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VOL. 43 | NO. 44 | Friday, November 1, 2019

Tennessee Innocence Project raises $135,000

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The Tennessee Innocence Project’s inaugural fundraiser drew nearly 300 individuals raised approximately $135,000 for the organization.

The group’s mission is to exonerate innocent men and women wrongfully convicted in the state of Tennessee. Former Tennessee Titan Eddie George served as emcee of the sold-out event and the keynote featured The New York Times bestselling author John Grisham.

It was announced during the event that Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Danielle Dudding Irvine will begin a six-month fellowship at the organization starting Jan. 1. Irvine will launch the TIP presence in West Tennessee, working on cases in Shelby County and the surrounding areas. Irvine is set to start work on a case involving possible witness misidentification, which will provide a platform to showcase the important work being done by TIP across the state.

Irvine’s fellowship with TIP is part of Bass, Berry & Sims’ Pro Bono Program that allows the firm’s associates and staff attorneys to spend up to six months serving full-time in a pro bono capacity within the community.

Allegiant announces aircraft base in Nashville

Allegiant Travel Company plans to establish a base of operations at Nashville International Airport. The Las Vegas-based company will invest $50 million to establish the new base, creating at least 66 new, high-wage jobs and housing two Airbus aircraft.

The company plans to begin its base operations in Nashville on Feb. 13. The airport will be the airline’s 19th aircraft base.

Allegiant began operating at BNA in 2018 and offers 12 non-stop routes through Nashville (January through September).

Gore to speak at VU during climate event

Former Vice President Al Gore will speak at Vanderbilt University on climate change as part of a worldwide event called “24 Hours of Reality: Truth in Action.”

The presentation will be one of thousands happening around the world Nov. 20. The worldwide event is led by Gore and The Climate Reality Project, which he founded and chairs.

Gore has written bestselling books on climate change and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”

His climate work was the subject of the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won two Oscars in 2006.

Gore’s event comes as Vanderbilt aims to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Flexential expands Franklin data center

Flexential, a provider of data center colocation and hybrid information technology solutions, has announced the addition of nearly 40,000 square feet of raised floor capacity at one of its Nashville data centers.

The expansion at Flexential’s Franklin data center includes 10,000 square feet designated specifically for one large enterprise customer. The rest is built to prepare for additional demand anticipated from the growing region, especially in financial services and health care. This brings the company’s Nashville sites to 165,000 square feet.

Nashville is one of four cities to build or announce additions this year in the Flexential fleet with Portland, Oregon, Atlanta and Charlotte also growing.

Labcanna receives Cannafund financing

Labcanna Biosciences Inc., a Nashville-based vertically integrated CBD processor, has received its first round of raw material investment from Cannafund LLC., an asset-based lender specializing in CBD and cannabis supply chain financing.

Cannafund provided financing to partially fulfill a $30,000,000 purchase order contract for CBD bulk materials. Labcanna Biosciences Chief Financial Officer Matt Chapman says, “The team from Cannafund took a personal interest in understanding our business, where it was headed and provided the liquidity we needed to scale production to meet the demands of our customers.

Unemployment rates remain low in Tennessee

Unemployment rates in nearly every Tennessee county, including distressed counties, declined during September, according to data released by the state.

Williamson and Sevier counties claim the lowest unemployment rates in the state. Both counties recorded a rate of 2.3%, which is 0.2% lower than their August rates.

Davidson, Cheatham and Rutherford counties each had an unemployment rate of 2.4% in September. Davidson County dropped 0.1%, while Cheatham and Rutherford counties both declined 0.2%.

Ninety counties experienced lower unemployment in September, while the rate remained the same in one county, and increased in four counties. The latest statistics show unemployment rates are less than 5% in 90 counties and 5% or greater in five counties.

Several of Tennessee’s distressed counties saw significant improvement in unemployment compared to their August statistics. Rates dropped in 12 of the state’s 15 distressed counties.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.4% in September, down 0.1% when compared to August.

Nationally, unemployment declined in September by 0.2% to 3.5%.

Velocity Risk adds New Jersey to territory

Nashville-based Velocity Risk Underwriters, LLC, has expanded its home insurance products to coastal homeowners policies in New Jersey.

“We are proud to add New Jersey as the sixth state where we can offer homeowners insurance to coastal customers who may find it difficult to secure coverage in catastrophe prone areas,” says Jose de Diego, director of independent agencies.

