WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012 Want to avoid I-75, I-24 traffic jams? Gov.

Haslam says app on the way (TFP/Sher)
Tennessee motorists will have access to real-time traffic information under a smartphone app the state Transportation Department is developing, Gov. Bill Haslam said today. The governor said officials are developing an application that will let iPhone and Android users easily access traffic and incident report information, which is already online. He said he hopes the free service will be ready by the fall. “TDOT has a lot of information with their [SmartWay] camera approach, a lot of information on roads and drive times,” Haslam said. “Sometimes we post it on the interstate signs.” Officials are “working on developing that and putting it on an app, so you can say, ‘I’m going from Church Avenue to Brentwood [in Middle Tennessee],’ and they can come back and say that’s going to take you 17 minutes,” he said.

Haslam says TN working on traffic apps, driver's licensing upgrades (CA/Locker)
Stuck in traffic? Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that there will soon be an app for that. The governor said the Tennessee Department of Transportation is working on an application for smartphones to make it easier for motorists and others to tap into the agency's real-time traffic and incident report data, much of which is already online. He hopes the free service will be rolled out in the fall. "TDOT has a lot of information with their (SmartWay) camera approach, a lot of information on roads and drive times. Sometimes we post it on the interstate signs. They're working on developing that and putting it on an app," he said. Speaking at a conference of government information-technology specialists in Nashville, Haslam also said the state is working to upgrade the driver's licensing system, making him the latest in a long line of governors trying to make that process more user-friendly. (SUB)

TDOT Developing Traffic App Using SmartWay Data (WPLN-Radio Nashville)
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is working on a smartphone app using the traffic data it already collects. It’s tentatively set to be available later this year. At a digital government conference in Nashville, Governor Bill Haslam told attendees that he just wants other drivers to have what he has. “If you’re the governor and you’re riding around with state troopers and you’re wondering ‘how does I-40 look?’ or ‘what’s the best route home today?’ I can get all that information real easy, but we want to make that so that everybody can. [laughter] Although it might mess up some of my fast ways home, but I’m willing to take that chance.” The state already watches traffic congestion through a system of highway cameras, posting estimated drive times on Interstate signs. Haslam says a smartphone program is meant to customize that information and put it in one place.

Haslam Signs Food Tax Reduction Bill (Clarksville Now)
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam traveled to Marion County to sign legislation to reduce the state portion of the sales tax on groceries from 5.5 percent to 5.25 percent. “We’re focused on making state government more efficient and more effective while reducing the cost to taxpayers,” said Haslam. “The sales tax on food touches all Tennesseans, and this is an effort to lower the burden. I applaud the General Assembly for passing this important piece of legislation this year.” The bill, SB 3763, HB 3761, was introduced by the governor and was one of three tax cuts passed by the legislature and signed by Haslam this year as the state continues its work toward providing the best customer service at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. The governor was joined for the events by bill sponsor House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga), Rep. David Alexander (RWinchester) and Marion County Mayor John Graham. Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) sponsored the bill in

the Senate. The reduced tax rate does not apply to prepared foods such as a meal at a restaurant, candy, alcoholic beverages or tobacco.

Haslam Helping Maggart, Says GOP Key in Advancing His Agenda (TN Report)
Gov. Bill Haslam hasn’t thought much about what his perfect General Assembly would look like, but says there’s “no doubt” the scores of Republicans in the Legislature have helped him advance his agenda. Despite political division between moderate and conservative Republicans on several hot topics this year, Haslam says more GOP members in the Legislature means his team will have an easier time passing much of his legislation, like they did the last two years approving civil service and education reforms. “I’d love to say it’s all my wisdom, intelligent approach to legislation. But the reality is when you have more people that are on your side, things tend to go a little easier,” Haslam told reporters after speaking at the Digital Government Summit in downtown Nashville Tuesday.

Maggart to Get Reelection Help from Governor (WPLN-Radio Nashville)
Governor Bill Haslam is slowly revealing which state lawmakers will get his help with their reelection campaigns. Rep. Debra Maggart will be one of the first. Maggart has been under assault from the Tennessee Firearms Association for her role in helping the Haslam Administration block gun legislation. The bill would have allowed people to keep weapons in their vehicles while parked at work. A recent fundraising letter says the Hendersonville Republican should be removed from office as an example to others. Governor Haslam calls the attacks from gun owners “unmerited.” “I think anybody who would question Debra’s conservatism I think is missing something. But this isn’t just about Debra. It’s about helping a lot of folks who can be helpful to us in the process.” Twenty-three Republican lawmakers are facing opposition in the August 2nd primary. That’s way up from previous years, though some races are just an effect of redistricting.

