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VOL. 36 | NO. 9 | Friday, March 2, 2012

Another theme Park? Really?

One more dreamer dares to tread where amusement parks go to die

David Webb grew up in Nashville and has plenty of fond memories of spending time at Opryland USA every summer. He moved from the area as an adult and spent 10 years in Orlando, most of it working for Disney.

GAVELS program casts attorneys, judges as educators

Efforts to redefine how Tennessee Supreme Court judges are chosen, along with moves to bring judicial oversight into the legislative sphere, would seem to show a certain disdain for the third branch of government by members of the second.


Chef goes from farm to kitchen and back again

As the chef at Cibo, the now-closed restaurant on Church Street, Sylvia Ganier was always concerned with finding the best possible ingredients. She grew up on a dairy farm in North Carolina and was used to fresh, unprocessed food. But she soon began to realize what an anomaly small farming was.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Partly Cloudy
Wind: Variable at 4.6 mph
Humidity: 65%


Independent Community Bankers of America National Convention. Attendees will hear from top national policymakers and learn the latest community banking issues in more than 60 educational workshops. March 11-12 at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Information: icba.org.

more events »


Proposed energy rating mandate a jolt to sellers, agents

Beginning two years ago, there were rumblings in Washington that the country might mandate rating residential real estate properties based on the energy efficiency of the homes. This discussion filtered down to TVA, prompting TVA to begin discussions with various groups as to the feasibility of the program.


Speed bumps on the way to prosperity

Reframing the Global Economy: This week I will summarize my 30,000-foot view on the global economy. While the news flow may revolve around Europe, the global economy no longer looks to the Old World for leadership.


‘If only’ there was a better route to success

A lot of you probably have to manage your fair share of “if only” employees. People who love to constantly and vocally proclaim, “I could do a better job if only I had this, or if only I had that. If only I had more people, or more time, or more money, or more whatever – I could make big things happen around here.”


Meador to direct Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society

Keith Meador, M.D., MPH, has been named director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


Bad service is the result of bad management

You’ve never had a worse shopping experience in your life.


Rhymes with caffeine

A couple of weeks ago almost an entire column was devoted to one item of viewer mail. No one complained, so I might as well do it again.


Grilling success all about the seasoning

Charcoal? Check! Lighter? Check! Apron? Check! Ready to hit the outdoor grill? Check and check! Goodbye 30s and rain and hello 50s and sunshine! This is the perfect grilling weather, and it has me revved up and ready to go.


Naifeh to retire after 38 years in House

NASHVILLE (AP) - Rep. Jimmy Naifeh announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election after 38 years in the House of Representatives, saying it's time to "pass the torch to the next generation of leaders."

Republican Sen. Mike Faulk won't seek 2nd term

NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican state Sen. Mike Faulk won't seek a second term in the General Assembly's upper chamber.


Maker of Fender guitars files for $200M IPO

NEW YORK (AP) — An instrumental piece of rock and roll history is going public.

Chesney, Aldean, McGraw to perform at ACM Awards

NASHVILLE (AP) - Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert and Toby Keith are among the stars who will perform at the Academy of Country Music Awards next month.


Nashville protesters prepare for more arrests

NASHVILLE (AP) - Occupy Nashville protesters who have been living on Legislative Plaza are preparing for more arrests under a state law passed last month making it illegal for anyone to camp on state-owned land that is not specifically designated for that purpose.

Opry Mills among properties involved in Simon Property Group transaction

Simon Property Group, the biggest mall operator in the U.S., announced on Thursday that it is buying joint venture partner Farallon Capital Management LLC's interest in 26 U.S. shopping malls owned by The Mills LP -- including Nashville's Opry Mills -- for $1.5 billion.

Broken water line closes Lipscomb U. classes

NASHVILLE (AP) - Lipscomb University in Nashville has cancelled classes because of a water line break.

