FRIDAY,AUGUST23, 2013 HaslamRequestsSBAAssistancefor Mid-TN FloodRecovery(TN Report

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has requested assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help individuals and businesses in Metro Nashville and Davidson County and its contiguous counties recover from the severe storms and flash flooding that occurred on August 8-9, 2013. The additional Tennessee counties that would be eligible for SBA loans are Cheatham, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson as damage to homes and businesses occurred in multiple locations. A joint Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and SBA damage survey shows more than 190 homes and 46 businesses in Davidson County sustained minor or major damages and/or loss of inventory. “The impact on affected individuals and business is significant, and a disaster declaration from the SBA will help speed their recovery from this flood,” Haslam said.

JackDanielExpandingOperationsin Lynchburg(TN Report)
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Brown-Forman Corporation officials announced today expansion plans for the Jack Daniel Distillery in response to global demand for its world famous Tennessee Whiskey. The $103 million investment includes the addition of stills, barrel warehouses and related infrastructure to support the expanding operations, and will result in the creation of 94 new full-time positions over the next five years. “I want to thank the Jack Daniel Distillery for today’s announcement and their continued investment in the people of Lynchburg and Tennessee,” Haslam said. “This company is an American brand but, more importantly, a Tennessee brand well recognized across the world, making it a global ambassador for our home state. Jack Daniel’s is one of our most historic exports, and it helps us in our efforts to bring new Tennessee products to the world marketplace.”

Global demand for Tennessee Whiskey means more jobs for our area, with a $103 million investment announced Thursday at the world famous Jack Daniel Distillery. he extensive expansion plans involves the addition of stills, barrel warehouses and related infrastructure, as well as 94 new full-time positions over the next five years in Moore County. Gov. Bill Haslam gathered with local officials and members of the Brown-Forman Corporation, which owns the brand, to make the announcement. "This is a big day for us ... because when you think of Tennessee, this is one of the brands you think of, and it's a tourist attraction as well," Haslam said. "It really covers a lot of ground, and we are grateful to Jack Daniel for the additional investment." Long haul Master Distiller Jeff Arnett said the state and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty were instrumental in getting the investment "for the long haul for Jack Daniel

JackDanielDistillery$103Mexpansionto create94 jobs(NashvillePost)
Brown-Forman Corp. officials announced today expansion plans for the company’s Lynchburg-based Jack Daniel Distillery, a $103 million investment that is expected to yield 94 full-time positions over the next five years. The move, Louisville-based Brown-Forman said, comes in response to global demand for the company’s Tennessee Whiskey and will include the addition of stills, barrel warehouses and related infrastructure to support the expanding operations. Construction will begin this fall and is expected to be completed within two years. The distillery expansion will be located on distillery property in the Lynchburg area and tied to the same source of cave spring water. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey has grown volume for 21 consecutive years, with the family of brands having increased global net sales by 9 percent during the last fiscal year. “I want to thank the Jack Daniel Distillery for today's announcement and their continued investment in the people of Lynchburg and Tennessee," Gov. Bill Haslam said in a release.

JackDaniel’spreparesfor $100millionexpansion(AssociatedPress)
Jack Daniel’s is being served a $100 million-plus expansion of its rural Tennessee distillery to flex more muscle in the growing whiskey market. The investment amounts to the largest single production expansion in the brand’s long history. It will add stills and barrel warehouses at the Jack Daniel’s operations in Lynchburg, Tenn., the brand’s Louisville-based parent company, Brown-Forman Corp., said Thursday. A second production building will go up on the same grounds as the current distillery site, which traces its roots back to a year after the Civil War ended. Expansion work will begin this fall and is expected to wrap up within two years. Company officials didn’t specify how many stills and warehouses where the whiskey agers will be added. The distillery is bumping up against capacity pressures that will be relieved by the second production facility. “It’s a good time in the whiskey industry, and our future prospects look really good,” said Jeff Arnett, master distiller at the distillery. “We don’t want to find ourselves without any additional throttle, if we need it. This will basically secure that we’ve got the ability to give Jack Daniel’s to all of those who want Jack Daniel’s for years to come.” The new production facility will have access to the same source of cave spring water as the existing distillery, he said.

JackDanielDistilleryto undergo$100Mexpansion,add90 jobs(TN/Williams)
Mr. Jack’s legacy is growing globally, forcing the iconic Tennessee whiskey maker to expand its stills and warehouses in order to meet demand for its charcoal-mellowed products worldwide. As a result, parent BrownForman Corp. will spend more than $100 million to increase production and storage capacity at its Jack Daniel Distillery, so that “every drop of Jack Daniel’s will continue to be made in Lynchburg,” master distiller Jeff Arnett said Thursday. The expansion, which should be completed in about 18 months, would add more than 90 full-time jobs at the distillery over the next five years, the company said during an announcement in front of the historic distillery, which still operates in the same hollow where Jack Daniel founded it 150 years ago. “The demand for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey worldwide speaks volumes for the craftsmanship and specialness of a spirit distilled from a small cave-spring hollow in Tennessee,” said Arnett, who is only the seventh master distiller in the history of the brand. (SUBSCRIPTION)

