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Fri., June 1 News Summary

Fri., June 1 News Summary

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FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2012Haslam requests assistance for Hancock, Hawkins farmers (WBIR-TV Knoxville)
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has announced he has requested a secretarial designation of natural disaster forHancock and Hawkins counties due to April's freeze. Haslam made the request in a letter to U.S. Secretary ofAgriculture Tom Vilsack. A secretarial designation would make farmers eligible to apply for lost income recovery,low-interest loans and other disaster assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency. "I understand thatweather is always an unpredictable factor in farming, and the unusually warm winter and spring coupled with anApril freeze has no doubt impacted some farmers," Haslam said. Farmers in Hancock and Hawkins countiesreported significant yield and quality losses for mixed forages and heavy damage to fruit crops as a result of thefreeze. The area experienced a dramatic drop in temperatures and heavy frost April 7 - 24.http://www.wbir.com/news/article/221458/2/Haslam-requests-assistance-for-Hancock-Hawkins-farmers
Doe Mountain acquired in $8.8M acquisition, boost in NE Tenn. tourism eyed (AP)
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and the Nature Conservancy say they expect an $8.8 million purchase ofundeveloped property in Johnson County to be a boost to tourism and create jobs. The state and theconservation organization announced Thursday that they have acquired the 8,600-acre Doe Mountain, justsouthwest of Mountain City. Doe Mountain, which contains miles of existing roads and trails, is one of the largestremaining blocks of forest in private ownership in the Southern Blue Ridge region. It will be open to the public."Doe Mountain offers a great opportunity for outdoor recreation and the benefits that come with opening upspace for people to enjoy, such as healthier communities and new jobs from tourism," Haslam said in a newsrelease. "I'm pleased we as a state could contribute to this lasting legacy for all Tennesseans."http://www.timesnews.net/article/9047354/doe-mountain-acquired-in-88m-acquisition-boost-in-ne-tenn-tourism-eyed
DAG Paul Phillips retiring; Phillips-Jones appointed to take over (WBIR-TV Knox.)
Governor Bill Haslam has named a new top prosecutor for the 8th Judicial District. District Attorney General PaulPhillips has announced he will retire on September 1, 2012. The Eighth Judicial District is composed ofCampbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union counties. Phillips has held the job since 1982. Gov. Haslam hasappointed Lori Phillips-Jones to take over after Phillips' retirement. "Lori has served the citizens of the EighthJudicial District well for more than 11 years as assistant district attorney general, and her extensive experiencemakes her the best fit for this role," Haslam said. "I'm pleased to appoint her, and I appreciate her willingness toserve in this capacity." Phillips-Jones graduated from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1999 and hasbeen with the Office of the Attorney General, Eighth Judicial District since 1997. She has served as a criminalinvestigator and a violent crimes prosecutor as the assistant district attorney general.http://www.wbir.com/news/article/221477/2/DAG-Paul-Phillips-retiring-Phillips-Jones-appointed-to-take-over
Second round of INCITE recipients announced (Nashville Post/Duncan)
Tennessee’s INCITE Co-investment Fund has announced its second round of investments. Three morecompanies are receiving more than $3.8 million in funds from participating private investors. This allows thecompanies to, combined, leverage approximately $1.4 million in co-investment funding from the state. Thecurrent round of companies includes J2 Software Solutions, a Tullahoma-based company providing variouspublic safety organizations with software and technology solutions to aid their operations; Consensus Point, aNashville company with a collective intelligence solution that can generate prospective business insights; andKnoxville-based Aldis Inc., whose product is aimed at the traffic management sector. Today’s announcementcomes a little more than a week after the first round of companies receiving funds was made public.
