HealthConnections: Why Are Rural Hospitals Closing?

Polk County is the very southeast corner of Tennessee. Its population is just shy of 17,000. It’s known for its whitewater rafting and was once the epicenter of Tennessee’s copper industry. And, at this moment, it has no hospital. The Copper Basin Medical Center closed this month, not only leaving Polk Countians without immediate medical care, but becoming the tenth rural hospital in the state to close since 2010. Today, we look at the challenges rural hospitals face.

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Waking up is hard to do, but it’s easier with NPR’s Morning Edition. We bring the day’s stories and news to radio listeners on the go.

Retrial of Christian-Newsom defendant begins today

May 13, 2013
Police Photo

A Nashville jury is in Knoxville today to begin hearing testimony in the retrial of George Thomas, one of five people originally convicted and sentenced for participating in the 2007 carjacking, rape, torture and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.  In 2009, a Hamilton County jury found Thomas guilty for his role in the crimes and he was sentenced to life without parole.  However, he was granted a retrial when it became apparent the presiding judge Richard Baumgartner was abusing painkillers during the trial.  In November of 2012, a jury convicted co-defendant Vanessa Colem

Smoky Mountain Visitation Down for First Part of 2013

May 12, 2013
nps.gov

The National Park Service reports a drop in visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the first four months of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.  Statistics show 1,620,340 visited the park between January and April.  That represents a drop of 359,202 visitors.  Rangers suggest the closure of Newfound Gap Road between Gatlinburg, Tenn. and Cherokee, North Carolina is the most likely reason for the decrease.  The road was closed January 13 after a landslide wiped out approximately 200 feet of road surface. 

Y-12 Protesters Remain in Jail, Await Judge's Decision

May 9, 2013
Matt Shafer Powell

Three nuclear protesters convicted in a federal court May 8 remain in jail while  U.S.

Tennessee DOE Offers Signing Bonuses For Teachers

May 9, 2013
Christine Jessel

The Tennessee Department of Education will give teachers with the state’s highest evaluation scores signing bonuses to teach in the state’s lowest-performing schools. The Tennessee Department of Education is offering districts across the state enough money to give each new teacher at a priority school a $7,000 signing bonus.  In Knox County, one school is a priority school: Sarah Moore Greene Elementary, whose principal recently announced he would overhaul school staffing this year.

Tennessee ACLU urges veto of 'Ag Gag' bill

May 7, 2013
aspca.org

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee says it has collected 33,000 signatures on a petition that urges Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto the so-called "Ag Gag" bill.  The bill would require anyone taking photos or videos of livestock abuse to immediately turn that footage over to law enforcement. Late last month, the ACLU sent Haslam a letter asking for a veto; today it submitted a petition to follow up on the letter. ACLU officials claim the bill is unconstitutional. 

Dialogue: The Final Frontier

May 7, 2013
nasa.gov

On this episode of Dialogue, Brandon Hollingsworth takes us boldly where no man has gone before.  We discover the Final Frontier with a diverse and knowledgeable panel of experts.  University of Tennessee Physics and Astronomy Professor Mike Guidry, UT researcher Linda Kah and Angela Quick of Maryville College discuss the prospect of life on Mars, new discoveries in cosmology and the observable universe, dark matter and dark energy and how to find what you're looking for when you gaze into the sky at night.

Tennessee unemployment rate rises slightly

Apr 18, 2013
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development says the state's unemployment rate in March rose slightly from 7.8% to 7.9%.   Despite the increase, LWD says this is the lowest March rate on record since 2008.  It's still a few tenths of a point higher than the national rate, which was announced at 7.6%.   

Boston University

What is sin? What's the punishment for it? And who gets to decide? Historian of religion Paula Fredriksen studied some of the earliest writings of Judaism and Christianity to find out. And her new book, Sin: The Early History of an Idea, explores the first 400 years of sin as a concept of Western religion.

On February 18, in advance of her appearance at the David Dungan Memorial Lecture at the University of Tennessee, Fredriksen talked to WUOT All Things Considered host Brandon Hollingsworth about the concept of sin, its origins and its evolution.

All four of East Tennessee's congressmen are up for re-election on November 6, 2012 and so is one of the state's two senators. Though the biggest campaign contributions this year are going to swing states, money is an essential part of every political race. WUOT's All Things Considered host Brandon Hollingsworth looks at who's paying for the region's Congressional races, and what it means.

Jeff Sharlet is a writer whose beat is belief and faith in America. His books have chronicled fundamentalist dogma in the nation's capital and Wiccan ceremonies in the nation's heartland. His most recent work is a collection of nonfiction essays called Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness and the Country In Between. It examines personal faith on a variety of levels in American culture.

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