State of Tennessee Newsroom http://tn.gov/news en Admissions to Benchmark Healthcare of Puryear Suspended http://tn.gov/news/48101 48101 at http://tn.gov/news Henry County Nursing Home Cited for Violation of Consent Order NASHVILLE – Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, has suspended new admissions of residents to Benchmark Healthcare of Puryear effective January 10, 2017. Benchmark Healthcare of Puryear, a 32-bed licensed nursing home located at 220 College St. in Puryear, was ordered not to admit any new residents based on the facility’s severe financial difficulties. In addition, the facility has not paid overdue taxes, a violation of a September 2015 Consent Order against the facility. TDH found the threatened financial viability of the facility posed a detriment to the welfare of residents living in the facility. This action will prevent the facility from admitting new residents into a precarious situation. The Commissioner of Health may suspend admissions to a nursing home when conditions are determined to be, or are likely to be, detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the residents. The order to suspend admissions remains effective until conditions have been and continue to remain corrected. A copy of the order must be posted at the public entrance where it can be plainly seen. The nursing home has the right to a hearing regarding the suspension of admissions before the Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities or an administrative judge. 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 www.tn.gov/health. Health Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:12:00 +0000 Governor Haslam, Commissioner Boyd Announce 29 Communities to Receive Tourism Enhancement Grants http://tn.gov/news/48100 48100 at http://tn.gov/news Grants to assist communities with tourism infrastructure assets NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced today that 29 communities will receive more than $1 million in Tourism Enhancement Grants to assist with tourism infrastructure assets. “We want to congratulate the 29 communities that will be receiving Tourism Enhancement Grants,” Haslam said. “Tourism is an important part of our state economy, and these grants showcase how tourist development and economic development work together to make our state not only a great place to live and work, but a top tourist destination. With the assistance of these grants each community will be able to grow and enhance their local tourism assets.” The grants help counties and cities improve local assets to increase the economic impact of tourism. This is second round of the Tourism Enhancement Grant program. In July, nearly $1 million was awarded to 29 communities during the first round of tourism grants. “I am happy to announce the 29 communities that have been awarded Tourism Enhancement Grants,” Boyd said. “Tourist development and economic development have a great partnership with a common goal: making sure Tennessee and the communities across the state are able to succeed and grow. With these grants, each participating community has shown that they are investing in economic development and the future growth in our state.”  The Tourism Enhancement Grants are funded through the Rural Economic Opportunity Act, which is designed to improve the economic indicators in rural communities across Tennessee. Announcements will follow this spring for Site Development Grants, Main Street Entrepreneur Grants and Asset-Enhancement Grants for distressed communities.  “Arguably the only thing about this program more exciting than announcing the grant recipients is the opportunity it provides these communities,” Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett said. “The Tourism Enhancement Grants help enhance local tourism assets, which is an integral part of every county in Tennessee. Our partners at TNECD realize how critical these assets are in regards to tourism and economic development and I am thankful for the commitment to helping these communities grow.” An advisory committee made up of staff from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture selected the 29 communities from a pool of 50 grant applications. The grants awarded include: Anderson County - $50,000 Benton County - $50,000 Bledsoe County - $10,000 Campbell County - $47,605 Carter County - $20,000 Cocke County - $20,000 Coffee County - $50,000 Dyer County, City of Dyersburg - $50,000 Fayette County - $10,000 Gibson County, City of Milan - $50,000 Grundy County - $20,000 Henry County, City of Paris - $32,900 Houston County - $50,000 Jefferson County, Town of Dandridge - $50,000 Lauderdale County, Town of Halls - $50,000 Lawrence County - $45,000 Marion County - $10,000 Marshall County, City of Lewisburg - $50,000 McNairy County - $50,000 Perry County - $20,000 Polk County - $20,000 Rhea County - $50,000 Sequatchie County - $10,000 Stewart County - $20,000 Sumner County - $30,000 Van Buren County - $50,000 Washington County, Town of Jonesborough - $50,000 Wayne County, City of Clifton - $47,500 White County - $50,000                                                      Each application was supported by the community’s senator and representative in the Tennessee General Assembly. About the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development The mission of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is to motivate travel to and within Tennessee by inspiring enjoyment, creating memories, producing a desire to return, and establishing key long-term relationships that result in visitors becoming residents. The promise of Tennessee—the birthplace of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll—is to be the global music destination of choice. To deliver an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Team Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Tennessee is the only three-time winner of “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.   ### Economic & Community Development Governor Haslam Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0000 Tennessee National Guard to support 58th Presidential Inauguration http://tn.gov/news/48099 48099 at http://tn.gov/news NASHVILLE, Tenn. – More than three hundred and thirty Soldiers and Airmen from the Tennessee Army and Air National Guard will support the 58th Presidential Inauguration this week in Washington, D.C. The 194th Engineer Brigade (Army), headquartered in Jackson, has 304 Soldiers providing command and control for Military Police Soldiers performing stationary security at different locations.  A logistics team of supply and maintenance personnel are providing support for the MPs and a Religious Support Team. The 134th Air Refueling Wing from Knoxville (Air) has twelve personnel working as a food services team, two Public Affairs representatives to ensure the timely and accurate release of information and response to media inquiries regarding the National Guard's mission and one Airmen serving as technical support for a Mobile Emergency Operations Center. Tennessee Joint Force Headquarters Medical Command from Smyrna is providing five personnel to provide care for our Soldiers/Airmen during the week.  They will establish medical sites during the inauguration as treatment centers for those supporting events on the 20th. More than 29,000 Tennessee Army and Air National Guardsmen have deployed since Sept. 11, 2001, supporting Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  During the past year Soldiers and Airmen from Tennessee have been instrumental in European Operations Atlantic Resolve, Resolute Castle and Operation Anakonda in Bulgaria, Poland and Estonia. In total, more than 7,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, from 44 states, three territories and the District of Columbia, will serve with the specially created Joint Task Force – District of Columbia. The District of Columbia National Guard created JTF - DC in response to requests for assistance from local and federal agencies in the National Capital Region. As a whole, National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will augment the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police forces on a range of support, including traffic control, crowd management, logistics and communication. National Guard support to presidential inaugurations dates to April 30, 1789, when local militia members (today’s National Guard) joined the U.S. Army and revolutionary war veterans to form an honor detail and escort Gen. George Washington to his inauguration ceremony in New York City from Mount Vernon, Va. Over the years, National Guard involvement has grown and is designated to honor the commander-in-chief, recognize civilian control of the military, and celebrate democracy.  Military Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:48:00 +0000 West Tennessee Weekly Construction January 18-25, 2017 http://tn.gov/news/48097 48097 at http://tn.gov/news BENTON COUNTY - I-40 Truck Climbing Lane Wednesday, January 18 through Wednesday, January 25: There are no scheduled closures. CARROLL COUNTY, SR-424: Construction of a concrete bulb-tee beam bridge on SR 424 over Roan Creek will cause possible lane closures throughout the project. Motorists should watch for trucks entering and exiting the roadway from the construction zones and also crossing the roadways. FAYETTE COUNTY – I-40 Saturday, January 21 and Monday January 23, 9:00 a. m.-3:00 p. m.: There will be INTERMITTENT lane closures at various locations on I-40 east and westbound at LM 27.0 to LM 42.0 to allow for pothole repairs.   Tuesday, January 24 and Wednesday, January 25, 9:00 a. m.-3:00 p. m. will serve as back up date.  Weather Permitting. FAYETTE COUNTY, SR-15 (US-64); Resurfacing work will cause possible temporary lane closures in both directions daily, from the 5 lane section to near Tomlin Road. FAYETTE COUNTY, SR-15 (US-64); Bridge Repair project on SR 15 over Howell Creek will cause possible temporary lane closures in both directions daily. GIBSON COUNTY, SR-420: Miscellaneous safety improvements from Luck Madden Road log mile 2.12 to SR 186 log mile 4.57. HARDEMAN COUNTY, SR-100: Bridge Repair project on SR 100 over overflow at log mile 7.58 Tuesday, May 31 through May 31, 2017, a signal system is being utilized. Motorists should watch for trucks entering and exiting the roadway.  Watch for flagmen. Restrictions: On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, a signal system was put into place. Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction with an 11’ lane restriction. HARDIN COUNTY, SR-15 (US-64): A widening project on SR 15 from Firetower Road to west of Bigbee Branch. Motorists should watch for trucks entering and exiting the roadway from the construction zones and also crossing the roadways. HARDIN COUNTY, SR-128: A widening project on SR 128 from South of Opel Loop to US-64 (SR 15) in Savannah will cause possible lane closures throughout the project. Motorists should watch for trucks entering and exiting the roadway from the construction zones and also crossing the roadways. HAYWOOD COUNTY-Bridge over I-40 at Hawkins Lane: Bridge Repair project over I-40 at Hawkins Lane log mile 0.47 will cause possible lane closures throughout the project. HAYWOOD COUNTY-Bridge over I-40 at SR-19 (Exit 60): Bridge Repair project at log mile 16.62 will cause possible lane closures throughout the project. Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, 7:00 a. m.-5:00 p. m.: There will be temporary intermittent lane closures for I-40 east and westbound, inside or outside lane, for full depth bridge repair on Mercer Road SR 19 overhead bridge at Exit 60. LAKE COUNTY, SR-21: Bridge Repair project on SR 21 over Reelfoot Spillway will cause possible lane closures throughout the project. Restrictions: On Tuesday, July 19, through Tuesday, May 16, 2017, a signal system is being utilized. Traffic is reduced to one 9’ 9” lane in each direction. LAKE COUNTY, SR-21:  The construction of a concrete I-Beam bridge on SR 21 over Branch Creek LM 1.20, including grading, drainage, and paving.  Beginning Monday September 12, 2016, SR 21 was closed to thru traffic until approximately September 30, 2017.  Detour route posted. MADISON COUNTY, SR-18: Construction of a concrete box bridge on SR 18 over Meridian Creek will cause possible lane closures throughout the project. A temporary signal will be utilized. Restrictions: Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction with an 11’ lane restriction. MADISON COUNTY, SR-197: Construction of 2 concrete I-beam bridges, grading, drainage and paving. Beginning Friday April 15, 2016 through Sunday, May 31, 2017: There will be lane a closure on State Route 197, just east of Beech Bluff Rd. over branch. Restrictions: Beginning Monday October 24, through Wednesday, May 31, 2017: Traffic has been reduced to one lane in each direction with a 10’ lane restriction. A signal system is being utilized. MCNAIRY COUNTY, SR-117: Bridge Repair project on SR 117 over Snake Creek. Beginning Tuesday, June 14, a signal system is being utilized. Motorists should watch for trucks entering and exiting the roadway.  Watch for flagmen. Restrictions: Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction with an 11’ lane restriction. A signal system is being utilized. OBION COUNTY, Future I-69: Grading, drainage, construction of eight bridges on future I-69 from 0.2 mile south of US 51 (SR 3) to 0.2 mile south of US 45W (SR 5). Speed limit is reduced to 45 MPH. SHELBY COUNTY – Pothole Repair Wednesday, January 18 through Friday, January 20, 9:00 a. m.-3:00 p. m.: There will be INTERMITTENT lane closures at various locations on I-40 east and westbound, I-55 north and southbound, and I-240 east and westbound to allow for pothole repairs.  Weather Permitting. SHELBY COUNTY, I-40 at Canada Road Wednesday, January 18 through Wednesday, January 25: I-40 speed limit has been reduced to 55 MPH.  There are lane shifts on I-40 east and westbound.  Beginning December 5, 2014, there are transitions south and northbound on Canada Road. Thursday, January 19 and Friday, January 20, 8:00 p. m.-6:00 a. m.: There will be an INTERMITTENT alternating lane closure on I-40 eastbound at LM - 20.0 for welding deck panels. Friday, January 20 and Saturday, January 21, 8:00 p. m.-6:00 a. m.: There will be an INTERMITTENT alternating lane closure on I-40 westbound at LM 20.0 for welding deck panels. SHELBY COUNTY – ITS Maintenance Tuesday, January 24 and Wednesday, January 25, 9:00 a. m.-3:00 p. m.: There will be lane closures on I-40 eastbound in Arkansas MM 284.00 on the Mississippi River Bridge to Tennessee/Arkansas state line. The first lane closure (left (inside) lane will be reduced from 3 lanes to 2 lanes) will be pulled up and the second lane closure (right (outside) lane will be reduced from 3 lanes to 2 lanes) will then be installed.  Lane closure will be pulled up at 3:00 p. m. every day and installed at 9:00 a. m the following days. LOOK AHEAD: Tuesday, January 31 and Wednesday, February 1, 9:00 a. m.-3:00 p. m.: There will be lane closures on I-55 southbound at (MM 1.0 to 0.0) on the Mississippi River Bridge ending at the Arkansas/Tennessee state border. The left (inside) lane will be reduced from 2 lanes to 1 lane with a 12 foot width restriction on open lane.  The lane closure will be pulled up at 3:00 p. m. every day and installed at 9:00 a. m. the following days. SHELBY COUNTY – Washout Repair Thursday, January 19, 9:00 a. m.-3:00 p. m.: The outside lane will be CLOSED on I-240 east at LM 29.2 with the two remaining lanes to be open allowing for washout repairs. * Friday, January 20 and Monday, January 23, 9:00 a. m.-3:00 p. m. will serve as a backup date.  