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Economics
6:00 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Fewer Tennesseans Own Homes In Wake of Recession

Credit James Thompson, via Flickr

Fewer Tennesseans own their own homes today than before the Great Recession, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The American Community Survey (ACS) found the percentage of Tennesseans who owned a home dropped slightly, from a little more than 70 percent in 2007 to 67.5 percent in 2012. The housing crash of 2007 marked the end of a three-year period in which home ownership rates in Tennessee increased.

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Alexander Inn
2:32 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Oak Ridge’s Alexander Inn Returning To Former Glory

A postcard of Oak Ridge's historic Alexander Inn
East Tennessee Preservation Alliance

The first time Rick Dover stepped foot into Oak Ridge’s Alexander Inn, he fell through the floor.  “It was completely rotted and it had leaking roofs and windows and a complete lack of any care or maintenance,” he says.  “It was leaning and rotting and falling and it would not have gone much longer.” 

Dover’s company, Family Pride Corporation, is now responsible for renovating the abandoned, dilapidated building and turning it into an assisted living facility.  Dover says he hopes to open the facility in the summer of 2014. 

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Tennessee Refugees
3:15 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Tennessee Legislators Question Study On Refugees

Credit http://www.capitol.tn.gov/images/slider/legislature.jpg

Last summer, Tennessee state legislators requested a study on foreign-born refugees in the state but have now rejected the findings of the report. The legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee commissioned the study to try to understand the impact on Tennessee’s budget of state-funded services for refugees.

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Same Sex Benefits
7:47 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Chattanooga Moves Step Closer To Approving Domestic Partner Benefits

Chattanooga City Councilman Chris Anderson's proposal to extend city employee benefits to gay and unmarried couples passed Tuesday night in a 5-4 vote.
Credit timesfreepress.com

After weeks of fervent public debate, rallies, packed hearings and letters to the editor, an ordinance to extend benefits to the unmarried partners of Chattanooga city workers came down to one vote.

With a five-to-four vote, Chattanooga moved one step closer to becoming Tennessee’s third city to extend city employee benefits to gay and unmarried couples.  Collegedale and Knoxville both adopted similar policies earlier this year.

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Trevor Bayne
1:19 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Knoxville’s Trevor Bayne Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis

Credit woodbrothersracing.com

 Popular NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne says he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system.  However, the 22 year-old Knoxville native says doctors at the Mayo Clinic have cleared him to continue driving.

"I've never been more driven to compete," Bayne said in a statement released Tuesday morning. “I am in the best shape I've ever been in, and I feel good. There are currently no symptoms, and I'm committed to continuing to take the best care of my body as possible."

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Politics
6:45 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Knox County Legislator Proposes Hemp Legalization

Credit Gregory Jordan, via Flickr

A Tennessee state senator wants the state to become the eleventh in the nation to legalize the growing of hemp. But he acknowledges it won't be easy.

Frank Niceley, who represents eastern Knox County, is proposing the legalization of growing hemp, mainly for industrial uses. Hemp can be used to make items ranging from medications to textiles and even plastics. But it's also a cousin of marijuana, and that connection could scare away legislative support.

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TN State Budget Hearings
4:00 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Tennessee State Budget Hearings Begin This Week

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will begin holding annual public budget hearings Tuesday, November 12.                                                           

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Sex Trafficking
5:52 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Tennessee Earns High Marks For Aggressive New Sex Trafficking Laws

Advocates for tougher sex trafficking laws rally in Maryland
Credit sharedhope.org

Each year, the non-profit group Shared Hope International takes a comprehensive look at sex trafficking laws in each of the fifty states and grades them based on how well they’re designed to protect minors.  The Protected Innocence Challenge Report Card hasn’t always been kind to Tennessee.  In each of the last two years, the state received a “C”grade.

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Education
6:12 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Haslam, Huffman Respond to Teacher Concerns

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (left, gesturing) joins Knox County School Superintendent Jim McIntyre (center) and state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman (right) for a teacher appreciation event at Bearden Elementary School, November 8, 2013.
Credit Submitted

On a visit to Bearden Elementary School on Friday, Governor Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman responded to frustrations over the state's teacher evaluation process. Citing teacher surveys and a Vanderbilt report, both men said teacher satisfaction is generally good in the state.

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Thousand Cankers Disease
4:00 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Tree-killing Disease Continues To Show Up In More ET Counties

A black walnut tree with missing leaves near the top could be a sign that the tree is infected with Thousand Cankers Disease.
Credit www.fs.fed.us

This week, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture added Rhea and Morgan counties to a list of East Tennessee counties under quarantine after the discovery of Thousand Cankers Disease in black walnut trees. 

Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) is a condition that robs black walnut trees of their nutrients.  It’s transported from tree to tree by the Walnut Twig Beetle, a tiny bug that burrows into the tree, bringing with it a deadly fungus.   Experts suggest the tree can die within a few years of being infected. 

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