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TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011 Haslam summer tour taps voter interests, concerns (Associated Press/Schelzig)

Bill Haslam has ramped up his travel schedule now that the legislative session is over, attending ribbon-cutting events, delivering grant checks and discussing education policy over pizza. The crowds attending his events have been overwhelmingly supportive of the first-year Republican governor, but Haslam says the trips aren't meant to be a reprise of last year's campaign or a victory lap around the state. "Two years of campaigning was a long time, and I was worn out by it," Haslam told The Associated Press after handing out a ceremonial check in Winchester last week. But Haslam said he sees value in getting out and meeting people even if he doesn't need to worry yet about asking for their vote in 2014. "There is a benefit from being out talking to people," he said. "You a have lot of conversations that are very, very helpful."

TN to provide grants for local planning (Tennessean/Sisk)

Gov. Bill Haslams administration will give $1 million in grants to small towns that no longer receive local planning help from the state Department of Economic and Community Development, after job cuts at that agency. The Haslam administration cut off planning services to 212 communities across the state that are too small to have planning departments of their own. Those communities can now apply for grants to help pay for planners hired from the private sector. As we move to make local planning truly a local function, we want to provide the help needed to make that happen as seamlessly as possible, Commissioner Bill Hagerty said in a statement. Haslam announced in April that the Department of Economic and Community Development would no longer provide planning services. The move was part of a plan to reorganize and eliminate 71 jobs from the department. odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|s

$10K, $5K for leads in Gutierrez, Fryer cases (Gallatin News Examiner)
Cash rewards are available for two ongoing Sumner County criminal cases, state officials announced last week. Gov. Bill Haslam offered a $10,000 award for information that would lead to the apprehension, arrest and conviction of the person or persons who are criminally responsible in the case of Lydia Naomi Gutierrez, 27, who was killed in August 2010. Gutierrezs 8-year-old son returned home from school to find his mother's body with a plastic bag over her head suffocated and stabbed to death with multiple wounds in the neck. The child told neighbors, who reported the murder. Gallatin Police Department officers originally arrested and charged with first-degree murder Joshua Singletary, 24, of Tyree Springs Road in Hendersonville, after locating him the day of the incident at Hendersonville Medical Center where he was being treated for lacerations to his hand and leg.

Oak Ridge shortchanged on cleanup, Haslam says (Associated Press)

Gov. Bill Haslam says he is concerned that Oak Ridge has not been getting its fair share of environmental cleanup money. The governor said having the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee provides a huge competitive advantage. But he said he was concerned it was getting fewer federal cleanup dollars than other nuclear sites. He spoke to The Oak Ridger newspaper during a visit. A chart from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation shows Oak Ridge has received less environmental management funding in the last half-dozen years than sites in Hanford, W ash., and near Aiken, S.C. Federal funding in general is expected to fall as Congress and President Barack Obama battle over the nations budget deficit.


GOP Governors Examine Presidential Choices (CNN)

Republican governors are searching within their own ranks for a presidential candidate to get behind, a scenario that might present an obstacle for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's as she continues her surge in the polls. In the wake of big statehouse gains in 2010, Republicans wield control over political and financial networks in several key battleground and primary states. Now they are planning to exercise that newfound influence as the party begins the process of choosing its nomineeHuntsman made his case to seven different Republican governors over the weekend as he tries to build support for his campaign, which is still in its early stages. Along with Branstad, Huntsman arranged private meetings with Barbour, Christie, Walker, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Yet even as the GOP presidential field finally begins to take shape, the party continues to face nagging questions about the strength of its candidates.

Kristol, Shields, State Govt. Leaders Highlight Southern Legislative Conf. (M. Flyer)
Well-known national pundits William Kristol, editoi of the Weekly Standard and Fox News Sunday panelist, and Mark Shields, columnist and panelist on the ABC/PBS show Inside Washington, are speakers at Monday mornings opening plenary session of the annual Southern Legislative Conference, which is meeting this year at The Peabody in Memphis. The conference which began over the weekend with workshop meetings and social get-togethers, including a Saturday night visit to Graceland will continue through Tuesday, with speaking appearances by Governor Bill Haslam, state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, and state House Speaker Beth Harwell, and a final banquet. The Conference is sponsored by the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments and comprises the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, George, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi,Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

TBI reportedly investigating health department (Associated Press)

Broadcast reports in Nashville say the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is reviewing a case involving the state Department of Health and several state lawmakers. WSMV-TV and W TVF-TV reported Monday that the probe centers on three nurses whose licenses were revoked for overprescribing pills but then were reinstated later. WSMV reported that two patients died, citing a report in May by the Kingsport Times News. A spokeswoman for the health department said the agency is cooperating with the investigation.

