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Wed., May 23 News Summary

Wed., May 23 News Summary

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Published by: TNSenateDems on May 23, 2012
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WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2012Cummins Falls, Tenn's new state park, is safer venue for nature lovers(TN/Bonner)
While others touted the beauty of Cummins Falls during its dedication Tuesday, Carol Hudelston saw a greaterpurpose in the new state park. The Cookeville woman lost her 18-year-old son, Bryan, in an accident at the fallsin September 2009. Tears flowing, she joined the crowd Tuesday to show her support for the state takeover ofthe site and its provisions for visitor protection. “He came here a lot to swim,” Hudelston said. “He was walking atrail climbing down, and he fell. It’s been my goal for it to be state-monitored, preserved and made safer, and italready is safer. When he fell, there was nothing for safety. “For me, it makes it a permanent memorial spot that Iknow will always be saved and kept beautiful, just like he loved it.” Park advocates boast of the beauty of its 211acres that stretch across the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River in Cookeville, but Meg Lockhart, spokeswomanfor the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, called it a “park in progress.http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120523/NEWS21/305230098/Cummins-Falls-new-state-park-safer-venue-nature-lovers?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News
Cummins Falls Becomes a State Park (WPLN-Radio Nashville)
The newest state park in Tennessee is now Cummins Falls near Cookeville. The property surrounds the state’seighth largest waterfall The park is relatively small, just 211 acres. But it has a gem in the middle. Cummins Fallswas ranked as one of the ten best swimming holes in the country by Travel and Leisure magazine. Much of theproperty was bought at auction in 2010 by conservationists concerned that a developer would build scenichomes. The state then purchased the property and is taking over operations. Governor Bill Haslam says it’s alandmark that should be accessible to the public. “For a lot of Tennesseans, their best chance to enjoyTennessee a lot of times is in a state park, and this is a way to add to that.”http://wpln.org/?p=37545
Mars HQ work will start soon (Tennessean/Page)
The wheels are in motion for Mars Petcare’s move south. The pet food giant broke ground this week on its $87.9million regional innovation center in Thompson’s Station. It will be Mars’ sixth site in Tennessee and thecompany’s first U.S. regional innovation center for North America, one of five globally. It’s where new pet foodrecipes will be produced, and researchers and veterinarians will test the foods on dogs and cats that will livethere. Mars expects to hire 144 new employees at the innovation center when it’s complete in 2014. Mars andNutro in Franklin currently employ about 615 people. The majority of those employees will not relocate to theThompson’s Station site until the headquarters is built in a later phase, said Mars spokeswoman Julie Lawless. Ahost of officials, including Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Thompson’s Station Mayor CoreyNapier, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson, numerous county commissioners and aldermen, and nearly300 Mars associates helped Mars celebrate its groundbreaking at the construction site, which is 93 acres at thecorner of State Route 840 and Columbia Pike (U.S. 31).http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120523/WILLIAMSON12/305240002/Mars-HQ-work-will-start-soon?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7C%7Cp
Mars Breaks Ground On New Facility In Williamson Co. (WTVF-TV Nashville)
Pet food company Mars Petcare broke ground Tuesday morning on an $87 million regional innovation center inWilliamson County. Governor Bill Haslam, Congressman Martha Blackburn, and company leaders were on handfor the ground breaking ceremony on Tuesday in Thompson's Station. It marks the beginning of construction onthe four-building campus where Mars and the Nutro Company will create new pet food innovations for the North
American market. "A $30-billion company that has operations all over the world chose Tennessee because of aprior relationship and they see how well we've done, (it) speaks volumes," said Governor Haslam. The newcenter will employ about 144 people and is expected to be finished by the end of 2013.http://www.newschannel5.com/story/18579920/mars-breaks-ground-on-new-facility-in-williamson-co
Mars Plants Research Facility in Rolling Pasture of Thompson’s Station (WPLN)