Weather Permitting. SHELBY COUNTY, SR-1: Construction of a welded steel plate girder bridge on SR 1 over the Loosahatchie River will cause possible lane closures throughout the project. SHELBY COUNTY, SR-14 (Austin Peay Hwy): Construction on SR 14 for a widening project from SR 204 (Singleton Parkway) to east of Old Covington Pike. Shoulders are closed north and southbound. There will be possible temporary lane closures throughout the project. Speed limit has been reduced to 45 MPH. As of May 13, 2015, Egypt-Central Road and Momosa Road have been CLOSED to thru traffic. SHELBY COUNTY, SR-385: Bridge repair on SR 385 over I-240 will cause possible temporary lane closures in both directions daily. SHELBY COUNTY, SR-385: Bridge repair over Gulf Stream Road, the CSXT R/R & US70 (SR 1) Speed limit has been reduced Tuesday, May 31 through Tuesday, January 31, 2017: There will be lane closures north and southbound on the outside lane on SR 385 over Gulf Stream Road LM 8.98 to work on bridge deck and approach slabs. Restrictions: Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction with an 11’ lane restriction. TDOT MAINTENANCE: Wednesday, January 18 through Wednesday, January 25, 9:00 a. m.-3:00 p. m.: There will be possible lane closures at various locations in Region IV in order to patch potholes on an as needed basis.  Weather Permitting. TDOT REGION 4 On-Call Concrete Pavement Repair Wednesday, January 18 through Wednesday, January 25: There are no scheduled closures. TDOT REGION 4 Retracing of pavement markings with spray thermoplastic Monday, January 23 through Wednesday, January 25, 8:00 p. m.-6:00 a. m.: There will be “a rolling lane clsore” on I-40 east & westbound in Carroll, Decatur and Benton Counties between MM 119.6 and MM 134.80 for retracing of lane lines with spray thermoplastic.  Weather Permitting. TDOT REGION 4, On-Call Guardrail Repair Sunday, January 22 through Thursday, January 26, 8:00 p. m.-6:00 a. m (excluding Friday & Saturday nights): There will be night time lane closures at the following various locations to repair damaged guardrail. THP will assist with traffic control. Weather Permitting. I-40, Shelby County, east & westbound (MM 1.0 to MM 32.0), one lane will remain open. I-240, Shelby County, east & westbound, southbound & northbound (MM 1.0 to MM 30.0), one lane will remain open. I-55, Shelby County, north & southbound (MM 0.0 to MM 12.0), one lane will remain open. SR-385, Shelby County, north & southbound, east & westbound (MM 2.0 to MM 49.0), one lane will remain open. From your desktop or mobile device, get the latest construction activity and live streaming SmartWay traffic cameras at www.TNSmartWay.com/Traffic. Travelers can also dial 511 from any land-line or cellular phone for travel information, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel or for West Tennessee follow https://twitter.com/NicLawrenceTDOT. As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for your destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel. Media Advisories Road Closures Transportation Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:14:00 +0000 Middle Tennessee Weekly Construction Lane Closures January 19-25, 2017 http://tn.gov/news/48095 48095 at http://tn.gov/news DAVIDSON COUNTY, Grading, drainage, & paving on I-40 eastbound at the interchange of I-440 southbound Daily (excluding weekends), 12PM-2PM, There will be rolling roadblocks on I-40 westbound at MM 205 for grading, drainage, & paving.   DAVIDSON COUNTY, Repair of 6 Bridges at I-440/I-65 Interchange over US31 (SR 6, Franklin Pike) From now through May 2017, There will be lane shifts on I-440 and I-65 at the 440/65 junction to perform deck repairs, expansion joint repairs, and approach slab repairs. Thursday, January 19 through Wednesday January 25, 8PM-5AM, There will be alternating lane closures on I-65 in both directions for bridge repairs. At least one lane will remain open in each direction. Friday, January 20, 9PM through Saturday January 21, 2PM, There will be alternating lane closures on I-65 northbound for bridge repairs. At least one lane will remain open. Two lanes will open at 8 AM. Thursday, January 19 through Wednesday January 25, 9AM-3PM, There will be alternating lane closures on Franklin Road for bridge repairs. At least one lane will remain open in each direction.          DAVIDSON COUNTY, ITS Expansion Nightly (excluding weekends), There will be a right lane closure on I-65 southbound at MM 76 to install guardrail. At least one lane will remain open.                                SUMNER COUNTY, ITS Expansion on I-65 Nightly, 9PM-6AM (excluding weekends), There will be a lane closure on I-65 from MM 99 to 104 to install guardrail.      SUMNER COUNTY, Miscellaneous safety improvements on SR 109 at the intersection of Old SR 109 Nightly, 8PM-6AM, There will be alternating lane closures on SR 109 for construction operations. At least one lane will remain open.               WILSON COUNTY, On-Call Concrete Pavement Repair From I-40 eastbound to SR 26 (Exit 239A) & from SR 26 to I-40 westbound Thursday, January 19 through Wednesday January 25, 8AM-3PM, There will be a traffic shift on the I-40 on-ramps at SR 26 to allow for saw cutting of the concrete. The ramps will remain open to traffic.   WILSON COUNTY, On-Call Concrete Pavement Repair From I-40 eastbound to South Hartmann Dr. (Exit 236) & South Hartmann to I-40 westbound Thursday, January 19 through Wednesday January 25, 8AM-3PM, There will be a traffic shift on the I-40 eastbound off ramp to allow for saw cutting & replacing concrete. The ramps will remain open to traffic.     Maintenance   DAVIDSON COUNTY Tuesday January 24, 8PM-5AM, There will be a lane closure on I-24 eastbound at MM 58 for bridge repair. Two lanes will remain open at all times. Alternate date is Thursday, January 26 in case of rain.   