State health commissioner visits Dyersburg (State Gazette)
Tennessee Commissioner of Health Dr. John Dreyzehner visited the Dyer County Health Department on Thursday morning as a part of the new commissioner's tour of W est Tennessee. Dreyzehner, who was appointed to serve as health commissioner by Gov. Bill Haslam in September, traveled to public health departments in several West Tennessee communities on Thursday, May 31. Accompanying him were Deputy Director of Regional and Local Health Rick Long, acting Director for the Division of Community Health Services Leslie Humphries and Regional Director Marilyn Barnes. The commissioner was welcomed to the health department by County Director Tim James, who leads several West Tennessee counties. James joined the group to continue the tour. As imposing as his height and last name might seem, the commissioner was very personable and approachable. He made a point to meet all members of the staff, chatting with them about their positions and their background in health services.

Marion man arrested on doctor shopping charges (WRCB-TV Chattanooga)
A Marion County man has been arrested on charges of TennCare fraud. Randy W . Troy, 44, of Whitwell, was arrested in Bradley County Tuesday, accused of "doctor shopping." Doctor shopping is the practice of going to multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain prescription drugs before it is reported to the state. "W hen individuals misuse their TennCare benefits, it's a serious issue the Office of Inspector General will not tolerate," Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. "Anyone committing TennCare fraud will be investigated, prosecuted, and arrested by the OIG." TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Steven Bebb will be prosecuting this case.

Marion County Man Charged With Doctor Shopping (W DEF-TV Chattanooga)
A Marion County faces charges in nearby Bradley County for TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” which involves going to multiple doctors to obtain drugs. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of Randy W. Troy, 44, of W hitwell. He is charged with one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping,” or going to 2

multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain prescription drugs. “When individuals misuse their TennCare benefits, it’s a serious issue the Office of Inspector General will not tolerate,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Anyone committing TennCare fraud will be investigated, prosecuted, and arrested by the OIG.” TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Steven Bebb will be prosecuting this case.

Woman faces TennCare fraud charges in Carter County (Elizabethton Star)
A Greene County woman has been charged in Carter County with TennCare fraud for allegedly selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Monday announced the arrest of Phyllis Hamm, 55, of Chuckey, after a joint investigation with the 1st Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Johnson City Police Department Vice Unit, the Carter County Sheriff’s Department and the Elizabethton Police Department. Hamm, who was arrested Thursday by Deputy Tracie Phipps of the CCSD, is charged with one count of TennCare fraud and one count of sale of a Schedule III controlled substance. The OIG stated in a news release that Hamm is accused of using TennCare benefits to obtain a prescription for Suboxone, a painkiller used to treat addiction to drugs such as morphine, later selling a portion of the prescription. “We are working closely with local law enforcement officers in an aggressive effort to go after anyone who are misusing their TennCare benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “W e’re intent on stopping illegal drug activity in TennCare.”

Major new Roane State building launched in Oak Ridge (N-S/Fowler)
Speaker after speaker Tuesday praised a spirit of cooperation that resulted in funding for a huge new building on the city's Roane State Community College campus. Originally, the Health Sciences and Technology Building wasn't on a list of planned state college construction projects, Roane State President Gary Goff said. But Oak Ridge and Anderson County governments chipped in $500,000 each to help match $9 million for a two-story building should that state funding become available, he said. Corporations and individuals also contributed, bringing the total in local donations for the match to $2.5 million, Goff said. Then, the college cobbled together another $1.3 million to fund a shell for a needed third story. Finally, Goff said, state legislators, spearheaded by veteran lawmaker Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, found $1 million in the latest state budget to finish that third floor. "This has been a miracle … no kidding," said David Coffey, a former state representative who has been a longtime Roane State booster and co-chaired the latest fundraising efforts. "Everybody did that extra thing to make this happen."

