ARTICLES


Murfreesboro Room In The Inn federal money jeopardized due to Title VI concerns

Jun 26 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Andrew Wigdor

The Murfreesboro location of Room In The Inn recently closed its doors due to the city ending its lease agreement with the homeless shelter. Despite city officials claiming that the lease agreement was ended because of issues with non-compliance, Room In The Inn Executive Director Bobby Copeland stated that he was never aware of said....

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Development group claims to keep units ‘affordable’ after moving out residents

Jun 26 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Despite promises to keep units affordable, a developer has pumped up the prices at two apartment complexes in South Nashville. The rent increase, and forced exit from developers, left tenants scrambling to find affordable housing.

Only a few tenants now remain at Premier West after Covenant Capital earlier this year gave renters notice to....

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LeBeau optimistic of Titans' revamped secondary

Jun 26 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: David Arteaga

When the Tennessee Titans finished the 2016 regular season, there was little question regarding the team's most pressing positional deficit: the secondary. 

The unit allowed 269 yards per game (31st), 25 touchdowns (tied 17th), and a passer rating of 88.3 to opposing quarterbacks (15th). 

Compare these numbers to those from the Titans' run....

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Local Sounds: Dan Auerbach's latest sounds like old Nashville

Jun 26 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Tyler Kes

One of the most impressive things about the new album from one half of the Black Keys and producer extraordinaire Dan Auerbach is how effortless it sounds. 

I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise; after all, Auerbach has been involved with music on this level in some form for close to two decades now. 

The newest release, Waiting on a....

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Project 615 expands to West Nashville, grows homeless outreach services

Jun 26 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Andrew Wigdor

Project 615, a philanthropic clothing store, recently expanded to a new location in West Nashville, which is now allowing the business to broaden their outreach to the homeless population and to give their customers in West Nashville a more personalized touch.

As Project 615 co-founder Derek Evans explains it, the business employs men who are....

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Love and Hate: 'The Night of the Hunter' stalks the Belcourt

Jun 26 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

The Night of the Hunter (1955) is a Southern Gothic, rural noir about a serial killer preacher, but the film’s bloody greatness is due to a murderers’ row of talented filmmakers: The Night of the Hunter stars Robert Mitchum in one of his most iconic roles, and the movie is written by Let Us Now Praise Famous Men author and great American....

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Vendor Moose: 'God told me to be a homeless advocate'

Jun 26 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Layla Shahmohammadi

Over 20 years ago, Gary E., more commonly known as "Moose," moved to Nashville from East Tennessee to write songs on Music Row and live out his country music dreams. Before the age of 30, Moose had chased a wide range of careers, ranging from working for the United Parcel Service to professional boxing to wrestling bears. He found that music....

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The Little Pantry

Jun 26 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Mary B.

All around Nashville you can find places that give out food boxes. These food boxes are to help people who live in camps, on the streets, and even to those who have food stamps and need a little extra food to help them until their stamps come on their cards. 

Most of these food banks only serve their zip codes, and you can only get three....

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City of Murfreesboro ending its lease agreement with Room In The Inn shelter

Jun 19 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Andrew Wigdor

The city of Murfreesboro has ended its lease agreement with Room In The Inn, forcing the homeless day shelter to find a new home after 21 years at their West Main Street address.

The city will not be renewing the agreement that expires June 30 due to a loss of funding from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and issues with non-compliance....

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Nashville's Chai Wallah helps formerly homeless women and refugees

Jun 19 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Brinley Hineman

Following a fateful trip to India in 2012, newlyweds Tasha and Mark Lemley came home with a love for traditional Chai and an idea: to bring a piece of Indian culture to Nashville while pairing it with their desire to bring change to a local community.  

While in a market in Mumbai — a place Tasha describes as “beautiful and chaotic” —....

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Tasting event held to celebrate culture, support asylum seekers

Jun 19 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Andrew Wigdor

Food from countries named in President Donald Trump’s travel ban were served at a local event held to support immigrants who require legal assistance when seeking asylum.

TN Justice For Our Neighbors hosted the event, dubbed “Food from Inside the Travel Ban,” earlier this month at Vanderbilt University. JFON is a nonprofit organization....

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Nashville hot... fish

Jun 19 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Richard Exton Jr.

 

Behind sliding screen windows and in nondescript strip malls away from the national headlines, local chefs have been perfecting a Nashville classic: hot fish.  

Harkening back to the fish shacks of a forgotten era, whiting or catfish (and sometimes tilapia) is deep fried and covered in a spicy dry rub or hot sauce before being topped with....

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Chef Maneet Chauhan: 'Nashville will always be my home'

Jun 19 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amanda Haggard

On the very day Maneet Chauhan opened her first restaurant in Nashville, Chauhan Ale & Masala House, her son Karma was born — three months earlier than expected. “He clearly wanted to make Nashville his home; it was the best decision we could have ever made,” Chauhan said. 

Before her son cemented their stay, Chauhan made the decision to....

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Wish 'Full Metal Jacket' a happy 30th birthday on Netflix in June

Jun 19 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

This year we celebrate three decades of Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam War film, Full Metal Jacket. The movie came to Netflix on June 1, and it still streams like the brutal, hilarious, bleak and indelible examination of the conflict it was during the Reagan Era. The film is just one of Kubrick’s criticisms of combatting countries, but....

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Anita, a natural businesswoman, celebrates sobriety and life

Jun 19 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Layla Shahmohammadi

In 2009, Anita was living in the YWCA Domestic Violence Center. While experiencing alcohol addiction and homelessness, she had lost everything, including her ID and birth certificate. After attending a benevolent program at Downtown Presbyterian Church, Anita met a couple of guys wearing Contributor gear. When she asked them about the paper,....

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‘Housing Not Handcuffs Forum’ brings together legal professionals, advocates in DC

Jun 15 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Across the country, people experiencing homelessness are subject to arrest for sitting, sleeping and eating outside, despite the lack of other options. An arrest could mean that individuals experiencing homelessness are taken to jail, where they remain until they can pay fines, and are subject to loss of property or employment.

The....

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Florida Georgia Line: Beyond the party

Jun 15 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Holly Gleason

Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley are laughing and talking music. It’s clear more than the good times so much of Florida Georgia Line's music promises, the pair of barely 30s from Monroe, Ga., and Ormond Beach, Fla., are consumed by music in any genre or time frame.

“If I were on a desert island,” Kelley muses, turning the possibilities....

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Longtime 'Contributor' vendor Curtis dies following battle with cancer

Jun 07 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Linda Bailey

 

Longtime Contributor vendor Curtis Allen passed away May 26 at the age of 73 following a battle with cancer.

If you spent anytime at Eighth and Wedgwood over the past eight years, chances are you knew Curtis. When I think of him, I remember a man with a bright smile, strong shoulders and dark sunglasses waving, dancing and walking up and....

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Homeless encampments the focus of new Metro outreach team

Jun 07 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

 

A short walk on a muddy but cleared trail, located on an offshoot from one of Nashville’s busiest pikes, reveals a handful of campsites. On one side of the path, a few tents circle around some damp logs, and a shopping cart holds dirty clothes, cans, whatever else fits. A different campsite holds a broken down recliner, empty tuna....

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The Belcourt Theatre's Sofia Coppola series is a timely celebration

Jun 07 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

A new Sofia Coppola film starring ad- opted Nashvillian Nicole Kidman is enough of a reason for the Belcourt Theatre to give the filmmaker the Director Spotlight treatment. Add Coppola’s recent best director win at the Cannes Film Festival for The Beguiled, and this series becomes a salute to one of America’s great movie making families,....

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The making of Smashville

May 31 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Justin Bradford

Smashville. It’s more than just a hashtag. It’s more than just a slogan. It’s a family that was built with a strong foundation. It may have started more as a marketing idea back in the mid 2000s, but Smashville has become a rallying cry not just for the Nashville Predators organization but also for fans of the team from all over the....

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Tommy, a poet, says writing has sustained his sobriety

May 30 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Layla Shahmohammadi

“Right now, I’m at a point in my life where I’m learning how to live,” says Contributor vendor Tommy. “The Contributor helps me express myself.”

Tommy, a Nashville native, has been selling the paper regularly for two years in areas around Vanderbilt University and Bellevue. Preferring to bounce around and remain unmapped, Tommy....

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What we talk about when we talk about 'Moonlight'

May 30 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

The first words you hear in Moonlight are “Every nigger is a star.” It’s the title line from the song by Boris Gardiner, and it speaks to Moonlight’s twin preoccupations: race and film itself. Moonlight is a dramatic epic that follows a black man named Chiron through almost three decades of his life, growing up in Miami and later....

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Local Sounds: Paramore has a new sounds for its longtime fans

May 30 2017
Posted by:

In many ways, Paramore is pretty representative of “New Nashville.” 

The group isn’t country, the members dress as many East Nashvillians do and they managed to break through the so-called “Nashville Curse” by becoming the first local rock band to sell more than a million copies with its sophomore album, Riot!. The breakthrough....

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Nashville's homeless population sees a slight decrease, according to annual count

May 30 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

An annual tally of Nashville’s homeless population shows a slight decrease since the last count in 2016, while more youth are experiencing sheltered and unsheltered homelessness.

According to the point-in-time count, there are currently 2,337 people experiencing homelessness in Nashville, a slight decrease from 2,365 reported in 2016. The....

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Preds first Stanley Cup Finals a culmination of David Poile’s 20-year vision

May 30 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Michael Gallagher

David Poile’s resume is second-to-none. 

General manager of the Nashville Predators, the Toronto, Ontario, native has served as the GM of the 1998 and 1999 U.S. National teams and the 2014 U.S. Olympic team. He’s won the Lester Patrick Trophy, which is awarded for outstanding service to the sport of hockey in the United States, has been a....

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How did we get here? A book from 1835 explains today's political climate

May 25 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Christina Ashworth

As a person who has long been interested in social issues but has also so far only been old enough to vote in one presidential election, most of the talk I’ve heard in recent years centers around wondering how our political system got so distorted from its origin. During the most recent election, choosing “the lesser of two evils” seemed....

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How the mayor plans to bring better mass transit to the city

May 25 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amanda Haggard

Despite massive growth in Nashville, the pikes surrounding the downtown area still remain largely difficult to navigate. When Mayor Megan Barry announced at the State of Metro Address her plan to introduce light rail in Nashville, it only made sense to start with an area of town like Gallatin Pike, where people need a way to make it to work....

