Joyce Russell is a correspondent based at the Iowa Statehouse.  She also hosts River to River on Mondays from the State Capitol during the legislative session. Joyce has been covering the Iowa Statehouse since shortly after joining the news staff at WOI Radio in 1988.    Her earlier broadcasting experience included news reporting at commercial stations in Oklahoma City and Fort Wayne, Indiana.   Joyceââââ

Economics
6:12 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

State's Sales Tax Holiday Not a Boom for Retailers

Credit Courtesy noise64, Flickr via Creative Commons

There's little doubt shoppers are looking forward to Tennessee's annual sales tax holiday this weekend, but a prominent state economist says the economic benefit is minimal.

"[Consumers] are buying what they would have bought anyway," said Bill Fox, director of the Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research. "They’re just changing when they make the purchase. And that doesn’t have much of an economic impact.”

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Healthcare
4:25 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Knox Area Organizations Work To Raise Breastfeeding Awareness

Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan addresses a crowd of women at the East Tennessee Breast-feeding Coalition's third annual "Big Latch On" event.
Credit Christine Jessel

A local group says Knoxville and Knox County are leading the state in a relatively new healthy kids initiative.  

Sheri Hedberg, Chair of the East Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition, says Memphis and Nashville are just starting big public breastfeeding awareness events this year, while this is Knoxville’s third annual "World Breastfeeding Week" kickoff event.

“So we’ve really seen a big increase in the number of sites this year and next year we’ll probably do more,” she says.  

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South Knoxville
3:59 am
Fri August 2, 2013

South Knoxville Stylist Caters To Deaf Clientele

Christy Frazier-Paine, right, styles Loretta Ayer's hair. Frazier-Paine owns Salon Christy, a salon that caters especially to hearing-impaired clients.
Credit Celeste Delarosa

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Christy Frazier-Paine does not wear hearing aids

Jobless rates have been falling - but a sudden spike in unemployment this summer is a reminder that the U-S still hasn’t recovered from the recession. Experts say the last four years have been especially hard on small business owners. And one local entrepreneur is working to open a salon that caters to very specific clients.

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Politics
5:50 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Tennessee GOP Sets Sights on Local Offices

Brent Leatherwood, Executive Director of the Tennessee GOP.
Credit Tennessee GOP

Since the end of the Civil War, Tennessee Republicans have rarely enjoyed a string of victories. But that’s changing. Republicans occupy both U.S. Senate seats, seven of the nine U.S. House seats, the governor’s mansion and – for the first time in more than a century – a supermajority in the General Assembly. But the party isn’t coasting on its success. The Tennessee GOP is setting its sights on winning more seats, at the county and city level. The effort is called Red to the Roots, and it could be coming to a town near you.

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Education
4:00 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Shelby County Election Commission Approves Separate Schools Vote

Credit Karin Beil, Flickr Creative Commons

Six Memphis suburbs have been officially cleared to hold separate school board elections in November.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports the Shelby County Election Commission has unanimously certified results of a July referendum vote in six suburbs to avoid a merger with Memphis City Schools.

In July, a large majority of voters in Germantown, Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Lakeland and Millington approved separate suburban school systems.

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Erin Toner is a reporter for WUWM. Erin was WUWM's All Things Considered local host from 2006 to 2010. She began her public radio career in 1999 at WMUK in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Prior to joining WUWM in 2006, Toner spent five years at WKAR in East Lansing, Michigan.

During her career, Toner has served as a mentor for NPR's Next Generation Radio project, trained and mentored college students and taught a news reporting course at Michigan State University. She holds a degree in journalism from Michigan State University.

» Contact WUWM News

Law
6:00 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Mufreesboro Mosque Opponents Hope To Take Fight To State Supreme Court

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
Credit Saleh Sbenaty, ICM

Opponents of a Murfreesboro mosque are headed back to court, this time with the hopes the Tennessee Supreme Court will hear their argument.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has been complete and open to worshipers for nearly a year, but that hasn’t stopped local opponents from continuing an appeal against its construction. Plaintiffs claim Rutherford County failed to give adequate public notice before approving the mosque's construction in May of 2010.

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