Articles by: Blake Farmer

Metro Nashville Public Schools rebranded many of its high school reforms in recent years under the "Academies" program. The "Middle Prep" project is a similar effort to help describe some reforms already in place and others that are completely new. Credit: MNPS via Instagram

Nashville Schools Re-brand, Beef Up Middle Grades To Stem Student Loss

August 26, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Don’t call it “middle school” in Nashville any more. The public school system is re-branding grades five through eight as “middle preps” and adding foreign languages and extracurriculars in an effort to compete with private schools and other county systems.

State Sen. Jim Tracy declares victory prematurely. Credit: Dave Smith for WPLN

Tracy Opts To Concede Instead Of Dispute Primary Results

August 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

More than three weeks after voting ended, state Sen. Jim Tracy has conceded in the 4th Congressional District Republican Primary. Rep. Scott DesJarlais came out on top by just 38 votes.

PFC Cecil Harris was 19 when he went missing near the French/German border in World War II. Credit: TNVA

Shelbyville Soldier’s Remains Return 70 Years After He Went Missing

August 25, 2014 at 7:49 am

The remains of Private First Class Cecil Harris were found last year by a French national under a large rock with a crudely engraved “H” on it. U.S. officials excavated the burial site on hilltop near the French/German border and found Harris’ dog tags.

The Nashville Area exchange traded fund will invest in public companies headquartered in Davidson and adjacent counties. Founders, including Bill Decker of Decker Wealth Management, announced the fund Friday on the east bank of the Cumberland River. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville’s Investment Fund Hanging In There After Year One

August 25, 2014 at 4:12 am

CNBC called it a “wacky” idea when it launched a year ago – a fund that invests in companies solely because they’re based in a particular city, in this case – Nashville. The Nashville ETF has beat the odds, but maybe not for long.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee addresses the crowd during his State of the University address Friday morning during the 2014 Fall Faculty Meeting inside Tucker Theatre. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU President To Faculty: Start Caring About Grad Rates Or ‘You’re Not Going To Have A Job’

August 24, 2014 at 6:01 am

MTSU president Sidney McPhee’s frank speech at a Friday faculty meeting is still ringing in the ears of professors and campus staff.

Tritium is produced in the unit 1 reactor at Watts Bar. Currently, TVA is completing unit 2. Credit: Stephen Jerkins

TVA Raises Rates And Cuts Efficiency Programs To Fund Capital Projects

August 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Power bills will go up by 1.5 percent starting in October as part of a TVA rate hike approved by the utility’s board Thursday.

Dollar General has not said whether Family Dollar locations would be rebranded under a buyout. Credit: Dustin Peck Photography via Family Dollar

Family Dollar Stiffarms Dollar General $9.7B Buyout Bid

August 21, 2014 at 9:23 am

Family Dollar is citing anti trust concerns for its rejection.

Belmont University admissions officials say 2,000 new undergraduates are on campus this year, including more than 500 transfer students. Credit: Belmont

Belmont No Longer A ‘Small Liberal Arts College’ And Lipscomb Boasts Record Retention

August 21, 2014 at 5:44 am

Belmont University has more than doubled its enrollment since the year 2000.

Credit: alamosbasement via Flickr

With Improvement In Memphis, More Nashville Schools Become State’s Lowest-Performing

August 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Another 10 schools in Nashville have been deemed eligible for state takeover because of their slow rate of improvement. Tennessee education officials released their list of “priority” schools Tuesday, and the number in Nashville went up, while the figures in Memphis went down.

Dollar General is already the largest small-box retailer in the U.S. and has been expanding into new states in recent years. Credit: Dollar General

Dollar General Enters Bidding War For Family Dollar

August 18, 2014 at 6:47 am

According to a news release from the company, Dollar General has made a $9.7 billion all-cash counter-bid, which tops the cash and stock offer made by Dollar Tree three weeks ago.