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Nate, a homeless vendor, has found community in Hermitage

May 22 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Nathan, or “Nate” as we know him, can’t say enough kind words about the community where he sells the paper on Andrew Jackson Parkway in Hermitage.

When he’s out there selling The Contributor, people stop by to buy the paper, plus bring him water, meals, fruit, even a box of chocolates.

“People are so friendly,” Nate says, lighting....

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Nashville prepares to help the city's homeless in dangerous summer temps

May 22 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Nashville’s heat, already present as May has brought on summer-like temps, brings challenges to those living on the streets: lack of cooled shelter, lack of water and prolonged sun exposure.

It’s a common misconception that people experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable in the winter months, but homelessness advocates and outreach....

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StyleBlueprint, a Nashville women entrepreneur success story

May 22 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Ashley Heeney

Fashion, food, film. They’re taking off in Nashville, and behind the business boom are women. The city has been named the No. 1 city for female entrepreneurs, and they’re playing a major role in the It City’s economic growth. 

One successful women-powered business is StyleBlueprint, the fastest growing digital media company in the....

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Old Nashville food still bringing people together

May 22 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Richard Exton Jr.

As Nashville changes from town to city, growing pains ensue. Commutes double, rent goes up, things become more expensive and institutions that were once essential parts of Music City fall victim to the wrecking ball and disappear. The change seems inevitable, but growing up here made me soft to big city ways. I still say hello to strangers and....

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Nonprofit Spotlight: Project Connect Nashville

May 22 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Carrie Horton

Often times, it’s those who need help in our own city who are the hardest to spot. We focus on big problems on a national or even international level, and we begin to overlook the people who need us right in our own backyard.

Project Connect Nashville has set out to change that. Located in Madison, just 20 minutes outside of the heart of....

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Preds play in the franchise's first-ever Western Conference Finals

May 17 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Michael Gallagher

Predators defenseman P.K. Subban perfectly summed up the Nashville Predators’ state of mind after they beat the St. Louis Blues, advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. 

“The expectation is the Stanley Cup,” Subban said. “I think we took a big step for us and obviously for this organization....

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Metro middle school ‘teacher of the year’ aims to inspire students beyond math concepts

May 17 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

It was during her time as a Girl Scout that Cicely Woodard realized her dream of teaching. While working to earn a badge, she taught French to some young Girl Scouts, and found herself “on a high” from the experience. It was her “aha” moment that clued her into a passion and talent for instruction. 

“Once the teaching bug bit me,....

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'X: The Unheard Music' celebrates 40 years of music-making

May 17 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

I first heard X’s music in the early 1990s – I always mixed them up with Billy Idol’s Generation X band, and I found John Doe’s non-name pseudonym to be confusing the first few times I read it in print. That said, everything I heard and read left an impression, and by the time I took my first deep dive into the music, I was ready for a....

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Faithful customers have helped 'The Scribe' create a budget, dream for the future

May 17 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

“If one out of every five cars would pay $2 and maybe a tip for The Contributor,” vendor Michael says, grinning, “I could build my own house.”

It’s not a dream; it’s math. Michael – or as his customers know him, “The Scribe” – has built up such a regular customer base on Harding Pike that he now sets a weekly budget based....

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A Mother's Pride

May 11 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Vicky B.

Sometimes it is very shameful to tell people that I live with my son in a hotel. It’s not easy. But at the same time, I'm extremely grateful to have a roof, a hot shower and a bed. 

It hurts the most when my son receives his paycheck and it all goes to the office for the rent for two weeks, then he only has a few dollars left for....

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COIN delivers energetic dance party in latest album

May 11 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Tyler Kes

The newest album from former Belmont University rockers COIN, How Will You Know If You Never Try, which was released April 21, continues all the good work the group started on their 2015 self-titled debut.

This is a peppy, catchy, synth-heavy dance album in the body of an indie rocker. 

Many Nashvillians should be familiar with at least one....

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Opinion: Twenty-First Century America’s ‘Pre-Existing Condition’

May 11 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Brady Banks

Late night television has been awash with vignettes about the new GOP amendment to the American Health Care Act. A favorite target is the draconian approach Republicans have taken toward people with pre-existing conditions. It’s quick and easy comedic fodder. 

Stephen Colbert leaned into the amendment’s removal of premium cost caps for....

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Maria Bamford's 'Old Baby' is grown-up comedy

May 09 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Netflix is a go-to site when it comes to streaming the latest movies or watching new, original series. But you might have noticed that Netflix also wants to be your first click when it comes to stand-up comedy: 2017 has already seen the release of two Dave Chappelle specials, a stand up special by Amy Schumer and another by Louis C.K. In the....

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Former Major Leaguer Barry Zito finds second career as vulnerable Nashville songwriter

May 09 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Holly Gleason

“It ain’t about the money that you got in the bank

It ain’t about how many hearts you break

It don’t matter how many people know your name

Even though that’s what they say…”

– “The Secret To Life”

Barry Zito looks like any other good looking man of a certain age. Dark hair, chiseled face, clear eyes that take in....

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Jessi Colter – Outlaw, Lady, Inspiration.

May 08 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Holly Gleason

“Waylon was so great with his book, I felt like I really didn’t need to write mine,” explains Jessi Colter, talking about why she waited so long to write her own memoir. “And I always felt that if I ever did write mine, I’d tell why I made certain turns, so people would understand.

The Waylon that the dark haired beauty – and at....

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'Witness Walls' tell Nashville's civil rights story

May 02 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Ashley Heeney

It was standing room only April 21 for the debut and dedication of Walter Hood’s new public art project for the city of Nashville.

Witness Walls is a commemorative sculpture celebrating the civil rights movement in Nashville during the 1950s and 1960s. After public school desegregation began in 1957, students from the city's predominantly....

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Looking forward to the return of 'Twin Peaks,' the Belcourt looks back at David Lynch

May 02 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

The Belcourt Theatre has programmed a gosh darn great retrospective of films by American cinema’s reigning surrealist to celebrate the May 11 opening of the new documentary David Lynch: The Art of Life, and in anticipation of the May 21 return of the legendary Twin Peaks television series on Showtime. Jon Nguyen’s portrait of Lynch finds....

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Anthony moves into an apartment after 27 years without a permanent place

May 02 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

For the first time in 27 years, Anthony has a light bill in his name. 

The 55-year-old Army veteran recently signed the lease to an apartment in Nashville after spending years sleeping in hotels, at friends’ places and on the city’s streets.

“When the lady handed me my keys, I cried,” he said. 

Anthony has been selling The....

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Facing displacement, Nashville renters protest real estate firm

May 02 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

“As a mother, it’s a very stressful situation to not know where you’re going, for your kids to ask you, ‘Are we moving?’ Many nights, I’ve broken down and cried,” Idella Woodard said. A mother of two boys, she is worried about where she’ll live after a real estate firm's purchase of her apartment building in West Nashville has....

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Optimism for Tennessee Titans in 2017

May 02 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: David Arteaga

The offseason program has officially begun in Tennessee, as April 20 marked the start of voluntary workouts for the Titans. OTA workouts soon follow in May, and mandatory minicamp starts in mid-June.

As players revisited with one another at Saint Thomas Park and began to answer questions from members of the media, there was a clear sense of....

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What's good? New print publication looks to share only positive stories

Apr 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Chris St. Clair

With terror, strife and hatred often dominating today’s headlines, news outlets can become hostile environments for readers – stories about hardship weigh heavy on our consciences, and truly good stories seem harder and harder to find. 

But a challenger emerges: Goodnewspaper, a quarterly print newspaper that wants to combat the scourge....

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A mother of 3, Shawna is working toward permanent housing

Apr 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Riley Kellum

Contributor vendor Shawna is a young woman whose life has been hard. But her past – which includes foster care – and present life as a mother are motivation to make a new life for herself in Nashville as she currently experiences homelessness.

Born in Nebraska, Shawna was placed in the foster care system just shy of her seventh birthday.....

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April nonprofit spotlight: End Slavery Tennessee

Apr 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Carrie Horton

If you drive down Interstate 24 West towards Nissan Stadium, there’s a billboard you can’t miss right before Exit 49. It features Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker holding a snapshot surrounded by the words WhatIs13.com. Visit the website and you’ll find a pretty shocking truth. Thirteen is the average age of children when they are forced into....

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Christian Bale still hates your business card in 'American Psycho'

Apr 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

American Psycho is a 2000 film that throws-back to the go-go yuppie year of 1987. That’s the year that Oliver Stone’s film Wall Street premiered, giving the world the suitably reptilian-monikered Gordon Gekko. Director Mary Harron and actor Christian Bale borrow Gekko’s designer suits, sunglasses and slicked-back hair for American....

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Sesame Street's newest muppet has autism

Apr 12 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

The newest resident on Sesame Street is a character with autism. Julia, a cheery 4-year-old with bright orange hair and green eyes, is the newest muppet to join the show's cast in a decade.

 Julia, who made her debut April 10 during Autism Awareness Month, is curious and loves to sing songs. She’s also distracted easily and sensitive to....

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Local Sounds: Dee Goodz's hip hop album is not exactly as described

Apr 12 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Tyler Kes

Nashville is best known to the general public for its country music scene. And, for us locals, it's the robust and booming DIY/ psychedelic/garage rock scene. So, it isn’t really surprising that this is the first hip-hop album I’ve reviewed since I started writing local music reviews more than a year ago.

What might be surprising,....

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Joe Nolan previews the Nashville Film Festival

Apr 12 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Springtime in Nashville means warmer walks on the greenways, balmy back porch evenings, and – of course – the start of the Nashville Sounds baseball season. But for Music City cinephiles, April brings amped-up anticipation for the now-10-days-long Nashville Film Festival. This is the first year the fest will be held at the Regal Hollywood....

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Governor approves Tennessee council on autism spectrum disorder

Apr 10 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

A new state council will seek to streamline care and support for Tennessee families impacted by autism.

Gov. Bill Haslam recently signed off on a measure that creates the Tennessee council on autism spectrum disorder. The council, made up of several state agencies, will coordinate among state agencies assisting families with ASD and make....

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'Death Race 2000' proves the future ain't all it's cracked up to be

Apr 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Some of the biggest book news this year has been George Orwell’s 1984’s bestselling popularity on Amazon, and the book is still dominating the top spot among Classic Literary Fiction rivals like A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Odyssey. The book’s recent boom in readership started with a spike in 2013 after Edward Snowden leaked the....

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MTSU increases its national recognition

Apr 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: David Arteaga

National media does not often shine light upon basketball programs from the “mid-majors,” a term that refers to all Division I conferences outside of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC 12 and SEC.  