Motlow to more than double its size (Daily News Journal)
Officials break ground on new classroom building Ground was broken on new 35,000-square-foot building on the Motlow State campus Tuesday morning, marking a major leap forward for the growing community college. MaryLou Apple, the college’s president, told a gathered audience of about 75 individuals—made up of faculty and students, along with state, city and county government officials—the expansion means only good things for the Smyrna community. “An educated society is directly related to a healthy economy,” she said, explaining that the expansion will allow Motlow to now enroll 3,500 students instead of only 2,000. The new two-story building, which is more than double the size of its current 17,000-square-foot building, will be constructed by Nashvillebased Messer Construction on land adjacent to the current facility. Messer’s target completion date for the project is June 2013. Among the educators in attendance at the groundbreaking was MTSU’s President Sidney McPhee, who explained Motlow and MTSU’s important relationship with one another, and how it encourages further education in the community and state. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Jobs Data Signals Slower Recovery (Memphis Daily News)
The next employment data showing jobless figures for the state of Tennessee will be released next week. The next local data comes the week after that. They are the next markers in what’s been a long parlor game since the depths of the financial crisis, one that’s been played from Washington to Main Street and everywhere in 3

between. It takes various forms, with economists, politicians, business leaders and others stepping up each month to divine meaning behind the data, and the analyses all start at that same point: What will the next jobless numbers show? And, once they’re released, what do the numbers mean? The nation got a depressing jolt a few days ago, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that May saw just 69,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs. That’s far off from the approximately 100,000 jobs needed each month just to absorb new entrants into the workforce.

Court denies Niles new trial (Times-Gazette)
Tennessee's Court of Criminal Appeals has rejected a petition from a Bedford County man serving a life sentence for first-degree murder. David Edward Niles, who was convicted in the Jan. 11, 2010, shooting death of Laura Parker, 26, claimed that Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence seized during the search of his residence. Niles also claimed there wasn't enough evidence to convict him and that Crigler abused his discretion in denying a motion for funds for a psychiatrist. Psychiatric exam According to the appeal, public defenders in the case discovered that Niles had informed a Bedford County jailer that God told him to kill Parker because she was an unfit mother to their then 4-year-old son. Niles told his lawyers that he first thought it was God speaking, but later believed that "it might have been the devil." Crigler had ruled that Niles had already been examined while the case was still in General Sessions Court and was found competent to stand trial.

Officer's ire spurs law change (Jackson Sun)
Investigator pushes to strengthen law for sentencing sex offenders A state law dealing with sentencing for sex offenders was changed because one Jackson police officer was mad and determined to make a difference. Investigator Mark Headen oversees sex offender crimes for the department. In March 2011, he received a report about Union University security getting a license plate number for Jason Nickell, a registered violent sex offender. Two women filed reports that a white male had been stalking them. Once Nickell’s picture was released, 13 more women came forward as victims, Headen said. “He’s a violent sex offender from Texas. A misdemeanor he committed there was what put him on the registry,” he said. “After looking over his history, it made me mad. For this man, I knew the most I could do was put him in jail for 30 days.” Before Headen worked to change the law, anyone charged with indecent exposure would be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable with a maximum 30 days in jail. Previously, a stalking charge was a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days. Headen’s proposed amendment increased the indecent exposure and stalking charges to Class E felonies punishable by up to six years in prison if the crime is committed by a registered sex offender. nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

State-Approved Charters Raise Eyebrows On Metro School Board (W PLN-Radio)
A top Metro education official is skeptical, after the state gave permission to three new charter schools to start in Nashville. The Metro school board has its own system for vetting charters, but the state recently gained the power to sometimes approve them as well, to teach students zoned for the weakest schools. At a meeting last week on new charter proposals, the Metro board’s vice chair, Mark North, singled out one from KIPP. North pointed to test scores at the school KIPP already has in East Nashville, arguing they’re not good enough to add another facility. But just days after the Metro board rejected that application, the state approved a different one for a KIPP school in Nashville. North was guarded in his reaction, saying he doesn’t want to raise tensions with state officials. Part of the issue is that each student who leaves a traditional school for a charter represents thousands of dollars in diverted funding. “Even more than that, is that it undercuts the good work we’re doing through the Innovation Zone, and the good work we’re doing in those schools.”\

Nashvillians weigh in on Dean's property tax hike (City Paper/Garrison)
“Metro has a spending problem” emerged as a reoccurring battle cry among those sporting fluorescent yellow shirts at the Metro Council Tuesday night. They were the ones lined up to oppose Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed 53-cent property tax increase. These Nashvillians took turns hammering what would amount to a 13 percent bump on their property tax payment during “the worst economy of our lives,” as one tax-hike critic put it. Their 4

message to the council: Vote down Dean’s tax plan. And their pleas were passionate. “I can’t think of a worse time to raise taxes that specifically increase businesses’ rent,” Mia Calderon, a realtor who works in East Nashville, told the council. “This is not only a direct tax on our mom-and-pop small businesses but on the families that support them.” But before they had their say, Dean enjoyed an equally strong showing Tuesday of budget supporters, those who said a sacrifice is sometimes required to ensure key government services. Many highlighted items the tax increase would deliver: a long-awaited pay increase for Metro employees and bump in teacher salaries, the renovation of dilapidated school buildings, expanded transit services and a full stable of cops patrolling Nashville’s streets.

