Wednesday

Haslam Delivers 2015 State of the State & Budget Address

Haslam: 'Full Speed Ahead’ On Work Left To Do
Governor’s budget proposal prioritizes K-12 and higher education, jobs

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam delivered his 2015 State of the State and Budget address before a joint session of the 109th General Assembly in the House Chamber.

During the speech, he promised to move “full speed ahead” in serving Tennessee taxpayers and highlighted many of the state’s successes.

“I stand here tonight to tell you that the state of our state is enviable in many ways,” Haslam said. “There are a lot of good things happening in Tennessee, and they’re being recognized in significant ways across the country.”

Haslam noted several of the state’s accomplishments, including:
• Nearly 225,000 new private sector jobs have been created in Tennessee since 2011, and Tennessee holds the designation of “State of the Year” in economic development for an unprecedented second year in a row.
• Tennessee leads the country in academic achievement gains and through the Tennessee Promise is the first state ever to promise high school graduates two years at a community or technical college free of tuition and fees.
• This year, out of 65,000 high school seniors, 58,000 applied for the Tennessee Promise and 9,200 adult Tennesseans signed up to be volunteer mentors for these students.
• Tennessee has the lowest debt per capita of any state and among the lowest tax rates.

Haslam also emphasized the importance of education in Tennessee – both K-12 and higher ed.

“I truly believe that getting education right is critical to the well-being of our state – today and in the future,” Haslam said. “We have to keep going full speed ahead. We can’t afford to go backwards. We’ve come too far to sell ourselves short. It would be an injustice to our students, to our teachers, to Tennessee families, and to ourselves.”

He underscored the state’s efforts to ensure a strong workforce through a focus on workforce development and his Drive to 55 initiative that aims to raise the percentage of Tennesseans with a certificate or degree beyond high school from 32 to 55 by the year 2025. Part of that effort is the Tennessee Promise.

“For the last 30 years, Tennessee’s greatest need has been for better trained workers who can fill the jobs that companies want to bring here. We think the Tennessee Promise is a game changer.

“But the reality is that just reaching high school graduates won’t be enough to reach our goal,” he continued. “In Tennessee, there are nearly one million adults with some post-secondary credit but without a degree. We have to figure out ways to reconnect those adults and remove the barriers that are preventing so many Tennesseans from earning their certificate or degree, which will lead to a better job and future.”

As part of the address, the governor outlined his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 which reflects $300 million in revenue growth, $500 million in cost increases and $200 million in reductions.

“Every year we have a limited amount of new money that is available from our revenue growth,” Haslam said. “That new money rarely keeps pace with our budget obligations and growing costs for education and health care. That’s why it is so important that our state has built a track record of fiscal restraint.

“That’s why we have to try different approaches that will help us keep costs down while increasing quality and outcomes in health care.”

The governor’s budget proposal includes nearly $170 million for K-12 education, including:
• $100 million dollars for increasing teacher salaries, which amounts to a four percent pool that local education associations (LEAs) will have available as they make local decisions to increase teacher pay;
• Nearly $44 million to fully fund the Basic Education Program; and
• $5 million to create the Educators’ Liability Trust Fund to offer liability insurance to Tennessee teachers at no cost to them.

Notable higher education investments include:
• $260 million for capital projects, including new science facilities at Jackson State Community College and the University of Tennessee, nearly $25 million for improvements to colleges of applied technology across the state and funding for a fine arts classroom building at East Tennessee State University;
• $25 million to fully fund the Complete College Act formula; and
• $10 million for need-based scholarships for students;

The budget also includes specific workforce development investments geared to the governor’s Drive to 55 effort including:
• $2.5 million for statewide outreach efforts geared toward adult students, technical assistance to local communities that are finding ways to support adult learners, and a one-stop portal for adults;
• $2.5 million to support the success of the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program which address remediation in high school;
• $1.5 million to provide last dollar scholarships to adults with some post-secondary credit to attend community college;
• $1 million to establish competitive grants to 2-year and 4-year institutions to develop initiatives specifically designed for veterans; and
• $400,000 to establish the Tennessee Promise Bridge Program, which will bring first-generation college students to campus prior to fall enrollment, which is one more step in making sure they have the best chance possible to succeed.

