Articles by: Blake Farmer

On a per capita basis, Tennessee ranked no. 2 in the U.S. for prescription abuse in a 2013 study. Credit: Michael Chen via Flickr

Vanderbilt Surgeon Finds One in Five Of His Patients Is Pain Pill Shopping

by / on March 31, 2014

An orthopedic surgeon at Vanderbilt has done a very personal study on the problem doctor shopping. He found that 20 percent of his own patients were double-dipping on pain pills.

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Christian Koch comes to Chattanooga from China, where he helped get another VW factory going. Credit: VW

Volkswagen Replaces Chattanooga Chief Weeks After Failed Union Vote

by / on March 27, 2014

Volkswagen is replacing the head of its plant in Chattanooga. The move comes six weeks after a failed union vote. Frank Fischer is moving back to Germany, according to an announcement from the company.

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Sebelius To Hit Nashville On Obamacare Whistlestop Tour

Sebelius To Hit Nashville On Obamacare Whistlestop Tour

by / on March 26, 2014

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will make a stop in Nashville Thursday. She’s on a last-minute tour ahead of the deadline to enroll for health insurance.

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Tennessee Now Has The Country’s Largest Share Of Minimum Wage Workers

Tennessee Now Has The Country’s Largest Share Of Minimum Wage Workers

by / on March 24, 2014

New numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics make Tennessee the top spot for making $7.25 an hour.

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Sen. Bob Corker meets with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce in 2012. Credit: Nashville Chamber via Flickr

Corker Finds Upside In Obamacare: Employers Can Stop Providing Insurance

by / on March 22, 2014

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker sees at least one good outcome from the Affordable Care Act. He says employers should be able to stop providing health insurance to workers.

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Producer John Carter Cash recorded new parts on an album made by his father in the early 1980s in the Cash Cabin Studios in Hendersonville, Tenn. Credit: Stephen Jerkins

Masterpiece Or Pretty Good Songs? Johnny Cash Estate Releases Lost Album

by / on March 21, 2014

Johnny Cash is out with an album of new music more than a decade after his death. His son – John Carter Cash – has polished some forgotten tunes that were sitting around collecting dust. And he says they show the lighter side of the “man in black.”

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The FedEx Forum uses revenue from taxing NBA players to subsidize recruiting events to the facility. Credit: Otama via Flickr

Compromise Repeals Jock Tax For NHL Players

by / on March 20, 2014

After more than a year of negotiation, compromise has been reached to end Tennessee’s special tax on professional athletes. The so-called “jock tax” is considered the highest in the nation and applies to both home and visiting players.

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On Thursday, Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores. Credit: TN Photo Services

Year’s First Public Bill Signing For Haslam: Wine In Supermarkets

by / on March 20, 2014

A proposal allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores got special treatment at the state capitol Thursday. Governor Bill Haslam held his first public bill signing of the year.

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Failed Proposal To Elect Tennessee School Board Reveals Broader Motivations

Failed Proposal To Elect Tennessee School Board Reveals Broader Motivations

by / on March 19, 2014

It looks like Governor Bill Haslam will keep appointing members of the state school board. But a failed proposal to take that power away reveals the motivations behind a legislative power grab.

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Recent events held by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have attracted hecklers. Credit: GovChristie via Flickr

Tennessee GOP Nabs Governor Chris Christie For Annual Fundraiser

by / on March 19, 2014

The Tennessee Republican Party has recruited a GOP lightning rod to keynote its annual fundraiser. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will speak at the Statesmen’s Dinner in May.

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Beyond Russian Sanctions, Corker Calls For ‘Security Assistance’ In Ukraine

Beyond Russian Sanctions, Corker Calls For ‘Security Assistance’ In Ukraine

by / on March 19, 2014

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker says the U.S. should do what it can to “crush” Russia economically and help rebuild Ukraine’s military.

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Governor Bill Haslam's voucher proposal would be restricted to low-income students in low-performing schools, which are mostly in Memphis and Nashville. Haslam has not made vouchers a priority, instead moving forward reluctantly. Several conservative groups - including the Beacon Center - have made vouchers a core issue. Credit: Elizabeth Albert via Flickr

Is Governor Haslam’s Voucher Proposal Being Pulled For Good?

by / on March 18, 2014

The fate of school vouchers in Tennessee was thrown into doubt Tuesday as the governor’s proposal was effectively withdrawn from consideration in the state House. The sponsoring lawmaker says it’s just a scheduling issue.

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Haslam Leans On Teachers To Sway Public Over Common Core

Haslam Leans On Teachers To Sway Public Over Common Core

by / on March 18, 2014

Governor Bill Haslam is trying to show public opinion is on his side when it comes to Common Core, even if the legislature is turning against him.

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Impending Insurance Mandate Drives More Than Expected To TennCare

Impending Insurance Mandate Drives More Than Expected To TennCare

by / on March 18, 2014

People are flooding the state’s Medicaid program – known as TennCare. They’re trying to get coverage to avoid a penalty under the Affordable Care Act. State officials were expecting people who were already eligible for government-funded health care to sign up – just not this many.

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Every lawmaker in the chamber stood and applauded as Gov. Bill Haslam described his plan to pay community college tuition for anyone who needs it during his State of the State address in February. Credit: Stephen Jerkins

To Sell Free Community College Plan, Tennessee Governor Meets Universities In The Middle

by / on March 18, 2014

Governor Bill Haslam is starting to compromise on his administration’s proposal to pay the full tuition for anyone going to community college.

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Conservative activists around the country have attacked Common Core for not including cursive instruction. However, Tennessee education officials say state standards have never mandated cursive. Credit: Josh Hallet via Flickr

Meet The Mom Pushing To Require Tennessee Students To Know Cursive

by / on March 17, 2014

Tennessee school children may soon be required to learn cursive, which has never been mandated. A family from Columbia is responsible for making handwriting a legislative issue.

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Anti-Union VW Workers Go To Court To Keep Company ‘Neutral’ Next Time

Anti-Union VW Workers Go To Court To Keep Company ‘Neutral’ Next Time

by / on March 13, 2014

Three workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant have sued the automaker in federal court. They accuse the company of aiding the United Auto Workers in a failed unionization effort, and they hope to keep the company from doing it again.

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In Final Minutes Of Marathon Meeting, State Senators Pass For-Profit Charter Schools

In Final Minutes Of Marathon Meeting, State Senators Pass For-Profit Charter Schools

by / on March 13, 2014

A bill paving the way for investor-owned companies to run charter schools in Tennessee passed at the end of a nearly six-hour committee meeting Wednesday night. Weary members of the Senate Education panel voted six to three, sending the proposal on to the full Senate.

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Federally-trained Certified Application Counselors and Obamacare Navigators helped uninsured Nashvillians sign up for coverage on Monday. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

For Its Size, Tennessee Obamacare Enrollment Stands Out

by / on March 11, 2014

Roughly 18,000 Tennesseans signed up for plans on the new health insurance exchange in February. That’s a drop from the prior month – reflecting a national trend – even as the enrollment deadline is just a few weeks out.

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Many of those at Tuesday's rally complained of an increasing reliance on temporary workers, including universities who refuse to bring adjunct faculty into full time roles. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Unions Rally At Tennessee Capitol, Say Living Wage Isn’t Lost Cause

by / on March 11, 2014

Unions from around the state rallied at the Tennessee capitol Tuesday in support of raising the minimum wage, despite the defeat of a minimum wage proposal last month.

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