Articles by: Blake Farmer

Sara Heyburn is currently the assistant commissioner of teachers and leaders. Credit: TNDOE

Huffman Lieutenant Named To Lead Tennessee Board Of Education

October 31, 2014 at 3:01 pm

The board has hired Sara Heyburn, who is now the head of teachers and leaders in the Department of Education.

Roughly 75 parents and teachers attended a meeting at Churchwell Elementary Thursday night. Credit: David Wright Smith

District Won’t Close Underperforming Schools In North Nashville

October 31, 2014 at 6:46 am

Underperforming schools in north Nashville will remain open, according to district superintendent Jesse Register. Unlike East Nashville, Register says, there are not enough other schools for students to attend if one or two closed.

Voters wait in line to cast a ballot early in La Vergne. While there was a surge on the final day of early voting, totals are still well behind 2010 and even further behind 2006. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Late Surge In Tennessee’s Early Voting, But Totals Are Still Down

October 31, 2014 at 6:32 am

More than 13,000 people voted in Davidson County on the final day of early voting — even though only a few hundred a day were showing up during the first few days.

Early voting runs through Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 4. Credit: Bobby Allyn / WPLN

Poll Shows Many Tennesseans Undecided On Abortion Amendment

October 29, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Ads dominating the airwaves for and against Tennessee’s abortion amendment still may find a receptive audience. A sizeable share of voters haven’t made up their minds.

Christopher Yuan is now an instructor at Moody Bible Institute. He came out as gay when he was young, sold drugs through college and grad school and ended up in a federal prison on drug charges. He then converted and applied to go to seminary while he was still in prison. Credit: ERLC via Facebook

Speakers Who Say They Used To Be Gay Address Southern Baptist Leaders

October 29, 2014 at 9:00 am

At the Southern Baptist conference on homosexuality, pastors and church leaders heard the testimonies of four people who claim to be formerly gay.

Soldiers at Fort Campbell listen to briefings Thursday before leaving for Liberia later this month. Soldiers have been told they won't be in contact with the local population, but they are learning how to wear protective gear just in case. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Fort Campbell Soldiers In Liberia Knew 21-Day Isolation Was Likely

October 28, 2014 at 6:30 am

The Pentagon says a dozen soldiers – including a two-star general – are being held on a base in Italy before being allowed to come home. The Department of Defense says this will be the policy for the time being, though it’s not required by Pentagon guidelines.

Southern Seminary president Albert Mohler opened the Southern Baptist Convention's conference on homosexuality. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Southern Baptists Admit Errors On Homosexuality But Reject Gay-Affirming Churches

October 28, 2014 at 5:39 am

Southern Baptists say they’ve gotten some things wrong on homosexuality, but they still see acceptance of gay marriage as a line that cannot be crossed.

Southern Baptists ministers gathered in Nashville at the end of April to discuss sexuality. The October conference includes pastors as well as lay people. Credit: ERLC via Flickr

Baptists Ask If Gay Marriage May Be An Issue ‘Where We Just Agree To Disagree’

October 27, 2014 at 5:00 am

Southern Baptists are publicly wrestling with homosexuality this week. The Nashville-based denomination invited pastors and lay people to Opryland for a follow-up event to a similar, smaller summit on sexuality held earlier this year.

Why It Takes A Constitutional Amendment For Tennessee Veterans To Hold Raffles

Why It Takes A Constitutional Amendment For Tennessee Veterans To Hold Raffles

October 23, 2014 at 4:23 am

Veterans groups were left out the last time Tennessee overhauled gaming laws, and not necessarily by accident.

In September, Governor Bill Haslam held an education summit where he signaled the state would review Common Core. Credit: TN Photo Services

Haslam’s Common Core Review Is A Path Toward ‘Tennessee Standards’

October 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

More than 40 teachers, professors and administrators will spend the next year combing through Common Core education standards and suggesting changes. Governor Bill Haslam also announced Wednesday the state is posting the standards to a website in the coming weeks so parents can read them and offer their suggestions.

Early voting runs through Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 4. Credit: Bobby Allyn / WPLN

Tennessee Voter Turnout Light So Far, Particularly In Nashville

October 21, 2014 at 6:45 am

By comparison, more people are voting every day in Knox County than over five days in Davidson County.

