Articles by: Blake Farmer

Bill To Reduce VA Backlog Passes Easily With No Help From Tennessee’s Senators

Bill To Reduce VA Backlog Passes Easily With No Help From Tennessee’s Senators

August 1, 2014 at 8:38 am

Republican Lamar Alexander, who is in a primary battle to keep his seat, did not vote. And Republican Bob Corker was one of the three to vote no.

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

After Months Of Avoidance, Lamar Alexander Acknowledges Challenger Joe Carr By Name

July 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander has gone out of his way to avoid saying the name of his most viable opponent in the Republican Primary, until now.

Poison frontman and reality show star Bret Michaels is now Nissan's pitchman for a relatively new line of commercial vans. Credit: Nissan USA

Nissan Turns To 80s Glam Metal Frontman To Sell Commercial Vans

July 31, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Ford Trucks has Toby Keith. Chevy has Tim Allen. And for its tough-guy spokesman, Franklin-based Nissan North America has hired Bret Michaels – front-man for the metal band Poison.

Test Results Show Turnaround Goal For Tennessee’s Lowest-Performing Schools Wasn’t Totally Crazy

Test Results Show Turnaround Goal For Tennessee’s Lowest-Performing Schools Wasn’t Totally Crazy

July 30, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Standardized test results for each Tennessee district are being released Wednesday, and education officials are trying to highlight the good and explain the bad. Some of the most closely watched schools in the state are part of the Achievement School District.

On Wednesday, MNPS superintendent Jesse Register went over district-wide TCAP results while also calling to move on from the outdated test. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville Schools Report Modest Test Gains, Make Pitch To ‘Abandon’ TCAP

July 30, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Poor and minority students are improving faster in Nashville than they are statewide. Also, standardized test results released Wednesday show improvement in most subjects. The two problem spots are in Algebra I and English III, though district leaders say that’s partially explained by an increase in students opting for advanced courses.

For A Nashville Private School, Recruiting Now Includes Bashing Common Core

For A Nashville Private School, Recruiting Now Includes Bashing Common Core

July 28, 2014 at 5:13 am

As part of a new social media blitz, Ezell-Harding Christian School in Antioch has adopted the slogan “Uncommon to the Core,” a jab at Common Core Education Standards adopted in Tennessee’s public schools.

Watch: Charter School Founder Jeremy Kane Announces Mayoral Run

Watch: Charter School Founder Jeremy Kane Announces Mayoral Run

July 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm

The former charter school CEO joins Metro councilwoman Megan Barry, attorney Charles Bone and former school board chairman David Fox, though others are also expected to enter the race for Nashville mayor.

Patients Sue TennCare For Giving Them The Runaround

Patients Sue TennCare For Giving Them The Runaround

July 23, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Infants waiting on vaccinations, pregnant women forgoing prenatal care and people with deadly infections refusing to go to the hospital — these are the kinds of anecdotes contained in a new lawsuit against Tennessee’s Medicaid program.

SBC president Ronnie Floyd held a press conference along with other Baptist leaders after touring government facilities along the border housing unaccompanied minors from Central America. Credit: ERLC via Facebook

Back From The Border, Southern Baptists Call For Compassion Toward Immigrants

July 23, 2014 at 10:38 am

Leaders of the largest protestant denomination in the U.S. are returning from the Texas border. They’re calling on evangelicals to have compassion for the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors flooding from Central America.

A hobbiest uses a drone to survey a cow pasture. Currently, drones are not allowed by the FAA for commercial purposes without a special permit. Credit: Lima Pix via Flickr

Tennessee Farmers Shown The Potential In Drones, But Told To Hold Off Using Them

July 22, 2014 at 4:11 am

When thousands of farmers gather this week in West Tennessee, they’ll be learning what drones could do for the agricultural industry, but only in the near future.

It's been primarily conservative groups protesting Common Core. This is a photo from a Sacramento protest. Many see the standards as a federal take over of the education system. Credit: Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Nashville School Board Candidates Wander All Over The Map On Common Core

July 21, 2014 at 4:52 am

Common Core has become a clear differentiator in Nashville’s school board races. Incumbents are confident in the new education standards adopted by most states. Challengers range from confused to fed up.

