This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Governor Bill Haslam doesn’t use the same rhetoric to describe the federal Department of Education as Republicans running for President. Ten governors sat on a stage in New York City.
Mark A. Emkes, retired CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas Inc. and currently the Commissioner of Finance and Administration for the state of Tennessee, will be the keynote speaker at Middle Tennessee State University’s Economic Outlook Conference. The 19th annual event will be held Friday, Sept. 30, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro, with registration beginning at 8:15 a.m. Emkes will speak at 9 a.m.
FedEx Corp. founder, chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith likes his company’s chances, even if the broader economic outlook is murky. “The current loss of confidence has changed nothing about the global economy’s underlying ability to grow over the longer term, and we have several things going for us,” Smith told shareholders during their annual meeting Monday at the FedEx World Technology Center in Collierville.
Administrators at three Mountain Empire colleges claim a strong academic reputation and a relatively new program tailored to non-traditional students is behind enrollment increases that each of their schools saw when classes started this fall. King College had 2,127 students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs when the Bristol, Tenn., college started its 2011-2012 school year in August, King spokeswoman Laura Boggan said.
The Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced today that members of the TRA have elected Director Kenneth C. Hill to serve as chairman of the agency. In the capacity of chairman, Hill will exercise the executive and administrative functions of the agency and will succeed TRA Director Eddie Roberson who recently announced plans to retire after 36 years of service.
State officials are reminding local governments that they must develop or revise their debt management policies to conform with standards issued by the State Funding Board. Last year, the board agreed to require governments that want to borrow money to adopt policies no later than this Dec. 31.
Nearly a thousand Tennessee homeowners have applied with the state so far this year for temporary help making mortgage payments. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency is lending federal money to families who’ve lost work in recent years, and are trying to stay in their houses.
State Sen. Bill Ketron contends a critic of his voter ID law proved the legislation is needed by being a convicted felon who fraudulently voted for several years. “This is about following the laws we have on the books,” said Ketron, a Murfreesboro Republican who sponsored the voter ID law.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R.-Tenn., said a government shutdown is unlikely, despite the current battle over how to maintain disaster relief funding through this week. “There won’t be a government shut down,” Alexander said Monday before he spoke at a luncheon for the Rotary Club of Nashville.
TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore, testifying Wednesday in the Kingston coal ash spill lawsuit trial, acknowledged TVA’s responsibility for the safe operation of its facilities but admitted no blame on the part of the federal utility for the Dec. 22, 2008 environmental disaster. Later in the hearing, an acknowledged expert on civil engineering, hydrology and dam safety, Dr. Bruce A. Tschantz, blasted the inspection TVA did on the coal fly ash holding cells at the Kingston fossil plant as severely lacking.
A large green-car loan fund that was created in the Bush years and which began dispensing money under the Obama White House dodged a bullet late Monday. But the spotlight turned on the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program in this dispute may keep the fund in the cross hairs for the next budget showdown.
Incomes in the Nashville area plunged sharply last year, the latest census figures show. Even in the midst of a recession, when median household income declined nationwide, the Nashville area’s incomes fell more dramatically than either the state or the national averages.
A federal judge on Monday shot down a bid by a nurse practitioner accused in a pills-for-cash scheme at a Maryville pain clinic to show she was targeted because she is a native of Africa. U.S. Magistrate Clifford Shirley said Maimoune Wright fell short in her offer of proof, known as a “proffer,” to establish a case of discrimination by federal prosecutors in their decision to add her to the conspiracy indictment filed against Maryville Pain Management clinic owner Tamral “Tammy” Guzman. “I find the proffer in this case does not support the motion (to dismiss the case),” Shirley ruled at a hearing Monday in U.S. District Court.
Glenda Gardner is a 37-year-old single parent who grew up in public housing and has returned to live there again, but that’s not where she wants to stay. “I want my own independence,” said the mother of two teenagers and one young adult.
The Tennessee Multicultural Chamber of Commerce accepted the resignation of former Executive Director Sherrie Gilchrist and answered all questions from federal authorities about its finances, the board’s chairman said Monday. “We hope the investigation will wrap up soon and our name is cleared,” said Walter Hitchcock, board chairman for the chamber, whose primary goal is helping to grow minority businesses.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and the Tennessee Small Business Development Centers are co-hosting the final leg of a statewide “Grow Your Business Tour.”The tour is a partnership between TSBDC – a network of professional business consultants with 14 centers and seven affiliate offices throughout the state – and small-business coach Robert Staub , who founded the Small Business Chamber of Commerce in Memphis and served on Luttrell’s transition team and the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Board in Washington.
