Wednesday, December 31, 2003

State Republicans stick to the script on drivers license repeal

"In The Tennessean's account of the lawmakers' presentation, Rep. Donna Rowland, R-Murfreesboro, said, 'This law was passed in a pre-9/11 world.' Citing a repeal of a similar law in California, she said, 'If it's too liberal for California, it's too liberal for Tennessee.'"

"In The Chattanoogan's report, Rep. Chris Clem, R-Lookout Mountain, said, 'This law was passed in a pre-9/11 world. California recently repealed a similar statute. If it's too liberal for California, it's too liberal for Tennessee.'"

"In the Kingsport Times-News' report, Rep. Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, said, 'This law was passed in a pre-9/11 world. California recently repealed a similar statute. If it's too liberal for California, it too liberal for Tennessee.'"

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Nashville Scene letter questions drop in State foreign language funding

Author Ernest Rodriguez is participant in Nashville's Davidson Group.

Ramon Cisneros named to Cheekwood board

Cisneros publishes the Spanish-language newspaper La Campana.

Nashville City Paper editorial: only legal residents deserve drivers license

"We are still the melting pot of the world and that is all to our benefit. But we believe that when people do come to this country they need to play by our rules. And that means going through the proper steps to be here legally before enjoying the full benefits of citizenship such as a driver’s license."

Letter to the Editor agrees, suggests granting drivers licenses to illegal immigrants threatens safety of state.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Affordable Housing Resources hires staff to administer Hispanic Home Ownership Center

"Affordable Housing Resources (AHR) has added Miguel Torres and Pamela Re to its staff to administer its housing-education and lending programs at its Hispanic Home Ownership Center."

"Torres, a native of Mexico, has more than 30 years' experience in the tourism and hospitality industry both as a club promoter and a restaurant owner. He will serve as the coordinator of the Hispanic Home Ownership Center, which offers AHR's 'How To Buy A Home' orientation class in Spanish and all of AHR's home-loan products including down payment loan assistance and the new Mi Casa program for first-time homebuyers. Re, a native of Ecuador, also has experience in the hospitality industry in Nashville. She studied journalism and communications. Re will assist Torres with recruitment, planning and executing the Spanish homebuyer education classes."

National Education association pays for Spanish lessons for Nashville teachers

"A $5,000 National Education Association (NEA) Urban Grant awarded recently will provide for the materials, advertising and instruction for several 8-10-week courses to be held at McGavock and Hunters Lane high schools next semester."

The free courses are designed to improve the teachers' ability to communicate with Spanish-speaking parents.

"'Communication is critical in schools,' said Jamye Merritt, vice president of the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association (MNEA) and community education coordinator for Hunter’s Lane. 'We’re calling them survival Spanish courses to bridge the communication gap.'"

"Roughly 6,000 Spanish-speaking students are enrolled in Nashville public schools, a number that officials have seen rise steadily in recent years."

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Hispanic business owners class gets $10,000 donation from EDS

"Electronic Data Systems Corp. donated $10,000 to sponsor Negocio Prosperos' course this fall. The class educates current and future Hispanic business owners and began a year ago with 12 students. This fall, 22 people enrolled in the third course."

The course is run by Nashville-based Conexion Americas and taught at Belmont University.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

McMinnville paper El Paisano becomes seventh Spanish-language newspaper in Middle Tennessee

"Non-Hispanic businesses are beginning to take notice."

"Food Lion ran a full-page ad in La Campana earlier this month. The Dish Network has ads in at least three Spanish-language papers' latest issues."

Friday, December 26, 2003

Hispanic man crushed in recycling truck still unidentified

"'We really need some help,' Homicide Detective Marvin Rivera said."

Hume Fogg Spanish Honor Society serves Christmas gifts, meal to Hispanic homeless

"Students helped prepare and serve a feast of traditional Mexican dishes to about 35 men at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church downtown. They also gave each man a gift bag of snacks, toiletries, socks, underwear, gloves and at least one 60-minute international phone card."