There are certain exceptions, however. 

Consider Gonzaga, VCU and Butler. Although they respectively hail from the West Coast Conference, the....

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Legal rights of homeless people often upheld in courts

Apr 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

A majority of lawsuits in the last few years challenging the criminalization of homelessness, including evictions of homeless encampments and bans on panhandling, have resulted in favorable outcomes for homeless people and their advocates. 

According to a new report from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, since 2014, “most....

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After surviving a horrific accident and robbery, Ken has pieced his life back together

Apr 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Riley Kellum

Ken J. has been selling for The Contributor for nearly three years, and his story is quite unique. The 54-year-old lived a stable life until a series of unfortunate events dramatically  impacted his life. But, through strength and perseverance, he overcame circumstances that would defeat almost anyone. 

Ken grew up in Addison, a suburb of....

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Big Surr, pure 90's aesthetic, brings in an early summer

Apr 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Tyler Kes

With its wavy lines and pure '90s aesthetic, you can tell Big Surr’s intentions just by looking at the album cover for the group’s full length debut.

In Business, which features a blend of remixed older songs and new hits, heralds the changing of the seasons, acting as one of the first truly summer albums of the year to emerge from the....

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'The Sunshine Makers' brings good vibrations to Netflix

Mar 31 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully aren’t household names, and even aficionados of the 1960s and 1970s counterculture would likely respond with blank faces at their mention. In the 1960s, Sand and Scully were both young men but they couldn’t have been more different. The swaggering Sand had a big ego and the relentless determination to go with....

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Free legal help available to Tennesseans

Mar 31 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Free civil legal help will be made available to Tennesseans in the coming weeks through an initiative by the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission. 

Legal clinics, expungement clinics and educational events are planned across the state, where attendees can get legal questions answered free by a pro bono attorney. Many clinics....

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Neighbors push back against proposed micro home village during emotional meeting

Mar 31 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

A overcrowded church fellowship hall was the stage for heated debate, complete with jeers and yelling, over a proposed micro home village to help Nashville’s homeless.

Those against the project – dubbed The Village at Glencliff – outweighed its fans as neighbors cheered on speakers citing concerns over the flow of information about the....

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Sharon increased her sales by 20 percent in one year through hard work, loyal customers

Mar 29 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Riley Kellum

Sharon H. has been selling The Contributor since its early days in Nashville, and she has played a large part in the expansion of the paper through launching sales in the Green Hills area. Throughout her life, she has conquered heartbreak, injury and homelessness while continuing to be one of the paper’s top-selling vendors. This past week,....

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Leaving shame and guilt behind, the real LeAnn Rimes has emerged

Mar 29 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Holly Gleason

“When you go from zero to warp speed in 0.2 seconds, and everyone knows your name and your face, you’re supposed to know how (to handle it),” says LeAnn Rimes, thoughtfully considering her start. "When you’re at the top, you’re supposed to do all that. I was a child who was dependent on so many people. 

“Then my parents got....

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Alberto Gonzales believes in public service, ignoring your critics and giving Trump a chance

Mar 29 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Alberto Gonzales – grandson of immigrants and son of migrant workers in Texas – climbed to one of the nation’s highest and most distinguished offices: U.S. Attorney General.

And the path to the position in President George W. Bush’s cabinet has taught him many lessons. Mainly, have a thick skin and ignore the critics.

“You have to be....

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Disney's latest Beast is another beauty

Mar 24 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Disney’s new live action Beauty and the Beast is the latest cinematic turn for the 18th-century fairy tale about a cursed prince transformed into a hideous monster who yearns for a beauty who might see beyond his gruesome countenance and love him for what’s beneath his twisting horns. The first and best Beauty and the Beast is Jean....

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After years of addiction, June has stayed clean and is looking for permanent housing

Mar 24 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Riley Kellum

Formerly homeless vendor June P. has been selling The Contributor on Belmont Blvd. for three years. She’s battled drug and alcohol addiction since she was a teenager, spurred by difficult circumstances in her life. A Belmont student directed her to the paper, and she credits The Contributor with motivating her to stay clean and helping her....

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Helping homeless animals was just the beginning for Nashville's Laurie Green

Mar 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Ashley Heeney

Laurie Green is like an angel in a city of obstacles. 

Twenty years ago, she started Southern Alliance for People and Animal Welfare (SAFPAW) to help homeless animals. Now, she also helps individuals who have pets living in poverty with them. 

Her nonprofit, based in Nashville, receives requests for help from within Davidson County and....

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Titans address defense, special teams during free agency

Mar 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: David Arteaga

March 9, 3 p.m. CST not only marked the official start of the new NFL year, but also the beginning of NFL free agency.

Teams across the league are able to resign in-house players who have reached the end of their contract or acquire out-of-house players who have reached the end of their contract with a different organization. 

Since the....

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Minimalist designer offers hope, healing through series about miscarriages

Mar 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Pink lines, some pale and others nearly fuschia, neatly laid out in rows on a bright white page are the epitome of artist Elisa Fox’s esthetic – modern and minimal. But the print signals more than creative graphic design; it’s a story – a story of loss. 

In 2015, Fox and her husband, who live in Springfield, Ill., found out they were....

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Nonprofit spotlight: Barefoot Republic helps kids attend summer camp

Mar 16 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Carrie Horton

Think of your top five favorite childhood memories and, for most people, summer camp ranks high on the list. From campfire singalongs to lifelong friendships, summer camp is the quint-essential adolescent experience, helping children all over America gain valuable skills, build healthy habits and develop into independent and confident members....

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Chaos reigns in King Kong's latest screen swing

Mar 16 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

We’re living in uncertain times when trusted institutions are being tested to their limits, and science, the press and academia are being bluntly refuted when they can’t be actually disproven. We’re living in a culture where conspiracy theories may be given equal, if not greater, weight than the substantiated facts of a news report or....

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Trump's budget would slash funding for federal homelessness agency

Mar 16 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

A government agency tasked with preventing and ending homelessness will see its funding slashed under President Trump’s new budget proposal.

Trump unveiled his preliminary 2018 budget proposal today, and the plan says the president will eliminate funding for 19 federal agencies, including the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

USICH....

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Trump visits Nashville for rally

Mar 15 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

President Donald Trump came to Nashville Wednesday, two months after taking office, to address thousands in Nashville with a speech that sounded reminiscent of his campaign rhetoric. The 45th president emphasized health care and immigration, but failed to touch on poverty or homelessness.

"This is the hour when history is made. All we have to....

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Creating artwork helps 'Clinecasso' relieve stress, anxiety

Mar 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

David C., better known by his pseudonym “Clinecasso” (yes, inspired by Pablo Picasso), is known by his customers for his friendly personality and vibrant artwork that often appears in the Vendor Submission section of The Contributor. He sells the paper at Kroger in Inglewood, where he takes time to pray for each of his potential customers.....

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Micro home village planned for south Nashville to house people experiencing homelessness

Mar 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

It’s more than four walls and a roof; it’s a housing solution that aims to prevent people from dying on the streets.

It was during a press conference March 6 that Rev. Ingrid McIntyre, director of nonprofit Open Table Nashville, became emotional when officially announcing a micro home village planned for south Nashville that will house....

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Women's Day on The Hill draws crowd

Mar 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Ashley Heeney

Several hundred participants turned up for Women’s Day on the Hill March 8 full of energy and a sense of empowerment. 

Presented by The Business and Professional Women of Tennessee Inc., the “2017 Tennessee Women's Policy and Action Day on the Hill” worked with partners to make the day, on International Women’s Day, a success for the....

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Mayor adds tools for youth to get jobs

Mar 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amanda Haggard

During a series of Youth Violence Summits held throughout 2016 by Mayor Megan Barry, students in the community recommended that the city work to bolster job opportunities to help keep young people out of trouble. In response, Barry and her team have created Opportunity NOW, an initiative “designed to combat the growing gap in opportunity....

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Local Sounds: All Them Witches

Mar 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Tyler Kes

There is some contention about what subgenre of rock Nashville native rockers All Them Witches would fall under.

While some would describe the group, which released its fourth studio album in February, as a bluesy-psychedelic rock fusion, others broadly classify it as just basic indie stoner grooves.

Both opinions are true, but this is so much....

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Thirty years later, down-and-outers in 'Ironweed' are still a perfect pair

Mar 10 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Jack Nicholson is known for his over-the-top off-screen personality, and even in front of the camera, he’s one of those actors we love when he’s playing some version of his highly-watchable self. Meryl Streep has made a lot of headlines lately in her feud with Donald Trump, and her record-breaking 20th Academy Award nomination. Thirty....

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Advocacy group creates empowering theater event in response to hate, violence

Mar 08 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Ashley Heeney

The seats in Nashville’s Looby Theater were full Feb. 28 for “One Night of Empathy,” a powerful event created to foster discussions – instead of hate and violence – in today’s political climate. 

The one-time production featured scenes from various full-length plays and musicals, like A Raisin in the Sun, Rent and Two Gentleman....

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Nashville Sounds partner up with Safe Haven family shelter

Mar 08 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Chris St. Clair

The Nashville Sounds staff, not content with just helping their own team succeed, is lending a hand to another major program: Nashville’s Safe Haven homeless shelter. 

Various staff members of the Minor League Baseball team paid a visit to Safe Haven, a shelter that has housed homeless families in the Nashville area for over 30 years, on....

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Special people in my neighborhood

Mar 08 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Vicky B.

A few weeks ago, a fellow homeless vendor had to be in the hospital for a couple of days. When you're homeless being in the hospital is extremely scary. “What happens when I'm discharged?” “Where will I go?” “I haven't been able to work so I have no money.” These thoughts were running through my mind the day before he was to be....

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The number of renters is on the rise, but are lawmakers paying attention?

Mar 08 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Congress and local lawmakers rarely discuss or approve legislation that offers protections to tenants, despite more Americans residing in rentals. 

As homeownership has been falling nationwide for nearly a decade, according to the latest Census data released last month, the number of renters has increased by 9 million during the same period....

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The Music City Irish Festival comes to the big screen at Watkins

Mar 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Every March, my Irish American blood forces my head full of thoughts of shamrocks and leprechauns, lamb stews and hearty stouts, and I can’t help but see the world through emerald green-colored glasses. This year, I’m excited to preview an honest to goodness Irish mini-film-festival that will screen at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film....

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Community gathers for briefing on black driver profiling

Mar 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Ashley Heeney

Two to three hundred citizens, including students, college professors and members of the NAACP, gathered for a public briefing the evening of Feb. 16 at St. James Missionary Baptist Church’s community center to garner support against police profiling of Nashville’s blacks.

