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VOL. 38 | NO. 13 | Friday, March 28, 2014

From Russia with style: Olia Zavozina's unlikely rise to wedding gown stardom

Nashville bridal designer Olia Zavozina, 29, never imagined when she was designing dresses for her Barbie dolls as a child in Russia that one day her creations would grace the likes of living dolls.

Fashion emerges as economic force in Nashville

At well past 5 p.m. on a recent Friday, the happy hour crowd had already started to gather on the porch of East Nashville’s Village Pub.

Banker Van Tucker finds niche promoting Nashville designers

Van Tucker has built a 35-plus-year career in banking, beginning as a teller and rising to co-founding Avenue Bank. But she finds her passion in empowering Nashville’s creative talent.

Experts reveal what the best-dressed country music acts are (should be) wearing

About 15 years ago, the guys in country group Lonestar walked a red carpet in shiny suits, proudly declaring to reporters that they’d just bought those suits at a chain store called Italian Connection, in the Hickory Hollow Mall.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
A Few Clouds
Wind: from the Southwest at 10.4 gusting to 20.7 mph
Humidity: 30%


Benefits of Captive Companies in Tennessee. Join Baker Donelson for a special luncheon featuring Michael A. Corbett and Julie McPeak, who will talk about the cost, investment, advantages and upkeep of a captive. Hosted by insurance regulatory attorneys David Broemel and Lee Harrell. Tax attorney Scott Smith also will be on hand to answer any questions about federal and state tax issues and planning opportunities involving captive insurance companies. Today, 11:30 a.m., lunch and registration. Noon-1 p.m., program. Baker Donelson Center, 211 Commerce Street, First Floor Special Events Center, Nashville. Information: rsvp@bakerdonelson.com.

more events »

Garner aims for the Heart with spring launch

One of Nashville’s most celebrated fashion designers, Jeff Garner, is presenting the spring collection of his clothing line, Prophetik, to put a spotlight on the importance of heart health for women.

Nashville Fashion Week schedule

Nashville Fashion Week includes five days of runway shows, smart panel discussions to post-show parties.


Sellers still rule as winter turns to spring

The thaw will occur soon, perhaps. When it does, look for more inventory in the residential real estate market and more sales to follow. Historically speaking, home sales will double in the next few months compared to the period since November.


Midstate Real Estate trends for February 2014

February 2014 real estate trends for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.


Tax cuts = less revenue? Basic math hits home

With Tennessee having collected $176 million less in taxes than expected, Gov. Bill Haslam finds himself in a tight spot.


Trying to ‘restrict government’ one controversy at a time

For a decade, state Sen. Stacey Campfield has been unafraid of making headlines.


Thoma promoted to CFO by Aegis Sciences Corp.

Aegis Sciences Corporation, a forensic toxicology and health care sciences company, has promoted Keri Thoma to chief financial officer. She will oversee all strategic financial initiatives.


Forget extroverts: Ambiverts make sales rock stars

Inability to find good sales talent is a common source of frustration for business owners and hiring managers nationwide.


Investors react to Fed policy, world events with yawn

Fed testimony last week addressed burning economic and policy questions for investors.


Crossword titan collects fifth consecutive title

“Never in the history of competitive crossword puzzle solving has there been a rivalry like the one between Tyler Hinman and Dan Feyer.”


Springtime yearning for fresh vegetables, grilling

SPRINGTIME! Fresh vegetables will be here soon!


City beer sales bill headed to governor's desk

NASHVILLE (AP) - A bill to allow local governments to obtain permits to sell beer is headed for Gov. Bill Haslam's desk after being approved by the House on Thursday.

For-profit charter schools bill fails in House

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal to allow charter schools in Tennessee to be operated by for-profit entities has failed its last committee vote before reaching the House floor.


Former AG Gonzales to be Belmont Law College dean

NASHVILLE (AP) - Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been named dean of Belmont University's College of Law.


Improving US home market is still facing obstacles

WASHINGTON (AP) — Entering the 2014 spring buying season, the U.S. housing market faces an unusual dilemma: Too few people are selling homes. Yet too few buyers can afford the homes that are for sale.

Growing demand for US apartments pushing up rents

These are good times for U.S. landlords. For many tenants, not so much.

