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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
Nashville, TN
Partly Cloudy
Wind: from the North at 10.4 gusting to 19.6 mph
Humidity: 24%


Business of Entertainment. The U.S. entertainment industry is responsible for $150 billion annually in expenditures and some 120 billion hours of consumed time. In Williamson County, more than 2,200 people work in entertainment, an industry that has increased significantly since 2002. The growth of the entertainment industry has been directly related to the development of a modern economy, rising economic productivity, and increased time available for leisure and recreation. Join the Chamber for a discussion of why the entertainment industry matters to the business community and how Williamson County businesses can embrace all the benefits of being an entertainment destination. Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, 700 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin. Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Business Partners: $40, Guests: $60. Information: http://cmdev.williamsonchamber.com/events

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.


State Senate speaker, 18 other senators endorse Blackburn

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's Senate leader and 18 other Republican state senators have endorsed U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in her U.S. Senate bid.


Heisman Trophy-winning QB Weinke to coach RBs for Tennessee

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Chris Weinke is joining Tennessee's staff as a running backs coach.


Long-term mortgage rates climb to 4.40 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates crept higher this week, upping the costs of borrowing to purchase a home just as more of the millennial generation is entering the real estate market.


Beyond 'Obamacare': New liberal plan on health care overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — A major liberal policy group is raising the ante on the health care debate with a new plan that builds on Medicare to guarantee coverage for all.


Ford names Lincoln chief to replace ousted N. American head

DETROIT (AP) — A veteran executive who has led Ford's Lincoln luxury brand will now head American operations, replacing an executive who was ousted this week over allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Court considers banning diesel cars in German cities

BERLIN (AP) — A German court began considering Thursday whether authorities should ban diesel cars from cities in order to lower air pollution, a move that could have drastic consequences for the country's powerful auto industry.


Technology companies help drive US stocks broadly higher

Technology companies and banks helped drive U.S. stocks broadly higher in early trading Thursday. Bonds yields declined after spiking a day earlier amid rekindled fears of higher interest rates. Investors were sizing up the latest company earnings news. Crude oil prices headed higher.

Walmart to launch new online home shopping experience

NEW YORK (AP) — Bohemian or traditional? Walmart is launching a new online home shopping experience in the coming weeks that will let shoppers discover items based on their style.


Trump wants to ban bump stocks, ATF doesn't know if it can

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is telling his Justice Department to ban rapid-fire bump stock devices like those used in last year's massacre in Las Vegas. But some officials in the department are not sure they can.

Trump endorsees raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising the minimum age to 21 for possessing a broader range of weapons than at present. He tweeted his strongest stance as president one day after an emotional White House session where students and parents poured out wrenching tales of lost lives and pleaded for action.

Book Trump? Interest groups press case at his properties

WASHINGTON (AP) — Payday lenders got regulators to rethink rules on how closely to vet borrowers. E-cigarette makers got a delay in federal oversight of many vaping products. Candy makers praised a decision to hold off on more stringent labeling standards. And title insurers declared "victory" for getting changes that benefited them in the tax overhaul.

Want an evening out with Trump Jr? You're probably too late

NEW DELHI (AP) — Want an evening out in India with Donald Trump Jr.? Sorry, even if you have an extra $39,000 it's probably too late to buy a "conversation and dinner" with the eldest son of the American president.


Complaints question Harwell's PAC help, $3.1M self-loan

NASHVILLE (AP) — A campaign finance complaint claims that Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell received help from a political committee beyond what's legally allowed, while another complaint contends she doesn't have the money to back up a $3.1 million self-loan to her campaign for governor.


Nashville sites included in new US civil rights trail

MEMPHIS (AP) — State officials say 10 Tennessee landmarks are being included in a new civil rights trail.


Arvidsson lifts Predators to 3-2 win over Red Wings

DETROIT (AP) — Viktor Arvidsson is playing some of his best hockey of the season and helping the Nashville Predators get some big wins.


Sales of US homes fall year over year by most in 3½ years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of existing homes fell in January from a year earlier by the most in more than three years. Would-be buyers were stymied by rising prices and a shortage of homes for sale.


Indictment: Social media firms got played by Russian agents

Friday's election-interference indictment brought by Robert Mueller, the U.S. special counsel, underscores how thoroughly social-media companies like Facebook and Twitter were played by Russian propagandists.

Supreme Court: Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection is narrow

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that whistleblower protections passed by Congress after the 2008 financial crisis only apply to people who report problems to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, not more broadly.


Spike in bond yields upends US stock market rally

U.S. stocks closed broadly lower Wednesday, erasing an early gain, as investors reacted to a late-afternoon surge in bond yields.