The nonprofit advocacy group Gideon’s Army hosted the event –....

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Grammy-nominated Brandy Clark writes for the unseen

Feb 28 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Holly Gleason

Brandy Clark stands on stage at the Troubadour, West Hollywood’s legendary club where the Eagles formed, Elton John exploded into a supernova and John Lennon had that infamous night of malfunction that ultimately sent him home to Yoko. Not wearing a stitch of makeup, and with black leather melted over her body, Clark's 20,000-watt smile is a....

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Nashville advocates host panel discussion on city's affordable housing

Feb 27 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

How will Nashville address the city’s affordable housing crisis that is pushing people into homelessness? A panel discussion, organized by Conscious Conversation, brought together Nashville leaders who are looking for answers. 

The event, part of the Conscious Conversation’s monthly discussion series, was held Feb. 23 at Refinery....

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Youth climate change lawsuit moves forward, adds Trump's name to suit

Feb 27 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Kandice Miller

Twenty-one youth plaintiffs have seen progress in a first-of-its-kind climate change lawsuit they filed against the federal government and fossil-fuel industries, and they remain hopeful in science  – even as a climate change-denying cabinet takes over Capitol Hill. 

A youth advocate team, Our Children’s Trust, filed the climate lawsuit....

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Executive action on immigration forces World Relief Nashville to close

Feb 27 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Chris St. Clair

World Relief, a multinational service organization that provides aid and resettlement support to refugees and vulnerable people, has announced that it will be shuttering its Nashville office as a result of the Trump administration’s decision to scale back the number of refugees admitted to the United States each year. 

The announcement....

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British news outlet 'The Guardian' launches year-long series on homelessness

Feb 27 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

British daily newspaper The Guardian has launched a year-long series on homelessness that will take a look at people living on the streets in the United States.

"We’re bringing you this series of stories about the people and places that are grappling with the homelessness crisis. Over the next year we’ll publish news articles, in-depth....

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Motivated by faith, Eric looks to a brighter future

Feb 27 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Riley Kellum

Eric M. has been working for The Contributor for six years now. After battling drug addiction, depression and experiencing homelessness, Eric hit rock bottom. His story is one about facing and overcoming adversity in order to find happiness through faith and self-reflection. 

“I was raised by my foster parents in Paris, Tenn. I was the true....

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Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network offers text-message support line

Feb 23 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

More people in Tennessee die by suicide each year than from homicide, AIDS or drunk driving, according to the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

The organization has launched a Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 text-messaging support line for people in crisis, to help anyone in the state. People in Tennessee can text “TN” to 741-741 to....

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Legislation would protect tenants at foreclosure

Feb 23 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Lawmakers in Washington and advocates are hoping to permanently extend a bill that would provide protection to renters whose homes have been foreclosed upon.

The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, which took effect in 2009 and expired in 2014, provided most renters with the right to at least 90 days’ notice before being required to....

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Nonprofit spotlight: Siloam Health provides affordable health care to vulnerable populations

Feb 22 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Carrie Horton

In an America that is becoming increasingly uncertain for refugees, Siloam Health exists to meet their most essential needs. Currently serving over 5,000 people from 80 different countries, Siloam provides affordable health care to Nashville’s most medically vulnerable populations.

Founded in 1991, Siloam began with a vision to provide....

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When forever homes aren't forever

Feb 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Margo Pierce

It’s your 18th birthday and you’re sitting at the dining room table waiting for your mom. She called this meeting, and you’re excited and apprehensive. The possibility of this being something big to mark the day makes sense. But she’s been hinting about changes. You didn’t pay much attention – homework, hanging out with friends,....

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Vendor Trudy says selling ‘The Contributor’ is the perfect job for her

Feb 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Trudy H., or “Pinky” as she’s called, sells The Contributor at the Bank of America Plaza in downtown Nashville, and her writing is regularly published in the paper. “I don’t like sitting at home and being bored; I like to talk and this is the perfect job for me,” she says. Trudy uses her profits from paper sales to pay for staying....

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Metro approves three affordable housing developments

Feb 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Metro Council recently signed off on adding three affordable housing developments allocated through the Barnes Fund. The approved developments will bring 332 affordable housing units to the city.

Last year, Mayor Megan Barry pledged $10 million from Metro’s general fund to the Barnes Fund in an effort to grow the city’s affordable housing....

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Students with disabilities take their needs to state lawmakers

Feb 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Metro students with disabilities have asked state lawmakers to focus on helping them access college, employment and transportation.

Students in Metro’s Community Based Transition Program, ages 18-22, joined hundreds of participants who attended Tennessee Disability Day on The Hill on Feb. 8.

In the weeks leading up to the annual advocacy....

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'John Wick: Chapter 2' is masterful movie making

Feb 20 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

John Wick: Chapter 2 begins where John Wick (2014) left off with Wick (Keanu Reeves) finally tracking down his missing car at a chop shop. All viewers really need to know about the previous movie is that Wick is a retired assassin who got back into the killing game when gangsters offed his puppy and stole his car. The long cold opening in this....

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Formerly homeless woman leads street backpack program in Nashville

Feb 15 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Twelve years ago, Hurricane Ivan ripped through Jessica Thurmond’s neighborhood, destroying the house where she had been living. The 18-year-old in Florida was soon forced to live in her car while working multiple jobs.

One of her jobs was at a gym so she could use the facility’s shower and have a locker for her things. Eventually, people....

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'The Other Side' is a poetic portrait of the American damned

Feb 15 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Roberto Minervini’s The Other Side documents a down-and-out Louisiana community whose inhabitants occupy a purgatorial rural America where poverty, drugs, alcohol, racism and politics seem to collude against them as they careen toward their doom-eyed fates. The film was originally released in 2015, but its screening at Third Man this week....

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TIRRC supports refugees, immigrants and the people who want to help them

Feb 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amanda Haggard

 

In the past couple of weeks — since President Donald Trump announced a sweeping executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement — staff at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition have been going nonstop. Whether it’s talking with teachers about making their students feel safe, or offering guidance to local....

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Nashville Artist Collective promotes community, giving back

Feb 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Tyler Kes

There is something uniquely special about art and the way one individual can take away something entirely different than the next.

For the art sold through the Nashville Artist Collective – an online gallery featuring the work of local artists – the message is clear, however: help yourself and your community.

“We all have to get in there....

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Vanderbilt's Dr. Brown focuses on building up Nashville's young women

Feb 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Chris St. Clair

How do we empower Nashville’s young women to become the next generation of leaders? Vanderbilt’s Dr. Katherine Brown thinks she has the answer.

Brown, a long-time occupational therapist, health educator and home care provider with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been active in the Nashville community for over 16 years. No....

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Tim Easton sings to help Nashville's homeless

Feb 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Ashley Heeney

Over the course of his persevering career to its recent peaking, Tim Easton’s music has changed, but his love for helping others has not. Lately, he has tried to blend the two, including sharing his love and lust for life through producing and singing tunes for Nashville’s homeless.

“For me, it gets personal when you see someone....

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Jerry credits the love of his life with inspiring him to sell 'The Contributor'

Feb 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Riley Kellum

Jerry, 61, has been selling The Contributor for a while now, and you can find him at his spot – sometimes with his dog – on Dickerson Road. He’s struggled with depression throughout the years, and has dealt with long mourning periods, isolation and even two years of hitchhiking in search of happiness. But despite what he’s been....

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Selling 'The Contributor' helps vendor Theresa pursue goal of social activism

Feb 10 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Allie Gross

Contributor vendor Theresa has been selling the paper since 2012. You can find her at her spot at the Old Harding Pike Walgreen’s, where she’ll be offering big smiles, waves and enthusiastic greetings to all who walk or drive by. Originally from Bowling Green, Ky., Theresa has been in Nashville for over 20 years. She’s currently in....

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Jerry, homeless and battling cancer, hopes 'The Contributor' returns to Murfreesboro

Feb 06 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Vendors of The Contributor in Murfreesboro recently had to pause selling the paper because of a problematic city ordinance that led to police prohibiting paper sales. While The Contributor hopes to soon resume sales there, for now the interruption means 10 Murfreesboro vendors experiencing poverty are unable to earn an income.

Jerry is one of....

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Homeless vendor Randy hopes to dispel stereotypes about homelessness, race

Feb 06 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Allie Gross

Vendor Randy “Kathmandu” Jack has sold three different street newspapers within the last year. What works for him?

“I consider myself a newspaper stand,” Randy said. “I don’t wave, I don’t smile, I just stand here. People don’t want to be bothered, so if they want a paper, they’ll come to me.”

Randy was a chef for 35 years....

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Vendor Mario reunites with daughter after 16 years

Feb 06 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

 

Mario, a formerly homeless vendor of The Contributor, recently reunited with his daughter after 16 years of not seeing each other.

His daughter, Dulce Arauz, along with his brother and niece, planned the surprise reunion three weeks ago. 

“(I was) shocked and overwhelmed and happy,” Mario said. The father and daughter were unable to....

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To my customers

Feb 06 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Rocky B.

Our staff asked us all last week to write a story about why we like being vendors for The Contributor. I’ll start mine by saying that utmost and foremost it’s because of my customers. Second, it’s because it’s how I pay my rent. 

My customers are the greatest in the world. There are some that never even buy a paper from me yet they....

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'Contributor' writer gets a crash course in street paper sales

Feb 06 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Shawn L. has been a vendor with The Contributor for five years. At his corner outpost at 16th Ave. South near the roundabout that circles Alan LeQuire’s Musica sculpture, Shawn is known for his outgoing personality: He is all waves and thumbs up to passersby; Music Row pedestrians know him by name; and nearby café owners shout his name when....

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Top streams to screen for Black History Month

Feb 02 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Black History Month is a great time for reflecting on the epic story of the African people who were brought here in bondage before their contributions to American culture made the music, art, literature and politics of our country unique in the world. Check out these streaming stories about black faces, black dreams, and black struggle, and....

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Frisman Jackson promotes continuity with Titans

Feb 02 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: David Arteaga

Prior to the 2016 regular season, Titans head coach Mike Mularkey made it clear that he would expect improvement from his wide receivers – a group that had the fewest catches and second-fewest receiving yards of any other team in 2015. 

“They all know they’re going to be coached harder than any position there is,” Mularkey said.....

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Black history in education: is one month enough?

