FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2012 Higher ed ties to industry are discussed (Jackson Sun

Issues surrounding higher education and how it relates to creating a viable future workforce for industry were the focus of a discussion led by Gov. Bill Haslam Thursday. The governor led a discussion on post-secondary education at the University of Memphis Lambuth campus. The meeting was the second in a series of seven Haslam is holding across the state with businesses and education leaders about collaborations that are working in communities as well as areas where the state needs to improve matching the skills students are learning with the needs of employers. Local businesses represented at Thursday’s meeting included companies large and small: West Tennessee Healthcare, Gerdau, Toyota’s Bodine Aluminum and others. Leaders from the Jackson-Madison County School System, Jackson State Community College, several Tennessee technical colleges and more spoke from the educators’ perspective. Also present were a number of state lawmakers, including Rep. Johnny Shaw, Rep. Jimmy Eldridge and Sen. Lowe Finney. “We’re in the middle of the first steps of a fresh look at secondary education,” Haslam said. “We want to look at the issues secondary education faces, like rising tuition costs, accessibility and, most importantly, to make certain we’re being relevant in that we produce what the local business community needs.” odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cs&nclick_check=1 (SUB)

Haslam Awards Trans Grants, Visits Frayser School (Memphis Daily News)
During a day in West Tennessee Thursday, July 26, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam talked about higher education on the campus of the University of Memphis-Lambuth campus in Jackson and dropped in on preparations for the first day of classes next month at Corning Achievement Elementary School. The school is one of three in Frayser that are part of the state-run Achievement School District that makes its debut with the new school year. Also in Memphis, Haslam awarded $1.5 million in three transportation enhancement grants including one to begin streetscape improvements in the Walker Avenue business district next to the University of Memphis campus. The Walker Avenue merchants between North Highland Street and Brister Street have been planning street improvements for several years and had tried for federal funding in the last year but lost in the competition process then. This time the project to create a pedestrian plaza area as well as modify parking areas to better separate pedestrians from auto traffic won $529,436 in funding for the first phase.

Haslam announces funds for Greenway, Blues Trail and U of M-area improvements (Commercial Appeal)
As he stepped offstage following a Memphis appearance Thursday, Gov. Bill Haslam glanced at the smiling faces of local officials nearby and offered a theory as to why he was being greeted so warmly. "People like me a lot more when I bring checks," he said. The governor indeed had not come to Memphis empty-handed. He showed up at a parking lot just off the University of Memphis campus to announce nearly $1.5 million in Tennessee Department of Transportation grants to help fund three local projects.

First lady Haslam, city educators participate in bus tour (Dyersburg State Gazette)
Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam joined Dyersburg City School educators on Wednesday afternoon for a bus tour around the city to remind students that the new school year will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 1 and to encourage positive relationships between kids, parents and schools. City schoolteachers gathered together at Dyersburg Primary School at noon to begin the afternoon's festivities. High energy and smiling faces kicked off the event as teachers showed their enthusiasm for the opportunity to reach out into the community and welcome their kids back.

More than 220,000 Tennesseans vote early (Associated Press)
More than 220,000 Tennesseans have voted early or absentee by mail for the Aug. 2 election. The secretary of state’s office said Thursday it is a record for a comparable election. Through Wednesday, 223,281 had voted early or absentee. In August 2008, 206,174 voted during the entire early voting period. Voters need a state or federally issued photo ID to cast ballots. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Tennessee School Districts Show Significant Growth On 2012 Statewide Assessments (Chattanoogan)
The Tennessee Department of Education announced Thursday that student performance on the 2012 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program improved significantly in school districts across the state. Nearly all of the state’s 136 districts saw proficiently levels increase, and two-thirds improved in every subject of the 3-8 TCAP Achievement tests. The district-by-district results follow unprecedented gains on the statewide level, where student scores saw the largest growth in TCAP history as Tennessee continued to implement its First to the Top Education reforms. “The widespread improvement shows that efforts to raise student outcomes are working in many districts,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “Our students, teachers and administrators worked incredibly hard, and we are gratified that so many districts were able to significantly grow results.”