US service firms grow more quickly, boost hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. service firms expanded more quickly last month as new orders rose and hiring increased, a positive sign the economy is rebounding after an unusually cold winter.

Fed board member Stein announces resignation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jeremy Stein, a member of the Federal Reserve Board, says that he plans to resign next month to return to Harvard University.

Applications for US jobless aid up 16K to 326,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose 16,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 326,000. Despite the increase, the number remains close to pre-recession levels and points to stable hiring.

US trade deficit hits $42.3 billion in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit climbed to the highest level in five months in February as demand for American exports fell while imports increased slightly.

Stocks ease below record highs ahead of jobs news

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged lower Thursday, falling back from all-time highs, as traders refrained from making any big bets ahead of Friday's monthly job report. Declines were led by health care stocks.

Oil down despite China stimulus, supply drop

LONDON (AP) — The price of oil drifted lower Thursday even after China introduced measures to underpin growth and U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly declined.

Average US 30-year mortgage rate rises to 4.41 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose slightly this week but remained near historically low levels.

Mall staple Brookstone seeks bankruptcy cover

MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — Brookstone, a staple in malls and airports nationwide, is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its $147 million sale to Spencer Spirit Holdings.

Barnes & Noble investor cutting stake

NEW YORK (AP) — Liberty Media Corp. says it is cutting its stake in Barnes & Noble Corp., sending the bookseller's shares down sharply.

Report: Blacks, Latinos losing economic ground

WASHINGTON (AP) — African-Americans and Latinos are losing economic ground when compared with whites in the areas of employment and income as the United States pulls itself out of the Great Recession, the latest State of Black America report from the National Urban League says.

Old habits at Samsung, LG embarrass them abroad

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — When Samsung unveiled a new smartphone at the storied Radio City Music Hall, the Broadway-style spectacle was memorable not for technology but for a cast of giggling female characters who fantasized about marrying a doctor, fretted about eating too much cake, and needed a man's help to understand how to work the phone.


Republicans like campaign money ruling, Dems don't

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans call the Supreme Court's latest ruling on campaign donations a victory for free speech. Democrats say it's more like a win for the wealthy.

GOP budget slashes spending, aid to poor

WASHINGTON (AP) — A budget plan stuffed with familiar proposals to cut across a wide swath of the federal budget breezed through the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, but its sharp cuts to health care coverage for the middle class and the poor, food stamps and popular domestic programs are a nonstarter with President Barack Obama.


Federal waiver gives Tennessee hospitals $80M

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee's U.S. senators say they will continue to seek a permanent fix for the state's financially struggling hospitals after they were granted a federal waiver that gives them $80 million.


Supreme court limits suits over frequent flier miles

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a Minnesota rabbi who complained about an airline's frequent flier program is out of luck.

High court loosens reins on big campaign donors

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court's conservative majority voted Wednesday to free wealthy donors to give to as many political candidates and campaigns as they want, further loosening the reins on giving by big contributors as the 2014 campaign moves into high gear.


Co-op health enrollment still unknown in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - It's still too early to tell whether an insurance co-op created solely to sell health plans to Tennesseans through the federal government's exchange was able to compete with the state's big insurers.

Haslam: No threat implied in VW incentive offer

NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday that making a $300 million incentive package for Volkswagen subject to labor talks concluding to the state's satisfaction was not a threat but a "statement of reality" about the political landscape in Tennessee.

Haslam says he regrets no raises for teachers next year

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday that he regrets not being able to give the state's teachers a raise and pledged to find ways to increase their pay after vowing to do so last year.


Panel advances parent trigger bill in House

NASHVILLE (AP) - Legislation that would allow parents to decide the fate of a struggling school is advancing in the House.

Rep. Barrett Rich to retire from Tennessee House

NASHVILLE (AP) - State Rep. Barrett Rich says he won't run for another term representing his rural West Tennessee district in the House this year.

Bill to prohibit teacher licensure rules advances

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal that would prohibit standardized test scores from being tied to teacher licensing is advancing in the House.


Lawmakers accuse GM of possible criminal cover-up

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers on Capitol Hill accused General Motors of a potentially criminal cover-up of its defective ignition switches and fumed at the lack of answers from its new CEO during a second day of hearings Wednesday into why GM waited a decade to recall cars with the deadly flaw.