Feb 01 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: LaToya M. Newson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson created “Negro History Week” in 1926 to celebrate the history and accomplishments of African Americans in the United States and beyond. Since 1976 our country has set aside the month of February to celebrate Black History. But how much African American history were you taught in your K-12 classroom? How many chapters....

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Did you know?

Jan 30 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Anthony G.

The contributions of African Americans in history would amaze you. From the red light to the gas mask that saves soldiers’ lives, black people were there. 

History has taught us that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. I hate to tell you, my friend, it was not he. It was his slave. Because slaves could not hold a patent at that time, the....

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Local restaurants dish on what makes their food – Southern or Soul – bring people together

Jan 30 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Ashley Heeney

Here in Nashville, filling a plate of food can open a history book, a family photo album or a bottle of medication.

That is, a plate of soul food. Or Southern cuisine. The definition may be up for debate, but the symbolism is less likely to divide a table.

“You can have fried chicken, greens – usually turnip or collards – sweet potatoes,....

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Nashville newspaper meticulously documented desegregation of schools

Jan 30 2017
Posted by: staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

On the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that legally banned segregation in schools, a group of journalists and educators founded a newspaper in Nashville with one goal: to accurately and objectively report on race and the desegregation of schools in the South.

Southern School News debuted Sept. 3, 1954 – less than four months after....

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Volunteers work to tally Nashville’s homeless at annual count

Jan 27 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Nearly 100 outreach workers and volunteers searched Nashville overnight Thursday and into Friday morning to assess how many people are experiencing homelessness in the city.

The annual Point-In-Time (PIT) count – federally mandated by HUD and implemented by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency – attempts to count those....

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As she battles cancer, Vickie sells the paper to provide for her family

Jan 25 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Contributor vendor Vickie says, “God’s got something out there for me, I just don’t know what it is yet.” She has found the strength and courage to look ahead despite a difficult story: She’s currently experiencing homelessness and battling cancer for the second time. She’s spent time living in shelters. She’s a rape victim, a....

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Can Ben Carson lead HUD if he doesn't believe in social programs?

Jan 25 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amanda Haggard

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development came to being in 1965. It was the same year that saw the passing of the Voting Rights Act and the year after the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. HUD was created to oversee federal programs that help Americans housing by increasing homeownership, supporting community development,....

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Jewelry company provides freedom to women rescued from sex trafficking

Jan 24 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

The hands of women once controlled, abused and enslaved by human trafficking are now creating beautiful, trendy jewelry, giving the survivors income and a new life. 

Purpose Jewelry, based in California, is a social enterprise that currently employs about 30 sex trafficking survivors in Mumbai, India to make necklaces, earrings and bracelets.....

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January's nonprofit spotlight: The Next Door

Jan 24 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Carrie Horton

The Next Door provides transitional housing and recovery programs for women coming out of incarceration, domestic violence, human trafficking, and drug and alcohol abuse. As one of Nashville’s first housing facilities and re-entry programs exclusively for women, The Next Door has helped hundreds of women in Middle Tennessee build lives of....

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Who helps the victim?

Jan 24 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Vicky B.

In the second week of December, I was assaulted where I sell the The Contributor in Hermitage by another vendor from another paper. It was a scary situation not only for me, but I can imagine for anyone driving by. Witnesses stayed, police were called and 90 minutes later, they arrived. Statements were given and a citation was issued to the....

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Award-winning social media campaign highlights the mysteries of Nashville's pikes

Jan 17 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

In addition to writing my weekly movie column for The Contributor, I’m also a singer/songwriter, a poet and the creator of the Pikes Project photo essay series I’m making in partnership with WPLN Nashville Public Radio. This past November the project won a THRIVE award from Metro Nashville Arts Commission. The funding is supporting a....

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Metro's after-school dinner program expands, provides food for more students

Jan 17 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

An after-school dinner program is making sure thousands of Metro students receive a hot meal after school at no cost before heading home.

Metro Nashville Public Schools expanded its after-school supper program in November to 35 sites, up from 12 sites participating in the program in its first year.

“We have many students in our district that....

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Art exhibit shares message of oppression in response to fast-changing Nashville

Jan 17 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Ashley Heeney

A series of murky black and white images at the Freedom Arts/Arte de Libertad event Jan. 7 resembled a war-torn scene on old developed film.

However, they were photographs of razed properties on Archer Avenue – alongside million dollars ones – shot by retiree Janice Key on a gray day from her front deck in Nashville’s fast-changing....

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Homelessness and hardships haven't kept Mary Ann from spreading smiles

Jan 17 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Mary Ann has only been selling The Contributor since December, but her constant smile and thoughtful encouragement have made a long-lasting impression on Contributor vendors and staff. After growing up away from her parents, expereincing homelessness in her teenage years and suffering through a marriage to an alcoholic, Mary Ann emerged with a....

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Jon Robinson finds gem in Jack Conklin

Jan 15 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: David Arteaga

On Jan. 5, Tennessee Titans’ controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk promoted Jon Robinson from general manager to executive vice president, the second-highest ranking position in the organization.

“Jon has done great work since his arrival to our organization and this is a way to recognize that fact,” said Strunk with regards to Robinson’s....

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Paying it forward

Jan 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Mary B.

I have some of the best customers ever. In fact, my customers are more than a customer. They are my friends and family. The reason I say that is because if I’m not on my corner selling papers, they worry about me. Those who have my number call me, and those who are on my Facebook hit me up and check on me.

Because of my Bellevue family, I....

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I've been blessed

Jan 13 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Jerry S.

Many people, myself included, say, "God is good." But I now remember, God is not good. 

He, God, is great! The Holy Spirit is so full of love, too!

Since coming to Nashville, I’ve thought how I wish I’d been born here.There is more love in people here than anywhere I have been. Since I’m a loner, there were never many friends. The....

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The Waiting Room: 530,000 Tennesseans wait to see what will happen to their health insurance

Jan 11 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

“Obamacare saved my life,” said Paula Hurt, a 63-year-old Chattanooga resident who is battling cancer.

In 2011, Hurt went into emergency surgery unsure what was causing symptoms including pain, asthma, hormonal issues and insomnia. The problems had caused her to leave her career as a mortgage broker. She came out of the surgery with a....

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Capitol Gains: What to expect from Tennessee lawmakers in 2017

Jan 11 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Richard Exton Jr.

With a New Year comes a new General Assembly, and following a year of chaos, Nashville is buzzing with a sense of "What comes next?" From the legalization of medical marijuana to the first in- crease in the gas tax in decades, this year’s session of the Tennessee General Assembly is sure to make some waves. Here’s what you can....

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Nashville renters learn about their legal rights at informational session

Jan 09 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Renters in Nashville were educated about their legal rights under state law at an event held Sunday by community group Homes For All Nashville and the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and The Cumberlands.

About 20 people attended “Tenant Rights 101,” an informational session held at the Salama Urban Ministries Center.

Kaneetha....

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Selling 'The Contributor' has helped Robert open up

Jan 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Laura McLaughlin

How did you end up in Nashville?
I was born in Nashville. I was taken away from my home at age 5 and put into an adoption home in Donelson. I grew up around Nashville in a couple different foster homes, then I was adopted at age 10.

What was the adoption process like?
It was a blast. I was the last child in the adoption home and when my....

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'Contributor' now for sale in Murfreesboro

Jan 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

The Contributor is now for sale by homeless and formerly homeless vendors in Murfreesboro. 

The weekly street newspaper began expanding into Murfreesboro in October and there are currently 10 active vendors selling The Contributor in the area. 

“Expanding out to Murfreesboro has been an exciting and meaningful experience. It feels great to....

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New streaming movies to help you survive Trump year one

Jan 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Presidential elections – like all contests – result in winners and losers. While there was too much gray area in the results for many of us, the 2016 election was won by Donald J. Trump, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. Sore losers make for lame citizens, and no matter who we may have voted for, this is the America we live in now. That....

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Mobile shower planned to help Nashville's homeless

Jan 03 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

A school bus is being transformed into a mobile shower to help Nashville’s homeless get a clean start to rebuilding their lives.

Shower the People is the brainchild of Russ Arnold, a Nashville resident who has been working with people experiencing homelessness for 16 years through Green Street Church of Christ.

“It can seem like one small....

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Nashville remembers 87 homeless who died in 2016

Jan 02 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: Linda Bailey

Nashvillians from across all lines gathered at Riverfront Park by the Tara Cole memorial bench to remember friends from the homeless community who died this year. The annual memorial took place Dec. 17 and brought together people experiencing homelessness, homeless advocates, politicians and friends of the 87 people who were lost in 2016. 

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Titans poised for success in 2017

Jan 02 2017
Posted by: Staff

By: David Arteaga

When the Tennessee Titans travelled to Ever Bank Field on Dec. 24, they suffered a number of losses. 

They lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars, they lost quarterback Marcus Mariota and they lost their opportunity to enter the playoffs. 

With 0:52 remaining in the third quarter, Jaguars’ defensive tackle Sheldon Day broke through the Titans’....

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'Rogue One' is one small, bold step for the new Star Wars anthology spinoffs

Dec 20 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is really good. Relax – you’re going to enjoy it. In fact, the movie is so successful that after a very quick-paced two hours and 13 minutes, I found myself wishing the studio and the filmmakers had doubled-down on the movie’s best elements: strong performances, rich supporting characters, a....

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Keith and Nicki have each other's backs

Dec 20 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Laura McLaughlin

Contributor vendors Keith and Nicki are teammates who work together to sell the paper at their spot – Murfreesboro Pike and Hamilton Church Road. What started as competition between the two has evolved into a sweet friendship. They have been a source of support to one another after each spent time in the hospital. Get to know them better in....

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Chronic homelessness increases in Nashville

Dec 15 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Nashville jumped 10 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to a new report. Homelessness overall in the United States dropped 3 percent during that same time.

The spike in Nashville’s homelessness is the sixth largest increase among the 38 U.S. cities included in the “Hunger and Homelessness....

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‘Contributor’ vendor donates paper profits to East Tennessee wildfire victims

Dec 13 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Mario, a formerly homeless vendor of The Contributor, recently donated a portion of his paper sales profits to the victims of the fatal East Tennessee fires. Mario, along with his dog Bear, made the donation to the Smoky Mountain Wildfires Telethon aired by WSMV Dec. 2.

“Bear and I know what it feels like to lose your home and your....

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Second special wrapping paper issue of 'The Contributor' now available

Dec 05 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

The Contributor, Nashville's award-winning street newspaper, debuted its second wrapping paper issue Dec. 5. The wrapping paper pages were created from using original artwork by The Contributor's homeless and formerly homeless vendors.

