Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Brandywine Women's club recently announced scholarship awards to Jennifer Prince of McGavock High School and Chelsea Burch of Mt. Juliet High. Pictured left-to-right are Ann Nicks, chairman of the Brandywine Woman's Club scholarship committee, Chelsea Burch, Jennifer Prince and Brandywine Woman's Club president Tammy Edwards
Jennifer Prince of McGavock High School and Chelsea Burch of Mt. Juliet High are each recipients of $1,500 scholarships awarded by the Old Hickory based Brandywine Woman’s Club.
Jennifer was named to the National Honor Society two years, was on the student council for four years. She also participated in Film club, Show Choir and interned at Channel 4 in Nashville as part of an educational prep program.
“Hardworking, positive and involved — these are three words that describe Jenni Prince,’’ said McGavock Advance Placement English instructor Stacey Hinchman.
Challenging classes were also regularly tackled by Jennifer, Hinchman and McGavock foreign language teacher Jeff Hunt stated.
Jennifer is planning to attend the University of Tennessee and major in special education or business.
Chelsea Burch was in the top 5% of her class at Mt. Juliet High and was on the Student Council for three years and participated with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes among other activities and community service work.
Chelsea plans to attend Western Kentucky University and major in Business Management.
Good evening all. Tonight I decided to forget all the bad things going on all around us and find some great Human Interest Stories. This story really got to me and made me think about how much we can all really learn from children..I hope you enjoy as much as I did...And Alexandria Congrats!! Congrats also to Elizabeth for her contribution!
Alexandria Williams, 8, is a student at Tennessee School for the Blind in Donelson.
About the group
VSA arts is an international organization that helps people with disabilities learn through participation and enjoy the arts.
VSA stands for:•
Vision of an inclusive community.
• Strength through shared resources.
• Artistic expression that unites us all.
Alexandria Williams, an 8-year-old student at Tennessee School for the Blind in Donelson, wears almost a permanent smile.
"Just a fun student,'' teacher Ginger Bell said about Lexie, as most call her.
But the smile on Alexandria's face resonated joy a little deeper when she talked about the way she feels now that her artwork is part of an exclusive national tour.
"I like to make art,'' Alexandria said, the tone and smile more convincing than the words.
Alexandria loves to draw, said her mom, Taronda Williams. But it was a drum and mallet that she made as part of an art project in which different artists came to the school to work with students earlier this year.
VSA arts was the group leading the project, and Alexandria's work was one of two pieces to be selected for a chance to be exhibited at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Alexandria's work was chosen for that exhibition, then it was picked as the Tennessee representative for a 2-year-national tour as an extension Kennedy Center exhibit. Alexandria was one of 10 artists from the exhibit to receive an expenses-paid trip, with an adult chaperone, to be honored May 20 at a reception on Capitol Hill.
"When they called, I thought she had drawn something, because that's all she does in her room,'' Taronda Williams said. "When they said it was something she made, it just blew my mind.''
VSA sent several artists to work with 47 School for the Blind students at different times after receiving a grant from CVS Pharmacy, said Doug Walker, assistant technology specialist at the school and a VSA board member.
• Art, in which students did a mosaic of different elements.
• Auditory art, in which students made drums and mallets or rain sticks.
• Drumming sessions that emphasized music and rhythms.
• Performing arts, working with the school's Junior Forensics team.
Different students participated in different sessions, Walker said.
Alexandria's entry was part of the auditory art session under teacher Yvette Parish.
"The color of the fabric, along with the feathers and the beads and all those things, just flowed together,'' Walker said of the project.
Alexandria is legally blind, with 20-200 vision with correction, her mom said. Alexandria was born with glaucoma and cataracts. Doctors prepared parents Taronda and Doug Williams, saying Alexandria may be totally blind. Both parents plan to go to Washington, Taronda said.
School for the Blind student Elizabeth Harden, 15, also had her mosaic picked for submission to the Kennedy Center.
VSA chose two pieces for submission from Tennessee. Each state and the District of Columbia had one piece chosen for the national tour out of about 300 submissions.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
By KATE HOWARD • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • May 14, 2008
Gregory K. Pillow has earned rave reviews from day cares where he has talked about fire safety, but it isn't clear where he learned so much because Pillow is not a Nashville firefighter — and never has been.
While Nashville fire officials said they've known about Pillow for years, he resurfaced this week when someone called the department to verify Pillow's claim of employment.
