This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced Amazon’s plans to open two new fulfillment centers in Tennessee, creating over 1,300 new jobs and $135 million in investment in the state. Together with existing facilities in Wilson, Hamilton and Bradley Counties, Amazon will now be creating more than 3,300 jobs and more than $270 million in investment in Tennessee.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Amazon.com, Inc., officials announced Thursday Amazon’s plans to open two fulfillment centers in Wilson and Rutherford counties, creating more than 1,300 jobs and $135 million in investment in the state. Combined with existing facilities in Bradley, Hamilton and Wilson counties, Amazon will generate approximately 3,300 jobs and $270 million in investment in Tennessee.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) formally announced today that the Internet giant will build two fulfillment centers in Middle Tennessee, one each in Rutherford and Wilson counties. The announcement doesn’t come as a surprise, as Haslam announced Amazon would be bringing additional jobs to the state when he announced a sales-tax deal with the Internet retailer in October.
With Amazon and Tennessee in agreement over the collection of sales taxes, the online retailer on Thursday finalized its plans to open two new distribution centers in Murfreesboro and Lebanon that are expected to create 1,300 new jobs. Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. earlier this year agreed to a deal to expand its presence in the state, with the requirement that Amazon would start collecting Tennessee sales taxes in 2014.
Projects could add 1,300 jobs for Nashville region Online retailer Amazon.com has finalized plans to build two new distribution centers in Lebanon and Murfreesboro, creating an estimated 1,300 new jobs for the Nashville area. Thursday’s announcement formalizes a deal struck in October between the online retailer and Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration.
Coveted retailer to bring 1,150 jobs by next year Job seeker Penny Duncan hopes to be among the 1,150 employees Amazon.com hires to operate a sort center next year on Joe B. Jackson Parkway. “I need a job,” said Duncan, noting she’s a 57-year-old woman with a good work ethic who graduated from MTSU with a degree in finance and insurance in 1991.
Amazon has made it official: the online retailer will soon open two new warehouses in Murfreesboro and Lebanon. Combined, the facilities will create more than 1300 jobs. Rutherford County mayor Ernest Burgess says that’s a good shot in the arm for an area that’s lost similar distribution center jobs to layoffs in recent years. Burgess emphasizes that the new jobs will be full-time at a level of pay that he calls “upper-middle.”
Northwest Tennessee, and specifically Obion County, has a new strategic plan for economic development. The 12-page plan was released last week by the state Department of Economic and Community Development.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam today announced that there will be both an external and internal review of the new teacher evaluation system. He has charged the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) with conducting an independent, third-party evaluation and is asking the state Department of Education to formalize a review process, which the department has already begun Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. John Forgety (R-Athens) are sponsors of a resolution that outlines the review process for the department, which the governor said the administration supports.
Governor Bill Haslam says if Tennessee puts off setting up a health insurance exchange, it could miss a chance for federal money to pay for it. The exchange would be a hub where people and businesses shop for coverage, as required by last year’s healthcare overhaul. Last week state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey floated the idea of delaying a decision until the end of next year, and maybe holding a special session then.
Gov. Bill Haslam said a controversial recommendation to close Taft Youth Center near Pikeville is “very persuasive.” If the center is closed, its 90 or so teen inmates would be moved to four other centers scattered across the state. The proposal, suggested by Children’s Services Commissioner Kathryn O’Day, would save about $4.4 million.
Of the 11 states asking to be excused from provisions of the No Child Left Behind law, Tennessee and Massachusetts stand the best chance based on the thoroughness of their plans, according to review by a Washington think tank. While some states submitted vague plans for monitoring student achievement, Tennessee “set clearly defined goals, outlined a plan for tracking progress and specified a range of supports and actions that occur if low-performing schools do not meet their targets,” Center for American Progress researcher Jeremy Ayers said.
Unemployment decreased in 79 counties in November, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced today. Lincoln County registered the state’s lowest county unemployment rate at 5.6 percent, down from the October rate of 5.8 percent, followed by Williamson County at 5.8 percent, down from 6.3 percent. Scott County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 17.6 percent, down from 18.1 percent in the previous month, followed by Obion County at 15.2, down from 15.6 percent in October.
Knox County’s unemployment rate fell in November to 6.3 percent, down from 6.7 percent in October, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday. Knox County had the lowest rate among the state’s major metropolitan cities.
