Tuesday, June 23

Ramsey Solutions creating 600 more jobs on Franklin campus (Tennessean) CEO Dave Ramsey announced Monday that Ramsey Solutions will invest $52 million to expand its corporate headquarters in Franklin and create 600 jobs. Ramsey Solutions will build a second office building, totaling nearly 192,000 square feet and six stories, on its corporate campus in Williamson County. This is part of Ramsey Solutions’ continued expansion, which started in 2015 when the company closed on 47 acres of land in the Berry Farms development. “We appreciate our partnership with Gov. Lee and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in helping us create another 600 jobs for our state,” Ramsey said. LINK

Ramsey Solutions announces further expansion (Williamson Herald) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Ramsey Solutions CEO Dave Ramsey announced Monday that Ramsey Solutions will invest $52 million to expand its corporate headquarters in Franklin and create 600 jobs. Ramsey Solutions will build a second office building, totaling nearly 192,000 square feet and six stories, on its corporate campus in Williamson County. This is part of Ramsey Solutions’ continued expansion, which started in 2015 when the company closed on 47 acres of land in the Berry Farms development. LINK

Radio finance guru Dave Ramsey adding 600 more jobs in Tennessee (Times Free Press) A national radio talk show host famous for encouraging Americans to spend less and save more money is spending another $52 million and adding another 600 jobs in Tennessee to expand the corporate headquarters of his growing business. “Tennessee’s low tax environment is causing healthy business growth and migration,” Ramsey said in an announcement of the latest expansion … “As we work to get Tennessee’s economy back on track, significant expansions like this from Ramsey Solutions will help our economy recover by offering our residents quality job opportunities,” Gov. Bill Lee said in a statement Monday. LINK

Ramsey Solutions investing $52 million to expand headquarters in Franklin, create 600 jobs (WZTV-TV Nashville) Ramsey Solutions is investing $52 million to expand its headquarters in Franklin and will create 600 jobs. Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday that a second 192,000 square-foot office building on company’s corporate campus will stand six stories tall. It’s all part of planned expansions that have been in the works since 2015. Last year, the Ramsey team moved into its first 200,000 square-foot building that includes a bookstore and coffee shop for guests watching “The Dave Ramsey Show.” LINK

Ramsey Solutions eyes May opening of second HQ building (Nashville Post) Financial education and planning firm Ramsey Solutions on Monday said it is targeting a May 2021 opening for the second building at its Franklin headquarters campus. “Tennessee’s low tax environment is causing healthy business growth and migration,” Ramsey, a vocal supporter of Gov. Bill Lee, said in a statement. “It’s helping boost our economy, and we’re honored to be a part of that.” LINK

Ramsey Solutions’ Corporate Expansion Will Create 600 Jobs In Tennessee (Business Facilities) Ramsey Solutions will invest $52 million to expand its corporate headquarters in Franklin, TN and create 600 jobs. The company, led by personal finance expert and national radio host Dave Ramsey, will build a second office building, totaling nearly 192,000 square feet and six stories, on its corporate campus in Williamson County … “We appreciate our partnership with Gov. Lee and [Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD)] in helping us create another 600 jobs for our state,” said CEO of Ramsey Solutions, Dave Ramsey. “Tennessee’s low tax environment is causing healthy business growth and migration. It’s helping boost our economy, and we’re honored to be a part of that.” LINK

Governor expected to say Tuesday if there will be legislative special session (WKRN-TV Nashville) Governor Bill Lee is expected to say Tuesday if he’ll call back lawmakers for a special session after an outcry from business interests over one measure not passed before legislative adjournment. It comes after a bill limiting COVID-19 liability immunity divided the Republican majorities in the Tennessee House and Senate. The two chambers did not have an agreement before they adjourned the session. “The Tennessee state constitution Article One Section 20 specifically said there will be no retrospective (retroactive) laws,” said Rep. John Ragan during a debate on a potential compromise worked out in a conference committee between the House and Senate chambers. LINK