Mars Petcare, which makes well-known brands like Pedigree and Whiskas, has begun construction of a researchfacility in rural Williamson County. The Franklin-based company plans to hire 150 people. The site includeslaboratories, meeting space and pods where dogs and cats will live while they’re participating in studies. DavidMacnair is vice president of research and development. “The campus will serve as our home base for developingnew breakthrough products that help make a better world for pets, a reality.” Pets are living longer. Macnair saysmuch of the research will be focused on joint care and how to manage conditions like arthritis. Mars has fivesuch innovation centers around the world. When it opens in 2014, Thompson’s Station will be home to the onlyone in North America.http://wpln.org/?p=37541
TTDC announces first INCITE investments (Nashville Post)
Late Monday, the Tennessee Technology Development Corp. announced the first round of investments madethrough the state’s INCITE Co-investment Fund. Investors participating in the program invested approximately$4.4 million in Tennessee ventures. The companies that received the funds are local players Molecular Sensing,Pathfinder Therapeutics and Pro Player Connect as well as Chattanooga-based SIGNiX and business incubatorVenture Incite, which has offices in Nashville and Oak Ridge. “We are encouraged by the level of participation inthis initial round of INCITE Fund co-investments and are optimistic about the positive economic impact thisprogram will have on our great state,” said TTDC CEO Leslie Wisner-Lynch. The program, launched last year, isa co-investment fund backed by $29.1 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s State Small BusinessCredit Initiative. Investors wishing to participate in the program must meet certain criteria. The fund isadministered by the TTDC.http://nashvillepost.com/news/2012/5/22/ttdc_announces_first_incite_investments
Tennessee makes $4M investments from INCITE fund (Nashville Biz Journal)
The state of Tennessee’s INCITE fund has fueled more than $4 million in private investment in venturesincluding health care, business services and the sports world. In an announcement, The Tennessee TechnologyDevelopment Corp., which is administering the fund for the state, announced $4.4 million in private investmentfollowing $1.9 million from the government fund. INCITE is a nearly $30 million pot of federal money theadministration of Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, developed as part of a larger innovation and job creation plan.The Nashville Business Journal reported earlier on the fund’s focus as it ramped up, as well as debate over itsguidelines. Excerpts from the recent announcement: “We are encouraged by the level of participation in thisinitial round of INCITE Fund co-investments and are optimistic about the positive economic impact this programwill have on our great state,” Dr. Leslie Wisner-
Women arrested in drug round up face TennCare fraud charges too (WVLT-TV)
Two Sevierville women are each facing two counts of TennCare fraud following a joint investigation by the Officeof the Inspector General and the Sevierville Police Dept., the OIG's office announced on Tuesday. “The SpecialAgents of the Office of Inspector General are working closely with local police officers all over the state especiallyas it pertains to case involving the illegal use or sales of prescription drugs,” Inspector General Deborah Y.Faulkner said. “The entire law enforcement community is clearly committed to eliminating prescription drugabuse,” added Faulkner. Minda McCracken, 38, is accused of using her kid's TennCare benefits to buy Adderallon two separate occasions. The drug, which is prescribed for children with attention deficit, has side effectswhich can lead to abuse. Police say Jennifer Parton, 36, tried to use her TennCare benefits to get MorphineSulphate with the intention of selling part of it.http://www.volunteertv.com/news/headlines/Women_arrested_in_drug_round_up_face_TennCare_fraud_charges_too_152669175.html?ref=175
TN drug crimes on rise (Tennessean/Haas)
Battle against painkillers, meth may be fueling more heroin use As Tennessee celebrated four years of general
