- Associated Press - Friday, July 25, 2014
Veterans cemetery planned for Parkers Crossroads

PARKERS CROSSROADS, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee’s next veterans’ cemetery is planned for a location in Parkers Crossroads.

Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that the Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery will serve more than 45,000 veterans and their families in 17 West Tennessee counties.

The governor said the state has purchased the property and is waiting to hear from the federal government about construction funding. Construction costs are estimated at $5.5 million.

Parkers Crossroads is located in Henderson County. It was the site of a Civil War battle on Dec. 31, 1862.

The veterans’ cemetery would be the state’s fifth. There are two in Knoxville, one in Nashville and one in Memphis.

Counties within a 75-mile radius include Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lewis, McNairy, Madison, Perry, Wayne and Weakley.


Virtual Academy asked to limit enrollment

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The state has given the Union County school system until Friday to decide whether it will enroll an additional 626 students into an online school that has been heavily criticized for its low student scores.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1z8y5hR) reports that state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman recommended in a recent letter to schools superintendent Jimmy Carter that the district consider limiting enrollment to students previously attending the Tennessee Virtual Academy.

Huffman said for the third consecutive year, students in the program have shown low achievement in testing.

“As we have discussed, a close examination of the data shows the school’s challenges rest primarily with the school’s ability to demonstrate effectiveness with first-year students,” Huffman wrote.

“While the school has improved its performance with students attending the school for multiple years, it has not yet demonstrated the capability to have a positive educational impact on new students, which creates a mutual concern and I believe leads both of us to consider the best options for the district, the school and its students going forward.”

In 2011, Union County Schools contracted with K12 Inc. to create the academy for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade across the state. K12 Inc., a national provider of online school programs, provides the curriculum.


Animal lover asks for, gets donation back

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A philanthropist and animal lover asked for and got a $500,000 donation back from the city of Collierville after plans for a surgical care wing at an animal shelter collapsed.

When bids came in higher than expected, city officials cut plans for a surgery clinic at a new animal shelter building. Instead, the mayor and aldermen voted to build a multipurpose Humane Education building with space for day camps and children’s parties.

Beverly Babb Elliott told The Commercial Appeal (bit.ly/1rOcgk) she was specific about wanting the funds to go for a surgical wing and things the Humane Education building is “a waste of money.”

“I went to great pains to let them know I wanted it to be used for a surgical and isolation wing,” Elliott said. “I don’t agree with a Humane Education building. If that’s what they want to build, that’s their choice. I want the animals to benefit.”

Town officials, who last week issued its largest refund on a charitable donation, are calling the costly misstep “an oversight.”

Mayor Stan Joyner said he or someone should have thought to ask Elliott about the change in plans and whether the donation could be used for something other than a surgical wing.


Tennesseans to share $10 million in refunds

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - More than 336,000 Tennessee residents will split $10 million in refunds from health insurance companies because of a provision in the Affordable Care Act.

The Tennessean reported (tnne.ws/WIRqs7) the refunds will average $53 per family and came about because of the medical loss ratio rule in the law. That provision requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of insurance premiums on patient care and quality improvement efforts. The refunds are for premiums paid in 2013.

For 2012, refunds to Tennesseans totaled $5.6 million.

The actual total for refunds in Tennessee is $10,037,932.

“The 80/20 rule is bringing transparency and competition to the insurance market, ensuring that consumers are continuing to receive value for their premium dollars,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

News of the refunds comes after three advocacy groups filed a class action lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the state of Tennessee of failing to provide certain services required by the federal health care law.

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