Articles by: Blake Farmer

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.

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

Autoworkers Union Gets Help From German Counterparts For Chattanooga Push

September 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Previously, lone representatives of VW’s works council and IG Metall have voiced support for the UAW effort in Chattanooga, but this letter of intent formalizes the support.

Gov. Bill Haslam has been pitching his Tennessee Promise free community college plan around the state, like at this event in Greeneville. Credit: TN Photo Services

Tennessee Universities Begin Adapting To Impact Of Free Community College

September 29, 2014 at 4:45 am

Four-year schools have sweetened scholarship packages and financial aid to transferring students.

Parents gathered Wednesday night to hear from Metro Schools superintendent Jesse Register. The purple shirts are people who identify with East Nashville United, which has opposed a plan to make the schools that feed Stratford and Maplewood a special "choice" zone. Credit: Emily West / WPLN

Inglewood Parents Make Plea To Keep Their School Open Amid East Nashville Shakeup

September 25, 2014 at 8:58 am

Parents crammed into the library of Inglewood Elementary Wednesday night to make their case for keeping the underperforming school open.

MTSU President Sydney McPhee on the right says Governor Bill Haslam promised as a candidate to build the science building

Why Did MTSU Enrollment Drop So Suddenly? President Says Students Can’t Pay

September 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Middle Tennessee State University is blaming a big enrollment drop-off on students’ ability to pay. While admission figures are only just now made final, president Sidney McPhee says the nearly five percent drop occurred just before the start of the semester.

Vanderbilt med students receive their white coats in a ceremony. Med school involves many traditions but a new project dubbed "Curriculum 2.0" is meant to modernize the experience. Credit: VUSM via Flickr

Vanderbilt Overhauling Med School Curriculum

September 24, 2014 at 5:31 am

Vanderbilt University is trying to rethink nearly every aspect of its medical school curriculum, and the American Medical Association likes where the school is headed.

The new school sits on Dickerson Pike, but it faces the side street. One parent said they were glad since across Dickerson Pike is an adult bookstore. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Report Finds Charters Have ‘Negative Fiscal Impact’ On Nashville District Schools

September 22, 2014 at 8:49 pm

“Charter schools will – with nearly 100 percent certainty – have a negative fiscal impact on Metro Schools.” That’s a direct quote from a study ordered by the board of education, confirming the views of several charter skeptics on panel.

Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain are instructors at Roane State Community College. Since 2005, Cantrell has taken students to spend time working on the Marine Resources Development Foundation's MarineLab project. Credit: Roane State

Tennessee Community College Instructors Prepare For 73 Days Under The Sea

September 22, 2014 at 5:00 am

Two Tennessee community college professors are prepping to spend most of the fall underwater in a lagoon off Key Largo, Florida. They’ll be submerged for 73-days straight in what amounts to an undersea apartment, setting a world record according to Guinness.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker is the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee. Credit: Office of Sen. Bob Corker via Facebook

Corker Votes To Arm Syrian Rebels Despite Calling Administration’s Plan ‘Unserious’

September 19, 2014 at 7:29 am

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker ultimately supported the Obama Administration’s short-term plan to arm Syrian rebels, even after berating Secretary of State John Kerry during a committee hearing this week.

Andre Agassi tells a class at Rocketship's school on Dickerson Pike that he never wanted to play tennis, but it allowed him to get into what he considers a more fulfilling job building schools. Agassi said he dropped out of school in 8th grade to play tennis. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Andre Agassi Backs Nashville Charter School Building As An Investor, Not A Philanthropist

September 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Tennis great Andre Agassi has been building charter schools since his retirement, and he toured his first Nashville facility Tuesday. At a ribbon cutting ceremony, Agassi described his conversion from an education philanthropist to investor.

Earlier this year, Alexander protested recent rule changes, saying in a floor speech that being a member of the minority party is increasingly like 'being asked to join the Grand Ole Opry and not being allowed to sing.' Image Source: Lamar Alexander/YouTube

Alexander Compares Ebola To A Fire, Says US Should Charge Toward The Flames

September 16, 2014 at 7:20 am

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander says US leaders need to take the deadly outbreak of Ebola as seriously as the militant group Islamic State.

Herb Slatery has been picked to serve eight years as Tennessee's Attorney General. He was named Governor Bill Haslam's general counsel in 2011. Prior to that, he was a private practice attorney in Knoxville. Credit: Jakob Lewis

Tennessee Supreme Court’s AG Pick Pleases Republicans, Rankles Democrats

September 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper has been passed over for a second term. Instead, the Supreme Court has named Governor Bill Haslam’s general counsel — Herb Slatery — as the state’s top attorney.