District TCAP scores show improvement in Metro (Nashville City Paper)
The Tennessee Department of Education released the 2012 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program scores Thursday, showing improvement in school districts across the state. A statement from the department said almost all of the state’s 136 districts saw an increase in proficiency levels, and twothirds of the districts improved in every subject of the third- through eighth-grade TCAP Achievement tests. In Davidson County, math results marked the greatest increase in third- through eighth-graders, showing 39.3 percent scored as proficient or advanced, a 6.5 percent increase. Reading results showed 40.6 percent were proficient or advanced, a 3.0 percent increase over 2010-2011. Science results showed 44.9 percent were proficient or advanced, up 5.6 percent from last year. In social studies 73.9 scored as proficient or advanced, up 3.2 percent from last year.

Improvement shown in new Knox TCAP scores released by state (News Sentinel)
Most East Tennessee students saw gains across the board on standardized tests in key subjects such as math and reading, according to annual data released Thursday by the state. In some of the school systems, those percentage increases were in the double digits, results show. Statewide, nearly all 2

districts saw proficiency levels increase, and two-thirds improved in every subject area — reading, math, social studies and science — for the third through eighth grades on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, the state reported. School-by-school data will be released at a later date. partner=RSS

District TCAP scores show gains across Tennessee (WKRN)
Student performance on the 2012 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests improved significantly in school districts across the state, the Tennessee Department of Education announced Thursday. Leading the pack was Williamson County where schools director Dr. Mike Looney dodged balloons at district headquarters while saying, "We are the highest performing school district, without exception, for all of the content areas, in the state of Tennessee, congratulations." Receiving the laurels were dozens of Williamson County teachers and administrators who had gathered at the school headquarters to hear the good news.

Governor: Teacher Evals ‘Not Perfect’ But Headed in Right Direction (TN Report)
Gov. Bill Haslam is anything but surprised the state has to hammer out kinks in its teacher evaluation system — even as President Obama’s education secretary said this week Tennessee is actually at the top of the class nationally. Haslam says he expects the Legislature to fairly easily accept the state Department of Education’s recommendations next spring to recalculate how certain teachers are graded, such as by reducing emphasis on how students perform school-wide. The move follows a year of consternation from educators that new, more rigorous evaluations would be too hard on them. “We said all along, ‘Hey, we realize it’s not perfect,’” Haslam told reporters after announcing a $620,000 transportation grant in Dickson Wednesday. “But we also thought it was important to go ahead and implement it so we wouldn’t just be having a practice game, if you will. My sense is that the Legislature will get that and understand why it’s important to make that change.” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan applauded Tennessee’s education reforms this week, giving special kudos in a Huffington Post column for re-examining the reforms and vowing to improve upon the system. “More teachers today are treated as true professionals, instead of as interchangeable cogs in an educational assembly line. Exhibit A: Tennessee,” Duncan wrote, attributing the success in part to the federal Race to the Top grant program rewarding education reform, which Tennessee was one of the first to win.

Memphis school merger panel wraps up its recommendations (Commercial Appeal)
The Transition Planning Commission completed nine months of volunteer work for public schoolchildren countywide Thursday by approving the final draft of its plan for the merger of Memphis and Shelby County schools. What could have been the last meeting of the 21-member commission shifts the school merger focus to the unified school board, which has yet to develop a plan for how to address more than 160 recommendations approved by the TPC. Members are confident the 200-pluspage document will be useful whether or not six suburban municipalities rushing to escape the merger before the new district opens in August 2013 manage to establish their own municipal school districts. partner=RSS

