Anderson County receives $64,600 in funding to reduce tobacco use

Tennessee Commissioner and Anti-Tobacco at Anderson County Health Department

Anderson County has received almost $65,000 in funds to support initiatives that reduce tobacco use. Local officials recently received the check from Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner. (Photo Courtesy of Anderson County Health Department)

CLINTON—Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner visited the Anderson County Health Department on Friday to present $64,600 in funding as part of the Tennessee Tobacco Settlement Program.

Dreyzehner was in East Tennessee last week to present tobacco settlement checks to the Roane County Health Department ($38,860) and the Loudon County Health Department ($38,103) as well as the check to Anderson County.

Each county in Tennessee will receive funding annually during the three-year program to reduce the burden of tobacco use in the state.

Locally, the Anderson County Health Department is using the funds to support a new “Baby and Me—Tobacco Free” program as well as a partnership with Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County and the Coordinated School Health programs in each of the three school systems in Anderson County. [Read more...]

Senate approves Lake City’s name change to Rocky Top

Lake City Council Approves Rocky Top Name Change

The Lake City Council votes 4-0 in November to change the town’s name to Rocky Top, and Rep. John Ragan said he had draft legislation to approve the name change to introduce in the Tennessee General Assembly. (File photo)

WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today

A bill that will allow Lake City to officially change its name to Rocky Top was unanimously approved in the Tennessee Senate on Thursday, three days after the state House of Representatives also unanimously voted to support the measure.

Lake City Council members approved the name change, seen as a vital first step toward developing a Rocky Top theme park in the former coal mining town, in November. The bill will now go to Gov. Bill Halslam’s desk for his signature, then the Lake City Council must ratify it by a two-thirds majority.

The name change is seen as a necessary first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination, taking advantage of its two exits off of I-75. Plans call for an interactive 3-D theater, a restaurant, a water park and a hotel, as well as other attractions. [Read more...]

K-25: Large, flat, close to ORNL, interstate—good for economic development

Gov. Bill Haslam Visits ETTP/K-25

Sue Cange gives Gov. Bill Haslam, right, an update on the almost-completed demolition of the mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building. Cange is deputy manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management. Also pictured are Leo Sain, left, president of cleanup contractor UCOR, and Jeff Tucker, UCOR deactivation and decommissioning manager.

It was built during World War II to help enrich uranium for the world’s first atomic bombs. Then, it helped win the Cold War. Now, the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge presents a giant opportunity for economic development in Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam said during a tour last Friday.

“We have a real interest in what happens here,” Haslam said in a short meeting with reporters before getting a brief update on the demolition of the former mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building, which was once the world’s largest building under one roof.

The governor said the K-25 site, now known as East Tennessee Technology Park or Heritage Center, has 2,000 flat acres with infrastructure already in place, including roads and rails, and it’s three miles from Interstate 40 and seven miles from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory.

“We don’t have that opportunity in a lot of places,” Haslam said. “Finding 2,000 flat acres in East Tennessee is virtually impossible.” [Read more...]

Boyd to discuss Gov. Haslam’s ‘Drive to 55′ campaign at Altrusa

Randy Boyd

Randy Boyd

Randy Boyd, Knoxville CEO of Radio Systems and special education adviser to Gov. Bill Haslam, will discuss the statewide initiative “Drive to 55″ during a Wednesday luncheon in Oak Ridge.

Boyd will also discuss the Tennessee Promise, which aims to raise the percentage of Tennesseans with degrees or certificates from 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025, during a Wednesday meeting of the Altrusa Club at the Doubletree Hotel.

“The Tennessee Promise will provide all Tennessee high school graduates with the opportunity to attend a community college or Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) free of tuition and fees and provide them with a mentor to ensure their success,” Boyd said. [Read more...]

Gov. Haslam in Oak Ridge on Friday to discuss development, DOE cleanup

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam will be in Oak Ridge on Friday morning to discuss the U.S. Department of Energy’s environmental cleanup program and how it is enabling economic development in East Tennessee.

The government will meet with officials at the East Tennessee Technology Park and will also meet with reporters.

State awards Aisin, Eagle Bend training grants

Burns Phillips

Burns Phillips

Information from WYSH Radio

Two Clinton manufacturing facilities have been awarded Incumbent Worker Training grants by the state of Tennessee.

On Wednesday, Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced that a $25,000 grant has been awarded to Eagle Bend Manufacturing and that Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee Inc. received the same amount.

The Eagle Bend grant will provide 76 employees with training in repair/welder qualification and re-qualification, advanced product quality planning (APQP), and FANUC (handling tool operation and programming).