Nissan North America wins EPA energy award

FRANKLIN (AP) - Tennessee-based Nissan North America has won the 2012 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Dippin' Dots CEO steps down

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — The CEO of novelty ice cream maker Dippin' Dots has stepped down as part of a bankruptcy agreement that will infuse enough cash into the company to keep it afloat until it can be sold.


Tenn. February revenues beat projections by $23M

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee revenue collections for the general fund beat expectations by $23 million in February.

Obama, GOP governors share common views on education

WASHINGTON (AP) - A funny thing is happening between President Barack Obama and many Republican governors when it comes to improving America's schools: They are mostly getting along.

Distributor hangover hits Brown-Forman 3Q earnings

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Liquor producer Brown-Forman Corp.'s fiscal third-quarter profit fell 5 percent, suffering a supply-chain hangover as distributors bought less inventory after stocking up in anticipation of price increases.

AutoZone boosts stock buyback by $750 million

MEMPHIS (AP) — Automotive replacement part chain AutoZone Inc. said Wednesday it plans to boost its stock buyback program by $750 million.

Chattanooga's Double-Cola is rebranding

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Double-Cola of Chattanooga is rebranding itself with the tagline "refreshingly smooth" as the company prepares to celebrate its 90th birthday.


Stock markets gain as Greek crisis nears deadline

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gained Thursday as signs indicated that a deal to restructure Greece's debt will succeed, overshadowing a small increase in applications for unemployment benefits last week.

Stock market rally helped rebuild US wealth in Q4

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are climbing further out of the hole they sank into during the Great Recession.

Average rate on 30-year mortgage dips to 3.88 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fixed mortgage remain a bargain at the start of the spring-buying season: The average rate on the 30-year mortgage dipped last week, while the 15-year loan fell to a new record low.

US unemployment applications hover near low levels

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. But the overall level stayed low enough to suggest the job market is strengthening.

Treasury launches sale of $6B of AIG stock

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department said Wednesday it is selling $6 billion worth of the $41.8 billion in common stock it holds in insurance giant American International Group Inc., which received the biggest bailout of the financial crisis in 2008.

Oil up at $107 amid Greek debt talks, Iran tension

Oil prices climbed to above $107 a barrel Thursday on a combination of optimism about the Greek debt crisis and concerns that tensions over Iran's nuclear program are lowering crude supplies.


Senate leaders reach deal on transportation overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic and Republicans leaders reached a deal late Wednesday that clears the way for a Senate vote on passage of a $109 billion bill to overhaul federal highway and transit programs.

GOP activists fear primary takes a toll on Romney

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican activists foresee a long, lumbering presidential campaign that almost certainly will nominate Mitt Romney but may leave him weakened in a fall battle against President Barack Obama.

Convention fight only hope for Santorum, Gingrich?

WASHINGTON (AP) — No, it's not over yet. But at this rate Mitt Romney's rivals won't catch him unless they pull off an unlikely fight at the Republican National Convention in August.


Santorum beats Romney in Tennessee GOP primary

NASHVILLE (AP) - Rick Santorum cruised to a victory in Tennessee's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday with a platform of social and religious issues that resonated with conservative voters.

Born-again Christians drive Santorum win in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - An exit poll of voters in Tennessee's presidential primary revealed Rick Santorum beat Mitt Romney on Tuesday thanks to strong support among born-again Christians - about three-quarters of those who went to the polls on Tuesday.


Workers oppose anti-living wage legislation

NASHVILLE (AP) - Workers from across the state are speaking out against legislation that would prevent Tennessee cities and counties from establishing a living wage.

Revised lottery scholarship bill advances

NASHVILLE (AP) - Democratic leaders say a revised proposal that would make cutting some students' lottery scholarships in half contingent on lottery revenues is unnecessary because the measure wouldn't be effective for at least another three years.


Community Health Systems to buy back debt

FRANKLIN (AP) - Hospital operator Community Health Systems Inc. said that its subsidiary CHS/Community Health Systems, Inc. will issue $750 million in senior notes to pay down existing debt and raise money for general corporate purposes.