Great Hearts wins recommendation for approval from state education director (Tennessean)
The executive director for the state Board of Education has recommended approval of Great Hearts Academy’s proposal to open a charter school in West Nashville. The state board meets today to consider Great Hearts’ appeal of the Nashville school board’s 7-2 decision last month to reject the 3

charter company’s application. Although Great Hearts wants to open five K-12 schools, beginning in 2014, with one along White Bridge Road, Gary Nixon recommended the board approve just one. Typically charter school operators receive approval for an initial school and then must apply to open additional schools. The Nashville school board had cited an inadequate transportation plan and a lack of commitment to a diverse student population. But Nixon pointed out that Metro Public Schools does not provide transportation to students who choose to attend a school for which they are not zoned. Nixon’s recommendation, which was released on Wednesday, said it would be unfair for Metro to go above and beyond its own policy for students who attend a school outside their neighborhood. Great Hearts’ amended proposal includes plans to provide limited busing to students for its first two years of operation.|topnews|text|News (SUBSCRIPTION)

Back-to-school Sales Tax Holiday coming Aug. 3-5 (The Leaf Chronicle)
The final hours of July serve notice that it’s almost back-to-school time, and with it comes a weekend of big savings on purchases of computers, school clothing and supplies during the Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday weekend. The state’s annual Sales Tax Holiday is held every year on the first Friday in August and ends the following Sunday night. This year’s tax-free holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m on Friday, Aug. 3, and ends Sunday, Aug. 5, at 11:59 p.m. During this time, Tennesseans can enjoy taxfree purchases on certain clothing, school and art supplies and computers. For Clarksville-Montgomery County, it means purchases for exempt merchandise can be made deducting the combined state-andlocal sales tax rate of 9.5 percent throughout the weekend. (SUBSCRIPTION)

"More Cops More Stops" program underway in Tennessee (WRCB)
In an effort to save lives, the Governor's Highway Safety Office is again working across the state to crack down on traffic safety violators including impaired drivers, seat belt violators, distracted drivers, and speeders, during its "More Cops. More Stops." campaign Thursday through Sunday. "With school starting just around the corner, many people are out enjoying the last of their summer vacations," said Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott. "Too often, people get caught up in the fun and break traffic safety laws, putting themselves and others at risk. We believe this special enforcement push will make our roadways safer for everyone, and we hope the message stays with people year-round." Tennessee is one of two states teaming with the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on this important national demonstration project to test the e effectiveness of a new combined high visibility enforcement campaign.Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer said the statistics are alarming, and that risky behaviors claim too many lives in Tennessee. "We know that wearing seatbelts is the single most effective way to protect people in vehicle crashes, so we will be watching closely to make sure everyone is buckling up," said Commissioner Schroer. "But we also know that drinking and driving, texting while driving, and speeding are contributing to an increase in fatalities. Our goal is to prevent crashes from happening in the first place."

Andy Berke requests Tennessee review of for-profit school (Chattanooga Times Free Press/Sher)
Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, is asking state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman to conduct an independent review of the operations of a for-profit virtual school operating under contract with the Union County school system. In a letter to Huffman, sent Wednesday, Berke cites a study released this month by the National Education Policy Center that is critical of K12 Inc.'s national operations based on 2010-11 data. K12 officials, which opened an online K-8 school with Union County for the 2011-12 school year, take issue with the center's study. Company spokesman Jeff Kwitowski called it "deeply flawed" and filled with "numerous errors and wrong assumptions." Berke, a persistent critic of K12, 4

noted in the letter that Tennessee's First to the Top Act of 2010, which he co-sponsored, targeted several areas of education reform, including teachers and leaders, data, standards and assessment as well as "school turnaround." "The findings in the report indicate that schools operated by K12 Inc. fail in each of these four areas," Berke said. Among other things, the study noted that, in 2010-11, only 27.7 percent of K12 schools reported meeting Adequate Yearly Progress, federal testing benchmarks until No Child Left Behind.

