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VOL. 36 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 20, 2012

All amped up but too few to charge

Nation’s best electric vehicle infrastructure struggles to find users

Tennessee has fulfilled the wishes of government officials, planners and environmentally conscious citizens who wanted the state to be a user-friendly zone for electric vehicles and their owners.

Savvy buyers now expect LEED-certified homes

When it comes to new houses, green is the new granite.

State’s role as solar leader in Jeopardy?

When Steve Johnson started Nashville-based LightWave Solar in 2006, he was something of a pioneer. The first strictly solar company in Tennessee, he was taking a risk on an emerging industry with practically no history in the state. But with a background in electrical construction and a flagging market, he made the leap.

Grand Avenue gives $85K to Transit Alliance

Ground transportation company Grand Avenue has committed $85,000 to support the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee’s efforts to promote mass transportation in the region.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Light Rain
Wind: from the Northwest at 11.5 gusting to 25.3 mph
Humidity: 87%


The 43rd annual Nashville Film Festival features appearances by Nicole Kidman, Famke Janssen, Delia Ephron and others, continues daily through April 26 at Regal Green Hills Stadium 16. Hundreds of films from every genre and around the world will show throughout the week, including award-winning films, shorts and documentaries. Tickets are on sale now. information, tickets: nashvillefilmfestival.org/.

more events »


Some real estate stars are not on billboards

Those who choose to practice the brokerage of residential real estate are met with a number of challenges. In order to be successful, for example, they must be visible, and they achieve this ubiquitous status through marketing and advertising.


Bass, Berry & Sims gets new leadership

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC has elected Todd Rolapp as its new managing partner, effective January 1, 2013. Rolapp will succeed Keith Simmons, who announced late last year that he would relinquish his position as managing partner after 17 years of service.


Dreaded Facebook Timeline a boon for businesses

All hail Facebook Timeline. Like it or not, the social media giant’s much anticipated design overhaul for individual users early this year has now been applied to all business pages, too.


Bond investors missing buying opportunity

The Flows Knows While rationality has returned to the markets, occasional bouts of volatility (as we have experienced over the last few trading days) can muddy the analytical waters. After a 30 percent advance in the S&P 500 from the October lows, a pullback seems appropriate, and the reaction to the recent pullback couldn’t be more telling.


World Changing Starts at Home

World changing is a fairly common goal among human beings, and I personally think being thought of as a world changer would be pretty cool. When people ask me what I like to do with my time, talent and energy, I could cleverly work being a change agent for the world into the conversation by saying, “I write books, watch some TV, play guitar, change the world, enjoy good meals, and drink a little wine from time to time.” Yes, I think being a world-changer has a good ring to it. It is a nice conversation starter.


Quirky writers make police report entertaining

During the past 16 months, NPR has featured a couple of creative police-blotter writers in stories filed by Don Gorenstein and Alexandria Gutierrez.


House OKs judicial selection plan on 70-24 vote

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal to change the Tennessee Constitution to give the Legislature power to reject the governor's appointments to the state Supreme Court cleared the House on Thursday.

Welfare drug testing bill passes Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) - A measure to require drug testing as a condition for receiving welfare has passed the Senate.

House panel kills guns bill, NRA pushes floor vote

NASHVILLE (AP) — A House committee voted Tuesday to kill a guns measure that has pitted firearms advocates against business groups.

Bill seeks to get Tennesseans off unemployment

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal to help Tennesseans get off unemployment and find a job has passed the Senate.

Imitation drug bills headed to governor

NASHVILLE (AP) - Proposals that increase penalties for making or selling imitation drugs are headed to the governor for his signature.

Governor signs saggy pants bill

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal that would prohibit students from dressing in an "indecent manner" at school has been signed by the governor.


Old Tenn. newspapers now online at state archives

NASHVILLE (AP) — More than 60,000 pages of Tennessee newspapers dating from 1850 to 1876 are now online at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.


Contracts for US homes rose last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy U.S. homes rose in March, the latest sign the battered housing market is slowly improving.

US rate on 30-year mortgage dips to 3.88 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage has dipped to near its record low, keeping home-buying and refinancing affordable.

