Sat
Aug 29 2015
11:22 pm

Earlier today (Saturday, Aug. 29) Gloria Johnson and I went to a legislative forum sponsored by Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers), Tennessee Liberty Alliance, and Republican Liberty Caucus of Tennessee. Video of the entire event is linked here. Feel free to share your reactions.

Initial thoughts: some serious factual errors, logical errors, bad public policy, and plenty of fodder for future columns. Also, why is that Republican logo behind the panel when the officially non-partisan AFP is sponsoring?

The entire event

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Sat
Aug 29 2015
03:41 pm

Local reporter Dan Andrews spotted something off at the courthouse. Action was taken:

WATE: Knoxville courthouse audio recording shut down after privacy questions

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What made me check this was Florida just declared state of emergency because of storm.

From the Kaiser Family Foundation …

Current Status of Medicaid Expansion Decision

Adopted the Medicaid Expansion: 31 states (including DC); Adoption of the Medicaid Expansion under Discussion: 1 state; Not Adopting the Medicaid Expansion at this Time: 19 states

The full state-by-state list

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Fri
Aug 28 2015
03:18 pm
By: michael kaplan  shortURL

Cottage Landing, up to 87 student housing units (348 rooms), requiring ridgetop removal that is dumping huge boulders into the valley to the west of the site. Here's a satellite image apparently taken a few weeks ago. Anyone wishing to view the environmental damage in progress should take a drive up Cherokee Trail. Note, too, the huge slice of the ridge taken for the construction of Quarry Trail to its east. Erosion is being mitigated by the construction of retaining walls (seen as grey lines) and the planting of kudzu on the steep slope.

The project is in the county, and was approved by the MPC in March, 2013.

All members of City Council, County Commission, and the MPC should take (or be taken on) a tour of the site to see the mess. It's really hard to believe this is happening in 2015 ...

cottage_landing3.jpg

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Fri
Aug 28 2015
09:20 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

If you're thinking about getting a Tivo or upgrading your old one, Tivo has a pretty good deal going right now.

You can get the four tuner Roamio for $149, or $49 refurbed (which I believe has the same 90 day parts/labor and one year parts warranty).

As part of the deal, they are also offering lifetime service for $249, which is half price and the first time I've ever seen it discounted this much. It stays with the device, not the user, but it makes the Tivo hold its value and easy to resell if you upgrade in the future.

So, for $300 you can get a Tivo Roamio (refurb) with lifetime service. That's a pretty good deal.

More info: TiVo Super Savings Sale

(Wonder if this means they are getting ready to bring out a new model?)

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Fri
Aug 28 2015
07:12 am

Starts tonight at 8 pm

August 28-29

BENNY GOLSON
MANUEL ROCHEMAN
KEITH L. BROWN

plus: Vintage Jazz Films · Jazz Tour · Jam Sessions · Master Classes

Knoxville Jazz Festival

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Thu
Aug 27 2015
07:48 pm

The South Knoxville Neighborhood and Business Coalition City Council candidate forum is underway.

Follow @meganboehnke for live updates...

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Here's some good news.
NLRB Statement
Board Issues Decision in Browning-Ferris Industries

In the decision, the Board applies long-established principles to find that two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce if (1) they are both employers within the meaning of the common law; and (2) they share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment. In evaluating whether an employer possesses sufficient control over employees to qualify as a joint employer, the Board will – among other factors -- consider whether an employer has exercised control over terms and conditions of employment indirectly through an intermediary, or whether it has reserved the authority to do so.

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Thu
Aug 27 2015
04:47 pm

The EPA announced today a $177,500 fine against state Rep. Andy Holt for illegally discharging 800,000 gallons of waste from his hog farm into public waterways.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4, issued an Administrative Complaint, Docket No. CWA-04-2015-4506,that assesses an administrative penalty up to the statutory maximum of $177,500 to Andrew H. Holt and Eleanore F. Holt, d/b/a A & E Livestock (Respondent), 461 Jewell Store Road, Dresden, Weakley County, Tennessee, under the authority of Section 309(g)(2)(B) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. §1319(g)(2)(B).

Holt can still request a hearing or a settlement conference. Rep. Holt is vice chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. There were previous allegations that TDEC higher management ordered an investigator to lay off.

The full complaint and notice of enforcement action...

PREVIOUSLY: State rep hog farmer under EPA microscope

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Wed
Aug 26 2015
05:04 pm

from CBS News …

Take the federal poverty cutoff for a family of four, which stood at $23,850 last year. That income level is about half of what a family of four would need to get by in the country's least expensive metropolitan area -- Morristown, Tennessee. The researchers estimate that a two-parent, two-child family in the town of roughly 30,000 would require gross income of $49,114 simply to cover rent, taxes, food, transportation, child care and other basics.

How much money do U.S. families need to get by?

EPI Calculator

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Wed
Aug 26 2015
10:34 am

But hey, they're planning walking trails!

(link...)

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from Reuters ...