Four seats on the Metro Schools board of education are on the ballot, and charter schools in the district have become one of the few differentiators between the candidates. Credit: Metro Photo Services

Nashville School Board Candidates Heed Register’s Truce On Charters

July 18, 2014 at 4:44 am

Metro Schools superintendent Jesse Register has called for more civility in the sometimes-toxic debate over charter schools. Candidates for school board are having no trouble complying.

In April, the Shelby Avenue pedestrian bridge was renamed after John Seigenthaler at an event attended by top state and city officials. Credit: Metro Photo Services

Giant Of Journalism John Seigenthaler Dies At 86

July 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm

The journalist, political advisor and civil rights advocate – has died at age 86. He passed away at home, surrounded by family, according to his son.

Speaking on the Senate floor once debate began on the bill, Alexander characterized it as an example of 'runaway spending.'

Sen. Alexander Wants To Send The National Guard Back To The Mexican Border

July 11, 2014 at 7:43 am

As Congress considers what to do about the flood of unaccompanied minors flooding across the Mexican border, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is calling to send guardsmen. At a hearing in Washington on Thursday, he advocated dispatching soldiers to parts of the border where there is no wall or fence.

Newly-elected UAW president Dennis Williams announces the creation of Local 42 in Chattanooga on Thursday. Credit: UAW via Facebook

UAW Starts Chattanooga Chapter Despite Volkswagen Rejection

July 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

The United Auto Workers have started a local chapter in Chattanooga meant for Volkswagen workers, UAW local 42. Employees narrowly rejected the UAW earlier this year in a secret ballot at the plant, so union officials are trying another route to show how much support they have.

Candidate George Flinn recently returned from a trip to McAllen, Texas. He used photos of him by the border in his most recent ad. Credit: Flinn for Senate

What Eric Cantor’s Loss Has To Do With Immigration Jabs At Lamar Alexander

July 10, 2014 at 4:34 am

In the final weeks of campaigning, two Republicans challenging Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander are harping on the same issue – illegal immigration. Both Memphis businessman George Flinn and Rutherford County state Rep. Joe Carr have released ads trying to tie Alexander to the current influx on the southern border.

The Nashville Zoo already has an exhibit with elephants and giraffe, added in 2006. The expansion calls for a new 44-acre African exhibit that would include a boat ride between displays. Credit: Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo

Plan To Make Nashville Zoo A National Contender Calls For Lions, Rhinos And Gorillas

July 9, 2014 at 4:25 pm

The Nashville Zoo unveiled ambitious plans Wednesday for a $160 million expansion – effectively doubling the number of animals on display.

Year-to-date closings for the Greater Nashville area are up 3.2 percent with 15,336 through mid-year 2013. Image via Flickr

Nashville’s June Home Sales Pick Back Up — And Set Another Record

July 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Homes in Nashville are moving faster than previous months and selling for more than ever before, according to numbers for June released by the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

VGT specializes in making Class II gaming machines which are more like electronic bingo than traditional Class III slot machines. Credit: Hyun Lee via Flickr

A Franklin Man Just Hit The Jackpot On Indian Casino Slot Machines — And It Wasn’t By Playing Them

July 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm

A Franklin businessman stands to make more than a billion dollars by selling his company that designs and builds slot machines. Video Gaming Technologies, headquartered in Cool Springs, has quietly become one of the biggest players in tribal casinos.

The Tennessee Tech mascot Awesome Eagle climbed into an old tree with arborist Scott Winningham for a photo shoot. Credit: TTU Photo Services

Campus Pruning At Tennessee Tech Described As ‘War On Trees’

July 7, 2014 at 4:13 am

They’re calling it the “War on Trees” at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, according to a spokesperson. Chainsaws are revving this summer, pruning century-old hardwoods and chopping down others altogether. The campus arborist has been forced to defend his strategy in order to smooth things over on campus.