crime declines last month, a devil was lost in the details: Drug crimes rose to their second-highest number in 11years. The story was repeated across the Nashville area. While overall crime in 2011 was a mixed bag, drug-related incidents generally rose in Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties. In Davidsonand Rutherford counties, drug crimes rose by double-digit percentages, possible fallout from the state’s battleagainst prescription drugs and methamphetamine. The prescription drug problem also could be fueling a growingappetite for heroin, law enforcement officials said. “It is probably no surprise to law enforcement or anyone whoreads the newspaper every day that drug violations are up, especially with the methamphetamine problem thestate has been facing and the surge of prescription pills being diverted,” said Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for theTennessee Bureau of Investigation. The problem is being felt in homes, as well. As police have increasingly dealtwith more drug cases, so have rehabilitation centers, which are ushering in a new generation of drug addicts.“That’s exactly what we’re seeing. I see younger and younger kids that are exposed to opioids, typicallyprescription opioids,” said Dr. Chapman Sledge, chief medical officer at Cumberland Heights Foundation, a drugand alcohol treatment organization.http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120523/NEWS03/305230086/TN- drug-crimes-rise-overall-crime-declines?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News
Grants approved for Tennessee airports (Jackson Sun)
The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced that federal and state aeronautics grants totaling$394,100 have been approved for six Tennessee airports. Airports receiving grants include: McKellar-SipesRegional Airport in Madison County; John A. Baker Field in Lewis County; Houston County Airport; Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport; Hassell Field in Wayne County and Smithville Municipal Airport in DeKalb County,according to a news release. McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport is scheduled to receive money to upgradeperimeter fencing, $67,500 from the state and a $7,500 local match, and for an airport drainage study thatincludes $16,200 in state funding and an $1,800 local match. The grants are made available through theTennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division, the release said. The division administersfederal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee’s diversepublic aviation system.http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20120523/NEWS01/305230010/Briefly-Jackson-man-indicted-Regions-Bank-robbery-Grants-approved-Tennessee-airports-Madison-County-budget-panel-meet-today-
THP gearing up for Memorial Day weekend enforcement (Daily News Journal)
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is planning to step up efforts to enforce seat belt usage over the Memorial Dayholiday weekend. State Troopers along with other state and local law enforcement agencies are participating inthe national seat belt enforcement campaign, Click it or Ticket, May 21 through June 3. The 2012 Memorial Dayholiday period begins at midnight Friday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday. Nineteen people were killed onTennessee roadways during the 2011 Memorial Day holiday weekend, six more than in 2010. Last year, alcoholwas involved in six of the fatalities, and 50 percent of the vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts.During the 78-hour holiday time period, two pedestrians and seven motorcyclists were killed. Drivers can expectto see plenty of State Troopers on the road, enforcing seat belt laws and looking for aggressive and impaireddrivers. More than 70 checkpoints are scheduled throughout the long holiday weekend in an effort to reducefatalities and serious injury crashes in the state.http://www.dnj.com/article/20120522/NEWS01/120522004/THP-gearing-up-Memorial-Day-weekend-enforcement
Tennessee AG "indicates" it won't approve NHI purchase (Nashville Post/Duncan)
National Health Investors' expansion plans likely aren’t getting any help from the Tennessee Attorney General’sOffice, according to a note from one of its borrowers. NHI executives told the Securities and ExchangeCommission Monday that ElderTrust of Florida officials have informed them that Attorney General Bob Cooperhas told ElderTrust it will not approve the company’s proposed sale of seven skilled nursing facilities to NHI.ElderTrust is a not-for-profit entity to which NHI has loaned money. Additionally, according to the filing, the AG'soffice is considering asking the court to appoint a receiver for the nonprofit. ElderTrust, which is a Tennesseeentity, purchased the facilities in question through a mortgage financed by NHI and has contracted with NHI’ssister company, National HealthCare Corp., to manage them for a fixed fee. NHI has had trouble with nonprofitorganizations with Florida operations in the past. In 2009, Care Foundation of America took legal action againstthe company claiming that it had manipulated sympathetic board members into buying six Florida facilities atunfair prices. That case was settled a year later, when NHI paid $67 million to buy back the centers and create a$44 million foundation.http://nashvillepost.com/news/2012/5/22/tennessee_ag_indicates_it_wont_approve_nhi_ purchase

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