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Matthew Charles
Julie Martinelli / WPLN

As He Heads Back To Prison, A Nashville Man Says 'Goodbye' To The New Life He Hoped To Build

When a Nashville man named Matthew Charles was released from prison early in 2016 after a sentence reduction, he’d spent almost half his life behind bars. But in a rare move, a federal court ruled his term was reduced in error and ordered him back behind bars to finish his sentence.

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Grand Ole Opry

Since 1948, Little Jimmy Dickens was a mainstay at the Grand Ole Opry, including a show he played Dec. 20 to celebrate his 94th birthday.

The 4-foot-11 singer was known for his sense of humor, even in songs, often cracking jokes about his stature.

“I’m puny, short and little but I’m loud,” he sang in one of his oldest hits.

Other tunes had lines like “may the bird of paradise fly up your nose.” A song called “Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait” won him the nickname “Tater.”

Blake Farmer / WPLN (File photo)

The happy new year was also a happy birthday for hundreds of refugees who now call Nashville home. Many asylum seekers are assigned January 1st when they can’t prove their date of birth.

Hussien Mohamud had more friends than he could possibly handle celebrating birthdays this week. “On my Facebook, 1,056 friends of mine get their birthday on that particular day, so it’s ridiculous,” he says.

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.

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The Latest from Classical 91.1

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

While Christopher Farrell has been a violist with the Nashville Symphony since 1999, he was in Studio C this week as a composer – a skill he's spent the last decade honing. He brought with him his friends and colleagues, cellist Sari Reist, bassist Tim Pearson and pianist Megan Gale to perform new music written this year and last. Both pieces are part of Farrell's larger project to write a sonata for each string instrument.

Kara McLeland / Nashville Public Radio

As one of Nashville's premiere vocal groups, Portara Ensemble's repertoire spans a wide range of genres and styles. Director Jason Shelton brought the ensemble and one of their diverse programs to the studio in advance of their June 3rd concert, called "Home." The performance will be a benefit for Open Table Nashville, a non-profit organization working to end homelessness. And while the program might cover a range of styles — including a stunning performance of a traditional spiritual and the world premiere of a new work with words provided by members of the ensemble — the pieces are all thematically tied together by the idea of home.  

Courtesy of Colleen Phelps

"You won't hear anything: you'll hear everything," is how avant-garde musician John Cage described his events known as Musicircus. First performed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Musicircus began as an invitation for artists to come together in a space and perform whatever they chose, simultaneously.

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