US unemployment aid requests near 3-month high

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits remained stuck near a three-month high last week, a sign that hiring has likely slowed since winter.

Home sales sends stocks higher, but problems loom

NEW YORK (AP) — On a day that brought both good and bad news about the economy, investors chose to see the glass as half-full.

Exxon Mobil 1Q profit drops 11 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil's first-quarter net income dropped 11 percent on lower production and weaker profits from its chemicals and U.S. refining businesses.

Chrysler posts best quarterly profit in 13 years

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler followed its strong first-quarter sales with a big profit, sending its 2009 brush with financial death farther into the rearview mirror.

Volkswagen profit rises on US, Russia

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Sharply higher sales in the United States and a stronger foothold in Russia helped German carmaker Volkswagen AG beat market expectations for its first-quarter profits.

Dow Chemical 1Q profit drops 50 pct

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Dow Chemical's first-quarter earnings fell 50 percent after it took a pre-tax charge of $357 million to close some of its plants.


Political battle over student loans heating up

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Democratic leader accused Republicans Thursday of raiding women's programs to pay for a bill keeping student loan interest rates low in an election-year battle over college aid.

Gingrich to end presidential campaign next week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Newt Gingrich began taking steps Wednesday to shut down his debt-laden White House bid, setting the stage to endorse one-time rival Mitt Romney next week and rally Republicans behind their apparent nominee.

Senate votes to slow closing of post offices

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate offered a lifeline to the nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday, voting to give the struggling agency an $11 billion cash infusion while delaying controversial decisions on closing post offices and ending Saturday delivery.


George Jones makes family feud public

NASHVILLE (AP) - It's not his health but a family feud that is bothering George Jones.


More training for medical residents in Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - Saint Thomas Health and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will become partners in training more medical residents.


Domestic assault prevention bill passes Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that increases the penalty for domestic assault is headed to the governor for his signature.

Roll-your-own cigarette bill passes Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would require roll-your-own cigarette retailers to pay a licensing fee and tax and adhere to certain restrictions has passed the Senate.

House votes to require older kindergarten students

NASHVILLE (AP) - A Republican bill to move up the cutoff date to meet kindergarten age requirements passed the House Wednesday over Democrats' arguments that the measure is aimed at laying off teachers and denying early childhood learning opportunities.

Parent grading bill passes Senate 27-0

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would allow parents to grade themselves on how involved they are in a student's school performance has passed the Senate.

Charlie Daniels honored by lawmakers

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Senate paid tribute to country music legend Charlie Daniels Wednesday morning.

House panel kills guns bill, NRA pushes floor vote

NASHVILLE (AP) - A House committee voted Tuesday to kill a guns measure that has pitted firearms advocates against business groups.

Henry returns to Legislature after hospital tests

NASHVILLE (AP) - State Sen. Douglas Henry has returned to the Legislature.


Apple's blowout quarter propels Nasdaq to big gain

NEW YORK (AP) — The Nasdaq composite index shot 2 percent higher Wednesday, powered by a surge in Apple. The iPhone maker's stock climbed $50 after the company once again blew past Wall Street's profit forecasts.

Exxon is top dividend payer after 21 pct. increase

NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon is raising its quarterly dividend by 21 percent. In doing so, it becomes the top corporate dividend payer, surpassing AT&T.

Fed: Economy growing moderately; no policy changes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve says the economy is growing moderately while cautioning that risks from Europe remain. It's holding off on taking any further steps to boost the recovery.

US orders for long-lasting goods plunge in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders for long-lasting factory goods fell by the largest amount in three years last month, mostly because demand for commercial aircraft plummeted. But companies also ordered less machinery and other equipment, a sign manufacturing output may slow.

Oil rises above $104 after US supplies drop

LONDON (AP) — Oil prices rose above $104 a barrel Wednesday after a report showed U.S. crude supplies unexpectedly fell, suggesting demand may be improving, and strong corporate earnings helped sentiment in financial markets.

Harley-Davidson 1Q profit jumps on sales increase

NEW YORK (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. said Wednesday that its first-quarter profit jumped 44 percent, as improving economic conditions boosted U.S. sales of its well-known motorcycles.


