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VOL. 35 | NO. 30 | Friday, July 29, 2011

Why is our water so expensive?

First, it’s really not. Second, remember that deal to get the Titans?

Is it worth it, you ask yourself as you look up from this month’s water bill to survey your browning, heat-parched lawn or shriveled tomato plants.

Park Center offers ‘members’ 2nd chance

It wasn’t always easy working with Black Jack.

Dan’s faith, catfish make long bus ride worthwhile

Raul Madero kept getting in arguments at work and, as a result, losing jobs.

Gallatin Pike improvement plan: Success or failure?

The Gallatin Pike Specific Plan that went into effect in 2007 is, depending on whom you ask, the best thing or the worst thing to ever happen to East Nashville.

Local Weather
Currently
Nashville, TN
53.0°F
Partly Cloudy
Wind: Calm mph
Humidity: 61%

EVENTS

‘Wild Impressions’ Art Auction. The Nashville chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers will be offering their annual “Wild Impressions” Animal Art Auction tonight at the Nashville Zoo’s Jungle Terrace. The after-hours event (6:30–10 p.m.) will include food, beverages and more than 50 paintings created by elephants, tigers, macaws, giant anteaters and more. Tickets are available for $25 per person and all proceeds benefit Australian rainforest recovery efforts. Information: nashvillezoo.org.

more events »

REALTY CHECK

Condos a better investment than Belle Meade?

When “lite” beers first emerged in the market there were a number of attempts to introduce them to the mainstream. One of the more popular promotions involved celebrities, mainly from the sports world, who argued whether the beer was “less filling” or “tasted great.” The dialogue was always reduced to:

GET A JOB!

Pick up that phone! Internet, snail mail not always enough

The Internet is the way to look for a job and converse with hiring managers. To deal with employers, you need only send them an e-resume and converse with them through e-mail. Correct? Wrong! Don’t forget the phone.

NEWSMAKERS

Wiseman Ashworth expands Nashville, Memphis offices

Wiseman Ashworth Law Group has opened an office in Memphis and will double the size of its office in Nashville.

I SWEAR

A farewell to Friday Night Lights

For some time I’ve wanted to write about Friday Night Lights. I’ve been streaming it on Netflix for a while, watched the first four seasons and became a fan.

KAY'S COOKING CORNER

Summer vegetables are a gas, gas, gas

I guess it seems like I am on a corn kick here lately since my last few articles have been “corn inspired.” Actually, I am just enjoying the fresh vegetables that are plentiful right now!

NASHVILLE AREA

Downtown power outage due to crew hitting cable

NASHVILLE (AP) - A spokeswoman for the Nashville Electric Service says power outages to about 20 downtown buildings - including the state Capitol - is the result of a work crew accidentally cutting into some underground cable.

J Alexander's 2Q net income more than doubles

NASHVILLE (AP) - J. Alexander's Corp.'s fiscal second-quarter net income more than doubled, benefiting from price increases and more guests at its restaurants.

Emdeon to be taken private by Blackstone for $2.2B

NASHVILLE (AP) — Health care payment technology company Emdeon Inc. has agreed to be taken private by The Blackstone Group for about $2.2 billion.

Fairgrounds referendum draws voters in Nashville

NASHVILLE (AP) — A referendum on the Tennessee State Fairgrounds during Nashville's city election Thursday caps a lengthy political debate over whether urban voters have enough nostalgia to preserve it from proposed redevelopment.

STATEWIDE

Tennesseans like sales tax holiday yet use it less

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennesseans taking advantage of the state's sixth annual sales tax holiday this weekend say it provides needed relief in a tough economy, but state figures show that shoppers aren't using it as much as they first did.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Rate on 15-year mortgage falls to decades low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage has fallen to its lowest level in decades.

Retailers report solid sales gains for July

NEW YORK (AP) — Many retailers posted solid sales during the kickoff to the back-to-school season as deep discounts and sweltering heat in July drove shoppers to air conditioned malls. But merchants worry that momentum won't continue throughout the remainder of the second-biggest shopping period of the year.

Unemployment aid applications tick down to 400K

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits dipped last week, a sign the job market may be improving slowly.

Oil falls to lowest level in over a month

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil is tumbling to the lowest level in more than a month as the dollar strengthened.