BrownFormanto Expandthe JackDanielDistillery(Wall StreetJournal)
Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE: BFA) (NYSE: BFB) announced today the expansion of the Jack Daniel Distillery in response to global demand for its world-famous Tennessee Whiskey. The more than $100 million investment includes the addition of stills, barrel warehouses, and related infrastructure to support the expanding operations. "The demand for Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey worldwide speaks volumes for the craftsmanship and specialness of a spirit distilled from a small cave spring hollow in Tennessee," said Jeff Arnett, Master Distiller, Jack Daniel Distillery. "The expansion will help Jack Daniel's continue to bring our distinctive, charcoal-mellowed whiskey to the world and to follow Mr. Jack's belief when he said, 'Every day we make it, we'll make it the best we can.'" Brown-Forman's investment of more than $100 million is expected to result in approximately 90 additional full-time jobs over the next five years. Construction on the expansion will begin this fall and is expected to be completed within two years. "I want to thank the Jack Daniel Distillery for today's announcement and their continued investment in the people of Lynchburg and Tennessee," Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Soaring sales figures show the world has developed a taste for American whiskey. And to satisfy the masses, Jack Daniel’s is expanding its distillery in little Lynchburg, Tenn. Last year, Jack Daniel’s hit a sales record – 11 million cases of charcoal-mellowed, sour mash whiskey. But the nearly 150-year-old brand still only controls three percent of the global market. “Even with all this growth and success, we believe we’re only scratching the surface,” senior vice president John Hayes said Thursday at the expansion announcement. With other spirits, the leading label often controls a 10 percent share. So parent company Brown-Forman is pumping $100 million into Jack Daniel’s, adding 90 jobs over the next five years along with new stills and space for aging more barrels.

HaslamHeadsTo WashingtonWithHealthOf HospitalsOn His Mind(WPLNRadio)
Job cuts and construction delays at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are weighing on Governor Bill Haslam. On Friday, he travels to Washington D.C. in hopes of hammering out a compromise on expanding the state’s 2

Medicaid program – a move that has been characterized as vital to the health of Tennessee hospitals. Without any kind of expansion in Medicaid – known as TennCare in the state – the Tennessee Hospital Association has warned that some facilities will close. Rural, community hospitals are the most vulnerable. Governor Haslam points out that recent reductions at Vanderbilt have been blamed on a list of factors that include the indecision on Medicaid. “But I don’t think we can ignore the fact that for hospitals, the situation is changing,” he told reporters Thursday. Tennessee is one of only a handful of states that hasn’t officially said yes or no. The governor is trying to get approval for what he calls a “Tennessee Plan.” It would effectively let the state accept federal money for insuring more poor people without having to add any costs to the state budget.

HaslamplansDC trip to moveneedleon Medicaidcompromise(NashvillePost)
Gov. Bill Haslam plans to negotiate details of expanding health care coverage to more Tennesseans in the nation’s capitol Friday as he nears his own self-imposed deadline to strike a deal. Haslam said he has "four or five" sticking points in drafting an alternative to expanding the state’s Medicaid program known as TennCare, like by ensuring people buying insurance have “skin in the game” and that providers have incentives to control costs. He said he also is seeking a more objective way to identify what people would need to stay on traditional Medicaid rolls. “I don’t think those (talks) will be definitive, like I’m going to come back tomorrow with a final answer,” Haslam told reporters after addressing the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition in Nashville Thursday. After rejecting the federal government’s offer to pay for most of the costs of expanding the state’s Medicaid program for low-income Tennesseans under the Affordable Care Act, Haslam has spent the last few months trying to construct an alternate way to take advantage of those federal funds which would offer health insurance to more people.

Davidsonunemploymentrate dropsbelow7% (NashvillePost)
Davidson County saw its July unemployment rate of 6.7 percent drop from the June rate of 7 percent, according to statistics the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development released today. Across the eightcounty core of the Nashville MSA, the jobless rate also dropped to 6.7 percent. It was 7.2 percent in July of last year. The county continues to maintain the lowest unemployment rate of the state’s four major metropolitan areas. By the same token, Williamson County continues to have the lowest jobless rate in the state. By comparison, Knox County’s July rate decreased to 7 percent from 7.3 percent. Hamilton County decreased to 8.6 percent from 8.8 percent, while Shelby County was 9.8 percent, down from 10.3 percent in June. Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for July was 8.5 percent, which is unchanged from the June revised rate. The national unemployment rate for July was 7.4 percent, down two tenths of one percentage point from the previous month. The stats show the rates decreased in 79 counties, increased in 12 and remained the same in four counties.

KnoxCountyjoblessrate decreasesin July (KnoxvilleNewsSentinel)
Knox County’s unemployment rate for July decreased to 7 percent from 7.3 percent in June, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday. Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 6.7 percent, down from 7 percent in June. Hamilton County decreased to 8.6 percent from 8.8 the previous month. Shelby County was 9.8 percent, down from 10.3 percent in June. County unemployment rates for July decreased in 79 counties, increased in 12 counties, and were unchanged in four counties. Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for July is 8.5 percent, which is unchanged from the June revised rate. The national unemployment rate for July 2013 was 7.4 percent, down two tenths of one percentage point from the previous month.

Memphisareaunemploymentrate dipsamidhighdemand(CA/McKenzie)
Even in a region where about 58,700 people are on the jobless rolls, there are fields where job seekers are being snatched up by eager employers. But the hiring has made only a small dent in the stubbornly high unemployment rate in Greater Memphis. In July, the metropolitan jobless rate dropped to 9.5 percent, from 10 percent in June, according to Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development statistics released Thursday. One year ago in July, the unemployment rate was also 9.5 percent. While the region’s unemployment rate has now surpassed 8 percent for 56 straight months, there are signs the job market is heating up for those with the right skills, training and college degrees. “Now is a wonderful time to be an electrical engineer,” said Eric Welch, dean of engineering at Christian Brothers University in Memphis. In June, the jobless rate nationwide for people with bachelor’s degrees or higher and at least 25 years old was 4.2 percent. In contrast, the overall U.S. unemployment 3

rate was 7.6 percent in June and 7.4 percent in July. (SUB)

