Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The head of a privately-run online school in Union County says it has plans to improve student performance after the state's education commissioner called the school's poor test scores last year "unacceptable."

The Tennessee Virtual Academy is operated by K12 Inc., the nation's largest publicly-traded online education company, under contract with the Union County Public Schools system.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A group of Nashville-area World War II veterans is getting a free flight to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II memorial built in their honor.

The local veterans and their guardians will fly out of Nashville International Airport on Wednesday morning.

In Washington, buses will transport them to the World War II Memorial as well as other monuments, including the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, the Air Force Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The group will fly back to Nashville on Wednesday night.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — The cousin of an Alabama man killed during a drive-by shooting during a cookout in Murfreesboro says he was trying to save a child.

Deborah Tuma told The Daily News Journal that 51-year-old Mickey Simmons of Demopolis, Ala., got shot in the neck early Monday morning as about 30 people gathered at her house for a post-wedding cookout.

Tuma says her duplex home and a few cars were also shot as the guests were preparing to leave.

About 30 people including 15 children were at the event following a wedding in Nashville.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal trial that will decide the constitutionality of a vote that approved the creation of six municipal school districts in Tennessee's largest school district has begun.

A lawsuit seeks to invalidate an Aug. 2 vote by suburban residents who approved referendums to form separate public school districts in six Shelby County municipalities.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say a man suspected of fatally stabbing a woman, her teen-aged son and her mother in their Nashville suburban home apparently lived nearby.

Police spokesman Don Aaron told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/N7hJkE ) that the bodies of 48-year-old Michelle Pinkowski; her son, 14-year-old Jonathan Culpepper, and her mother, Marylea Jordan, were discovered around 3 a.m. Sunday at the Bellevue home.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Department of Energy's inspector general blamed significant security failures for an unprecedented intrusion into the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, including broken detection equipment, a poor response from guards and insufficient federal oversight of private contractors running the complex.

MTSU Sports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The fall football season got underway Thursday night here in Middle Tennessee, with several mid-state teams starting the season at home.

The New Orleans Saints took no chances in their final pre-season game, resting all starters in a 10-6 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Marcus Lattimore ran for two touchdowns and Connor Shaw ran for 92 yards while playing the second half with an injured shoulder as No. 9 South Carolina rallied for a 17-13 victory against Vanderbilt. Lattimore scored the go-ahead TD on a 1-yard run with 11:25 to go.

MTSU

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Officials from Nissan North America were on the Middle Tennessee State University campus Tuesday to donate two electric cars and three charging stations to the school. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />

It’s part of Nissan’s efforts to promote the use of zero-emission vehicles.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee says that the Nissan Leaf cars will go into the university's motor pool. McPhee says the donation underscores the school’s commitment to a green campus.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal court has denied an appeal made by the Wayne County Board of Education in a case involving two students who were bullied and awarded $100,000 each.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit today affirmed a lower court ruling to deny a motion for judgment filed by the school board.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A vocal faculty member at Tennessee State University who has opposed university leadership was taken away from a meeting in handcuffs and removed from her leadership position on the faculty senate.

Jane Davis, an English professor, was arrested by campus police on Monday on a charge of disorderly conduct, according to TSU spokesman Rick Delahaya.

The Tennessean reported (http://tnne.ws/PAq0ex ) that Delahaya said Davis became extremely disruptive and would not allow the meeting to proceed.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Tennessee’s unemployment rate rose sharply in July.

Joblessness jumped three tenths of one percent to 8.4 percent, pushing it above the national rate of 8.3 percent.

The new rate is the highest Tennessee has seen since last December, but still a full percentage point below August 2011.

In spite of rising unemployment, Tennessee saw strong job growth in July in the manufacturing, health care and government employment sectors. The state lost jobs in hospitality, business services, and transportation.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Muslims in the Tennessee city of Murfreesboro were able to celebrate Friday prayers in a new mosque after more than two years of controversy about the building.

Opponents of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro who sued to try to halt construction were nowhere to be seen. Instead the worship space was filled with smiling men, women and children.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The run of unusual weather continued in Tennessee this past month.

Memphis was dry in July while rainfall in the Tri-Cities set an all-time record. The mid-state almost caught up on annual rainfall.

National Weather Service meteorologist Danny Gant says a stubborn high pressure ridge has taken up residence over western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. It blocks storm systems from moving into the Mississippi Valley. The farther away from the ridge, the better chances of rain.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro will meet for prayers in its new mosque on Friday.