GM says 2Q profit nearly doubles on sales, prices

DETROIT (AP) — After years of big discounts, GM is finally getting a good price for its cars and trucks, and it's helping the company's bottom line.

Southwest posts 2Q profit of $161 million

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines Co. boosted its second-quarter profit with higher fares and more traffic from the addition of AirTran, but fuel costs soared a stunning 64 percent higher than a year ago.

NATIONAL POLITICS

The next deficit deal: There's a rough road ahead

WASHINGTON (AP) — The special panel's goal is lofty: concoct a deal both parties will embrace to slash federal deficits by a mammoth $1.5 trillion or more over the next decade.

More to FAA shutdown than air service subsidies

WASHINGTON (AP) — On the surface, the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration is about whether to cut $16 million in air service subsidies, a pretty small amount in this town. Underneath are layers upon layers of political gamesmanship that, at its heart, is about whether Democrats or Republicans get to call the shots in Congress.

Senate deal on taking up worker, trade bills

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate leaders said late Wednesday that they had agreed on a path toward passing legislation to help workers displaced by foreign trade and taking up three free trade agreements that have languished since they were signed during the George W. Bush administration.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3
NASHVILLE AREA

Gay stagehand's bias suit against union to proceed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A stagehand who claims he lost work on country music awards shows because he is gay has won a federal court ruling that allows him to pursue a discrimination lawsuit against the Nashville local of the theater workers union.

60,000-80,000 expected for folk festival

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville has no theme park, no beach and no casinos.

STATEWIDE

Contractor sues state for suspending his company

NASHVILLE (AP) — The owner of a guardrail company has sued the Tennessee Department of Transportation, arguing his company's suspension violates a 2006 agreement in a separate case.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Unemployment rose in nearly all US cities

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates rose in more than 90 percent of U.S. cities in June, mirroring a national slowdown in hiring.

Moody's backs US triple-A rating; outlook negative

WASHINGTON (AP) — Moody's Investors Service said Tuesday that the United States will retain its triple-A bond rating following passage of legislation to boost the debt ceiling. But the agency put a "negative" outlook on the rating, raising the specter of a future downgrade.

Factory orders dropped 0.8 percent in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses cut back on orders for airplanes, autos and heavy machinery in June, lowering demand for factory goods for the second time in three months.

Services firms expand at slowest pace in 17 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — Service businesses such as restaurants, hotels and financial companies experienced their weakest growth in 17 months in July.

Oil near $93 as weak US economy drags markets down

Oil prices fell to near $93 a barrel Wednesday as investor pessimism about the U.S. economy dragged down global markets.

Global airline profits hit by sky-high fuel costs

GENEVA (AP) — Sky-high fuel prices have hit the profits of the world's airlines though Europe's carriers recovered after suffering last year from a volcanic ash cloud that brought traffic to a standstill, the industry's main lobby group said Wednesday.

Toyota tells suppliers to prepare for growth

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota has told its suppliers in Japan to prepare for ramped up production in 2012 and following years, signaling that the automaker is confident it's back on a growth track after being hit by massive recalls and the tsunami disaster.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Lucky dozen lawmakers to tackle hard stuff on debt

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's bills are being paid and Congress has bolted the hothouse of Washington, one debt limit deadline beaten and another ahead for a dozen yet-to-be-named lawmakers.

Analysis: Obama pivots to new string of problems

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama dodged a debt-ceiling fiasco Tuesday. He reacted with a wiped brow more than a victory lap, and with good reason.

Try as he might, Obama can't shake Bush tax cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Time and again during his presidential campaign, Barack Obama was unequivocal: "We are going to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans."

FAA shutdown to continue as Congress leaves

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is likely to lose more than $1 billion in airline ticket taxes because lawmakers have left town for a month without resolving a partisan standoff over a bill to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Obama presses Congress to end FAA shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is imploring the House and Senate to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration within days.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 2
NASHVILLE AREA

Gaylord Entertainment returns to 2Q profit

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gaylord Entertainment Co. reported a profit for the second quarter, bouncing back from a loss a year ago when it absorbed expenses tied to flood damage at its Nashville, Tenn., properties.