DCSreleasesadditionalrecordson childdeaths(Tennessean/Gang)
The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services released additional records Thursday on deaths and near deaths of children in the agency’s care. Thursday’s hearing before Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Carol McCoy was the latest in a series of court meetings over the past seven months as part of an ongoing legal battle over access to the department’s records. In December 2012, The Tennessean led a coalition of the state’s media groups in filing a lawsuit to gain access to DCS records of children who died or nearly died after having some contact with the agency. The media were seeking records that spanned a 2½ year period beginning in January 2009. In January, McCoy ruled limited and redacted records from those children’s files be turned over in batches of 50. Unlike in past releases, McCoy said the department did a “good job” redacting only the information she ordered withheld over privacy concerns. Thursday’s release of records means there is one more round of 43 records the department must provide to the media organizations. McCoy said she’ll need time to review them before they are released, a task she said is proving emotionally taxing. (SUBSCRIPTION)

DCScaseworkerfindsimprovementsat homeof motherwith4 kids(TN/Wadhwani)
Two days after DCS caseworker Tiffany Washington first visited the home of a mother and her four small children to investigate a report of suspected child abuse, she returned bearing children’s clothes, diapers and kitchen utensils — and a check-list of requirements she expected the mother to follow. On the first visit, Washington had been accompanied by her boss, DCS’ top official, Jim Henry, who has made it mandatory for all staff, including himself, to “shadow” a caseworker for a day. The home had been dirty and the children — ranging in age from a newborn to a 4-year-old — had physical problems. The mother said she had schizophrenia but was not taking her medication. On the return visit, Washington found a freshly mopped home. The children’s father, who lived apart from the mother, was there. He promised Washington he was going to take a bigger role in caring for his children. The mother told Washington she was trying to get an appointment with a mental health clinic. “Good job,” Washington said. “You keep that up, and you won’t have DCS keep knocking on your door.” The family remains under DCS supervision, with Washington connecting the family to speech therapy for one of the children and mental health care for the mother. (SUBSCRIPTION)

TN takesfreshlook at museumplansfor SulphurDell area(Tennessean/Garrison)
As Mayor Karl Dean makes his push for a new minor league baseball stadium near Bicentennial Mall, state officials are looking to one day build a new state museum, library and archives in the same area. Together, a longneglected part of town could eventually find itself with three new landmark destinations — though it’s still unclear when either state project might happen. The possibility of a new Tennessee State Museum and Tennessee State Library and Archives — discussed for years but never carried out — was referenced in a proposal obtained by The Tennessean Wednesday detailing the mayor’s initiative for a new Nashville Sounds ballpark. Dean is eying the former Sulphur Dell site, Nashville’s original home for professional baseball, situated between downtown and the Germantown neighborhood. The state recently approved more than $3 million to create new plans for both after older versions became dated, a sign that interest has at least picked up. Both projects, slated for state-owned land, are outlined in the state’s 1998 Bicentennial Master Plan. This document has never gained steam, and the mall remains surrounded by surface parking lots. (SUBSCRIPTION)

LawyerJill R. Talleycensuredfor breachingconfidentiality(NewsSentinel)
Jefferson County lawyer Jill R. Talley has been publicly censured by the state Board of Professional Responsibility for revealing confidential information about a client in a divorce case, officials said. The board found that the contents of a pleading that Talley filed when she was trying to withdraw from the case violated a rule requiring lawyers to maintain confidentiality of client information. In that pleading, Talley stated that her client “has not been completely truthful concerning certain issues, including her actions.” That disclosure resulted in harm to the client, the board found. The board is an arm of the Tennessee Supreme Court that regulates lawyers and their conduct. A public censure by the board is a public warning to the offending attorney. It does not revoke or suspend the attorney’s law license. 4

Ex-UT directorclaimsintimidation,pressure(KnoxvilleNewsSentinel/Boehnke)
The former student judicial affairs director at the University of Tennessee has accused officials there of ruining her career and creating “a professional nightmare” when she was accused of having inappropriate relationships with student-athletes. Jenny Wright, who left the university amid the scandal in May, said she faced criticism, harassment, intimidation, and “even threats directed toward me regarding judicial decisions involving studentathletes.” Wright posted the statement, her first public comment since the allegations came to light, this week on a website. “Since day one, I’ve been asked by it seems like everybody for my account, and I acknowledge it’s not been an easy thing to do to summarize it all in a way that can make sense to a person outside of the situation,” Wright said in a phone interview Thursday. “So, along those lines I put a great deal of thought into my account in terms of the way to present it concisely and honestly.” In the nearly 1,000-word statement, Wright insisted that stepping down from her $70,000 a year job was the only feasible option and that she feared a university investigation “would turn into a sensationalist exhibition rather than a search for the truth.”

Statefreezesassetsof wivesinvolvedin HRCMedicalCenters(CA/Dowd)
The assets of the wives of the former owners of a Memphis medical clinic have been frozen, following allegations by the Tennessee Attorney General’s office that the company violated the Consumer Protection Act by making false and unsubstantiated claims about its bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Amanda McClendon granted a request to freeze personal assets of Dixie Hale and Bonnie Hale and to place them under the control of a third-party receiver. The women are the wives of former HRC Medical Centers owners Don Hale and Dan Hale, whose assets were also frozen and placed in receivership in May. The Memphis clinic at 1790 Kirby Parkway was shut down after state officials filed a lawsuit against the company last October. “We are pleased with the court’s rulings,” Attorney General Bob Cooper said in a statement. “We urge consumers to consult with their primary health care providers first if they are taking, have taken, or are considering hormone treatment therapies of this kind.” Previously, settlements were reached with Midwest Restorative Health, BioLifeCycle Medical Centers, and Michael Montemurro doing business as MadMac Consulting with the settling parties agreeing to never offer hormone replacement therapy in Tennessee and pay more than $245,000 into the receivership estate. (SUB

Customers at pharmacies in Manchester, Tenn., won't need to worry — at least for a while — about having a prescription to buy over-the-counter cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in the illicit drug methamphetamine. After concerns were raised about whether city government has the power to regulate prescription drugs, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 4-2 Tuesday night to table the ordinance. "They really don't have the legal authority to make that kind of regulation," said Ray Macrom, a lifelong Manchester resident who's the owner and pharmacist at Macrom's Pharmacy at 1277 McArthur St. If the city passed the ordinance, it could open itself to lawsuits, Macrom said, including from chain pharmacies. "The larger thing is, 'Will this really help our meth problem?'" Macrom said. "I think there's other actions that we can take." He's one of several area pharmacists who've been invited to a special Manchester City Council meeting to talk about cold medicine and methamphetamine issue. The meeting will be at 5 p.m. CDT on Tuesday in the upstairs board meeting room at City Hall at 200 W. Fort St.