TBI investigates state lawmakers, health department (WSMV-TV Nashville)

The Channel 4 I-Team has learned that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has opened a high-level investigation of several state lawmakers and the Tennessee Department of Health. The investigation centers on possible official misconduct and false reporting charges. The Channel 4 I-Team has learned the TBI is looking into the cases of three nurse practitioners whose licenses were revoked for over-prescribing medication. In some cases, the patients died. The orders revoking those licenses were rescinded in May. Now investigators are looking into possible misconduct as to how those nurses were exonerated and whether illegal political pressure was applied to get them off the hook, and whether the health department acted illegally in dropping the case. According to a report in the Kingsport Times News in May, three former nurse practitioners accused of contributing to two patients' deaths have been exonerated and their licenses restored, with Tennessee state Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, saying he's the "rascal behind the scenes that made it happen."

TBI Investigating Health Department, State Lawmakers (W TVF-TV Nashville)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the state health department and several state lawmakers. It started back in 2005 when three nurses in East Tennessee had their licenses revoked for over- prescribing pills. The facility where they worked was shut down. But earlier this year, the nurses' licenses were re-instated. Now, the TBI is looking into allegations of official misconduct and false reporting. Officials are trying to figure out if state lawmakers improperly influenced the nursing board to reinstate the nurses' licenses. 2

Tennessee lottery reports record sales this year (Associated Press)

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. reports a record $1.19 billion in total sales for its fiscal year. The agency said Monday the sales are up 4.2 percent over the previous year. Lottery officials said they transferred a record high $293.5 million to education programs in Tennessee, up $4.6 million over last year's previous record. Officials said new products and emphasis on customer service helped the lottery counter a sluggish economy. Lottery ticket sales began in January 2004. Total sales are now at $7.8 billion, with $2.07 billion going to education.

Lottery sets record for sales, funds to state education (City Paper)
Unfazed by a sluggish economy, the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. has set new records for its fiscal year, announcing Monday what will be an all-time high transfer of $293.5 million to education programs in the state. The mark represents an increase of $4.6 million over last years previous record. Lottery officials also report a record-breaking $1.19 billion in total sales, an impressive 4.2 percent increase over the previous year. The new total generated for education since ticket sales began in January 2004 now stands at $2.07 billion, while total sales have reached $7.8 billion. Our strategies to maximize dollars for education continue to pay off for the students and families of Tennessee, Rebecca Hargrove, president and CEO of the Tennessee Lottery Corporation, said in a release.

Tenn. Consumer Officials Warn About Contest Scams (Associated Press)

State consumer affairs officials have reminded Tennesseans that you can't win a foreign contest you didn't enter. Gary Cordell of the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs says scams circulate daily with the goal of getting money or personal information. Legitimate sweepstakes don't require a purchase, he says. Nor should someone be required to pay taxes or shipping and handling charges to get a prize. Additionally, it's highly unlikely that someone has won a big prize if the notification was mailed by bulk rate.

Balloting to determine which park will win $175,000 from Coca-Cola (TFP/Johns)
Three Georgia parks and one from Tennessee are at the top of the list of favorite parks across the country that Coca-Cola will use to determine who gets $175,000 in grants. And one local park hopes to be the fourth from Georgia to crack the top tier. The Coca-Cola Co. has launched a website for people across the country to vote on more than 4,000 parks. The top vote-getter will receive $100,000 to restore, rebuild or enhance places within the parks. The contest awards extra votes for photos and videos uploadedAside from the Smokies, Tennessee parks appear much lower on the list. Locally, the highest ranking park is Fall Creek Falls in Pikeville, which had 42 votes for 472nd place Monday. But if the park rallied, Fall Creek Falls manager Jim Hall said the money would make an impact. That would be fantastic, he said.

