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VOL. 42 | NO. 7 | Friday, February 16, 2018

Up, up and not going away

Tower climber, 73, not ready to step down from 1,300-foot ascents

Maybe he likes fresh air. Or maybe it’s the view. Whatever the case, and long past the age where many consider the retirement milestone, John Hettish continues to strap on a safety harness, fire up the camera atop his helmet and climbs more than a thousand feet up radio towers to conduct repairs and maintenance.

Hettish on safety, equipment and troublesome climbs

Safety: “I’ve never come close to falling from a tower in the 46 years I’ve been doing this, and to the best of my knowledge none of the people I have trained have come close, either.

Tower 101

What’s the difference between all those towers that dot the ridges around Middle Tennessee? Plenty. And don’t just call something an antenna.

Retirement age is just a number

Given the hive of activity that surrounds FiftyForward, a multi-faceted provider of services for adults over 50 in Middle Tennessee, it’s hard to imagine that many of them are well past the so-called retirement age of 65.

Local Weather

Weather in Nashville, TN


Chamber North Meet-up. This month’s topic is JUMP, the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership. No registration is required. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will not be provided, but attendees are encouraged to support Market House vendors. Nashville Farmers Market – The Picnic Tap, 900 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. Tuesday, 4:30-6 p.m. Fee: Complimentary for Chamber members and future members. $10 for future members after two complimentary visits. Information: mwortendyke@nashvillechamber.com, http://web.nashvillechamber.com

more events »


Details slow plan to shrink UT’s Board of Trustees

Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to restructure the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees appears to be a work in progress.

Black draws flak for lobbying against medical marijuana bill

Medical marijuana legislation sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison is hitting a hurdle with gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Diane Black opposing it and her husband trying to kill the measure.


Kerr finds winding path to success in Music City

Les Kerr, purveyor of what he calls “hillbilly blues Caribbean rock ’n’ roll” in a town where faux-cowboy music and lusty songs about pickup trucks reign, leans back in a chair in his “music room/office” and noodles with the 1975 Ovation guitar his grandfather gave him as a high school graduation present.


When is a strong economy, real estate market a negative?

There have been many occasions when I have rued that day 39 years ago when my lifelong friend Lee Williams suggested that I join him in the real estate profession. Those rare occurrences have been greatly overshadowed with fun, exciting and rewarding experiences, many of which you see revealed here each week.


Top Middle Tennessee residential sales for January 2018

Top residential real estate sales, January 2018, for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

US mortgage rates climb to a nearly 4-year peak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates jumped this week to their highest level in nearly four years, a sign that the prospect of higher inflation is steadily increasing the cost of borrowing to buy a home.


Predators not happy about missing Olympics

Growing up in Finland, Predators goalie Pekka Rinne always imagined what it would be like to represent his native country on sports’ greatest stage – the Olympic Games.


Ross Bryan Associates board adds 2, promotes 2

Michael Paris and Brent Thornton have joined the board of directors of Ross Bryan Associates as vice presidents. Current board members Steven Qualls and Kurt Boyd have been named associate principals.


Fisk receives $1M gift from board member

Fisk University has announced a $1 million gift from Robert W. Norton, a retired Pfizer executive and member of the Fisk University Board of Trustees, and his wife Janice. The Norton’s gift will be used to provide scholarships for deserving students.


Learning to deal with the differences between sexes

The meeting went well. Everybody was there on time, discussions were lively, ideas presented, and you wrapped up with a good feeling.


Be careful in aligning your advertising with issues

Many businesses use socially and civically conscious marketing to both demonstrate their commitment to causes and connect with consumers who share similar interests.


Have you and your job lost that loving feeling?

The month of love is upon us again. Happy Valentine’s Week! It always happens just after we create our latest New Year’s resolutions, and we’re often still thinking about career goals and future plans.


Bredesen urges tighter mental illness checks for guns

NASHVILLE (AP) — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen says the Florida school shooting shows the need for more rigorous background checks to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people.

Report: 6 UT employees violated sexual misconduct policies

KNOXVILLE (AP) — In the last two years, six cases of sexual misconduct by faculty or staff at the University of Tennessee Knoxville led to those employees resigning or disciplinary action being taken.


Facebook to verify ads with postcards after Russian meddling

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook will soon rely on centuries-old technology to try to prevent foreign meddling in U.S. elections: the post office.


European shares drift lower as traders take a breather

LONDON (AP) — European shares drifted lower Monday as investors paused for breath following a sizeable rally last week. Despite the move lower, there are few signs of the turmoil that gripped stock markets earlier this month. U.S. stock markets are closed for Presidents Day.

Consumers Energy to stop burning coal by 2040

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Consumers Energy will phase out electricity production from coal by 2040 to slash emissions of heat-trapping gases that cause global warming, the Michigan utility's president and CEO told The Associated Press.

Buffett wins 10-year, $1M bet with hedge fund managers

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Ten years ago, Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett was so sure that his chosen S&P 500 stock index fund would outperform a collection of hedge funds that he made a $1 million bet over it.


