- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015
Republicans hope Fox can break Democratic grip on Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A closer-than-expected mayor’s race in Nashville has Republicans hoping they can take hold of one of the last remaining major elected offices in Tennessee that has eluded their grasp amid a statewide GOP wave.

Voters in the nation’s 25th largest city go to the polls Thursday to decide between Councilwoman Megan Barry and hedge fund manager David Fox.

While the race is ostensibly nonpartisan, Fox has been quick to embrace the Republican community in and around Nashville. Meanwhile, Barry has touted her “strong progressive voice” in a city that last year voted 2-to-1 against giving state lawmakers more power to regulate abortion, twice overwhelmingly voted for President Barack Obama and in 2009 soundly rejected requiring all government business be done in English.

But Fox has hammered away at Barry for being too focused on social issues and not enough on fiscal conservatism. In an off-year election that generally features a low turnout, Fox has targeted conservative voters in the affluent western section of the city and in the more suburban and rural areas that ring around Nashville’s urban core.

Barry supporters charged the Fox campaign with trying to suppress the black vote by running ads questioning the Christian faith of the councilwoman and her husband, Bruce, who is a member the board of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and has written blog posts criticizing what he called the “Jesus-Industrial Complex.”

Fox, who is Jewish, has called the ads targeting his opponent’s husband justified because Barry has been a vocal critic of his brother George Fox giving $1 million to super PAC that has been heavily involved in the race.

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Court to consider police powers involving traffic stops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Supreme Court is hearing two cases that could have justices deciding how many times drivers have to cross a painted line on the road before officers can pull them over.

The two driving under the influence cases, which are from Williamson and Knox counties, involve drivers who were stopped by police after crossing road lines only once and for a brief amount of time, The Tennessean reported (https://tnne.ws/1LjSYul).

An attorney who handles DUI cases said allowing drivers to be pulled over for crossing a line just once opens the door to never really needing a reason to pull a driver over.

“I think it opens up the door that (police) can make any kind of traffic stop any time they want to,” Rob McKinney, a DUI defense lawyer in Nashville, said. “You’re going to have more traffic stops, police stopping more people solely for hitting that line.”

The Supreme Court hearing follows a decision by Judge Phillip Maxey in July to throw out a drunken driving case against freshman state Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, because the police officer had only momentarily observed the lawmaker crossing over a turn line in the road.

“He was driving down the street and he was not completely in his lane,” Maxey said during the trial. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that sober. I’ve hit the rumble strip so many times in the last week it’s uncountable.”

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Police in Tennessee find slaying suspect who escaped custody

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Metro Nashville Police say they have found a man suspected in a fatal shooting who had escaped from police custody.

Police say Brian T. Williams was arrested Wednesday morning, about eight hours after escaping from an officer as he was being let out of a police car at a precinct facility. The statement says Williams took off, still wearing handcuffs, around 1 a.m. while wearing a red T-shirt, camo pajama pants, black socks and no shoes.

Police said he was wanted in Monday night’s slaying of 34-year-old Henry Arthur Wilson III.

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Regulators halt study of cancer risks at 7 nuclear plants

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Federal regulators are pulling the plug on a five-year study of the risk of cancer in communities around six U.S. nuclear plants and a nuclear fuel site.

Remaining work on a pilot study would take too long, at more than three years, and cost too much, at $8 million, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday. It said any releases that occur “are too small to cause observable increases in cancer risk near the facilities.”

The commission already has spent $1.5 million. And completing the pilot study and subsequent nationwide reviews could take eight to 10 years, the agency said.

National Academy of Sciences researchers who were leading the study estimate it would be “at least the end of the decade” before they would have any answers, and the costs of completing the study are “prohibitively high,” said Brian Sheron, director of the NRC’s office of nuclear regulatory research.

“We’re balancing the desire to provide updated answers on cancer risk with our responsibility to use congressionally-provided funds as wisely as possible,” he said.

Beyond Nuclear, an anti-nuclear power group, said halting the study is outrageous and that funding it is a legitimate cost. It called the $8 million cost a “drop in the bucket” for the federal agency, which has a budget of more than $1 billion.

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