Chrysler recalling 870,000 SUVs for brake defect

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler is recalling nearly 870,000 SUVs because corrosion may make the vehicles' brakes harder to use.


S&P 500 notches record high; Dow erases 2014 loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are edging further into record territory as encouraging news on hiring and manufacturing brings more buyers into the market.

Oil falls even with supply drop; gasoline at $3.56

The price of oil fell slightly Wednesday, despite a report of an unexpected decline in the nation's supplies.

More Americans see middle class status slipping

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sense of belonging to the middle class occupies a cherished place in America. It conjures images of self-sufficient people with stable jobs and pleasant homes working toward prosperity.

US factory orders rebound 1.6 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories rose in February after two months of declines but a critical category that signals business investment plans fell.

Survey: US companies add 191K jobs in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — A private survey shows that U.S. companies increased hiring at a healthy pace last month, suggesting that the jobs market is recovering from a brutal winter.

Microsoft reveals Siri-like Windows Phone feature

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft is showcasing a new virtual assistant as part of an upcoming update for Windows phones.

Amazon unveils Fire TV set top streaming device

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is making a bid to enter living rooms with Amazon Fire TV, a new set-top box that allows streaming of online video, music and other content to televisions.

BlackBerry ending US licensing deal with T-Mobile

NEW YORK (AP) — BlackBerry is ending its U.S. licensing deal with T-Mobile, saying the companies no longer have complementary strategies.


No. 2 Senate Dem says minimum wage talks possible

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's second-ranking Democrat says he'd be open to negotiating a compromise if Republicans block Democrats' efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Senate jobless benefits bill advances slowly

WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation to resurrect benefits for the long-term unemployed took an essential step Wednesday toward likely Senate approval, despite complaints from Republicans that Democrats refuse to allow changes designed to stimulate job creation.

College athletes take labor cause to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Northwestern University athletes trying to unionize presented their case to lawmakers Wednesday after a federal agency said they have the same rights to bargain collectively as other workers.

House GOP plan seeks health cuts to balance budget

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are pressing ahead with a slashing plan to try to balance the budget within 10 years, relying on big decreases in health care programs for the middle class and the poor, as well as tax hikes and Medicare cuts engineered by President Barack Obama.


Bill advances allowing for-profit entities to manage charters

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would allow a charter school to be operated by a for-profit entity narrowly advanced out of the House Education Committee.

State employees, teachers won't get pay increase

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday that he won't be able to give state employees and teachers a pay increase next year mainly because of reductions due to an ongoing decline in revenue collections, which state officials are looking into.


Democrat Fitzhugh won't run for Tennessee governor

NASHVILLE (AP) - State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh has announced he will run for re-election to his House seat this year rather than making a bid for governor.


US auto sales accelerated as March moved along; Nissan up 8.3 pct.

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto sales went out like a lion in March.

Congress seeks answers on delay in GM recall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is demanding answers from the new CEO of General Motors and the head of the nation's auto safety watchdog about why it took at least a decade to recall cars with a defective part that is now linked to 13 deaths.

Report: Tennessee offered contingent incentives to VW

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's incentive offer to Volkswagen was made contingent on the labor situation at the German automaker's plant in Chattanooga developing to the "satisfaction" of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's administration, according to documents obtained by WTVF-TV in Nashville.


Nashville sees credit downgrade from Moody's

NASHVILLE (AP) - Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Metropolitan Nashville's credit rating, citing the city's "above average debt burden," among other things.

Vanderbilt hosts forum on the politics of vaccines

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt University is hosting a forum that will look at the political, medical and ethical debates surrounding childhood vaccines.


Oprah's former stepmother gets 60 days to vacate

FRANKLIN (AP) — Oprah Winfrey's former stepmother has been given extra time to vacate the $1.4 million home she once shared with the father of the iconic talk-show host.


Pelosi says over 7 million enroll in health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says the White House is reporting more than 7 million people signed up for health care through the exchanges by Monday's midnight deadline.

Missed the health care deadline? It's not too late

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not too late to get covered. A few routes remain open for those who missed the health care law's big enrollment deadline.