ShelbyCountymayorfavorsreferendumsfor annexations(C. Appeal/Locker)
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell told a state commission he believes residents should be allowed to vote on whether towns and cities can annex their areas, including residents of the annexation “reserve areas” of Shelby County’s seven municipalities. “I think we all would agree that one of the fundamental principles of our democracy is the right of popular determination. Certainly, owning land and possession of property, you should have a say in how laws, rules and regulations are structured around the management of your property,” he told the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, or TACIR. Tennessee is one of 17 states where referendums are not required in most cases before cities can annex new territory. But there is a growing push in the state legislature to change longstanding Tennessee law to require referendum approval for all annexations not requested by the affected landowners. Lawmakers this year delayed action on several annexation bills but directed 5

TACIR, a state research agency headed by a board of state, county and municipal officials and two citizen members, to study the matter and make recommendations to the 2014 legislative session in January. (SUB)

Corker:U.S. MilitaryMightDo BetterTrainingSyrianRebels(WPLNRadioNash)
With new video footage of a purported chemical attack in Syria, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker says the U.S. needs to “step it up.” The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is calling for a swifter arming of moderate Syrian rebels and possibly sending conventional forces to assist with training. Corker just returned from meeting with rebel leaders in Syria and says he’s “dismayed” that arms and ammunition the U.S. promised mostly haven’t arrived. President Obama has publicly acknowledged the U.S. is training the rebels in neighboring Jordan. Corker says the administration has to decide whether sending covert forces is enough. “Or are we going to use our military to do the training? Again, I don’t want any boots on the ground in Syria. But they have an ability to do the training at more of an industrial-strength level.” Corker was the featured speaker at an event with the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition in Nashville Thursday. He said U.S. involvement in Syria is critical because at the moment, the conflict is having a destabilizing effect on the region, including Jordan and Iraq.

Corkercriticalof returnof StateDepartmentworkersinvolvedin Benghazi(Nooga)
Sen. Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed his disappointment Wednesday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's decision this week to reinstate four workers who had been placed on administrative leave following last year's terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Corker, who has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration's response to the almost year-old attack in Libya, questioned how the State Department could ensure safety at its posts around the world if those responsible for ensuring security were not held accountable for failures. "I am highly disappointed that no one at the State Department will be held accountable in any real way over the failures that led to the tragedy in Benghazi," Corker said in a news release. "I don't understand how this administration will ensure accountability at one of our most vital government departments without disciplining those who fail in their duties."

Sen. LamarAlexanderboastsMikeHuckabeeendorsement(Nooga)
Two days after drawing his first primary challenger since 2002, Sen. Lamar Alexander's campaign announced an endorsement of his candidacy by former Arkansas governor and conservative figure Mike Huckabee. In a fourpage letter to supporters, Huckabee praises Alexander's work as a senator and former governor and reminisces on their relationship working on political campaigns over the years. He also asks recipients to "pray for Lamar, vote for Lamar, and fill out the enclosed envelope and send it back with $10 or $15 or whatever amount you can afford." "I've known a lot of conservative Republicans in politics and government but no one I've admire[d] more than Lamar Alexander," Huckabee writes. "For the good of our country, I am writing you to ask that you help him and ensure he is re-elected to the U.S. Senate. Huckabee, who carried Tennessee as a presidential candidate in the 2008 Republican primary, is no stranger to endorsements in Tennessee or in general. The conservative icon backed Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, with whom he shared a link through manager Chip Saltsman, in races in both 2010 and 2012.

President Barack Obama’s call on Thursday for states to follow Tennessee’s lead and award greater funding to colleges that show results with students pushed the state’s evolving education policies into the national spotlight once again. Obama urged other states to follow Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio in offering more funds to colleges that do a better job of preparing students for graduation and a job. He also proposed a broad new government rating system for colleges that would judge schools on their affordability and could be used to allocate federal financial aid. “We can’t price the middle class — and people working to get into the middle class — out of a college education,” Obama said during a speech at the University at Buffalo. Tennessee is in the third year of linking funds for public colleges to student outcomes — including progress toward graduation and actual graduation rates — instead of how many people fill the seats. University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro said his system has made “steady strides in many of the areas” outlined by Obama because of the 2010 funding act. (SUBSCRIPTION) 6

ObamapraisesAPSUin highereducationspeech(LeafChronicle)
A release issued by the White House that morning stated, “To help students choose the courses that will allow them to earn a degree as quickly as possible, Austin Peay State University has developed the ‘Degree Compass’ system that draws on the past performance of students in thousands of classes to guide a student through a course, in a similar manner to the way Netflix or Pandora draw on users’ past experience to guide movie or music choices.” In 2011, then-APSU provost Tristan Denley developed Degree Compass, a course recommendation tool that provides each student with personalized recommendations based on their academic transcript. The tool helps students select courses, choose a “Major” and select programs that are more suited to their academic talents. “For years, we’ve been proud of this innovative tool, developed by our former colleague, Dr. Denley,” APSU President Tim Hall said. “Degree Compass has helped Austin Peay and other institutions increase graduation rates, and recognition such as this is a testament to this University’s desire to go the extra mile to help students succeed.” (SUBSCRIPTION)

