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No. 626: Signs of Life
Photo by Crosby Hinze / Unsplash

No. 626: Signs of Life

🏈 The Titans jolt back to life 🌾 What growth means for Middle TN's small towns ⚾️ MLB in Nashville 📬 Much more!


Our famous Bar Hours returns this Thursday (12/14) at 6 p.m. at Von Elrod's in Germantown. Join us for a beer and to celebrate the end of the year.

Good afternoon, everyone.

The Titans pulled out a tricky win last night in Miami against the stalwart Dolphins. According to the Bleacher Report, until last night, teams down 14 points with under three minutes to go were 0-767 since 2016. A fitting tribute to the late Frank Wycheck and a testament to the area’s resilience.

With a late Levis-Hopkins touchdown connection, a quick Dolphins three-and-out, and a Derrick Henry goal line push, the Titans embarrassed the now 9-4 Dolphins. The loss put the Dolphins’ shot at playoff home-field advantage in jeopardy.

Leaning into the showmanship, Quarterback Will Levis told reporters after the game: “We knew we had an opportunity to do something special tonight on national television. Probably our last prime-time game. Hope America liked what they saw."

Elsewhere, clean-up efforts continue across the mid-state in the aftermath of Saturday's storm. If you want to volunteer, the mayor has directed people to You can also check out Hands On Nashville.

In the rest of this newsletter, Greg Hazelwood gives an honest account of how growth in the mid-state has affected his hometown of Spring Hill and Megan talks about the new MLB stadium and communication snafus at MNPD.


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From Gregory Scott Hazelwood

"Regrettable" scarcely captures the essence of what is happening. The encroachment of concrete upon our Southern towns evokes feelings more closely aligned with heartache, even grief.

On one side, Tennessee is enjoying unprecedented economic growth, marked by historically low levels of unemployment. Conversely, however, the growth comes at the cost of eroding the very identities of some communities—identities once steeped in the Jeffersonian virtues of republican self-governance and agrarian roots.

These Jefferson-inspired ideals of community-based governance and agricultural heritage are quintessential American values that have deeply influenced the character of Southern communities. These principles advocate for a government that is both localized and directly accountable to its citizenry—a government not just of the people, but also by and for them.

Yet, this idyllic vision stands in sharp contrast to the contemporary realities many communities are experiencing, including my own hometown, which finds itself both blessed and burdened by Tennessee's economic growth.

Continue reading...


This weekend's tornadoes were many things– a devastating tragedy, an example of Middle Tennessee resilience, and a reminder of the importance of local media in providing the public with accurate, real-time information.

Last month, Jerry Barlar, a veteran reporter at News 2, told Mayor O’Connell about his station’s difficulties getting timely responses from MNPD. In particular, Barlar was concerned with the lack of communication between news desks and what he referred to as the department’s highly-paid public information officers (PIOs). “We've seen a decline in response from PIOs over the past two or three years,” he said during November 16th’s media roundtable.

The “PIO positions” Barlar spoke of are part of MNPD’s Office of Public Affairs, which is staffed by three people— two of whom previously worked as journalists for News 2. Though Barlar used the term PIO during discussions with the mayor, these staffers hold the official title of Public Affairs Officer. Their job entails handling “media inquiries and requests… [disseminating] written media releases issued by the police department”... and “when necessary, interacting with media representatives.”

During December 1st’s roundtable, Barlar broached the subject again. “It's very frustrating… it's concerning to the public when you have criminals that have just committed a horrible crime and murder. We can't get information,” he said after explaining how the department only reached out to News 2’s assignment manager to coordinate a private meeting. “They never reached out to me or anybody else at the station.”

It isn’t just MNPD’s media relations team who is unresponsive. According to Barlar, the fire department hasn’t been forthcoming either. “Our producers, under direction of our manager, have been putting together a list of emails that were not responded to by the Metro fire department PIOs,” he stated. “Everything from drownings, to car crashes, to house fires… It's almost impossible to get information, even on stories where their fire department played a very major role in those stories.”

