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VOL. 36 | NO. 2 | Friday, January 13, 2012

EDUCATION ISSUE

Closing the book on Suitcase U.

MTSU, UTC target each other’s backyard while trying to shake an old stereotype

Midstate high school students are increasingly looking to UT-Chattanooga as their choice for an affordable, in-state college. Likewise, students from East and West Tennessee are taking a closer look at MTSU.

Online college courses offer flexibility, value

When Diane Penney decided to go back to school to get an advanced degree, her time as a co-ed at the University of Alabama seemed a distant memory. In fact, her son Ryan is now a college student attending Samford University in Birmingham.

New software offers inmates smoother path to GED

A smile jumps onto his face when Antonio Gooch is asked about the day he got his GED. The 22-year-old convict, in an orange jumpsuit, remembers being in his jail pod with about 60 other offenders when his teacher, Edward Marks, walked in and shouted Gooch’s name.

Local Weather
Currently
Nashville, TN
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Partly Cloudy
Wind: North at 8.1 mph
Humidity: 45%

EVENTS

Ensuring Compliance When Hiring Foreign Nationals. Join Baker Donelson shareholder Mabel Arroyo-Tirado for an in-depth discussion Thursday on employing foreign nationals and recent updates on employment eligibility and verification. The presentation will kick off Baker Donelson’s 2012 Third Thursday Breakfast Briefing series. The event is free, with complimentary breakfast, and has been submitted for HRCI and CLE credit. Advance registration is requested. Information: bakerdonelson.com.

more events »

REAL ESTATE

Midstate home sales up in ’11, prices down

Home buyers looking for good deals returned to the Nashville region’s real estate market in 2011, driving sales up but holding prices down.

2011 Midstate home sales statistics by zip code

REALTY CHECK

Corker offers take on issues facing Realtors

The National Associations of Realtors (NAR) held its annual conference last month in Anaheim. During its governmental and legislative affairs session, NAR lobbyists expressed great concern over a new bill that had originated in the Senate. This bill would eliminate government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

TERRY McCORMICK

Good stats or not, Tebow’s fun to watch

I know you’re captivated by the Tim Tebow drama unfolding in Denver. After all, Sunday’s AFC Wild-Card Playoff game between the Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers drew a 29 share in the Nashville market.

NEWSMAKERS

Zeitlin & Co. names managing broker

Jessica Averbuch has been named managing broker of Zeitlin and Company, Realtors, for its Green Hills office. Averbuch is a partner in the firm and an 11-year company veteran.

I SWEAR

Please stop begging the question

From a newspaper article: “The question begs: Why go crazy celebrating a victory in late May like it was October?”

KAY'S COOKING CORNER

Hot cinnamon rolls: Those were the days

Well, the holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean the good treats and sweets have to stop! Not in my house, anyway.

STATE LEGISLATURE

Measure banning income tax passes House

NASHVILLE (AP) - A constitutional amendment to ban an income tax in Tennessee has passed the House.

Tipton Co. restored to Senate redistricting plan

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Senate has voted to restore Tipton County to the upper chamber's redistricting plan.

Proposal could affect Occupy Nashville protesters

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers are proposing legislation that could affect Occupy Nashville protesters.

Former Rep. Ty Cobb to seek new state Senate seat

NASHVILLE (AP) — Democrat Ty Cobb, a Columbia firefighter and former state representative, says he will run for a new Senate seat created in Tennessee's redistricting process.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Unemployment claims at 352,000, fewest since 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits plummeted last week to 352,000, the fewest since April 2008. The decline added to evidence that the job market is strengthening.

Stocks open higher as unemployment claims decline

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose in midday trading Thursday after a decline in applications for unemployment benefits and strong earnings reports from Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

December ends 3rd poor year for home building

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders ended 2011 with a third straight year of dismal home building and the worst on record for single-family home construction, despite modest improvement at the end of the year.

Consumer prices flat for 2nd straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer prices were unchanged last month, the latest sign that inflation remains tame. Lower gas prices offset rising costs for food, medical care and housing.

Bank of America reverses loss and earns $2 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America says it made $2 billion in the last three months of 2011 from selling its stake in a Chinese bank and selling debt. That offset losses and higher legal expenses in its mortgage business.