Free childrens books go unclaimed in Bradley County (Times Free-Press/Higgins)

Fewer than half of the Bradley County children under age 5 who could be getting a free book through the mail each month do so. The United Way of Bradley County wants to be sure the other children know about it. The Imagination Library program, begun more than a decade ago by singer Dolly Parton, offers a free, ageappropriate book each month through the U.S. Postal Service to children from birth to their fifth birthday. Age is the only requirement, and the books are available to children on every socioeconomic level. Laurie Carson read her way through the Imagination Library. Now, waiting out the summer to begin second grade, shes graduated to bigger reading fare, like Charlottes W eb. Its like a little prize when you go to the mailbox, her mother, Angie, said about Imagination Library.

Commission interviews Senate candidates (Knoxville News-Sentinel/Donilia)

Replacement to be named next week Knox County commissioners Monday interviewed four potential interim 3

successors to state Sen. Jamie W oodson. They'll make a final selection next week during their regularly scheduled meeting. Woodson effectively resigned July 9 from her 6th Senate District spot to become president and CEO of State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE. Under state law, the Knox County Commission will choose a temporary successor who will serve until a special election is scheduled by the governor. It's anticipated to coincide with Knoxville city elections Sept. 27 and Nov. 8. Five candidates applied for the spot before last week's deadline. One Janie Vega, a long-time legal secretary did not attend the interview process. Neither she nor the others plan to run for the seat on a permanent basis. Commissioners gave the other four candidates roughly five minutes Monday to say why they were qualified for the seat, which isn't expected to be more than a caretaker position, because the General Assembly is not in session.

State of stress (Tennessean/Pinto)

Tennessee ranks as the 14th most stressed-out state in the nation, and the consequences can be serious Lisa Conner says shes stressed out about being so stressed out. The 40-year-old stay-at-home mom, who has two children and is trying to finish her graduate school thesis, says stress frequently causes her to lose her appetite and suffer from backaches. She used to sprint to keep her stress in check, but she injured her back doing so and has been unable to run for several months. Thats another stressor, says Conner of Nashville. It turns out that stress is a widespread problem for Tennesseans. Residents here are among the most stressed-out in the country, according to a recent Gallup-Healthways survey. Tennessee has the 14th highest stress rate, with 40.3 percent of residents reporting that they felt stressed out for much of the previous day. Dr. Angela Willis, a family medicine physician with Nashville Medical Group Cool Springs, says that stress is a huge health problem. She noted that nationwide, 75 percent to 90 percent of all primary-care doctor visits are for stress-related problems, and the No. 1 complaint among patients is fatigue, a common sign of stress.|topnews|text| FRONTPAGE

Anderson Co. property tax raised by 16.2 cents (Knoxville News-Sentinel/Fowler)

For the first time in eight years, Anderson County has passed a property tax increase. Faced with more than $25 million in funding requests, commissioners Monday considered and then rejected numerous funding options before finally settling on a middle ground. No project a major jail expansion, a new alternative school and a program to buy more land for industries received all that was requested, but every project obtained funding. County Mayor Myron Iwanski called the final 10-5 vote "a reasonable compromise." Commissioners had earlier mentioned a new wheel tax as a possible new revenue source but soundly rejected it Monday. For rural residents, the decision means a 16.2 cent property tax increase, boosting the levy to just over $2.53 per $100 assessed value. For a house valued at $100,000, that translates into $40.50 more a year in taxes Oak Ridge property owners will see their taxes go up 9 cents, to $2.35, while Clinton homeowners will see their county taxes upped 14.3 cents, to just over $2.50.

GOP, Cooper Sizing Up Potential Fight After Redistricting (WPLN-Radio Nashville)

Tennessee Republicans are talking about a push to unseat Nashville Democrat Jim Cooper next year. The GOP has made big gains in recent elections, and is eyeing what it might add after redrawing the states Congressional districts. State GOP Chairman Chris Devaney says priority one for the party is holding its ground. After that, depending on how redistricting plays out, Coopers seat could become a target. Devaney thinks Coopers feeling vulnerable, because the longtime incumbent campaigned hard for reelection last fall. Ive never seen Jim Cooper television ads on TV like they were. I mean it was pretty remarkable, and so I think that shook him up. He must have seen something in his own poll numbers to spend that kind of money on a race that some people think is a slam-dunk for the Democrats, which I dont think it is. Some Republicans have floated the idea of splitting Coopers district, right now made up by most of Davidson County along with slivers of Wilson and Cheatham counties. Cooper says itd be a shame to divide Nashville, and that Republicans are overreaching, but went on that he welcomes competition.