STATEWIDE

Figures show 771 state workers denied raises

NASHVILLE (AP) — More than 700 state employees were denied pay increases July 1 after Gov. Bill Haslam changed existing policy and blocked raises for those receiving poor evaluations or disciplined in the past year.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

GM's July sales rise 8 percent, driven by Cruze

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors' U.S. sales rose 8 percent in July, led by fuel-efficient vehicles such as the Chevrolet Cruze. But the increase may not be the norm.

Americans cut spending for first time in 20 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans cut back on their spending in June for the first time in nearly two years and their incomes grew by the smallest amount in nine months, a troubling sign for an economy that is barely growing.

Oil slides under $94 on concerns of weak economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil fell below $94 per barrel Tuesday as investors continued to worry about weaker economic growth.

US stock futures fall ahead of Senate debt vote

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures are falling ahead of a vote in the Senate to raise the nation's borrowing limit.

Markets worry about US economy despite debt deal

LONDON (AP) — Stocks fell again on Tuesday after grim U.S. manufacturing data fueled fears that the world's largest economy may be sliding back into recession.

Toyota ekes out quarterly profit, raises forecast

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota eked out a 1.1 billion yen ($14 million) quarterly profit and raised its annual earnings forecast Tuesday as it mounts a comeback from the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Obama signs debt bill after final Senate vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate emphatically passed emergency legislation Tuesday to avoid a first-ever government default, rushing the legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature just hours before the deadline. The vote was 74-26.

Geithner uncertain if US credit rating jeopardized

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says he doesn't know if the bruising debt-limit battle will harm America's Triple-A credit rating, but says he fears "world confidence was damaged by this spectacle."

FAA shutdown to continue in partisan standoff

WASHINGTON (AP) — A stalemate that has partially shut down the Federal Aviation Administration will continue into September. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Senate Democrats were unwilling to accept cuts in subsidies for rural air service.

MONDAY, AUGUST 1
NASHVILLE AREA

Weather Service: Hottest July in Nashville since 1993

NASHVILLE (AP) — July was the hottest seventh month in Nashville since 1993.

Cracker Barrel names Cochran as its new CEO

LEBANON (AP) — Casual dining chain Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. said Monday that President and Chief Operating Officer Sandra B. Cochran will become its CEO next month as part of a succession plan that has been in the works for two years.

Public gets first look at new Belmont concert hall today

NASHVILLE (AP) — The public gets a first look, and listen, today at Belmont University's newly renovated concert hall in Nashville.

STATEWIDE

State publicizing new photo ID requirement to vote

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Department of State has begun a campaign to remind citizens about a new photo identification requirement for voting going into effect Jan. 2.

GM biggest recipient of job-training grants

NASHVILLE (AP) — General Motors received nearly $17 million in job-training grants from the state of Tennessee nearly three years ago, tapping an unexpected source of cash at a time the automaker teetered on the brink of collapse, according to a published report.

Legislators' use of 'Sunset Law' questioned

NASHVILLE (AP) — Recent disputes in the Tennessee legislature are once again raising questions about whether Tennessee lawmakers are using a 1970s anti-bureaucracy law to pressure regulatory agencies.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Construction spending gains 0.2 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Builders began work on more office buildings, shopping centers and hotels in June, pushing construction spending higher for a third straight month. But even with the gains, activity remains at depressed levels.

Manufacturing growth hits lowest level in 2 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturing activity barely grew in July, falling to the weakest level since just after the recession ended.

US stock futures rise broadly in wake of debt deal

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures are jumping after President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders signaled they have a deal to raise the nation's borrowing limit ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

Insurers must cover birth control with no copays

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health insurance plans must cover birth control as preventive care for women, with no copays, the Obama administration said Monday in a decision with far-reaching implications for health care as well as social mores.

Oil falls on weak manufacturing reports

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil fell from its early high on Monday, as a series of weak readings on the U.S. and global economy rattled energy markets and offset enthusiasm over a debt deal agreement in Washington.

Allstate 2Q weather beaten, but a silver lining

BOSTON (AP) — Allstate reported a $620 million second-quarter loss Monday, hammered by a previously disclosed $2.3 billion in catastrophe losses from waves of tornadoes, wildfires and storms this year.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Debt-limit votes: Senate momentum, House concerns

WASHINGTON (AP) — Emergency legislation to avoid an economy-rattling government default and slice federal spending by $2 trillion or more sped toward a showdown vote in the House on Monday and possibly the Senate as well, just a day before the deadline for action.