Deadline brings high interest for health insurance

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A blizzard, jammed phone lines and unreliable websites failed to stop throngs of procrastinating Americans from trying to sign up for health coverage by the midnight Monday deadline for President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy initiative.


Stocks close higher as US manufacturing recovers

NEW YORK (AP) — Encouraging signs of a pickup in manufacturing helped send the stock market higher.

Oil down on China factory data, US supply forecast

The price of oil fell 1.6 percent Tuesday to just below $100 a barrel, dented by soft Chinese manufacturing figures and expectations of another increase in U.S. crude stockpiles.

US construction spending up tiny 0.1 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending posted a slight increase in February as a rebound in construction of hotels and other nonresidential buildings offset a decline in housing.

US manufacturing expanded more quickly in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing grew at a slightly faster pace in March compared with February as factory output recovered from severe winter weather. Manufacturers also received more orders, suggesting that production could strengthen further in the months ahead.

US home prices rise in February despite weaker sales

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose in February from a year earlier at a solid pace, suggesting that a tight supply of available homes is boosting prices despite slowing sales.

Windows 8 updates expected at Microsoft conference

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft is following through on a promise to update its Windows 8 operating system on a regular basis to respond to consumers' complaints and other feedback.

Facebook CEO reaps $3.3B gain from stock options

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reaped a $3.3 billion gain last year by exercising stock options in the social networking company that he founded in a Harvard University dorm room.


Ryan unveils House GOP budget claiming balance

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled an updated Republican budget plan Tuesday that would slash $5.1 trillion in federal spending over coming decade and promises to balance the government's books with wide-ranging cuts in programs like food stamps and government-paid health care for the poor and working class.

Sen. Paul: Give Caterpillar award for tax strategy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. executives defended a tax strategy Tuesday that has saved the manufacturing giant billions in U.S. taxes. They got support from Republican senators, including one who said the company deserves an award.


Dickel sues Tennessee over liquor storage requirement

NASHVILLE (AP) - Whiskey maker George Dickel is suing to overturn a Tennessee law that requires liquor to be stored in or around the county where it is distilled.


Redistricting has little effect on Tennessee GOP

NASHVILLE (AP) — While Republican lawmakers in some states may have benefited from congressional redistricting, the changes had little effect in Tennessee.


Health deadline brings last-minute surge in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee health care volunteers are being flooded with a last-minute surge of consumers hoping to sign up for health coverage by deadline.

Deadline dash: Health care sign-ups amid glitches

WASHINGTON (AP) — A flood of last-minute applicants rushed to sign up for health insurance on Monday, deadline day for President Barack Obama's health care law, with more than 125,000 people at a time using the fragile system despite a new spate of intermittent ills.

Q&A: Status update as health law marks a milestone

WASHINGTON (AP) — Like so much about the government's health care overhaul, Monday's deadline to sign up for coverage in 2014 didn't turn out quite as planned: Many people still are eligible for extensions that will let them enroll.


BlackBerry wins ruling against iPhone keyboard

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry has won an early round in its legal battle against an iPhone keyboard made by a startup co-founded by "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest.

Supreme Court could limit software patents

WASHINGTON (AP) — Is it too easy for high-tech companies to patent inventions that are not really new, but simply take an old idea and blend it with computer wizardry?


GM recalls 1.3 million cars for steering defect

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is recalling 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. because the electronic power-steering assist can suddenly stop working.

GM recall: Many victims were young drivers

DETROIT (AP) — As the deaths are tallied from General Motors' delayed recall of compact cars, one thing is becoming clear: Of those who were killed, the majority were young.

Fiat Chrysler: can boost output to 6M cars a year

TURIN, Italy (AP) — Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said Monday that the merged company will be able to increase production to more than 6 million cars a year, a level he has long said is the minimum for an automaker to compete in the global market.


US stocks rise, post meager gain for 1st quarter

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are closing higher as the market posts a meager gain for the first three months of the year.

Yellen: Job market needs low rates 'for some time'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made clear Monday that she thinks the still-subpar U.S. job market will continue to need the help of low interest rates "for some time."

Soda sales in US decline at faster pace

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans cut back on soda at an accelerated pace last year, bringing sales volume to the lowest level since 1995, according to a new report.

