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 Ben Black could have spent spring break relaxing in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Instead, the Middle Tennessee State University senior criminal justice major chose to spend it bonding with five older men driving 1,850 miles halfway across the country on waste chicken fat and used cooking oil from university dining facilities.

In what he calls the trip of a lifetime, Black, 21, said driving across the country was an awesome experience and it included driving a 100-mile portion after midnight March 9.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Tennessee’s unemployment rate rose in January after several months of steady decline, but a mid-state economist says it's no cause for alarm.

The Tennessee Department of Labor says the jobless rate inched up one-tenth-of-one-percent in January to 6.6 percent. The rate had fallen steadily since last July.

Mid-state economist Murat Arik isn’t concerned by the uptick. He says Tennessee’s economy has created a healthy 70,000 new jobs in the past year.

MTSU photo by News and Media Relations

Middle Tennessee State University professor Cliff Ricketts is not accustomed to failure. It is not a part of his vocabulary.

So when the 38-year MTSU alternative fuels researcher had his latest “Southern Fried Fuel” expedition aborted by a transmission problem near Kansas City Nov. 11, 2014, he was extremely frustrated but firmly optimistic.

“Attempting to drive from Key West to Seattle has been an adventure,” he said of the journey to drive from the tip of the Florida Keys to near the Pacific coast in Washington. “We’ll postpone it to a later date.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A group opposing the United Auto Workers union has qualified for the bottom tier of a labor policy at Volkswagen's assembly plant in Tennessee.

The German automaker announced to workers Monday that independent auditors had verified that the American Council of Employees had met the minimum threshold of 15 percent of workers to qualify. The group's leaders played prominent roles in the narrow defeat of the UAW in a union vote last year.

How much higher will mid-state gas prices climb?

Feb 12, 2015

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Gasoline prices are rising again and fuel analysts with AAA say they may rise still higher.

AAA says the average price for unleaded gas has risen 8 cents in the past week and stands today at $2.10 a gallon.

Fuel analyst Stephanie Milani says there are several reasons for the change in direction. She says crude oil prices finally bottomed out and have risen slightly. She also says demand across the U.S. is up just a bit.