Blake Farmer (Nashville Public Radio)

Capitol Hill Reporter and Assistant News Director at WPLN in Nashville

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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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Music News
2:28 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Modern Hymn Writers Aim To Take Back Sunday

Modern hymn writers Kristyn and Keith Getty run through their song "In Christ Alone" at their home near Nashville's Music Row.
Courtesy of Stephen Jerkins

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 10:35 am

There was a time when hymns were used primarily to drive home the message that came from the pulpit. But then came the praise songs.

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Culture
8:47 am
Tue June 11, 2013

A Meeting On Tolerance Turns Into A Shouting Match

Sabina Mohyuddin was heckled as she spoke at the town meeting last week in Manchester, Tenn.
William Hobbs

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 11:33 am

The public meeting in Manchester, Tenn., about 70 miles from Nashville, was supposed to address and tamp down discrimination toward Muslims there.

But instead it turned into a shouting match.

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Government
3:46 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

TN Senate Compromises On Arming Teachers

The Tennessee Senate has signed off on a compromise plan to allow teachers with a law enforcement background to carry a gun to class. But several Republican lawmakers objected, calling the proposal “neutered.”

Bills that would have broadly allowed teachers to go armed failed to get support.

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Government
2:21 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

TN Gov. Bill Haslam Says He Was As Surprised As Anyone That FBI And Internal Revenue Service Agents

Governor Bill Haslam says he was as surprised as anyone that FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents locked down the headquarters of his family’s company Monday.

“They came in looking for certain records, and that’s all I know,” Haslam told reporters at the state capitol.

The governor remains a primary shareholder in Pilot Flying J, which produces $20 billion in annual revenue. He stepped down as president of the company in 1998 to pursue another business venture and eventually enter politics.

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