Obamacalls for cost-consciouscollegeratings(AssociatedPress/Pace,Elliott)
Targeting the soaring cost of higher education, President Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled a broad new government rating system for colleges that would judge schools on their affordability and perhaps be used to allocate federal financial aid. But the proposed overhaul faced immediate skepticism from college leaders who worry the rankings could cost their institutions millions of dollars, as well as from congressional Republicans wary of deepening the government's role in higher education. The president, speaking to a student-heavy crowd of 7,000 at the University at Buffalo, said he expected pushback from those who have profited from the ballooning cost of college. But he argued that with the nation's economy still shaky and students facing increasing global competition, making college affordable is "an economic imperative." "Higher education cannot be a luxury," Obama said during the first stop on a two-day bus tour through New York and Pennsylvania. "Every American family should be able to get it." Republicans on Capitol Hill weighed in quickly with criticism. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, cast the proposal as government overreach and suggested a state-by-state approach would be preferable. (SUB)

ObamaWantsCollegeAid Tiedto RatingSystem(Wall StreetJournal)
Calling growing student debt levels a "crisis,'' President Barack Obama laid out a plan Thursday aimed at reining in rising tuition costs by creating a system to rate colleges and eventually tie federal student aid to the institutions' performance. The president called for rating colleges before the 2015 school year on measures such as affordability and graduation rates—"metrics like how much debt does the average student leave with, how easy is it to pay off, how many students graduate on time, how well do those graduates do in the workforce,'' Mr. Obama told a crowd at the University at Buffalo, the first stop on a two-day bus tour. "The answers will help parents and students figure out how much value a college truly offers," he said. Once a rating system is in place, Mr. Obama will ask Congress to allocate federal financial aid based on the scores by 2018. Students at top-performing colleges could receive larger federal grants and more affordable student loans. "It is time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results," he said. The president's plan drew mixed reviews from colleges and lawmakers, who would have to approve any measure linking the rating system to allocations of federal aid. (SUBSCRIPTION)

TVATo ChargeCustomersMoreAs DemandFor PowerSlumps(WPLNRadio)
Electricity bills are going up soon. Today, the Tennessee Valley Authority approved its first rate increase in two years. Starting October 1st, the average household will see its power bill increase by about $1.50 a month. TVA is dealing with a sharp decrease in demand for electricity, and it’s not just because of the mild weather year. Its largest customer—a massive uranium enrichment plant in Paducah, Kentucky—shut down earlier this year. Board chair Bill Sansom says it’s been a dramatic reversal. In 2006, TVA hit peak demand and the utility was worried it wasn’t going to generate enough electricity. Sansom says current projects show the utility won’t hit that peak again until 2023. Along with the rate increase, TVA is looking to trim expenses as much as half a billion dollars over the next two years.


TVAratesrise as powersalesdeclinein the TennesseeValley(TFP/Flessner)
The Tennessee Valley Authority will boost its base electric rates this fall for the first time in two years, but most consumers may not notice the difference. Power rates will rise 1.5 percent in October when the new fiscal year begins, adding about $1.50 a month to the average residential electric bill under a $10.5 billion spending plan approved Thursday by TVA directors. But most of that increase is being offset with lower monthly fuel cost adjustments by TVA, which are projected to lower the average electric bill next month by about 6 percent below year-ago levels. Heavy rains and cooler temperatures this summer have reduced TVA’s average fuel costs, which are adjusted each month. The fuel cost changes by TVA should offset most, if not all, of the base rate increase this fall, although fuel costs will likely rise again in the winter months. To help mitigate the base rate hike, TVA also agreed Thursday to offer price breaks to industrial customers that agree to keep buying TVA power through at least 2015 or agree to shift more of their load off peak demand periods.

TVAraisesrate, cuts budget(KnoxvilleNews-Sentinel/Marcum)
Measure will add $1.50 to monthly bills The TVA board Thursday approved a 1.5 percent retail increase estimated to add $1.50 to the average residential customer’s monthly electricity bill. TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson said the federal utility has seen a decline in revenue from lower electricity sales due to milder weather and a stillsluggish economy. The rate increase, set to take effect Oct. 1, is the first TVA rate increase since October 2011. “We don’t ever like to raise rates,” Johnson said after the meeting. “We have had a significant decline in sales, and hence revenue, that we haven’t been able to offset with cost management efforts.” The rate increase was approved as part of a scaled-down budget for the 2014 fiscal year. The $10.5 billion budget is about 6 percent lower than the 2013 fiscal year budget. The weather, the economy and more efficient power use by TVA customers have combined to lower electricity sales, TVA Chief Financial Officer John Thomas told the board. The regional economy is experiencing a 2.6 percent growth rate but power demand is down 3.5 percent. Electricity sales for TVA are down 4.6 percent, Thomas said.

Workerssay coal ash cleanupmadethemsick (AssociatedPress)
A group of workers who cleaned up the Kingston coal ash spill claim a contractor failed to protect them from the dangerous toxins in fly ash. A group of 49 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in federal court in Knoxville on Thursday against Pasadena, Calif.,-based Jacobs Engineering Group. The suit claims Jacobs officials intentionally lied to workers, saying fly ash was safe enough to drink. The suit claims workers were not given respirators or protective clothing and were not allowed to wear their own protective gear. It claims workers have suffered eye problems, sinus problems, heart problems and lung problems. The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages. A representative of Jacobs Engineering did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Thursday afternoon.

Capon TVApurchasesbringssolareclipseto industry(TimesFree-Press/Flessner)
Since the year 2000, the number of solar power installations in the Tennessee Valley has grown from only three to nearly 1,700. Buoyed by some of the most generous incentives offered by any utility in the South, TVA gets as much power from the sun as it does from either Norris or Chickamauga dams. But the boom in small-scale solar generation has turned to a bust for many solar installers this summer. TVA capped its 17-cents-per-kilowatt-hour payment for solar generation to only 10 megawatts this year and the limit quickly was reached before many interested homeowners and businesses were able to take advantage of the offer. Solar power enthusiasts appealed to TVA directors Thursday to buy more solar through its Green Power Providers program. "Tennessee had the 14th largest job-producing solar industry in the country, but we've got to keep it going," said Mary Mastin, the Tennessee chapter head of the Sierra Club's Repower Committee.

