Tuesday, January 12

Tennessee gov: COVID-19 drug available in state for seniors (AP) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is urging seniors who contract COVID-19 to ask their health care providers about certain drugs that could prevent them from getting so sick that they wind up in the hospital. Lee told reporters Friday that monoclonal antibodies are available and very effective, especially for people who are 65 or older and have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus. He said many people do not ask their health care providers about the treatment option. He says the drugs are effective when someone becomes sick but has not deteriorated enough to be hospitalized. LINK

How to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine in Tennessee using the state’s online tool (Tennessean) Tennessee launched a new online COVID-19 vaccine sign up system Monday as the state transitioned away from first-come-first-serve distribution to instead offer vaccines by appointment online. Some larger counties, including Davidson and Shelby county, don’t make appointments through this website because they previously established their own sign-up systems. Shelley Walker, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Health, said the new signup system will allow counties to schedule all vaccinations ahead of time and minimize “the number of people who wait in line only to be turned away due to exhausted inventory.” LINK

Tennessee Department of Health offers COVID-19 vaccine by appointment (WZTV-TV Nashville) Eligible Tennesseans can now make appointments to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Those in Phase 1 of the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan and those aged 75 can now register for an appointment online here. “We’re excited to begin this process to help deliver this vital service in the most efficient way possible while managing the limited and somewhat unpredictable supply of vaccines,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. Before doing so, make sure to find the vaccination phase you’re in here and find the phase your county is in here. LINK

Tennessee releases COVID-19 vaccine appointment system (WATE-TV Knoxville) County health departments across Tennessee are now booking appointments for those in Phase 1 populations and those 75 and older who want to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Some counties have already been using an appointment-based system; meanwhile, some larger counties are just starting to schedule vaccinations for people 75 and older. Three-step process to learn when eligible to receive vaccine & when to register for an appointment. To learn what phase your county is vaccinating, visit https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/vaccine-phases/. LINK

Tennessee launches online COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling for people who qualify (WBIR-TV Knoxville) As increasingly more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine across Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee announced a new system that may help more people get vaccinated faster. The state has created an online portal where people across the state can schedule appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, so long as they qualify based on the vaccination phase their county is in. The goal is to alleviate some of the frustrations of long lines, where people may wait without guarantees of getting a shot. LINK

Find out how & where to get a vaccine in your area by appointment (WDEF-TV Chattanooga) The states are now making it easier to figure out where to get a Covid-19 vaccine and how to make an appointment for one. Tennessee has now put an interactive map on the state health website of vaccine availability in your county and how to reserve a time and place to get it. Right now, only Grundy, Bledsoe, Rhea, McMinn and Polk Counties show that they have vaccine doses right now. LINK

TN Health Dept. offering appointments for Phase 1 vaccines, 75 years and older can book (WCYB-TV Bristol/WTVC-TV Chattanooga) In a release, Tennessee county health departments announce they are now booking vaccination appointments for people in Phase 1 and those aged 75 and older. To sign-up Tennesseans can follow a three-step process and learn when they’re eligible for vaccination and register for a vaccination appointment: Find Your Phase: https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/eligibility/ Find the Phase Your County is Vaccinating: https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/vaccine-phases/ LINK

TDH’S online vaccine tool comes as vaccine supply is limited leading to frustrations (WJHL-TV Johnson City) The Tennessee Department of Health’s new appointment scheduling website spells out who can get a vaccine in which phase. It allows you to find out if vaccines are available in your county and register for an appointment with your county health department when you’re eligible and supply is available. Northeast Regional Health Department Director Dr. David Kirschke says the region has received a limited amount of vaccines and he isn’t sure when more will arrive. “Our counties in NER received little to no vaccine last week and what little we had was given to persons in phases 1a1 and 1a2 or 75+ who had preregistered and were called to come in,” Kirschke said. LINK