Former trailblazer Kodak files for Chapter 11

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Is Kodak's moment past?

Southwest posts $152M 4Q profit on strong traffic

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines Co. is making money even with higher fuel prices, thanks to full planes and rising fares.

Insurer UnitedHealth's 4Q profit jumps 20 percent

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s fourth-quarter net income jumped 20 percent and trumped Wall Street expectations, but the insurer left its 2012 earnings forecast unchanged as it saw signs of health care use starting to pick back up.

NATIONAL POLITICS

A Q&A on contested Internet anti-piracy bills

WASHINGTON (AP) — Online piracy costs U.S. copyright owners and producers billions of dollars every year, but legislation in Congress to block foreign Internet thieves and swindlers has met strong resistance from high-tech companies, spotlighted by Wikipedia's protest blackout Wednesday, warning of a threat to Internet freedom.

Study: Santorum tax plan swells deficit by $900B

WASHINGTON (AP) — The tax plan by Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum would cut taxes for most Americans while swelling the federal budget deficit by $900 billion in a single year, according to an independent study.

Obama, GOP back in tussle over oil pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Congress are back where they were before Christmas, locked in an election-season tussle over a proposed 1,700-mile oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.


WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18
STATE LEGISLATURE

'Don't Say Gay' bill to be delayed in committee

NASHVILLE (AP) - The sponsor of a measure that seeks to ban Tennessee public schools from teaching about gay issues says he plans to delay a vote on the proposal.

GOP Rep. Hensley to run for new state Senate seat

NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican state Rep. Joey Hensley says he plans to run for a new state Senate district in southern Middle Tennessee.

House votes to reinsert Tipton into Senate seat

NASHVILLE (AP) - The state House has passed a new version of a redistricting bill that corrects an omission of Tipton County from the Senate plan.

NASHVILLE AREA

Metro Nashville Council OKs backyard chickens

NASHVILLE (AP) - Nashville residents will be legally able to raise backyard chickens, but with no boys allowed.

STATEWIDE

TEA recommends evaluation system changes

NASHVILLE (AP) - Teachers who "meet expectations" in their evaluation would be eligible for tenure under changes the Tennessee Education Association is recommending be made to the state's new teacher evaluation system.

Tennessee touted for auto industry work

NASHVILLE (AP) - A manager for an automotive supplier says Tennessee is rapidly becoming a major hub for the industry.

IRS touts value of e-filing with tax season here

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Internal Revenue Service has opened the 2012 electronic tax return filing season by touting the value of e-filing.

Renasant Corp.'s 4thQ profit rises

TUPELO, Miss (AP) — Renasant Corp. says fourth-quarter profit rose on the strength of its expansion.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Dow, S&P 500 close at their highest since July

NEW YORK (AP) — A surprisingly strong report on the housing market and the prospect of more cash for the International Monetary Fund to fight off a financial crisis powered stocks Wednesday to their highest close since last summer.

Buyer interest leaves homebuilders less gloomy

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. homebuilders are growing a little less pessimistic about the depressed housing market after seeing more people say they might be open to buying a home this year.

Wholesale prices declined slightly last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices fell last month because companies paid less for food and energy, evidence that inflation remains tame.

7 charged in $61M single-stock insider trade case

NEW YORK (AP) — A hedge fund co-founder, a hedge fund portfolio manager, four financial analysts and a Dell Inc. employee teamed up in a record-setting insider trading scheme that netted more than $61.8 million in illegal profits based on trades of a single stock, authorities said Wednesday as they described a cozy network of friends in finance who made the most of their connections with corrupt employees of technology companies.

Factory output soared in December, lifting economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output surged in December by the most in year. Stronger demand for business equipment, vehicles and energy offered the most visible evidence that manufacturing has roared back from the depths of the recession.

Wikipedia editors question site's blackout

NEW YORK (AP) — Can the world live without Wikipedia for a day? The shutdown of one of the Internet's most-visited sites is not sitting well with some of its volunteer editors, who say the protest of anti-piracy legislation could threaten the credibility of their work.

