Articles by: Blake Farmer

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.

Commander of U.S. Africa Command General David M. Rodriguez conducts a press briefing about the Department of Defense response to Ebola at the Pentagon Wednesday. Credit: Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

Fort Campbell Troops On Ebola Mission Won’t Get Full Protective Gear

October 8, 2014 at 8:42 am

Troops from the 101st Airborne Division leading the military response to Ebola in West Africa will only need gloves and masks to protect themselves from the deadly virus, so said Gen. David Rodriguez at a Pentagon briefing Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. James McConville (left) has been promoted to a job in the Pentagon. Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky (right) took over command of the 101st Airborne Division in a ceremony Friday.  Credit: Larry Noller / U.S. Army

How Will Fort Campbell Troops Protect Themselves From Ebola? First, No Handshakes

October 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm

The 700 soldiers are being sent to Liberia to build hospitals, but they will be working with locals who could be infected.

Fort Campbell soldiers assemble on the parade grounds at a change of command ceremony for the 101st Airborne Division. Credit: 101st Airborne via Facebook

Clarksville Reigns As Country’s Best Marriage Market For Women

October 3, 2014 at 6:56 am

Tennessee has what is – in theory – the best city for women looking to marry. Clarksville – home to Fort Campbell – has a higher ratio of employed bachelors to single women than any other place in the country. For every 100 women, there are 145 men with jobs age 25 to 34, according to a survey from Pew Research.

Gov. Bill Haslam met with groups of educators in West, Middle and East Tennessee to talk about the benefits of Common Core as the state standards are under attack in the legislature. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Haslam Plans Mass Vetting Of Common Core, Commits To ‘Higher Standards’

October 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Governor Bill Haslam denies that his support for Common Core is softening. The questions arise because he’s spent more time defending “higher standards” than specifically Common Core in recent months.

Herbert Slatery was named Attorney General by the Tennessee Supreme Court September 15, after public interviews. Slatery was previously an attorney in Knoxville before working for the Haslam Administration. Credit: TN Photo Services

Tennessee’s New Attorney General Sworn In With A Surprisingly Emotional Ceremony

October 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Tennessee has its first Republican Attorney General in nearly 150 years.

Metro Schools superintendent Jesse Register will visit each of the schools in East Nashville to explain what a "choice zone" might look like. The meeting pictured here is from Inglewood Elementary, which is well under capacity. Credit: Emily West / WPLN

How East Nashville’s ‘Choice Zone’ Would Work, Explained In 90 Seconds

October 1, 2014 at 7:16 am

East Nashville may soon become a petri dish for education reform. Metro Schools superintendent Jesse Register has proposed scrapping traditional schools zones in favor of a special “choice zone.” That has parents asking what on earth a choice zone is. We gave WPLN’s Blake Farmer 90 seconds to explain.

The federal indictment alleges James R. Jones stole the identities of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year. Credit: 101st CAB via Flickr

101st Airborne Unit Headed To Liberia In Response To Ebola Outbreak

September 30, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Roughly 700 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell will deploy to West Africa as part of the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak.

The Citizen Advisory Committee was assembled by Mayor Karl Dean to review the Amp project. The panel is a team of rivals, including several vocal opponents of the Amp. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Revised Traffic Study Fails To Impress Amp Advisory Committee

September 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm

A panel of citizens charged with revising the troubled bus rapid transit line known as the Amp spent Tuesday afternoon picking apart new traffic projections. The figures for the scaled-back bus line didn’t wow the advisory committee.

Dr. James Crowe (right) watches as graduate student Andrew Flyak adjusts equipment in the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center used in the production of anti-Ebola antibodies. Credit: VUMC

Vanderbilt Partnering With Drug Maker To Develop Ebola Vaccine

September 30, 2014 at 8:12 am

The goal is to develop a vaccine that provides “short-term protection to health care workers and others at risk of exposure,” according to a news release.