Tenn. Dept. of Education awards $1 million to PBS stations supporting learning during pandemic (WBIR-TV Knoxville) Six PBS stations across Tennessee will receive awards for supporting education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tennessee Department of Education announced that WPNT Nashville, East Tennessee PBS, WCTE Upper Cumberland, WKNO Memphis, West TN PBS and Chattanooga WTCI would be awarded $1 million. They partnered with the department to engage families and support education during the pandemic. “We thank the Tennessee PBS stations for their partnership to ensure students can have daily access to Tennessee teachers and classroom lessons,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. LINK

State-funded nursing facilities experience harsh outbreaks (Nashville Post) Four private nursing homes funded by the state to open COVID-19 step-down units in October have since experienced massive outbreaks among their residents, so far leaving 50 people dead. As hospitals filled in October due to an influx of older residents falling ill to COVID, the state sought help from long-term care facilities in creating step-down units for recovering patients. The units help hospitals turn over bed space more quickly as the virus hospitalizes people at unprecedented rates. At present, COVID patients are taking up nearly half of intensive care unit beds and account for 30 percent of all admissions across the state. LINK

WREG Investigates: Tennessee falls short of vaccination goals; much of supply still waiting for distribution (WREG-TV Memphis) When Tennessee launched vaccine distribution, officials had high hopes. “We anticipate having 200,000 folks vaccinated by the end of this calendar year,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey on December 21. But in the end, it took more than a week into the new year for Tennessee to reach that number. Piercey reported Tennessee had reached 215,000 vaccinations in a call with Gov. Bill Lee Friday. “We need to identify where the hold-up is,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Steve Threlkeld. Science has done its job but now the focus must turn to logistics, Threlkeld said. And there’s a problem. LINK

You Can’t Impeach the Virus (Politico) Most deaths: Arizona (2.1 per 100,000 people over the last 7 days), Rhode Island (1.9), Pennsylvania (1.7), West Virginia (1.6) and Tennessee (1.6). Source: CDC. Rhode Island’s Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo took an aggressive approach to containing Covid early in the state with lots of testing, tracing and isolation, a statewide shutdown and a mask mandate. For a while the plan worked. But then the fall hit. Now, more than 100,000 Rhode Island residents, nearly 10 percent of the state’s population, have tested positive for Covid. The state’s death rate for the entire pandemic is the fourth highest in the country, after New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. LINK

Relief Expected This Week For Tennesseans Who Went Weeks Without Unemployment (WPLN Radio Nashville) Some of the Tennesseans who’ve been out of work the longest during the pandemic ran out of unemployment benefits just before Christmas. The CARES Act provided up to 39 weeks of aid for people out of work, but for some that ran out in the thick of the holiday season. For example, somebody who lost a job in mid-March would have used up the benefits by the second or third week of December. Despite the latest stimulus package, those who exhausted their benefits before December 26th have seen a weeks-long gap in weekly checks. But for some, payments will resume as early as this week. LINK

State begins paying extra jobless benefits (Times Free Press) The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development worked through the weekend with its system vendor to implement the federal unemployment program extensions approved last month by Congress. Chris Cannon, assistant administrator for the state labor agency, said Tennessee claimants who exhausted their federal pandemic unemployment benefits prior to December 26, 2020, should have new benefit balances added to their pandemic relief claims. LINK

Tennessee again delays hiring school turnaround superintendent (Daily Memphian/Chalkbeat) The new job that’s considered key to advancing Tennessee’s school turnaround work won’t be filled any time soon after state officials abruptly halted the search for a superintendent to shepherd the state’s lowest-performing schools. “While we had a strong candidate pool, we will not be filling this position at this time due to budget and other uncertainties,” said Victoria Robinson, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Education. The department plans to resume its search in August “when we expect to have a clearer path forward,” Robinson said this week when asked about the position. LINK

Influx of visitors to Tennessee State Parks in 2020 results in $1.84B economic impact (WZTV-TV Nashville) A record number of people paid visits to Tennessee State Parks last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a huge economic impact for the state. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation reports Tennessee State Parks had an economic impact of $1.84 billion in 2020 and welcomed 34.7 million visits. “Our state parks are a great source of pride for Tennesseans, and they have proven more important than ever during this challenging year,” Gov. Bill Lee said in a press release. “These important Tennessee treasures provide substantial economic activity in communities across our state, and we are grateful for the way they continue to prosper.” LINK