Governor signs civil service overhaul bill

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has signed his plan to overhaul state civil service rules.

Bill to include embryo as human in assault

NASHVILLE (AP) — The embryo of a pregnant woman who is assaulted would also be a victim under a proposal that's headed to the governor for his consideration.

Haslam says parking lot guns bill likely dead

NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that both chambers of the Legislature have taken "significant" steps toward defeating a bill to allow workers to store weapons in cars parked on company lots regardless of their employers' wishes.


US gasoline prices now cheaper than a year ago

NEW YORK (AP) — After dropping for most of the month, gasoline is now cheaper in much of the U.S. than it was a year ago.

Strong earnings from AT&T, 3M lift Dow average

The Dow Jones industrial average is closing higher after several companies in the index reported strong quarterly earnings.

Fitch restores Ford credit to investment grade

DETROIT (AP) — The Fitch Ratings agency lifted Ford's credit rating from junk status to investment grade Tuesday, a sign that the company's recovery from near collapse is almost complete.

Feds make 1st arrest in BP oil spill case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Justice Department says it has made the first arrest in the BP oil spill case, charging an ex-engineer with obstruction of justice.

Americans remain confident in April

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans' confidence in the economy held steady in April from the previous month despite rising job cuts and falling home values.

US home prices drop for 6th straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home prices dropped in February in most major U.S. cities for a sixth straight month, a sign that modest sales gains haven't been enough to boost prices.

Fed likely to keep stance on rates and bond buys

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve will have plenty to say about the economy Wednesday, when its two-day policy meeting ends with a statement, updated forecasts and Chairman Ben Bernanke's latest news conference.

Democrats' latest tax target: Private corporations

WASHINGTON (AP) — First it was people earning at least $1 million a year. Now Democrats seeking their next election-year target for tax increases on better-off Americans may have found it: the owners of many privately held corporations.


Bo Jackson begins bike ride for tornado victims

HENAGAR, Ala. (AP) — Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson and about 100 bicycle riders have started their five-day, 300-mile ride across Alabama to raise money for tornado relief in the state.

Alabama lawmakers meet about county bankruptcy

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A group of Alabama lawmakers met privately to try and find ways to address Jefferson County's deepening financial crisis.


Harwell breaks ankle, still presides over chamber

NASHVILLE (AP) — Speaker Beth Harwell has presided over the House chamber despite breaking her ankle earlier in the day.

Tenn. lawmakers hope to adjourn session this week

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers are preparing for what they hope is the last week of the 107th General Assembly, though issues that still need to be worked out include the state's annual spending plan, proposals to change the way the state selects Supreme Court justices and a resilient effort to ban teaching about gay issues in schools.

Bill to drug test for Tenn. welfare advances

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal to require drug testing as a condition for receiving welfare advanced in the House on Monday after the sponsor refused to accept an amendment to drug test lawmakers.

Tradition of secret budget meetings alive in Tenn.

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers' long tradition of meeting secretly to hash out budget plans is alive and well.

Bill allows Tenn. to join health care compact

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal that would allow Tennessee to join an interstate compact challenging the federal health care law is advancing in the House.


Underwood, Miranda Lambert lead CMT nominations

NASHVILLE (AP) — With Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift atop the list, look no further than the CMT Music Awards nominations for proof country music's new favorite color is blonde.

Sinead O'Connor cancels tour, says she is 'unwell'

NEW YORK (AP) — Sinead O'Connor says she is canceling her 2012 tour due to her bipolar disorder.


Appendix removal: Huge sticker shock in study

CHICAGO (AP) — What do hospitals charge to remove an appendix? The startling answer is that it could be the same as the price of a refrigerator — or a house.

1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

Metlife, states reach settlement near $500M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — MetLife Inc. will pay nearly $500 million in a settlement involving more than 30 states that claimed it didn't provide life insurance benefits to some of its policyholders, the company said Monday.

Shrimp processors object to BP settlement terms

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A group of Gulf Coast shrimp processors asked a federal judge Monday to hold off on giving his preliminary approval to portions of BP's proposed class-action settlement of economic damage claims spawned by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

US stocks slide on economic tremors from Europe

NEW YORK (AP) — A collection of worrying news out of Europe sent stocks sharply lower on Monday.