"We've actually heard he's done a good job," Nashville Fire spokeswoman Kim Lawson said. "But this person has no connection to us, and it's a little odd. If someone is approached, call us or the police department."
Lawson said the fire department is notifying area schools and day cares about the issue. They sent along a picture of Pillow and a number to call if anyone needs to confirm a speaker.
"It's important for schools and day cares to check credentials," Nashville Fire spokesman Charles Shannon said. "We do not solicit opportunities to go into day cares and schools for fire safety programs. If someone is calling and showing up on their doorsteps, that should be a red flag."
Suspected "wooded rapist" Jason Burdick appeared in criminal court with public defender Gary Tamkin, right, during an arraignment hearing.
(JOHN PARTIPILO / THE TENNESSEAN)
The man accused of being the Wooded Rapist was appointed a public defender after he filled out paperwork claiming he was indigent at his arraignment this morning.
Two victims sat in the courtroom looking at who they think attacked them. One of the women claims to have bitten Burdick during the attack. The women declined to comment. .
LAVONDIA MAJORS / THE TENNESSEAN
McGavock High valedictorian Kelly Marie Smith is graduating from a class of about 630. She plays the piccolo and flute and will study graphic design at Western Kentucky University, beginning in the fall semester.
McGavock valedictorian Kelly Marie Smith is described by one of her teachers as a renaissance woman.
"She draws well, writes well, understands literature, she's in band, funny, just an all-around well-rounded kid,'' said Stacey Hinchman, an English literature and composition teacher at McGavock.
All that and a 3.976 grade-point average, too.
Her mom said Kelly's time management skills are advanced for a high school student.
Kelly says she has old-fashioned effort, and that comes out when she gives her view on public schools and her education at McGavock.
But McGavock hadn't always had the reputation as a safe campus, something principal Michael Tribue has worked to turn around since arriving there in 2001.
By SUZANNE NORMAND BLACKWOOD • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • May 14, 2008
SOUTH NASHVILLE — As Glencliff High School culinary arts student Helbin Shemssulldin rushed toward the dining room, thoughts rushed through her head about what she had to do.
"Oh my gosh, hurry up. Set the tables," she thought to herself. The students were supposed to be preparing a brunch for Metro's Teacher of the Year nominees. But a misunderstanding over the time meant the teachers arrived early, and students had to quickly prepare breakfast instead of brunch.
"I've always liked working with young people," she said. "These kids make me stay young."
On the wall in the dining room, which is set up to resemble a tearoom, are awards and certificates of accomplishment the program has received throughout the years. More awards and certificates occupy a display case.
Chef keeps her eyes peeled
Next year, the Glencliff program will expand when the school converts to "small learning communities." It's the only high school in Tennessee to receive accreditation, an honor generally reserved for colleges, Campbell said.
Campbell said she holds her students to high professional standards.
"Chef knows when we do something wrong," said senior Beyan Omer, adding it's not easy to hide things from her.
Campbell said she often sees great improvement in her students when they return from summer break. It's as if she's seeing "a whole new student."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
In the month of May, The Alliance of District 29 will host the District 29 Great American Clean-up on Saturday, May 24, 2008 from 9 am to 1 pm with Food Fun and Fellowship to be held from 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm in the parking lot of the Smith Springs Church of Christ, 2783 Smith Springs Road in Nashville. Neighborhood groups should contact Lawrence Jackson of Metro Beautification @ 862-8418 to get FREE gloves, trash bags, flower seeds, and T-shirts for your clean-up of eye sores in your immediate neighborhood.
Services that will be available at the Smith Springs Church of Christ are between
Ø Throw away your large household items until the roll-off bins are full.
Ø Special containers to throw away old paint will also be available.
Ø Donate your old cell phones and chargers to domestic violence shelters. The shelter will give your old cell phone to victims to call for help.
Ø Donate your soda can tabs to help the Ronald McDonald House.
Ø Sign the District 29 Community Pledge to help keep our neighborhoods clean.
Ø Get a FREE T-shirt, gloves, trash bags and flower seeds.
Ø Get with neighbors to clean-up eye sores areas in your immediate neighborhood.
Ø Bring a lawn chair for fun, fellowship and FREE food with your neighbors after the clean-up. "This is a great way to begin your spring and summer by cleaning up your community and neighborhood and visit with your neighbors," says Mr. Jackson.
