Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.

Copyright 2017 Nashville Public Radio. To see more, visit Nashville Public Radio.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Reading isn't usually a competitive sport. But it's become one for Braille readers because of a lack of excitement about Braille.

Right now, the Los Angeles-based Braille Institute is putting on regional competitions like this one in a classroom at the Tennessee School for the Blind.

A braille reading competition actually looks more like a typing contest.

As competition begins, students flip through their packets. Their spread fingers sweep over the square pages.

Some of the first job approval numbers show President Donald Trump losing support in Tennessee. An MTSU poll released Wednesday suggests he's no more popular than President Obama was during his first few months in office.

About a third of Tennessee students who graduated from high school in 2015 did so without earning the necessary credits. That revelation came late last month in a report by the state's education department — a report meant to explore why so many Tennessee students are having trouble in college. For the first time, state officials led an audit to see whether graduates were fulfilling the state's graduation requirements. One in three was not.

The Trump Administration gave the Tennessee Walking Horse industry some breathing room this week. A regulatory hold stalled a batch of new rules aimed at preventing abuse of the naturally high-stepping breed.

Update: 4:50 p.m.

Authorities in Gatlinburg have now confirmed three fatalities related to the fast-moving wildfires that roared through the mountain town last night. No other information has been released about the deaths except that they were outside of the town of Gatlinburg.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's an estate sale for the ages. Stuff belonging to Bill Monroe, the "Father of Bluegrass," is on sale this weekend just outside of Nashville. As the patriarch of a genre and of a passionate musical family, artifacts from his rise to prominence are in high demand.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A one-of-a-kind statute that criminalized drug use by pregnant women is now on track to expire in Tennessee. Blake Farmer of member station WPLN reports that the so-called fetal assault law didn't work as planned.

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