Blake Farmer (Nashville Public Radio)

Capitol Hill Reporter and Assistant News Director at WPLN in Nashville

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Politics
12:25 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Tennessee’s Republican Supermajority Gets Even Bigger

Credit Montgomery County Republican Women/TN / Facebook

Republicans picked up a few more seats in the state legislature. Knoxville teacher and Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson fell to challenger Eddie Smith, who got big help from the state’s Republican Party.

Democrat John Tidwell of New Johnsonville was defeated by his Republican opponent – Jay Reedy, a farmer and veteran. The district includes Houston, Humphreys and part of Montgomery County.

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Politics
9:27 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Poll Shows Many Tennesseans Undecided On Abortion Amendment

Early voting runs through Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 4.
Credit Bobby Allyn / Nashville Public Radio

Ads dominating the airwaves for and against Tennessee’s Amendment 1 still may find a receptive audience. A sizeable share of voters haven’t made up their minds about the measure the gives the legislature more leeway to restrict abortions.

An MTSU poll finds 15 percent of voters remain undecided. That block of uncommitted voters could be big enough to sway the outcome given that 39 percent of respondents supported the proposal, and 32 percent opposed it.

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Government
10:25 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Some 101st Airborne Troops Fear Ebola More Than Enemy Fighters

Lance Dennee WKMS

One of the military’s most heavily deployed Army divisions since 9/11 is prepping for a mission where flack jackets will do very little and rubber gloves save lives. The 101st Airborne leaves for Liberia over the next few weeks. And soldiers say in some ways, Ebola is a more intimidating enemy than insurgents.

“I mean, it’s nice that we’re not worried about getting shot at. But the threat is everywhere now,” says Spec. Cody Adams, an MP who got back from Afghanistan a year ago.

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Government
2:42 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Fort Campbell Hospital Makes Room to Treat Retirees

U.S. Army Captain Sharika Labrie from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital administers a flu vaccine to retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Troy Johnson during Retiree Appreciation Day in 2010. In 2004, BACH had to quit seeing retirees on a regular basis because so many doctors and nurses were deployed.
Credit Army Medicine / Flickr

While VA hospitals are dealing with long wait times, Fort Campbell’s health system has excess capacity. Blanchfield Army Community Hospital has reopened its facilities to a limited number of retirees for the first time in a decade. Enrollment was cut off to veterans in 2004 because so many doctors and nurses were deployed to the Middle East.

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Remembrances
7:06 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

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.

Economy
4:43 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Volkswagen Union Opposed By Tennessee Republican Officials

Volkswagen's car plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., is the company's only one in the U.S. It's also the only VW plant around the world without a workers union.
Volkswagen

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:10 am

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.

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Shutdown
10:33 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Even If It Doesn’t Get Paid Back, Austin Peay Covering Soldier-Student Tuition

Active duty military can get up to $4,500 for college work per year. But the tuition assistance program was suspended October 1.
Credit United States Forces - Iraq via Flickr

Austin Peay State University may lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process, but it plans to float tuition for soldier-students if the government shutdown continues.

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Healthcare
2:25 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Is $119 For Obamacare Insurance A Good Deal In Tennessee?

Credit http://blog.medi-share.org

Tennessee’s biggest Obamacare critics are trying to squelch any excitement for cheaper-than-expected insurance rates – 16 percent lower than original estimates. And the White House announced this week that the state will have some of the least expensive plans in the country.

The Administration is highlighting what barebones coverage would cost a 27-year-old man. According to the tables – $119 a month on average.

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Government
7:36 am
Fri August 2, 2013

In Shrinking Army, Vice Chief Says There Won’t Be Room For Everyone

The former commander of Fort Campbell is back on post this week preparing to help the Army slim down. He says some who thought they’d make a career of the military will have to leave.

The Army is already marching its numbers down to fewer than 500,000 in uniform. And further budget cuts being considered could chop another 100,000 from the ranks.

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Education
3:17 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

TN Higher Ed Warms Up To New State Sponsored Online Degree Program

Credit http://www.wgu.edu

An adult online degree program called Western Governors University officially opens in Tennessee on Tuesday. Lawmakers and even some higher education administrators have had to warm up to the concept.

Legislators were hesitant to spend $5 million to open an office of Western Governors University or WGU. After all, Tennessee’s existing public colleges could have started a similar program, targeting people who have some college credit and never finished a degree. But with prodding from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, it was decided WGU could do a better job.

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