NRA flexes muscle in race (Tennessean/Wilson)
The National Rifle Association has taken an interest in a Sumner County Republican primary for the state House, but its involvement in legislative elections may not end there. The national guns rights organization has independently spent more than $75,000 in the race to try to push state Rep. Debra Maggart, the Republican Caucus chairwoman, out of office and nominate former tea party leader Courtney Rogers to take her place in the state’s 45th district. The race is drawing wide attention. Political observers nationwide say it could be an early test of the strength of the NRA, especially in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., theater shootings. The focus from national and state gun rights groups on this one state House race centers on a single issue — allowing gun owners to leave their firearms in their cars in employee parking lots — that never got a vote by the full House or Senate this spring. Even as the national gun rights organization acknowledged it rarely takes interest in a Republican primary like this, it may not be the last time it does so if state lawmakers take similar stands on gun rights. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Maggart Fights for Seat After Crossing the NRA (WPLN/Farmer)
The National Rifle Association has just a few named enemies this campaign season. The first is obvious – President Obama. Another is much lower profile but perhaps more precedent setting – a Republican state lawmaker from Hendersonville. “We’ve put up ads and billboards comparing Debra Maggart to Barack Obama,” says the NRA’s lobbying chief in a web video. “That’s because while they both say they support our Second Amendment rights, they’ve both worked against our freedoms behind closed doors.” Rep. Maggart crossed the NRA by helping block legislation that would have allowed people to keep guns in their vehicles while at work. She says it would have trampled on the private property rights of business owners.

Scottie Mayfield attacks Chuck Fleischmann's votes (Times Free Press)
Three weeks after promising to abstain from "negative" campaign advertising, Scottie Mayfield this week launched an attack ad condemning U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann's voting record -- a record Mayfield praised as recently as May. On July 5, after warning on Twitter "that we'll be attacked on TV soon," Mayfield spokesman Joe Hendrix told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that "Scottie committed to not going negative in any way." But Mayfield is the first 3rd Congressional District candidate to use television to target a rival, and opponents say the dairy executive's latest ad proves he broke a campaign pledge to stay positive.

State AG says Shelby County tax payment bill 'constitutionally suspect' (Commercial Appeal/Locker)
A new state law approved this year to settle a dispute between the City of Memphis and Shelby County governments over $6 million in in-lieu-of-tax payments by Memphis Light Gas and Water "is constitutionally suspect," an advisory opinion by the state attorney general says. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Mark Norris and Rep. Curry Todd at the county government's request and was questioned during floor debates as another attempt at state legislative intervention in a MemphisShelby dispute. The bill, designed to settle the tax dispute in the county's favor, was opposed by Memphis officials. Before the law, MLGW made payments in lieu of taxes based on its gas system 5

operations county-wide to the City of Memphis, which could then distribute it to the county. Shelby County claimed that the city owed it $6 million in payments on the basis of the utility's sales of natural gas outside the city limits. The governments have argued over the issue for years, and the city filed a lawsuit last year claiming it had actually overpaid more than $86 million tbetween 1981 and 2000, demanding part of it back.

The Early-Voting Error Total is Now Well Past 2,000 (Memphis Flyer)
Here’s an update by Joe Weinberg, the Germantown pediatrician who, simultaneously with blogger/A..V. specialist/District 1 County Commission candidate Steve Ross, has been keeping running totals on the number of wrong ballots issued countywide so far during early voting for the August 2 election. Weinberg’s figures are calculated only for the state and federal portion of the election ballot. They do not measure possible erroneous ballot s for countywide races or School Board races. Through Wednesday, July 25, the cumulative total of erroneous state and federal ballots was 2,306. That broke down into 1,893 ballots containing the wrong state House race, 133 with the wrong state Senate race, and 280 with the wrong congressional districts. The cumulative error percentage rate was 5.6 percent, about what it has been since the second day of early voting on Tuesday, July 17.