Blount County’s unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in November — the lowest rate in three years. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday that Blount’s unemployment dropped by 0.3 from the 7.0 percent October rate.
After being on the run for two years, a Georgia woman is in custody on TennCare fraud charges, in an indictment accusing her of claiming to live in Tennessee in order to get healthcare insurance benefits through TennCare, the state’s public insurance program. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 26-year old Lacey Rogers of Tunnel Hill, Georgia. She was arrested in Georgia on a fugitive warrant stemming from an indictment issued in Bradley County, Tennessee, and charged with one count of theft of services over $1,000.
Residential customers of Piedmont Natural Gas should get a break in their bills starting Feb. 1 as natural gas costs continue to fall. That is expected to be followed the next month by an increase in service charges, if it’s approved by the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.
DiPietro says graduation rate is up 2 percent After almost a year as president of the University of Tennessee, there is no hiding Joe DiPietro’s enthusiasm for his system-wide strategic plan, his efforts to streamline the replacement of outdated learning facilities and promote all the campuses. In the most publicly visible part of UT, DiPietro also shares the frustrations of many Vols’ fans about the losing football season and the shake-up in men’s basketball.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol will participate in the national holiday enforcement campaign “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. State troopers will join local law enforcement agencies to encourage safe driving habits and remove impaired drivers from the roads, according to a news release.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is once again halting all construction involving lane closures on interstates and state highways in anticipation of higher traffic volumes across the state for the holidays. There will be no temporary lane closures for construction beginning at 12 Noon on Friday, December 23 through 6 a.m. on Monday, January 2, 2012.
A project to widen Interstate 65 in Williamson County has reached the halfway point. Crews are widening a four-mile stretch of the roadway from Highway 96 at exit 65 south to the Goose Creek Bypass interchange at exit 61.
A state legislator is bringing the national debate over the financial crisis home, crafting legislation aimed at empowering people to push back against big banks. State Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, has introduced legislation that would extend the statute of limitations on when Tennesseans — people, businesses and government – can sue financial institutions.
Lawmaker discovered disease in 2009 State Rep. Lois DeBerry has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season — mainly being alive. After nearly three years of battling pancreatic cancer, the Memphis Democrat was told by her doctors last month that they couldn’t find any trace of the terminal disease. “It’s the best Christmas present I could get,” she said. DeBerry, a lawmaker for nearly 40 years, has been a powerful influence on Capitol Hill.
The East Tennessee Human Resource Agency is doing its part to help Tennesseans comply with the state’s new voter ID law, which takes effect Jan. 1. Photo ID cards are being offered at no cost to registered voters at driver service centers throughout the state. And several county clerk offices, including Knox County’s, have begun offering free photo driver’s licenses to replace outdated, non-photo licenses. ETHRA now hopes to further aid citizens’ access to the voting process by offering its extensive public transportation system for those unable to make the trip to obtain a new ID.
One woman who has been voting for more than eight decades in this state was told this week she may no longer be eligible to vote. She’s worked for years at the Tennessee State Capitol and has her old state ID, but that’s not good enough under the new voter ID law.
In 2005 Democrat Ophelia Ford of Memphis edged out Republican Terry Roland of suburban Millington in a special election for the Shelby County state Senate seat vacated by Ford’s brother John Ford, convicted in the Tennessee Waltz scandal. Subsequently Ford was forced to vacate the seat and to run again for it when an investigation demanded by Roland turned up evidence that votes had been cast by felons and in the names of deceased individuals.
At least one member of Occupy Nashville set up a tent not far from the governor’s office at the state Capitol overnight. The tent was in a corner near the south entrance of the Capitol. Gov. Bill Haslam’s office is just inside the entrance.
Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams has been assigned to hear Mayor Ron Littlefield’s new challenge to a planned recall election. The City Court Clerk’s office confirmed Thursday that Williams’ name was drawn by lot to hear the case.
Three months after taking office last year, Knox County Trustee John Duncan III gave himself and six other employees each a $3,000 education bonus — most of them tied to a program that state law indicates should go only to those who attain the designation of certified public administrator. None of them had. Almost a year later, in late October, Duncan again gave himself and another 11 — most of whom are his highest-paid employees — the same bonuses.