Budget moves ahead as public has say on tax (Tennessean/Cass)
Hundreds on both sides state their case The people of Nashville finally had their say Tuesday on Mayor Karl Dean’s proposal for a 53-cent property tax increase, and they had a lot on their minds. Metro Council signed off on the proposal — and the $1.71 billion budget it would help fund — on second reading in a voice vote around 10 p.m. But that was largely a formality because Dean’s plan would have become law if the council did nothing. A final, definitive vote on the budget is expected at the next regularly scheduled council meeting June 19, when members probably will have to declare where they stand during a roll-call vote. Tuesday’s vote came after hundreds of residents poured into the courthouse to tell council members why they should or shouldn’t support the mayor’s proposal. Many tax increase supporters wore blue outfits or sported white “Moving Nashville Forward” T-shirts. Many opponents wore yellow T-shirts with the word “TAX” inside a circle with a line drawn through it. Ben Cunningham, a leader of the anti-tax forces, told reporters arriving at 5:45 that the council chamber was full and had already been closed. A large crowd also gathered in the second-floor lobby. Supporters, who got to speak first, lined up at the lectern for more than 90 minutes, saying the tax increase would allow Nashville to enhance — or at least preserve — services in education, public safety, mass transit, the arts and other areas. odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE&gcheck=1&nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

Bradley County budget faces another tight year (Times Free-Press/Leach)
The proposed 2012-13 budget for Bradley County is a little smaller than the current budget, but it contains no cuts or tax increases. Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis presented next year's proposed budget to county commissioners Monday, saying the numbers show the county "can live within its means." "I am confident that this budget will meet the obligations of the county and maintain the services that the residents have become accustomed to, that they've come to expect, and we're doing it without placing an additional tax burden on the citizens," he said. The proposed budget totals $133 million, which is $3 million less than the budget for 2011-12 and makes the fourth straight lean year for the county, Davis said. The proposed budget is intended to achieve three key objectives, Davis said -- no tax increases, increase the general fund balance and increase salaries for full-time county employees. The fund balance and salary increases were minimal but achievable in light of expected flat revenue growth in the coming year, he said.

City Council rejects property tax hike (Commercial Appeal/Maki)
Reduces rate, but increases health care costs for city workers, retirees The Memphis City Council on Tuesday rejected Mayor A C Wharton's call for a 47-cent property tax hike, using one-time funds and budget cuts to deliver a property tax reduction to taxpayers. The council set the city's overall tax rate at $3.11 per every $100 of assessed value, down from the current $3.19. The annual city property tax for a $150,000 house would drop from $1,196 to $1,166. The budget Wharton had presented to the council called for a tax rate of $3.66, with $3.01 for city operations and the rest to cover the last year of funding for Memphis City Schools. The council voted to use $19.6 million of the city's $81 million in reserves, $9 million from the sale of the Defense Depot and $20 million from a reserve fund established for retiree health care costs to reduce the tax rate. "We have to be reasonable and plan for the future," said Councilman Harold Collins, who sponsored the $3.11 tax rate. Council members Collins, Bill Boyd, Joe Brown, Janis Fullilove, Wanda Halbert, Lee Harris and Reid Hedgepeth voted for the budget. Council members Kemp Conrad, Shea Flinn, Edmund Ford Jr., Myron Lowery, Bill Morrison and Jim Strickland voted against the plan. (SUBSCRIPTION) 5

Resident plans (TFP/Haman)









Tommy Coleman plans to ask Hamilton County commissioners today to hold a moment of silence rather than a prayer before their meetings. Coleman, a 28-year-old University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student, said he decided to take up the matter locally after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to county commissioners on May 21. Though Coleman is not a member of the foundation, he said he supports its position. The foundation, based in Madison, Wis., sent the letter after an unidentified local resident complained to the group, staff attorney Patrick Elliott said. "Every 2012 prayer so far has been given 'in Jesus' name,'" Elliott wrote to the commission, and he asked commissioners to stop holding official prayers before meetings. "Myself and others feel that this is a separation of church and state issue and it is also a matter of policy for the Hamilton County Commission," Coleman said. "This has nothing to do with my religious belief or lack thereof. They are specifically praying in a Christian manner, which is OK, except that they are acting in an official capacity." Such prayers exclude residents who are Jewish, Muslim, Mormon and other faiths, Coleman said.

