This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.
Ergonomic office chair producer 9to5 Seating is moving its manufacturing operations from China to Union City in West Tennessee, bringing 510 jobs to a region that sorely needs them, officials said Monday. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was joined by 9to5 Seating CEO Darius Mir and local officials in announcing the $39.5 million investment being made by the family-owned business. The company, based in Hawthorne, Calif., plans to add the jobs over a five-year period but plans to begin production in early 2014 in this city of about 11,000 people.
An office chair maker announced Tuesday it is moving manufacturing from China to job-hungry Union City, creating 510 jobs and investing $39.5 million over the next five years. The company, 9to5 Seating of Hawthorne, Calif.,, will occupy an empty building belonging to the Northwest Tennessee city’s Industrial Development Board. Production is scheduled to start early next year, when the company will unveil a newly developed product line designed for the retail market and branded Made in America Seating.
A China based manufacturing facility is relocating to West Tennessee, and it is bringing 510 jobs with it. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with 9to5 Seating officials announced Monday that the company will relocate its manufacturing operations to Union City, Tenn. The announcement represents an investment of $39.5 million and will create 510 new jobs over the next five years in Obion County. “I want to congratulate 9to5 Seating on this announcement, and I thank the company for its investment and commitment to Union City and Tennessee,” Haslam said.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced today the company, 9To5 Seating, will relocate its manufacturing operations to Union City, Tennessee. This is big news for Obion County, after the 2011 Goodyear plant which cost the community 1,800 jobs. 9To5 Seating will create 510 new jobs over the next five years. The company has invested more than 39 million dollars. Founder of 9To5 Seating Darius Mir has big dreams for this empty building. “Only in America can a young family come from far away distances with a dream of a better life, work hard and see their dream come true,” said Mir.
You don’t hear about jobs moving from China to the U.S., but that’s exactly what’s happening in Northwest Tennessee. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty were in Union City Monday morning to announce that 9to5 Seating is moving its manufacturing operation there, investing $39.5 million and creating 510 jobs over the next five years. “I want to congratulate 9to5 Seating on this announcement, and I thank the company for its investment and commitment to Union City and Tennessee,” Haslam said.
Taking a sleepy stretch of country road in west Madison County, Toyota’s Bodine Aluminum has turned a cotton field into a multimillion-dollar industry in 10 short years. Bodine, which produces a component every 12 seconds, had reason to pause when company officials welcomed state and local dignitaries to the 450,000-square-foot facility Monday to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Gov. Bill Haslam toured the manufacturing plant and spoke with team members, who build engine blocks and transmission cases for Bodine’s parent company, Toyota.
Gov. Bill Haslam made a stop at Bodine Aluminum to recognize the company’s 10th anniversary. Haslam was one of several dignitaries to tour the plant which manufactures engine blocks and transmission cases.
10 years in business for Bodine Aluminum brought Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to the Hub City, Monday. Bodine Aluminum has been producing engine blocks and transmission cases for Toyota at its West Jackson plant for a decade. When the plant opened in 2003 there were 40 employees. Since then it has added hundreds more workers. Officials from Toyota and across the area took part in the celebration. “You get to see things that are working around the state and for us, auto manufacturing is working around the state,” said Governor Bill Haslam.
Nashville’s economy is a “standout performer” as professional services, tourism and manufacturing add more jobs and the city attracts new residents, according to a new report from Wells Fargo Securities. Nonfarm payrolls in the Nashville area have climbed 3.3 percent in the past year and employment has exceeded its pre-recession levels, according to the report. The strengthening labor market has contributed to the housing rebound, as home sales, new home construction and home prices have increased. While home prices have increased, they are still below the national average, allowing Nashville to remain competitive on overall cost of living.
The Brownsville campus of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Whiteville has gained a $126,500 grant to enhance its machine tool program. Gov. Bill Haslam said in a release Monday that the grant is meant to encourage “hands-on learning in the metal working field” at the school and to bolster the state’s skilled work force. The grant comes from a $16.5 million pool that the Legislature approved this year as part of the governor’s effort to boost higher education attainment in Tennessee.
A groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday will mark the beginning of Chattanooga State Community College’s future home in Marion County, Tenn. The public is invited to celebrate the construction of a $2.6 million, 12,000-square-foot building at 125 acres the county owns on U.S. Highway 41 just inside Kimball, Tenn. It formerly was a horse farm called the Holland Farm. Years in the planning, the building is the first of seven planned to house a Chattanooga State satellite “campus.” “It’s just taken a lot of years to get to this point; we felt we wanted a pretty good celebration,” County Mayor John Graham said.
Grundy County is getting a $200,000 grant to construct a multi-purpose recreational trail along the former Mountain Goat railroad bed. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill presented the Recreational Trails Program grant to the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance this week. Hill says the grant will allow the alliance to provide residents with additional recreational opportunities. The Recreational Trails Program is a federally funded program established to distribute funding for diverse recreation trail projects.