"Yesterday's holiday meal is a slight twist on something that happens every week at the church on the corner of Sixth Avenue South and Lafayette Street."

"For three years, the church has worked with other downtown entities to provide a meal and a Spanish-language movie and church service for homeless Hispanic men and women."

"Judy Grace, coordinator of the event that usually happens Wednesdays, said it's a way to reach out to the homeless who struggle because of their limited English skills."

"Sally Dye, a Hume-Fogg senior, said the men she talked to in Spanish were happy and appreciative."

"'We can understand them, and they can understand us,' said Sally, 17."

"'A lot of people are coming over here for a better life, and I think it's important that we show them we care that they are here.'"

Habitat for Humanity produces house built for Hispanic family, by Hispanic community

Former Habitat volunteer Luz Moralez moves in to first home, built in part by Hispanic individuals and organizations.

"'Habitat was interested in reaching out to the Hispanic community here to get more Hispanics to apply for homes,' said Fabian Bedne, one of Habitat's board members, who is Hispanic. 'Within the Hispanic community we're always looking to network and give back to the community where we live. This was an opportunity to connect the two and build one of the houses.'"

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Marijuana convictions of six Hispanic men are set aside, TBI agent on the case was dealing, using cocaine

Criminal Court Judge Randall Wyatt "set aside a 15-year-sentence for each of the defendants, who had been ordered to serve their entire sentence because they were arrested within 1,000 feet of a school zone."

"To support his habit, [T.B.I. agent Patrick] Howell later admitted to stealing cocaine from investigations he was involved in. [Attorney for one of the defendants Jerry] Gonzalez points out that if he had the cocaine on him while he was working at the old T.B.I. building in South Nashville, he would have been in possession of a drug within 1,000 feet of Tennessee Preparatory School. And we already know he had been distributing cocaine as well. So why wasn't he prosecuted under the same statute used against the Hispanic defendants? In fact, all Howell got after pleading guilty to two counts of tampering with evidence was three years probation.

"'What this says,' Gonzales charges, 'is that the district attorney's office will prosecute Hispanics who come within 1,000 feet of a school but not the law enforcement officers who likewise have drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.'"

Interpreters need more than language skills in mental health setting

"'We desperately need interpreters who are trained in mental health,' said Fran Peebles of the Mental Health Association."

"An interpreter who is not properly trained can make things worse, Peebles said. By summarizing what someone says instead of translating word for word, by inserting his or her own opinions, unskilled interpreters can convey the wrong meaning."

"Peebles began a training program for interpreters across the state this fall to introduce them to mental health terms and discuss the ethics, such as confidentiality and nonjudgmental behavior necessary in a mental health setting."

"The influx of refugees from all parts of the globe means a wider variety of languages are spoken in Middle Tennessee than anywhere in the state: about 70, according to Regina Surber with the state Department of Human Services."

"That makes finding an interpreter to accompany emergency workers at any hour of the day extremely challenging, said Kim Speakman, the emergency psychiatric services operations supervisor with Mental Health Cooperative, the agency that sends teams to respond to mental health crises."

"When the language is common, such as Spanish, the agency usually can find someone. But if the patient speaks Albanian, Somali, Kurdish or Farsi, then providers have to make do using a telephone language service or a family member."

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Autobuses Adame opens Nashville bus station with routes to Mexico

The company charges approximately $200 to most Mexican destinations, claims it has 75% of the U.S.-Mexico international bus market.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Gallatin family celebrates Hispanic Christmas

"Enter this poor house, for there is room for you."

Language center may be brewing on Belmont's coffee shop curve

"With a working name 'Second Language,' the center would be a venue where students and teachers get together to share their knowledge of foreign languages."

The space, at 2013 Belmont Blvd., is close to Bongo Java and was recently emptied by the closure of Book Discoveries store.

