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.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Tennessee caused a stir earlier this year when it ran an audit of the state's 2015 graduating class. The number crunchers in Nashville reported that nearly a third of students who received a diploma didn't complete the required coursework. One in three.

Naturally, parents and politicians alike were baffled and more than a little bothered.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The end of summer is coming soon, so let's go south for the final installment in our tour of offbeat festivals.

BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: This is Blake Farmer in East Nashville reporting from the annual Tomato Art Festival.

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