(Commercial Appeal/McMillin)
Voters are continuing to cast ballots in the wrong voting districts for the Aug. 2 state and federal primaries, according to an analysis by voting database expert Dr. Joe Weinberg. Another 247 showed up on Shelby County Election Commission voting records as having cast incorrect ballots Wednesday, said Weinberg, who is known for helping Democratic candidates but considered reliable enough that the state's Republican-run elections division sought his help in identifying the problems that appear related to the state's redistricting. Weinberg says more than 2,306 voters have now been affected – or 5.6 percent of the 41,595 who have participated. Shelby County Election Commission chairman Robert Meyers said Tuesday that "corrective action" was being taken, one day after local blogger and County Commission candidate Steve Ross made public his report showing widespread problems with voters casting ballots in the wrong districts. "We are working around the clock on this issue," Richard Holden, the county's Administrator of Elections, said Thursday. "Our goal is for every voter to receive the correct ballot. We will do everything possible to achieve that goal."

Democrats call for review of early voting (Tennessean/Sisk)
The Tennessee Democratic Party called for an investigation into early voting statewide amid evidence that more than 1,000 people in Shelby County were given the wrong ballots. Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said in a statement released Thursday that state officials should review balloting across Tennessee to see whether voters are being given correct ballots in the first legislative and congressional elections since redistricting. A Memphis blogger and candidate for the Shelby County Election Commission turned up evidence this week that hundreds of voters in Shelby County were erroneously given ballots for a neighboring district. Local officials have agreed that errors appear to have occurred, but they declined to throw out the ballots. “The taxpayers funding these elections deserve to know whether their vote counted or it was stolen because of incompetence,” Forrester said. “How big is this problem? When will it be fixed? Unfortunately, we don’t know because Elections Coordinator Mark Goins has not publicly addressed the issue that 1,000 wrong ballots were cast on his watch.” A spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, which oversees elections in Tennessee, said a statewide investigation is not necessary.|newswell|text|News%20Government%20-%20State|s (SUBSCRIPTION)









Three election commissioners from the Nashville area have made campaign contributions this year to Republican legislative candidates from their counties, raising questions about their ability to deal with election disputes objectively. Each of the three — including two who chair their county election commissions — gave $500 or more to a single candidate, according to state campaign finance records. Critics said the practice makes it difficult to trust that the people charged with certifying elections and regulating campaign issues will do it impartially, though they already wear their partisan hearts on their sleeves. “It’s not illegal, but I think it really should be, frankly,” said Dick Williams, state chairman of Common Cause. “Suppose there was a close call in some respect of that election where a commissioner had supported somebody, financially or otherwise. I would encourage election officials to abstain from that.” But all three of the election commissioners — Lynn Greer in Davidson County, Art McClellan in Sumner County and Jimmy Evans in Rutherford County — said they were acting within their free speech rights as citizens. All three are Republicans.|newswell|text|PROJECTS18|p (SUBSCRIPTION)

Middle TN's jobless rate jumps in June (Tennessean/Marsteller)
The ranks of Middle Tennessee’s jobless jumped in June despite having among the lowest unemployment rates among the state’s counties, according to figures released Thursday. A state official said the data are skewed by schools being out of session but acknowledged that it doesn’t explain all of the increase. The region’s jobless rate stood at an estimated 7.3 percent last month, up from May’s revised 6.7 percent, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said. Joblessness rose in each of Middle Tennessee’s 13 counties between May and June, but the region’s overall rate was below the 8.5 percent recorded in June 2011. Statewide, unemployment rose from 7.9 percent in May to 8.1 percent in June. The national figure was 8.2 percent last month. Both are seasonally adjusted. The regional and county figures are not adjusted, so they are affected by school calendars, labor department spokesman Jeff Hentschel said.|newswell|text|News%20Government%20-%20State|p (SUBSCRIPTION)

