Jessica Bliss Nashville Tennessean
Published 9:34 PM EST Feb 6, 2019
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
Have you heard of homesteading? More Nashvillians are returning to a simpler life
Demand for Nashville chicken permits has more than doubled in recent years. The number of Tennessee residents keeping bees has quadrupled in the past decade. And more people are renting garden plots to grow their own fresh fruits and veggies.
Homesteading — aka a self-sufficient lifestyle — is all the rage in Nashville. It’s part of a shift fueled by a desire to eat natural, chemical-free foods, to live frugally and to return to a simpler life. Now, who wants to go out and get a bee hive and a goat? I do!
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Oh, stop it: Nashville is suing Blake Shelton’s honky tonk over a red light
Walk down Broadway, and you may see one of its bars aglow in red light. That’s Ole Red, country music artist Blake Shelton’s joint, in partnership with Ryman Hospitality.
Located along a strip of neon, one wouldn’t think a simple red light would raise alarm, but the Historic Zoning Commission passed a policy in August 2017 banning colored exterior lights in districts with historic overlays. The Ole Red building is one.
Now, it’s suing.
Waffle House shooter indicted on 17 counts
The Davidson County grand jury found that the evidence against Travis Reinking — the suspect in the Nashville Waffle House shooting — was strong enough to support four counts of premeditated first-degree murder, four counts of attempted first degree murder and a slate of other charges.
The April attack killed four people. Soon it was eclipsed by the next attack, and then another. But the Waffle House survivors haven’t moved on. They still feel the physical and mental scars of violence.
The indictment moves Reinking’s case closer to a high-profile criminal trial. Prosecutors have now identified eight key witnesses they might call to testify, including four survivors of the shooting.
Nashville opens new 24-hour mental health emergency room
When Bonnie Kelly goes into crisis, she hears voices. Delusions from her bipolar syndrome confuse her. She’s been arrested for disorderly conduct and spent time in jail.
At 64 years old, she still carries the burden of those decades’-old arrests. When it comes to mental illness, Tennessee officials now agree — incarceration is not always the best option.
Last weekend, the city opened a new 24-hour Crisis Treatment Center to help redirect those suffering mental health disorders away from the criminal justice system and to community-based treatment and supports.
Need help?: This tool offers a searchable database of hospitals, treatment centers and mental health organizations across Tennessee that offer support.
Former Vanderbilt nurse charged with reckless homicide after error killed a patient
You may remember this story: A nurse’s medication mix-up at Vanderbilt University Medical Center resulted in the death of a 75-year-old Gallatin woman in 2017.
The nurse allegedly ignored safety precautions, according to the Davidson County District Attorney’s office. In addition to homicide, she has also been charged with impaired adult abuse.
The victim’s son said this week that his mother would feel sorrow for nurse.
“I know my mom well, and she would be very upset knowing that this lady may spend some of her life in prison,” Gary Murphey told The Tennessean. “She probably had a family, and it’s destroyed their life, too.”
Numbers worth knowing
Hotel fever: How many is too many?
Of course you’ve seen them: Vacationers, bachelorette parties, country music fans. They all flock to Nashville, lured by the city’s live music and nightlife scenes. And they can mean big bucks for developers — particularly in the hotel industry. There has been a boom of building here in the last few years, but is the city oversaturated now? Investors remain bullish.
Let’s look at the numbers:
15.2 million: Tourists who visited Nashville last year, according to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. That’s up from 14.5 million vacationers in 2017.
20: New hotels that opened in Nashville in 2018. That was up from 19 in 2017 and another 20 from 2015 to 2016.
$147.19 a night: Average room price in 2018 — up from $142.64 last year. Rooms downtown start closer to $300 a night on weekends.
17 percent: Of visitors surveyed by the Nashville Convention & Visitor’s Corp. said they stayed in short-term rentals and 65 percent reported hotel reservations.
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All the good feels
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler opens house for abused girls in Memphis
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has dozens of music-related accolades, including a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But Janie’s House? “This is real,” he says.
Janie’s Fund is a project between Tyler and Youth Villages that raises money to create homes for girls who have suffered abuse or neglect as they age out of the foster system. The fund’s name came from the fictional Janie of Tyler’s song “Janie’s Got a Gun,” which depicts a girl abused by her father.
Tyler was in Bartlett, Tenn., this week to celebrate the opening of the second Janie’s House. The first is in Atlanta. “This does my heart and soul good,” Tyler said.
Quote of the week
“Tequila is sort of, I think, a misunderstood spirit. … Most people have the super cheap, spring break, plastic bottle experience, and that is so far from what it really is.”
— Todd Bottorff, co-owner of TC Craft Tequila, one of two Nashville-owned tequilas popping up on store shelves and in bars across Middle Tennessee. High-end tequila and Tennessee whiskey are key drivers of growth in the U.S. spirits industry right now.
Oh, the things you should do!
Go to see a ground-breaking ballet: ”Lucy Negro Redux” goes starkly against ballet’s historical trends as a piece created exclusively for an African-American female lead. It features an original score to be performed live by Rhiannon Giddens — founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops — and spoken-word poetry by Nashville author Caroline Randall Williams, whose book was inspiration for the ballet. It shows at TPAC Feb. 8-10.
Celebrate Black History Month: There’s puppet shows, cultural programs, rich storytelling, history and genealogy workshops, lots of music and much more. And most of the events are free! Check out all the amazing ways you can celebrate Black History Month in Middle Tennessee.
Eat in East Nasty: It’s restaurant week on the East side. Fill your tummies and feel good through Feb. 10. A percentage of money spent on delicious meals goes to support the Fannie Battle Day Home for Children. Participating restaurants include Peninsula, Fox Bar & Cocktail Club, Lyra and more.
Put together your audition tape: Warm up those patriotic vocal cords. The Nashville Sounds want you to sing the National Anthem at First Tennessee Park. The ball club is accepting audition videos now. The season opens on April 4, so don’t delay.
Get your tix to see Chris Young: The music star’s ”Raised on Country 2019″ tour includes more than 25 coast-to-coast stops at arenas and amphitheaters — but there’s not a stop in Nashville, so get ready for a road trip.
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