DAVIDSON COUNTY Tuesday January 24, 8PM-5AM, There will be a lane closure on I-40 westbound at MM 195 for bridge repair. Two lanes will remain open at all times. Alternate date is Thursday, January 26 in case of rain.   DAVIDSON COUNTY Thursday, January 12, 8PM-5AM, There will be a lane closure on I-40 westbound at MM 195 for bridge repair. One lane will remain open at all times.   DAVIDSON COUNTY Daily, 9AM-3PM, There will be a lane closure on SR 6 (Gallatin Pike) westbound for installation of water main, fire service line, and domestic service line at Rivergate Toyota. One lane will remain open at all times.   ROBERTSON COUNTY Tuesday, January 24, 8PM-4AM, There will be a right lane closure on I-65 northbound at MM 111 for environmental remediation.   Motorists are encouraged to use caution and obey reduced speed limits in all TDOT work zones, regardless of lane closure activity.  Information in this report is provided to the Department of Transportation by the contractors.  Most work is weather dependent and subject to change due to inclement weather.    From your desktop or mobile device, get the latest construction activity and live streaming SmartWay traffic cameras at www.TNSmartWay.com/Traffic. Travelers can also dial 511 from any land-line or cellular phone for travel information, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel.    As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for your destination.  Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel. Road Closures Transportation Wed, 18 Jan 2017 21:54:00 +0000 Haslam Unveils Comprehensive Tax Cut, Transportation Proposal http://tn.gov/news/48075 48075 at http://tn.gov/news IMPROVE Act is the first piece of the governor’s NextTennessee legislative agenda NASHVILLE – Joined by mayors from across the state and leaders in the manufacturing and trucking industries, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a comprehensive and strategic plan to cut taxes on food and manufacturing while updating how the state provides Tennesseans the safe and reliable transportation network needed to support future job growth. The IMPROVE Act, “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy,” is the first piece of Haslam’s NextTennessee legislative plan, policy proposals aimed at building and sustaining economic growth and the state’s competitiveness for the next generation of Tennesseans. “Under the conservative fiscal leadership of the General Assembly and this administration, state government is smaller, $500 million in recurring costs have been cut out of the state’s operating budget, and together we’ve cut taxes by $270 million annually,” Haslam said. “Because we are a smaller, less tax reliant state government, it is time to build on the vision of what the future of Tennessee looks like and requires. This proposal is the next step in the conversation about how we’re going to position the state to address expected growth, maintain Tennessee’s economic momentum and remain competitive as we continue recruiting high quality jobs.” The IMPROVE Act cuts the sales tax on groceries another .50 percent ($55 million) to 4.5 percent, making a total cut to the sales tax on food of 1 percent, or $101 million, during Haslam’s administration; makes Tennessee’s franchise and excise tax on manufacturing businesses more competitive by allowing companies to go to a “single weighted sales factor” ($113 million); and cuts the Hall income tax 1.5 percent this year with a commitment to cut it another 1.5 percent next year (3 percent, $102 million) – a tax that is statutorily required to be eliminated by 2022 but without a specific schedule to do so. IMPROVE cuts taxes by an estimated $270 million annually, bringing the total number of cuts made and proposed since 2011 to $540 million annually, roughly nine times more than any other administration. The IMPROVE Act also includes a balanced and equitable transportation plan that keeps Tennessee a pay-as-you-go state and its roads debt free. Tennessee last addressed how it funds its roads and bridges in 1989 when it raised its fixed tax rate to 21.4 cents per gallon, creating a transportation network that spurred the economic growth the state has seen during the last three decades. Due to inflation, increases in construction costs and the cost of land and better gas mileage, the state comptroller estimates that 21.4 cents in 1989 is now worth approximately 11 cents a gallon. In July 2015, Haslam launched a statewide discussion on the state’s transportation and infrastructure needs. In November 2015, he put out a list of projects already approved by the General Assembly but lacking funding, in addition to project needs heard during the 15 meetings across the state. The IMPROVE Act increases the road user fee by 7 cents for a gallon of gas and 12 cents for a gallon of diesel and increases car registration fees by $5 for the average passenger vehicle. It places an annual road user fee on electric vehicles and increases charges on vehicles using alternative fuels. The proposal also includes a 3 percent charge on rental cars and changes the state’s open container law to allow the Tennessee Department of Transportation flexibility to use $18 million in existing federal dollars on roads. Fuel taxes would be indexed – but also capped – to the Consumer Price Index in order to keep up with the rate of inflation. The IMPROVE Act would bring in $278 million in new dollars to the state for projects while limiting the impact on the