 
Tennessee’s millions in incentives come up short on jobs (Nashville Biz Journal)
Companies moving to or expanding in Tennessee have received at least half a billion dollars in state grants andstate and local tax breaks since 2006, promising to create thousands of jobs. By 2011, as the nation emergedfrom the recession, an overwhelming amount of those positions had been cut, representing a negative return onthe state’s multimillion-dollar investment. In short, the state has lost much of what it paid for. Meanwhile,Republican Gov. Bill Haslam inked an expansion last month of the state’s FastTrack program, offering tens ofmillions of dollars more for a program aimed at generating jobs.http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/print-edition/2012/06/01/tennessees-millions-in-incentives.html(SUB)
Tax credits face uncertain future under Gov. Haslam (Nashville Business Journal)
It was a tool that undoubtedly helped lure some big-name, high-dollar projects to Tennessee under DemocraticGov. Phil Bredesen. Think Hemlock Semiconductor, Volkswagen and Wacker Chemie, companies that receivedmillions of dollars in state tax credits and are each investing more than $1 billion in Tennessee. Now, tax creditsare facing an uncertain future as Republican Gov. Bill Haslam looks to put his own stamp on the state’seconomic development effort. Namely, Haslam has said the use of tax credits through the state’s Department ofRevenue will decrease by a larger amount than a recent increase in cash grantshttp://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/print-edition/2012/06/01/tax-credits-gov-haslam.html(SUBSCRIPTION)
Communities forge own way on incentives (Nashville Business Journal)
In the high-stakes competition for jobs, it’s a primary arrow in the quiver for Middle Tennessee communities:cutting companies a break on their property taxes. Middle Tennessee counties have awarded $184.4 million intax breaks since 2005 to lure new industry to their communities and help existing companies grow, more thanthree times the amount of state training and infrastructure grants given to Middle Tennessee companies duringthe same time period. As Gov. Bill Haslam moves away from a complicated system of statewide tax breaks, theability of local officials to fill in that gap could become more crucial tohttp://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/print-edition/2012/06/01/communities-incentives.html(SUB)
I-24 work will close Korean Veterans Bridge (Tennessean/Humbles)
A revised detour will be in place Saturday for this weekend’s shutdown of a three-mile section of Interstate 24downtown for the Nissan Taste of Music City Festival. The section of I-24 eastbound and westbound closed forbridge work from the I-24/I-65 split north of downtown to the I-24 and I-40 split east of Nashville will be closedfrom 9 p.m. today to 5 a.m. Monday. The Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge will be closed to through trafficstarting at 6 a.m. Saturday for the Taste of Music City, scheduled for 5-9 p.m. the same day. Sections of MainStreet and Woodland Street under the interstate will also be closed. The Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridgeand Shelby Avenue have been options for local traffic access between East Nashville, LP Field and the CentralBusiness District of downtown during road closures. Alternate routes Saturday when the Korean War Veteransbridge is closed include: From the Central Business District of downtown, follow Second Avenue South toWoodland Street, then Interstate Drive to Shelby Avenue.http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120601/NEWS01/306010033/I-24-work-will-close-Korean-Veterans-Bridge?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CNews&nclick_check=1(SUB)
Willed property can help pay for TennCare costs (Associated Press/Burke)
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state can go after the family houses and property ofpeople who died owing money for end-of-life care even if that property has been left to family members in a will.The state has long had the right to go to court to make a claim against the estate of someone who died owingmoney for long-term or nursing-home care. Wednesday’s unanimous ruling, however, reverses a lower court’sdecision barring TennCare from making a claim against property that was given away in a will. The state’shighest court said the property could still be used to satisfy a debt to TennCare or any other creditor. TennCareadministers the federal Medicaid program in Tennessee. Tim Takacs, a Nashville-area attorney who practiceselder law, said the ruling was not surprising because the state already successfully pursues claims forreimbursement from the estates of people who have died after receiving long-term care. A court can order that a