Officials with the Tennessee School Boards Association encouraged local school leaders Monday night to “take a few deep breaths” as they jump into the state’s drastically overhauled teacher evaluation process. The new evaluation system — which in part gauges teacher effectiveness using student test scores — played a critical role in Tennessee receiving $500 million in federal Race to the Top funds.
Leaders at Tennessee’s two higher education systems are looking to take advantage of historically low interest rates as a means of funding as much as $1.5 billion in new construction projects on college campuses across the state. University of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents officials are discussing with policymakers the potential for a major bond authorization during the next legislative session that could green light dozens of projects, including new science buildings on the Knoxville campus.
Early results show the University of Tennessee among the leaders of the pack in an international competition to see which team of college students can build the most efficient, comfortable and well-designed house powered entirely by solar energy. Nineteen teams representing different universities, states or countries set up their houses — a culmination of nearly two years of work from initial drawings to a full-scale prototype — on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., last week.
Gov. Bill Haslam is endorsing his brother’s right to speak out against privatizing interstate rest stops, a move opposed by his family’s truck stop chain. The Republican governor has recused himself from handling issues that could affect Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J, but says brother Jimmy Haslam as president and CEO has a responsibility to try to influence politicians on matters that affect business.
Vanderbilt University’s review of student organizations’ obedience to its nondiscrimination policy has some students, professors and outside advocates saying the university itself is the one doing the discriminating. Vanderbilt has asked “a dozen or so” student groups, including five religious ones, to come into compliance with the policy, which says the Nashville school doesn’t discriminate against individuals based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Lipscomb University continues to experience an enrollment and building boom, and a new $8.5 million nursing building is another building project intended to spur growth on the bustling Green Hills campus. Since 2007, the university has seen record enrollment each fall and a 46 percent increase in its student body.
Public and private school teachers will explore the shifting line between “mainstream” students and special education students during a two-day special education summit at The Martin Institute that begins Tuesday, Sept. 27. The session is for special education teachers.
Tigrett Middle School teachers believe they’re seeing success with new test-taking strategies they have adopted as the district tries to improve middle-school students’ TCAP scores. A team of Tigrett teachers are using a three-point initiative that encourages students to create a buzz word, an inner “caddy” to a coach them, and a pre-test game routine to eliminate test-taking stress, nerves and anxiety.
Police in Red Bank have charged four people in the crowbar slaying of a man in his home. One of those charged in the killing of 27-year-old Jordan Collins late Friday or early Saturday is the victim’s former roommate, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press Police said it was the use of Collins’ credit cards that led police to the suspects after watching surveillance video of purchases being made at a Kangaroo convenience store and a Walmart store.
Shane Bailey used information he had read on a chart hanging in the Surgoinsville Middle School cafeteria to save the life of a sixth-grade student who was choking on a sandwich Friday afternoon. Bailey is known for playing Mel Gibson’s son in the movie “The River” when it was filmed in Hawkins County in 1984.
Accountability in public education won’t be the same as a result of last week’s message to the states from President Obama, inviting them to seek waivers from less logical provisions of the No Child Left Behind Law. Whether it’s a step backward or a turn in the right direction will be up to governors.
Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander put country before party last week by resigning as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the third most powerful GOP position in the Senate, to chart a more realistic course. In today’s polarized political climate, eschewing partisan posturing for practical solutions can be risky, but leaders like Alexander have a responsibility to move the nation forward.
In the United States — whose people are much better off than most in the rest of the world, even in bad economic times — we don’t want anyone to suffer from hunger.That’s why there are countless private, charitable, voluntary programs — in addition to the $65 billion-a-year federal government food stamp program — to help people in need.
In the president’s recent speeches on jobs and the deficit, the White House missed a real chance to create a better environment for job growth and American prosperity. On the deficit, the president’s plan ignores one of the true drivers of our debt: health care spending.
A White House report detailing efforts by the Obama administration to increase government transparency is causing some interesting reactions from both the right and the left. And as is pretty typical in today’s political climate, both sides are split on just what the report means.
Economic recruiters across Tennessee are finding themselves at the mercy of the companies they’re recruiting in the pursuit of jobs. And much of the time, they’re giving in.