Emily Siner

Emily Siner is an enterprise reporter at WPLN. She has worked at the Los Angeles Times and NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and her written work was recently published in Slices Of Life, an anthology of literary feature writing. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
 

The first day of college is daunting anyway, but Michelle Griffith felt especially out of place. It was August 2015 when she walked into the sleek, glass-paneled atrium of Motlow State Community College in Smyrna. She was in her early 50s.

Several thousand people made it inside Municipal Auditorium Wednesday night to hear President Donald Trump deliver a defiant speech. He thumped a federal judge's ruling on immigration, sparked jeers at former opponent Hillary Clinton and pledged to put a stop to Obamacare.

Law enforcement agencies reassured community members Wednesday night that they are working hard to keep Jewish organizations secure and track down the origins of threats. Nashville's Jewish Community Center hosted the discussion after it received three bomb threats since the beginning of January.

Fort Campbell would dearly love to see some of the $54 billion in defense funding that President Trump has proposed. The commanding general of 101st Airborne says that the Army post could use more soldiers, as well as long-awaited updates on buildings.

  

The first class of students who went to community college for free under Tennessee Promise is graduating this spring. Some might go straight into the workforce, some plan to transfer to public universities — but private colleges are starting to make a concerted effort to recruit them, too. 

The president of the University of Tennessee system will highlight its stronger financials and increasing graduation rates at the annual State of UT address today.

Joe DiPietro will also reiterate that the school is "committed to diversity and inclusion," he said last week.

Tennessee's insurance commissioner says she's talking to Humana about maintaining coverage in parts of the state next year, despite the company's announcement Tuesday that it intends to leave the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange nationwide.

Now that the new Congress is poised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, groups that favor it are trying to rally public support with more urgency.

The Tennessee Justice Center is helping people organize letter writing campaigns to the state's Republican senators, according to the organization's director. It also worked with the national advocacy group Alliance for Healthcare Security to hold a press conference Wednesday that featured a Tennessee doctor and patients who've benefited from Obamacare.

It's been 150 years since Fisk University opened in Nashville to educate freed slaves after the Civil War. The school's later students would become prominent black leaders of the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement.

But the small school is still grappling with a dilemma that's been there since the start: how to become financially sustainable.

Fisk is perhaps most widely known for its music, but that legacy is intertwined with money.

Officials in Gatlinburg have been begging visitors to return. Now they'll see if that happens.

The city's downtown reopens Friday, 10 days after the wildfire that stunned the region. The fire destroyed 1,800 structures and killed 14 people. Many worry it will hinder the biggest economic driver in the area: tourism.

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