Tennessee State Parks Has $1.84 Billion Economic Impact in 2020 (Williamson Source) Tennessee State Parks had an economic impact of $1.84 billion in Tennessee in 2020 and welcomed 34.7 million visits, according to a report done for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The report notes that local area spending by visitors has a substantial impact on local economies. The parks reached historic highs in camping, recording four of the top 10 months ever, and set a pace for future success with $184 million in investments in capital projects throughout the year. Those projects alone are expected to result in over $400 million in economic impact to the state. LINK

Tennessee law enforcement planning heightened presence ahead of planned protests at Capitol (Tennessean) Law enforcement is planning a heightened presence at the Tennessee Capitol in coming days due to the risk of armed protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The increased focus on possible protests comes after a riot erupted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The mob broke into the Capitol building and smashed doors and windows. Five people, including a Washington D.C. police officer, died in the attack. LINK

Tennessee leaders brace for possible violent protests amid FBI warning (WZTV-TV Nashville) The FBI issued a new warning on Monday cautioning all fifty states about potential violence and armed protests leading up to the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden. They say the target could be state capitals. By now, most people have seen the videos of chaos and violence at the U.S. Capitol last week. Investigators say some of those participants are from right here in our state. LINK

Nashville Police Chief issues letter alerting Metro Council of 3 potential protests at State Capitol (WKRN-TV Nashville) Police Chief John Drake sent a letter to the Metro Council alerting members of three potential protests at the State Capitol. “While there is no indication of an imminent threat of violence or danger, we nevertheless, will be closely monitoring these events from a heightened security posture,” Drake’s letter states. The first of the protests is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12 at 11 am, which is being planned by a group based in Knoxville that advocates for social justice. LINK

Tennessee National Guard sending additional support to D.C. for Biden’s inauguration (WZTV-TV Nashville) In the wake of last week’s breach at the U.S. Capitol, organizers are intensifying security at President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. A spokesperson for the Tennessee National Guard tells FOX 17 News they received a request for additional personnel to support the Washington D.C. National Guard for the presidential inauguration ceremony. LINK

Newsmaker: Troopers wanted for Tennessee Highway Patrol (WKRN-TV Nashville) Tennessee Highway Patrol officials say they’re in need of additional troopers. Colonel Matt Perry with THP joined News 2 via phone to discuss the needs of his team. Perry said they are in need of troopers right now. He said interest in law enforcement is struggling so they are doing everything they can to hire the best and brightest candidates. THP is currently in the hiring process and will be until February 2nd. LINK

112th TN General Assembly to convene Tuesday (WBIR-TV Knoxville) Lawmakers will convene in Nashville Tuesday with several new faces. The Senate’s balance of power is now 27 Republicans and 6 Democrats. Meanwhile, the Tennessee State House will welcome several new members due to retirements and primary upsets. New members from East Tennessee include Eddie Mannis, Sam McKenzie and Michelle Carringer. The balance of power remains unchanged with 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats. There’s a couple of things to watch for including a bill aimed to limit the power of the Knox County Board of Health and give it to the mayor. LINK

Tennessee lawmakers to kick off 2021 legislative session (AP) Tennessee lawmakers are returning to Nashville on Tuesday to kick off their annual session amid a pandemic and an FBI probe that drew searches of multiple legislative offices by federal agents last week. Tennessee’s legislative session is likely to stretch for several months, with a special session called by Republican Gov. Bill Lee on tap starting Jan. 19 to address education challenges that have popped up amid the virus outbreak. The Republican supermajority General Assembly is also likely to consider some proposals that were paused last year due to COVID-19, including a permitless handgun carry bill backed by Lee. LINK