Tennessee transportation officials are holding a second series of public meetings for an Interstate 24 corridor study. The goal of the study is to identify solutions for problem spots along the 185-mile corridor from the Kentucky state line to I-75 in Hamilton County. The Transportation Department has been conducting a second series of public meetings in cities along the corridor to present preliminary findings from the study and receive comments from the public and key stakeholders. Meetings were held earlier this month in Clarksville and Chattanooga.
A Tennessee state trooper with a history of discipline issues has been fired after an investigation turned up misconduct and brutality during a traffic stop in Shelbyville, officials announced Monday. Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Tommie Boleyn, of the Lawrence District, has been on leave since Sept. 9 and will be terminated effective Oct. 31. In announcing the termination, officials said they would also refer the case to the district attorney for possible criminal prosecution. Authorities said Boleyn made a DUI stop in Shelbyville on Aug. 31, during which time he violated multiple department policies.
Four same-sex couples who were legally married in other states filed a lawsuit Monday challenging Tennessee’s laws that prohibit recognition of their marriages. The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Nashville, says Tennessee’s laws violate the federal Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process, and “the constitutionally protected right to travel between and move to other states.” The U.S. Supreme Court last June struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. However, the court did not address state bans on same-sex marriage.
On the same day New Jersey began allowing same-sex couples to marry, four Tennessee couples filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force the Volunteer State to recognize those unions. The lawsuit, sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, argues that Tennessee law discriminates based on sexual orientation. State law strips same-sex couples of their constitutional rights to due process, equal protection under the law and the right to travel or relocate to another state without having one’s rights taken away, the couples argue in their lawsuit.
It was an auspicious beginning to what the couple hoped would be a monumental day. Drs. Sophy Jesty and Valeria Tanco woke up and, on their way to file a federal lawsuit to force the state of Tennessee to legally recognize their marriage, heard New Jersey had just become the 14th state to allow same-sex marriages. On Monday, Jesty and Tanco — along with their lawyer, Regina Lambert — joined three other couples from across the state to challenge Tennessee’s stance on same-sex marriages. If successful, it would force Tennessee to accept as legal marriages from other states where same-sex marriage is legal, just as Tennessee already does with common-law marriage.
A lawsuit filed in federal court Monday would require Tennessee to legally recognize marriages of gay couples that have taken place in other states. Right now Tennessee’s constitution say such marriages are not valid in the state. The plaintiffs include Val Tanco and Sophy Jesty, who were married in New York a couple years ago. Now both are professors of veterinary medicine at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. They say the state has been very welcoming overall. But with Tanco carrying a baby girl due next spring, Jesty wants their marriage to give her parental rights, too.
Republican Senate candidate Joe Carr is up with his first ad, a 30-second spot slamming U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., for his including money for a Ohio River lock and dam in last week’s budget package that ended the government shutdown. “Washington’s broken, and it’s getting worse,” Carr says in the ad, on which the campaign says it is spending about $20,000 to run on Fox News in Tennessee. “For weeks conservatives fought the good fight to cut spending and defund Obamacare. But Lamar Alexander was behind closed doors trading favors.”
A defiant President Barack Obama said Monday that he’s mad about problems with the Affordable Care Act’s new website, but he argued that the law as a whole is working as planned. While Healthcare.gov “hasn’t worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work,” Obama said, uninsured Americans have been able to sign up for coverage. “The product — the health insurance — is good,” he said, during a White House speech. “The prices are good. It is a good deal.” Facing attacks from Republicans and other critics of “Obamacare,” the president said his health care team is reaching out to tech experts to help fix massive website problems that have hampered the legislation’s rollout.
If a U.S. student learning English were to drive across the country, he would find that in some states he would be classified an “English-language learner,” eligible to receive extra support. In other states, the same student would not qualify for the special designation—or the additional help. In California, for example, English-language learners spend part of the day focused on learning English. The rest of the day, teachers help them learn the same material as native English speakers, with some modifications. For example, they might be divided into smaller groups with other limited English speakers, or receive a preview or review of the lesson in their native tongue.
The inspector general’s office audited costs billed to TVA by AMEC Environment and Infrastructure Inc., based in London, England. It says the company overbilled TVA by nearly $2.2 million. A summary of the report says AMEC loaded coal ash onto rail carsor trucks for off-site disposal under terms of a contract with TVA. The audit looked at $19.3 million in costs billed to TVA from June 2, 2009, through Jan. 13, 2011. TVA spokesman Duncan Mansfield said Monday that TVA is evaluating the findings and its response.
TVA is reviewing an audit report by its Office of Inspector General that says a contractor overbilled the federal utility by about $2.2 million for services related to clean up of the Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill. TVA will examine the audit and identify any costs it will try to recover, TVA spokesman Duncan Mansfield said Monday. TVA will submit a response to the Inspector General in mid-November, he said. According to the audit, AMEC Environment and Infrastructure Inc. overbilled TVA nearly $2.2 million in costs related to loading coal ash onto rail cars and trucks for off-site disposal from June 2, 2009 to Jan. 13, 2011.