White House to honor Nashville entrepreneur

NASHVILLE (AP) — The president and CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center will be honored Wednesday at the White House for his work.

Columbia, Maury County voters reject metro government

COLUMBIA (AP) — Votes in Columbia and Maury County have rejected a proposal to combine their local governments.


Stocks move higher a day after Tuesday's big dive

The stock market reclaimed some losses from its biggest dive this year and returned Wednesday to its pattern of steady gains and stable trading. Reassuring reports on productivity and hiring overshadowed worries about the Greek debt crisis.

Hiring grows as companies hit limits with workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies will have to keep hiring steadily to meet their customers' rising demand.

Natural gas drops to a 10-year low; oil rises

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of natural gas has dropped to the lowest level in a decade Wednesday as a mild winter comes to a close with a huge surplus of the fuel on hand.

Apple unveils 'new iPad' with sharper screen

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple gave the new iPad a bunch of new features but no new name.


Romney, Santorum share Super Tuesday momentum

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney padded his delegate count on the biggest night of the GOP presidential primary season but Rick Santorum demonstrated enough strength to ensure that there's more convulsion ahead as Republicans struggle to settle on a candidate to take on President Barack Obama.

Super Tuesday: What we learned

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in 10 states weighed in on the GOP presidential nomination race in its busiest day yet. Mitt Romney won six states, Rick Santorum clinched three and Newt Gingrich prevailed in one. And along the way, clues were gleaned from the results about the path ahead. A look at what we learned:

House GOP struggles to piece budget together

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservatives dominating the House are pushing to scrap last year's budget pact with President Barack Obama and impose new cuts on domestic agencies in an election-year drive to show voters they're serious about shrinking the government.


Brooks leads 2012 Country Music Hall of Fame class

NASHVILLE (AP) - An emotional Garth Brooks said his addition to the Country Music Hall of Fame at 50 is probably a little premature when you look at the long list of his influences who haven't yet been inducted.


NRA aims to shoot down parking lot gun exceptions

NASHVILLE (AP) — The National Rifle Association is pressuring Republican lawmakers to abandon limits on a bill that would let workers store firearms in vehicles parked on their employers' lots.

Dems bemoan bill to halve scholarships

NASHVILLE (AP) - Democratic leaders are calling on Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to stop a legislative effort to cut some students' lottery scholarships in half.


Nashville among first to get Verizon wireless broadband for homes

NEW YORK (AP) - Verizon Wireless on Tuesday announced a version of its wireless broadband service that's designed for use in rural and remote homes that can't get DSL or cable.


Tennessee lottery has record sales in February

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. reports record sales of $130 million in February.

Tennesseans to make their Super Tuesday choice

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee voters were weighing Republican presidential candidates up until the last minute Tuesday as they headed to the polls to vote in the party's presidential primary.

31 citizen-troopers begin work in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has welcomed its inaugural class of citizen-troopers.


Dow falls more than 200, interrupting 2012 rally

Stocks suffered their biggest losses in three months Tuesday, the first hiccup in a strong and steady rally to start the year. Wall Street worried about the global economy and waited while Greece pressured the last investors to sign on for its bailout.

Android Market checks out, Google Play moves in

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google's digital marketplace for mobile applications, music, movies and books is unifying under a new name in an effort to spruce up the shopping experience.

Financier Stanford convicted in $7 billion fraud

HOUSTON (AP) — Former Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford, whose financial empire once spanned the Americas and made him fabulously wealthy, was convicted Tuesday of bilking his investors out of more than $7 billion through a Ponzi scheme he operated for 20 years.

Streak in gas price hikes ends at 27 days

NEW YORK (AP) — Gasoline prices have finally dropped after 27 days.

Chrysler to sell natural gas-powered truck

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler aims to be the first U.S. automaker to produce a factory-built pickup truck that is powered mainly by natural gas.

iPad dispute signals new era in trademark troubles

SHANGHAI (AP) — iPotato, isock, icouch, istove, i-you-name-it. An Internet search for "i'' words from A to Z will turn up just about any combination you might think up, from all over the world, only a handful of them related to Apple Inc.


