Articles by: Emily Siner

What AT&T’s Announcement Means For Fiber-Optic Internet In Nashville

What AT&T’s Announcement Means For Fiber-Optic Internet In Nashville

November 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm

AT&T is likely putting the brakes on bringing gigabit-speed Internet to Nashville. It comes as a disappointment to Nashville residents hoping for competition to Google Fiber.

Rev. Micheal Ellis has led the Impact Baptist Church, which is a church plant of the massive Bellevue Baptist congregation in Memphis. Credit: IBC

Tennessee Baptist Convention Has First Black President After ‘Long Overdue’ Election

November 11, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Rev. Michael Ellis’ election comes two years after the national denomination, the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention, elected its first black president.

MTSU professor Cliff Ricketts stands next to the 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit pickup truck he will drive from Key West, Fla., to Seattle, Wash., from Nov.  6 to 13. Credit: MTSU News and Media Relations

MTSU Professor Drives Cross-Country On Chicken Fat Fuel (If It Doesn’t Freeze)

November 11, 2014 at 5:04 am

An enterprising MTSU professor is driving from Key West, Fla., to Seattle, Wash. — without stopping for gas. The good news is that 66-year-old Cliff Ricketts is getting 40 miles per gallon on biodiesel so far. The bad news? It doesn’t fare well in cold weather.

Gov. Bill Haslam talks about the Tennessee Promise program to students at Antioch High School in August. Credit: TN Photo Services

Who’s Not Included In Tennessee’s Free Tuition Program? Undocumented Students

November 10, 2014 at 5:06 am

Nearly every high school senior applied for Tennessee Promise, but a small percentage of them may not be eligible for free community college tuition. Before getting the state funding, students must apply for federal financial aid — which leaves undocumented students behind.

Gay rights advocates rally for marriage equality in 2012 in Nashville. Credit: Tennessee Equality Project.

Tennessee Doesn’t Have To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages, Appeals Court Decides

November 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm

The decision, issued by a three-judge panel, wrote that it is constitutional for state to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. So, it said, Tennessee doesn’t have to recognize gay marriages performed in another state.

At the Vote No On 1 election night party, volunteers look dejected as the president of Planned Parenthood announces that the amendment has passed. The Yes On 1 campaign sent out a victory email soon after that. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

What’s Next For Tennessee Abortion Laws: New Regulations, New Resistance

November 5, 2014 at 1:48 am

The Yes on 1 campaign is hailing the passage of the abortion amendment as an “underdog victory.” Amendment opponents say it was an “uphill battle” that left them disappointed. Both sides expect to see new regulations on abortion proposed by the General Assembly next year.

Students at Antioch High School meet with Gov. Bill Haslam to talk about his Tennessee Promise initiative. Credit: TN Photo Services

Nearly Every High School Senior In The State Applied For Tennessee Promise

November 4, 2014 at 4:15 am

The state has a final count of students who have applied for Tennessee Promise, the last-dollar scholarship that guarantees free community college tuition: 56,571.

After months of campaigning and millions of dollars spent, voters will decide Tuesday whether or not the Tennessee Legislature should have more ability to regulate abortion. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Here’s Everything We Know About Tennessee’s Amendment 1

November 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The number of statistics, court cases and changes in law regarding abortion in Tennessee can be overwhelming for voters going to the polls tomorrow. To help you navigate the slew of information, we did a little work for you.

Auctioneer and businessman Justin Ochs won the 2012 International Championship based on his marketing skills, bid calling and interactions with the audience. Credit: Justin Ochs

Listen: Auctioneer Champ Slows It Down For Us (And Then Speeds It Up)

November 3, 2014 at 5:27 am

Justin Ochs is a pretty smooth talking guy to begin with, but when you get him in front of a crowd of people, he becomes a guy you can’t help but listen to.

Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt's ambassador to the U.S., mingles with Nashville business leaders during a breakfast at Belmont University. Credit: Mark Drury / Nashville Chamber of Commerce

Foreign Diplomats Gather In Nashville To Scope Out Country Music, Healthcare Connections

November 1, 2014 at 5:24 am

Diplomats from 23 countries — including Singapore, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — visited Nashville this week to tour the city and meet with business leaders in a trip organized by the U.S. State Department.