The issue may be purchased now through Dec. 19 from Contributor vendors in Nashville, Franklin and....

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'Contributor' co-founder, head of Metro Homelessness Commission takes job in Denver

Dec 05 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amanda Haggard

Will Connelly, one of the founders of The Contributor, is leaving his post as director of the Metro Homelessness Commission after four years at the organization’s helm.

Connelly took a job in Denver as the executive director of the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI), where he will help the nonprofit plan and implement strategies to end....

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Mayor shares city’s efforts on poverty, race relations at town hall

Dec 01 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Mayor Megan Barry addressed Nashville’s pressing issues – poverty, homelessness and race relations – at a town hall style meeting Nov. 30 at The Temple (Congregation Ohabai Sholom). A packed room listened intently as the mayor reviewed her plans for increasing affordable housing, boosting economic opportunity, and improving relations....

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'The Contributor' debuts first 2016 wrapping paper edition

Nov 21 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

The Contributor debuted the first of three special holiday wrapping paper editions Monday, Nov. 21. The issue is available from licensed Contributor vendors for $2 now through December.

The issue features four holiday-inspired designs created by homeless and formerly homeless vendors. News and vendor poetry are also included in the issue.

The....

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Local Sounds: Kings Of Leon's 'Walls' lacks authenticity

Nov 18 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Tyler Kes

Kings of Leon
Walls
Rock
RCA Records

The good news for fans of Kings of Leon: their new album, Walls, is not something that will scare you away from listening to it.

This is the seventh studio release for the locally sourced family foursome.

They’ve been around for 15 years and when a band reaches this level, I think there is always the....

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Original 'Westworld" film is a trippy vacation for fans of the new series

Nov 17 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

 

“Delos: The vacation of the future – today!”

Westworld (1973) opens with a corporate advertisement for Delos – a travel company that offers vacations in three different artificial worlds populated by robots: Roman World, Medieval World and Western World. The hit series based on this film is HBO’s latest must-see episodic, and....

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Local Nashvillians team up to create haircuts for humans

Nov 17 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Linda Bailey

 

When local singer/songwriter Luke Dick saw a social media post about a stylist in New York providing haircuts to people experiencing homelessness, he decided to bring the idea to Nashville – and Scouts Barbershop in East Nashville was quick to help him make it a reality.

“I was thinking about ways I could become involved in the....

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New program focuses on helping homeless veterans find jobs

Nov 16 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Homeless veterans in Nashville will receive help finding employment under a new program from Volunteers of America Mid-States. The Nashville Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) will connect homeless veterans with case management, employment counseling, transportation, job training and placement. HVRP also links homeless veterans....

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Mayor Barry encourages landlords to accept veterans with housing vouchers

Nov 15 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Mayor Megan Barry used Veterans Day as an opportunity to focus on veteran homelessness, calling on Nashville landlords to accept Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers. The vouchers help subsidize rent for veterans and pay for moving assistance. 

In a press release, Barry said, “There are many veterans who are struggling to....

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In one year, vendor DJ went from sleeping outside to sleeping in a warm apartment

Nov 15 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Laura McLaughlin

DJ remembers where she was at this time last year: sleeping on Broadway in the bus stops. Since she and her husband started selling The Contributor in October 2015 at Starbucks on Murfreesboro Pike, the couple has found permanent housing – and everything that comes with a home: showers, a kitchen to cook in and heat. She recently got to pass....

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Nashville's Becca Stevens named top 10 CNN Hero

Nov 15 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Becca Stevens, founder of Nashville’s wildly successful Thistle Farms, pointedly summarized heroism in her response to what motivates her to help women survivors of abuse, addiction, trafficking and prostitution.

“What makes you faithful to justice is when you do it even when you’re not motivated.”

It’s her faithfulness for nearly 20....

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Geek Media Expo connects proud 'nerds' for fun and charity

Nov 11 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Tyler Kes

For many of the attendees of the eighth annual Nashville Geek Media Expo (GMX), the weekend before Halloween was a lot like a return to a beloved summer camp.

The event, which was held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel Oct. 28-30, featured some celebrities – Cartoon Network voice acting stars Olivia Olson and Zach Callison – but mainly it....

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Nashville artist bikes through Taiwan in documentary

Nov 11 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Exploring oneself can be a very private journey, but Nashville artist SueAnn Shiah turned her identity quest into a documentary. In HuanDao, she explores what it means to be both American and Taiwanese while riding through Taiwan on a bicycle. 

Shiah shot the beautiful scenes on her 450-mile trek through the country. The nation comes alive....

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Nashville organizations work together to shelter homeless youth this winter

Nov 08 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Three Nashville organizations have partnered to make sure hundreds of young adults living on the city’s streets have somewhere warm and safe to sleep every night when cold weather arrives. 

It’s the first time in the city’s history that youth-specific shelters will be available every night of the week.

Last year organizations Oasis and....

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Nashville's homeless will face another winter on the streets... and you can help

Nov 08 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Joe Nolan

Despite hot weather’s hold on fall, the cold weather months have officially arrived for our neighbors living on the streets, as well as for the support organizations, police, volunteers and the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission that coordinates the city’s response to the wintertime challenges faced by people experiencing....

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Customers surprise Dwayne B. with furniture for new home

Nov 08 2016
Posted by: Staff

By: Laura McLaughlin

How did you end up in Nashville?
I was in the restaurant business for most of my life. I worked for Pizza Hut for 19 years so that’s how I ended up in Tennessee. I lost my job and my housing because of bad decisions, but then one of my friends told me about The Contributor. Choosing to sell The Contributor was a great decision. I have been....

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Customers help vendor Curtis battle cancer, maintain housing

Oct 31 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

In 2009, a homeless vendor revolutionized how The Contributor works, and shaped how the paper would expand to one day support hundreds of vendors.

Curtis, who grew up on a plantation in Arkansas, came to Nashville in ‘09 looking for a fresh start following a bad breakup and a difficult time in his life. He had worked in the foodservice....

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Congressman Cooper: "I'm so proud of Nashville and 'The Contributor'"

Oct 31 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amanda Haggard


Congressman Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Nashville, has supported The Contributor from the beginning. At first, he says, he noticed a trickle of vendors selling the paper in the growing city. But now, after almost a decade and six million copies of the paper sold: “You can’t miss The Contributor.”


“On so many corners in Nashville,....

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That is what 'The Contributor' means to me

Oct 31 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Mary B., Formerly Homeless Vendor

Before I started selling The Contributor, I was homeless, hungry, lonely, angry, an alcoholic and drug addict, and not in touch with my family.

Since I started selling the paper, I got clean and sober. I’m no longer lonely. I have two families: my Contributor family and I can’t forget my Bellevue family that has adopted me where I sell....

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Tasha French and Tom Wills, I owe you one

Oct 31 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Anthony "The Nailer" G., Formerly Homeless Vendor

The one thing I have to do is thank The Contributor for one thing: I have turned myself into a writer. It started with poems and now has moved to articles.


The last one I turned in for publication was published the next week. That made me very proud of myself and my work. If it were not for The Contributor, I never would have picked up a....

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Black drivers in Nashville disproportionately policed

Oct 28 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Nashville police officers consistently stop black drivers more than white drivers. Black drivers are more likely to be searched, despite searches of white drivers being more likely to result in incriminating evidence.


These are some of the findings in an extensive new report, “Driving While Black,” by Gideon’s Army that details the....

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Homelessness, affordable housing ignored on presidential campaign trail

Oct 26 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

The presidential election has been full of distractions: Hillary Clinton’s emails, Donald Trump’s “locker room talk,” the day-to-day polling data – to name some.

You could blame “the media” (and Trump has). A recent Harvard study said substantive policy issues had received only a small amount of attention from major TV networks....

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The best Halloween screams to stream right now on Netflix

Oct 25 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Joe Nolan

In this column I previously promised news about the 12 Hours of Terror event happening at the Belcourt this weekend from Saturday, Oct. 22, at 10 p.m. through Sunday, Oct. 23, at 10 a.m. Unfortunately, dates and times are all I’ve been able to pry from the cold dead hands keeping this lineup safely in its crypt until the seats are filled,....

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Vendor Melinda: 'Turning the key to my apartment was the happiest

Oct 25 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Laura McLaughlin

Melinda, a Contributor vendor of four years, was recently able to stop sleeping in a tent and move into permanent housing thanks to the help of her customers and local organizations. I sat down with the Nashville native to discuss this recent accomplishment:

What was the process like to find housing?
It was a really, really long process.....

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Netflix's '13th' is a damning documentary about mass incarceration in America

Oct 25 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Joe Nolan, Film Critic

13th opens with a voiceover of Barack Obama. In audio from a speech, he says, “The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Think about that.” This new documentary by Ava DuVernay’s makes you think about mass incarceration in America and the corporate exploitation of the....

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Tomatoes: A War Story

Oct 19 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

THE TALE OF TOMATOES — THEIR JOURNEY FROM THE FARM TO YOU — SHOULD BE A LOVE STORY. 

The French used to call the red fruit pommes d'amour, or apples of love. But rather than romance, this story started on sun-scorched earth, where workers were abused. Tomato pickers have written the story’s chapters: there’s justice, change,....

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Louis Malle's 'Elevator to the Gallows' is stuck between post-war noir and 1960s new wave

Oct 14 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Joe Nolan

Even in the very first shots of Elevator To The Gallows (1959), viewers are aware that they are in the hands of a master with director Louis Malle: Two lovers are talking on the phone, the scene switches back and forth from the woman to the man and then back to the woman. The incandescent  Jeanne Moreau is one of the great beauties of....

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Rhythm & Blues: Nashville's Other Sound

Oct 12 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Tim Ghianni

COUNTRY MUSIC AND AN INTERSTATE ENDED R&B’S GLORY DAYS IN MUSIC CITY, BUT ICONS ARE PLAYING FOR A COMEBACK. 

Let’s start here. Two of the most successful, best-known and perhaps even legendary rhythm and blues performers played in the same Nashville-based band in the 1960s. It was when Jefferson St. roared with music.

The guitar player....

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After 14 years, Sylvia Hutton blends authenticity and family ties into new album

Oct 10 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Tyler Kes

Life can take you on a very strange and very difficult-to-predict journey.
While that is true for just about everyone, it seems to be a little bit more true for those in the music industry.
Take Sylvia Hutton for example.
In 1983, she was winning the Academy of Country Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year, on the strength of her hit,....