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family home or property be sold to pay off a debt for nursing-home care. However, Takacs said a survivingspouse or a disabled child will not be subject to losing their home to satisfy health-care reimbursement costs fora family member who was on TennCare.http://www.tennessean.com/viewart/20120601/NEWS21/306010086/Willed-property-can-help-pay-TennCare-costs?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|p(SUBSCRIPTION)
Former Hawkins County General Sessions judge indicted on 41 counts of theft(TN)
A former Hawkins County judge who resigned amidst criminal allegations against him has now been indicted ontheft charges by a Davidson County grand jury. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reports James "Jay"Taylor, 41, of Rogersville, was indicted on 36 counts of theft more than $500 and less than $1,000, three countsof theft over $1,000 and two counts of theft less than $500. Taylor turned himself into authorities Thursdaymorning and was booked into the Davidson County Jail. A press release from the TBI says that betweenSeptember of 2010 and July of 2011 Taylor filed numerous false claims with the Administrative Office of theCourts. He allegedly requested payment as appointed legal counsel in cases where he did not perform legalservices. The TBI launched an investigation into allegations of bribery and theft against Taylor at the request ofthe 3rd Judicial District Attorney General’s Office in August of 2011. The theft offenses named in the indictmentsoccurred in Davidson County, where the Administrative Office of the Courts is located. Davidson County DistrictAttorney General’s Office and Tennessee Attorney General’s Office are prosecuting the case.http://www.timesnews.net/article/9047328/former-hawkins-county-general-sessions-judge-indicted-on-41-counts-of-theft
State Rep. Eric Watson seeks re-election in 22nd District (Times Free-Press)
State Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, formally announced Thursday he is seeking re-election to the 22ndLegislative District he has represented since 2006. Calling it an honor to serve the district, which includes ruralareas of Bradley County as well as all of Polk and Meigs counties, Watson said in his announcement that duringhis House tenure "we have taken many steps forward in the 22nd District and I want to continue to serve you andcomplete the work we have begun together." The lawmaker said much has changed in the district over the pastsix years, pointing to economic development such as the $1.8 billion Wacker Polysilicon plant and the building ofan Amazon.com distribution center, both in Bradley and both of which received state incentives. "Whirlpool andOlin committed to remain in our district, which will preserve hundreds of more jobs," Watson added. "Volkswagensuppliers are now looking at our district as a place to locate and possibly create hundreds of additional jobs inthe future." The successes came about through partnerships and cooperative efforts between various state andlocal officials and agencies, he said.http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jun/01/state-rep-eric-watson-seeks-re-election-22/?local
Dean criticize charter rejection, hopes for Great Hearts solution (CP/Garrison)
Mayor Karl Dean, injecting himself into two Metro school board decisions, said he’s “deeply disappointed” aboutthe board’s vote to deny KIPP Academy’s charter expansion and hopes Great Hearts Academies would addressdiversity concerns in a revised charter application. “The Great Hearts academic program is understandablyattractive to many Nashville parents seeking additional educational options,” Dean, an outspoken charteradvocate, said in a statement Thursday evening. “I encourage Great Hearts and Metro Schools to work togetherto find a solution.” Dean’s statement comes two days after the school board Tuesday voted to approve twopublicly financed, privately led charters and to deny the applications of eight others. Rejected charter applicantshave until June 13 to appeal the board’s decision. School board chair Gracie Porter told The City PaperThursday she wasn’t prepared to respond to Dean’s statement when asked to comment. “Applicants alwayshave the opportunity to reapply,” she said.http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/dean-criticizes- boards-kipp-charter-rejection-hopes-great-hearts-solution
Mayor Karl Dean rips Metro school board for KIPP charter denial (Tenn./Cass)
Mayor Karl Dean, perhaps the city’s foremost champion of charter schools, blasted the Metro school boardThursday for rejecting a prominent charter operator’s application to open a second school in Nashville. “I amdeeply disappointed that the school board denied KIPP Academy’s application for a second charter school, evenafter the district’s charter school review committee recommended approval,” Dean said in a statement released
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