Defense facing cuts up to $850 billion over decade

WASHINGTON (AP) — A military fighting three wars is staring down budget cuts of up to $850 billion over a decade, some of the deepest reductions since the end of the Cold War.

Questions and answers about the debt-deficit deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — An explanation, in questions and answers, of key features in the debt-reduction plan, how it would work and possible impacts on programs:

Obama adviser lauds deal, says it must be passed

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top adviser to President Barack Obama said Monday the new deal to avoid a government default lifts a big cloud over the economy, even if the country had to first endure a "three-ring circus" in Washington.

Analysis: Bipartisan deal, bipartisan opposition

WASHINGTON (AP) — The newly struck debt-ceiling compromise between President Barack Obama and the Republican leaders of Congress represents a historic accomplishment of divided government, with all the disappointment that implies for the most ardent partisans inside the two major parties and out.

McCain says he'll 'swallow hard' and support deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John McCain says he'll vote for compromise legislation averting a government default, although "I will probably have to swallow hard."

FRIDAY, JULY 29
NASHVILLE AREA

Country Hall of Fame kicks off expansion campaign

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is off to a fast start in its $75 million expansion campaign.

STATEWIDE

Haslam seeks waiver from No Child Left Behind

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam said Friday that Tennessee is seeking a waiver to use its revamped education standards to measure schools instead of those mandated by No Child Left Behind, the nation's governing education law.

Amazon.com opening fulfillment center in Lebanon

LEBANON (AP) — Online retailer Amazon.com says it will open a fulfillment center in Lebanon.

6 colleges in region picked for green program

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Six colleges in the Tennessee Valley Authority region have been picked for a Green Campus Network that will pay student interns to help develop the pilot energy efficiency program.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Revisions show deeper 2007-2009 recession

WASHINGTON (AP) — The 2007-2009 recession, already in the record books as the worst in the 66 years since the end of World War II, was even worse than previously thought.

Oil below $97 as US debt limit deadline nears

Oil prices fell below $97 a barrel Friday as U.S. leaders failed to agree to lift the government debt limit just days from a deadline, leaving investors to consider worst-case scenarios if a default occurs.

Economy slowed sharply in first half of year

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy expanded at meager 1.3 percent annual rate in the spring after scarcely growing at all in the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said Friday.

Fixed mortgage rates mostly unchanged last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fixed mortgage rates were mostly unchanged this week as credit markets showed little reaction to Washington's impasse over raising the federal government's borrowing limit.

Applications for unemployment aid drop below 400K

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level since early April, a sign the job market may be healing after a recent slump.

US stock futures fall after debt vote postponed

Stock futures are trading lower as hopes fade for a resolution this week to the standoff over increasing the nation's borrowing limit.

NATIONAL POLITICS

House nears vote on GOP debt bill; Dems oppose

WASHINGTON (AP) — Partisan to the core, Congress groped uncertainly Friday for a way to avoid a government default threatened for early next week. "We are almost out of time," warned President Barack Obama as U.S. financial markets trembled.

Obama says multiple ways out of debt ceiling mess

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says there are multiple ways to resolve the debt ceiling mess, but it has to be bipartisan and it has to happen fast.

Congressman: Boehner bill gets support overnight

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee says he believes the GOP is "very close" to having enough votes to pass Speaker John Boehner's debt limit bill Friday.

First-term Senate Democrat disgusted with Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate Democrat says House Speaker John Boehner's failure to get fellow Republicans to back his debt limit bill dramatizes the folly of a "go-it-alone" approach to the financial crisis.

President to announce deal to boost fuel economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and automakers ushered in the largest cut in fuel consumption since the 1970s on Friday with a deal that will save drivers money at the pump and dramatically cut heat-trapping gases coming from tailpipes.

Senate Dems to move ahead with debt-limit bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid served notice Friday that he's pushing ahead with his debt-limit bill as House Speaker John Boehner's rival measure languished in limbo, further escalating a wrenching political standoff that has heightened fears of a market-rattling government default.

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