Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center
6:30 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Nashville's Symphony Hall: A Showpiece Turned Millstone

The NSO began raising funds to build Schermerhorn Symphony Center less than a decade after emerging from bankruptcy, and the building sustained millions of dollars in flood damage just a few years after opening. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center was built as a tool to propel the Nashville Symphony forward. From an artistic standpoint–or even as a huge, stone billboard–it is a success. The last few months, as the news has gone from bad to worse about the orchestra’s finances, it’s been hard to see the building as anything but a heavy weight. But that wasn’t always the case.

The orchestra that hears itself better plays better

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Pilot Flying J Investigation
6:16 am
Wed June 19, 2013

More Pilot Flying J Employees Plead Guilty To Defrauding Customers

Pilot Flying J corporate headquarters on Lonas Drive in Knoxville, April, 2013 (Photo by Michael Patrick / Knoxville News Sentinel)

Three more employees with Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J pleaded guilty yesterday to scheming to defraud trucking companies out of rebates. Under that scheme, Pilot executives manually reduced fuel rebates on diesel purchases owed to trucking companies they thought would not catch the inconsistency. A federal investigation continues and has so far resulted in plea deals for five employees since a raid on the company’s headquarters on April 15th. Holly Radford, Jay Stinnett, and Kevin Clark pleaded guilty yesterday to federal charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

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Teacher Training
3:59 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Some Tennessee Teacher Training Programs Show Success Amidst Failure

Credit Image courtesy of

Ten Tennessee teacher training programs have earned high marks from a national education research and advocacy group.

The National Center for Teacher Quality evaluated 30 college and university programs in Tennessee, ranking 14 of them on a four-star scale. The NCTQ reports it based rankings on admissions selectivity - student teaching programs - and curricula including reading, math, history and science.

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5:24 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Kenneth Wright, One Of WUOT's Founders, Dies

Kenneth Wright
Credit WUOT News

One of WUOT's founders, Kenneth Wright, died on May 14 in Canton, Georgia. On October 27, 1949, his was among the first voices ever heard on the then-experimental university FM station broadcasting from the basement of Ayres Hall. Wright served as the station's general manager during its earliest years, helping form WUOT's role in the community.

"You heard the culmination of a longstanding dream," Wright said during the inaugural broadcast. "To our listeners, a promise to offer the best radio our intelligence and hard work are capable of producing."

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Niota Shutdown
4:26 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Insurance Loss Triggers City Shutdown

Niota City Hall.

  An East Tennessee town is doing without its own police force - fire department - parks and libraries today. At one minute past midnight last night, the town of Niota lost its liability insurance.  Today, Niota let several city employees go, closed its city police, fire, parks and street departments as well as the library with no word on when they might reopen again. 

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Environment and Conservation
8:27 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Oak Ridge to Use State Grant to Cut Air Pollution

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

For years, people living in the valleys of East Tennessee have had to endure air quality problems, especially in the summer. Now, Oak Ridge leaders will use a $200,000 grant to help combat pollution in the area. The money will pay for LED lighting in the municipal building and the city’s civic center. Governor Bill Haslam presented the check to Oak Ridge mayor Tom Beehan and other local leaders at a ceremony Monday.

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Emergency Recall: Compressed Gas Cylinders
4:00 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Emergency Recall Underway For Gas Cylinders Made In Tennessee


The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued an emergency recall for cylinders of commonly-used compressed gas. More than 55,000 of the cylinders in question under the recall are made by Franklin, Tennessee-based Lite Cylinder Company, Incorporated. They are used for stoves and other equipment that use propane fuel.

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Civil Service Lawsuit
4:30 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Nashville Court To Hear State Employees' Complaint Today


Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Amanda McClendon will hear testimony today related to a class-action lawsuit filed against the State of Tennessee, charging the State's Department of Human Resources with violating the two year-old Tennessee Excellence, Accountability and Management (TEAM) Act.  The law, passed in 2012 by Bill Haslam's administration with support from the Tennessee State Employees Association, requires the state to provide a 60-day notice and career placement, job testing and job placement for any employees losing their jobs through lay-offs.  The TSEA's lawsuit claims T

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Shawn Johnson covers the State Capitol for Wisconsin Public Radio. Shawn joined the network in 2004. Prior to that he worked for WUIS-FM, a public radio station in Springfield, Illinois. There, Shawn reported on the Illinois legislature. He also managed the station's western Illinois bureau, where he produced features on issues facing rural residents. He previously worked as an Assistant Producer for WBBM-AM radio in Chicago.

Shawn's work has earned awards from the Associated Press and has been featured on National Public Radio.


North Country Public Radio/Champlain Valley reporter for the Innovation Trail

Sarah Harris covers the Champlain Valley for Innovation Trail. She was an assistant teacher for the first class of the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  Sarah's work has aired on NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. Sarah is a 2010 recipient of the Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, has lived abroad in the Maldives and Nepal, and is a graduate of Middlebury College.