Tennessee's 3rd District election splits Republicans (Times Free-Press/Carroll)
Tennessee's most powerful Republicans appear divided on U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist are headlining at separate fundraising events this month for Fleischmann, making the congressman the definite 3rd Congressional District leader in high-profile endorsements thus far. But Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker remain publicly ambivalent to Fleischmann's re-election despite the first-term congressman's struggle to emerge as the obvious front-runner in a contested Republican primary. Fleischmann's biggest GOP threats, Scottie Mayfield and W eston W amp, have ties to Corker and Haslam, and neither the governor nor Tennessee's junior senator seems willing to rock the boat. In April, Corker would not say whether Fleischmann is the best choice of the three. "I'm basically not involved in the 3rd District race right now and haven't been," he said. In a written statement Tuesday, Todd Womack, the senator's chief of staff, declined to answer whether Corker would formally endorse Fleischmann, instead saying Corker "has shown support for Congressman Fleischmann by hosting events for him." During a Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial board meeting on Monday, Haslam said he has worked with Fleischmann on "several things" since both men took office, but said "probably not" when asked if he would endorse the congressman or anyone else in the race.

Memphis added 9,200 jobs during past year (Memphis Business Journal)
Memphis was on the right side of job creation during the past year, adding 9,200 jobs to its payrolls. The Bluff City’s job gains ranked it 29th of the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S., according to MBJ affiliate On Numbers. Memphis had 602,000 nonfarm jobs in April 2012 compared to 592,800 in April 2011, a 1.55 percent boost. In terms of percent change, the Memphis metro area was 22nd nationally. On Numbers used newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to total the latest employment figures for the nation’s 100 biggest labor markets. As a whole, the 100 markets added nearly 1 million total jobs. New York City posted the strongest raw gain, adding 85,000 nonfarm jobs in 12 months. Twenty-eight markets added at least 10,000 nonfarm jobs between April 2011 and April 2012. Memphis finished just short of that group with its 9,200 added positions. Behind New York were Houston (up 81,200), Dallas-Fort Worth (up 52,000), Los Angeles (up 51,900) and Phoenix (up 36,500).

Nashville officials to break ground on health site (Tennessean/Wilemon)
Nashville officials will unveil construction plans today for the new Lentz Public Health Center at a groundbreaking ceremony. Mayor Karl Dean, Metro Public Health Director Dr. Bill Paul and Stephen Corbeil, president of HCA’s TriStar division, will preside over the event. The ceremony takes place at 1 p.m. at the corner of 26th Avenue North and Charlotte Avenue. The hospital company and the health department are swapping properties. HCA will build the new public health facility for no more than $28.5 million in exchange for the old health department property, which is about a half mile away. The city gave HCA tax breaks in exchange. Gresham, Smith and Partners is the architectural and engineering firm for the project. A contractor has not been announced. 6 odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CNews&nclick_check=1

Volkswagen supplier holds jobs fair in Chattanooga (Times Free-Press/Pare)
Evelyn Donegan works at the Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant in Chattanooga, but the company has announced it's planning layoffs. On Tuesday, she showed up at MAU Workforce Solutions to apply for a job for a company that's a supplier to the Volkswagen auto assembly plant. "I've done several things," said the Chattanooga woman, citing her background at a number of different jobs. "I believe in learning how to do various things." MAU, a recruiting and staffing company, was expected to interview about 100 people Tuesday for 50 jobs for a VW supplier it didn't want to immediately identify. Some VW suppliers are ratcheting up hiring as the German automaker's Chattanooga plant brings on a third team of employees to produce even more cars. Jeff Fuller, general manager of Chattanooga Seating Systems, said Tuesday he's looking to add workers, though he wasn't sure how many yet. Currently, the company that supplies seats for the Chattanooga-made Passat sedan has 120 employees. "I'm looking to tool up my shift," he said. "W e mirror [VW] exactly."

Pilgrim's Pride announces 105 more layoffs in Chattanooga (TFP/O’Neill)
The Chattanooga Pilgrim's Pride deboning plant will lay off 105 more workers by Saturday for a total of 190 jobs cut in less than a month. Company officials expect this will be the last round of layoffs aimed at improving plant efficiencies. Chattanooga used to house the only major deboning facility in the region for the company, but officials decided to expand deboning operations to other plants in an effort to save on transportation costs. "While the decision to reduce the workforce in Chattanooga was not made lightly, we are confident that these actions will improve the efficiency of our plant, maintain our mutually profitable relationship with growers, and strengthen our ability to produce quality poultry products in Tennessee," local complex manager Tim Lawson said in a statement. "The Chattanooga operation remains a vital part of our ongoing strategy." Most affected employees were told of the layoffs over the weekend and Monday. At one point, Pilgrim's Pride expected it could cut as many as 400 jobs from Chattanooga, according to information from the Tennessee Department of Labor and W orkforce Development. But filings with the state labor department typically show a worst-case scenario, and the company ultimately decided that drastic of cuts was unnecessary. businesstnvalley

