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In Some Tennessee High Schools, Nearly A Third Get Permission To Skip Foreign Language

In Tennessee's most rural school districts, nearly a third of students are graduating without the required two years of a foreign language. And a district with some of the highest use of foreign language waivers defends the practice as helpful to students.

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voteprime via Flickr

For the second year in a row, murders hit a historic low in Nashville. There were just 41 criminal homicides in Nashville in 2014. That’s the smallest figure since the county and city governments consolidated in 1963, when police tracked 45 murders.

The highest year for murders in Nashville was 1997 when 112 people were killed.

Police chief Steve Anderson gives some credit to a recent focus on curtailing domestic violence. Just four of the murders from 2014 involved intimate partners. In 2013, there were nine.

Katy Campen / 100 Girls of Code

Technology companies in Middle Tennessee will be working more with high schools and community colleges this year, thanks to an $850,000 grant from the state. The goal is to get more students thinking about careers in information technology — that’s anything from coding computer programs to managing data centers or working at a telecomm company.

According to the Nashville Technology Council, which received the funding, only about 600 students currently take IT classes at local community colleges. That’s nowhere near the demand for jobs in the field, it said in its budget proposal.

TWRA via Facebook

Tennessee outdoor enthusiasts are resisting a proposal to increase the cost of hunting licenses in the state, even though it’s the first fee-hike in a decade.

Brian Brew is a taxidermist from Spring Hill who also runs several online forums for hunters. “I don’t know if I’ve seen one positive post made about it,” he says.

Highwoods Properties

Bridgestone Americas’ decision to move its headquarters from the airport area to downtown Nashville illustrates a larger trend: more businesses are eyeing downtown relocations and more inventory there is being prepared for office tenants.

Two big downtown buildings, the UBS Tower and the AT&T Tower, are being renovated for spiffier office digs, and Bridgestone is promising to bring 1,700 workers to downtown.

U.S. Army/Sgt. Ange Desinor

On January 1, the World Health Organization will be reinstated as the lead element in training health care workers in how to handle Ebola patients, taking over for a team led by Fort Campbell troops.

Since arriving in late October, Defense Department teams have trained some 1,500 doctors, nurses and even clean-up crews from Liberia and around the world.

Col. Laura Favand from the 86th Combat Support Hospital at Fort Campbell is the chief of training and says groups on the ground were already doing a good job of improving hygiene and changing burial practices.

Spc. Rashene Mincy / U.S. Army

The U.S. military’s mission to build tent hospitals and train health care workers to handle Ebola is coming to an end sooner than first thought. But as 700 Fort Campbell soldiers begin making their way home from Liberia, where they’ve been leading the Defense Department’s response, they still have a three-week isolation period to endure.

Metro Government

Nashville’s police chief has become something of an Internet hero after a letter he wrote in response to an upset resident ricocheted across the Web.

A resident wrote Anderson expressing “frustration and outrage.” It was concerning the way Anderson’s department dealt with protests over recent police killings of unarmed suspects in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City that have spurred nationwide protests over police conduct.

The Hermitage

Of all the tokens of appreciation governments sent him after the Battle of New Orleans, a small gold box, about the size of a deck of cards, was one of only five Jackson mentioned in his will. The snuff box was recently returned to Jackson’s home, but for years, it seemed the box might never leave the Hermitage at all.

The engraved box was a high honor bestowed on Jackson by the City of New York. It named him one of the nation’s greatest heroes.

It came with the freedom of the city, which was basically kind of making him a temporary citizen.

The city’s new regulations for Lyft and Uber eliminated minimum fares for the ridesharing services, an overlooked and sure to be contested aspect of the recently passed rules.

Emily R. West / WPLN

The Tennessee Board of Regents is trying to do away with undecided majors. According to the data, officials say, students who choose a college major right away are more likely to graduate.

“What we know is, a student who makes no choice has made a bad choice,” says TBR chancellor John Morgan.

Without a major, he says, students end up taking extra classes that don’t count toward their degree. Morgan told a group of policy makers, including the governor, that the TBR system would no longer have students with undeclared majors, by the end of December.

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Chelsea Beck / NPR

President Trump's Tweets, Annotated

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely gives the full context. Here, NPR fact checkers attempt to do just that for key tweets.

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The Latest from Classical 91.1

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

This week, we get a preview of two upcoming student recitals at Lipscomb University. Christian Johnson grew up in Dickson; Jeriel Jorguenson is from Belize but now  lives in Nashville. Both have studied with Jerome Reed since they were students in high school. Now, the pair are finishing their last year of college.

Anita Martinz / Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the vernal equinox, and for the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of spring. With the turn of the season comes warmer weather (at least, in theory), the first buds on the trees and blooms on the ground, afternoon thunderstorms and choruses of chirping birds.

If you're smitten with this season, you aren't alone: tons of composers throughout history have been inspired by spring to write some unforgettable music. 

Jim McGuire / edgarmeyer.com

In 1986, Edgar Meyer made his first solo appearance with the Nashville Symphony, performing Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto No. 2. Now, 30 years later, Meyer will play the piece with the orchestra again. This time, however, the accompanying program will include the world premiere of a new piece composed by Meyer himself.

This isn't the first time the Nashville Symphony has premiered a new work by Meyer, but it does signal a new approach to writing music for the award-winning composer and instrumentalist. 

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Indivisible

Indivisible: A Special Call-In Show During President Trump's First 100 Days

Listen and be part of the conversation: Monday - Thursday at 7 p.m. on 90.3 WPLN-FM