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VOL. 35 | NO. 50 | Friday, December 16, 2011

Transforming the East Bank

Proponents of new Sounds stadium see location as game changer for city's neglected riverfront

Minor league baseball could do something for Nashville that professional football hasn’t – transform the East Bank of the Cumberland River into a thriving business and entertainment hub.

New stadium is no guarantee of success

A new Nashville Sounds stadium could be ready by 2014, dependent on how fast a deal could be made, according to a recent report by Populous, a research firm that specializes in stadium site selection.


Prime locations see drop in sale prices

The key to selling a house used to be location, location, location. But as the housing downturn drags on, the key has become price, condition and, coming in last, location.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Fair and Breezy
Wind: from the North at 20.7 gusting to 27.6 mph
Humidity: 28%


MusicFest & Battle of the Bands. Fans will converge on 2nd Avenue for the outdoor party Dec. 29 featuring MSU & Wake Forest bands and cheerleaders. Love and Theft will perform a free concert prior to the Battle of the Bands. Admission to the Battle of the Bands is free and open to the public. 5-7 p.m.

more events »


Downtown gamble turns into winning bet

It’s official. The Nashville real estate market has hit bottom and is in the process of rebounding. The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors announced recently that November sales for 2011 were up 20 percent over November, 2010. That statistic is staggering.


Rookie class rescues rebuilding Titans

Rookies are not to be trusted in the NFL.


FirstBank names Inman chairman

Veteran banker and businessman Gordon Inman will be named chairman of FirstBank Middle Tennessee. He also will join the board of directors.


Etiquette lessons for today’s office

Every year you’re faced with a quandary. Missing the office holiday party is not an option. You have to go, no question.


Speedy encounters spur memories

Last week’s column was about speeding and how some charged therewith find a way to make the issuing officer laugh by candor, poetry, good-natured jokes, etc. Such stories reminded others of their own experiences.


Occupy Nashville tent near governor's office

NASHVILLE (AP) - At least one member of Occupy Nashville has set up a tent not far from the governor's office at the state Capitol.

Saint Thomas to no longer do heart transplants

NASHVIILLE (AP) — The Nashville hospital that performed Tennessee's first heart transplant will no longer be doing the surgeries.

White Castle burger chain considers alcohol sales

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — White Castle, a 90-year-old hamburger chain known for its square "slider" burgers, is sipping on the idea of offering alcoholic beverages as it tests beer and wine sales at a restaurant in Indiana.


Amazon finalizes deal to open 2 centers in Tenn.

NASHVILLE (AP) - With Amazon and Tennessee in agreement over the collection of sales taxes, the online retailer on Thursday finalized its plans to open two new distribution centers in Murfreesboro and Lebanon that are expected to create 1,300 new jobs.

UPS, FedEx holiday package volume up from 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Tiera Washington's workload doubled during the holiday rush at UPS' largest air hub, where seemingly endless streams of packages are sorted and shipped as the peak season puts the package delivery company to the test.

TVA chief operating officer McCollum to retire

KNOXVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority's chief operating officer, 60-year-old Bill McCollum, says he will retire June 30.


Average 30-year mortgage rate a record 3.91 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a record 3.91 percent this week, the third time this year that rates have hit new lows.

Should you refinance your mortgage? Here's a guide

WASHINGTON (AP) — Never have average rates on long-term fixed mortgages been as low as they are now: 3.91 percent for a 30-year home loan and 3.21 for a 15-year loan.

Fewest layoffs since '08 as economy strengthens

WASHINGTON (AP) — The job market is getting healthier, adding to evidence that the U.S. economy is improving as 2011 nears an end.

Better job market news sends US stocks edging higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Encouraging economic reports sent stocks higher in mid-afternoon trading Thursday. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level since April 2008, the latest sign that the job market is healing.

Economy grew more slowly in summer than thought

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew more slowly in the summer than previously thought because consumers spent less than the government had first estimated. But economists expect growth in the current October-December quarter to be stronger.

Stock futures rise ahead of economic indicators

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures are rising as the market looks to continue the rally seen late in the previous session.

Investment group to acquire Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO (AP) — A new investment group led by a Chicago entrepreneur and a former Newsday media executive has agreed to buy Sun-Times Media Holdings, the company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, group officials said late Wednesday.