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Belcourt's Doctober Series Finds Reality is Stranger than Fiction

Oct 07 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Joe Nolan

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words

 

October is a special time for movie lovers. I don’t watch horror cinema a lot, and I’d hesitate to call myself a “horror movie fan.” That said, when it turns crisp outside I start thinking about Halloween, and then I don’t want to watch any movies that don’t have at least one monster, maniac,....

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Todd Snider: The Ultimate Truth-Teller

Oct 07 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Holly Gleason

The first cut of night is almost gone, and the sky is just flat, thick dark. Inside the Family Wash, the music is too loud to talk. Todd Snider, the insurrectionist folk singer who practically colonized East Nashville’s hip factor 20 years ago, suggests moving to the patio. In the almost bake-in-your-own-sweat humidity, he gently settles....

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Nashville renters demand action

Oct 04 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

More than 100 renters came together on Sept. 24 to demand change in Nashville’s exploding rental prices that have pushed many out of the burgeoning city. The Rally Against Displacement was held in solidarity with a National Renters Day of Action, a campaign in which 50 cities demonstrated against displacement. Leaders from Homes for All....

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Prison, 'Contributor' saved Jessie's Life

Oct 04 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey

Jessie often walks into The Contributor office with a grin and an enthusiastic, “Bailey!” Her arms are spread open, and high energy and positive vibrations spill all over the office. We talk about her poetry and our lives, and we almost always bring up Texas.


I first met Jessie at a paper release meeting about two years ago. We were....

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Why Can't I Vote?

Sep 30 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

This November, thousands of homeless Tennesseans will struggle to make it to the ballot. What barriers do they so commonly face?

STATE LAW REQUIRES PHOTO ID, ADDRESS FOR MAIL

A lack of a mailing address or photo identification (ID) shouldn't keep someone from casting a vote. But in Tennessee, state laws will bar many homeless from....

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Vendor Voting Rights: Vicky's Story

Sep 28 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Vicky B., Homeless Vendor

I use to think, “What can one vote do with all the millions of people voting?” Through the years, I’ve voted occasionally, but not on a regular basis, especially in national elections. It always seemed to be more trouble than it was worth, having to change addresses. When you’re homeless, it becomes more embarrassing than it should be.....

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History Corner: Belle Meade Deer Park Once a Notable Attraction

Sep 28 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Ridley Wills II

 

William Giles Harding married Selena McNairy, the 17-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel McNairy, on Nov. 19, 1829. The young couple started their married life on William Giles’s father’s Stones River Plantation. Their farm was a 579-acre tract that John Harding had purchased in 1827. Because his land contained both woods and....

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Former Titans coach brings experience to high school team

Sep 26 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Maurice Patton

Richie Wessman won’t divulge whether “Home Run Throwback” is in Ravenwood’s special teams playbook.

But the Raptors’ first-year coach is comforted by the presence of Alan Lowry – author of the play that resulted in the Music City Miracle during the Tennessee Titans’ run to Super Bowl XXXIV – as a member of his staff.

“He’s....

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Vendor Voting Rights: Moose's Story

Sep 26 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Gary “Moose” E., Formerly Homeless Vendor  

How I lost my right to vote is sort of a roundabout story. I had a bad drinking problem during the '80s and '90s. I was locked up 14 times for DUI’s. I had 13 first offenses. Yeah, you read that right - 13 FIRST offenses. It’s amazing what money can buy!

Anyway, on my last (13th) offense, they charged me with 2nd offense enhanced because I....

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Richard: 'Don't Ever Give Up Hope'

Sep 23 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Laura McLaughlin

 Are you from Nashville?
I am originally from Springfield, Tenn., but I moved to Nashville in 1992. Springfield got old because there weren’t really any jobs, and all my family moved to Nashville so I came with them when I was 22.

How much has Nashville changed?
I have been in Nashville for 23 years, and it has changed a lot since I got here,....

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Nashville mom leads uniform recycling program for homeless students

Sep 21 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

School uniforms are, in part, an effort to diminish economic barriers between students, but when you can’t afford the uniform, the barriers pop back up.
Cue a Nashville mom with a PR background and an affinity for making things easy.


Jami Oakley launched UniCycle last year, a school uniform recycling program now operating in 26 Metro schools.....

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The Old Hickory Dam: How a group of neighbors lost control of their neighborhood

Sep 19 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Richard Exton, Jr.

Tucked in the northeastern corner of Davidson County beside Old Hickory Lake sits a small town next to a big dam – and things are about to get explosive. Blasting permits have been issued for a rock quarry in Old Hickory Village immediately adjacent to the Old Hickory Dam, sending one of Nashville’s most historic neighborhoods into a....

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Iconic Songwrite John Prine Finds his Best True Home

Sep 16 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Holly Gleason

"There’s too many volatile things going on in the world,” says John Prine, assessing the fountain of inspiration for the always topical songwriting legend. “It’s always good for journalists, comedians and folk singers.“This country’s in a very odd place right now, paranoid really… traveling around, talking to strangers. Just....

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Renters Unite: Nashville’s Displaced Share Stories Online in Advocacy Campaign

Sep 14 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

“I was born and raised in Nashville... But over the past two and a half years, I’ve been displaced three times by developers buying up properties and then getting rid of all the residents.”
“I’ve been on a public housing waiting list, I’ve been on a Section 8 waiting list, I’ve been on an apartment waiting list… It’s just a....

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Vendor Missy C. sells papers while she studies for high school diploma

Sep 14 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey

 Are you from Nashville?
Yes. I lived in Norfolk, Va. for 15 years while I was married.

How much has Nashville changed?
I’d say a lot. For 15 years I wasn’t even here. I guess with all the construction it’s changed, and it seems like homelessness has risen. It was hard for me to get a place to live. The waitlist is long, I had to wait....

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Vanderbilt football player tackles mentoring at recovery center

Aug 31 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

You could say Torey Agee, Vanderbilt’s 6-foot-4 defensive end, stood out among the women putting their lives back together at The Next Door’s Freedom Recovery Community (FRC). The Alabama native was a shoo-in for jobs like cleaning out the program’s apartments or setting up meeting rooms, but for once – unlike on the football....

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The Forgotten Homeless

Aug 29 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Vicky B., Homeless Vendor

From the editor:
When Vicky, a Contributor vendor, pitched a series about the rarely mentioned homeless residing in hotels, her enthusiasm for writing was just one of the reasons I greenlighted the project. But when she turned in her work – five pieces with compelling angles and interviews – I knew it deserved and needed to be our cover....

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Billy: 'Thank You For Helping Me Be Better Than I Am'

Aug 24 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

 

William “Billy” K. may have set a Contributor record in 2010: He got into permanent housing just five days after he began selling the paper. He’s kept that housing with money he earns from selling The Contributor in Green Hills and working full-time at a MAPCO Mart. (He averages 75 hours in his work week between the two jobs.)....

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Free after-school programs offer Nashville students more than tutoring

Aug 23 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

The hours after school – 3-7 p.m. – are when Nashville’s students are most vulnerable. As parents conclude work days, the unsupervised hours can leave youth susceptible to real-world dangers and a lack of academic support.


Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) is there to provide not just supervision, but also structured hours for middle....

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Keith Urban: The 'peacemaker' lets his music make statements

Aug 22 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Holly Gleason

photos by RUSS HARRINGTON

People, especially women, talk about being thick-skinned, and I want to say, ‘I’m so sorry. What happened?’,” Keith Urban says, discussing the deep undercurrent of awareness and humanism in his songs. “To be raw and vulnerable, that’s the beauty of it.

“I love Joseph Campbell. He talks a lot about the....

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Modern Day Medical Marvel

Aug 18 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Norma B., formerly homeless vendor

I’d like to set the stage for this story by saying I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy around the age of 2 1/2 because I didn’t walk. I scooted everywhere. I eventually learned to walk even though it wasn’t “normal.” I guess you could say I did it my way and it served me well for about 40 years. Then something began to change.

It was....

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Goodlettsville returns to LLWS

Aug 15 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Maurice Patton

Tennessee had not made an appearance in the Little League World Series since 1987, before Goodlettsville broke a 25-year dry spell and won the 2012 United States championship, then fell to Japan in the final game of the tournament.

Five years later, Joey Hale has taken a team back to Williamsport, Pa., for the international event.

“It’s....

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I Still Have Dreams

Aug 15 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Gary "Moose" E.

Formerly homeless vendor

I still have dreams but they are more narrow these days. By that I mean I tend to focus on myself and my more immediate needs. I don’t have too big of aspirations anymore. At one time I had dreams of raising a family, getting a house, work and retirement. I just always tried to do my best at whatever I was doing.....

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A modern ghetto? A community's fight over affordable housing

Aug 15 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely & Allie Gross

It’s a familiar story for the new Nashville: skyrocketing home prices, rapid gentrification and the growing demand for affordable housing. Residents, council members and housing activists agree that we need more housing for those who are struggling to afford living where they work. But a heated debate over a 96-unit workforce housing....

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Back to School

Aug 15 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

New Director of Schools Shawn Joseph is ready to exceed expectations

Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Shawn Joseph started the first day of school even earlier than the city’s high school students: he was up at 4 a.m. delivering 10 dozen donuts to bus drivers. His morning continued with greeting students and parents at five....

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Vendor: 'Make Your Education Count'

Aug 11 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Rocky B., Formerly Homeless Vendor

I was asked by people at my paper to write a story about the school year starting back up. I think I was asked to do this because many of my poems that have been published in The Contributor have been about the school children and teachers that I see on my corner of Thompson Lane and Nolensville Pike every morning while I’m selling my....

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Are Tennessee's Issues Titan-ic? Preseason will tell

Aug 08 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Maurice Patton

photos by DONN JONES/TITANS

Tennessee Titans Training Camp on Sunday July 31, 2016. Photos by Donn Jones Photography

Marcus Mariota at the Titans’ training camp on July 31.

 

As the Tennessee Titans progress through the preseason – their first under the new regime of coach Mike Malarkey and general manager Jon Robinson – they hope to find the answers to some questions that have arisen over the course of four consecutive....

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The Contributor Goes to the Conventions

Aug 02 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Brady Banks

Philadelphia is jokingly referred to by locals as the “city of brotherly love… now go f*** yourself.” But while Philadelphians may be joking about the latter part, Sanders and Clinton supporters may feel exactly that way toward one another.

Heading into the Democratic National Convention, the burning question was whether or not the two....

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Michael "The Scribe" G: Customers help vendor make it to his daughter's wedding

Aug 02 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Michael G., better known as “The Scribe,” recently fulfilled one of his greatest dreams: He danced with his daughter at her wedding.

