rep. Jason Zachary switched his vote, breaking the tie.
Remind me what school vouchers are again, please: Sure! School vouchers are intended to provide state dollars to low-income families to help them pay for private school tuition. It is designed to give students in low-performing public schools an option to get education elsewhere, likely in a school they may not otherwise be able to afford.
The House bill approved on Tuesday: Calls for the creation of education savings accounts that would give parents on average $7,300 in public funds for private school or other educational services and supplies. Families would need to make less than double the federal income requirement eligibility for free lunch.
Rep. Jason Zachary and Speaker of the House Glen Casada discuss their agreement to remove Knox County from Gov. Bill Lee’s voucher-style bill.
Natalie Allison, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
The Senate version: Amended the legislation to limit the program to schools in Davidson and Shelby counties and the state-run Achievement School District.
Meanwhile, a Tennessean report: Found that the House voucher program’s proposed $7,300 wouldn’t provide full cost of tuition at many private Nashville schools. Stay tuned for what happens next.
Updates, quick hits and tidbits
Planned tiny home village for Nashville’s homeless notches legal win: A two-year legal battle may wage on as a South Nashville church and homeless advocacy organization fight to build 22 tiny houses on Glencliff United Methodist Church land as transitional housing for local homeless.
Nashville recycling is at a pivotal point: In as few as five years, Tennessee’s busiest landfill in Murfreesboro could run out of space, and thousands of tons of trash each day will have to be trucked to other communities.
Jerry Stackhouse plans to hire a female to add to his Vanderbilt basketball coaching staff: Nicki Gross — previously the only female assistant coach in the NBA G League — served alongside Stackhouse with the Memphis Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors G League team.
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Numbers worth knowing
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Nashville traffic stops soared to the forefront of public conversation when “Driving While Black” was published in October 2016, finding that black drivers were more likely to be stopped than white drivers.
Since then, the number of traffic stops conducted by the Metro Nashville Police Department has plummeted as reports show the strategy failed to reduce crime.
Between October 2018 and February 2019, MNPD conducted 39,073 traffic stops, which is more than 60% fewer than in the same time period the previous year.
The department insists there has been no citywide policy shift, but precinct commanders have instituted practices — like the cops getting out of their cars to talk to neighbors, knock on doors or play basketball with kids — that have pulled them from traffic stop duty.
Here are more numbers to know:
A decade high of 445,152 stops in 2012: Former MNPD Chief Ronal Serpas created a culture focused on the policing approach, especially in high-crime areas, and it continued under Chief Steve Anderson, who has led the department since 2010.
Dramatic drop from 99,742 to just 39,073 in a recent four-month period: The latest plunge comes after the Policing Project, a nonprofit led by the New York University School of Law, released findings in November 2018 that Nashville’s traffic stop strategy was not reducing crime.
The Policing Project found black drivers in Nashville were stopped at a rate 44% higher than white drivers.
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All the good feels
Can’t. Handle. The. Cuteness.
On Thursday afternoon in the Great Smoky Mountains, a big furry black bear walked to the side of a road. Then she (because it just had to be a mama) looked back and sweetly nudged a cluster of four little cubs, leading them along behind her.
Lucky for all of us, park visitor Rebecca Connell was there to capture it all on video.
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Quote of the week
“Hmm 🤔 Does this new @kelseymontagueart mural in @thegulchnashville have something to do with @taylorswift? Only time will tell!”
— Post on the nashvilletn Instagram account as it weighs in on the theory that the newest mural in Music City is tied to Taylor Swift’s mysterious countdown.
The pop star launched a countdown on social media that ends April 26, leading many to believe new music could be imminent. The new mural in the Gulch is totally part of the fun, Swift fans say, because of the seven flowers, 13 hearts, butterfly wings and cats. Obviously.
Oh, the things you should do!
Rock on at the new Exit 111 music festival: Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard and Lynyrd Skynyrd are among the rock giants who’ll take the stage in Manchester, Tenn., in October for a new three-day camping fest held on the same property as Bonnaroo.
Get your tickets for the 2019 Tennessee Titans season: When will the Titans host the Chiefs and Saints this year? How about division opponents Houston, Indianapolis and Jacksonville? It’s all here in the Titans just-released NFL schedule.
Check out the new Downtown Sporting Club: With ax throwing, but no live music, it is unlike anything else on Lower Broadway. Here’s why.
Listen to all of the tunes: Music City will put on quite a display this weekend when the NFL Draft invades downtown Nashville. From local DJs to country music royalty, 20-plus musicians plan to perform across two stages during the three-day event. The best part? It’s. All. Free.
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