“We know there is a need for a financially stable, well-backed insurer along the Eastern Seaboard, and we plan to continue adding states throughout the months and years to come.”

Following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Michael in 2018, Velocity Claims helped customers begin their recovery within days of the storm and concluded claims faster than most other carriers.

Rebuilding Together Nashville wins grant

The Wells Fargo Foundation is donating $9 million in grants to more than 60 nonprofits including Nashville’s Rebuilding Together Nashville.

The organization was founded in 1995 by members of the Nashville area architecture community.

The Wells Fargo Foundation has donated 250 such grants since 2011 to local organizations through its Priority Markets Program.

The Nashville group, which served 141 flood-impacted homes in the 2010 May flood, now focuses on affordable housing and the issues of low-income or fixed-income residents.

Hermitage to rebrand, celebrates milestone

Nashville-based Hermitage, a lighting, interior design, plumbing and hardware company, is launching a rebranding campaign to celebrate 75 years in business.

“We are extremely excited to be rebranding ourselves,” says CEO Jack Fleischer. “Our dedication to outrageous customer service has allowed us to assemble one of the finest collections of products for your home. We want our customers to know that we are more than just a lighting showroom, and this rebrand is a commitment to that.”

The rebranding emphasis will be placed on providing exceptional service and selection in six distinct areas – plumbing, hardware, kitchen design, bathroom design, appliances and commercial lighting.

Anyone building or remodeling a house will be able to find everything they need in one location, including kitchen and bath faucets, door and cabinet hardware, and appliances for any room that needs them.

For Hermitage’s commercial lighting section, the goal will be to connect with business owners across the country who are looking for new lighting and design options. Retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses will be able to benefit from Hermitage’s expertise and knowledge in the areas of design, installation and more. Each national account will have a dedicated account director and project manager, and with Hermitage’s network of architects, designers and engineers, business owners can receive the assistance they need with schedules, lead times and target opening dates.

Cintas picks Zoo for best restroom

The Nashville Zoo has won the 2019 America’s Best Restroom contest.

Cintas Corporation sponsors the competition with the winner receiving $2,500 in Cintas products and services for restroom cleaning or facility management.

“The Nashville Zoo was able to turn its public restrooms into another attraction, and the public responded in a very positive way,” says Sean Mulcahey, marketing manager of Cintas. “Public restrooms meet many needs, so it’s important that they’re not only clean and well-maintained, but also memorable because it can impact the success of your business.”

Inside, the Nashville Zoo restrooms offer more than meets the eye. Nashville Zoo’s Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear women’s restroom features a floor-to-ceiling glass window through which a family of six cotton-top tamarins are visible. This extravagant indoor exhibit features these critically endangered primatess.

Also, Nashville Zoo’s Entry Village men’s restroom features a floor-to-ceiling glass window with a view of the Boelens Python snake exhibit.

Bridge Connector unveils new product

Nashville-based Bridge Connector is launching Destinations, an integration platform as a service that rapidly and easily connects health data systems without the need for code.

Bridge Connector is a technology company offering data-driven workflow automation to solve health information technology interoperability challenges.

Destinations aims to bring the advantages of interoperability to health care organizations of every size.

“Bridge Connector was formed because we knew there had to be a better way to accomplish integrations, and Destinations delivers on this idea,” says David Wenger, Bridge Connector founder and CEO. “Destinations is simple and efficient because it never requires users to write a single line of code – to create or to maintain an integration – which is a game-changer for both business and technical users alike.”

Destination’s unique, no-code user interface allows users to automate health care workflows across disparate systems such as electronic health record and customer relationship management platforms, patient engagement platforms and other systems.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed policy changes to support the organization’s Interoperability and Patient Access Proposed Rules, and the announcement of Destinations comes at a critical time in the health care industry.

Healthstream revenues increase in third quarter

Healthstream, headquartered in Nashville, has reported its third-quarter results for the period ending Sept. 30.

HealthStream is a provider of workforce and provider solutions for the health care industry, and in its earnings release noted revenues increased 4% over the same period in 2018. Revenues of $62.5 million improved from $59.9 million in 2018.

Operating income of $3.7 million in the third quarter of 2019, was down 20% from $4.7 million in the third quarter of 2018.

Income from continuing operations of $3.5 million in the third quarter of 2019, was up 14% from $3.0 million in the third quarter of 2018.

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