State ASD Charter Schools Unveiled (Memphis Daily News)
Memphis City Schools officials formally turned over the school buildings Tuesday, June 5, that will become part of the state-run Achievement School District starting with the new school year in August. That includes the three schools in Frayser managed by the ASD and two other schools that charter school operators under contract with the ASD will run in existing Memphis City Schools. As that was happening, Achievement School District officials named five more charter operators who will work in the local public school system the following school year – 2013-2014 – the first year of the merger of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools. The five operators named in Nashville Monday, June 4, include Gestalt Community Schools, which operates Power Center Academy in Hickory Hill. Gestalt will also run a charter school within Gordon Elementary School when the 2012-2013 school year begins in August. Cornerstone Prep will open at Lester Elementary School in August. The other charter school operators named this week as part of the ASD district in the following school year and specifically the Memphis part of the district are Aspire Public Schools, Capstone Education Group, KIPP Memphis and Rocketship Education.

Board talks of teacher evaluations (Leaf Chronicle)
Teacher evaluation talk animated the typically subdued School Board Tuesday night, with several members questioning the state’s recently adopted evaluation model. “How confident are we that the state really knows what they’re doing?” board member Jimmie Garland asked during an explanatory presentation, capturing the board’s wariness about the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model, which attracted criticism throughout the academic year. Chief among those critiques was the time-consuming nature of the model, which initially called for four evaluations for every certified teacher every year and six for those without certifications. “It takes a lot of time,” said Priscilla Story, director of elementary schools. “This process really kept (principals) away from their 7

daily walkthroughs” However, Story and other CMCSS administrators noted, the state had responded to district feedback by changing some elements of the model. That included lowering the minimum number of annual evaluations to two for certified teachers and four for non-certified teachers. nclick_check=1 (SUBSCRIPTION)

School system to start spending new money by fall (News-Sentinel/McCoy, Donila)
66 full-time positions will be added Knox County Schools will begin spending $7 million in newly allocated money next school year. "Today, we are focused on implementation. We're focused on making sure we put in place those educational initiatives in a way that will make a difference in student learning and student success," said Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre. Knox County Commission voted 7-4 Monday night to increase the school's budget by $7 million — above natural spending growth of $13 million. That would bring Knox County Schools' operating budget, the largest segment of county spending, to just over $404.71 million in the new fiscal year. "The action that was taken last night, I believe it's a very good short-term outcome for our kids and a very good first step in making the types of investments that we need to make to ensure our children are going to have a bright, competitive and successful future," McIntyre system-to-start-spending-new-money-by/

County says school money needs approval next year, too (News-Sentinel/Donila)
Knox County Commissioners on Monday assumed as much as half and maybe even all of the $7 million they allotted to the school system for a series of education initiatives would fall under the so-called "maintenance of effort" funding — meaning it would recur in future years. But that might not be the case. So the county could be in for another budget battle next year. Under the $7 million plan, commissioners opted 7-4 to use $3 million that the mayor earmarked for an early literacy program. Another $1 million would come from expected additional state Basic Education Program funding. The plan also envisioned the county and school board each throwing in $1.5 million from their respective reserve funds. Mayor Tim Burchett's administration, after talking with the law department and with officials from the University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Service, said Monday night's appropriation is not a guarantee next year. "There's no identified revenue source for it to be considered maintenance of effort money, and that's the issue," said Chris Caldwell, Knox County interim finance director.

Sullivan BOE wrangling with $6.9 million budget shortfall (Times-News)
As Sullivan County’s school system sails into some uncertain financial waters, school officials are emphasizing they value and want to keep current employees employed. “Every effort will be made to keep everyone who’s working working,” Sullivan County Board of Education Chairman Ron Smith said during Tuesday night’s BOE meeting. The BOE will meet later this month to begin wrangling with an initial budget shortfall of $6.9 million, while the County Commission is facing about a $5 million issue in non-school areas. Among BOE audience members Tuesday night were some support staff of Weaver Elementary School in eastern Sullivan County. They said they are concerned in the short term about job cuts to balance the budget and in the long term about the likely closure of their school. “No decisions have been made,” Director of Schools Jubal Yennie said after the meeting. “We have a lot of open positions.” In addition, Yennie said the support staff of Cedar Grove, Kingsley and Brookside elementary schools have been folded into the new Ketron Elementary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school. Those schools in the Sullivan North High School zone closed at the end of the 2011-12 school year.

