Gerald McCormick and Beth Harwell
TN Photo Services

Proposal Could Make Tennessee Lawmakers More Careful About Who Pays Their Travel Expenses

Tennessee lawmakers may soon be required to disclose when they travel on someone else's dime. The measure comes after advocates footed the bill for some legislators to go to Florida, North Carolina and even Europe.

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Despite Republicans’ overwhelming majority in the state legislature, Rep. Sheila Butt feels like her party could be vulnerable. The potential culprit, she says, could come from Democrats infiltrating Republican primaries. She says this scenario recently played out in a local mayor’s race in Maury County, and she wants to know if it’s more widespread.

“In our family, at home, our family made our decisions,” she said. “I think it might be time in the state of Tennessee for our Republican family and Democratic family to make those decisions.”

Bobby Allyn / WPLN

Governor Bill Haslam says there’s no way around hiking the state’s gas tax some time in the future. The tax, which hasn’t increased since 1989, is not keeping up with the rising cost of building and maintaining Tennessee’s roads and bridges.

Improved fuel efficiency standards and the rise of hybrid and electric cars are a boon to the environment, but the governor says they hurt gas taxes. What’s more, Haslam says federal transportation funding is always uncertain, noting that Congress’ temporary fixes on the federal highway fund make it tricky to plan long-term projects.

Michael Noirot via Flickr

Thomm Jutz, a Nashville songwriter from Germany (who is now a U.S. citizen), has put out a three-part album about one of America’s thorniest periods — the Civil War. Volume 3 of The 1861 Project, which features singers including Kim Richey and Bobby Bare, focuses on the Battle of Franklin. Take a listen to how Jutz crafted the folk music album.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Nashville’s Music City Center has had 750,000 visitors since it opened about a year and a half ago — and a lot of them have probably gotten lost. 

The convention center spans 1.2 million square feet over several floors. To help people find their way, the MCC released a smartphone app, called Music City Center. I tried it out after the official launch event Wednesday morning.

Tajhiee Cockerham has a small frame, big brown eyes and a baby face. Clad in the standard-issue orange jumpsuit, the 18-year-old joined me in a tiny, bare room where inmates usually conference with attorneys. I wrote letters to Cockerham and the other eight teens who escaped from Woodland Hills in September and have since been placed in Nashville’s Criminal Justice Center, an adult jail. Though most of the them ignored my request, Cockerham agreed to sit down for a conversation. Jail officials gave us 20 minutes.

Tajhiee Cockerham has a small frame, big brown eyes and a baby face. Clad in the standard-issue orange jumpsuit, the 18-year-old joined me in a tiny, bare room where inmates usually conference with attorneys. I wrote letters to Cockerham and the other eight teens who escaped from Woodland Hills in September and have since been placed in Nashville’s Criminal Justice Center, an adult jail. Though most of the them ignored my request, Cockerham agreed to sit down for a conversation. Jail officials gave us 20 minutes.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

The monthly Bill Goodman Gun & Knife Show at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds has just about everything a weapons collector could want: Handguns and high-powered rifles, tomahawks and tasers – in colors that range from survivalist camo to hot pink.

But perhaps the most surprising find is at the table of dealer Eva Simmons: a 1970s-era switchblade, the kind with a black-and-silver handle and a curlicue guard. These were illegal in Tennessee until recently.

Justin Ochs

Justin Ochs, a businessman from Hendersonville, Tenn., is a pretty smooth talking guy. But when you get him in front of a crowd of people, his voice becomes mesmerizing.

Ochs was the winner of the 2012 International Auctioneer Championship. WPLN’s Emily Siner talked to him about what he’s really saying up there — and how he gets the bids rising.

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Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

The Music City Horn Quartet is a somewhat new ensemble of Nashville freelance French horn players (including one horn maker!), all of  whom also have ties to Clarksville's Gateway Chamber Orchestra: Jennifer Kummer, Tara Johnson, John Gough and Joey Demko. They've brought a collection of music originally written for other instruments or ensembles, arranged for four horns.

unknown passport photographer / King's College Library, Cambridge

This weekend, a group of Nashville ensembles will present the U.S. premiere of a work they think of not as a performance, but an invitation to activism.

British composer James McCarthy’s oratorio, Codebreaker, illuminates key moments from the life of Alan Turing. The groundbreaking computer scientist broke Germany’s Enigma Code during World War II and established the quintessential test of artificial intelligence. 

Guitarist Robert Thompson teaches more than thirty students in his guitar ensemble class at Belmont University. He brought about half that number to Studio C to perform a variety of music from across the guitar repertoire.

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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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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