Three remaining finalists for Metro Police Chief undergoing background checks

"An original field of applicants was narrowed by the Washington, D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) before the final seven were interviewed over the weekend and trimmed to three by a local citizen’s panel."

"The three finalists are Chattanooga Police Chief Jimmie Dotson, Washington State Patrol Chief Ronal Serpas and Waco, Texas, Police Chief Alberto Melis."

"Krol Background America will now perform background checks on each of the three candidates."

"Mayor Bill Purcell is expected to name a new chief in early 2004."

Courts may worsen interpreter shortage with new pay ceiling

"In the past decade, there has been a growing demand in state courtrooms for interpreters in Spanish and other languages. Courts are obligated under the Sixth Amendment to ensure that all defendants understand what's going on in the courtroom, including providing interpreters for non-English speakers and people with hearing problems."

"In September, the state Supreme Court decided to cap interpreters' pay at $50 per hour for certified Spanish interpreters, $40 for registered and $30 for non-credentialed interpreters."

"Those rates fall below growing demand in the private sector for interpreters and will mean that even fewer interpreters will be willing to go through a testing and training process to acquire court interpreter credentials, said Judith Kengison Kristy, co-president of the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators. The group has organized a letter-writing campaign against the new rates."

Monday, December 22, 2003

Creative Artists Agency's Alejandro Sanz releases ringtones

San Rafael plays at Merchant's tonight

"San Rafael, one of Nashville's premiere Latin bands, plays Merchant's Restaurant, 401 Broadway, from 5 to 7pm. Free."

Glendale Elementary will offer bilingual immersion classes in 2004

"Plans call for every grade at Glendale to offer at least one class taught by a bilingual teacher, who will cover all subjects in both Spanish and English."

Legacy Properties selling to growing international and immigrant real estate market

"[L]ast year the real estate market for international clients reached $45 billion... Today, 30-40 percent of first-time homebuyers are immigrants."

State Republicans include drivers license repeal in legislative plan

"After several failed attempts, Republican leaders predicted the repeal of a 2-year-old law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain state licenses."

"'This law was passed in a pre-9/11 world,' said Rep. Donna Rowland, R-Murfreesboro, noting that California recently repealed a similar law. 'If it's too liberal for California, it's too liberal for Tennessee.'"

"Rowland said that of 221 Tennessee sheriffs and police chiefs recently contacted by legislators, 107 responded that they supported the license law repeal. Three opposed it."

"House Majority Leader Kim McMillan, D-Clarksville, said she was working with the governor's office on a bill to address the security concerns raised by the state's driver's license law but that she did not have details yesterday."

Hunters Bend Elementary: 4.2% Hispanic

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Alberto Melis one of three finalists for Metro Nashville Police Chief

Mayor Bill Purcell will choose from among the finalists "in the next few weeks."

Saturday, December 20, 2003

1: Number of Hispanic sportscasters in Nashville

YMCA Hispanic Achievers program to expand into Williamson County

Expansion made possible by $10,000 donation from Fleetguard, Inc.

Hispanic Achievers program is "designed to encourage and equip Hispanic youth to go to college and consider careers they may not realize they are capable of achieving."

Belmont University, which provides meeting space for the Nashville program, will offer its Cool Springs campus for the program.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Democratic legislators working with Bredesen administration on changes to drivers license law

"Stricter licensing has been a hot button issue for Republicans who have attempted each year to repeal a state statute passed in the summer of 2001 that removed the requirement for Tennessee motorists to have a Social Security number."

"Many Democrats say the issue is a federal-level issue but have recognized that a change may be needed."

The Tennessean posts profiles of candidates for Metro Police Chief position

Cuban-born candidate Alberto M. Melis lauded by peers in Florida, Texas.

Acting Metro Police Chief Faulkner promotes minority officers

Fifteen officers, one of whom is Hispanic, were promoted to rank of sergeant.

