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October 11 TN News Digest

This is a compilation of Tennessee news and political stories assembled daily by staffers in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office.

Haslam, Hagerty Tout Planned Electrolux Expansion in Robertson Co. (TN Report)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty today joined with local officials in congratulating Electrolux Major Appliances North America (EMA-NA) on the company’s decision to expand its Robertson County manufacturing facility, a $5 million investment by the company creating 75 new jobs. “I want to congratulate Electrolux on its decision to expand the Springfield facility and bring new jobs to Robertson County,” Haslam said.

Electrolux to expand in Springfield, Tenn., create 75 jobs (Memphis Biz Journal)

Swedish appliance maker Electrolux continues to grow in Tennessee. Electrolux Major Appliances North America is expanding its Robertson County manufacturing facility, a $5 million investment which creates 75 new jobs. This expansion in Springfield, Tenn., comes on the heels of Electrolux Home Products Inc. starting construction on a $200 million facility in Memphis which will create 1,200 jobs.

Electrolux begins $5 million Springfield expansion (Nashville Business Journal)

Electrolux Major Appliances North America is investing $5 million in an expansion of its existing Springfield cooking manufacturing facility. According to a news release, the expansion will transform Springfield into the company’s R&D center and purchasing headquarters for cooking products in North America, as well as a global development center for Electrolux major appliances worldwide.

Electrolux adding Springfield jobs (Nashville Post/De Lombaerde)

Global appliance manufacturer Electrolux has launched a $5 million expansion of its Springfield complex that will create 75 jobs in research and development, product development and purchasing jobs. Electrolux has been making Electrolux and Frigidaire gas and electric freestanding ranges in Robertson County since 1974 and has a local payroll of 2,800 people.

Electrolux expanding in Robertson County (Leaf Chronicle)

Electrolux Major Appliances North America announced Monday it will expand its Robertson County manufacturing facility, a $5 million investment by the company that will add 75 jobs. “I want to congratulate Electrolux on its decision to expand the Springfield facility and bring new jobs to Robertson County,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in a press release.

CANBERRA to expand in Oak Ridge, create 45 new jobs (News-Sentinel/Fowler)

New Jersey’s loss is Oak Ridge’s gain. A company that makes radiation detection devices is closing its plant in Devon, N.J., and expanding in Oak Ridge, officials said Monday. CANBERRA Industries Inc. is completing a 4,000-square-foot addition to its Union Valley Road facility and intends to more than double its 35-person work force, adding another 45 people to the payroll, said Scot Gilbert, the plant’s general manager.

Oak Ridge company to expand by $1.2M, double workforce (Oak Ridger)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty and Oak Ridge officials announced today that Canberra Industries Inc., Union Valley Road, will transition its safeguards and military product development and manufacturing to its Oak Ridge facility. The project will include a capital investment of $1.2 million and the creation of 45 additional jobs at the facility over the next three years, doubling the plant’s current workforce. Canberra is a developer and manufacturer of radiation detection solutions.

MetriCan announces $6.3M investment (Business Clarksville)

MetriCan has announced plans for a $63 million expansion of its Dickson facility, a move that will create nearly 60 manufacturing, warehouse and skilled trade jobs. “MetriCan opened its first U.S. facility right here in Tennessee six years ago, and I am pleased to see the company continuing to succeed and grow in our state.

Amazon.com Deal Changes Incentives for Company (Memphis Daily News)

The first tip last week that the latest jobs announcement by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam would be a little different was that he did it in the old Tennessee Supreme Court chambers in Nashville. The chambers are usually the setting for announcements of statewide importance with a broad political impact and sometimes a new direction for state government.

Tennessee appoints new captive insurance department director (Biz Insurance)

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has appointed Michael A. Corbett director of captive insurance in the department’s insurance division. Mr. Corbett’s hiring continues the process of rejuvenating the Tennessee domicile that began with the May passage of legislation that Gov. Bill Haslam had promoted updating the state’s captive law.

Michael Corbett named Tennessee’s ‘captive’ insurance director (N. Biz Journal)

A financial adviser and corporate consultant will head up insurance captives for the state, overseeing the implementation of legislation that provides potential savings to virtually every business in Tennessee. As the Nashville Business Journal first reported, the Tennessee General Assembly recently passed legislation allowing companies to set up a range of captive companies for insurance purposes.

Woman sentenced for TennCare fraud (Jackson Sun)

A Madison County woman has been sentenced in McNairy County after pleading guilty to charges of TennCare fraud. The Office of Inspector General announced that Jalesha Lashae Heard, 41, of Bethel Springs, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of TennCare fraud and two counts of theft of services.