Ford ousts top exec over 'inappropriate behavior'

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. has ousted one of its top executives over allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Fed officials: Stronger economy boosts chance for rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials at their January meeting believed that a brightening global economic picture and the effects of recently passed tax cuts had raised the prospect for solid growth and continued interest rate increases.

Can Brexit be stopped? Pro-EU campaigns try to turn the tide

LONDON (AP) — Britain is due to leave the European Union in just over a year. The country's main political parties agree that the decision can't be reversed. But with the U.K. government divided over the direction Brexit should take, pro-EU campaigners are stepping up efforts to make the country change course.

Eurozone economy cools amid stock market turmoil

LONDON (AP) — There are signs that the turmoil in financial markets at the start of February had a negative impact — albeit a short-term one — on the fast-growing 19-country eurozone economy.


Trump Jr: 'Nonsense' that family's profiting from presidency

NEW DELHI (AP) — Donald Trump Jr. said that any talk of his family profiting from his father's presidency is "nonsense" during a trip to India that has raised ethical concerns about using the name of the American president to promote international business ventures.

Trump says more must be done to protect children

WASHINGTON (AP) — As a grieving Florida community demanded action on guns, President Donald Trump on Tuesday directed the Justice Department to move to ban devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year's Las Vegas massacre. It was a small sign of movement on the gun violence issue that has long tied Washington in knots.

US doing little to combat Russia meddling in next elections

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Russians are going to try it again. Even President Donald Trump's intelligence chiefs say so. But with congressional primaries just two weeks away, the U.S. has done little to aggressively combat the kinds of Russian election meddling that was recently unmasked in federal court.


Alexander says he's 'staying out of' Corker re-elect choice

DICKSON (AP) — Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander says he was disappointed when Sen. Bob Corker decided not to seek re-election and they have talked about his decision whether to reconsider. But Alexander claims he hasn't urged Corker to run again and is "staying out of it."

Ethics Committee confirms review of Tennessee lawmaker

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating Republican Rep. John Duncan Jr., of Tennessee over unspecified allegations, after media reports last year that he had paid his son for campaign work.

Report: EU would squeeze US juice, whiskey in trade spat

BERLIN (AP) — A German newspaper reports the European Union is drawing up a list of U.S. products to target — including orange juice and Kentucky bourbon — if Washington restricts imports of aluminum and steel.

La-Z-Boy to expand in Tennessee, create 200 jobs

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials say a furniture manufacturer plans a $31 million expansion that will create about 200 jobs.


Panel says university can't strip Confederate name from hall

MURFREESBORO (AP) — A Tennessee panel has voted against letting Middle Tennessee State University strip the name of a Confederate general from one of its buildings.


Vanderbilt introduces scholarship to honor Perry Wallace

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt has introduced a new scholarship to honor Perry Wallace, who became the Southeastern Conference's first black varsity basketball player when he suited up for the Commodores in 1967.

Arvidsson scores twice, Predators beat Senators 5-2

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville's power play is back, and the Predators are back in first place.


Supreme Court rejects 2 gun rights appeals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is rejecting two challenges by guns rights groups to California laws regulating firearms' sales.


Trump plan: Less-comprehensive health plans at lower cost

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration Tuesday spelled out a plan to lower the cost of health insurance: give consumers the option of buying less coverage in exchange for reduced premiums.

Preventive treatment for peanut allergies succeeds in study

The first treatment to help prevent serious allergic reactions to peanuts may be on the way. A company said Tuesday that its daily capsules of peanut flour helped sensitize children to nuts in a major study.


Walmart's plunge sinks retailers, breaking streak for stocks

The biggest drop in Walmart's stock in 30 years and losses in other sectors pulled U.S. indexes lower Tuesday, snapping a six-day winning streak.

Walmart's bruising battle with Amazon saps its 4Q results

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is getting bruised in its battle with online leader Amazon.

Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

The privately held owner of Safeway, Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation's third-largest drugstore chain.


Congressional map raises Democrats' hopes, legal test ahead

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The map of congressional districts imposed by Pennsylvania's high court for the state's 2018 elections will set off a new legal battle, reconfigure perhaps dozens of campaigns and give Democrats a boost in their mission to wrest control of the U.S. House.

Trump endorses Romney's Senate bid, Romney accepts

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is endorsing Mitt Romney in Utah's Senate race, another sign that the two Republicans are burying the hatchet after a fraught relationship.


Bredesen urges tighter mental illness checks for guns

NASHVILLE (AP) — While defending his gun-rights pedigree, Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen on Monday called for "common-sense" gun laws, saying the deadly Florida school shooting shows the need for tougher background checks to keep guns away from the mentally ill.

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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