"Police spokesman Don Aaron told, 'I suspect it is the largest number of minority candidates promoted at one time since new promotional procedures went in to effect 10 years ago.'"

Promotions follow "stern memo" from Deputy Police Chief Steve Anderson to Faulkner "criticizing her for failing to address the racial disparity in the department's leadership ranks. Specifically, Anderson complained about the relatively small number of minority sergeants and captains," according to the Nashville Scene.

Story also covered by Nashville City Paper.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Putnam County Commission passes resolution opposing issuance of drivers licenses to applicants without Social Security numbers

Fairness to legal residents and the theory of a drivers license as an illegal immigrant magnet were two reasons cited by opponents to the current state of the law.

County Commissioner Larry Epps "said the only purpose of issuing a driver's license is to prove identity and to provide minimal competency on the road, in response to comments that issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants causes a huge influx of undocumented immigrants in Tennessee."

"No I.D. for illegal immigrants" bill resurfaces

Would require social security number or other proof of legal residency before issuance of a drivers license.

Sponsor of bill alleges measure will reduce TennCare and state services spending, improve homeland security, and curb identity theft.

Article does not report how many of the more than 45,600 applicants since 2001 who have obtained drivers licenses without a social security number are (1) clients of TennCare and other state services who would not be clients if they did not have a drivers license, (2) homeland security threats, or (3) perpretrators of identity theft.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Battleground Academy Spanish Club sends reading buddies to Liberty Elementary limited-English students

"ELL kindergarten and first-grade students from Liberty and BGA Spanish Club members have formed an alliance. Since October, ten members from the BGA Spanish Club have become reading buddies for ELL students at Liberty after school three times a week. Last week, the club had a piñata fiesta where students enjoyed cookies and milk and a piñata while the Spanish Club's Chairman, Chad Graves, visited with the children as Santa. Students went home with a bag full of chocolate and a promise to see their Reading Buddies again next semester."

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Nashville Conflict Resolution Center wants more bilingual mediators for Multi-Cultural Resolutions Program

Monday, December 15, 2003

Latino Reading and Learning Center eases education transition for Hispanic students and their families

The Center "orients parents to what the American education system expects of them and their children and offers bilingual tutors to keep students from falling behind."

"In January, the center will expand into space at a yet-to-be determined school in the Glencliff cluster."

"All the services are free."

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Police ask for help identifying Hispanic man crushed by recycling truck

Friday, December 12, 2003

Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America names Donna M. Alvarado to board

In 1994 Ms. Alvarado was named as "one of nine Hispanic women in Fortune 500 corporate board governance."

Gregg Ramos begins term as president of Nashville Bar Association

Ramos is the first minority president of the Nashville Bar Association.

National League of Cities proposes visa expiration database

Organization is meeting in Nashville for the first time.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge advocates border policy reform, residency for illegal immigrants

Ridge notes tax and social contributions made by illegal immigrants in U.S., proposes lifting of requirement that aliens leave the country before applying for legal residency.

"Ridge said he thinks the body politic is about ready to address the issue of the illegal immigrants, who he said contribute to communities and Social Security and pay taxes. He referred to a growing number of bills that would grant residency to some of those living here illegally. He said one of these, which would require all illegal immigrants to leave the country before applying for residency, is 'not workable.'"

"'I'm not saying make them citizens, because they violated the law to get here,' he said. 'So you don't reward that type of conduct by turning over a citizenship certificate. You determine how you can legalize their presence, then, as a country, you make a decision that from this day forward, from this day forward, this is the process of entry, and if you violate that process of entry we have the resources to cope with it.'"

United Way of Metro Nashville will increase grants to agencies serving Hispanics

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce going statewide

Chamber leaders named in Memphis and Cookeville; collaboration with Memphis Business Alliance.

Lockeland Elementary School will have Spanish emphasis

"The curriculum currently includes 30 minutes of Spanish instruction for every child each day, which is 'about one and a half times the amount' most high school students receive in two years, according to district officials."

Sole Hispanic candidate for Nashville police chief has ties to search consultant who named him

Ethical dilemma centers around whether connection should have been disclosed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Governor Bredesen creates Office of Diversity Business Enterprise

Designed to make state contracts more accessible to "minorities, women and small businesses"

Monday, December 8, 2003

Hispanic dentist Dr. Alicia Griffin praised as caring, honest, cost-conscious, "saint in the Hispanic community"

Sunday, December 7, 2003

Christian Science Monitor calls illegal immigration "corrosive mass lawlessness"

Giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants "mocks immigration laws"

Saturday, December 6, 2003

Heritage Elementary student body is 4.4% Hispanic

Friday, December 5, 2003

Harpeth Hall graduate teaches English in Ecuador before college

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Governor of California signs repeal of unpopular drivers license law, promises support for compromise version of law which would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses after background check and proof of insurance

With immigrants coming in and race tensions heating up, Nashville leaders found the Davidson Group

"By last count, almost 400 Nashvillians had joined The Davidson Group, which organizers say may well be a unique effort. They know of no other similar programs in other cities. In joining, members commit to pair up with someone of a different racial and/or ethnic group and meet monthly in an effort to achieve greater understanding between the expanding number of diverse groups that call Nashville home. After several months of meetings, small groups of the pairs are to gather in larger groups to ripple their friendship and understanding into wider circles."

"'About two or three years ago, we had a sense that we were again getting into a bad situation from a racial standpoint in Nashville,' Andrews says. 'Again, the economy was hurting, but also the community had changed. All of a sudden, there was an influx of internationals, mainly Asians at first but then a whole bunch of Hispanics. The Asians were so below the radar that when they began to take jobs, nobody noticed, but when the Hispanics came in, it was pretty evident, and it was almost a conflict.'"

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

December 9 Lipscomb Christmas Concert theme: "Music from Hispanic Cultures"

"The Lipscomb University Department of Music presents the Early Music Consort's Christmas Concert Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway. Admission is free. The theme for the Early Music Consort's Christmas Concert is Christmas Music from Hispanic Cultures. The concert will feature music from a number if countries including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Aztec and Inca cultures. For more information, call 279-5794."

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Nashville to get first local Spanish-language television channel

"Beginning February 1, 2004, Solo Nashville, a new Nashville company, will begin airing Spanish language programs on Channel 42."

Story from Nashville Business Journal

Story from The Tennessean

Monday, December 1, 2003

U.S. industries suffer under visa backlog

"Manzullo blames the U.S. government for Ingersoll's bankruptcy, specifically the long delays foreigners now face when trying to obtain visas to visit the United States."

"A process that formerly took 30 days or less now can stretch for months and months, often with no explanation of why the visa application has not been approved, witnesses told Manzullo's committee at a Nov. 20 hearing."

"The result has been lost business deals with foreign customers, lost productivity from key employees whose return to the United States has been delayed, lost trade shows to overseas locations and foreign tourists lost to more welcoming vacation destinations, the witnesses said."

"Chambers of commerce representing other countries are exploiting America's new reputation as an 'unwelcoming' nation, says Randel K. Johnson, vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."

"They are telling companies 'don't deal with the United States -- it's too much of a hassle,' he says."

Glencliff High holds International Day celebration

"The list of countries represented and languages spoken at Glencliff is long and changes every week. The students come from Sudan, Mexico, France, El Salvador, Cuba, Vietnam, Kurdistan, Iran, Ethiopia, Eritrea and so on and so on."

"'We don't have much prejudice here,' said Janette Lanier, English as a Second Language teacher at Glencliff."

"'There's just no room for it. The international day is good for all the kids to share their cultures with each other so they can understand each other even better.'"

"'They can see they're more the same than different. They're all teenagers struggling to become adults.'"

Tennessean reader cites politicians' dishonesty in call for moratorium on discussion of illegal immigration

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