Highway bill fails to clear hurdle in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers are under pressure to find a way to keep federal aid flowing to highway and transit programs beyond the end of this month after a transportation bill failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate.

Cracks emerge in GOP over hydraulic fracturing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — When it comes to the controversial gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, the Republican Party itself appears fractured — especially in the critical swing state of Ohio.

Obama holds news conference, unveils housing plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is aiming mortgage relief at members of the military as well as homeowners with government-insured loans, the administration's latest efforts to address a persistent housing crisis.

Warm reception seen for Israeli leader in Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Israel's prime minister didn't close ranks with President Barack Obama on how to deal with Iran's suspect nuclear program, but he can expect a warm reception to his tough talk when he visits Capitol Hill today.


Tenn. campaign flurry draws to close as vote nears

NASHVILLE (AP) - The sudden flurry of presidential campaign activity in Tennessee comes to a close Tuesday when voters cast their ballots in the Republican primary.


Bill gives teachers more power against threats

NASHVILLE (AP) - A bill that has passed the state Senate gives teachers and other school personnel more authority to act against students who pose a safety threat to themselves or others.


Acadia Healthcare completes $91M hospital purchase

FRANKLIN (AP) - Acadia Healthcare Co., a provider of inpatient behavioral health care services, said Monday that it has completed its acquisition of three inpatient psychiatric hospitals from Haven Behavioral Healthcare for $91 million in cash.


US service firms grow at fastest pace in a year

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. service companies expanded in February at the fastest pace in a year, helped by a rise in new orders and job growth.

Stocks edge lower on worries about China, Greece

NEW YORK (AP) — Two signs of trouble elsewhere in the world pushed U.S. stocks lower: slowing economic growth in China and a possible hitch in a deal to get Greece its bailout money.

Apple's app store reaches 25 billion downloads

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — More than 25 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple's app store.

Judge clears way for record bankruptcy in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A judge has cleared the way for an Alabama county to move forward with the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, overruling Wall Street claims that state law didn't allow the county to file the case.

BP shares rise on Gulf settlement news

LONDON (AP) — Shares in BP PLC hit their highest level in more than a year Monday in the wake of the oil company's announcement that it had reached a settlement with victims of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Pump prices rise again; oil prices waver

The price at the gas pump rose over the weekend and the nationwide average is nearing $3.80 a gallon. Oil is close to $107 per barrel because of tensions tied to Iran's nuclear program.

Pew: Newspapers can boost online sales with focus

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Newspapers need to prioritize digital advertising sales if they expect to thrive, according to a Pew Research Center study released Monday.


Job creation driving highway bills in Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The lure of roads, bridges, buses and trains isn't enough anymore to drive an expensive transportation bill through Congress. So to round up votes, congressional leaders are pitching the bills as the hottest thing around these days: job generators.

What's so super about Tuesday? 419 GOP delegates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Super? Maybe not this time. But it is a Tuesday, one with the biggest payout of the Republican presidential primaries.

Cantor: GOP beginning to 'coalesce' for Romney

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Republicans are coalescing around Mitt Romney's candidacy and looking for ways to work together to defeat President Barack Obama.

Limbaugh advertisers keep heading for the exits

More of Rush Limbaugh's advertisers say they are dropping his program after the conservative talk show host's derogatory comments about a Georgetown law student.


Occupy Nashville gets 7-day notice to remove tents

NASHVILLE (AP) - Occupy Nashville was given a seven-day warning on Friday to take down its encampment on the War Memorial Plaza next to the state Capitol.

Groups oppose parking lot gun bill

NASHVILLE (AP) — A coalition of business and law enforcement groups is urging lawmakers to abandon a bill that would allow employees to store guns in their vehicles at work, calling the proposal a "major infringement on private property rights."