Strikes over austerity hit Europe holiday travel

BRUSSELS (AP) — Strikes to protest austerity measures paralyzed ground traffic in Belgium and hit Christmas travelers in several nations across Europe, promising days of headaches through the holidays.


Obama uses public pressure to push GOP on tax cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Thursday chided House Republicans he said are holding up an extension of expiring payroll tax cuts, saying the debate is "about the American people."

McCain: Republican stance on payroll tax a mistake

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John McCain said Thursday that Congress' failure to reach agreement on legislation extending a payroll tax cut for working Americans "hurts the Republican Party." The GOP's 2008 presidential nominee said his party made a mistake in voting down the Senate-passed version of a bill that would have kept the current payroll tax relief intact for at least two more months.

Understanding Congress' payroll tax cut fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — If President Barack Obama, the House and the Senate all want to extend a Social Security payroll tax cut and jobless benefits through next year, why are they fighting so bitterly over doing it?


Sentence upheld for threats against federal judge

NASHVILLE (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the sentence of a man who sent threatening letters to a federal judge in Nashville.

Baptist Hospital gets $5M donation

NASHVILLE (AP) - A $5 million donation will fund expansion of wound-care services at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.


Haslam announces review of teacher evaluations

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam is asking for an outside review of new teacher evaluation standards in Tennessee.

Haslam appoints Page to Court of Criminal Appeals

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Judge Roger Page to the Court of Criminal Appeals, Western Section.


Economy ends tough 2011 on a surprising upswing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy is ending 2011 on a roll.

Holiday shopping season is strong

The holiday shopping season is wrapping up to be bigger than anyone expected. Now, retailers are holding their breath and hoping consumers will keep spending in the final days before Christmas.

BofA in $335M settlement over Countrywide loans

Bank of America agreed to pay $335 million to resolve allegations that its Countrywide unit engaged in a widespread pattern of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers on home loans.

Home purchases up, but earlier sales look weaker

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose last month. But the National Association of Realtors says it overstated about 3.5 million sales during and after the Great Recession, showing the housing market remains much weaker than previously thought.

Why are toys selling out? Might be mommy blog buzz

Emily Vanek is not buying up a bunch of LeapPad Explorers herself, but she may be at least partly to blame for some stores selling out of the $99 children's tablet this holiday season.

Yahoo expands sharing of stories through Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo is deepening its connections with Facebook's online social network.

Stocks end mixed; tech down, but other sectors up

Stocks are ending the day mixed after weak earnings from Oracle pulled down technology companies.

Europe fights to save cap-and-trade as crisis hits

BRUSSELS (AP) — Europe's main weapon in the battle against climate change is now fighting for its own survival.


Obama urges Hill leaders to extend payroll tax cut

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to break a stalemate that is threatening 160 million workers with Jan. 1 tax increases, President Barack Obama urged the top leaders of Congress Wednesday to first pass a short-term extension while promising to work with lawmakers on a full-year measure.

Holiday showdown over payroll tax tests Obama, GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stuck in a stalemate, President Barack Obama and his Republican rivals are slugging it out in Washington rather than reaching for a holiday season accord to prevent payroll taxes from going up on 160 million workers.

APNewsBreak: Medicare cuts could hit Jan. 18

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 650,000 doctors caring for millions of seniors will get a steep cut in Medicare payments Jan. 18 unless a gridlocked Congress issues a reprieve, program officials said Tuesday.

FAA to issue rules aimed at tired airline pilots

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly three years after the deadly crash of a regional airliner flown by two exhausted pilots, the Federal Aviation Administration is releasing rules aimed at preventing airline pilots from flying while dangerously fatigued.


Cracker Barrel resists Biglari bid for board seat

LEBANON (AP) - Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. said Tuesday that early results show that shareholders elected all of the company's nominees to the Cracker Barrel board at its annual meeting, defeating a dissident nominee's bid to join it.

Blackburn urges incandescent bulbs as gifts

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn says she's stuffing stockings with a bright present this year: the kind of light bulbs that are due to be phased out next year.

Nashville board votes to keep charter school open

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Metro Nashville School Board decided Monday evening to keep a charter school open on a probationary status.


THEC: Schools will pay part of construction costs

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Higher Education Commission agreed Tuesday to support a plan that would have colleges and universities pay part of the cost for campus construction projects and also requested approval of a five-year capital program that totals $1.8 billion.