State to sell estimated $584 million in bonds (Associated Press)

The state of Tennessee plans to sell an estimated $584 million worth of bonds this week, the largest sale in the state’s history. The sale Tuesday through Thursday will use some of the proceeds to pay for new capital projects and infrastructure.

Tennessee taxes post largest growth since 2006 (Associated Press)

An 8.3 percent growth rate in Tennessee’s monthly sales tax collections marks the state’s highest rate since January 2006. The state Finance Department said in a release Monday that the state collected $555 million in sales taxes in September, which reflects economic activity in the previous month.

State tax collections continue to exceed budget estimates (Nashville Biz Journal)

September tax collections came in almost 4 percent over last year for the same month, as collections continued to exceed budget expectations. Total collections for the month were $1.01 billion, according to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, compared to a budgeted estimate of $1.0 billion.

UT officials to discuss undocumented students (Times Free-Press/Trevizo)

After four years of not allowing undocumented students to enroll, University of Tennessee system admission officers are going to revisit the issue. Admission representatives from the three UT system campuses — Chattanooga, Knoxville and Martin — will bring up the topic during their annual fall meeting in October, discussing whether there’s any need or desire to move forward.

McPhee confident science building will retain priority on construction list (DNJ)

Before state money is allocated for capital projects for the 2011-12 budget year, the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee System have been asked to look at the projects scheduled for the next five years. In a memorandum dated Sept. 28, Richard Rhoda, executive director of the State of Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and Gov. Bill Haslam have asked Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan and University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro to make a “fresh assessment of their respective systems’ capital project priorities.”

Alexian Village of Tennessee plans $22.6 million nursing home (TFP/Carroll)

Alexian Village of Tennessee is expected to submit a $22.6 million proposal to replace its nursing home and move it about 370 feet away from its current location. Located on Signal Mountain’s brow, the 114-bed nursing home would be moved from 671 Alexian Way to 622 Alexian Way, a public notice in Monday’s Times Free Press stated.

Murfreesboro businessmen charged with sales tax evasion, other charges (DNJ)

Two Murfreesboro businessmen were indicted this month on state sales tax evasion and other charges following an investigation by the Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Aaron Cleo Watts, 68, and James Keith Watts, 44, were arrested today on charges of sales tax evasion, interfering with a Tennessee Department of Revenue officer, and theft of property, according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

Burn permits required in Tennessee starting Saturday, Oct. 15 (Herald-Courier)

Fire season for East Tennessee fast approaches, and with it persons doing outdoor burning need to be sure to obtain a burn permit from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division before they burn, from October 15 thru May 15. A new option is available for persons to obtain a burn permit is the online permit system, which is accessible by going BurnsafeTN.org, and clicking on the BURNING PERMITS tab.

Panel examines judge’s actions in Sara Evans’ divorce case (Tennessean/Gee)

Complaint filed by ex-husband of country star Sara Evans A panel that investigates ethical complaints against Tennessee judges is reviewing the actions of Williamson County Judge James G. Martin III in the divorce case of country music star Sara Evans. A complaint against Martin was filed with the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary last month by Evans’ ex-husband, Craig Schelske, who continues to wage a campaign against lawyers involved in the case four years after the divorce was finalized.

Amazon Compromise Mirrors McNally’s ‘Grace Period’ Idea (TN Report)

Sen. Randy McNally, chairman of the Senate finance committee, says retailers still upset with Amazon’s tax agreement with the state aren’t likely to get a better deal than the one negotiated by the Haslam administration. McNally, R-Oak Ridge, one of the key figures in trying to have the company start collecting sales tax from Tennesseans, said further action in opposition to the deal is up to those other retailers, but he said, “Certainly, if I was asked to give them advice, I would tell them that this is far and away the best deal they could get.”

Teachers’ new evaluation system to get close look from legislators (Tennessean)

The state House Education Committee is set to hold early November hearings on Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation process amid concerns it’s a time-consuming, bureaucratic nightmare. Tennessee agreed to a new form of teacher evaluations more than a year ago as part of its drive for federal Race to the Top funds.

State Rep candidate crosses lines, has checkered past (Nashville Post/Whitehouse)

Jeremy Durham, immediate past chairman of the Tennessee Young Republicans, announced recently that he was running for the Tennessee House of Representatives for a legislative district whose geographical boundaries had yet to be created. That left him with some explaining to do as the yet-unreleased district lines were defined by him as “Franklin, Fairview and Spring Hill all located within the new state legislative district…”

With Healthcare Overhaul in Flux, Exchange May Pose Tough Call (WPLN-Radio)

Elected officials in Tennessee may have to decide next spring whether the state will run its own insurance exchange. Many pieces of the healthcare overhaul are still in the air, but next summer is a deadline to get federal money if the state opts to set up such an exchange.