average Tennessee motorist to approximately $4 a month. All funds would go toward transportation, including the 2 percent typically reverted to the General Fund, to provide funding for 962 projects across all 95 counties plus an additional $39 million to cities and $78 million to counties. The legislation would also allow municipalities, only if approved by local voters through referendum, to impose a surcharge on their sales tax rate that would be solely dedicated to public transit projects. The governor also announced that his FY 2017-2018 budget proposal would use surplus one-time funds to finish repaying the Highway Fund by transferring $120 million from the General Fund. “We’ve lowered the cost of government and experienced revenue growth so we’re lowering the cost of food and bringing business taxes on manufacturers more in line with our neighbors. At the same time we have to ensure we have a transportation network that is not only highly ranked but also debt-free, just like it was given to us,” Haslam added. “Together these proposed tax cuts and investments will move the state forward and position the next Tennessee for continued growth, prosperity and opportunity for our children and grandchildren.” For more information, click on the links below: Transportation Projects Summary Transportation Plan Summary List of 962 transportation projects Additional Gas-Diesel Revenues for Counties Additional Gas-Diesel Revenues for Cities Additional pieces of the governor’s NextTennessee plan will be announced in the coming weeks. Haslam is scheduled to deliver his annual State of the State address on January 30. Economic & Community Development Finance & Administration Governor Haslam Revenue Transportation Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:30:00 +0000 2017 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide Honors Musical Milestones of Garth Brooks & Ryman Auditorium http://tn.gov/news/48073 48073 at http://tn.gov/news NASHVILLE, Jan. 11, 2017 --- The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development today released its 2017 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide, featuring Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill Garth Brooks on the famed stage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, which celebrates its 125th Anniversary this year. More than 550,000 guides are available to inspire potential guests to book a trip filled with authentic experiences that are part of “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” The 2017 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide is available free of charge at any of Tennessee’s 14 Welcome Centers or by calling 1-800-GO2-TENN (462-8366), and can also be ordered or downloaded online at www.tnvacation.com/guide. Brooks was named an official Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill by Governor Bill Haslam in October 2016, in honor of his becoming the first artist in music history to earn seven Diamond Awards—recognizing seven albums selling 10 million or more copies each—from the Recording Industry Association of America. October also was the first time in his record-setting career that Brooks had ever performed at the Ryman, which opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892 and is known around the world as “the mother church of country music.” “Two icons. That is what we have here,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “On one hand, Garth Brooks, a seven-Diamond artist and without question one of the greatest ambassadors the state of Tennessee could have. On the other, The Ryman, one of the world’s most famous music destinations. It is an honor to have both grace the cover of this year’s Tennessee Vacation Guide. It is a banner year for Tennessee in 2017 in which we celebrate no fewer than a dozen notable music anniversaries. That includes 60th anniversaries of STAX Records in Memphis and RCA’s famed Studio B in Nashville, the 75th anniversary of the song ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo,’ and the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. All further evidence the soundtrack of America is made in Tennessee.” Tennessee singer/songwriter Peter Cooper authored a retrospective on the Ryman Auditorium for the guide, joining a number of noted writers profiling the places, people and events that attract more than 100 million visitors to Tennessee annually. Additional highlights in the 212-page Tennessee Vacation Guide include the 90th Anniversary of the original 1927 Bristol Sessions, known as “the big bang of country music,” and the 50th Anniversary of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as new attractions such as an entertainment complex at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Songbirds Guitar Museum in Chattanooga and the luxury hotel—The Tennessean—in Knoxville. Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains are also featured on the cover, encouraging visitors to support these “Mountain Tough” communities as they rebound from November’s wildfires. This year’s guide is expanded to include six feature sections showcasing Tennessee’s  scenic beauty, creative spirit, unique experiences, culinary excellence, history, and, of course, music. The guide also promotes Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, which connect the state’s major cities to the hidden gems of its smaller towns, state parks and natural beauty that lie off the beaten path. A compilation of annual events, regional overviews, maps and destination listings rounds out the guide. For bulk requests of the 2017 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide, contact tourdev@tn.gov. ### The mission of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is to motivate travel to and within Tennessee by inspiring enjoyment, creating memories, producing a desire to return, and establishing key, long-term relationships that result in visitors becoming residents. The promise of Tennessee—the birthplace of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll—is to be the global music destination of choice. To deliver an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” Explore more at tnvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and “Tennessee” on Snapchat. Tourist Development Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0000 Recent Mumps Outbreaks Cause Concern http://tn.gov/news/48074 48074 at http://tn.gov/news Mumps Immunizations Needed to Protect Adults and Children NASHVILLE – Mumps, the illness many associate with childhood, can infect people of all ages and has been on the rise as some neglect to immunize themselves or their children. The Tennessee Department of Health is concerned about increases in mumps cases, including an ongoing outbreak in neighboring Arkansas which so far involves more than 2,400 suspected or confirmed cases of the illness. “We are talking about this now because we are obviously worried about the significant rise in mumps cases in neighboring states and want everyone to be sure they are up to date on immunizations before it's too late,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Mumps is a viral illness acquired through close contact with an infected person. It is usually a mild condition in children but can have more serious complications for adults. We should all be sure we and the people we care about are current on immunizations.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all adults born in 1957 or more recently who have not had mumps receive at least one dose of the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR vaccine in their lifetimes. Two doses are recommended for adults in high-risk settings:  those attending college, working in a healthcare facility or traveling internationally. People born before 1957 are presumed to be immune through natural illness in childhood. Some may not recall having mumps because one-third of mumps cases are extremely mild or without symptoms. “We strongly encourage children more than one year of age and adults under 60 who do not know if they had mumps as a child and do not recall receiving mumps vaccine at some point in their lives to get the MMR vaccine,” said TDH State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “Hundreds of millions of MMR vaccine doses have been provided and its safety record is excellent. “While few vaccines provide 100 percent protection against illness, two doses of the MMR vaccine are about 88 percent effective in preventing mumps,” Jones said. “That’s an impressive preventive measure to keep you and your family healthy, and to help prevent the disease from spreading to others who may not be able to be immunized.” TDH recommends all parents and adults talk with their healthcare providers about the need for MMR vaccine for themselves and their children, and to discuss any existing conditions that might be of concern. Women who are pregnant or anticipating a pregnancy in the near future and people with weakened immune systems should discuss immunization with their health care provider. Frequent hand washing can help prevent mumps. Those who suspect they are infected should stay home until their healthcare provider informs them they are no longer able to spread the virus. “Complications from mumps can include encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, and meningitis, which is inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and the spinal cord,” said Dreyzehner. “It can also affect ovaries, testicles and other parts of the body, causing permanent damage in some people. The best protection against mumps is proper vaccination with the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR vaccine.” Two doses of MMR vaccine are required for school and college students in Tennessee. MMR vaccine is available at all county health departments to any individual for whom protection from these diseases is desired. Certain insurance companies may be billed. Sliding scale fees based on income are available to people without insurance. Call your local health department for an appointment and for answers to questions you may have. To find a health department near you, visit http://tn.gov/health/topic/localdepartments. For more information about mumps, visit www.cdc.gov/mumps/index.html. 