The Volkswagen Academy currently has 53 students learning "mechatronics" over the course of three years. The 12 who completed their studies this month are the second graduating class of the program. Credit: VW

Volkswagen Brings German-Style Vocational Training To Tennessee

August 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm

The automaker has been pulling teenagers off the traditional American track for its German-style apprenticeship program in Chattanooga.

The truck burned for hours after slamming into the supports for the Peytonsville Rd. overpass in Williamson County. Credit: TDOT via Twitter

Second Nashville-Area Tanker Truck Explosion This Week Kills Driver, Closes I-65

August 15, 2014 at 8:01 am

Emergency responders received calls at 3:40 a.m. Friday with word that a tanker truck had hit the Peytonsville Rd. overpass. No other vehicles were involved, and police confirm the driver was the single fatality.

Democratic candidate Lenda Sherrill calls likely voters at her headquarters in Murfreesboro. While Sherrill hales from Monteagle, the highest concentration of voters in the 4th Congressional District is in Rutherford County. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

If DesJarlais Squeaks Out GOP Primary Win, Democratic Opponent Says She’ll Lay Off His Past

August 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm

State Sen. Jim Tracy’s campaign used that checkered personal history for attack ads. Apparently, it didn’t work as well as hoped, because he’s still 37 votes behind as provisional ballots are being counted one-by-one.

A student at the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival uses Scratch in a coding competition. In Nashville, schools have had to teach teachers the programming language before starting a new coding class. Credit: Ryan Somma via Flickr

Nashville Charter Schools Start Teaching Coding But First Must Teach Teachers

August 13, 2014 at 4:04 am

There’s a predicted shortage of a million coders over the next decade. But there’s another shortage that may be more pressing – the almost non-existence of coding teachers.

These women are counting ballots in a previous election. In Tennessee, there are now two kinds of provisional ballots - one is when someone doesn't have their photo ID, another is when a voter can't be found in the registry. Both are counted only if needed. Credit: Lance Fisher via Flickr

We Won’t Know The Final Tally On DesJarlais/Tracy For Weeks

August 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

It could be weeks before a final outcome is determined in the race between Congressman Scott DesJarlais and state Sen. Jim Tracy. The incumbent was almost considered the underdog following revelations that he once pressured a mistress to have an abortion. And Thursday night, both men claimed victory.

Cheryl Mayes was elected as chair of the MNPS board following the defeat of former chair Gracie Porter in 2012. Credit: MNPS

Nashville School Board Chair Ousted, Two New Faces Added

August 8, 2014 at 6:43 am

For the second election cycle in a row, the chair of Nashville’s school board has been voted out of office.

For the first seven months of 2014, GNAR reports home closings are up 3.2 percent compared to 2013. Credit: American Advisors Group via Flickr

Hot Home Sales In Nashville Mean Sellers ‘Ain’t Fixing Nothing’

August 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm

It continues to be a sellers real estate market in Nashville. New figures from July show high demand and low supply of homes.

The Tennessean newsroom will be cut by 15 percent according to plans unveiled Tuesday. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Tennessean Cuts Managers, Adds Reporters In Major Newsroom Shakeup

August 5, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Just as parent company Gannett spins off its newspaper business, The Tennessean has announced cuts and a complete reshuffling of its newsroom.

Under a new program that's just now being rolled out in all 50 states, districts who agree to a few conditions can get reimbursed for everyone's meal ticket. Credit: USDA via Flickr

Free Lunch Will Be A Novel Concept In Nashville’s More Affluent Schools

August 5, 2014 at 4:51 am

Pizza and hot ham and cheese sandwiches are on the menu for the first day of school in Nashville. And this year, all 85,000 students eat for free thanks to federal taxpayers – even kids in wealthy parts of town who tend to bring a sack lunch from home.

MWS officials say ground water eroded the concrete pipe, eventually weakening the wires that give the concrete its strength. Credit: MWS

Why Did A Nashville Water Main Break Mid-Summer? Maybe Poor Installation

August 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

It took less than a week to replace a 50-foot section of water main in south Nashville that burst, leaving 15,000 customers with reduced service. Now Metro Water Services officials are starting to explain what may have happened.