The Aisin grant will provide 10 of that company’s employees with training in mechanical class and maintenance. [Read more...]

UT professor tapped to lead national STEM education effort

Lou Gross

Lou Gross

KNOXVILLE—Part of a national effort to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics undergraduate education is being directed by a professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Three five-day National Science Foundation Ideas Labs—one for biology, one for engineering, and one for geosciences—are being held this month through April 4 in the Washington, D.C., area. Each lab involves participants from various disciplines and backgrounds, as well as prospective employers and representatives of scientific and professional societies. The goals of the labs are to incubate innovative approaches to improve undergraduate STEM education and produce research agendas that address workforce development needs.

A UT press release said Louis Gross, director of the university’s National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, will serve as director of the Biology Ideas Lab, to be held March 30 to April 4 in Leesburg, Va. [Read more...]

Gov. Haslam supports national preservation award for Alexander Inn

Alexander Inn Groundbreaking

Local, state, and federal officials join volunteers and nonprofit and business executives for a groundbreaking ceremony at the historic Alexander Inn in November.

Gov. Bill Haslam is supporting a nomination for a national historic preservation award for a project converting the Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge into an assisted living center.

Knox Heritage and East Tennessee Preservation Alliance have nominated the hotel for the 2014 The National Trust/Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Award for Federal Partnerships in Historic Preservation.

In a Feb. 25 letter, Haslam said he supports the nomination. The letter was sent to Stephanie Meeks at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C.

The Alexander Inn was built during World War II, when Oak Ridge raced to help build the world’s first atomic weapons as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. Guests who once stayed at the two-story hotel included Gen. Leslie Groves, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi. [Read more...]

Gov. Haslam appoints Mayor Beehan to state air pollution board

Tom Beehan

Tom Beehan

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan to the state Air Pollution Control Board.

It was one of 91 appointments to 45 state boards and commissions announced by the governor’s office on Thursday.

“Tennessee will be well-represented on these boards and commissions, and I want to thank these men and women for their commitment to serve their fellow Tennesseans,” Haslam said. [Read more...]

Haslam appoints task force to focus on education funding

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Group to study Basic Education Program formula

NASHVILLE—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday announced the creation of a task force to study the Basic Education Program, or BEP, which is the state’s funding formula for K-12 schools.

The most recent revision to the BEP, known as BEP 2.0, was adopted in 2007. The formula takes factors such as local property and sales tax revenue into account when calculating how much money Tennessee school districts will receive from the state each year. A number of districts, both large and small, have raised questions and concerns about the formula and whether it distributes funds in a fair and equitable manner.

“The last significant revision of the BEP was seven years ago, and education in Tennessee has changed a lot since then,” Haslam said. “It is the appropriate time to take a fresh look at the formula, identify strengths and weaknesses and determine whether or not changes should be made.” [Read more...]

Tennessee named ’2013 State of the Year’ for economic development

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Business Facilities magazine cites diverse top projects in award

NASHVILLE—Tennessee is the “2013 State of the Year,” according to Business Facilities magazine, a national economic development publication.

Tennessee’s top five economic development projects created a total of 6,900 jobs and $3.2 billion in capital investment, and they included seven expansions and three new recruitments. The magazine picked the state after evaluating the top five projects for the number of jobs created and amount of capital invested from Oct. 1, 2012, through Oct. 31, 2013.

“A lot of hard work goes into keeping Tennessee competitive, and I want to thank Business Facilities for recognizing the efforts of so many people across the state,” Gov. Bill Haslam said. “We understand that jobs are created when someone is willing to risk capital, and we will continue working to make Tennessee a great place to invest.” [Read more...]

Haslam appoints Kirby to Tennessee Supreme Court

Holly M. Kirby

Holly M. Kirby

NASHVILLE—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Holly M. Kirby of Memphis to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Kirby will succeed Janice M. Holder, who is retiring June 28.

Kirby, a lifelong Tennessean, has served as a member of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Western Section, since 1995. She was the first woman to serve on that court and has written more than 1,000 opinions on appeals from trial courts across the state.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Judge Kirby’s depth of experience to serve on the Tennessee Supreme Court,” Haslam said. “Her impressive record of service will benefit Tennesseans in this position, and I am pleased to announce her appointment.”

Kirby’s opinions have covered a range of civil law, including business and commercial litigation, employment law, tort law and family law. Prior to her appointment to the Tennessee Court of Appeals by Gov. Don Sundquist, Kirby was a partner at the Memphis law firm Burch, Porter and Johnson. [Read more...]