In case of inclement weather, the rain date is Saturday, June 28, 2008 with times remaining the same.
District 29 residents/community organizations are asked to contact Juanita Veasy, Beautification Commissioner of District 29 @ 399-6746 or Lena Brown Prince at 366-3728 for District 29 Great American Clean-up day. Or contact Council member Vivian Wilhoite at http://www.vivian-29.blogspot.com/ or 589-2003 for detailed information.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The Madison Church of Christ has started an impressive endeavor to honor the
6,000 or so Fort Campbell Fathers serving in Iraq.
This is worthwhile to give honor to these fathers and is sure to make you feel even more proud on Father's Day.
Please take a moment and show your big heart for our Father Troops.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Candace Mullins with her three boys, Cortez, 3, Marcus, 9, and Anthony, 1, at her home in Renewal House.
She credits Renewal House, a residential program for women and kids, with helping her beat drugs
By LEA ANN OVERSTREET • Staff Writer • May 7, 2008
Candace Mullins was strung out on crack cocaine and lost custody of her kids until she decided life was not life if it meant living addicted and alone.
The struggling mother had become another faceless drug user, a woman addicted and hiding in her isolated world. She sought comfort in drugs and lost sight of what life could offer. But having gone down that path, she prays that the memories stay with her, no matter how difficult.
"I never want to forget where I came from. From being in crack houses to turning tricks to waking up and just feeling disgusting because I didn't know what I had done. You can't imagine what that's like," Mullins said.
Grief over son's death kept her using drugs
Mullins' life was filled with disappointment and tragedy; it's not an excuse for her choices, but a reason. She said the relationship that was lacking with her mother might have led her to use drugs, along with a relationship with a man who used, but what would follow would keep her addicted.
Mullins had three boys when 5-year-old Carlyle died in 2005 after being taken out of his mother's care by the state and placed with family members.
"When my son passed away, I was grief-stricken, and I kept using. Then I got pregnant with Anthony, and that's when I said enough," Mullins said. Anthony is now 15 months old; brothers Marcus and Cortez are 9 and 3, respectively.
Mullins found refuge at Renewal House, a center in Bordeaux dedicated to treating drug-addicted women. But it's not just the women who are welcome.
"We are the only program in Nashville that allows women to live here with their children while going through the recovery process," said Dani Lieberman, development director.
And that impresses Ann Brooks with the Department of Children's Services. Brooks said she frequently sees women in need of help in her profession and a place like Renewal House "is very important to Davidson County."
Lieberman said the center wants to focus on early intervention, so mothers with children older than 10 must make other living arrangements for the children.
The Renewal House campus has two, three-story buildings with 15 one-bedroom apartments, which can house up to 15 women and their children. The program's staff includes licensed clinical social workers and an addictions counselor.
Rules are strict; expectations are high
Once the women have committed to staying at Renewal House they are subject to strict guidelines.
"This is a very structured program, and we expect a lot from the women," Lieberman said. "We have a lot of rules, but they understand that when they enter the program."
The women are responsible for the upkeep of their apartments, which are inspected regularly, and are subject to random drug testing.
"If they have drugs in their system, then that's automatic dismissal" from the program, Lieberman said.
Televisions are not allowed in the rooms, only in the community area of the apartment complex, and no phones, to keep the women completely focused on their recovery and their children.
As a woman moves through the program, the strict rules lessen and privileges increase. After graduating, they can move into Renewal House's affordable housing units, which are separate from the apartments.
Mullins, who spent 14 months in the program, now lives in one of the affordable housing apartments and has been paying for it for seven months. She has been clean and sober for 21 months, but she will not forget her past.
"You look at life different, and you look at other people different. I see people on the streets like I was, and I could still be there. I know what they're going through; … everybody has pain and everybody has a story," Mullins said.
To learn more infommation and what they might be able to help you with click on the follwing link.
SOUTH NASHVILLE — When Overton High School student Robert Wood Jr. receives his diploma this month, it will signify far more than the accomplishments of most graduating seniors.
For Robert, it will be a sign of how he has overcome such obstacles as learning how to survive without the use of his legs and with limited use of his arms — abilities he had just a year ago.
"We got done bowling after 2 in the morning. We started to race afterwards on Edmondson Pike," said Robert, recalling the moments leading up to accident.
Robert doesn't remember anything about the accident, itself. His only knowledge of it through the police report and what people told him.