A Volunteer State staff member helps Madison Cone, middle, complete the Tennessee Promise application, along with the community college's application for admission. Her mom came with her. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Tennessee Promise’s Biggest Accomplishment: Adding ‘Free’ To College Conversation

October 31, 2014 at 4:53 am

The governor’s Tennessee Promise program guarantees that students can go to community college for free. And calling it free is more than a monetary statement: It’s also wildly effective marketing.

Garnering federal financial aid, using a form known as the FAFSA, can be a confusing process for students, state officials say. Tennessee Promise requires that students fill out the FAFSA before getting the state's last-dollar scholarship. Credit: Bent Tree via Flickr

Half Of Tennessee Promise Students Were Already Eligible For Federal College Funding

October 30, 2014 at 6:19 am

Many students attending community college under Tennessee Promise next fall will get their tuition paid by the federal government — meaning they could go to school tuition-free even without the state program.

Rebecca Hargrove, CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, signs up to be a Tennessee Promise mentor. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Tennessee Thinks Most Students Signing Up For Free Community College Won’t Actually Attend

October 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Almost three quarters of high school seniors in the state have applied for Tennessee Promise, the last-dollar scholarship that covers community college tuition, which has doubled the state’s expectations.

Ritchie Francisco, a freshman at Volunteer State, signs a poster that says he's committed to finishing college. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

State-Trained Mentors Try To Make The Road To Free Community College Less Confusing

October 24, 2014 at 5:18 am

More than 40,000 high school seniors have signed up for Tennessee Promise, the new state scholarship that sends students to community college for free. But they still have a lot to do before their first day of class, and sometimes even the smallest hiccup can derail would-be college students.

Why Are Parts Of The Tennessee Constitution Unconstitutional?

Why Are Parts Of The Tennessee Constitution Unconstitutional?

October 22, 2014 at 3:58 am

The Tennessee constitution is at the heart of this fall’s election, as voters consider four potential amendments that would change it. But what’s currently in written in the document has an interesting quirk: some passages don’t pass constitutional muster.

Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings spoke Tuesday about why her faith led her to oppose Amendment 1. Clergy supporting the amendment gathered across town later in the day to say their faiths led them to support the amendment. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Why Are Tennessee Churches Donating Only To The ‘Yes On 1′ Campaign?

October 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Clergy on both sides of the abortion amendment debate have been vocal about their views, but when it comes to money, only pro-amendment faith groups have been giving to a campaign. It’s a “cultural phenomenon,” one faith leader says.

Gov. Bill Haslam gives out pens to Overton High School students after the final ceremonially signing of the bill. Credit: Micah Bradley / WPLN

What The State’s Largest Public College System Expects From Tennessee Promise

October 13, 2014 at 5:21 am

The Tennessee Board of Regents may see 5,000 to 6,000 new students next year — meaning students who otherwise wouldn’t attend a TBR school — as a result of Tennessee Promise. Four-year schools will be competing within the system for freshmen who could go to a community college for free.

Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist was the 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court case that catalyzed the proposed abortion amendment today. One justice even wrote a dissent laying out the conservative reasoning for a constitutional amendment. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Behind Amendment 1: How The Fight Over Abortion Laws In Tennessee Began

October 13, 2014 at 5:10 am

The story of Amendment 1 begins in 1883, when the legislature passes the state’s very first abortion law. It’s untouched until Roe v. Wade 90 years later, followed by a series of court cases that left Tennessee in a fierce debate over abortion regulations.

At a rally in Nashville on Oct. 10, 35-year-old Halmat Qazi, left, says he believes it's time for the international community to start backing Kurdish fighters. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Watching Violence Abroad, Nashville Kurds Call On U.S. Support Against ISIS

October 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Salih Doski was among the couple hundred people rallying for support in downtown Nashville on Friday. He doesn’t have family in the besieged Syrian town of Kobane, but he says: “Kobane today, tomorrow will be Dahook city, where my family lives.”

A woman in Lwala, Kenya, sews for the New Visions Sewing Cooperative. Thistle Farms will be selling the cooperative's handmade aprons this winter. Credit: Thistle Farms

Nashville’s Thistle Farms Launches Global Trade Partnership To Help Women In Poverty

October 10, 2014 at 5:00 am

The Shared Trade online marketplace sells jewelry from India, fabric from Mozambique and silk scarves from Cambodia. Thistle Farms is also selling its vision: that customers can make a difference by buying from businesses that want to improve women’s lives.