States hope to win on new district maps in federal court (Stateline)

After winning a special election to the Louisiana House of Representatives, Alan Seabaugh showed up for legislative duty in March just as his new colleagues were plotting the end of his political career. In a preliminary plan for redrawing the states legislative districts, Seabaugh was paired with a fellow white Republican in a move 4

to create a new black-majority seat. Two hours before I cast my first vote, Seabaugh says, they drew me out of my district. But Seabaugh fought back. He argued that Caddo Parish, where Shreveport is the main city, is about half black and half white, so it should continue to have three black-majority seats and three white-majority seats. Ultimately, the legislature agreed. Seabaughs seat was saved. In Louisiana, though, the legislatures verdict is never the final decision on redistricting. Under Section 5 of the 1965 U.S. Voting Rights Act, Louisiana is one of 16 states that must get federal permission for its new lines and any other changes it makes to voting to ensure that the changes dont reduce minorities voting power. Louisianas record in this regard was inauspicious.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker adds $2.5 million to war chest (TFP/Carroll)
If federal elections were held today, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., likely would cruise to victory based not only on the strength of his fundraising, but also since theres no Democratic challenger to be found. The former Chattanooga mayors staff told the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Monday it has $5.3 million on hand for a 2012 re-election race, so far obliterating his one registered GOP competitor, James Durkan, who raised $6,219 through March 31, records show. Aides said Corker was proud of the campaigns strong fundraising numbers including $2.5 million collected between April 1 and June 30 but chief of staff Todd Womack said the campaign is not on our radar in a significant way. We are grateful for the overwhelming generosity of citizens across Tennessee who have shown their support for Senator Corkers work to bring spending under control by putting the federal government in a fiscal straitjacket, W omack said.

TN Guard units called up (Jackson Sun)

About 300 soldiers in W est Tennessee units of the Army National Guard are preparing to be deployed to Afghanistan. The soldiers are from the 230th Engineer Battalion based in Trenton and the 913th Engineer Company based in Union City. They are scheduled to leave sometime in mid-August, said Randy Harris, public information officer with the Guard in Nashville. He could not release the names of the bases nor cities where the soldiers might be deployed. Harris also said he did not know the soldiers' specific assignments after they arrive in Afghanistan. Harris said the number of people being sent to the Middle East equals an average deployment. The soldiers have been training for several months, he said. Soldiers used to leave home for training and then were deployed overseas, he said, giving them about 18 months' total time away from family and friends. Soldiers now train for deployment at their home bases. That means soldiers now spend about 12 months away form home, Harris said. The Tennessee Army National Guard also announced Monday that the Nashville-based 230th Signal Company is scheduled to deploy about 150 soldiers from the Volunteer Training Site in Smyrna at 3 p.m. Thursday.

States Test Education Law (Wall Street Journal)

Officials Frustrated With No Child Left Behind Try to Substitute Their Own Plans Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been at odds with state schools chief Tony Evers over budget cuts, vouchers and teachers' collectivebargaining rights. But they have found common ground in their aggravation with No Child Left Behind. Messrs. Walker and Evers formed a joint committee this month that will write a new state policy to replace the federal law requiring schools to ensure all students are passing state math and reading exams by 2014. No Child Left Behind is "broken," they have said. "We are not trying to get around accountability," Mr. Walker, a Republican, said in a phone interview. "But instead of using the blanket approach that defines a lot of schools as failures, we will use a more strategic approach so we can replicate success and address failure." Wisconsin and other states say No Child Left Behind unfairly penalizes schools that don't meet rigid requirements. Tired of waiting for Congress to overhaul the law, some states have taken matters into their own hands. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Audit slams DOE's management of K-25 demolition (News-Sentinel/Munger)

Audit says cost of plant cleanup could reach $1.2B The cost of tearing down the K-25 uranium-enrichment facility and disposing of the waste could ultimately cost more than $1.2 billion, according to a federal audit that slammed the Department of Energy's years-long management of the big cleanup project. The report by DOE's Office of Inspector General was released Monday. The new cost estimate for the K-25 decommissioning and demolition project, which began in 2004 and may not be completed until 2016, is multiple times higher than the original cost 5

estimates and almost double the project's baseline in 2008. In a July 13 memo to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Inspector General Gregory Friedman said the early cost estimates and schedule for demolishing the K-25 building were "significantly exceeded" because of serious technical issues. Those issues included the concerns that enriched uranium in process equipment could go "critical" (involving an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction and release of radiation); the sheer size of the mile-long facility, which was the world's largest building under one roof at the time of its construction during the World War II Manhattan Project; and hazards associated with the degraded condition of the 65-year-old structure.

