- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Grocery wine bill negotiations near breakthrough

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - After years of bitter legislative fights over efforts to allow Tennessee grocery stores to sell wine, groups representing liquor stores and supermarkets are nearing an agreement that would give the measure its best ever chances of becoming law.

David McMahan, a lobbyist for the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association, told The Associated Press that the two sides are “very, very close” on a deal that would allow cities and counties to vote on whether to allow wine sales in supermarkets. But the measure would maintain the current ban at convenience stores and big box retailers like Wal-Mart or Target.

“The real issue is whether or not that consumer deserves the convenience of being able to buy wine where they buy their groceries,” McMahan said. “And that’s what we’re interested in working on, and helping the Legislature find a solution to.”

Under current law, supermarkets and convenience stores can sell beer containing up to 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can only be sold in liquor stores, which can’t sell anything beyond booze and lottery tickets.

The proposed law change would allow liquor stores to sell a variety of other items like cigarettes, beer and food.

McMahan said the liquor stores are in “in lockstep” with the state’s liquor wholesalers in seeking the compromise, which represents a vast departure from the fierce opposition the groups voiced to any changes proposed in the past.

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Speeches, marches honor Martin Luther King Jr.

ATLANTA (AP) - As the nation remembered and reflected Monday on the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., leaders and everyday Americans talked about how far the country has come in the past 50 years and how much more is to be done.

At Ebenezer Baptist Church in King’s hometown of Atlanta, civil rights leaders and members of King’s own family spoke about poverty, violence, health care and voting rights, all themes from the civil rights struggle that still resonate to this day.

“There is much work that we must do,” King’s daughter Bernice King said. “Are we afraid, or are we truly committed to the work that must be done?”

The event in Atlanta featured music, songs and choirs and was one of many celebrations, marches, parades and community service projects held Monday across the nation to honor the slain civil rights leader. It was about 50 years ago today that King had just appeared on the cover of Time magazine as its Man of the Year, and the nation was on the cusp of passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. King would win the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said not many states could boast a native son that merited a national holiday. “But we Georgians can,” he told the audience.

Deal said this year he would work with state legislators to find a way to honor King at the Georgia Capitol, which drew a standing ovation. He did not give any specifics, but civil rights leaders have suggested a statue. The only current tribute to King at the state Capitol is a portrait inside the Statehouse.

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Museum visitors hear audio recording of King

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Visitors to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis on Monday got a chance to hear an audio recording of an interview with Martin Luther King Jr. that was discovered in a Chattanooga attic.

The recording, which was played for a “King Day” event at the museum, sheds new light on a phone call President John F. Kennedy made to King’s wife more than 50 years ago.

Historians generally agree Kennedy’s phone call to Coretta Scott King expressing concern over her husband’s arrest in October 1960 - and Robert Kennedy’s work behind the scenes to get King released - helped JFK win the White House.

The reel-to-reel audiotape was discovered by a man cleaning out his father’s attic. The father, an insurance salesman, had interviewed King for a book he was writing, but never completed it and stored the recording with other interviews he’d done.

The recording was eventually acquired by a New York-based collector who sold it to magician David Copperfield. Copperfield then donated the recording to the National Civil Rights Museum to promote King’s message of nonviolence.

The recording will be among exhibits at the newly-renovated museum scheduled to fully open in April.

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Remaining snakes seized in Tenn. euthanized

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The remaining 14 snakes that were seized from a Tennessee preacher who used them in his religious practices have been euthanized after officials concluded their condition was too poor to save them.

WBIR-TV (http://on.wbir.com/1aEKOyrhttp://on.wbir.com/1aEKOyr ) said the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which had ownership of the snakes, gave the order Monday to euthanize them.

TWRA confiscated more than 50 poisonous snakes from pastor Andrew Hamblin’s Tabernacle Church of God in Campbell County in November. A grand jury exonerated Hamblin earlier this month. Hamblin appeared last fall on the National Geographic Channel reality show “Snake Salvation.”

The snakes were taken to the Knoxville Zoo, where officials said 39 died of multiple parasites and pathogens and the rest were believed to be infected also.

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Information from: WBIR-TV, http://www.wbir.com/http://www.wbir.com/

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