Other highlights of the budget include:
• $48 million for state employee pay raises and compensation tied to performance and ongoing market adjustments; and
• $36.5 million dollars for the Rainy Day Fund to bring it to $528 million.

The governor’s legislative agenda was announced Tuesday.
The complete text of the governor’s speech and an archived video of his speech will be available at www.tn.gov/stateofthestate.

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Tuesday

Be Prepared for Health Concerns During Winter Weather

Be Prepared for Health Concerns during Winter Weather

Winters in Tennessee can be very unpredictable. That’s why the Tennessee Department of Health urges everyone to be prepared for dangerous weather, the risk of hypothermia and other winter health concerns.

“Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, just a few degrees less than the normal 98.6 degrees F,” said TDH Chief Medical Officer David Reagan, MD, PhD. “Symptoms of hypothermia include being confused, sleepy, apathetic and delirious. Hypothermia can also cause a person to slip into a coma, causing the heart and respiratory system to fail.”

The Tennessee Department of Health suggests dressing in layers, changing out of wet clothes, limiting time outdoors and avoiding alcohol. Adopting a “buddy” system is also recommended so friends can check on one another often to look for signs of cold weather health problems.

It’s also important to be prepared for dangerous weather conditions when driving. These tips can help keep you and your family safe:

• Keep at least a half-tank of gas in your vehicle at all times and be sure you have an emergency kit in the vehicle. This should include candles and matches, a blanket, food such as energy bars and water, a small shovel, flashlight with fresh batteries, first aid supplies, a charger for your cell phone, ice scraper, gloves and extra clothing.

• Before traveling, have a mechanic inspect your vehicle to ensure it is road-worthy for winter. This should include a check of the battery, anti-freeze and tires. Also ask for a check of the exhaust system; a leaky exhaust system could cause dangerous carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment.

• Always tell someone your travel route and when you will arrive and return. If you don’t have to drive, stay home or use public transportation.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a threat during the winter months. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that causes more than 400 deaths and 20,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. each year. It is found in combustion fumes produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal or wood in a fireplace. Carbon monoxide from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces; people and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing the gas.

“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer: you can go to bed at night and you may not wake up the next morning. Take the necessary steps needed if you develop any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning like headaches, dizziness and weakness,” said Paul Petersen, PharmD, Emergency Preparedness Program Director.

Tips to help avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:

• If your home heating system fails and you use a generator, do not operate it in the house where dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can accumulate. Follow all product instructions and use caution to prevent build-up of fumes when using kerosene heaters.

• Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are working properly.

• Never use an outdoor grill indoors for cooking or warmth, as these grills put out significant amounts of carbon monoxide and increase fire danger.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips on winter health and safety, including checklists to help you prepare for winter weather, at www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.asp. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has resources for winter weather preparedness at www.ready.gov/winter-weather.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at http://health.state.tn.us/.

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Monday

Busting the Myths of Leadership

The great statesman Benjamin Franklin once said, “When you are finished changing, you’re finished.” And even though it’s been 200-plus years since he uttered those famous words, they still hold true — especially in today’s business world.

Long standing ideas about how to lead a team are no longer viable. Workers won’t stick around for a bad boss these days, no matter how much they’re paid. They want to be motivated and inspired. So, how can you ensure that you’re functioning as an awesome leader? Start by avoiding these common, but mistaken, leadership beliefs.

The Myth: They’re inspired by their paycheck. As the owner of your company, you have the power to change lives. After all, you’re the person signing the paychecks. Everyone should be happy, and even grateful, to do their jobs with no questions asked.