Tennessee Has Record Wheat Harvest in 2011 (WPLN-Radio Nashville)

Tennessees wheat production has more than doubled from last year because of the warm and dry weather. The states climate this year has been good for harvesting wheat, unlike the wet conditions in some Midwestern states. Tennessee farmers are expected to produce a record 21 million bushels of wheat this year, averaging 70 bushels per acre. Thats well above the national average of 44. Brandon Whitt in Murfreesboro fared even better at 90 bushels on each of his 400 acres. He says the successful crop was unexpected because of the years rainy start. Here, we had all the wet weather in early spring we thought would just be detrimental to the wheat, but for some reason we had one of the best wheat crops weve ever had. In addition to having larger yields of wheat, Tennessee farmers should be selling their crop at a higher price. This years projected prices are up almost two dollars per bushel from last year.

How dependent is Tennessee on manufacturing? (Nashville Business Journal)

A new analysis of federal data shows how dependent Tennessee and other states are on their manufacturing sectors. According to an analysis by Nashville Business Journal affiliate On Numbers, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 15.6 percent of Tennessees gross state product is from manufacturing, a figure partially driven by Tennessees automotive industry, which features Nissan, General MotorsbizWatch and now Volkswagen. That rate is the 13th highest in the country. Indiana is most dependent on its manufacturing sector, which comprises more than 27 percent of its gross state product. On Numbers has a database here of 2010 figures for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Gross state product is the total output of goods and services within a given state in essence, a smaller-scale version of the nations gross domestic product.

IQT cuts more than 1,000 jobs in Canada (Nashville Business Journal)
IQT Inc., which announced plans last month to open its U.S. headquarters and bring 900 jobs to Nashville, has shut down its Canadian call centers, slashing more than 1,000 jobs in the process, according to numerous Canadian media reports. Workers in three cities Laval, Trois Rivires and Oshawa arrived on Friday to find the doors locked, and police were on-site. Workers had apparently not been paid the last two weeks and were not given final paychecks, according to the Montreal Gazette. IQT has not released any statement about the layoffs, or any potential impacts in Nashville. Besides the Canadian locations and Nashville, the company does not list any other locations in its website. The New York-based business process outsourcing firm, co-founded by David Mortman and Alex Mortman, had announced plans to occupy 60,000 square feet of space at the C.B. Ragland Building at 300 Second Ave. South.

IQT slashes Canadian workforce (Nashville Post/Duncan)

Nashvilles newest corporate heavyweight has caused a stir in Canada, closing down three call centers and putting some 1,200 people out of work. News was beginning to break north of the border late Friday that the company, which recently announced its intention to relocate to Nashville and create 900 jobs, was announcing big cuts in its Canadian workforce, where it has previously had the bulk of its call centers. The company shuttered facilities in Laval, Oshawa, and Trois-Rivieres, abruptly telling workers to gather their personal effects and vacate the premises. Stories this weekend have pointed to a variety of factors possibly contributing to the decision including one which cites now-former employees saying that the company made the move once they took steps to form a union.

IQT's Canada layoffs trouble Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (Tennessean/Cass, W ard)
City was to pay firm to create jobsMayor Karl Deans office demanded answers Monday from a company that 6

abruptly laid off hundreds of Canadian workers last week, just as it was preparing to move its headquarters to downtown Nashville and open a call center. Matt Wiltshire, Deans economic development chief, noted that agreements to pay IQT Inc. up to $1.61 million for creating 900 jobs here have not been executed, though the Metro Council agreed to the deal soon after Dean announced it last month. In order to move forward towards finalizing these documents, we will need further clarity on the situation, W iltshire wrote to Alex Mortman, one of IQTs co-chief executive officers. In particular, we will require a complete accounting of the developments that precipitated the closing of your facilities in Canada. Mortman again declined to comment when reached Monday. odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Metro ECD head to IQT: 'We will require a complete accounting' (N. Post/Duncan)
Last week's news about IQTs closing call centers in Canada came as quite a shock to the workers at those facilities. Apparently, a number of Metro officials who found out about the move via the media rather than from IQT itself were similarly shocked. On Monday, Metro ECD director Matt Wiltshire penned a letter to IQT CEO Alex Mortman saying among other things, We prefer to be notified about this sort of substantive development before reading about it in the press. Wiltshire went on to remind IQT that nothing about their deal with Nashville is finalized. As you know, the agreements between IQT and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County have not been executed, Wiltshire's letter reads. In order to move forward towards finalizing these documents, we will need further clarity on the situation. In particular, we will require a complete accounting of the developments that precipitated the closing of your facilities in Canada.