Stocks down on eurozone fears, political turmoil

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European stocks fell Monday after a key economic indicator pointed to more growth troubles for the eurozone and political developments in France and the Netherlands suggested diminishing support for using drastic budget cuts to fix the debt crisis.

Euro falls against dollar on worries about Europe

NEW YORK (AP) — Economic and political turmoil in Europe is pushing the euro lower against the dollar.

Plan would grow marijuana in former Mich. mine

WHITE PINE, Mich. (AP) — A Canadian biotechnology company wants to cultivate medical marijuana in a former copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where it has been growing plants for more than a decade.

Striking Lockheed Martin workers picket in Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Striking Lockheed Martin workers are picketing outside of a North Texas plant where the aerospace company makes F-35 fighter jets.

Doc rolls out 'Hangover Heaven' on Vegas Strip

LAS VEGAS (AP) — He had a Las Vegas wedding to attend, but Bryan Dalia was hung over from some marathon partying the night before.

Pa.'s Zippo expects 500 millionth lighter in June

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Zippo Manufacturing Co., the northwestern Pennsylvania company that makes metal-cased cigarette lighters whose lids are known for their distinctive "click," is on schedule to produce its 500 millionth lighter later this year.


Police: Russell Brothers abandoned plane

NASHVILLE (AP) — Police say it was Russell Brothers, a once-prominent Nashville businessman with a drug smuggling conviction, who belly-landed a small vintage plane in the middle of the night last weekend at a closed airport and then left it.

2 men survive fall down Cumberland River bluff

NASHVILLE (AP) — Two young Nashville men have survived a tumble down a bluff overlooking the Cumberland River.


Nonprofit alliance has website to lure visitors

KNOXVILLE (AP) — A nonprofit tourism group aims to raise the profile of the Cumberland Plateau with a new website.

Men fatally shoot each other over repair issue

MARTIN — Two West Tennessee man have died in an argument over a garden tiller at a repair shop.


Romney demurs on VP search with Rubio at his side

ASTON, Pa. (AP) — Mitt Romney declined Monday declined to endorse an immigration proposal from potential running mate Marco Rubio. Romney said he's considering the freshman Florida senator's plan to help some young people stay in the country legally while denying them an opportunity to become citizens.

A divided Congress confronts a rising cyberthreat

WASHINGTON (AP) — The mysterious caller claimed to be from Microsoft and offered step-by-step instructions to repair damage from a software virus. The electric power companies weren't falling for it.

US eyes sanctions on tech used vs. rebels

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday will announce a plan to impose sanctions against foreign entities and individuals who help authoritarian regimes use technology to crack down on dissidents, an administration official said.


First winning week of April for stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — Stronger profits from Microsoft, McDonald's and other major U.S. corporations pushed stocks higher Friday. Optimism from Europe helped brighten the mood.

Fewer US states reported job gains last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer U.S. states reported job gains in March, reflecting slower hiring nationwide.

Maryland first to OK password protection bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland is poised to become the first state to ban employers from demanding applicants or workers hand over their log-in information for social media sites like Facebook.

Hundreds of thousands may lose Internet in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer.

IMF announces $430 billion to boost resources

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund says it has raised more than $430 billion in an effort to assure finance markets that it has sufficient firepower to handle any new problems from Europe's prolonged debt crisis.

Rare baseball card sells for $1.2M at auction

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A New Jersey man paid $1.2 million for a rare 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card in an online auction that brought interest from many potential buyers who had never owned a card before, the sale organizer said.

Disney studio chief quits after 'John Carter' bomb

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Disney movie studio boss Rich Ross is stepping down, a month after the family entertainment giant booked a huge loss on the mega-budget sci-fi movie "John Carter."

Oil up to near $103 amid strong corporate earnings

LONDON (AP) — Oil prices rose to near $103 a barrel Friday as strong earnings reports offset signs the U.S. economic recovery remains uneven.


Winans to be honored by Belmont University

NASHVILLE — Gospel singer CeCe Winans will receive the Applause Award from Belmont University in Nashville Saturday night.