Special session could be called to debate COVID-19 liability protection (WSMV-TV Nashville) An effort to keep you from suing a business over COVID-19 might become a reality. It’ll take state lawmakers coming back to Nashville for a special session. “The big issue right now is whether they can make it retroactive or it has to start when they pass it. There’s some questions as to whether it’s constitutional if it’s retroactive for people that have already been hurt, had problems or issues before the law is passed,” Jim Higgins, a personal injury attorney said … Ultimately, it would be up to Governor Bill Lee to decide if state lawmakers will return to Nashville. LINK

Governor to appoint a temporary judge in Washington County (Johnson City Press) Washington County commissioners were told on Monday that Gov. Bill Lee will soon make an appointment to the bench in Washington County Sessions Court. County Attorney Allyson Wilkinson said sitting Judge Jim Nidiffer informed Lee’s office on June 19 that “he is not able to serve at this time.” As a result, she said he governor has the power to appoint a temporary judge to the elected position. She said local attorneys who would like to apply for the post have until July 3 to submit their qualifications to the governor’s office. LINK

State developing branded masks with various partners (Daily Post-Athenian) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s Economic Recovery Group (ERG) has developed the TN Strong Mask Movement, partnering with more than 30 flagship brands to distribute close to 300,000 free or low-cost cloth face coverings, at a projected value of more than $3 million, across the state. Now, residents can stay safe while wearing brands synonymous with Tennessee from the worlds of sports, education and business. “Tennesseans have stepped up to do their part and keep their neighbors safe throughout this health crisis,” said Mark Ezell, director of the Economic Recovery Group. LINK

Austin Peay joins state effort to get more masks in the hands of Tennessee residents (Leaf-Chronicle) Austin Peay State University has joined a state effort to distribute close to 300,000 free or low-cost cloth face coverings across the state. The University bought 30,000 (about 10 percent of the masks) to give to students, staff and faculty. Austin Peay officials also expect to give the masks to alumni and university supporters. The masks will be free. “Our goal is to ensure our faculty, staff and students get masks, but we also understand we have alumni, donors and supporters who want masks as well,” said Michael Kasitz, assistant vice president for public safety at APSU. Austin Peay officials will release details soon on how to get the masks. LINK

Tennessee Takes A First Step Toward Better Health For Pregnant Women In Jails And Prisons (WPLN Radio Nashville) A new bill, awaiting signature from Gov. Bill Lee, will guarantee health care for pregnant women in Tennessee jails and prisons. Pregnancy testing. Advice on healthy eating. Postpartum care. These are some of the services that Tennessee jails and prisons are now required to offer the state’s growing population of female inmates. That’s thanks to a new bill (SB 1839/HB 1651), passed by the legislature last week. There’s little data on the number of pregnant women in correctional facilities. But a recent report by Gov. Bill Lee’s Criminal Justice Investment Task Force found that Tennessee’s female prison population increased 47% between FY 2009 and FY 2018. That follows national trends, which find that women make up the fastest-growing portion of the U.S. incarcerated population. LINK

TSU Professor Battles ‘Concerted Effort To Erase Black People’ From Nashville History (WPLN Radio Nashville) Everywhere you look in Nashville there’s Black history but in some of the city’s most prominent places, physical reminders are missing. There are some markers, but they don’t come close to telling the whole story. Tennessee State University Professor Dr. Learotha Williams Jr says that’s often because Black history is painful and we’d rather “celebrate the good stuff.” “But in doing that you are telling half-truths,” Dr. Williams says. “You are clouding the truth. You are, in some instances, just blatantly lying to people and intellectually, that is an unhealthy behavior.” LINK

June 22 COVID-19 update: 35,553 total cases, 531 deaths in Tennessee (WTVF-TV Nashville) An additional 451 cases of COVID-19 were reported statewide on Monday, bringing Tennessee’s total number of cases to 35,553. The Tennessee Department of Health said the total number includes 35,302 confirmed cases and 251 probable cases. Cases that are deemed probable have not tested positive in a diagnostic test but may have tested positive in a different test such as an antibody or serologic test. Probable cases can also be cases that were never tested but exhibited factors consistent with an infection, like symptoms or close contact with a confirmed case. LINK