Area cities see foreign trade zone expansion as boon (Tennessean/Gonzalez)

Gallatin, Clarksville sites part of addition Federal officials have approved an expansion of Nashvilles foreign trade zone, which will reduce or eliminate trade tariffs on companies operating within business parks in Gallatin and Clarksville. A distribution warehouse in La Vergne also joins the zone. Economic development leaders said theyll launch an aggressive marketing campaign to lure manufacturers and distributors into the zones newly added 2,700 acres. Ever since we began pursuing this foreign trade zone, as weve talked to companies about it, its definitely generated a deeper interest in the property we have, said Clay Walker, executive director of the Gallatin Economic Development Agency. The Nashville-area foreign trade zone is one of six in Tennessee. The zones, first formed in the United States in the 1930s, can encourage international commerce by postponing, reducing or eliminating tariffs on goods shipped to and from companies located within zone boundaries. A major perk, Walker said, is that finished goods can be exported duty-free. It also streamlines the process, which can save the company a lot of money, he said.|topnews|text|News

Memphis City Schools Appeal/Roberts)









Board threatens delay over unpaid city funds The Memphis school board, saying it is tired of being held hostage by the City Council over money, will meet in emergency session today to discuss delaying the start of school until the money starts to flow. School board members said Monday that they have given the council every opportunity to pay and can no longer accept its -- or Mayor A C Wharton's -- assurances that anything will be different in the coming year. Aug. 8 is the scheduled first day of school. The board says the council owes the schools $151.3 million: what the city still owes for 2008-09, shortfalls on two subsequent school years and $78 million for the coming year. "I am sick and tired of playing games with the mayor and City Council," board member Kenneth Whalum said Monday. "They don't have any intention of paying. If they had, they would have paid." Whalum suggested "we throw a 100-yard pass and force them to catch it. I suggest we not open school until we get everything we need, every duck lined up in a row. ... Every day these children are at home with their parents" will put pressure on the City Council. One by one, board members who almost never agree with Whalum signaled their support, including board member Tomeka Hart, whose clashes with Whalum are frequent.

Memphis City School Year Could Be Delayed Because Of Money (WREG-TV)

Dr. Kriner Cash talked about the straw that broke the camel's back. "Mayor A C Wharton said he would send us 7

a letter today giving the system three million dollars," Cash said. "As of five o'clock, the end of the business day, we had not received any letter." It was just another indication of a city that wasn't willing to pay their legally obligated share of money to a school system, according to the superintendent, and he was tired of it. Superintendent Cash produced records that went back four years. Of a total of three hundred nineteen million dollars budgeted by the Memphis City Council to schools, the schools only received a little more than fifty two percent of that money. "I know, I know, times are tough," he said. "But we're the ones that are making the cuts. " Superintendent Cash said over the last four fiscal years, the system has had to eliminate more than fourteen hundred jobs. "We have had to cut close to two hundred million dollars from our budget," he said. The problem is, according to Cash and others, is the legal battle over school consolidation.,0,1285727.story?track=rss

Promise Academy charter school fights for survival (Commercial Appeal/Roberts)

School faces closure despite TCAP scores among best in city Promise Academy in North Memphis is the touchstone of faith for a handful of Episcopalians who pooled their expertise and goodwill to see if they could make lasting change in public education. And according to test results from 2010, the charter outperformed most of the city's elementary schools, school officials say. But because of a quirk in the way the state scores TCAP tests, Promise is one of three charter schools in Memphis in danger of closing. The charter got a zero on the writing test, pushing the school's overall reading and language arts scores below par. Promise received the failing grade for the fifth-grade writing test even though the school has never had a fifth grade. "Everyone is assuming that it is going to be worked out because it is such an illogical place to be," said Charles Gerber, president and chairman of the 14-member Promise board. But Gerber, who makes a living forecasting finances for endowments and foundations, knows enough about risk to make no promises.