World Bank warns of global growth slowdown

BEIJING (AP) — The World Bank warned Wednesday of a possible slump in global economic growth and urged developing countries to prepare for shocks that could be more severe than the 2008 crisis.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Occupy protesters mass outside White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — An apparent smoke bomb was thrown over the fence of the White House as hundreds of Occupy protesters massed outside the gates.

Congress revisiting bruising payroll tax cut fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — With television lights glaring, 20 lawmakers will gather next week to revisit the fight that consumed Congress before Christmas over renewing a Social Security payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits.

House GOP chair got discounted loan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Republican campaign chairman, Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, has been notified that he received a discounted mortgage from the former Countrywide Financial Corp.


TUESDAY, JANUARY 17
STATE LEGISLATURE

'Don't Say Gay' bill once again before lawmakers

NASHVILLE (AP) - A measure that seeks to ban Tennessee public schools from teaching about gay issues is once again before lawmakers.

Tenn. Senate to redo redistricting after omission

NASHVILLE (AP) - Thought Tennessee's arduous redistricting process was over? Not so fast.

Harwell opposes changes to Tenn. open meetings law

NASHVILLE (AP) - House Speaker Beth Harwell has voiced opposition to efforts to water down Tennessee's open meetings law and has called on a Republican colleague to drop a bill seeking to make changes to the current rules.

NASHVILLE AREA

Former law school manager charged in theft

NASHVILLE (AP) — A former Vanderbilt University Law School manager has been arrested in the theft of more than $600,000 from the university.

Ray doubted jury would believe racists killed King

NASHVILLE (AP) — James Earl Ray doubted a jury would believe a defense proposal to blame a conspiracy for the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., according to letters he wrote to his lawyer as he tried to win a trial and withdraw his own guilty plea in the 1968 slaying.

Cracker Barrel founder Dan Evins dies

LEBANON (AP) — The founder of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain, Dan Evins, has died at 76.

Health care executive wins 2012 McWherter award

NASHVILLE (AP) — A health care executive has been named the 2012 Ned R. McWherter Leadership Award winner.

STATEWIDE

Tenn Lottery head likes new Powerball changes

NASHVILLE (AP) — The head of the Tennessee Lottery says players in the state will like changes to the Powerball game because of the larger jackpots.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Big banks must show break-up plans under new rule

WASHINGTON (AP) — The largest U.S. banks must show how they would break up their assets if they were in danger of failing, under a rule approved Tuesday.

Average age of US vehicles hits record 10.8 years

DETROIT (AP) — That clunker in America's driveway has reached a record old age, but there are signs that people may be growing confident enough in the economy to get a whiff of that fresh new car scent very soon.

Citi misses forecasts; 4Q profit down 11 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Choppy financial markets hurt Citigroup's investment banking profits, and the bank missed Wall Street expectations. The bank said Tuesday that profit fell 11 percent in the last three months of last year.

Wells Fargo 4Q profit rises; deposits, loans grow

NEW YORK (AP) — Wells Fargo & Co. says its fourth-quarter profit rose 20 percent, helped by better performance of its loans, growth in deposits and a steadying mortgage business.

TD Ameritrade fiscal 1Q profit up 5 percent

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — TD Ameritrade said Tuesday that its fiscal first-quarter net income grew 5 percent and its revenue was almost unchanged as the online brokerage's trading activity slowed amid worries about the economy.

Stocks close up on Europe debt sales, China growth

Slight improvements in Europe's troubled debt markets and China's economy were enough to lift stocks on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose as many as 151 points in the morning before fading to a 60-point gain at the close.

NATIONAL POLITICS

In the super PAC era, do handshakes even matter?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Forget kissing babies on the campaign trail. The millions of dollars' worth of political advertisements airing before the early primary elections are turning out to be money well spent: The ads have affected primary results more than other forms of campaigning, including personal appearances by candidates, campaign speeches or town hall meetings, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

Analysis: Presidential races flummox GOP's right

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican Party's steadily rightward drift, exemplified by the tea party movement's muscle, keeps hitting a quadrennial paradox that frustrates social conservatives: presidential primaries.

FACT CHECK: Distortions in GOP debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney ignored the most significant expansion of trade ties in nearly two decades when he accused the Obama administration Monday night of doing nothing to open new markets. Rick Santorum claimed to be taking purely the high road in campaign ads even as a new one from him veered from that path.