Senate to block public access to committee floor (TN Journal) The state Senate will continue to bar public access to committee meetings during the upcoming legislative session. According to guidelines shared with members, the restrictions will mirror the COVID-19 mitigation steps taken by the upper chamber last summer. The House is expected to continue to allow access by lobbyists and other members of the public. Here’s is the memo sent by Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey: In consideration of the infection rates and State of Tennessee COVID-19 guidelines, Mr. Speaker McNally and Senate Leadership have set the following protocols: The Senate side of the first floor of the Cordell Hull Building and the Senate Hearing Room are only to be utilized by Senators and authorized staff. LINK

Legislature to study TSU land grant funding issues (WTVF-TV Nashville) The Tennessee legislature will study the impacts of missing money Tennessee State University was supposed to receive as part of a grant agreement from the late 1800s. Monday, a joint legislative committee met to hear from TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover. The committee wanted to hear the impacts of promised funding which wasn’t delivered by the state for decades. LINK

Teachers, marijuana and COVID-19 on the agenda as lawmakers convene in Nashville (WBIR-TV Knoxville) As they drive back to Capitol Hill in Nashville, Tennessee lawmakers begin to file bills and draw battle lines. Already in the headlines: making up teacher pay raises. “Everyone knows that the teachers have been under additional stress, they have to come up with new ways of instruction, but they also are putting their lives and maybe even their families lives on the line,” Sen. Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville) said. LINK

Tennessee bill would give school boards more power over school closures (WVLT-TV Knoxville) Two Tennessee lawmakers filed a bill that would give school boards the power to decide if schools should be closed during a public emergency. The bill was filed by State Senator Brian Kelsey and Representative Kevin Vaughan, WREG reported. “This bill seeks to clarify that duly elected local school boards are the ultimate decision makers when it comes to the operation of their schools,” said Vaughan. “Other agencies, such as local health departments may be consulted for their perspectives, but ultimately, the schools, students, and staff are the responsibility of the local education authority.” LINK

Bill clarifies authority over schools’ emergency operations (Daily Memphian) When the 112th General Assembly convenes in Nashville, Tennessee leaders will review a proposed bill giving local leaders authority over schools’ emergency operations. Sen. Brian Kelsey, a Germantown Republican, filed the bill Monday, Jan. 11 ahead of the 112th General Assembly convening. Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, will file the corresponding House bill. The bill says school boards should have authority to make decisions in such emergencies. Public health authorities may be consulted, but ultimately the decision lies with the local district’s elected leaders. LINK

Tennessee bill would give school boards more authority regarding closures during public emergencies (WREG-TV Memphis) Two Mid-South lawmakers filed legislation giving local school boards the authority to decide if they should be closed during a public emergency. Senate Bill 103 was filed by Tennessee Senator Brian Kelsey and Rep. Kevin Vaughan. “This bill seeks to clarify that duly elected local school boards are the ultimate decision makers when it comes to the operation of their schools,” said Vaughan. “Other agencies, such as local health departments may be consulted for their perspectives, but ultimately, the schools, students, and staff are the responsibility of the local education authority.” LINK

Tennessee’s 112th General Assembly begins amid FBI investigation and as COVID-19 crisis hits home (Tennessean) Tennessee’s 112th General Assembly convenes on Tuesday, the new session beginning as a maelstrom of uncertainty sweeps the legislature following Friday’s FBI raids of multiple House Republicans’ homes and offices. The legislature will also begin a new session with Senate proceedings closed to in-person spectators due to COVID-19, the seriousness of which some Republican lawmakers continue to deny even as one House member remains hospitalized in intensive care with the disease. LINK

FBI probe of Tennessee lawmakers appears focused on shadowy campaign activities (WTVF-TV Nashville) Shadowy groups working behind the scenes to settle Republican scores – playing with money that cannot be traced. That situation, first exposed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, appears to be driving the latest FBI investigation into Capitol Hill corruption. Friday, FBI agents hauled away boxes of evidence from Tennessee’s Capitol Hill. Included among that evidence, NewsChannel 5 has learned, was computers and other materials potentially linked to a group of shadowy campaign firms. It was part of a series of early-morning raids that began at the Franklin residence of former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada. LINK