Securitystresson Y-12 guards:Unionchief saysovertimea concern(NS/Munger)
The guards union chief at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant said the recent promotion of 10 security police officers to supervisory positions will put even more stress on an already overworked protective force. Shannon Gray, president of the International Guards Union of America, Local 3, disagreed with a statement by B&W Y-12 — the government’s managing contractor — that the move would not have an impact on overtime for the security guards. “I just don’t understand how they get the impression that pulling 10 people from our ranks won’t affect our overtime issue,” Gray said in an interview with the News Sentinel. “After reading that, I’m prepared to publicly contradict it.” 8

B&W spokeswoman Ellen Boatner confirmed this week that 10 security police officers (SPOs) were promoted to sergeant. She also confirmed that the contractor does not plan to hire additional guards to fill the vacated positions. “The Y-12 protective force remains the same size,” Boatner said by email, indicating that the move was a shifting of resources to fill other vacancies. She said overtime should not be a problem.

NewOakRidgegrocerywill produce165 newjobs(NewsSentinel/Fowler)
When it comes to the perceived benefits of a huge new Kroger Marketplace, there’s one part of the equation that’s not been previously mentioned — jobs. When it opens, the 123,000 square-foot store will provide some 165 new jobs, a standing-room-only crowd gathered under a large tent was told Thursday during official groundbreaking ceremonies. That will boost total employment to “close to 300,” Kroger executive Tim Coggins said. He said 135 workers are now in the current Oak Ridge Kroger. The new store — the fifth site in Oak Ridge for a Kroger since one opened in 1954, will also have several stores within the grocery — from a jewelry store to a sushi eatery, from a specialty store for baby items to a medical clinic. It’s also the first location in a Kroger store in Tennessee where high-end clothing and shoes will be sold, Coggins said. He said when the current Kroger on Illinois Avenue opened in 1993, it set a record in the grocery chain for sales during a grand opening week. He predicted a similar outcome when the new store opens next July.

ErlangerdelaysLincolnParklandgift (ChattanoogaTimesFree-Press/Harrison)
The most important thing that came out of the Erlanger board of trustees eight-minute meeting Thursday night was what was left unsaid. The hospital board did not bring up a drafted resolution that would allow the hospital to donate five acres of land in Lincoln Park to the city, a proposal that has been in the works for weeks between Chattanooga and Erlanger officials and was expected to be finalized Thursday. The potential land donation could change the dynamics of the city's plan to build a Central Avenue extension through the Lincoln Park neighborhood, which would create a direct link to Riverside Drive. But while Erlanger board members had photos of the Lincoln Park property on their tables and copies of the resolution Thursday, the issue never came up. Afterward, several board members said there were still too many questions about the deal. Hospital attorney Fred Moore also said he needed to do more research on the legal mechanics of such a donation. "It doesn't mean it can't be done, it's just that I don't think they were going about it the right way at this point," he said.

Gatewayreadmissionratesimprove(Leaf Chronicle)
Gateway Medical Center is among dozens of Tennessee hospitals that federal regulators have cited for excessive readmission rates. As a result, the Clarksville hospital will lose a small portion of its Medicare funding in fiscal 2014. The good news: Gateway will be docked less than it was in fiscal 2013, thanks to strategies it’s adopted, such as working with patients on their care after they’ve been discharged. Gateway’s improvement comes as Tennessee hospitals generally have lost ground in efforts to reduce the number of heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia patients readmitted within 30 days after discharge, according to a recent analysis by Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research organization. Of 97 eligible hospitals in the Volunteer State, 82 – or 85 percent – face financial penalties due to excessive readmissions of those patients, Kaiser found. Tennessee is tied for the fifth-highest readmission rate among states. The penalties were created as a way to improve care and reduce the costs of expensive hospital stays under the 2010 health care reform law. (SUB)

Plaintiff in Pilot suit saysit's not a shell company(AssociatedPress/Schelzig)
The head of a group formed for the purpose of filing a lawsuit against truck stop giant Pilot Flying J said Thursday it is not a shell corporation established to ensure the company reached a favorable settlement. Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest diesel retailer, last month agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit, filed in Arkansas by National Trucking Financial Reclamation Services LLC. The suit was filed in response to FBI allegations that members of the company’s sales force preyed on smaller trucking companies by reducing the amount of rebates they were owed. Under the settlement, the company has offered to reimburse with interest all the money trucking companies were cheated out of since 2005. Attorneys for trucking companies that have not joined in the settlement but are also suing Pilot called the agreement rushed and inadequate, and said it contained little more than what the company offered in the first place. They also questioned the involvement of National Trucking, which itself isn’t eligible for the settlement because it is not a Pilot customer. In legal filings, they called it a “shell company.” 9

National Trucking is run by Lane Kidd, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association. Pilot is a member of that association and in the past has sponsored group events. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Pilot, competitorsmaketheir casein Big D (KnoxvilleNewsSentinel/Flory)
The legal fight over Pilot Flying J played out in a Knox County courtroom on Thursday, but that doesn't mean the fight for market share was on hold. This week, the Dallas Convention Center is playing host to the Great American Truck Show, a trucking industry trade show that bills itself as the nation's second-largest. On Thursday, a vast space at the convention center featured trucking firms, industry vendors and truck-stop chains, including Pilot and competitors TravelCenters of America and Love's. While the three companies are best known for selling diesel fuel, on Thursday they were emphasizing other specialties as well -- Love's highlighted its tire offerings, TA was touting its service network and Pilot was focused on fitness, with fliers that promoted the gluten-free food in its stores. In recent months, of course, the landscape in the fuel industry has shifted dramatically. As Pilot struggles with the fallout from a government investigation into fuel rebate fraud allegations, its competitors have also been impacted. The CEO of TravelCenters, for example, has cited heightened competition from Pilot as a factor in his own company's lackluster earnings.

