AP/WMOT

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  A Nashville-area woman has been honored as an inspiration for her work with needy children in Africa.

Beliefnet, an online site focusing on spirituality, chose Katie Davis of Brentwood for its Editor's Choice Award

After traveling to Uganda in 2006 when she was just 16, Davis started a ministry two years later that matches children there with sponsors worldwide who donate funds to pay for their schooling.

 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A proposed reduction in state-funded college scholarships worries students and administrators at some of Tennessee's small private institutions.

Projections show the HOPE scholarship fund will be operating in the red within a few years. A legislative task force was convened to suggest solutions.

Their recommendation to legislators is to reduced scholarship payouts by requiring applicants to meet both the high school grade point and college entrance exam benchmarks to get the full award.

 

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s working to speed up the environmental permitting system for poultry farms.

The governor noted in a speech to the Farm Bureau in Franklin yesterday that his goal is for the state to strike a balance between environmental stewardship and promoting jobs and production in the agricultural sector.

Poultry is Tennessee's third largest agricultural product, after cattle and soybeans.

 

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Renowned UT Knoxville Women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt has been named Sports Illustrated's sportswoman of the year.

The Hall of Famer has won more games than any coach in women's basketball, earning her 1,075th career victory Sunday.

Summitt announced in August that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, but says she’ll continue coaching as long as possible.

Governor Bill Haslam among those lining up to congratulate Summitt on the award.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Hundreds of Middle Tennessee educators have dropped union memberships since state lawmakers stripped the organizations of collective bargaining rights earlier this year.

The Tennessean reports that membership in the Metro Nashville Education Association is down by about 500. Sumner County reports roughly the same number of educators there have also dropped union memberships.

Rutherford County seems to be an exception with only about 100 teachers dropping their union.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (AP)  --  A Nashville judge has ruled that private prison company Corrections Corporation of America must turn over more documents to a magazine that advocates for the rights of prisoners. Cortney Friarson is here with that story.

CCA argued that the settlement documents sought by the plaintiff were confidential and not connected in any way to the state.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Four convictions connected to an East Tennessee sexual murder/torture case, including one death penalty, have been nullified because the presiding judge was reportedly drunk during the trial.

          Tennessee Bureau of Investigation records obtained by reporter Jamie Satterfield of the Knoxville News Sentinel show that a clerk or the district attorney routinely rescheduled former Judge Richard Baumgartner's daily docket when he was too intoxicated to work.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) - A special panel of the Tennessee legislature has recommended cutting some students' college scholarships in half. The panel says the move will save Tennessee as much as $17 million a year.

The bipartisan Lottery Stabilization Task Force voted unanimously yesterday to reduce the lottery scholarship awards by 50 percent for students who do not meet both the standardized testing and high school grade requirements.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  --  Republican presidential primary candidate Herman Cain is fending off new allegations of marital infidelity as he prepares for an appearance here in Middle Tennessee.

Cain is scheduled to appear tomorrow evening at Middle Tennessee State University. The MTSU College of Business will host the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO as he speaks to students about turning the failing pizza chain around.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Fisk University can share its Stieglitz art collection with Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas.

The court also removed a trial court stipulation that required Fisk to put $20 million of the $30 million it expects to get from Crystal Bridges into an endowment. The lower court had said Fisk should put that amount aside to maintain the art in the future.

Fisk has said it needs all of the funds now to stay financially viable.

TOWNSEND, Tenn. (AP) — A poor season for nuts and berries means a Smoky Mountains rescue center for black bears has a record number of abandoned cubs.

Appalachian Bear Rescue took in its 31st cub of this year last week. The previous record year for bear cub rescues by the center was 2009 when it took in 23 animals.

Jack Burgin is the organization’s President.

"When bears range out of the Smokies they tend to be hit by cars, or orphaned, or shot by hunters. So Appalachian Bear Rescue steps in to care for the orphaned cubs."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s looking to improve Tennessee students' proficiency scores by 20 percent over the next five years. Haslam says that kind of improvement would provide evidence that his education overhaul is working.

Education commissioner Kevin Huffman says assessment scores currently show that only 40 percent of Tennessee third graders rank as proficient in reading, while just 29 percent of seventh graders are proficient in math.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A recent study by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce found that Middle Tennessee has experienced a wave of relocations in the past five years. People are moving to the area from other parts of the country at a much higher rate than other metro areas.

Los Angeles was the biggest contributor of new residents from 2005 to 2009. Those relocating include about 600 who came with Nissan North America.