‘It’s concerning’ | Knox County, state see continuous rise in active COVID-19 cases (WBIR-TV Knoxville) Just because Tennessee is opening back up doesn’t mean COVID-19 is shutting down. If anything, it’s ramping up. “While we did expect to see an increase in cases as our community reopened, the increase is still concerning,” said Charity Menefee with the Knox County Health Department. That’s echoed by the Tennessee Department of Health. LINK

New York Times ranks Chattanooga as No. 2 in growth rate for COVID-19 deaths (Times Free Press) Access in-depth, interactive Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama coronavirus data, updated daily. Click Here. The Chattanooga area is again getting national attention as the Hamilton County Health Department continues to announce new COVID-19 deaths. On Monday, the Chattanooga area was listed as No. 2 on The New York Times list of “places that could flare up next,” as measured by the highest average daily growth rate of deaths. LINK

“They had no intention:” Woman says her mother’s nursing home didn’t tell her about COVID-19 outbreak (WSMV-TV Nashville) After News4 broke the story of dozens of COVID-19 cases at a Madison nursing home, a resident’s daughter wants answers from the facility, starting with why she found out about the outbreak on our air. “These people are not just numbers,” Bianca Harvey said. “Especially my mother. She is not just a number at this facility, and she should not be thought of that way.” Harvey’s mother, who has stage four COPD, has lived at Creekside Center for Rehabilitation & Healing since December. News4 learned of a COVID-19 outbreak there last week. “I’m angry just because things could have been handled better. I’m scared for her,” Harvey said. LINK

Ballad Health urges caution in COVID-19 pandemic (Johnson City Press) Health officials say COVID-19 numbers in the region have “ballooned” since the first case was diagnosed in the region about three months ago. Of the 483 recorded in Tennessee and 291 in Virginia, nearly 100 of those cases have been diagnosed since June 10. Four patients are currently hospitalized at Ballad Health hospitals. In a Monday news release, Ballad Health officials said caution is especially warranted now during vacation season and as the Fourth of July holiday approaches. More than half of the new COVID-19 cases at Ballad Health have been related to travel, and officials say popular vacation spots such as Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina, and Florida are now reporting enormous spikes in COVID-19 cases. LINK

Ballad Health urges people to take COVID-19 seriously as cases increase (WCYB-TV Bristol) Cases of COVID-19 in our region have been increasing for a week now after more than a month of decline. Ballad Health is urging everyone to take the pandemic seriously. Ballad admitted another patient into the hospital today. “Are you concerned?” News 5’s Caleb Perhne asked director of infection prevention Jamie Swift. “I am. I do have some concern,” Swift said. “I have concern when I go out and see the majority of people not in masks.” LINK

Great Smoky Mountain National Park visitation on par with last year despite pandemic (News Sentinel) Great Smoky Mountains National Park hosted 828,792 visitors this May, which is almost exactly on pace for the number of visitors that came in May 2019. The pandemic isn’t slowing anyone down. The park reopened May 9 after being closed since late March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Smokies welcomed over 1 million visitors last May, but the park was open 31 days instead of the 23 days it was open this year. LINK

Protests continue outside state capitol building Monday morning (WSMV-TV Nashville) News4 is following a developing scene happening on the steps of the Tennessee State Capitol building. Protesters have ascended the steps of the capitol building and are standing off with Tennessee Highway Patrol. Protesters told News4 tensions rose early Monday morning after a THP officer ripped down a protester’s sign. Protesters began to climb the capitol steps shortly after. LINK

10 days later and protestors remain determined to hear from Governor Lee (WTVF-TV Nashville) Protesters say their demands have not changed in the 10 days they’ve occupied the plaza across from the State Capitol. In the past 10 days, they’ve made it clear they will leave the plaza as long as they either get an audience with Governor Bill Lee or the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest is removed from the Capitol. Governor Lee hasn’t directly addressed the protesters. In conversations with his staff, there was no indication on if the governor intended to any time soon. LINK