For his part, Mayor O’Connell stated  he cannot speak to those departments and their responsiveness to Barlar’s news station. He did, however, indicate the volume of requests might play a role in the response time. “This is one of the things we've started looking at; is there a metro wide policy on what must be responded to,” he said. “I'll just say…. I think there is a general level of expectation that we want to be able to set and this is something we're continuing to work on.”


Rumors have been swirling since the public caught wind of Mayor O’Connell’s meeting with Chicago White Sox majority owner and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf last Tuesday. Of course, their encounter wasn’t quite a coincidence: MLB representatives from across the country flew into Music City last week for winter meetings. O’Connell’s administration told Axios that the meeting was informal and if any team were to move to Nashville, it would be on their dime. 

During December 1st’s media roundtable, prior to his rendezvous with Reinsdorf, the mayor  was asked about this very topic. Here’s what he had to say about bringing a major league baseball team to Nashville: “We're certainly not ready as a city [or] as an administration, I think, to say about any particular group or team… that we are already seeking that.” 

Coucilmember Brandon Taylor of North Nashville is holding a community meeting tonight to discuss an MLB stadium. It will take place at the Hadley Park Community Center at 6 p.m.


This map shows a line of broken or destroyed power poles and other equipment, color-coded by the level of damage. (Source: NES)


Taylor Swift donates $1 million to Tennessee tornado relief fund (Tennessean) Following the devastating tornados that swept through multiple Tennessee counties Saturday, Swift made a $1 million donation to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Six apply for pending Supreme Court vacancy (Post) Six attorneys and judges from West Tennessee have submitted applications to succeed retiring Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Roger Page. Page recently announced plans to retire in August 2024.

State Supreme Court redistricting ruling overturns lower courts again (Lookout) The Tennessee Supreme Court set the stage for overturning a lower court’s ruling with a move vacating an order for the state Senate to redraw district maps by Jan. 31 because they were found unconstitutional.

Tennessee bettors place more than $500M in gross sports bets in November (Center Square) Tennessee collected $9.5 million in taxes on sports wagering in November, up from $9.4 million last November as the state’s sportsbooks accepted $517 million in gross wagers. It was the first time Tennessee exceeded $500 million in gross wagers in a month.


  • January debut set for Hillsboro Village restaurant (Post)
  • Three-tower project effort advances (Post)


View our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and our 2023 southern festival guide and 🎥 2023 movie guide.


🎺 Todd Day Wait @ The Underdog, 11:30p, Free, Info‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌
+ Honky Tonk Tuesday afterparty, down the street

🎸 Honky Tonk Tuesday @ American Legion Post 82, 5p, Free, Info‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌
+ two-step lessons @ 7p, The Cowpokes @ 8p

In case you missed it...

📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 625: Tornadoes Roll Through Middle Tennessee
🌪 On the tornadoes that cut through Middle Tennessee Saturday 🏈 Commemorating the life of Frank Wycheck 📬 And more.
No. 624: The War on Pants
👖 There’s a war on pants 🎞 Anne Hathaway’s latest performance 🚨 TBI human trafficking report 📬 Much more!
No. 623: Leadership in the New Age
📅 Today, Davis talks about civic leadership, Jerod reviews Ian Prior’s book Parents of the World Unite, and Megan discusses the city’s unsuccessful effort to build more sidewalks.
No. 622: It’s You
📅 Today, Davis talks about our democracy, and Megan recaps last night’s Metro Council meeting.
No. 621: Welcome to the big show
📅 Today, Davis talks about production budgets, Tyler reviews the new Daily Wire movie Lady Ballers, and Megan previews tonight’s Metro Council meeting.


  • 🏟 All-time Houston Oiler and Tennessee Titan great, Frank Wycheck, dies at 52 (Read)
  • 🎓 A review of Ian Prior’s Parents of the World Unite!: How to Save Our Schools from the Left’s Radical Agenda (Read)
  • 🎞 The Pamphleteer's Fall 2023 Streaming Guide (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.