The new Republican-appointed director of the Congressional Budget Office delivered some bad news on Tuesday to the party's "Reaganomics" devotees: ...

"No, the evidence is that tax cuts do not pay for themselves," Hall said in response to a reporter's question. "And our models that we're doing, our macroeconomic effects, show that."

U.S. tax cuts don't pay for themselves -Republican-appointed official says

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From the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Knoxville:

This is an appeal from a judgment in a certiorari review action. The petitioner sought approval for the construction of a surface parking lot as a use permitted on review in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Metropolitan Planning Commission denied the application.

The petitioner appealed the denial to the Knoxville City Council, which failed to vote on the matter. The trial court upheld the de facto denial, holding that the Knoxville City Council had not exceeded its jurisdiction, followed an unlawful procedure, acted illegally, arbitrarily, or fraudulently, or acted without material evidence to support its decision.

The petitioner appeals. For the reasons discussed herein, we reverse and remand this case to the trial court with instructions to remand to the Knoxville City Council for a definitive ruling on whether the requested surface parking lot is permissible as a use permitted on review.

Full Ruling: ROYAL PROPERTIES, INC. v. THE CITY OF KNOXVILLE, ET. AL

SEE ALSO:

Pryor Brown Doomed?

Pryor Brown Garage Still Structurally Safe After Roof Collapse

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brace_ely_weth_2.jpg
(L-R) David Brace, Sheryl Ely, Chad Weth

Mayor Rogero's office today announced that David Brace will be promoted to Public Works director, and Chad Weth will be promoted to Public Service director to replace Brace. Sheryl Ely, a Senior Planner with the City of Oak Ridge, will join Weth as the new Deputy Director of Public Service.

Also, the mayor's office announced a new Economic Development Team comprised of Christi Branscom, Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Operating Officer, Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Policy Officer Bill Lyons, incoming Director of Redevelopment Dawn Michelle Foster and incoming Deputy Director of Redevelopment Anne Wallace.

More info and bios in the press release after the break...

Continued...

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Sun
Aug 23 2015
08:24 am

UT students have returned to campus. Classes are starting. Students are welcomed back with two shootings on Cumberland Avenue Saturday morning, August 22, 2015, around 3 AM. On shooting occurred at the Studio X nightclub parking lot and the other at the Copper Cellar parking lot. At least two people were injured in the shooting at the Copper Cellar parking lot.

Welcome back students! Watch your backs.

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Sat
Aug 22 2015
11:32 am

There has been a good bit of discussion here (link...) regarding the design of the public spaces at the development at the old Baptist Hospital site. As this very important project progresses, City of Knoxville staff continue to assess to work with the development team and meet with community groups. The latest design is sensitive to concerns about the access to the site from the middle of the project along Blount Avenue.

(link...)

The revised design for the Riverwalk at the Bridges development on the South Waterfront increases the amount of public space, makes it easier to access that space and adds more riverwalk features.
After reviewing feedback from several South Knoxville neighborhoods, Davis Architects has submitted revisions to its final designs for the 300-unit residential complex to be constructed at the former Baptist Hospital site. The revised plan includes modifications to improve and enlarge the public spaces on the site, between the Gay Street and Henley bridges.

According to the new designs, the Riverwalk at the Bridges development will have approximately 1,100 feet of riverwalk along the upper bluff. The riverwalk will average 20 to 30 feet in width and consist of a running path, a "site furnishing zone" with benches, trash receptacles, bike racks and lighting, and a multi-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Additional features include approximately 37,500 square feet of public event space adjacent to the Henley Bridge, with amphitheater seating and an interactive fountain.

There also will be more public space between the two apartment complexes. The center public plaza will consist of upper (Blount Avenue level) and lower (riverwalk level) plazas that are connected via elevator or grand staircases.

Another feature, a small pocket park, will be located on the east end of the greenway.

Landscaping will consist of native plantings - trees, shrubs and groundcover - throughout the public plaza and greenway areas.

45
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Sat
Aug 22 2015
10:23 am
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from NBC News ...

Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, Judge Sri Srinivasan cited a "dramatic transformation" of the home care industry over the past four decades as a valid reason for the change. While most caregivers used to be directly employed by individual households, the vast majority of workers now work for staffing companies that service hundreds or thousands of customers, Srinivasan said.

... a coalition of nine states opposes the new rules, arguing they will increase state Medicaid costs and expose states to an unfunded liability. The states are Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Minimum Wage, OT Rules Apply to Home Health Workers, Court Rules

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Good article from CNET describing how Chattanooga has leveraged local infrastructure investments in Internet service to boost their economy, keep graduates in the town, and attract talent.

Chattanooga's utility company charges $70/month for 1 gigabit. Comcast is now selling 2 gigabit in Knoxville, but for $300/month.

(link...)

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Fri
Aug 21 2015
02:11 pm

Donila: Zachary to be sworn in at church ...That will take place at First Baptist Concord on Kingston Pike. Speaker of the House Beth Harwell will do the honors.

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