The Williamson County school board has been meeting in recent weeks to discuss Common Core and whether to pass a resolution in opposition. Credit: David Wright Smith

Williamson School Board Stops Just Shy Of Opposing Common Core

October 21, 2014 at 5:25 am

Every member of the Williamson County board of education voted for a resolution supporting local standards. But language saying the board “opposed Common Core” was ultimately stripped from the final document.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) is running for a third term, pictured here at a recent announcement regarding expansion of Volkswagen's Tennessee plant. While he has campaigned in the state, he's almost entirely ignored his competition. Credit: TN Photo Services

Alexander Slams EPA For ‘Regulating Mud Puddles’ While Defending His Own Votes For Coal Regulation

October 20, 2014 at 4:47 am

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander worked the words “regulating mud puddles” into nearly every answer at a candidate forum hosted by the Farm Bureau. He’s referring to new rules under the Clean Water Act governing navigable waterways. Mud puddles have become one of his most-used jabs at the White House during his reelection campaign.

Metro Public Health held a briefing on Ebola Thursday, primarily sharing information from the Centers for Disease Control on the infection and how it is spread. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Health Officials ‘Confident’ Nashville Can Handle Ebola, Though Few Plans Are In Place

October 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Metro Nashville’s top health official held a briefing for city agencies ranging from police to the water department on Thursday. The public was also invited to the Lentz Public Health Center, where Dr. Bill Paul said he’s confident the city can handle Ebola, adding that he wouldn’t be surprised if a case shows up. But there’s been little coordination for how to handle an infected patient.

Congressman Jim Cooper said he's not a "camera hog," but he felt the GAO report on Tennessee's voter ID law should get more attention. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Tennessee Democrats Latch Onto Report That Voter ID Laws Suppress Turnout

October 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Republicans may be discrediting the non-partisan Government Accountability Office findings, but Democrats are holding press conferences to say, essentially, “We told you so.”

A color casing ceremony involves packing up a units flags for the trip. Credit: Army Photo by Sam Shore

Ebola Fighters From 101st Airborne Hold Pre-Deployment Ceremony

October 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

As a final formal ceremony before leaving for West Africa, Fort Campbell soldiers cased their colors on Tuesday, essentially boxing up their unit flags until they arrive in Liberia for a six-month stay.

An American Airlines flight from Dallas taxied to a remote part of Nashville International Airport and only arrived at the gate after being given the all clear from the Centers for Disease Control. This photo is of a different plane. Credit: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Dallas To Nashville Passengers Remain ‘Fairly Calm’ Despite On-Flight Ebola Scare

October 13, 2014 at 3:05 pm

A plane-load of passengers from Dallas sat on a runway in Nashville until early Monday morning waiting to see if someone who’d gotten sick mid-flight might have Ebola. They remained relatively calm despite the scare.

Soldiers at Fort Campbell listen to briefings Thursday before leaving for Liberia later this month. Soldiers have been told they won't be in contact with the local population, but they are learning how to wear protective gear just in case. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Some 101st Airborne Troops Fear Ebola More Than Enemy Fighters

October 10, 2014 at 5:52 am

One of the military’s most heavily deployed Army divisions since 9/11 is prepping for a mission where flack jackets will do very little and rubber gloves save a lives. The 101st Airborne leaves for Liberia over the next few weeks. And soldiers say in some ways, Ebola is a more intimidating enemy than insurgents.

Nissan sold 30, 976 Altimas in August, compared to 45,000 Toyota Camrys. Photo via Nissan

Nissan Gets Most Improved Gas Mileage In EPA Ranking

October 9, 2014 at 8:47 am

Franklin-based Nissan North America has improved fuel efficiency more than any other automaker in the U.S., according to an annual report from the Environmental Protection Agency. Nissan’s entire product line hit 26.2 miles per gallon, up 2.1 mpg compared to the prior model year.

Year to date, home sales are up more than five percent from 2013 with an especially big sales jump in September. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Davidson And Rutherford Counties Drive Nashville Area Home Sales

October 9, 2014 at 5:22 am

So far this year, home sales in Davidson and Rutherford counties have been driving much of the area’s growth in real estate closings. Figures were up by 19 percent in September compared to the prior year, according to newly released figures from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.