Former VP Biden mulling another run for presidency

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden is tiptoeing toward a potential presidential run in 2020, even broaching the possibility during a recent gathering of longtime foreign policy aides.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump lashes out on Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's Twitter cannon roared over the weekend as the latest turn in the Russia investigation seemingly placed him on the defensive. He denied he had ever absolved Russia of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, despite his plentiful record of voicing doubts on that question.


Judge orders ex-Pilot Flying J president on house arrest

KNOXVILLE (AP) — A judge says the ex-president of the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain must wear an electronic monitoring device and be placed on house arrest while he awaits sentencing on his conspiracy and fraud conviction.

2 guilty of conspiracy in Pilot Flying J case

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Three of four former employees of truck stop chain Pilot Flying J who have been on trial since November have been convicted in connection with a rebate scam.


Film based on TSU golf coach airing this weekend

NASHVILLE (AP) — A film based on the story of a woman who became the first female coach of a men's Division I golf team while at Tennessee State University is airing this weekend.

Tkachuk, Hamilton lead Flames over Predators, 4-3

NASHVILLE (AP) — If the Flames were weary at the end of their long trip, it didn't show against the Predators.

Nashville 1 of 5 finalists to host 2019 or 2020 NFL draft

The NFL has named five sites, including Nashville, as finalists to host the NFL Draft in either 2019 or 2020.

Nashville will host US-Belgium Davis Cup quarterfinal

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Davis Cup quarterfinal between the United States and Belgium will take place April 6-8 at Belmont University in Nashville.


Adults can now apply for Tennessee's tuition-free schooling

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says applications are now being accepted for adults who want to enroll tuition-free this fall at a community college or technical college.

Black defends campaign checks, trucking emissions loophole

NASHVILLE (AP) — Rep. Diane Black is defending efforts to extend an emissions loophole benefiting a Tennessee-based trucking company whose entities, executives and family gave her gubernatorial campaign $225,000, as The New York Times reported.

EPA announces commitment to clean Tennessee lead site

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will clean a lead site in Tennessee, pending federal funding.


Flu vaccine only 36 percent effective; season intense so far

NEW YORK (AP) — The flu vaccine is doing a poor job protecting older Americans and others against the bug that's causing most illnesses.

Abortion-rights supporters push back against gains by foes

Foes of abortion have pushed through several hundred state laws restricting access to the procedure over the past decade. This year, as never before, abortion-rights supporters are fighting back nationwide with proposals to protect and expand access to abortion and contraception.


US stocks edge higher as winning streak enters its 6th day

NEW YORK (AP) — An early afternoon slump wiped out some big gains for stocks Friday, but major indexes are mostly higher as the market heads for its sixth gain in a row. Investors were fleeing the market early this month, but a combination of lower prices and rising company profits have them hurrying to buy stocks again.

For builders, demand and economy up; so are interest rates

NEW YORK (AP) — The outlook from U.S. builders is being buoyed by a strong job market and a sizzling hot economy.


Stocks stretch winning streak to 6 days despite turbulence

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed out their strongest week in five years Friday and have now recovered more than half of the losses they suffered in a plunge at the beginning of the month.

Amazon to pay $1.2M for illegal pesticide sales

SEATTLE (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says it has reached a $1.2 million settlement with Amazon over the sale of illegal pesticides.

Commerce Dept. backs tariffs on imported aluminum and steel

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department is urging President Donald Trump to impose tariffs or quotas on imported aluminum and steel, which it calls a natural security threat.

EU not happy with Facebook, Twitter consumer rule remedies

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission says social media giants Facebook and Twitter have only partially responded to its demands to bring their practices into line with EU consumer law.

US factory output flat for 2nd straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output was unchanged in January for the second straight month after three months of healthy gains.

Energy drives US wholesale prices up 0.4 percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.4 percent in January, the biggest increase since November, as a big jump in energy prices offset a small decline in the cost of food.


Russians charged with meddling in 2016 presidential race

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thirteen Russians, including a businessman close to Vladimir Putin were charged Friday in an elaborate plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election through social media propaganda, aimed in part at helping Republican Donald Trump and harming the prospects of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Senate rejects immigration bills; young immigrants in limbo

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has left hundreds of thousands of "Dreamer" immigrants in limbo, rejecting rival plans that would have spared them from deportation and strengthened the nation's border security. Senators dealt President Donald Trump an especially galling defeat as more than a quarter of fellow Republicans abandoned him on an issue that helped propel him to the White House.

Food box idea draws criticism from Democrats, advocates

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is pushing what it calls a "bold new approach to nutrition assistance": replacing the traditional cash-on-a-card that food stamp recipients currently get with a pre-assembled box of canned foods and other shelf-stable goods dubbed "America's Harvest Box."

White House aide to Kushner departs for family business

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior aide to Jared Kushner is leaving the White House to return to his family's real estate company.

Democrats seek expanded gun background checks after shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic lawmakers are responding to the deadly Florida school shooting with calls for expanded background checks. They also want to create a committee to examine gun violence.

Senate leaders trade blame as hopes dim for immigration deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's party leaders traded blame as they moved toward possible showdown votes on rival measures that would help young "Dreamer" immigrants and bolster border security. The Trump administration savaged a leading bipartisan proposal amid growing doubts that any of the plans would get enough votes to survive.

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