Fmr. State Trooper Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault Charges (TN Report)
The District Attorney for the 13th Judicial District has informed the Department of Safety and Homeland Security that former state trooper Wade Williams pleaded guilty today to five criminal counts stemming from a sexual assault investigation. Williams pleaded guilty to two (2) counts of aggravated statutory rape, two (2) counts of attempt to commit especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, and one (1) count of sexual exploitation of a minor. Williams was sentenced as a “child sexual predator” on the aggravated statutory rape charges. The total sentence is an effective eight years with two years being served day for day. Williams would be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of the remainder of the sentence. Williams waived his right to a criminal indictment last April and was formally charged by a criminal information in Pickett County. The charges were the result of an investigation conducted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Division and District Attorney General Randy York’s office. The case originated from a complaint received and initially investigated internally by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Investigative Services Bureau. The Tennessee Highway Patrol terminated Williams in January. Williams resigned in lieu of termination and waived his right to any civil service appeals.









A federal judge agreed Thursday to give the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro more time to complete construction and occupy its new building on Veals Road on the southeast side of town. U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp extended a temporary restraining order until Aug. 15 after another federal judge last 7

week ordered Rutherford County to restart the inspection process for the mosque in time for Ramadan, which began a week ago. In light of the federal ruling last week, Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew stayed his order that the Islamic Center could not obtain a certificate of occupancy because the county gave inadequate public notice before its site plan was approved. He was prepared to stop construction before the federal judge ordered that federal law allows the Islamic Center to move forward. Nashville-based U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said his office and Rutherford County asked the federal judge to provide more time to allow the Islamic Center to complete its new mosque on Veals Road off Bradyville Pike and obtain a certificate of occupancy after passing final inspections from the local government. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Representative Cooper Wants Congress On Good Behavior (WTVF)
Representative Jim Cooper is getting more ink for his "No Budget, No Pay" bill. The Fifth District democrat wrote about the proposal in the Atlantic, insisting that as long as Congress can't pass a budget, it should not be allowed to collect its pay. Cooper said "Today's Congress has not passed a budget in three years and has not completed all of its budget and appropriations bills on time in 15years. Few incumbents can even remember meeting these obligations. This is no way to run a superpower." Cooper pointed to the California legislature, who passed a similar bill. He says that overnight, budgets were passed on time, without delay in that state.

Investor funds drive against Tennessee Republican (USA Today)
Two outside political action committees that have unleashed TV, radio and billboard advertising attacking Tennessee Rep. Diane Black's congressional record are funded entirely by a businessman with close ties to her rival in next week's Republican primary. Andrew Miller, a Nashville health care investor, told USA TODAY he has pumped more than $260,000 into the two super PACs — Citizens 4 Ethics in Government and the Congressional Elections PAC — running anti-Black ads. Miller previously served as finance chairman for the campaign of Black's challenger, Lou Ann Zelenik. Miller also is on the board of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, whose top issues include opposing the spread of Islamic Sharia law. Zelenik is the group's former executive director. Miller said his spending helps an underfunded challenger compete against an incumbent. "We've got to hold these elected officials accountable, and one of the most interesting ways has been the advent of super PACs," he said. "The playing field can be leveled in ways it wasn't before." The last-minute spending blitz by Miller in this little-noticed Tennessee House race underscores the potential of a handful of wealthy donors to shape November's congressional and White House battles. Super PACs are a relatively new weapon in politics, unleashed by a pair of 2010 federal court rulings that allow unions, corporations and wealthy individuals to band together to raise and spend unlimited amounts in federal races.

Uranium facility construction to start a year before final cost estimate (Knoxville News Sentinel/Munger)
A firm cost estimate on the Uranium Processing Facility — reported to be the largest construction project in Tennessee history — won't be available until September 2013, according to the project's federal director, but site readiness is expected begin within the next couple of months at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. Officials are getting approval to start preliminary construction work in part because they've broken the giant project, which currently has a cost range of $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion, into four separate work packages. The design work for the first phase has already been completed and almost ready to be carried out. John Eschenberg, the UPF project director for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said the decision on when to start the site work — including tearing down a building, moving utilities and relocating part of Bear Creek Road — is now in local hands. That's because the start of projects under $50 million doesn't require a direct approval from officials at Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C. Eschenberg said UPF's first work package is 8

estimated to cost between $30 million and $35 million, although he acknowledged that doesn't include some work on a new haul road.