State Rep. Lois DeBerry discusses cancer fight

NASHVILLE (AP) - State Rep. Lois DeBerry has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season - mainly being alive.

Tenn. revenues expected to grow by up to 4 percent

NASHVILLE (AP) — The State Funding Board on Monday agreed to revise its general fund revenue projections upward by at least $177 million in the current budget year, and pegged next year's growth at up to 4 percent.


US proposes new, tougher rules for big banks

NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Reserve on Tuesday said the largest U.S. banks and financial companies should hold extra cash on their balance sheets to cushion themselves against financial crises.

Stocks soar on Europe hopes, strong housing starts

NEW YORK (AP) — Encouraging signs out of Europe and a surprisingly strong report on the U.S. housing market drove the Dow Jones industrial average up more than 300 points Tuesday. It was the best day for stocks this month.

Rise in home building suggests industry turnaround

WASHINGTON (AP) — A surge in apartment construction gave home builders more work in November. And permits, a gauge of future construction, rose largely because of a jump in apartment permits.

Trade group: Holiday shoppers step up buying

NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers came out again to seriously shop last week, after taking breather from a record spending spree over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to one measure

Unemployment fell in 43 states in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in November, reflecting a modest pickup in the nation's job market.

General Mills 2Q profit falls on higher costs

NEW YORK (AP) — General Mills is reporting that net income slipped 28 percent in the second quarter, pressured by rising costs and some charges, but revenue jumped by double digits.

With new generic rivals, Lipitor's sales halved

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Sales of cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor plunged by half barely a week after the world's top-selling drug got its first U.S. generic competition, new data show.


House GOP to reject stopgap payroll tax cut

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the Senate adjourned for the holidays, House Republicans are moving to shelve a bipartisan two-month extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut that cleared the Senate over the weekend and are demanding instead that their fellow lawmakers return to the Capitol for negotiations.

Finally, some bipartisanship _ oops, nevermind

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Mitch McConnell does not high-five easily or often. But a deal to keep American workers' taxes from rising on Jan. 1 was reason enough for the coolest negotiator in the Senate to lift a hand on camera and slap — or pat — some skin.


Haslam gives $45M to family charities over decade

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam over the past decade has given more than $45 million to two family-run charitable foundations that support education, religion and culture.

Deadly tornadoes voted top 2011 Tenn. news story

Deadly tornadoes voted top 2011 Tenn. news story

List: Tennessee's top 10 stories of 2011

Tennessee's top 10 stories of 2011

State tourism officials create winter website

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has created its winter website, winter.tnvacation.com.


2 Muslims kicked off flight sue airlines

NASHVILLE (AP) — Two Muslim men who were kicked off an airplane in May after the pilot objected to their presence are suing Delta Air Lines Inc. and Atlantic Southeast Airlines Inc., which operated the flight from Memphis to Charlotte, N.C.

Martin Automotive Group purchases Jim Reed dealerships

Martin Automotive Group has purchased Jim Reed's two downtown Nashville dealerships, Jim Reed Subaru and Jim Reed Hyundai. The dealerships will remain at their current location and immediately reopen as Downtown Subaru and Downtown Hyundai.

Tenn hospital company getting $5 mil in fed funds

BRENTWOOD (AP) - LifePoint Hospitals of Brentwood, Tenn., is getting $5 million in federal funds to help reduce preventable injuries and complications from health care acquired conditions.


AT&T agrees to drop bid for T-Mobile

DALLAS (AP) — AT&T says it is ending its $39 billion bid to buy T-Mobile USA after facing fierce government objections.

US homebuilders less gloomy despite few buyers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising interest from would-be buyers is leaving U.S. homebuilders less pessimistic about the housing market. But tighter lending standards are still keeping many potential buyers from purchasing new homes.

US stocks drop; BofA and other big banks fall hard

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market took a late afternoon fall after European finance ministers failed to come up with the full amount of money pledged for a bailout fund.

Oil prices down slightly in light trading

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices are slightly lower, as traders close out positions for the year despite an encouraging report about U.S. housing that pointed to stronger oil demand.

Saudi prince invests $300 million in Twitter

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and his investment company said Monday they are investing a combined $300 million into Twitter, giving the microblogging site a cash boost as it looks to entice more users and paying advertisers.