Robert said studying wasn't so much difficult during this time, but it was lonely and frustrating otherwise. "It sucks not being able to see your friends, not being around people," he said.
The only way he was able to deal with his condition emotionally, he said, was because "family and friends were there."
"Art is the class in which he probably has the most socialization," she said. "It's really energetic."
Robert's art teacher, Michael Qualls, said Robert has tried really hard this school year. He has seen Robert's ability to draw improve, despite having weakened motor skills.
Robert plans to attend Nashville State Community College or another technical school to study Web design. He wants to manage and design Web sites.
Overton grad "Mr. Personality"
"I was excited to be around everybody," he said.
In spite of all that he has endured, Robert's classmates speak of him as if he's "Mr. Personality."
Even with all he's been through, he has chosen not to isolate himself or become bitter, Jessika said.
Robert will have family coming from out-of-state for a huge graduation celebration.
"You have something one minute, and then the next, you don't have nothing."
By COLBY SLEDGE • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • May 7, 2008
Convicted child abusers could face longer stays in jail, thanks to a state bill inspired by a Wilson County teenager with mental retardation who was found chained to a bed.
The bill, which passed unanimously in the House on Tuesday and the Senate last week, would require a person convicted of child abuse or aggravated child abuse to serve 100 percent of the imposed sentence.
The bill was introduced in honor of Josh Osborne, whom authorities found in 2004 chained to his stepmother's bed at their Lebanon home. Osborne, then 15, weighed between 50 and 60 pounds.
By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (tennessean) May 7, 2008
Metro Nashville's budget is expected to increase slightly in 2008-09, edging toward $1.6 billion.
But rather than adding a job here and a job there, the city will lay off 200 people and eliminate 127 vacant positions if the Metro Council approves Mayor Karl Dean's budget recommendations.
Most Metro departments would receive less money in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1. The school district, Davidson County Juvenile Court and some programs for the homeless would get more, however.
Mark Naccarato, political director and spokesman for the union that represents many Metro workers, said Dean seemed to be "robbing Peter to pay Paul" by boosting schools' funding 4.8 percent at the expense of some employees.
"We think you can do both," Naccarato, with Service Employees International Union Local 205, said Tuesday. "It's about priorities. … What these people do is important to the city. You get what you pay for."
Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said he and others in Dean's administration tried to limit the cuts to jobs that aren't involved in providing direct services to the public. Riebeling also said many of the 200 people who would be laid off would land in other Metro jobs.
"Technically, it's still a layoff, but the good news is that they won't be without a job," he said.
Whether those people will still make as much money remains to be seen, Naccarato said. SEIU represents more than 2,500 Metro employees, including some who work for the school district, he said.
Erik Cole, chairman of the Metro Council's Budget and Finance Committee, gave Dean and Riebeling credit for "an extraordinary job" of balancing competing priorities in a tight year. But he said the job cuts were his biggest concern.
"At this point, my inclination would be that if we do something (to adjust Dean's budget), it would be to try to ease the pain of the layoffs," Cole said.
School funds to increase
Metro schools would be the biggest winner under Dean's plan, reflecting his consistent statements that education is the city's top priority. The district's budget would increase by about $29 million, including about $10 million in state money, to reach $627 million.
It's not yet clear where the new money would go, said David Fox, chairman of the Metro school board's Budget Committee.
The school district is under great scrutiny from state education officials after years of failing to meet federal standards, and the state could take over the district if its performance continues to lag.
School board members are getting input from the state on how they should spend the additional money to address the district's most pressing needs, Fox said.
"We've been in a lull for a month," he said.
The Davidson County Juvenile Court's budget would increase so the court could start another education-related program, a $500,000 truancy center. The center would take teenagers who regularly skip school and work to get them back on track educationally.
Dean also would increase the budget for the city's homelessness commission by 18 percent, pushing it to $1.15 million. There would be more money for direct health care for the homeless and a $110,000 software package to help city and nonprofit agencies better manage and avoid duplicating services.
New jobs found elsewhere
Metro Human Resources Director Dorothy Berry said her office has placed at least 40 to 50 layoff victims in new jobs, mostly within the government. She said she expects to be able to place "a large number" of the eventual 200 victims.
But Berry acknowledged Naccarato's point about the possibility of reduced salaries.
"You can't guarantee everybody's going to stay whole when you're doing a reduction in force," she said.