A few months ago, Michael was distraught over the realization that he might not be able to make it to Columbus, Ohio, in order to see his daughter Sophia on her wedding day. The fear of missing out on such an....

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Open Table Nashville plans new tiny home village

Jul 25 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Allie Gross

 A parking lot in Madison will soon be transformed into a new tiny home village created by Open Table Nashville (OTN), a local advocacy group that works to fight homelessness.

The homes will serve as “bridge housing” for the city’s most vulnerable homeless people while outreach workers help them find permanent housing. OTN Executive....

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Mary B: 'My customers believed in me when I didn't believe in myself'

Jul 25 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey

When Mary enters The Contributor office, it lights up. She greets us with a huge hello and a puppy under her arm. She tells us how she’s feeling and how great her customers are to her. If there’s a new vendor in the office, Mary offers them advice on how to be a great seller.

Last year, Back Down South Films released a video about Mary....

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Tales of the Truth: Singers, songwriters reflect on era when humanity mattered in country music

Jul 13 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Tim Ghianni

Kris Kristofferson is angry.  One of the men who changed the language of country music won’t take any shots at today’s country.

It’s just not his country. Nor is it the country music of the late Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash nor is it that of Tom T. Hall and Bobby Bare, two icons who basically shrug at the style of the new country with....

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Dale F: 'I've improved myself 100 percent'

Jun 27 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey

Dale P. came to Nashville in 2011 with a friend, an old car and $5 in his pocket. After being laid off from two jobs in Florida and losing his home, Dale set his sights on Nashville. Once he arrived, he slept in his car at night and applied for jobs during the day. After submitting 90 applications and hearing nothing back, Dale found The....

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Colvin & Earle: Hardcore Troubadours

Jun 27 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Holly Gleason

"I grew up in a teeny little town in South Dakota,” begins Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin of “Someday,” the Steve Earle song she recorded on her 1994 Covergirl. “I didn’t pump gas, but I could so relate to the teeny weeny hometown you needed to get out of, to know there was more to the world than (that) ... the idea of....

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Failing to Fix Poverty: The majority of Tennessee's lawmakers earn failing grade

Jun 21 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Amelia Ferrell Knisely

An annual report paints a grim picture of Tennessee lawmakers’ efforts to help people living in poverty: Nine out of 11 U.S. senators and representatives received a grade of “F” for their failure to support poverty-related legislation. Issues like access to health care, affordable housing, removing barriers to education, and protecting....

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Nashville selected as ‘Promise Zone’ for focused anti-poverty efforts

Jun 14 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Allie Gross

Nashville is among the latest round of cities that the federal government has designated as “Promise Zones,” areas throughout the country chosen to receive 10 years of intensive support for economic development and combatting poverty.

The Promise Zone includes areas south, east, and north of the central business district.

Nashville joins....

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Growing Together: Refugee farmers bring a taste of home to Nashville Farmers' Market, restaurants

Jun 13 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Allie Gross

“Hello, I would like some arugula...and I would like to know what this is,” a young woman customer says, pointing to a leafy, green plant at the Nashville Farmers’ Market. Market Manager Jennifer Justus, who mans the Growing Together booth with the help of two farmers, explains that she’s pointing to komatsuna, a Japanese mustard....

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Messianic Jewish Vendor Combines Passions for Prayer & Music

Jun 13 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Allie Gross

Where do you sell The Contributor?
I sell at West End Avenue and Bowling Avenue, on the corner there. Close to the synagogue that I go to, Sherith Israel. I’m orthodox, and so I go to Sherith Israel... I’m there 14 hours a day, six days a week, just about. My regular customers, we get to know each other. Some people I don’t know their....

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Reba McEntire: Thriver, Not Merely Survivor

Jun 06 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Holly Gleason

 photography RUSS HARRINGTON

I was pretty much forced to do it,” Reba McEntire admits, at the back end of a full day. “It wasn’t my choice to take over my career as manager. I didn’t see it coming, but you know, that’s life.”

For McEntire, the Grammy-winning Country Music Association Entertainer and four-time Female Vocalist of....

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Fred: 'I Like Being My Own Boss'

Jun 06 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Allie Gross

How long have you been a vendor with The Contributor?
Probably about five years now.

Do you have a spot where you typically sell?
It’s Main Street and First Avenue (in Franklin). I’ve been there about two or three years now.

Have you developed a relationship with customers there?
Yeah, I’ve got a lot of customers and people like friends. I....

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Shorty: 'The Best is Yet to Come'

May 24 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey & Christina Ashworth

So, you said you’ve been selling the paper for about six years now?
Almost seven.

How’d you get started with The Contributor?
A good friend of mine told me about it.

Do you take pride in being one of our earliest vendors?
You’ve got to take pride in what you do. It goes back to when I was a kid. I was raised to be a hard worker. You’ve....

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Mario: 'I Worked Hard for This'

May 17 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey

On a rainy day in May, I drove 30 miles down winding rural roads just past Ashland City to visit my friend and Contributor vendor Mario M. at his newly purchased home. In his driveway sits Mario’s maroon truck with an “I Break for The Contributor” bumper sticker and three “Bear Care Lawn Service” signs on the doors and tailgate.....

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Your State Capitol is a Battleground

May 16 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Richard Exton Jr.

FLAGRANT FARCE VS. SUBSTANTIVE SOLUTIONS IN YOUR GENERAL ASSEMBLY

When Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet) first introduced her “Bathroom Bill,” discriminating against transgendered Tennesseans, the collective groan could be heard all around Tennessee. We knew we were in for some embarrassment this legislative session, but had no idea how....

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Brian W. wants you to take the paper

May 09 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey & Christina Ashworth

About four years ago when I was first starting to work at The Contributor, I interviewed Brian W. as one of my first vendor spotlights. Brian would show up to our paper release meetings and sit on the front row with a large beard and a dolly he’d use to carry out his haul of papers for the week. He was a recognizable face in the sea of....

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Vendor Elaine P. talks selling ‘The Contributor’ and her Southern roots

May 02 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Christina Ashworth

 How long have you been selling The Contributor?
Uh, I think I’ve been with The Contributor almost two years. Yeah.

Are you from Nashville?
I am actually from Delhi, LA. We moved here when I was about 8 years old. So I am a Nashvillian.

What do you think about all the changes going on in Nashville right now?
Well, actually, I’m more of a....

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The Lumineers - Songs of the disenfranchised that are honest

Apr 25 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Holly Gleason

"When we’re young, we’re indestructible. We’re going to capture greatness,” says lead Lumineer Wesley Schultz on the phone from Dublin, as the folk-punk trio that became a global sensation with the obsessive love declaration “Hey Ho” that would eventually sell two million records, begins a world tour. “That is so universal, and....

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Longtime Vendor talks Art, Entertainment and Hillary Rodham Clinton

Apr 25 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Christina Ashworth

How did you get started at The Contributor?
I met a Contributor vendor on the MTA bus and I said “Just out of curiosity, how did you start selling papers and where’d you go to actually sign up?” He said at the Downtown Presbyterian Church.
Twenty years ago, I started drawing disability. I have ADHD and Bipolar disorders. I have Type 2....

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Gimme Shelter: “It City” still discussing what to do about encampments

Apr 11 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Alex Harris

photos by MICHAEL NOTT

The Metropolitan Homelessness Commission’s Encampments Task Force is continuing discussions as it works to produce detailed recommendations for an authorized homeless encampment proposal for the City of Nashville.

Judith Tackett, the assistant director of the commission, told The Contributor this past week that, while....

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Vendor Bobby L. Shares 61 Years of Wisdom

Apr 11 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey

I heard it’s your birthday today!
Yep. I’m 61. But I flip it over to be 19. [laughs]

What have you learned in your 61 years?
Stay off of drugs, exercise — even if it’s walking, have a good attitude toward life, have a lot of religious education — most definitely religion, obey the laws, have common respect and decency toward others —....

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Sweet home Alabama to Nashville

Apr 04 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Christina Ashworth

Vendor: RANDY M.

Where are you from?
I’m originally from Alabama.

How’d you end up in Nashville?
I lived in Utah for 10 years, and decided on coming back south — came here! I’ve been here since 2014.

How do you like it so far?
I love this city. I’ve been all over the United States. Nashville, to me, is the coolest and most beautiful....

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The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Fifty years later

Mar 28 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Holly Gleason

"I was levitating,” admits Nitty Gritty Dirt Band leader Jeff Hanna, about sharing the Ryman stage with Jackson Browne, John Prine, Rodney Crowell, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Sam Bush and Jerry Jeff Walker. “It was an out-of-body experience being the beneficiaries of all this love. It’s amazing to think: the band’s been together 50....

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Vendor shares her light with the world

Mar 28 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey

Have you been a vendor with us for very long?
Since December of last year.

What have you learned since being out there?
I’ve learned that as long as you pray, have faith and be of good character and good cheer, no matter if you get a sale or not—it’s not always just about the sale—I’ve learned that I’m being blessed as well as....

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Jesus: Lost in America

Mar 21 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Brady Banks

Jesus. Some people love him. Some people hate him. Somehow a rabbi from 2,000 years ago on the fringes of the Easternmost reaches of the Roman Empire still elicits a strong reaction at the very mention of his name.
In present-day America, Jesus and his teachings on poverty, and on those people who find themselves on the margins of our culture....

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Mechelle J. hopes to enlighten others through her artwork

Mar 14 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Linda Bailey

Man, there are so many things I want to talk to you about, I hardly know where to start.

Well, the best place to start is knowing where I began. I started selling things a long time ago when I was working in my dad’s pawn shop. It’s just a little pawn shop in Alabama called Joe’s Pawn Shop. I kind of watched my dad to learn how to sell....

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New Vendor Christina F. Attempts to Start Over

Mar 07 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Christina Ashworth

How long have you been selling The Contributor?
Uh, this’ll be — let’s see, I started — two months, basically. Yeah.

Are you from Nashville?
No, originally, I was born in Chicago. I moved when I was 13 with my parents to Alabama. My parents got divorced. At 18 I met my husband, graduated, and we moved to Tennessee 10 years ago.....

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Terry J. tries to make a name for himself in Nashville

Feb 29 2016
Posted by: The Contributor

By: Christina Ashworth

 If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Terry J., it’s that he’s eager to share his findings of the world with others in any way he can. “There’s just so much that I have to tell, I don’t even know where to begin.” Terry’s a free-flow writer. We’ve published several of his poems in The Contributor (check recent issues for....

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