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In Clarksville, Police Say They Welcome Body Cameras

Cell phone footage shot by bystanders showing sometimes violent police interactions with civilians has led to more to discussions nationwide about whether officers should wear body cameras. In some cities, local law enforcement has resisted that idea. But that’s not the case in Clarksville, where the police department has actually been one of its biggest supporters.

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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.

Emily Siner / WPLN

    

Todd Oney with the Nashville Electric Service is pointing to a utility pole next to I-40. There’s electricity at the top, then telephone at the bottom, and in the middle, three black cable lines.

“One’s Comcast, one’s our own cable, and … I’m not sure who owns the third one,” he says, as cars zoom by.

Screenshot of tennesseepromise.gov

In just a few weeks, students who applied for free community college — and almost every high school senior in the state did — will have their first mandatory Tennessee Promise meeting.

This will give a better indicator of how many students are serious about enrolling in community college next fall, but it won’t give a prediction of how many students will end up graduating.

The Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History

A team of historians and scientists from Middle Tennessee hope to soon welcome home the remains of soldiers who died on foreign soil nearly 170 years ago.

Construction workers in Monterrey, Mexico unearthed the bones of more than a dozen men several years ago: US soldiers who died in in the Mexican-American war. Because of their location, where the 1st Tennessee Regiment fought and later set up camp in the 1846 Battle of Monterrey, historian Tim Johnson believes it’s likely they were volunteers from the midstate.

TN Photo Services

The agency charged with turning around Tennessee’s lowest performing schools has to find new funding. The Achievement School District was born in 2010 out of the Race to the Top program. All of that prize money will be gone next year.

Bobby Allyn / WPLN

The deal Gov. Bill Haslam struck with the Tennessee Hospital Association as part of his push to expand Medicaid in Tennessee is being closely followed by state leaders and hospital executives in other states that have resisted expanding coverage as part of the president's healthcare law.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Bluegrass fans lined up on a bitterly cold fall night outside the speakeasy-style door of the Station Inn, a tiny, decades-old club in Nashville’s hyper-developing Gulch neighborhood.

Nineteen-year-old Caleb Montgomery took his place near the front. A guitarist, Montgomery already had visited at least a half dozen times since moving to Nashville for college a little over a year ago.

The energy, he said, is incomparable.

“This is a great venue for hearing bluegrass. Best in town, by far,” Montgomery said. “There’s such a small amount of people in there and you’re so close to the performers.”

 

TNGOP

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.

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Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Former Tennessee Tech professor Wonkak Kim is back in Middle Tennessee for a visit, so of course we made sure to have him swing through our studios for a performance. Kim, a clarinetist, brought with him the Parker String Quartet. The ensemble is currently on tour and is serving a residency at Harvard.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Mozart wrote his opera, The Marriage of Figaro, in the late 18th century, long before reality television. However, a new production featuring Blair School of Music students highlights the similarities between the over-the-top antics and scheming of the classical-era plot and modern-day shows like Big Brother and The Bachelor. Ahead of their very contemporary production, singers from the Vanderbilt Opera Theater came to sing highlights from the show.

Nina Cardona / Nashville Public Radio

Baritone Jeffrey Williams is a cheerful, friendly guy, but he loves singing roles that explore the darker side of life. The Austin Peay State University professor obtained a Center for Excellence grant for composer Leanna Kirchoff to write a mono-opera based on Guy de Maupassant's "Diary of a Madman," which premiered on a Halloween night recital of spooky and creepy classical music at Austin Peay. Williams is joined by Ben Harris on piano and Kevin Jablonsk playing double-bass, with the composer on hand to tell us about her approach to the piece.

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