New York: Cost of Prekindergarten Special Education Is Soaring (New York Times)
New York City is paying private contractors more than $1 billion this year to operate a little-known special education program for 3- and 4-year-olds, nearly double the amount it paid six years ago. The program serves 25,000 children with physical, learning, developmental and other disabilities. While the number of children in the program has risen slowly in recent years, annual costs have soared to about $40,000 per child, according to an 8

analysis of city education spending by The New York Times. The city pays private contractors to provide classes, as well as individual instruction at homes, day care centers and nursery schools. Children may also be prescribed speech, physical and occupational therapy in half-hour sessions, several times a week. The prekindergarten program is far more expensive in New York than it is elsewhere, and oversight by the city and state has often been lax, according to interviews with officials, regulators and contractors. (SUBSCRIPTION)

North Carolina: Agency Is Local Government Lifeline (Stateline)
The four states with the nation’s highest unemployment rate are Nevada, Rhode Island, California and North Carolina. All except North Carolina are replete with financially stressed local governments, some near insolvency. North Carolina’s success at dodging similar crises is due in large part to a little-known state agency called the Local Government Commission. Other states have formal and informal tools to assist local governments, but none has the same reach as North Carolina’s commission, which imposes budget controls and advises troubled communities. The three national agencies that evaluate municipal bonds think so highly of the commission that they have rewarded North Carolina communities with bond ratings higher than those in most of the United States. The higher the rating of bonds sold by local governments, the more money taxpayers save on borrowing costs. “The influence and oversight of the Local Government Commission is a major reason why North Carolina local government issuers have been able to weather this recession to this point,” says Andrew Teras, an associate director of the Standard & Poor’s rating agency. “North Carolina’s oversight model is one of the strongest of any state.”

Wisconsin: Scott Walker survives recall election in Wisconsin (AP/Bauer)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker beat back a recall challenge Tuesday, winning both the right to finish his term and a voter endorsement of his strategy to curb state spending, which included the explosive measure that eliminated union rights for most public workers. The rising Republican star becomes the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall attempt by defeating Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the union leaders who rallied for months against his agenda. Democrats and organized labor spent millions to oust Walker, but found themselves hopelessly outspent by Republicans from across the country who donated record-setting sums to Walker. Republicans hope the victory carries over into November and that their get-out-the-vote effort can help Mitt Romney become the first GOP nominee to carry the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984. The recall was a rematch of the 2010 governor’s race. Throughout the campaign, Walker maintained his policies set the state on the right economic track. Defeat, he said, would keep other politicians from undertaking such bold moves in the future.|newswell|text|News|p (SUBSCRIPTION)

OPINION Greg Johnson: Judge Blackwood must be taken off torture-slaying cases (N-S)
When your concerned columnist last week lambasted Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood for accepting a plea bargain between 4th Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn and former Sevier County Clerk Joe Keener that allowed Keener to escape jail time for his theft of almost $100,000, he worried he had been a bit hard on Blackwood. He worries no more. The 6th Judicial District Attorney General's office is now asking Blackwood to recuse himself from cases involving the 2007 rape and killing of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. In court filings, the DA's office went much further, questioning Blackwood's impartiality. "The Court's actions and communications lead the State to reasonably question the impartiality of the Court," District Attorney General Randy Nichols wrote. "In particular, the State has grave concerns that the Court has engaged in conduct that is contrary to the spirit and letter of the judicial code resulting in the State being denied its right to a fair trial." On May 29, Blackwood emailed attorneys involved in the case informing them he had again decided to order new trials for defendants Letalvis Cobbins, LeMarcus Davidson and George Thomas. Even though a recent Tennessee Supreme Court ruling said the defendants must prove they deserve new trials or the judge must determine he can't serve as a 13th juror, Blackwood said there would be "no further hearings regarding this order." 9

Editorial: Compromise a good first step to improve schools (News-Sentinel)
The Knox County Commission had the opportunity to provide its students with the opportunity to take a great leap into the future, but wound up settling for a tentative step forward. The panel on Monday rejected an ambitious, $35 million annual increase in the schools budget. However, a compromise proffered by Chairman Mike Hammond resulted in a $7 million increase over natural revenue growth that will go directly to the classrooms. The additional funds should help improve students' performance, while the debate surrounding the school system's proposal should set the tone for future discussions. Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre developed a five-year budget plan that would have propelled the school system into the 21st century by renovating schools, integrating technology into the curriculum, hiring more teachers and establishing community schools. The ambitious plan also would have added 31 to 35 cents to the property tax rate, depending on how it was structured. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett wanted to avoid a property tax increase at all costs, as did many commisioners. Hammond's proposal managed to oblige them while finding a way to get more money into the classrooms.