Algonquin woman left in Tennessee bar headed back to Illinois (Chicago Tribune)
A 19-year-old Algonquin woman with severe disabilities who was left by her mother at a Tennessee bar last month was headed back to Illinois to be placed at a residential facility, officials said Thursday. An east Tennessee judge ordered a day earlier that the woman be immediately released to the state of Illinois. The teen was considered indigent after her mother, Eva Cameron, of Algonquin, told Tennessee officials that she no longer could care for her daughter and did not want to pursue guardianship. "It became a crisis because she was essentially homeless," said Januari Smith Trader of the Illinois Department of Human Services, which is handling her placement. The teen will go "straight to her placement" without the involvement of her family, said Trader, who declined to identify the state facility. Illinois and Tennessee have lengthy waiting lists for housing the disabled and serve emergency cases first, officials said.,0,1092116.story

Pikeville mayor, Greg Johnson, charged with official misconduct, felony theft (Times Free Press)
The longtime mayor of Pikeville, Tenn., is accused of misusing more than $170,000 in taxpayer funds. Greg Johnson, who is in his third term, is free on $10,000 bond after being arrested Wednesday on charges of official misconduct and felony theft in the wake of a monthslong investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Office. Officials at Pikeville City Hall said Johnson had not come into the office on Thursday. City Hall staff also said he has not submitted any correspondence regarding his plans as mayor. Johnson, 50, was first elected to the Pikeville Board of Aldermen at age 19. news

Chattanooga police recover body in Tennessee River (Associated Press)
Authorities in Chattanooga have recovered the body of a patient at the Moccasin Bend Mental Health Facility who had jumped into the Tennessee River. Police said Thursday they found the body of 36year-old Waylon Farless on the shoreline approximately one mile downriver from the facility. Farless had been seen jumping into the river Tuesday night and trying to swim across it. Witnesses said Farless was about halfway across when he shouted for help and went under.

10 Commandments return to Fentress County schools (WATE)

A complaint forced Fentress County school officials in March to remove the Ten Commandments from bei posted in Pine Haven Elementary in Jamestown. The decision caused a public uproar. A public meeting was he at the Fentress County Courthouse shortly after the removal to talk about the issue. Now a new Tennessee l allowing historical documents in public buildings has reversed that decision.


OPINION Editorial: The latest KIDS COUNT data book still has Tennessee ranked low when it comes to issues affecting children. (Commercial Appeal)
The 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book has been released and, not surprisingly, Tennessee ranks in the bottom 10 states nationally in education. The annual national analysis of issues affecting children is conducted by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, which works with the private and public sector, including Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court, to improve the lives of disadvantaged children. Tennessee ranked 36th in the overall well-being of children across the nation based on four categories — health, education, economic well-being, and family and community. This year's report pretty much mirrors last year's, but on the positive side the state made some improvement in all four areas. One of the most disturbing findings in the survey, which is based on 2009-2010 data, is that 74 percent of fourth-graders in Tennessee are not proficient in reading. The report shows once again that Tennessee still has a long way to go in making sure all of its children are provided with the resources and nurturing to grow up to be successful adults.

State Senate primaries range from sealed up to wide open (Tennessean)
Tennessean Endorsements: Tennesseans choose their state senators for four-year, staggered terms. In 2012, the “even-numbered” districts are on the ballot. Much like the state House races, the Senate contests are a mix of vacated seats with crowded primaries and long-held districts with strong incumbents. Early voting continues today and Saturday. The primary is on Thursday, Aug. 2. Here are our recommendations in Middle Tennessee districts: District 14 - Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, faces a challenge from Matt Randolph of Ardmore. The Tennessean endorses Sen. Jim Tracy for the Republican nomination. District 16 - The newspaper endorses Janice Bowling in the Republican primary for her moderate stance on important economic issues, and Jim Lewis in the Democratic primary for his legislat 10