Automaker Saab files for bankruptcy in Sweden

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Saab Automobile filed for bankruptcy on Monday, giving up a desperate struggle to stay in business after previous owner General Motors Co. blocked takeover attempts by Chinese investors.


House GOP rejects 2-month payroll tax cut

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Tuesday rejected legislation to extend a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for two months, drawing a swift rebuke from President Barack Obama that Republicans were threatening higher taxes on 160 million workers on Jan. 1.

Comparison of House, Senate payroll tax cut bills

WASHINGTON (AP) — Highlights of legislation renewing payroll tax cuts, jobless benefits approved by the House and Senate:

AP IMPACT: EPA rules threaten older power plants

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 32 mostly coal-fired power plants in a dozen states will be forced to shut down and an additional 36 might have to close because of new federal air pollution regulations, according to an Associated Press survey.


Ramsey may support changes to Tenn. open meetings

NASHVILLE (AP) - Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he may support changes to Tennessee's open government laws to allow officials more leeway to discuss official business in private.

State's jobless rate lowest since January 2009

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee's unemployment rate in November dropped 0.4 percent to 9.1 percent, the lowest since January 2009.

Ramsey floats special session on health care law

NASHVILLE (AP) - Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey on Thursday floated the idea of holding a special legislative session next winter if it's still necessary for Tennessee to come into line with requirements set by President Barack Obama's health care law.

Haslam wants year to study school vouchers in TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - School vouchers won't be on Gov. Bill Haslam's agenda next legislative session.


Vanderbilt researcher named to 'dream team'

NASHVILLE (AP) - A professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville has been named to a melanoma research "dream team."

Electrical power issue hits Occupy Nashville

NASHVILLE (AP) - The state fire marshal's office has cut off the electrical outlet Occupy Nashville was using on Legislative Plaza after an inspector found that it posed a safety threat.

Battle of Nashville to be commemorated Saturday

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Battle of Nashville will be commemorated Saturday with a living history encampment at Fort Negley Visitors Center.

Nashville arena to remain Bridgestone Arena

NASHVILLE (AP) - Bridgestone Arena will remain the name of Nashville's downtown arena through 2019.


TV channel squeeze proposed to pay for tax cuts

NEW YORK (AP) — Call it the Great Channel Squeeze.

SEC charges ex-Fannie, Freddie CEOs with fraud

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday brought civil fraud charges against six former top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying they misled investors about risky subprime loans the mortgage giants held when the housing bubble burst.

Early rally fades; stock market down for the week

An early rally faded on the stock market Friday, leaving indexes down about 3 percent for the week as worries resurfaced about a breakup of the euro. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion plunged after slashing its forecast for holiday sales.

BP settles with maker of failed blowout preventer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Cameron International, the maker of the Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer that failed to stop last year's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, has agreed to pay $250 million to BP under a legal settlement, BP said Friday.

Corzine disputes that he knew more about money

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jon Corzine on Thursday disputed an allegation that he knew about customer money that may have been transferred to a European affiliate just before MF Global collapsed.

Average 30-year loan rate ties record: 3.94 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell back down to 3.94 percent, the record low set earlier in the fall.

Top retail trade group upgrades holiday forecast

NEW YORK (AP) — With the final Christmas countdown begun, the nation's largest retail trade group has upgraded its holiday sales forecast reflecting growing optimism that much more spending is to come.


Congress flips dimmer switch on light bulb law

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress are flipping the dimmer switch on a law that sets new energy-savings standards for light bulbs.

House passes $1T budget bill, avoids shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed a $1 trillion-plus catchall budget bill paying for day-to-day budgets of 10 Cabinet departments and averting a government shutdown.

Shutdown likely averted as tax talks go on

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress appears on track to avert a government shutdown this weekend, even as President Barack Obama's push to extend a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for another year is encountering snags.

Congress clears $662 billion defense bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress has cleared a $662 billion defense bill and will send the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature.

FACT CHECK: Gingrich off on his budget history during debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Newt Gingrich overlooked a couple of years of red ink when he asserted Thursday night that he balanced the budget for four years as House speaker. And in claiming sole credit for the achievement, he glossed over the fact that budgets are not a one-man show: There was a Democratic president in town, too.

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