This year was hard, strange and seemingly interminable. But the end of 2020 is here. We’re still sorting through the literal and figurative wreckage of the Christmas Day bombing, one of the year’s biggest stories. Sadly, it fits in with the other big stories we covered this year, from a devastating tornado to a deadly pandemic. Naturally, though, our list of most-read Pith in the Wind posts from this year also includes a couple of local (or newly local) jerks.
Thanks for reading.
10. Nashville DA’s Office Will No Longer Prosecute Simple Marijuana Possession
Nashville prosecutors were already being instructed to work toward alternatives to incarceration for people arrested for simple marijuana possession, but in July Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk made it official. Following similar steps taken by progressive prosecutors in other cities, he announced that his office would stop prosecuting people for simple marijuana possession, saying that such charges “do little to promote public health, and even less to promote public safety.”
9. Hundreds Gather at Ramsey Solutions Christmas Soiree in Franklin
Conservative Christian financial guru and talk radio host Dave Ramsey has taken pride in flouting pandemic-related public health guidelines all year. It’s why he makes this list more than once. But he capped it off earlier this month with a massive, maskless Christmas party at his company’s headquarters in Franklin. The “Boots & BBQ” event, at which vendors were allegedly urged to not wear masks, included line dancing, a fake casino and a “silent disco.” Fun.
8. Metro Nashville Releases COVID-19 ‘Heatmap’
On April 7, just weeks after Nashville’s first case of COVID-19, Metro officials released a “heatmap” showing where cases were coming from around the city. It’s sobering to look at it now and see how much worse things have gotten. When the map was released, nine Nashvillians had died from COVID-19 and 51 were in the hospital. As of Dec. 29, according to the Metro Public Health Department, the death toll stands at 465, and 474 people are hospitalized.
7. Albree Sexton and Michael Dolfini Identified as Nashville Tornado Victims
The outbreak of tornadoes that tore across Middle Tennessee in the early morning hours of March 3 killed 25 people, including a couple in Nashville. Albree Sexton (33) and her partner Michael Dolfini (36) were leaving Attaboy lounge in the heart of East Nashville when the tornado came through. They were leaving the bar, where Dolfini worked, and attempted to run to their car. Sexton was struck by debris and died at the scene. Dolfini died later at the hospital. Colleagues from the local restaurant industry raised money for their families and remembered them as “a loving couple, amazing friends, and valuable members of the Nashville hospitality community.”
6. John Rich Is Angry About Lipscomb Academy’s Dean of Intercultural Development
Almost a full year before he was indulging delusions about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, John Rich was whipping up a kerfuffle over school curriculum related to white privilege and racism. It seems that a teacher at Lipscomb Academy, the private Christian school where Rich and his wife send their children, taught an essay about white privilege and the legacy of slavery to a middle school class. This upset Rich. “Racism does not exist at this school [Lipscomb Academy] based on my experience there,” he wrote in an email. The “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” singer wanted the school’s curriculum to be strictly Biblically based.
5. Demetria Kalodimos Settles With WSMV
Demetria Kalodimos’ ouster from WSMV was our most-read Pith post of 2018, so it’s not shocking to see the beloved local news anchor’s settlement with the station make the list this year. Like most Nashvillians, we were already settled on the matter. She is an institution, and our city is better because she is a part of it.
4. Metro Shuts Down Viral ‘Fashion House’ After Super-Spreading Soiree
3. Dave Ramsey Keeps Offices Open After Staffer Tests Positive for COVID-19
Purveyor of financial peace Dave Ramsey set the tone early with his decision to keep his offices open, with employees working in person, even after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19. The company would see dozens more infections but Ramsey went on, rejecting public health guidance and framing mask-wearing as a sign of fear.
2. After the Tornado, Vultures Descend on North Nashville
Residents of historically Black North Nashville were still sorting through the wreckage of their homes in the days after the March 3 tornado when predatory investors swooped in, waiving around cash offers for property. The tornado was an act of nature re-enacting the same type of destruction as an act of man, the construction of I-40, wrought on the neighborhood more than 50 years earlier. It was a heightened version of a dynamic that has been ever-present in North Nashville in recent years, as a neighborhood historically starved of investment is now seen as an “up-and-coming” part of town where developers can buy cheap and make big profits. In this instance, community organizations like Gideon’s Army and others rallied to support residents and give them the information they needed to avoid being ripped off.
1. Asshole Moving to Town
PHOTO BY GAGE SKIDMORE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS