Nashville: Add Pulitzer to your profile

This photo was part of The Tennessean’s coverage of last year’s flood. By Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

The Tennessean was announced yesterday as a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for our coverage of last May’s crippling, record-shattering floods.

Finalists and winners are named at the same time, and it is beyond an honor to be included in this group. To put a Nashville spin on it: It’s like the Grammys. If you’re nominated, you call all your relatives, slam the heck out of Twitter and Facebook, pop open something bubbly, and proudly update your digital profiles with the likes of “Pulitzer-recognized journalist…”

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Insects remind us how we’ve changed

Fireflies are a type of beetle. Some say there are more than usual in Nashville this summer.

I am reading on the screened porch with a bowl of pesto pasta, and the cats are pawing at insects fluttering on the other side. It is long past eight o’clock but it’s been dark only for an hour or so, and I look up for a minute, distracted by the lightning bugs. They are everywhere again.

A few days ago someone asked if there were more than usual this summer. Lightning bugs, or fireflies, (what you call them seems to be determined by geography, age, and whether you need the shorter word for a headline or Twitter), do seem to have staked a claim on Middle Tennessee this June. I thought this may have been because of the floods in May. Lightning bugs are a kind of beetle, and as larva they prefer soggy, wet soil where their food lives. They fill up on slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied animals before developing into the winged insects our children trap in mason jars. The spring floods in Tennessee killed more than 20 people and left billions of dollars of economic damage, but it seems they also created a firefly baby boom.

Could it be we have a lovely footnote to our tragedy, or is this just wishful thinking from a person looking for light?

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Comfort from my daughter’s ‘present’ box

Residents are evacuated in Fieldstone Farms in Franklin on May 2, 2010. Photo by Mandy Lunn / The Tennessean.

Hidden in my closet is a box of small presents for my daughter, which I restock from the dollar aisle at Target and draw from when I think she needs a pick-me-up. This morning, which is the 12th after the floods began, I turned to the present box impulsively.  Continue reading

Nashville floods, work overwhelms, heart sinks

This is my neighborhood, Fieldstone Farms.

I’m a journalist with The Tennessean. Because of overwhelming flooding in our city the last four days, my “day job” has been more like a “round the clock” job. That’s why I haven’t posted in a while.

I’m not complaining. Getting information to people is an important part of helping my city overcome this disaster.

Here is a link to our ongoing Nashville Flood coverage. And here is a list of “dos” and “don’ts”, including what you can do to help.

I hope you and your family are safe and dry.