- Associated Press - Saturday, May 3, 2014
Court: TSSAA is subject to open records laws

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A state appeals court has ruled that the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, the body that regulates high school sports, is subject to the Tennessee Public Records Act.

The decision stems from a lawsuit filed after the TSSAA refused to turn over records to the now-defunct Nashville City Paper. The paper was seeking records related to the investigation of recruiting violations at the elite Nashville private school Montgomery Bell Academy.

The decision is an important one, said Steve Cavendish, former editor of the City Paper, who is now editor of the Nashville Scene and the Nashville Post.

“This affects every newspaper in the state and it affects every parent who has a kid playing high school athletics,” Cavendish said. He said the organization governs every aspect of a student’s ability to play sports and there are all sorts of implications of being able to see its records, including issues related to safety and concussion regulations.

This week the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s finding that even though the TSSAA is a private nonprofit corporation, it is the functional equivalent of a state agency and subject to the open records laws.

It’s not clear whether the TSSAA will appeal the decision to the Tennessee Supreme Court. An attorney for the organization did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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Joe Brown’s appeal going to state Court of Appeals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A special judge says the Tennessee Court of Appeals should decide the appeal of Joe Brown, the former TV judge who was jailed on contempt of court charges.

Brown said in court Friday that the recording of his March 24 comments in the Juvenile Court of Shelby County was “severely edited” and does not reflect what happened.

Brown was jailed after Juvenile Court officials said he caused an outburst in the courtroom while there representing a client. Brown maintains he was not out of line. On a recording provided by Juvenile Court, Brown is heard challenging the magistrate’s authority.

The Shelby County Juvenile Court Clerk said the recording was only cut off in the first few seconds to delete the name of Brown’s client and nothing edited afterward.

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Fired Tennessee deputy seeks reinstatement

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee deputy who was fired after the publication of a photo that appears to show him choking a suspect wants his job back.

Knox County Sheriff Jimmy Jones terminated 47-year-old Frank Phillips on Sunday. Jones says he believes Phillips used “excessive force” Saturday night while arresting a college student.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1fAL2LZ) reports that an attorney for Phillips sent a letter to Jones asking that he reconsider his decision. The letter denies that the deputy used excessive force during the arrest.

The letter from attorney Robert M. Burts says Phillips “disagrees with the grounds cited for termination.”

“Specifically, the force used was objectively reasonable under the circumstances,” Burts wrote.

In the letter of termination, Jones said Phillips’ actions weren’t warranted.

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TVA: Watts Bar set for December 2015 completion

SPRING CITY, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Valley Authority says work on the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant has moved from large-scale construction to completion and testing of individual plant systems.

The federal agency announced a target completion date for the plant’s Unit 2 reactor of December 2015. The update issued Friday covered the period from November 2013 to January 2014.

The facility is on course to become the nation’s first new nuclear generating plant of the 21st century.

About 3,200 workers are on the Watts Bar 2 project, which will be TVA’s seventh nuclear unit. Watts Bar 2 will add 1,100 megawatts of electricity, providing enough energy for approximately 650,000 homes.

TVA is the nation’s largest public utility, supplying power to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

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