Rutherford County Building Codes Director David Jones said Tuesday that he issued a temporary occupancy permit to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro after inspectors approved the building.

Construction was nearly shut down after Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew ruled in May that the meeting at which mosque construction was approved was not sufficiently advertised to the public.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart has lost her state House primary to a retired Air Force officer backed by the National Rifle Association.

With 88 percent of precincts reporting Thursday night, Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers had more than 1,630 votes, or 58 percent, compared with Maggart's 1,157, or 42 percent.

Rogers was endorsed by the NRA, which was outraged that Maggart didn't push through legislation to allow workers to store guns in vehicles parked on company lots regardless of their employers' wishes.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Voters in six Memphis suburbs have approved the creation of municipal public school systems to sidestep the merger of city and county schools.

Referendums in Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington passed Thursday. Next month, a judge will have the final say on whether the vote will stand.

Voters in those municipalities want their own schools to avoid the merger between the larger, struggling, majority-black Memphis school system and the smaller, more successful, majority-white Shelby County district.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Six congressional incumbents have defeated their challengers in Tennessee's primary election.

Republican Reps. Chuck Fleischmann and Diane Black won their races, following some of the state's toughest campaigns.

The other winners were Republican Reps. Jimmy Duncan in the 2nd District, Stephen Fincher in the 8th District and Scott DesJarlais in the 4th District. Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen prevailed in the 9th District.

Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker also easily won nomination.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) —  Filled with big money punches and verbal attacks, the primary for the 6th District congressional seat is looking more like a female boxing match: Black vs. Zelenik, the rematch.

Two years ago former state Sen. Diane Black defeated Lou Ann Zelenik by fewer than 400 votes in a GOP primary that pitted Black's mainstream Republican credentials against Zelenik's tea party fervor. Black went on to win the seat east of Nashville, helping tip the Tennessee congressional delegation to 7-2 in favor of the GOP.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Health has issued licenses to 255 pain clinics since a new law took effect on Jan. 1 requiring the step.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that there are another 20 applications being reviewed, while 19 have been rejected.

The law imposes regulations on pain management clinics in an effort to crack down on so-called pill mills. In addition to licenses, the new regulations outlaw cash payments for treatment and require licensed physicians to be present in the clinic at least 20 percent of the time.

WMOT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM) will be permitted to occupy its new mosque in time for Ramadan.

WTVF-TV is reporting that a federal judge issued an emergency restraining order Wednesday evening that compels county officials to grant immediate occupancy. The order means that ICM will likely get to celebrate Ramadan beginning Thursday evening in its new facility.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A Memphis woman has been sentenced to 29 years in prison for fatally stabbing a Middle Tennessee State University women's basketball player.

Rutherford County Circuit Court Judge Don Ash on Tuesday sentenced Shanterrica Madden of Memphis to 25 years for second-degree murder and four years for tampering with evidence. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Madden was convicted in May in the March 2, 2011, death of 21-year-old Tina Stewart at an off-campus apartment they shared.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $395,000 a year for three years to Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region.

A news release said the money will provide Title X family planning services, including birth control and related health care, annual wellness exams and cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Planned Parenthood in Memphis said it had provided these services for more than 30 years until last year when county health officials awarded the funding to Christ Community Health Services.

TOWNSEND, Tenn. (AP) — At least two people have been killed as a violent thunderstorm struck the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Park spokeswoman Melissa Cobern says a man on a motorcycle was killed as was a 41-year-old woman who was struck by a falling tree. The names of the victims were withheld while their family members were told.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Steve Peterson has retired after 25 seasons as head baseball coach at Middle Tennessee State University.

Peterson, who announced his retirement Thursday, compiled a 791-637-3 record with the Blue Raiders. His teams played in nine NCAA regional tourneys.

Jim McGuire, associate head coach, was named interim head coach.

Peterson also was head coach at Roane State Community College from 1979 to 1984.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam will begin his review of the state's college and university systems next week.

The Commercial Appeal  reports Haslam will assemble business, legislative and higher education leaders for a meeting at the governor's residence on July 10.

An invitation sent from the governor's office to members of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, Board of Regents and others says the meeting will also feature presentations by three leading higher education policy experts and that Haslam will moderate discussions after each presentation

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