George Floyd’s death prompted few changes at Tennessee Capitol (Times Free Press) In response to George Floyd’s death, Tennessee Black Democratic legislators had hoped to make strides in the Republican-controlled General Assembly in areas ranging from police training to the removal of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s bust from the state Capitol. But when the dust cleared last week, not much in the way of policy or law had changed on those and related fronts. Lawmakers did unanimously approve a resolution declaring House and Senate members were “greatly appalled and grievously saddened at the repugnant and senseless killing” of Floyd, a Black man who died May 25 while a white Minneapolis police officer had him pinned on the ground with a knee to his neck. LINK

Rep. Darren Jernigan: ‘I-440 will be completed July 2, 2020’ (WZTV-TV Nashville) Rep. Darren Jernigan (D-District 60) said construction on I-440 will be completed in the coming weeks. In a post shared to his campaign Facebook account, Jernigan shared the following: “Wait for it…I-440 will be completed July 2, 2020!” I-440 was previously estimated to be completed by Aug. 2020, according to a timeline on the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s official website. LINK

‘I support it:’ Nathan Bedford Forrest descendant weighs in on removal of Capitol bust (WZTV-TV Nashville) In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed, historic figures like Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest are more controversial than ever. The debate over whether Forrest’s statue should stay at the Tennessee State Capitol has been going on for years, but recent protests for racial equality have reignited calls for it to removed. Now one of Forrest’s very own descendants is weighing in as well. LINK

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Manny Sethi holds town hall in Pulaski (WZTV-TV Nashville) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Manny Sethi is holding a town hall meeting in Pulaski. The event is being held at the Pulaski Mule Co Event Center. Dr. Sethi is speaking to residents and taking questions. The event turned into a town hall in Giles County after other previously scheduled candidates were unable to participate. LINK

Hagerty nets US Chamber of Commerce endorsement in Tennessee’s GOP Senate race (Tennessean) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Hagerty, who previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, is one of 12 Republicans seeking the party’s nomination. The chamber’s endorsement of Hagerty is hardly surprising, given Hagerty’s history. He served as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development under former Gov. Bill Haslam. LINK

Hagerty nabs endorsements in Senate race (Nashville Post) With early voting less than a month out, Republican Senate candidate Bill Hagerty has locked down a couple of key endorsements. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the latest group to endorse Hagerty, an investor and former ambassador to Japan who was a top fundraiser for Donald Trump and Mitt Romney. Hagerty also served as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development under Gov. Bill Haslam. LINK

PAC funded by Sethi finance chairman hits Hagerty as ‘another liberal’ (TN Journal) A political action committee calling itself the Conservative Outsiders’ PAC is running a series of videos attacking Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty as having “extreme ties to the most liberal elements of the Republican party,” ranging from Mitt Romney to Lamar Alexander. “Why would we want another liberal like Bill Hagerty representing Tennessee,” the narrator says in the spot. According to Federal Election Commission filings, the PAC has received only one donation: $100,000 from David Ingram, rival Republican candidate Manny Sethi’s state finance chairman. LINK

Gideon’s Army violence interrupters canvass the community to defuse conflicts and bring peace (Tennessean) Hambino Godbody barely got his car door closed before the kids came running to greet him. All laughter and good spirit, they gave fist bumps and clamored for attention. Within minutes, they were racing each other down the street, Godbody pumping his arms, his stride stretching long, as two of the kids beat him in a sprint to the finish line. Then they all cracked up, hooting and hollering as they caught their breath before doing it all again. LINK

Manager fired, training planned, money donated to Muslim council after ad runs in Tennessean (Tennessean) The Tennessean and its parent company Gannett announced on Monday that an advertising manager was fired after the news organization published an anti-Muslim advertisement. The full-page Sunday ad, purchased by an Arkansas-based organization centered on end-of-world preaching, used religious language to predict an impending nuclear attack in Nashville by “Islam.” An internal investigation revealed three Tennessean advertising staff members “had the opportunity to review the ad in its entirety” before it was published, according to Kathy Jack-Romero, the president of local sales for Gannett. LINK