The Truth: Great leaders know that power comes from persuasion, not position. Simply offering a paycheck, or intimidating workers by holding their jobs over their heads will not make them more productive or creative. Leaders who take the time to communicate, support and encourage earn loyalty and respect from their teams.

The Myth: No news is good news. Your team doesn’t need to know when something bad happens. If sales are down, they’re going to become scared and maybe even leave. As a matter of fact, they can’t be trusted with any sensitive news — good or bad.

The Truth: Winning organizations have a culture of communication. Your team wants to know what’s happening and why. Sure, there’s some information you can’t share. But when you have the right team members on board, you can trust them with almost anything. Make a habit of over-communicating. Your team will respect you for it even more.

The Myth: You can’t find good workers anymore. Today’s generation doesn’t listen. They lack initiative, and they never show up on time. They want the world handed to them.

The Truth: You’re probably not good at finding and recognizing talented, responsible workers. Think there are no young people who are willing to do an awesome job? Look at Chick-fil-A. The company has thousands of them. Part of being a good leader is knowing how to hire. You have to be willing to wait for the perfect person — one who shares your values and work ethic. At Dave Ramsey’s company, team members are interviewed four to six times, and the process can take three or four months.

Becoming a great leader is not easy. It’s a skill that needs to be developed, and it’s one that takes time, patience and a willingness to learn and improve one’s self. But if you’re willing to put in the hard work, you’ll find yourself with a team full of talented, passionate people — a team willing and able to slay dragons right alongside you, and do whatever it takes to win.

It’s definitely worth the wait!

*Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on business and money. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books, including EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on the web at www.entreleadership.com.

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Wednesday

Nashville Symphony Unveils Blockbuster 2015/16 Season

Nashville Symphony Unveils Blockbuster 2015/16 Season
Subscription Packages for Classical, Pops, Jazz and More Now Available

The Nashville Symphony has released the full schedule for its 2015/16 season, which features one of the most ambitious slates of classical, pops, jazz, family and special events in the organization’s history and builds on a recent stretch of success that has seen record crowds at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Subscription packages are now available for all 2015/16 Nashville Symphony concerts and may be purchased online or by phone at 615.687.6400 or in person at the Schermerhorn Symphony Box Office. Subscribers enjoy a long list of benefits, including flexible ticket exchanges, big savings, bonus tickets, priority seating, pre-sale access to newly added concerts, discounted parking and more. Single tickets for all 2015/16 concerts go on sale June 27, 2015.

“Next season really encapsulates what the Nashville Symphony is all about — new, ground-breaking American orchestral music, moving classical works by legendary composers, and one of our most exciting pops and jazz lineups ever,” said Alan Valentine, Nashville Symphony president and CEO. “With a GRAMMY® Award-winning orchestra at the top of its game performing an incredible lineup of concerts in one of the world’s finest music venues, we’re confident that the Schermerhorn will continue to be home to some of Middle Tennessee’s best art and entertainment.”


2015/16 Aegis Sciences Classical Series

Led by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, the 2015/16 Aegis Sciences Classical Series is comprised of 14 performances and features everything classical fans have come to love about Music City’s orchestra. The season kicks off with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and will also include such well-loved works as Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and Mozart’s Requiem. As part of its mission to promote contemporary American music, the Nashville Symphony will also perform one co-commission, Jonathan Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto (October 2-3, 2015), and six new works to be recorded for future release, including three pieces written by Knoxville native Jennifer Higdon.

Other American composers to be featured throughout the season include Leonard Bernstein, Richard Danielpour, Michael Daugherty and one Latin American composer, Silvestre Revueltas. Of special note is John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls, a stunning tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that will be performed as part of the opening weekend performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on the anniversary of the attacks.