U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Frog Jump), announced military academy nominations for the U.S. Service academies on Tuesday, Dec. 20. There are four U.S. Service academies that require Congressional nomination: the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. These institutions prepare college-age Americans to be officers in the U.S. armed services.
House Republican leaders, bowing to pressure from the White House and their Senate colleagues, agreed to a stopgap measure that will forestall a tax increase on American workers that was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. The deal is expected to come to a vote today under procedures that would require all members in both chambers to agree.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said he and other House Republicans won’t stop demanding a yearlong payroll tax cut extension as House and Senate negotiators plot a path to extend the tax cut for two months. “We want to have more money in the people’s pockets,” Fleischmann said Thursday morning.
Within a few months, the Chattanooga Housing Authority expects to need many more landlords willing to accept hundreds of low-income families whose rent is paid or subsidized by the federal government. But a looming 14 percent reduction in rental payments combined with a booming private rental market threatens the agency’s ability to land new landlords and keep the ones it has.
The Iraq War began for the 101st Airborne Division on March 21, 2003. It ended for the division yesterday, Dec. 22, 2011 when a Ryan Air charter flight touched down at Campbell Army Airfield shortly after 4 p.m., bringing the last 140 Screaming Eagles in Iraq home in time for Christmas.
Sen. Tom Coburn called on the head of the Social Security Administration on Thursday to review the health status of people represented by a legal firm that is facing scrutiny for its handling of disability cases. The request of SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue followed an article in The Wall Street Journal that described how some employees at Binder & Binder, based in Hauppauge, N.Y., allegedly withheld key medical information from the government about disability applicants represented by the firm.
The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to save more than $1 million a year in maintenance costs by tearing down the old coal-fired Watts Bar power plant. Moving ahead with the project now will keep the costs low because there’s currently a strong market for scrap metals, according to Robert Fisher, TVA senior vice president for fossil generation.
TVA will complete the teardown of the Watts Bar coal plant near Spring City, Tenn., today. The fossil plant, built in 1942 as the Tennessee Valley Authority’s first coal plant and idled since 1985, had become a $1 million-a-year drain on agency resources and a potential safety hazard, said Robert Fisher, TVA senior vice president for fossil generation.
Computerworld magazine has named a Tennessee Valley Authority executive to its annual list of 100 top corporate leaders in information technology. Dan Traynor, TVA’s chief information officer, will be recognized in the Feb. 27 issue of the magazine and on Computerworld.com.
Anderson County school rooftops are being rented out for a first-ever solar power project that officials say will be educational as well as provide new revenue for the school system. “This should be a first worldwide,” said Dr. Bruce Lipscombe, president of Lightway North America Inc.
Electrolux is very close to naming a general contractor to build its new kitchen appliance factory in Memphis, said Jason Hill, finance manager with Allan & Hoshall, the company that is overseeing public spending on the project. He said Thursday morning that Electrolux might name its preferred company by the end of the day.
The Chair of Nashville’s board of education says state laws governing charter schools ought to be, in her words, “stronger.” This week, the district essentially put a Drexel Preparatory Academy on probation for the rest of the year.
Authorities in Franklin County quarantined and condemned a house in Winchester after finding eight meth labs inside. According to a report in The Herald Chronicle, police found the labs inside a home in the 200 block of Jefferson Street late Monday night.
California Republicans are up in arms over a news report this week alleging that Democrats sought to influence the commission re-drawing the state’s congressional districts in part by arranging for misleading testimony before the panel. The flap stems from an online article from the investigative-reporting nonprofit group Pro Publica that said Democrats worked with political consultants and held meetings in Washington as part of an effort to sway the commission.
Will the lights stay on in 2012? Texas electricity experts cannot say for certain.
Once again we find ourselves in agreement with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker. This time it is regarding his call for the U.S. Senate to act responsibly and reconvene to straighten out the legislative mess over extending payroll tax cuts and other spending provisions set to expire at the end of the year.
You may have seen a funny — though painfully true — bumper sticker that reads, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait till it’s free.” Of course, the point is that health care — like any other benefit — is not free.
Perhaps Thursday’s news of a deal between the U.S. House and Senate to extend the payroll tax break is a good omen. But we certainly have our doubts. Our elected representatives in Washington, D.C., have increasingly seemed so out of touch with the average citizen as to defy description.