Judgesets deadlinefor Pilot FlyingJ to respondto lawsuits(NewsSentinel)
Lawyers for Pilot Flying J have until the end of the month to respond to a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in Knox County Circuit Court by five trucking companies. Circuit Judge Harold Wimberly set a deadline of Aug. 30 at a hearing Thursday. Attorneys Mark Tate, Drew McElroy and Bart Turner came to court asking that they be allowed to question Pilot officials under oath as soon as possible, including Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam, company President Mark Hazelwood, spokesman Tom Ingram, former Vice President of Sales John “Stick” Freeman and other Pilot officials. The attorneys represent five trucking companies that claim they were shortchanged on diesel rebates. Agents of the FBI and Internal Revenue Service raided Pilot’s corporate headquarters in West Knoxville on April 15 as part of an investigation into claims of rebate fraud. The claims dated back at least as far as 2008, according to court records. Seven former Pilot employees have pleaded guilty to fraud charges so far, with promises to testify against others. Pilot attorney Al Harb asked that the Knox County case be put on hold until a federal judge in Arkansas gives final approval to a proposed settlement that would resolve many of the roughly two dozen federal lawsuits filed against the company nationwide.

Gunfiredin Memphisschoolcafeteria;no one hurt (AssociatedPress/Sainz)
A gun discharged inside a 5-year-old kindergartener's backpack at a Tennessee elementary school cafeteria on Thursday, though no one was hurt, officials said. A statement from the Shelby County school district said the gun went off inside a kindergarten student's backpack as students were waiting for the opening bell in the cafeteria of Westside Elementary School. There were no injuries. School staffers immediately took control of the backpack. School security officers and the Memphis Police Department responded to the incident, the district said. The child was detained and was still being questioned by officers Thursday afternoon, with the child's mother present. Investigators were trying to determine how the gun ended up in the backpack, police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said. Students were kept safe and calm while the matter was handled, the district said. There was no evidence of harmful intent, the school district said. "However, weapons of any kind are prohibited on campuses, and this student will be disciplined in accordance with the state's zero tolerance policy," the statement said.

Gunfires in child'sbackpackat Frayserelementaryschool(C. Appeal/Callahan)
A gun in a 5-year-old boy’s backpack discharged at a Frayser school Thursday morning. No one was injured, but the incident infuriated parents. About 8 a.m., police got the call that a gun was fired at Westside Elementary at 3347 Dawn Drive. Officers arrived and took the kindergarten child into custody. According to Shelby County Schools spokesman Christian Ross, the boy came to school early and waited in the cafeteria for the opening bell along with other children. The school, with grades K-5, has a little more than 300 students. The gun was in the boy’s backpack when it discharged, Ross said. School officials, who immediately confiscated the backpack, said they don’t believe the boy meant anyone harm. “There is no evidence at this time of harmful intent,” SCS officials 10

said in a statement. Under the state’s zero-tolerance policy on guns in schools, the boy is facing either expulsion or a one-year suspension. Parents can appeal that punishment, but only the superintendent can alter it, Ross said. Shelby County District Attorney spokesman Vince Higgins said that, if the facts warrant it, parents of children who bring guns to school can be charged with a crime. Numerous parents — most of them angry — came to the school late Thursday morning to pick up their children. (SUB)

Rutherfordschoolsaskedto replaceLGBTposters(AssociatedPress)
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is asking the Rutherford County school board to reconsider a decision to take down posters identifying classrooms as safe spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. According to the ACLU, the posters were hung at Central Magnet School at the request of the school's Gay Straight Alliance. They hung alongside posters from other student groups for the majority of the last school year. ACLU-TN Legal Director Thomas Castelli said in a news release that removing the poster violates the free speech rights of students and teachers. In a Thursday letter, the ACLU asked the board to immediately reauthorize the display of the posters. A call by The Associated Press to the school board's attorney on Thursday afternoon was not immediately returned.

ACLUurgesschoolto put LGBT'safeplace' postersbackup (TN/Broden,Smietana)
At least one Central Magnet School parent agrees with the American Civil Liberties Union in urging school district officials to allow Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network “Safe Space” posters to return to classroom walls. “It’s important that our young people learn to live together among our differences,” said Jeff Clark, who is an active parent at the school in addition to being a business professor at Middle Tennessee State University and a Cumberland Presbyterian Church pastor. The ACLU of Tennessee and the national ACLU on Thursday called on the Rutherford County School Board to restore the posters, saying that taking them down violates students’ free speech rights. Need disputed Board Chairman Terry Hodge and district spokesman James Evans referred calls on the matter to Jeff Reed, the school board’s attorney. Reed did not immediately respond to a request for comment. “I’m not sure why a poster would be put up, because our schools are safe for all students,” school board Vice Chairman Wayne Blair said. “We already have a policy to maintain our schools as safe.” (SUBSCRIPTION)

PrivateLegalTalksUnderwayon Schools(MemphisDaily News)
As Bartlett citizens got an update this week on the move by it and the five other suburban towns and cities in Shelby County to form their own school systems, Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald fielded a pointed question with an interesting answer. Why would McDonald and other suburban leaders be negotiating with the Shelby County Commission at this point, with the passage of a state law earlier this year that took care of the issue of forming such school systems? McDonald’s answer suggests that the suburban leaders and County Commission members all have a motive to continue private talks at least for now. And those talks may center first on the transfer or use of school buildings in the suburban towns and cities. Also on the table could be the lingering legal claim in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee by the County Commission that suburban school districts would racially “resegregate” public schools across the county and violate the U.S. Constitution.