The 2015/16 season will also spotlight a number of Symphony musicians as soloists, including James Button, Principal Oboe, on Higdon’s Oboe Concerto; James Zimmerman, Principal Clarinet, on Lowell Liebermann’s Clarinet Concerto; and a number of other orchestra members on the Bach Brandenburg Concertos. “In Nashville, we are fortunate to have some of the finest musicians anywhere in the world right here in our hometown orchestra,” Guerrero said. “I’m thrilled to showcase their amazing musicianship, and I intend to continue giving them opportunities to shine in future seasons.”

The 2015/16 season will close with Mahler’s Third Symphony, featuring the Women of the Nashville Symphony Chorus and Boys of the Blair Children’s Chorus. This epic work completes Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony’s cycle all nine of Mahler’s symphonies, which the orchestra began in 2007. “Mahler truly sought to contain the whole of human experience in his symphonies, and his Third one of the most monumental and breathtaking pieces he ever wrote,” Guerrero said.

The full Classical Series lineup is as follows:
  • Beethoven’s Ninth & John Adams’ Homage to 9/11: September 10-12, 2015
  • Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto & Guitar Legend Manuel Barrueco: October 2-3, 2015
  • Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos: October 22-24, 2015
  • Bruckner’s Romantic Symphony & Daugherty’s Organ Concerto: November 6-7, 2015
  • Saint- Saëns’ “Egyptian” Piano Concerto & Sibelius’ Second Symphony: November 20-21, 2015
  • Mozart’s Requiem & Symphony Soloists Perform New American Masterpieces: January 7-9, 2016
  • Bernstein’s On the Waterfront & Famous Movie Music by Prokofiev, Korngold and Revueltas: January 29-30, 2016
  • Pictures at an Exhibition & Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto: February 18-20, 2016
  • Strauss’ Don Quixote & Brahms Third Symphony: March 4-5, 2016
  • Guerrero Conducts Ravel’s La Valse & works by Mozart and Higdon: March 25-26, 2016
  • Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Haydn’s First Symphony & Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 15: April 7-9, 2016
  • Beethoven’s Emperor with Ohlsson & Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11: April 29-30, 2016
  • Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Shaham & Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony: May 5-7, 2016
  • Mahler’s Third Symphony with Chorus: May 26-28, 2016


FirstBank Pops Series
Bookended by Franki Valli & the Four Seasons and country legends Alabama, the 2015/16 FirstBank Pops Series runs the gamut of genres and styles, giving audiences the unique opportunity to hear the Nashville Symphony play alongside some incredible artists, performing everything from rock to country to Broadway show tunes:

  • Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons with the Nashville Symphony: September 24-26, 2015
  • The Best of Broadway with the Nashville Symphony: October 15-17, 2015
  • Pink Martini with the Nashville Symphony: November 12-14, 2015
  • Cirque De La Symphonie with the Nashville Symphony: January 14-16, 2016
  • The Music of the Eagles with the Nashville Symphony: February 25-27, 2016
  • The Irish Tenors with the Nashville Symphony: March 17-19, 2016
  • Chris Botti with the Nashville Symphony: April 14-16, 2016
  • Alabama with the Nashville Symphony: May 12-14, 2016

Jazz Series
The Schermerhorn is one of Tennessee’s premier venues for jazz, and 2015/16 includes a number of top-flight jazz concerts:
  • Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Project with the Nashville Symphony: October 30, 2015
  • David Benoit: Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown: December 6, 2015
  • Madeleine Peyroux: March 11, 2016
  • Additional Concert to Be Announced: April 1, 2016

Special Events, Coffee & Classics and Pied Piper
Special events featuring the Nashville Symphony include Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (September 27, 2015), which will be performed for the first time ever at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Legendary pianist Andre Watts will perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto (January 23, 2016), five years after his last scheduled appearance with the Symphony had to be relocated to a different venue because of the May 2010 flood.

Other special events include Don McLean with the Nashville Symphony (October 28, 2015) and four holiday performances of Handel’s Messiah (December 17-20, 2015), including a newly added Sunday matinee concert. More special events will be added to the Nashville Symphony concert calendar throughout the year.

