Blake Farmer en Country Music Legend Ray Price Dies At 87 Country music singer and songwriter Ray Price died Monday at the age of 87 at his ranch in Texas. Price was a Grammy Award Winner and who had more than 100 country hits in his decades-long career. A 1996 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, he was credited with pioneering a shuffle beat and walking bass line that became standard in Texas dance halls. Tue, 17 Dec 2013 01:06:00 +0000 Blake Farmer 41285 at Volkswagen Union Opposed By Tennessee Republican Officials When it comes to union organizing at an auto plant, the tension is typically between the workers and the management. But not at Volkswagen in Tennessee. There, the United Auto Workers is attempting to finally unionize the automaker's first foreign-owned plant in the South. And so far, Republican officials are the ones trying to stand in the way.<p>Just outside Chattanooga, in an idyllic industrial park, surrounded by green hills and even a nature park, Volkswagen built a plant a few years ago. It is still Volkswagen's only car plant in the U.S. Mon, 21 Oct 2013 21:43:00 +0000 Blake Farmer 38767 at Volkswagen Union Opposed By Tennessee Republican Officials Modern Hymn Writers Aim To Take Back Sunday <p></p> Tue, 09 Jul 2013 13:28:00 +0000 Blake Farmer 33691 at Modern Hymn Writers Aim To Take Back Sunday Why Did the FBI and IRS Raid Gov. Haslam's Family Business? <p>Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he was as surprised as anyone that FBI and IRS agents locked down the headquarters of his family’s company Monday. He says all he knows is that they were looking for “certain records.”&nbsp;</p><p>The governor remains a primary shareholder in Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J, though he has never disclosed the level of his investment. He stepped down as company president in 1998. Brother Jimmy has returned as CEO after leaving his post briefly last year when he bought the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.</p><p>Gov. Haslam was asked by reporters Tuesday if he was worried about any appearance of impropriety.</p><p>“Well sure. To say you didn’t would not exactly be honest. That’s a business that my family is involved in, people I care a lot about. So to say that it doesn’t feel like a big deal is wrong," said the governor. Tue, 16 Apr 2013 18:33:42 +0000 Blake Farmer 29525 at Effort to Place Armed Guards in Tennessee Schools Moving Through Legislature <p>A proposal meant to put more armed guards in Tennessee schools has begun moving forward in the General Assembly. It offers money for schools to hire retired police officers and allows teachers with law enforcement backgrounds to carry a gun to class.</p><p>Whether a retired officer hired part-time as a security guard or a teacher already on the payroll, both would have to go through at least 40 hours of special training.</p><p>The legislation has the backing of Governor Bill Haslam and has trumped other proposals aimed at more broadly allowing teachers to go armed to class.</p><p>Some Republicans still want to mandate armed guards in every school, but others say the only reason they support this bill is because it doesn’t. Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville says schools aren’t as dangerous as they’re made out to be. Thu, 04 Apr 2013 02:32:34 +0000 Blake Farmer 28937 at Lawmakers Reject Bill Allowing Private Firms to Operate Tennessee For-Profit Schools <p>For-profit charter schools have been trying to make inroads in Tennessee. But a bill allowing investor-owned firms to manage day-to-day operations has been rejected in the Senate Education Committee.</p><p>The Volunteer State has required charter schools to be run by non-profits, even though the legislature has been friendly to for-profits in other fields such as virtual education.</p><p>Republican Joey Hensley of Hohenwald says the state is already moving to increase the number of charter schools.</p><p>“Then turning around and opening it up to for-profit companies to begin coming in, I don’t know if it’s good or bad but it’s a little bit concerning to me,” said Hensley.</p><p>The bill failed, with most of the committee’s GOP members refusing to vote. Thu, 28 Mar 2013 14:34:55 +0000 Blake Farmer 28640 at Tennessee Governor Seeking "Third Way' on Medicaid Expansion <p></p><p>Tennessee is not exactly saying “yes” to expanding the state’s Medicaid program – known as TennCare. But it’s not saying “no” either.</p><p>Governor Bill Haslam made the announcement this morning to a joint assembly of the legislature, telling lawmakers he’s been working toward a “third option.”</p><p>“To leverage the federal dollars available to our state to transform health care in Tennessee without expanding our TennCare rolls," said the Republican Governor.</p><p>Haslam says he’d like to use the federal money to buy private health insurance for Tennesseans who have no other way to get it. Wed, 27 Mar 2013 20:24:49 +0000 Blake Farmer 28603 at Tennessee Governor Seeking "Third Way' on Medicaid Expansion Should Tennessee Reestablish Oversight Committees for Children's Safety Issues? <p>Some state lawmakers believe the Tennessee General Assembly may have gone too far with cost-cutting when it wiped out oversight committees looking out for children.</p><p>Governor Bill Haslam was asked whether he supports a push by Democrats to reestablish the panel that looked over the troubled Department of Children’s Services.</p><p>“You can’t have 133 bosses. That doesn’t work. But having said that, there is a legitimate role for legislative oversight, and we’d love to be a part of that conversation about what that should look like going forward," said the Governor.</p><p>Haslam says the debate should be about more than DCS. Tue, 26 Mar 2013 13:34:54 +0000 Blake Farmer 28506 at Charter School Panel Idea Gaining Steam in Tennessee <p>A Tennessee panel that could authorize charter schools to open anywhere in the state is moving forward against the objections of Democrats and a few rural Republicans.</p><p>The proposal would require that charter applicants first ask the local school board for permission to open a publicly funded, privately run school. If the answer is no, they could go to the new independent state panel that would have the final say-so.</p><p>Rep. Curtis Halford is a Republican from west Tennessee, where there are no charter schools at this point. He spoke against the state authorizer in a House committee.</p><p>“Is it just kind of like if you don’t get the answer you want from mom you go to dad?,” asked Halford. Wed, 13 Mar 2013 18:10:45 +0000 Blake Farmer 27881 at Debate is Underway in Tennessee Over Costs of Expanding TennCare <p>Opponents of expanding TennCare as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act say the country can’t afford to add to the national debt. But hospitals in Tennessee are pushing back, saying the money amounts to just seven-thousandths of one percent of the country’s red ink.</p><p>Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Wright Pinson held up a sheet of paper with a pin dot in the middle, representing the potential savings for no expansion compared to the country’s $16 trillion debt.</p><p>“I think that you would agree that weighing all of the conflicting politics and data, the health and welfare of the citizens of Tennessee far outweigh this dot,” Pinson said.</p><p>The federal government would cover 100 percent of the costs in the first three years. Pinson says the state should take the money and worry about the future later. Wed, 13 Mar 2013 09:00:00 +0000 Blake Farmer 27847 at