Tennessee Democrats use Chattanooga photo ID denial in fundraising (AP)

The case of Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old Chattanooga woman who encountered problems in trying to get a free photo ID for voting under a new state law, has gained national attention and is being used in fundraising by the state Democratic Party. As initially reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Cooper — who had been voting since the 1930s — went to a driver’s license station to get a photo ID and was turned down because she didn’t have her marriage certificate.

Nashville mayor’s goal to double college grads will be challenge (Tennessean/Cass)

Dean sees 5-year goal as a key to city’s future Social and economic trends rarely sprint from the darkness into the sunlight in one swift burst. But Mayor Karl Dean hopes Nashville’s population of college graduates will do just that.

Kimball to offer city employees a state-sponsored insurance option (TFP/Lewis)

Municipalities across Tennessee are being given the opportunity to offer their employees a state-sponsored long-term care insurance program. On Thursday, the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to offer their employees the optional insurance.

States Adding Drug Test as Hurdle for Welfare (New York Times)

As more Americans turn to government programs for refuge from a merciless economy, a growing number are encountering a new price of admission to the social safety net: a urine sample. Policy makers in three dozen states this year proposed drug testing for people receiving benefits like welfare, unemployment assistance, job training, food stamps and public housing.

A backlash against rising state fees (Stateline)

Want to renew your driver’s license, go to a state park, or sue someone in civil court? Chances are you’ll pay higher fees for those and other government services than you would have just a few years ago.

Trial on TVA ash spill lawsuits starting 4th week (Associated Press)

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s coal ash trial starts its fourth week with plaintiff attorneys cross-examining a TVA consultant who says he was hired to find what caused the spill, not to place blame. Geotechnical engineer William H. Walton is to be back on the witness stand a third day Tuesday in Knoxville.

STEM Initiative holding discussion meetings today in Chattanooga (TFP)

The first of several community discussion meetings for the Southeast Tennessee STEM Initiative will take place this afternoon. The Southeast Tennessee STEM Initiative aims to help the region receive a grant from the state to open a new science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, school.

Anderson program offered for students uneasy in typical classrooms (NS/Fowler)

Students in Anderson County’s 21st Century Workplace Program don’t attend school, educators say. Instead, the students go to what’s called the office, clock in, quietly work at their own pace in their own cubicles, and even eat lunches there.

Orgel elected chairman of Shelby County unified school board (CA/Roberts)

The new unified Shelby County Board of Education chose as its first chairman a Memphis entrepreneur best known for running a company that has become among the most successful independently owned cellphone-tower companies in the nation. As one of the suburban board members who voted for William E. “Billy” Orgel pointed out Monday night, the chairman will need “a lot of bandwidth” to manage a 23-member board tasked with governing Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools over the next two school years and bringing them together for the 2013-14 school year.

OPINION 

Free-Press Editorial: Keeping Tennessee’s word on sales tax to Amazon.com (TFP)

Opinions differ on whether former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen was right to offer online retailer Amazon an exemption on Tennessee sales tax collections if the company would build two multimillion-dollar distribution centers in Hamilton and Bradley counties. Some felt the deal gave an undue advantage to Amazon compared with “brick-and-mortar” stores in Tennessee that must collect sales taxes.

Sheila Butt: Jobs for Maury County and Tennessee (Columbia Daily Herald)

Many of you may not realize that almost 1,200 jobs have been committed to Maury County in the past year. IB Tech, is bringing approximately 400 jobs.

Sam Stockard: Haslam’s deal with Amazon sign of online sales dilemma (DNJ)

Carping about government welfare and those lazy bums who won’t work is a popular pastime in these parts. But what about corporate welfare?

Times Editorial: A reliable source of revenue (Chattanooga Times Free-Press)

Perhaps, as they say, nothing is certain but death and taxes. It seems, though, that tourism revenue in Tennessee — and Hamilton County — while not certain is a pretty reliable source of income for residents, for businesses and for the bank accounts of government agencies across the state. That’s welcome in good economic times.

Free-Press Editorial: Too much gun-related crime in Tennessee (Times Free-Press)

We properly are guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States the right to keep and bear arms, and the overwhelming majority of Americans do not view that important liberty as an excuse for criminal violence. And yet, last year in Tennessee, 219 people were killed by people wielding firearms.

Wendi C. Thomas: You like sausage? You’ll love this board (Commercial Appeal)

If you don’t like sausage, you will not like the immediate workings of the unified and expanded public school board. Cylindrical processed meat is exactly what 23 men and women on the unified school board made at a laborious meeting Monday night.

Editorial: Bias against jobless must be stopped nationwide (Jackson Sun)

Conversation across America: Guess who got laid off today? What?

 

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