Rep. Fleischmann: COVID-19 diagnosis will not impact potential impeachment vote (WATE-TV Knoxville) Congressman Chuck Fleischmann is isolated in Washington D.C. after testing positive for COVID-19. But the recent diagnosis, he says, will not impact a potential vote on whether to impeach the president later this week. The congressman announced he’s battling the coronavirus after coming into contact with his infected roommate. On Monday evening, he said he’s feeling better than he did the day prior. Just before his interview with WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel, Fleischmann said he found out he will still be able to cast votes this week. LINK

U.S. Rep. Fleischmann doesn’t hold President Trump responsible for inciting supporters’ deadly attack on U.S. Capitol (Times Free Press) U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said Monday he doesn’t hold President Donald Trump personally responsible for inciting last week’s deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol as senators and representatives met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Nov. 3 victory. “I really don’t,” said the Tennessee Republican from Ooltewah when asked by Cleveland-based Mix 104.1 WCLE host Steve Hartline during a morning call-in interview if Trump bears blame for what happened. “I think people are responsible for their own actions.” LINK

Reeling From a Riot, Washington Faces Rising Coronavirus Cases (NY Times) While Mayor Muriel E. Bowser of Washington, D.C., was grappling with the riot that tore through the Capitol last week, another crisis was slowly unfolding: a surge of coronavirus in the district … Representative Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee also has announced that he has tested positive after being exposed to his roommate, Representative Gus Bilirakis of Florida. Both lawmakers are Republicans. Mr. Fleischmann told a Chattanooga TV station, WRCB, that he was sent a notification on Wednesday that his roommate had tested positive, but did not receive it right away because he was locked down in a secure location during the riot. He said he did not know how many other lawmakers he had come in contact with that day. LINK

Corporations drop funding of Republicans like Rep. Fleischmann (WDEF-TV Chattanooga) Chattanooga’s Rep. Chuck Fleischmann could lose some major funding in a move sweeping corporate boardrooms on Monday. Several companies have announced they have ceased funding politicians who backed the electoral college vote. That includes both Fleischmann and Rep. Scott DesJarlais from southeast Tennessee. However DesJarlais has not taken funds from corporate PACS. Fleischmann has and could lose thousands of campaign contributions. AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Comcast, Commerce Bank, Ford, and Marriott International all took the move today. LINK

Local U.S. Representatives oppose impeachment of President Donald Trump (WRCB-TV Chattanooga) Monday, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats introduced a resolution to impeach President Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” after last week’s capitol riots. Both Chuck Fleischmann and Scott DesJarlais oppose the House’s efforts to impeach President Trump. Both say they will vote against it if it goes to the floor, believing an impeachment trial would further divide our country. Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann, who stood with Trump, voting to object to the Electoral College results even after last week’s riot, strongly opposes impeachment. “Not at all, I’m 100 percent against it,” Fleischmann said. LINK

Corporations pull political contributions after vote to reject election results, impacting Tennessee Valley Republicans (WRCB-TV Chattanooga) It may cost the campaigns of lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 election thousands of dollars. Three major corporations have announced they are pulling campaign contributions after last week’s attack on the capitol and further fueling conspiracy theories that the election was stolen. The companies include Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Marriott International, Inc. and Commerce Bank. Channel 3 reached out to each company to learn more about the decision.  “At the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, we continuously evaluate our political contributions to ensure that those we support share our values and goals. LINK

State BlueCross stops short of sweeping donation ban (TN Journal) The national BlueCross BlueShield Association made waves this week by announcing it would suspend political donations to lawmakers who objected to the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election as president. “In light of this week’s violent, shocking assault on the United States Capitol, and the votes of some members of Congress to subvert the results of November’s election by challenging Electoral College results, BCSBA will suspend contributions to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy,” the federation of 36 independent BlueCross companies said in a statement. Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee doesn’t appear to be taking the same blanket approach toward its PAC donations to state candidates. LINK