The Symphony’s popular Friday-morning Coffee & Classics Series, which includes free coffee and pastries, returns with four concerts in 2015/16 – Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, Sibelius’ Second Symphony, Pictures at an Exhibition and Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony.

Finally, the Nashville Symphony will continue giving parents and children the chance to experience the thrill of live classical music on select Saturday mornings through The Ann & Monroe Carell Family Trust Pied Piper Series. The 2015/16 Pied Piper Series includes a pair of holiday-themed shows (“Trick or Treat with the Nashville Symphony,” October 31, 2015, & “Holiday Sing-Along with the Nashville Symphony,” December 19, 2015) and multimedia collaborations with local partners, including the Nashville Zoo (“Get Wild with the Nashville Symphony,” February 27, 2016) and Adventure Science Center (“Blast Off with the Nashville Symphony,” April 16, 2016). All Pied Piper concerts are preceded by family-friendly activities including arts and crafts, photos and the Symphony’s popular Instrument Petting Zoo.

For a full listing of 2015/16 concerts, along with subscription benefits and prices 

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Monday

Haslam Reflects On First Term

Haslam Reflects On First Term, Lays Out Work Ahead
Improving educational opportunities and outcomes for Tennesseans critical

Earlier this week, Gov. Bill Haslam was sworn in for his second four-year term as the 49th governor of Tennessee, addressing thousands of Inaugural attendees from across the state on War Memorial Plaza with the State Capitol serving as the backdrop.

“One thing I can guarantee you that we are not going to do in the next four years is coast to the finish line,” Haslam said. “The decisions that we make in the building behind me are too important; too important to the 6.5 million Tennesseans who are alive today and even more important for the generations that will follow us.”

The governor called on Tennesseans to work together to build on the state’s successes and momentum.

“It’s about all of us. The governor, legislators, state employees, teachers, parents, community leaders, business executives, health care professionals, faith leaders, and citizens of all kinds saying: ‘We are on the right path, but we can do better, and we must do better,’” he added.

“We can be a state government that treats its citizens like customers and gives full value for every tax dollar that is paid. Tennessee can be the very best location in the southeast for high quality jobs. Most importantly, we can make sure that we get education right. There is nothing more important for us to do.”

Haslam charted progress that has been made in Tennessee during his first four years in office, especially in his priority areas of a well-managed, efficient and effective state government; better educational opportunities and outcomes for more Tennesseans; and high-quality, good paying Tennessee jobs. Highlights include:

Efficient and Effective State Government

• Tennessee has the lowest debt per person of any of the 50 states.
• Tennessee tax rates are among the lowest in the country.
• Overhaul of the state’s outdated employment system allows the state to now recruit, reward and retain the best and brightest to serve in state government.

Education

• Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the country in academic achievement.
• There are now 100,000 more kids proficient at grade-level in math, and more than 57,000 additional students are proficient at grade-level in science since 2011.
• Tennessee is the first state in the country to promise high school graduates two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees.

Jobs

• 210,000 net new private sector jobs have been created in Tennessee since January 2011.
• Tennessee named “State of the Year” in economic development for an unprecedented two years in a row.
• Implemented tort reform and overhauled the state’s worker’s compensation system to further strengthen the state’s business climate.

The governor highlighted Tennessee’s leading status in the automotive manufacturing sector as well as other advanced manufacturing and technological industries where the state is at the center of innovation. He also addressed challenges facing the state, including concerns about whether Tennessee’s workforce has and will have the technical skills and ability to meet the demands of a rapidly changing global economy.

“I see the job of governor as being part of a historically significant relay race. I was handed the baton four years ago, and it is my job to be intentional about advancing that baton during my eight years in office and handing it off to the next governor in a better position than it was handed to me.

“As we embark on the second leg of this race, it is going to take all of us running together. The time is right for us to take longer strides, to run harder, to reach further, and to gain more ground. We can do this together, and to reach our full potential, we have to do it together.”

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