Oil steady above $101 after US-Russia talks

The price of oil was little changed above $101 a barrel Monday as markets kept on eye on talks between the U.S. and Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

Amazon workers on strike in Germany

BERLIN (AP) — Workers at one of Amazon.com's German distribution centers are on strike in a dispute over wages.


Ramsey: Pay raises, higher ed funding face cuts

NASHVILLE (AP) - Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says worse-than-expected revenue collections could force Tennessee to cancel planned pay raises for state employees and reduce planned investments in higher education.

Haslam: 'Ways to go' on voucher consensus

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam says lawmakers still have a "ways to go" in reaching a consensus on his school voucher legislation.


Lambert, Strait to salute Haggard at ACM Awards

NASHVILLE (AP) - Country music's biggest stars are turning out for a salute to Merle Haggard.

LL Cool J, Chris O'Donnell to host Academy of Country Music special

NASHVILLE (AP) - LL Cool J is adding more hosting duties to his resume.

1st production model Stratocaster sold for $250K

NASHVILLE (AP) — The first production model Fender Stratocaster guitar has been sold for $250,000.


Ford CEO's pay up 11 pct to $23.2 million in 2013

DETROIT (AP) — Ford CEO Alan Mulally's compensation rose 11 percent to $23.2 million in 2013, as the company reported record profits in North America and Asia.

BMW plans $1 billion expansion in South Carolina

GREER, S.C. (AP) — BMW is celebrating its 20th anniversary of building cars in the United States by investing $1 billion in its plant in South Carolina to build two of its new X-series vehicles at the facility that ushered in a wave of foreign automakers building Southern plants.

Feds close investigation of Tesla battery fires

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government's auto safety watchdog has closed an investigation into Tesla electric car battery fires after the company said it would install more shields beneath the cars.

GM's Opel unit to pull out of China

BERLIN (AP) — General Motors Co.'s Opel unit will end its small presence in the Chinese market — a decision its chief executive describes as long-overdue.

Head of VW's Chattanooga plant returning to Germany

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Frank Fischer, who has headed Volkswagen's only U.S. plant in Chattanooga since its construction, is leaving to manage the automaker's factory in Emden, Germany.


Poll: Obama health law fails to gain support

WASHINGTON (AP) — Public support for President Barack Obama's health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago, according to a new poll.

Sebelius visits Nashville to push health exchange

NASHVILLE (AP) - U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited Nashville on Thursday to urge Tennesseans to sign up for insurance through the federal health care exchange before a March 31 deadline.

Gay couples find uneven access to health insurance

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Nearly every day for three months, Carl Bechdel had to make calls or send emails to try to get family insurance coverage for his husband and himself under President Barack Obama's landmark health law.


US consumer confidence slips in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer sentiment slipped in March from the previous month, as Americans said they were less likely to buy cars and homes because of slightly higher interest rates.

US consumer spending up modest 0.3 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans barely increased their spending in February following a weak January performance, strong evidence that the severe winter will hold back the economy in the first quarter.

Stocks edge up as Americans open their wallets

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are ending broadly higher as traders were encouraged by an increase in consumer spending last month.

Oil price rises on Nigeria supply woes, US growth

The price of oil rose Friday amid signs of stronger economic growth in the U.S. and possible disruptions to Nigerian crude exports.

Why economists say 2014 could prove breakout year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Once this year's harsh weather has faded, the U.S. economy could be poised for a breakout year — its strongest annual growth in nearly a decade.

Microsoft unveils Office for iPad

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft on Thursday unveiled Office for the iPad, a software suite that includes programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and works on rival Apple Inc.'s hugely popular tablet computer.


House approves bill to stop cut to Medicare docs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday passed legislation to give doctors a yearlong reprieve from a looming 24 percent cut in their payments from Medicare.

Senate OKs Obama pick for small business agency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has easily approved President Barack Obama's choice of a woman who founded a Latino-owned bank in Los Angeles to head the Small Business Administration.

Senate, House back bills to aid Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress spoke with one voice on Thursday against Russia's annexation of Crimea, passing legislation in the House and Senate giving help to cash-strapped Ukraine and imposing sanctions against Russia.

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