Tennessee, Virginia lawmakers respond to FBI warning of planned armed protests across nation (WJHL-TV Johnson City) Elected officials in both Tennessee and Virginia are discouraging anyone who may plan to take part in armed protests in the coming days. On Monday, outlets reported that an internal bulletin of the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals starting later this week and extending to January 20. Following the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, lawmakers warned both Tennesseans and Virginians against being involved in such protests. LINK

‘It’s not just a wakeup call,’ Rep. Jim Cooper on U.S. Capitol riot from nearly a week ago (WSMV-TV Nashville) There are some major concerns about security in Washington, D.C. following the riot inside the U.S. Capitol. Some lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are moving forward discussing possible impeachment measures against President Donald Trump. News4 spoke with Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper on Monday who was in Washington during the riot. He said it was unlike anything he’s ever seen before during his time in office. LINK

Rep. Jim Cooper joins calls for Pres. Trump’s impeachment and removal (WTVF-TV Nashville) Flags in Tennessee will fly at half-staff until Wednesday to honor the service and sacrifice of Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood. NewsChannel 5 spoke to Congressman Jim Cooper about the Capitol riot and his experience barricading inside his office. He and his Chief of Staff Lisa Quigley remained locked in until it was safe for the electoral certification to resume. LINK

Cooper Ready To Force Out Trump Immediately (WPLN Radio Nashville) Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper is among the Democrats calling for President Trump’s impeachment, even if it means a Senate trial doesn’t happen until after he leaves office. Cooper was slower to embrace impeachment a year ago, when Democrats initiated proceedings over Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s leader, urging him to deliver dirt on Joe Biden. Back then, Cooper says he wanted to hear more evidence, since it all happened behind the scenes. LINK

Rep. Cooper says Tennessee’s block grant waiver will ‘shortchange Medicaid recipients’ (WZTV-TV Nashville) Tennessee is getting federal money for Medicaid, but there’s a catch. The funds are all the state will get for the next ten years. Rep. Jim Cooper tells FOX 17 News he’s already drafted a letter to the incoming Biden administration requesting reversal. Cooper said the Trump administration is stuck in a block grant approval during their final days in office. In the letter, Cooper writes: “This action was carefully designed to handicap your administration and my state for ten years.” LINK


Guest column: Advanced energy means jobs for Tennesseans(News Sentinel) By almost any metric, Tennessee had a strong 2020 in advanced energy, a robust sector with 18,000 businesses contributing nearly $40 billion to the state’s gross domestic product. And the year’s growth in the state’s electric vehicle landscape received national and international headlines … With leadership from Gov. Bill Lee, Tennesseans can anticipate more growth in advanced energy and job creation. Electric vehicles are a primary focus for state resources, which included incentives for the GM plant. Nissan and VW have also worked closely with state and local government over the years. LINK

Frank Cagle: General Assembly convenes under ethical cloud (KnoxTNToday) Members of the General Assembly gather today for opening session and one suspects the main topic behind closed doors will be an FBI raid on Friday on legislators’ homes and offices and the suspension of staff members. The FBI is tight-lipped, as usual, but the nature of the raids provides clues. In the wake of Gov. Bill Lee’s voucher bill passing in 2019 stories went around about the FBI interviewing members about possible illegal inducements for their votes. Would you like to get a new interstate exit? Do you want to be a general in the National Guard?  LINK

Guest column: Mental health of Tennessee’s children remain top priority heading into 2021 (Tennessean) Tennesseans weathered literal and figurative storms last year, from deadly tornadoes to the harrowing COVID-19 pandemic, further taxing our psyche. While much is being said of the toll borne by adults — emotional stress, economic uncertainty, and higher physical health risks, etc. especially for older adults with complicated and/or comorbid health conditions — we must not overlook the impact these events have on child and adolescent wellness. We teach our children “good sandbox” behavior — to share their toys and play together. Children thrive in stable, predictable environments. LINK

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