Former Sommet Group executives accused of fraud

NASHVILLE (AP) - Three former top executives at Franklin-based Sommet Group, a once prominent collection of companies that used to have the naming rights to Nashville's downtown arena, are facing federal charges that accuse them of a multi-million-dollar fraud.

Genesco 4Q net income up, revenue climbs

NASHVILLE (AP) — Genesco Inc.'s net income climbed 34 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter, driven by strong performances from its Journeys and Lids Sports stores.


Court orders halt telemarketing companies

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee attorney general's office has obtained a federal court order that temporarily halts operations of east Tennessee telemarketing companies accused of scamming consumers out of thousands of dollars.

Tennesseans with jobs most in 4 years

NASHVILLE (AP) — State officials say the number of employed persons in Tennessee is the most in four years.

Jack Daniel's starting a responsibility campaign

LYNCHBURG (AP) — Jack Daniel's is beginning a campaign to encourage responsible drinking.


Feel cheated? Small claims court brings big wins

NEW YORK (AP) — If you feel cheated by a big company and complaining gets you nowhere, what can you do? A handful of recent cases suggest that consumers can, if they're motivated enough, win against big companies in small claims courts.

Why David Stockman isn't buying it

NEW YORK (AP) — He was an architect of one of the biggest tax cuts in U.S. history. He spent much of his career after politics using borrowed money to take over companies. He targeted the riskiest ones that most investors shunned — car-parts makers, textile mills.

GM to suspend production of Chevrolet Volt

DALLAS (AP) — General Motors is suspending production of its Chevrolet Volt electric car for five weeks in hopes of reducing inventory to meet lower-than-expected demand.

Even after backlash, banks quietly pursuing fees

NEW YORK (AP) — Big banks, facing declining revenues and a regulatory climate that leaves them fewer creative ways to make money, are quietly introducing or experimenting with fees that are sure to outrage customers.

US stocks slip; Yelp jumps 64 percent after IPO

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market reached a couple of milestones this week — Dow 13,000 for the first time since 2008 and Nasdaq 3,000 for the first time since 2000 — but it didn't achieve much else.

Yelp shares surge in stock market debut

Yelp's stock opened to five-star reviews from investors on Friday, soaring 65 percent to $24.77 in the first minutes of trading after pricing at $15 on Thursday night.

European states sign new fiscal treaty

BRUSSELS (AP) — The leaders of 25 European countries on Friday signed a new treaty designed to prevent the 17 members of the eurozone from living beyond their means and avoid a repeat of the region's crippling debt crisis.

Gasoline prices rise for 24th day

NEW YORK (AP) — Gasoline prices are up for the 24th straight day as service stations continue to price in a 10-percent rise in oil this year.

Average rate on 30-year mortgage down to 3.90 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on the 30-year mortgage edged down this week to hover again above record lows. Cheaper rates have spurred modest improvements in the battered housing market, but not enough to signal a recovery.

Jobs picture brightens, but incomes, spending weak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Steady declines in applications for unemployment aid are pointing to another strong month of hiring in February.

Big sales for small cars in February

DETROIT (AP) — Small cars sold big in February.

Strong retail sales are sign of improving economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans stepped up their spending in February, boosting sales at many stores and offering the latest sign that shoppers are feeling more confident in the economy.

Kroger posts 4Q loss on pension costs

NEW YORK (AP) — The Kroger Co. on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter net loss due to pension costs even though its focus on offering shoppers low prices and personalized deals led to higher sales.


IRS battling conservatives over tax-exempt status

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service is embroiled in battles with tea party and other conservative groups who claim the government is purposely frustrating their attempts to gain tax-exempt status.

Senate defeats bill to reverse birth control rule

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday defeated a GOP effort to roll back President Barack Obama's policy on contraception insurance coverage in the first vote on an issue that raised questions of religious and women's rights and riled Americans in this volatile election year.

Conservative publisher Breitbart dies in LA at 43

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative media publisher and activist Andrew Breitbart, who was behind investigations that led to the resignations of former Rep. Anthony Weiner and former U.S. Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, has died in Los Angeles. He was 43.

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