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 www.tn.gov/health. Health Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:35:00 +0000 TDCI Releases December Disciplinary Action Report http://tn.gov/news/48072 48072 at http://tn.gov/news NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI)’s Division of Regulatory Boards has released its latest Disciplinary Action Report, which compiles the actions taken by its boards and commissions during the month of December. The Division of Regulatory Boards protects the health and safety of Tennessee citizens through boards, commissions, and programs by ensuring that persons meet minimum professional standards, by responsively and timely handling complaints, and by providing consumer education on regulated professions and industries. The Division’s boards include the Motor Vehicle Commission, the Real Estate Commission, the Board of Funeral Directors & Embalmers, and the Cosmetology & Barber Examiners Board, among others. The division serves over 230,000 active licensees in 22 professions. These boards, commissions, and programs are empowered to take disciplinary action – including revocation of licenses and assessment of civil penalties – against license holders found guilty of violating laws governing their professions. ### Commerce & Insurance Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:41:00 +0000 Agency Celebrates 60 Years Serving Children with New Report on Child Well-Being http://tn.gov/news/48068 48068 at http://tn.gov/news EMBARGOED for Release Wednesday, January 18, 2017 For more than 60 years, Tennessee children have had a voice in Tennessee government. A permanent commission was authorized to advocate for children, beginning in 1955 as the Commission on Youth Guidance and continuing through several changes in name and roles to the current Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY). To commemorate this milestone, the newly released KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee includes a short history of the agency and a timeline of critical events in child well-being. Available online are data profiles for each county, with rankings based on an index of selected indicators. County rankings on child well-being presented in the county profiles are drawn from the 11 most outcome-oriented indicators. The highest ranking five counties were Williamson, Wilson, Sumner, Rutherford (all of which surround Davidson County) and Washington, which includes most of Johnson City. The counties where youth face the most challenges were Warren, Haywood, Shelby, Van Buren and Lake. The state’s other larger counties and their ranks were Davidson, 89; Knox, 13; and Hamilton, 32. Thirty-four indicators are listed in the online county profiles, which include ranks and are available on the agency website at http://www.tn.gov/tccy/article/tccy-kc-soc15-counties. Additionally, data on more than 150 statewide and county-by-county indicators of Tennessee child well-being, including maternal tobacco use, added for the first time this year, are available at http://datacenter.kidscount.org, where there are options to create maps, tables and charts. During its first decades, the agency produced reports on child welfare but began printing an annual report on child well-being in 1988 when the legislature added it to the agency’s responsibilities. In 1992, TCCY became the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Tennessee KIDS COUNT® partner, participating in the national foundation’s child well-being data collection and sharing efforts. Among the significant events for children over the past 60 years listed are the establishment of the first day care standards in 1955 and the passage in 1978 of the first child passenger safety law in the nation. The first Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) organization in Tennessee began in Nashville in 1984. Another milestone was the 1995 legislative requirement for doctors to report suspected child abuse. Kindergarten was made mandatory in 1993. A significant advance was the creation in 1996 of the Department of Children’s Services to serve children in or at risk of entering state custody. Graduated driver’s licenses for beginning young drivers were instituted in 2000, and Tennessee Hope Scholarships in 2002. TCCY celebrates the role of advocates in supporting improvements in child welfare over its history and in the future. In 1989, TCCY hosted the first Children’s Advocacy Days. The 29th annual event is scheduled for March 14-15, 2017, and is one of many training and networking events hosted by TCCY, the regional councils on children and youth and other entities (Council on Children’s Mental Health, Second Look Commission, Youth Transitions Advisory Council and Home Visiting Leadership Alliance) attached to TCCY. The KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee, listing 44 indicator tables, is available online at http://tn.gov/tccy/article/tccy-kcsoc15. The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is an independent state agency created by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families. TCCY is a state KIDS COUNT® affiliate, and partial funding is provided through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to disadvantaged children. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. For more information, contact (615) 741-2633 or a TCCY regional coordinator.   Attachments: Tennessee Index of Child Well-Being Methodology Map of County Ranks by Quintile Counties in Order of Overall Rank Counties with Ranks, Ordered Alphabetically Regional Contacts     TCCY is on the web at www.tn.gov/tccy, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tccyonfb and Twitter as www.twitter.com/@tccy. Follow the Annie E. Casey Foundation and this issue on Twitter @aecfkidscount and @aecfnews and on Facebook at @AnnieECaseyFndn. Commission on Children and Youth Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:53:00 +0000