experience and his strong support for public education. District 18 newspaper endorses Ferrell Haile in The the GOP primary. The paper also endorses Maria A. Brewer of Hendersonville, a sign-company representative, in the Democratic primary, where she is unopposed. District 20 - The Tennessean endorses Steven Dickerson in the Republican primary. Phillip L. North has the endorsement of Sen. Haynes and describes himself as an independent-minded, fiscally conservative Democrat. He merits endorsement in the Democratic primary. District 22 - Mark E. Green of Ashland City is a physician who previously held posts in Clarksville and at Fort Campbell’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital and is founder and CEO of Align M.D., a company that operates emergency departments in five states. He is running unopposed for the GOP nomination. Sen. Tim Barnes of Adams, an attorney and the incumbent in this seat since 2006, is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. District 28 The Tennessean endorses Dean Dickey in the Republican primary. Seeking the Democratic nomination unopposed is Tyler “Ty” Cobb of Columbia, a firefighter, former Maury County commissioner and former state representative.

Greg Johnson: Scores show many teachers aren’t special (News Sentinel)
Maybe the Tennessee Department of Education should bring in David McCullough Jr. to evaluate its evaluation process. When 75 percent of teachers receive top rankings but only 2.5 percent of teachers score the lowest rankings while student test scores repeatedly rank in the bottom 10 states, somebody needs to speak some truth. McCullough, son of the famous popular historian, teaches at Wellesley High School in Wellesley, Mass. Last month, McCullough addressed Wellesley's graduating seniors at commencement and, with a few words, burst so many balloons it's a wonder the abrupt expulsion didn't capsize Sen. John Kerry's sailboat cruising off the coast of Cape Cod. McCullough said, no matter what, the students receiving diplomas would forever be known as high school graduates. He noted how the diplomas were the same, save the name. Then, he pointedly punctured the inflated. partner=RSS

Weakened Lacey Act would hurt state (Tennessean
Today, the U.S. forest products industry produces about $175 billion annually in products and employs more than 900,000 hardworking women and men. In Tennessee, the industry is made up of small family-owned sawmills, local production facilities and Fortune 500 companies like International Paper. The industry employs more than 60,000 Tennesseans and generates more than $13 billion annually for our state’s economy. For over a century, McMinnville Manufacturing has had a proud heritage of providing quality jobs and products at our hardwood flooring company in Warren County. We are also proud that all of our timber is sustainably and legally harvested in Middle Tennessee and from the surrounding region. As a long-standing Tennessee business, we are very concerned about an issue currently before Congress that could have a devastating effect on jobs here in Tennessee and across the country. Congress is debating a bill, HR 3210 or “The RELIEF Act,” that would dramatically alter the Lacey Act, which prevents the flood of illegally harvested wood products into the American market. McMinnville Manufacturing — along with many other forest products companies, conservation groups, labor organizations and musicians — stands strongly opposed to HR 3210 and other proposals that seek to weaken this important law.|newswell|text|Opinion|p (SUBSCRIPTION)

Editorial: Application, not intent, is measure for prayer policy (Knoxville News Sentinel)
Knox County commissioners attempted to straddle the wall separating church and state this week, passing a policy governing the invocations that traditionally begin each meeting. The policy, which passed on a 10-1 vote Monday, is aimed at continuing the tradition without violating anyone's civil rights. While invocations can be legal and Law Director Joe Jarret advised the panel that a written policy would help in court, a recent federal appeals court ruling states that a policy's constitutionality 11

lies in how it is practiced. Meanwhile, in Chattanooga, proceedings began Thursday on a legal challenge to the Hamilton County Commission's prayer policy. As the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1983 Nebraska case, legislative prayer "is deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country." Since colonial times, invocations and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment have existed side by side, though at times somewhat uneasily. The ideal is to honor tradition while respecting the beliefs of others.



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