Texas:JusticeDepartmentSuesTexasOverVoter-ID Law(Wall StreetJournal)
The Justice Department on Thursday sued Texas over the state's voter-identification law and filed to join an existing case challenging congressional districts drawn by Austin's Republican-controlled legislature, alleging that both measures violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act and constitutional protections for minorities. The lawsuits come after the U.S. Supreme Court in June ended nearly a half-century of direct federal supervision of election practices in states that historically discriminated against minority voters. The 5-to-4 decision found that historical data no longer justified requiring Texas and other such states to obtain federal permission before changing election procedures. But the opinion, by Chief Justice John Roberts, left intact federal law authorizing voting-rights suits against state and local election laws after they are enacted. It also allowed courts to impose new "preclearance" requirements on jurisdictions found to discriminate against minority voters. The Obama administration had pledged to use those powers vigorously, and on Thursday Attorney General Eric Holder said the Texas suits underscored that commitment. 11 (SUBSCRIPTION)

OPINION Guestcolumnist:TN teachersgatherfor goodof students(Tennessean)
“Common Core State Standards are giving my students the opportunity to engage in learning and feel like they are a part of it. I have seen such a positive change in my classroom because of this. I have met some amazing teachers from all regions of Tennessee. We still have a lot of work to do, but I know we are headed in the right direction!” — Lucie Abbott, fifth-grade English Language Arts This summer, educators in Tennessee made history. We came together in the largest gathering in state history to make sure all children have the opportunity to meet high expectations and the support to get there. On behalf of the Tennessee Department of Education and Common Core Leadership Council, I would like to extend great thanks to the 30,000 educators who participated in the TNCore trainings this summer and a special thanks to the 700 core coaches who spent their summer break leading this training. Participants were grateful that this training was led by other teachers, colleagues in their shoes. Core coaches were moved by the camaraderie and commitment of the teachers of Tennessee. Everyone worked together with the goal of making Tennessee the fastest-improving state in education in the nation. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Guestcolumnist:State'steacherpay planshouldbe appliedfairly, effectively(TN)
“Some people have 15 years of experience; some have one year’s experience 15 times.” That’s a maxim I learned decades ago, which accurately reflects the paradigm shift taking place in the way Tennessee state government and our public education system now operates. Laws have already gone into effect this summer radically altering the state’s half-century-old civil service system. In education, it’s the revamped compensation plan for our public school teachers. I know many of my fellow Democrats are strongly resisting these changes, but I believe they are holding onto outdated modes of thinking. Changes needed to occur. Our energy and efforts should be directed to ensuring that the new direction is now applied as fairly and effectively as possible. There are some significant points that those implementing the changes should keep in mind: • There are thousands of smart, dedicated, service-oriented state employees and educators who have served the Volunteer State with enthusiasm and aplomb for many years. (SUBSCRIPTION)

GregJohnson:Carr'ssponsorshipof bill not conservative(NewsSentinel)
Is state Rep. Joe Carr, a Republican from Lascassas, the one the tea party has been waiting for to mount a serious challenge to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Maryville? Lascassas, 10 miles northeast of Murfreesboro, is no foreign locale, so Carr won’t have uncomfortable citizenship questions like Canadian-born U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a tea party hero. Carr was running against 4th District U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Jasper, until switching races to take on the man known by friend and foe simply as “Lamar.” Within hours, one of Carr’s top advisers, former state GOP party chair Chip Saltsman, abandoned ship. Saltsman quit, then endorsed Alexander. “I have been a longtime supporter of Senator Alexander for many reasons, and I will continue to be a strong supporter,” Saltsman wrote in an email. “Due to the hard work of Lamar Alexander, and because he stayed true to his conservative ideals, our state has no income tax, great roads with no debt, and an economy that is the envy of most states.”

Editorial:Commission,schoolboardcommitteea worthyidea(JacksonSun)
OK, let’s get this straight for everyone’s benefit. The job of the Jackson-Madison County Board of Education is to hire and supervise a school superintendent, set school system policy, approve an annual school budget funding request and promote and support our public education system. The job of the Madison County Commission with regard to public education is to provide funding for the school system budget, and to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars in all matters. That’s it. History clearly shows that The Jackson Sun’s editorial board believes county commissioners tilt heavily toward frugality. They will do just about anything to avoid raising Madison County 12

property taxes. But you know what? That’s their job, and they make no bones about it. So, any county commissionfunded department better be prepared to make its case if it wants more money. And it better be prepared to account for past spending. Those are economic facts of life, and what county taxpayers expect from the county commission. Given this reality, it makes sense for school officials and commissioners to be on the same page when it comes to the county’s largest budget item, and arguably the most important public service to Madison County residents, public education. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Editorial:A FederalProdto LowerCollegeCosts(NewYorkTimes)
President Obama has been accused of promoting small-ball ideas in his second term, but the proposal he unveiled on Thursday is a big one: using sharp federal pressure to make college more affordable, potentially opening the gates of higher education to more families scared off by rising tuitions. While there are questions to be answered about his plan, his approach — tying federal student aid to the value of individual colleges — is a bold and important way to leverage the government’s power and get Washington off the sidelines. The basic idea is to give more student aid to colleges that admit more disadvantaged students, that show progress in lowering costs and raising scholarships, and that shepherd students to earn a degree. To measure that performance, the government would create a rating system to compare similar colleges, a potentially useful consumer tool that would also serve to shame institutions that do not measure up. The rating system would examine a college’s accessibility, looking at the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants; its affordability, tied to tuition, scholarships and financial aid; and its outcomes, based on graduation rates, advanced degrees and the salaries earned by graduates. Students would be required to show progress toward a degree before receiving continued aid, and schools would be rewarded for developing innovative programs to serve more students at lower costs. All student borrowers would have a cap on their loan payments of 10 percent of their monthly income, expanding the current system. (SUBSCRIPTION) ###


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