AP classrooms reveal a racial divide in Middle TN (Tennessean/Hubbard)

Minorities are rare sight in some of area's top classes In Rutherford County, Blackman High Schools physics classes were missing something. Minorities. In Wilson County, not one black high-school student took an advanced-level math, science or foreign-language class during the 2009-10 school year. Things were slightly better in Williamson County, where 12 percent of black high-school students took Advanced Placement classes compared with 27 percent of white students. The U.S. Department of Educations Office of Civil Rights tracked minority student trends at more than 72,000 schools in 2009-10, including those in Middle Tennessee. Its report shows many of the regions minorities are in classrooms led by inexperienced teachers, and relatively few of those students seek out high-level courses. The report calls on schools to make changes and offer equity to lowincome and minority children, improving their chances of completing high school and college. But local observers say doing so has been a challenge for decades. Ive been studying this since 1991, and the issues are almost the same in 2011 as they were 20 years ago, said Donna Ford, a Vanderbilt University professor who researches underrepresentation of minorities in gifted and Advanced Placement programs. There are a number of barriers. ... Low expectations is number one. odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

La Vergne police arrest pregnant woman, boyfriend on meth charges (DNJ)

La Vergne police said they arrested a pregnant woman and her boyfriend in connection with a methamphetamine investigation over the weekend. Officers said they found an active meth lab at the home on Park Court North, the same place where the couple's six children are living, according to a report from DNJ news partner WSMV-TV. The children ranged in age from 6 to 15, police said. They were all taken to a local hospital to be checked out and then will taken into state custody, police said. Police arrested Brandy Norwood, 28, and her boyfriend, Jeffery M. Barrett, 31, on charges of meth possession, meth manufacture, and aggravated child neglect. La Vergne police told WSMV that cleaning up meth operations is expensive and requires a lot of overtime. They said meth has become more of an issue in their area in the last two years, because makers are finding smaller, easier ways to make it. S01/107190310/La-Vergne-police-arrest-pregnant-woman-boyfriendmeth-charges

Fire in motel room leads to meth charges (Jackson Sun)


Metro narcotics agents have arrested a Jackson man after firefighters responded to a reported fire in a motel room on Sunday and transported the man to a local hospital with facial burns, according to a news release. Christopher Stanly Fondren, 35, of East College Street, is charged with initiation of methamphetamine manufacture, possession of drug paraphernalia and vandalism. He was transported to the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex where he will be held pending arraignment in Madison County General Sessions Court. The Jackson Fire Department was called Sunday to room 103 of the Old Hickory Inn located at 1849 U.S. 45 Bypass. When firefighters arrived, they found a small fire in the room and put it out, the release said. They spoke to Fondren, the occupant of the room, who said he was cooking a "Hot Pocket" in the microwave when it blew up. Fondren received minor facial burns and was taken by ambulance to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, where he was treated and later released.

California: Huge Cuts for Court (Associated Press)

The San Francisco Superior Court announced Monday that it was laying off more than 40 percent of its staff and shuttering 25 courtrooms because of budget cuts. Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein said the actions were necessary to close a $13.75 million budget deficit caused by state budget cuts. The civil justice system in San Francisco is collapsing, Judge Feinstein said. (SUB)

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Democrat Faces Recall Vote (New York Times)

The fate of one of the Wisconsin lawmakers who fled the state this year in an effort to block cuts to collective bargaining rights for public workers will be decided by voters on Tuesday. This summer, Wisconsin is overflowing with recall elections involving nine state senators from both parties, but the balloting in the Green Bay area on Tuesday will be a first definitive outcome in the series of elections that many see as a gauge of public sentiment about the agenda of Republicans who took control of the state this year. At stake in a dizzying, unprecedented series of recall elections is dominance in the Senate, where the 19-14 Republican majority could shift if Democrats gain three seats. Still, the outcome of the recall election on Tuesday of Dave Hansen, a Senate Democrat, may offer few larger signs of what is ahead for either party in this sharply divided state. Some observers say the particulars of this race make Mr. Hansens removal less likely than it might otherwise be. Mr. Hansens opponent, David VanderLeest, a businessman who led the political movement to recall him in the first place, has raised less money, has faced legal problems and has drawn only tepid support from some Republican leaders who tried to get a different candidate on the ballot. (SUBSCRIPTION)


OPINION Guest columnist: Towns need great schools to compete (Tennessean)

