- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014
Haslam: ‘Ways to go’ on voucher consensus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that lawmakers still have a “ways to go” in reaching a consensus on his school voucher legislation, particularly in the House where the proposal has stalled.

But the Republican governor told reporters after speaking at a higher education event organized by the Tennessee Business Roundtable that he’s optimistic a measured approach to his proposal will prevail.

“I think at the end of the day we want to get something done,” he said. “We’re having … discussions now.”

Vouchers - or so-called “opportunity scholarships” - give parents the option to move a child from a failing public school to a private school, with the state providing funds for tuition.

Haslam originally sought to limit the vouchers to students from low-income families attending the bottom 5 percent of failing schools.

Under a new version that passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, if there are not enough students for the available slots, then eligibility would be opened to low-income students in districts that have a school in the bottom 5 percent.

___

Sebelius visits Nashville to push health exchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited Nashville on Thursday to urge Tennesseans to sign up for insurance through the federal health care exchange before a March 31 deadline.

Sebelius said that about 16 percent of Tennesseans are uninsured but eligible for insurance through the federal health care exchange, and she encouraged those who have not done so already to sign up.

“If you are a 27-year-old in Nashville trying to make a break singing at the Bluebird Cafe … you can find insurance for as little as $104 a month,” she said, noting that the figure is less than many monthly cell phone or cable bills.

Sebelius was joined by Amy Speace, a 46-year-old singer-songwriter who was able to find insurance on the exchange for $30 a month with a $500 deductible, thanks to a tax credit. Speace said she did not at first think she would be eligible for insurance on the exchange because she already was covered by a high deductible plan through a musicians group. Despite that coverage, she nearly had to declare bankruptcy a few years ago when she developed laryngitis and ended up owing $5,000 in medical bills. She was only saved from bankruptcy by the help of a charity.

Since she enrolled through the exchange in November, Speace said she has been on the phone with every musician she knows, encouraging them to sign up for insurance.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean also joined Sebelius, saying that after the Affordable Care Act passed the city pulled together a team of people who are holding 200 events each month to provide information about and help with enrolling in a health insurance plan.

___

1st production model Stratocaster sold for $250K

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The first production model Fender Stratocaster guitar has been sold for $250,000.

George Gruhn of Nashville sold the 1954 guitar on consignment for owner and guitar historian Richard Smith. Gruhn said Thursday that the guitar was shipped and the purchase finalized this week.

Gruhn, who owns a Nashville guitar shop, says the buyer wanted to remain anonymous, but he said the private collector lives in the United States and is not a professional musician. Gruhn also says he encouraged the buyer to contact the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix about displaying it.

“I think it would be great if periodically he would loan it out,” Gruhn said. “I would hate to think that it would spend the next 40 or 50 years completely out of sight and not seen or heard.”

The sunburst-finish Strat bears the serial number 0100. Although some Strats have lower numbers that begin with 0001, Gruhn says they actually were manufactured later in that first year of production. He says the number-one Strat was originally sold to an amateur who evidently took good care of it.

Smith purchased the guitar from the original owner, and Gruhn said Smith was very pleased with the sale.

___

Trace Adkins’ wife files for divorce in Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The wife of country singer Trace Adkins has filed for divorce and is asking for custody of their three children.

Adkins and his wife, Rhonda, have been married for nearly 17 years. She filed for divorce on Monday in Tennessee’s Williamson County, where they live outside of Nashville, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

A publicist for Adkins said Thursday, “Trace and Rhonda are united in ensuring that their children’s interests come first. They thank everyone for respecting their privacy as they work through this personal matter together.”

Adkins went into rehab in January after consuming alcohol during a weeklong Country Cruising cruise. The 52-year-old “Celebrity Apprentice” winner canceled his remaining performances on the cruise, but had recently performed on the Grand Ole Opry.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide