“The Dose,” a weekly dose of news you can actually use.
Ayrika L Whitney, The Tennessean
Hello from The Dose, a place to share the news we’re all talking about — and actually experiencing. Each week, you’ll find: a stat worth digging into, a dose of news from our Tennessee community, something you *should* pay attention to on social media and a burst of happiness.
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I’m Jessica Bliss, a human interest columnist here at The Tennessean. I’m a mom, a triathlete, a writer. And, the curator of this newsletter. Definitely send me your feedback and what you’d like to see. My promise? This will be a positive space for all perspectives.
This week’s dose of news
Nashville public housing redevelopment painstakingly slow as funding is hard to find
Thousands of low-income renters’ homes hang in the balance as city officials scramble to finance the redevelopment of Cayce Homes, Nashville’s largest and oldest public housing complex.
The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency hopes to build more than 8,500 new residences in the urban core. It’s the most ambitious transformation of public housing in Nashville since Cayce was built in 1939. But, right now, it’s behind schedule, and new documents show the proposal may be more difficult than officials have let on.
So what’s going on?: It’s a money thing. Only 70 homes have been built since the master plan for the first 2,400 residences was released in 2014. The agency is selling off publicly owned land, borrowing against its newer buildings and dipping into its reserves to pay for construction.
Cayce Homes Resident Association President John Zirker outside of his home in the Cayce Homes in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Photo11: Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean)
Public housing in the United State is chronically underfunded, leading to an insurmountable backlog of deferred maintenance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that $25.6 billion in repairs were needed in 2010. In many cities, aging subsidized buildings have been demolished but not replaced.
Hope springs eternal: John Zirker, president of the Cayce Place Resident Association, has been watching construction crews build his new home from his apartment.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” he said from his porch. “We are holding our breath in prayer that the promises will be kept.”
Meet the recycling ‘police officer’ who puts ‘OOPS!’ stickers on your contaminated bins
Public Works veteran Ricky Lloyd goes out inspecting recycling bins several times a week.
Do they have plastic bags, Styrofoam or glass inside? OOPS! He slaps on a sticker.
Public Works employee Ricky Lloyd inspects a resident’s recycling can to look for non-recyclable items. He will place a sticker on the can to notify residents of items not allowed in the recycling stream. (Photo11: Shelley Mays / The Tennessean)
It’s Lloyd’s way of helping 102,000 Nashville resident recyclers learn what they can and cannot recycle. The biggest recycling “no no” is plastic bags. That includes grocery bags, baggies, shopping bags and even wine bags.
For more of the “no, nos” and “uh ohs,” here’s Ms. Cheap’s column on her mistakes.
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44-year-old Nashville bar, the Gold Rush, closes its doors. Here’s why.
Customers used to stream into Gold Rush after concerts for a beer and a cigarette.
The Gold Rush in Nashville opened in 1974. (Photo11: Shelley Mays, /Tennessean)
The decades-old bar is a historic part of Nashville’s “Rock Block” — a place so named as one of the few locations in town where live rock music, rather than country, is a regular feature at the Exit/In venue across the street.
But, General Manager Frank Hall says, Gold Rush just isn’t drawing like it used to.
“We tried everything we can,” he says. “We just can’t get enough people in here.”
A developer is interested in replacing the brick bar at 2205 Elliston Place with a luxury boutique hotel. But plans aren’t finalized.
Numbers worth knowing
Rural hospitals are collapsing in Tennessee, creating health care deserts in poor, far-flung towns
Residents in rural areas can be the most vulnerable among us. But as health care has become more expensive and health insurance lags, many rural hospitals have been unable to pay their bills, causing them to shrink or shut their doors.
In Tennessee, the crisis of hospital closures falls to new Gov. Bill Lee, who campaigned as a countryside candidate who would protect the state’s underserved, rural areas. So far, Lee has promised money, but it remains to be seen if the governor can find a fix before more facilities shut down.
Here’s a look at the issue by the numbers:
Nine rural hospitals: Have closed their doors across Tennessee since 2012. A 10th facility, Cumberland River Hospital, is scheduled to close in March. Others have eliminated all inpatient services, becoming husks of their former selves.
62 years: How long Copper Basin Medical Center, an independently owned hospital with about 25 beds, served Ducktown, Copperhill and the other old mining communities of Polk County, which is home to 17,000 people in Tennessee’s southeastern corner. Mounting debt pushed Copper Basin to close its doors for the final time 16 months ago.
$3 million: Amount set aside by Tennessee lawmakers last summer when they passed the Tennessee Rural Hospital Transformation Act. The money goes toward hiring consultants to help rural hospitals become more financially viable and stop the hemorrhaging.
For 62 years, Copper Basin Medical Center, served Ducktown, Copperhill and the other old mining communities of Polk County. It closed in 2017.
Ayrika L Whitney and Shelley Mays, Nashville Tennessean
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All the good feels
60-year-old Franklin woman finally looks for her birth family — and finds her mom in Greece
While riding to dinner after a busy day, Linda Carol Trotter finally got a chance to check her email. One subject line caught her attention.
“Take a seat first,” it read.
The email came from the professor who had been helping her track down her long-lost biological family in Greece. Trotter’s stomach jumped into her throat.
Tennessean columnist Brad Schmitt tells us more about a Tennessee woman’s ocean-crossing search for the birth mother she didn’t know she had.
Linda Carol Trotter, left, hugs her birth mother, Charikleia Noula Foka, days after they were reunited in Greece in June 2017. (Photo11: Submitted)
Quote of the week
“We want to make sure that in this moment of prosperity, that no matter who you love or what you look like, or no matter what your background or gender … you have a level playing field and fair shot at prosperity.”
— Nashville Mayor David Briley as he signed an executive order that made Nashville the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-owned business contributions to the city. The order affirms LGBT-owned businesses as a recognized category for Metro procurement and contracting.
And, speaking of inclusion, last week Tennessee also became the first state in the South with a hate crime law protecting transgender people.
Mayor Briley signs executive order recognizing LGBT-owned businesses in Metro. (Photo11: Yihyun Jeong/Tennessean)
Oh, the things you should do!
Expecting? Then visit BabySavings Days: With sales taking place at participating Walmart stores across the country from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, you can save on all things for the little one to come.
Book a room at Moxy Hotel: Expected to open in May, this millennial-focused Lower Broadway hotel is designed to be super hip and all about the experience. For example, arriving guests will get a free drink at check in — which will be at a bar rather than a front desk. We’ll toast to that.
Moxy Hotel is a new hotel coming to Lower Broadway. It’s geared to partiers and millennials with Instagram-ready photo areas and small modern rooms Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo11: Larry McCormack / The Tennessean)
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