The recession has hit hard in rural Tennessee. While statewide unemployment hovers at 9.7 percent, in the past year a few of our rural counties have faced jobless rates near 20 percent. Additionally, rural poverty in Tennessee is well above the national median. In todays global economy, Bell Buckle is competing with Shanghai for the jobs of the future. The question is: W hat can rural communities do to improve their economic outlook and ensure job opportunities and success for their citizens? It all boils down to public education. Strategies to improve K-12 schools and boost student achievement are the key to building thriving communities. And improvement cant stop with high school. Seven of the 10 fastest-growing occupations in Tennessee require some form of postsecondary education. Having an educated, skilled and productive workforce will make it more likely that a new company will invest in Tennessee or an existing business will choose to expand its presence in our state. Yet, the connection between education and rural economic health has not received the attention it deserves. odyssey=mod|newswell|text|News|p

Times Editorial: Angling for more gun carry (Chattanooga Times Free-Press)
State Rep. Gerald McCormick says the new Republican Caucus Firearms Issues Task Force he has established will study state gun laws and identify if any changes may need to be made. After the vast loosening of guncarry rights in Tennessee and most other states in recent years, McCormicks remark can only be taken as doublespeak for another round of gun laws like the guns-in-bars and guns-in-parks laws that the Legislature has already passed or worse. It is noteworthy that McCormick decided to create the task force a group of seven conspicuously pro-gun legislators only after the Tennessee Firearms Association, a more-guns-the-better group, criticized the Legislature for failing to pass guns-on-campus and guns-in-trunks laws in this years legislative session. Both were vigorously opposed by more clear-thinking citizens than our legislators, to be sure. College presidents, faculty and their local and campus police, along with many students, rose in sharp opposition to allowing university employees with gun-carry permits to carry guns on campus. They reasonably feared that official tolerance of looser gun-carry rights on campus would invite more violence rather than thwart it.

Editorial: General Assembly addresses child prostitution (Columbia Daily Herald)

Comprehensive legislation designed to attack the growing problem of child prostitution and human trafficking in Tennessee was approved this year. Sadly, this has become an issue in our State and needed to be addressed. The legislation enhances penalties against those who patronize or promote the illegal act. Before passage of the bill, patronizing prostitution was a Class B misdemeanor in Tennessee, unless the crimes are committed within 100 feet of a church or 1.5 miles of a school, which is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor. The legislation also makes patronizing prostitution from a person who is younger than 18 years of age or has an intellectual disability 10

a Class E felony. Penalties for promoting prostitution are increased from a Class E to a Class D felony when a minor is involved. Additionally, the new law specifies that if it is determined that a person charged with prostitution is under age 18, they are immune from prosecution for prostitution and shall be released to a parent or guardian after receiving information regarding resources available to put them on the right track.

Editorial: Public must be involved on designer drug issue (Daily News Journal)
We agree 100 percent with state Rep. Mike Sparks' recent radio comments and discussion with a Daily News Journal reporter on so-called "designer drugs." As the Legislature struggles to keep up with laws banning a range of designer drugs, manufacturers stay one step ahead, altering formulas slightly to circumvent the law. "Law enforcement and the Legislature can't get rid of the problem by themselves," Sparks told a DNJ reporter last week. "It's going to take parents sitting down and talking to their kids to solve these issues." And, as the Republican Sparks of Smyrna reluctantly quoted Democrat Hillary Clinton, it's also going to "take a village" to do something about this issue. The community must send a clear message to local merchants that these products are not going to be tolerated on store shelves. Marketed under a variety of names, such as White Rabbit and Vampire Blood, which were produced in Murfreesboro, synthetic cannabinoids, labeled as incense, have commonly been found in small convenience stores.

Editorial: Bi-partisan effort needed for tougher coal ash rules (News-Sentinel)
The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week voted to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste, and no vote was more disappointing that the one cast by US. Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Blackburn, a Republican from Brentwood, Tenn., vote conflicts with the interests of her constituents. Perhaps, being from Middle Tennessee, she hasn't seen the destruction caused by the December 2008 Kingston coal ash spill. Perhaps, because the Tennessee Valley Authority's revenues come from ratepayers and not the federal budget, she believes no one cares about the $1 billion or more price tag for the cleanup of the 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash that spilled out of a collapsed holding pond at TVA's Kingston Fossil Plant. Blackburn doesn't represent Roane County, but being a Tennessean and a TVA ratepayer should have made her keenly aware of the dangers of unsafe coal ash storage. In response to the Kingston catastrophe, the EPA has offered a choice between two rules one that would allow states to continue treating ash like municipal garbage (as Tennessee does) and another one that treats ash as hazardous waste.