Charlie Daniel Political Cartoon: “Watch For Children” (News-Sentinel)

Editorial: Cleaning up voter rolls (Commercial Appeal)
Not to be paranoid, but here's a question: Does the effort by the Shelby County Election Commission to purge voter registration records of nonvoting residents represent a desire to be more efficient? Or, is the effort designed to suppress voter turnout among groups that are more likely to support Democratic candidates? It's an important question because it strikes right at the heart of a core American value: the right of every single citizen to vote. Not every person does vote, of course. And the Election Commission has now decided to move to "inactive" status the names of more than 151,800 registered voters who have not voted in either of the two most recent federal election cycles. If the inactive voters fail to vote in any federal election over the next four years, and if they do not respond to a letter that gives them an opportunity to fill out a form returning them to active voting status, their names will be purged from the voter rolls. The Republican-dominated Election Commission says this change will make the county's voting records more accurate and allow all political parties to focus their efforts on getting out the vote of those people who actually come to the polls. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Frank Munger: USEC's centrifuge project continues high-wire act (News-Sentinel)
The financial future of USEC Inc.'s American Centrifuge Project — and, in turn, the Oak Ridge role in research and manufacturing of centrifuge machines for the project — continues to ride the edge of the cliff. USEC said the company and the U.S. Department of Energy are making progress on a cost-sharing proposal that would allow the company to move ahead with the research and demonstration program, with the ultimate hope of gaining bigbucks loan guarantees. Another deadline came last week, and USEC said it received approval from its credit group to continue spending for at least the next couple of weeks while working on that deal with DOE. "The amendment to the credit agreement has been executed permitting continued spending on ACP of up to $6 million through June 15, or until an RD&D (research, development and demonstration) agreement is signed," USEC Vice President Paul Jacobson said via email. USEC has touted its American Centrifuge Project as an efficient way to enrich uranium and guarantee the United States has a long-term domestic source of producing uranium fuel for the nation's nuclear power reactors.

Editorial: VA patients need relief from hospital's shoddy work (Daily News Journal)
Tennessee’s congressional delegation should step in and take action to help veterans who suffered sloppy medical tests at the hands of the Veterans Administration and can’t get relief through the courts. At least one of them, Carl Huddleston, claims he contracted hepatitis B after taking a colonoscopy with unclean equipment at 10

the York VA Medical Center here. But an appeals court ruled recently that Huddleston filed his claim three months too late to win a medical malpractice case against the federal government. Huddleston took the colonoscopy in October 2006 but wasn’t notified until February 2009, along with 10,000 other veterans, that he needed to be tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV because of mistakes made cleaning endoscopic equipment in Murfreesboro, August, Ga., and Miami VA facilities. The two-and-a-half-year delay in notification was bad enough, because it almost appeared to be deliberate. For veterans to be turned back by the court system because of a technicality is even worse. He filed a tort claim against the VA in December 2009, some 10 months after finding out he had the disease. It was deemed to be three months late. Obviously, the VA was negligent throughout this ordeal, from the unclean procedures to the late notification. We hope the agency learned its lesson and literally started cleaning up its act. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Editorial: Discouraging news on jobs (Commercial Appeal)
Obama and Romney will put their political spin on May's rise in unemployment, but that is of little comfort to the 12.7 million Americans who are out of work. There's no way to put a happy face on the nation's May jobs report: It stinks. The unemployment rate rose from 8.1 percent to 8.2 percent, ending an 11-month run when the rate was dropping, You can argue -- and the White House will -- that the increase in the unemployment rate was because so many Americans, 642,000 of us, tried to re-enter the workforce. Statistically that's true, but it's of little comfort to the 12.7 million still unemployed, a number that rose by 220,000. The grimmer number is that last month the economy created only 69,000 jobs, the fewest in a year. The government also revised downward by 49,000 jobs the number of jobs created in the previous two months. To begin returning to robust employment, we need to return to the levels of January through March, when jobs were being created at the rate of 226,000 a month. Construction, a bellwether industry, lost 28,000 jobs while manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, education and health care all added jobs; governments, the hospitality and leisure industry and professional services all shed jobs. (SUBSCRIPTION) ###


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