Section of I-24 in Nashville closing this weekend

NASHVILLE (AP) — A three-mile section of Interstate 24 will be closed this weekend near downtown Nashville to allow bridge work to be done.

Man sees stolen statue on TV news, recovers it

BELLE MEADE (AP) — A Middle Tennessee family has a cherished lawn ornament back and a man found with it in his truck was picked up on pending charges.


Jeb Bush says he'd consider vice presidency

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he'd consider running as vice president with Mitt Romney, but doubts he'll ever be asked.

Mommy Wars give way to Doggy Wars in Twitterverse

NEW YORK (AP) — So let's get all the puns out of the way, shall we? It's the issue with legs — four of them. The doggone thing won't go away. Has the presidential race just gone to the dogs? Or are we simply in those dog days between the primary season and the start of the general election?

Congress begins uphill battle to pass farm bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has begun laying the groundwork for a half-trillion-dollar farm and food bill that would end unconditional subsidies to farmers, but House Republicans' resolve to cut its biggest component — food stamps — by $13 billion a year dims its prospects of passing Congress.

Reports to detail post-Super Tuesday campaign cash

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time since the Super Tuesday primaries, voters are getting a look at just how much money presidential candidates and their supporters have been raking in. And whether big-dollar donors are heeding President Barack Obama's belated call for supporting an independent political action committee.


Levon Helm, key member of The Band, dies at 71

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — With songs like "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," ''The Weight" and "Up on Cripple Creek," The Band fused rock, blues, folk and gospel to create a sound that seemed as authentically American as a Mathew Brady photograph or a Mark Twain short story.

EU approves Sony's acquisition of part of EMI

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's competition regulator approved on Thursday a deal by Sony/ATV and other investors to buy part of the famous British music company EMI Group Ltd.


Lawsuit claims 'Bachelor' show discriminates

NASHVILLE (AP) — Two black men are taking "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" to court with a lawsuit that claims the reality shows are blocking contestants of color from starring roles.


Disclosure requirement finds resistance in House

NASHVILLE (AP) — A bill seeking to require local and regional planning commissioners to file interest disclosures with the Tennessee Ethics Commission is being met with resistance in its last legislative hurdle before a full House vote.

Bill to drug test for Tenn. welfare advances

NASHVILLE (AP) — The sponsor of a proposal to drug test people as a condition for receiving welfare says he believes an amended version of his legislation will withstand legal challenges.

'No Sex Bill' headed for House floor vote

NASHVILLE (AP) — An outside vendor that promotes sexual activity in "family life education" curricula taught in schools could be sued by a parent under legislation that has advanced in the House.

House votes to boost penalties for domestic abuse

NASHVILLE (AP) — The House passed Gov. Bill Haslam's bill to require mandatory jail time for people with repeat domestic violence convictions.


Stocks drop on mixed news on profits, economy

NEW YORK (AP) — A slew of U.S. companies announced big profits Thursday, but investors spooked about the economy sold stocks anyway.

Starbucks to stop using 'crushed bug' dye

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks Corp. says it will stop using a red dye in its drinks that is derived from crushed bugs.

US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.90 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage stayed near its lowest level on record, keeping home-buying and refinancing affordable.

Shortages could slow down US auto production

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. auto industry, already stretching to meet rising demand for cars and trucks, is facing shortages of parts and materials that could limit the number of new vehicles in showrooms later this year and crimp a historic turnaround.

US unemployment claims signal slower hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits suggests hiring is slowing.


State jobless rate declines .01 percent

NASHVILLE (AP) — The March unemployment rate in Tennessee has dropped .01 percent to 7.9 percent, the eighth straight month of decline.


GOP pushes business tax cut through divided House

WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge has turned aside a request to temporarily lift a long-standing ban on contributions by federal contractors to political campaigns.

Summitt to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Stronger Mich. economy could hurt Romney's chances

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The unemployment rate in Michigan is high, its population is shrinking and scores of manufacturing plants have closed. Still, President Barack Obama's hopes for another electoral victory could depend on voters remembering a time when things were worse.

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