Metro Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry Jr. recovering after positive COVID-19 test (WZTV-TV Nashville) Metro Nashville Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry Jr. said he is recovering after recently testing positive for COVID-19. Gentry released the following statement on Monday afternoon: “I want to thank everyone for your prayers and positive thoughts. I am feeling much better today. My temperature is below 99 degrees for the first time in 5 days and I can breath much more easily. I am still at home resting and I encourage all of you to wear a mask, keep your distance from others, stay home when you can, and get tested if you feel unwell.” LINK

Shelby County Commission works into the night to balance budget with millions at deficit (WATN-TV Memphis) Commissioners also voted to recognize racism as a pandemic in Shelby County. Coming down to the wire, Shelby County Commissioners struggled to finalize a budget for 2021 late into Monday night. In the end, millions were moved to fill a more than $16-million budget deficit. This on a day when Commissioner Tami Sawyer requested health leaders and Mayor Lee Harris to consider returning to phase one reopening amidst increased numbers of COVID-19 cases. LINK


Guest column: Histories of protest movements, Black music and experience intertwine at museum (Tennessean) On May 25, George Floyd was killed. Three months ago, Breonna Taylor was killed. Two weeks before that, Ahmaud Arbery was killed. From Rodney King to Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and seemingly countless others, this is nothing new for the Black community. Lives senselessly lost. Seems a little different this time, though. We are saddened that we even have to say that Black Lives Matter. And we are joined by others who are crying for our nation to know that their dignity matters, their health matters, their jobs matter – that their lives matter, too. I am tired, I am perplexed, I am not sure what to do, and at times I cannot breathe. LINK

Column: Tennessean Apologizes for ‘Indefensible’ Ad Featuring Islamophobic ‘Prophecy’ (Nashville Scene) The Tennessean reports that three advertising staff members “had the opportunity to review the ad in its entirety” but failed to do so. Quoting Kathy Jack-Romero, the president of local sales for Gannett, the paper reports that a sales executive flagged the ad for review, but the sales manager “agreed to proceed with the ad without fully reviewing the content.” That sales manager has been fired. The paper also reports that the $14,000 value of the ad was refunded to the Arkansas-based group that purchased it, and that Gannett is donating $14,000 to the American Muslim Advisory Council. LINK

Guest column: We must fight hate and disinformation together: A response to the ad in The Tennessean (Tennessean/USA Today Tennessee) A thief named Hate visited these pages on Sunday. Disguised in the form of an offensive advertisement placed by a fringe doomsday group, it tried again to steal the soul of our community by dividing us. This advertisement slanderously employed religious rhetoric to claim that “Islam” was going to harm our community. Sadly, like many Tennesseans, I have encountered this same thief before, and it has stolen precious moments from my own family and community. I’ve even personally been wounded and scarred by it through vicious disinformation campaigns that demonized my existence. LINK

Guest column: Unions Vs. Reform: The Sequel (Tennessean) Remember this? Large, inner-city institutions that are dominated by inflexible, powerful, labor unions who refuse to allow their members to be evaluated, measured, or held accountable in any meaningful way; these institutions have enormous budgets, and even when they fail, their political allies demand ever larger budgets to fix the problem. Sound familiar? This was the state of inner-city public education in the 1980s and 1990s. In those days, inner-city public school systems had entire cohorts of students who couldn’t read. LINK

Frank Cagle: When tribes rule, where is the honest broker? (KnoxTNToday.com) When was the last time an opinion piece or television commentary surprised you? Much has been written about the political divide. Red and blue states, Never Trumpers, Democrats versus Republicans. But what’s disturbing is the number of organizations that have picked a side and surrendered any pretense of objectivity. It’s no longer mass media, it’s half-mass media. And yes, you can write that again and leave out the m. You no longer have to read an essay or watch a program. You now only have to look at the byline or the host. If either is unfamiliar just consider the source. Is it Fox or MSNBC? Is it the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal? Slate or Instapundit? LINK

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