Nancy Eisenbrandt is a Chamber spokesperson.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP)  --  Freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black is having a good year.

Representative Black is the only freshman in her class of 94 to have legislation pass both chambers of Congress.

Her bill to close a Medicaid loophole and save billions is headed to President Barack Obama for his signature. The president supported it even before it made it to the House floor.

County Ends Pauper Burials

Nov 23, 2011

 

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) —Sullivan County in East Tennessee will no longer provide pauper burials.

On Monday, County Mayor Steve Godsey told county commissioners that if they’re contacted about an indigent death they should provide the caller with the phone number for Restore Life USA.

That's a Johnson City-based nonprofit that provides human tissue for research and education.

With budgets tight, the commission this year cut the funds for pauper burials to $10,000 and Godsey says the money is nearly gone already.

 

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. --  Federal officials revised the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reading downward today for the third quarter. Growth wasn’t as strong as originally thought.

The official GDP for the third quarter is now 2 percent, down by a half-percent from the earlier estimate.

The Middle Tennessee State Business and Economic Research Center has just released its analysis of Tennessee’s third-quarter economic activity.

SPRING HILL, Tenn. (AP) — General Motors has announced it will begin building its Chevrolet Equinox at its idled Spring Hill plant next year and plans to begin making a midsize vehicle there in the future.

Monday's announcement of the $61 million investment will create nearly 700 jobs at the plant.

GM says the subsequent $183 million investment into the unspecified midsize vehicle will create another 1,200 jobs.

Production on the Equinox is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2012.

The timing on the second vehicle was not announced.

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Keep the ice scraper handy and a weather eye peeled. Another La Nina winter is expected in Tennessee.

The National Weather Service outlook for December through February calls for slightly warmer than normal temperatures, but wetter than usual conditions.

Nashville forecaster Bobby Boyd says that may mean more ice than usual.

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Welcome news on the jobs front.

Tennessee's October unemployment rate dropped to 9.6 percent in October, down from 9.8 percent the previous month. 

Tennessee's unemployment rate is still well above the national average of 9 percent.

State Labor Commissioner Karla Davis says jobs added in education and health services fueled the employment hike.

Dr. Murat Arik with the Middle Tennessee State Center for Business and Economic Research says the numbers are mostly good news.  

FACT

 

A lobbyist for the conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) is standing his ground following revelations that he helped orchestrate the passage of a new state law that nullified Nashville’s anti-gay bias regulations.

A string of emails between FACT's David Fowler and state legislators came to light as part of a lawsuit challenging Tennessee’s new Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act, signed into law in May.

Tennessee university students could see a tuition increase again next year.

Some students saw double-digit increases this year. Tuition at U.T. Knoxville went up by 12 percent. At Middle Tennessee State, a Board of Regents school, tuition rose this year by just under eight percent.

Now, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission is once again recommending tuition increases statewide.

Possibly making it even more difficult for Tennessee students, state legislators are talking about raising the eligibility threshold for lottery funded Hope scholarships.

MEMPHIS — A charter school and a private education company will take over two Memphis schools.

The schools to be run by the new operators have not been identified.

Gestalt Schools, which is based in Memphis, and private Cornerstone Prep received state approval on Tuesday to run one school each, according to The Commercial Appeal. The schools are among those which failed to meet student achievement benchmarks.

Gestalt runs the Power Center Academy charter school in Hickory Hill.

NASHVILLE -- New census estimates show the number of Americans living in poverty is higher than previously known — reaching a new level of 49 million people, or 16 percent of the population.

The revised numbers, released earlier this month, are higher than the official 2010 poverty rate of 15 percent that was reported in September.

Middle Tennessee eateries are giving their patrons a chance to help. The restaurants are partnering with the local homeless program, Room-in-the-Inn to raise relief funds.

The FBI says the level of hate crime reported by police around the country remained about the same in 2010 compared with the previous year.

The bureau says just over 6,600 hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI, up by just 24 incidents over 2009.

Tennessee apparently doing much better than the national average.

Kristin Helm, a spokesperson for the The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, says hate crimes in Tennessee decreased by about 20 percent from 2009 levels.

The Tennessee Department of Education is making some changes to a waiver that would allow the state to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Tennessee asked the federal government for the waiver back in July.

State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says Tennessee had little choice but to ask for relief from the law’s increasingly strict standards for yearly improvement in student test scores.  He says that nearly 80% of Tennessee schools will likely fail to meet federal standards in the current school year.

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