Two years after nuclear regulators red flagged the Tennessee Valley Authority for inadequate maintenance and review of key safety systems at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, an internal TVA review has found the utility still isn’t adequately tracking its maintenance work in a consistent manner across its three nuclear plants. In an audit of TVA’s preventative maintenance program released Monday, TVA’s inspector general said maintenance programs were not consistently documented and conflicting records were presented at each of TVA’s three nuclear plants.
Faced with the biggest drop in power demand in is 80-year history, the Tennessee Valley Authority is rethinking its future power plans. Only two years after completing its previous 20-year plan, TVA is beginning a reassessment of its long-range plans this week with the first public hearings on how much and from what source TVA should generate and distribute its electricity. Although the new integrated resource plan is only advisory, it should help the TVA board decide how many of its aging coal plants will be shut down, how much energy conservation will be pushed and what, if any, new nuclear power plants, wind mills or solar farms will be built.
Kellogg Co. threatened to lock out union workers at its Memphis cereal plant unless they agreed to “last/best” contract offer from the company by 7 a.m. Tuesday. The threat was made in an Oct. 16 letter from plant director Chris Rook to about 220 hourly workers represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union Local 252G. The plant, located at 2168 Frisco, off Airways near the Memphis Depot Business Park, produces Froot Loops, Apple Jacks and other cereals. Company officials said 10 days ago it was in the midst of a temporary production shutdown.
The Bradley County Commission has asked that the Bradley County Board of Education analyze the impact of Common Core educational standards on students and teachers and report back to it. On Monday, the County Commission voted 13-1 for this course of action, with Commissioner Jeff Yarber opposing. Before the near-unanimous vote, the County Commission battled over whether to support a resolution put forth by Yarber to notify state legislators and education officials that the commission opposed the adoption of Common Core standards in favor of standards developed at the state and local level. Commissioners Terry Caywood, Charlotte Peak-Jones, J. Adam Lowe, Bill Ledford and Mel Griffith supported Yarber’s failed measure.
Shelby County Board of Education members are expecting a report from administrators Tuesday that would shed more light on the impact of the student exodus expected next year when up to six new suburban municipal school districts open their doors. A partial analysis delivered last week by interim Chief Financial Officer Alicia Lindsey revealed that the district would suffer a net loss of $52.6 million. That’s based on an estimated loss of about $230 million in revenue, if students in all six municipalities and their annexation reserve areas departed; and an estimated savings of $177.4 million that could be recovered with the departure of most employees directly associated with those schools.
Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson says it is looking less likely that the school system will provide support services to the new suburban school districts. “There was some discussion early on,” Hopson said on the WKNO-TV program “Behind The Headlines.” “But I think as we move forward and some of the talks have happened between the County Commission and the municipal schools … I’m not so certain that there is going to be a wide menu of services that the municipal schools are going to even want. I don’t think we can build a budget around the possibility of sharing services.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich pushed through an expansion of Medicaid Monday over the objection of fellow Republicans in the state legislature, using federal money to add hundreds of thousands of state residents to the health-care program. His action makes Ohio the latest state to finalize its intentions to opt into a provision in the Affordable Care Act that provides billions of federal dollars for states to add more people to the rolls of the government health-care program traditionally restricted to the poorest and some disabled people.
Tennessee consistently ranks near the bottom when it comes to the overall health of the state’s residents. From obesity to smoking-related illnesses to diabetes, stroke and heart disease, Tennessee currently ranks 41st in overall health. The latest effort to reverse this trend is the Governor’s Health and Wellness Foundation, and it is a step in the right direction. Last week, The Jackson Sun editorial board had the opportunity to visit with the foundation’s CEO Rick Johnson. The foundation is a public/private partnership that has raised millions to get the message out to Tennesseans about the effects of poor lifestyle choices, and to offer help and inspiration to get people on track to more healthful living.
Building a new landfill for hazardous and radioactive waste in Oak Ridge makes sense, provided the site is suitable for the project. The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed building a landfill to hold an estimated 2 million cubic yards of waste to replace an existing facility that will reach capacity as early as 2020. State environmental officials, however, have raised concerns that the process DOE used is “backwards” because the federal agency selected the site before conducting hydrogeological tests. The waste going into the existing landfill in Bear Creek Valley west of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant is filling up fast with debris from the demolition of major DOE facilities such as the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant.
We thought Congress had learned the foolishness of forcing a government shutdown in 1995-96. Apparently not. Now the country has taken a $24 billion hit to its economic growth to teach that same lesson to congressional radicals, mostly House Republicans, who were too young or too obtuse to learn it the last time around. The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s estimated the shutdown knocked 0.6 percent off gross domestic product growth through lost economic output; the S&P reduced its estimate of annualized economic growth in the fourth quarter by a full percentage point, from 3 percent to 2. Moody’s Analytics was slightly more optimistic.
From the beginning I made it clear I would not support any government spending bill that provided funding for ObamaCare. I stuck to that promise throughout the entire government shutdown because I believed it was the right thing to do for both our country and our community. But while I am certainly disheartened the people of Tennessee are now going to be subjected to a law that is a complete and total train wreck, there is something else that is equally concerning. Politicians in Washington will consume themselves over the next few weeks fretting over who the media perceives as the winners and losers of the government shutdown.