Occupy protesters to gather outside Capitol

WASHINGTON (AP) — Protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement will meet outside the Capitol in Washington for what participants hope will become the largest gathering of Occupy activists from around the country.


FRIDAY, JANUARY 13
NASHVILLE AREA

Groups cancel Music City Center conventions

NASHVILLE (AP) — Two groups have canceled planned conventions at Nashville's $585 million Music City Center over concerns the project will not be completed on time, and a third group might have to change plans as well.

STATEWIDE

Tenn. Senate approves new congressional maps

NASHVILLE (AP) - State lawmakers have approved new boundaries for the 132 seats in the Tennessee General Assembly and nine seats in the U.S. House.

Senate chairman opposes changes to sunshine law

NASHVILLE (AP) - The chairman of a Senate committee says he's against changes to the state's Open Meetings Act he believes would prevent transparency and undermine the public's trust in government.

POST rescinds rules on immigration status checks

NASHVILLE (AP) - After being sued for creating rules in secret, a state commission on Friday rescinded a policy that directed local jailers to check the immigration status of detainees.

Tennessee business tax revenue up in December

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee revenue collections in December were $965.7 million, more than $123 million more than the budgeted estimate, but the state finance commissioner said revenue in future months may not show the same growth.

Tenn. House approves GOP redistricting plan

NASHVILLE (AP) - The state House on Thursday approved a Republican plan to redraw the chamber's 99 districts, overriding Democrats' objections that it placed five African-American incumbents into three seats, ensuring that at least two of them would be forced out of office.

1,100 jobs lost in Food Lion closings in Tennessee

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — The closing of 25 Food Lion grocery stores in Tennessee and greatly reducing operations at a distribution center in Clinton is displacing about 1,100 workers.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Best in show: 6 gadgets that defined Consumer Electronics Show

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Cheaper tablets, thinner laptops and an array of sleeker TVs stood out at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Housing bust still haunts the banks

NEW YORK (AP) — The economy may be healing, but banks are suffering from a housing hangover.

JPMorgan earnings miss, Europe drag stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in morning trading after a rare earnings miss for JPMorgan Chase, the country's largest bank, and as reports swirled that France and other European governments may get their ratings cut soon.

Retail sales weaken in Dec. but cap a record year

WASHINGTON (AP) — America's retailers enjoyed a record 2011 and their first $400 billion sales months ever. But the final month of the year was a dud.

Rate on 30-year mortgage drops to record 3.89 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fixed mortgage rates fell once again to a record low, offering a great opportunity for those who can afford to buy or refinance homes. But few are able to take advantage of the historic rates.

Home Depot to hire 70K workers for spring

ATLANTA (AP) — Home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc. said Thursday that it will hire 70,000 seasonal workers for the spring season, its biggest season.

US gov't on pace for smaller deficit in 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal deficit was lower in the first quarter of the 2012 budget year than the same period last year. Yet, the imbalance remains high by historical standards and should keep lawmakers debating tax increases and spending cuts through Election Day.

Obama requests $1.2T hike in borrowing limit

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama asked Congress Thursday for another $1.2 trillion increase in the nation's debt limit, a request that is largely a formality but which carries election-year implications.

November trade defict hits $47.8 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit widened in November for the first time in five months. Exports fell for a second straight month while imports rose to an all-time high, driven by rising demand for oil and foreign-made cars.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Documents show how Fed missed housing bust

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ben Bernanke presided over his first meeting as Federal Reserve chairman in March 2006 believing the nation's economy could pull off a "soft landing" from falling home prices. Three months later, Bernanke had begun to grasp that he and others had underestimated the risk housing posed to the economy.

GOP candidates fail to get on some primary ballots

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many of Mitt Romney's presidential challengers are having trouble fulfilling a fundamental requirement of running for public office: getting on the ballot.

Conservatives torn over defending, opposing Romney

WASHINGTON (AP) — Torn between reality and their political dreams, leading conservatives are defending Mitt Romney against attacks on his work in the private sector even as they search for a more palatable candidate amid a growing sense that his nomination may be certain.

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