Psychologist Who Allegedly Failed to Report Violent Threats from Covenant Killer Audrey Hale Identified, Claims Practice Closed in 2022

Audrey Elizabeth Hale

A source provided The Tennessee Star with the name of the psychologist who was reportedly part of the care team for Covenant School killer Audrey Elizabeth Hale. That psychologist allegedly failed in her professional and legal duty to warn law enforcement after Hale purportedly expressed fantasies about murdering her family members and carrying out a school shooting while under treatment.

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Psychologist Who Allegedly Failed to Report Violent Threats from Covenant Killer Audrey Hale Identified, Claims Practice Closed in 2022

Audrey Elizabeth Hale

A source provided The Tennessee Star with the name of the psychologist who was reportedly part of the care team for Covenant School killer Audrey Elizabeth Hale. That psychologist allegedly failed in her professional and legal duty to warn law enforcement after Hale purportedly expressed fantasies about murdering her family members and carrying out a school shooting while under treatment.

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Nashville Teen Arrested for Alleged Shooting that Left 13-Year-Old Dead, 16-Year-Old Hospitalized

Murder Suspect De'Anthony Osasosifo

The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) on Thursday confirmed the arrest of 15-year-old De’Anthony Osasosifo and named him as a suspect in the Wednesday night shooting that left a 13-year-old dead and his 16-year-old sister hospitalized.

MNPD revealed on social media that a 13-year-old boy was fatally wounded and his 16-year-old sister was shot and suffered non-life threatening injuries after “gunfire erupted during a teen fight” in the parking lot of the Red Caboose Park in Bellevue.

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Price Tag for Transportation Referendum Pushed by Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell Swells to $6.93 Billion

Freddy O'Connell

An independent accounting of the costs associated with the transportation referendum put forward by Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell on Thursday claims the true cost of the mayor’s goals will swell to $6.93 billion over the 15-year life of the project.

O’Connell originally announced the cost of building the transportation improvements in his referendum would amount to about $3.1 billion, with additional annual operating costs of about $111 million.

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Sonesta Hotel Management Silent After Pulling Venue Booked for 2024 Israel Summit in Nashville

Israel Flag

The Massachusetts-based asset management company which owns the Sonesta Nashville Airport hotel currently under threat of legal action over its decision to cancel the use of its venue for the 2024 Israel Summit did not respond to a Wednesday press inquiry by The Tennessee Star.

The hotel company’s silence comes amid conflicting claims by the Sonesta Nashville Airport hotel’s general manager, Troy Carver, and the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD).

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The City of Maricopa Approves $650,000 House for City Manager, Sparking Ethics Complaint and Community Tensions in Arizona

Benjamin Bitter

Ben Bitter was appointed on April 1st as Maricopa’s new city manager with a compensation package that has sparked controversy. His annual salary stands at $242,000 – $20,000 above that of his predecessor. The package also includes a $400 monthly stipend for personal vehicle use and a $100 monthly cell phone allowance. On April 16th, the city council approved the purchase of a house for Bitter valued up to $650,000, which he will repay at a half-percent interest rate over 30 years, significantly below current market rates. Passed through a consent agenda without public input, this arrangement has infuriated many residents over the use of taxpayer money.

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Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell Declares His Transportation Referendum ‘Very Progressive’

Freddie O'Connell

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell described his “Choose How You Move” transportation referendum as “very progressive” in a Wednesday interview, highlighting the endeavor as one of the most progressive acts of his administration.

O’Connell was asked by The Guardian, which describes itself as “the world’s leading liberal voice,” to what level he views himself “as a progressive leader in a state that is not politically progressive” following the 2022 redistricting process that split Nashville between multiple congressional districts.

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National Environmental Group Plans Wednesday Rally in Nashville over TVA Energy Sources

State Rep Aftyn Behn

The Sierra Club will hold a demonstration at Lipscomb University in Nashville on Wednesday to protest the use of fossil fuels by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which is slated to hold a listening session earlier the same day.

A TVA web page explains the controversial group’s “Rally for the Valley” will feature a musical performance Nashville-based country music artist Jonathan Singleton and remarks by Representative Aftyn Behn (D-Nashville).

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Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell Announces $3.1 Billion Transit Plan

Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell released the details of his transit referendum that is expected to go before voters in November, revealing his plans will cost $3.1 billion and be partially financed through a half-cent sales tax increase.

In a statement, O’Connell called his transit referendum “the best opportunity we’ve ever had to build out our priority sidewalks, to synchronize signals so you’re spending less time at red lights, and to connect neighborhoods via a better transit system that doesn’t have to come downtown just to go somewhere else.”

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Phil Williams Says He Asked Justin Jones to Respond to Allegations He Covered Up Knowledge of Sexual Assaults, But ‘He Chose Not to Comment’

Dan Mandis and Phil Williams, WTN

Phil Williams of NewsChannel 5 failed to report the response he received from Representative Justin Jones (D-Nashville) to the claim the lawmaker covered up the sexual assault of two protesters by a homeless man in 2020.

Williams revealed in a Friday interview with SuperTalk 99.7 WTN that Jones declined to comment on the claim in 2020. Williams additionally confirmed that other activists planned to confront the homeless man for his alleged sex crimes instead of involving police.

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Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell Shares New Bus Lines Proposed in Transit Referendum

Freddie O'Connell

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell on Thursday provided details of how his proposed transit referendum would expand lines and services for the city’s bus system.

O’Connell posted the details to the social media platform X, where he wrote the bus transit improvements are “a key element” of his referendum. The mayor confirmed, “We’ll have local, frequent, new, and express service updates.”

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Treasurer of Tennessee Dark Money Super PAC Founded by Pro-Abortion Democrat Is Never Trumper Who Donated to Nikki Haley Presidential Campaign

James Seabury

The treasurer for The Best of Tennessee Action Fund, part of the “Lincoln Project of Tennessee” announced on Wednesday, recently made two $1,000 donations to the presidential campaign of Nikki Haley, the former Ambassador to the United Nations who reportedly courted Democrats in her ill-fated primary campaign against former President Donald Trump.

Federal Elections Commission (FEC) records indicate James Seabury III is the treasurer for The Best of Tennessee’s super PAC, which it calls the Action Fund.

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Democrat Pro-Abortion Lawyer and Fundraiser Kim Kaegi Form ‘Lincoln Project of Tennessee’ Style Super PAC Ahead of ‘Moderate’ Courtney Johnston’s GOP Primary Challenge to MAGA Rep. Andy Ogles in TN-5

Courtney Johnston, Chloe Akers

A pro-abortion lawyer based in Knoxville has joined forces with Tennessee political fundraiser Kim Kaegi to form three strategically intertwined organizations – a 501 (c) (4) nonprofit, a political action committee (PAC), and a super PAC, a Wednesday report reveals.

The PACs and nonprofit will be called The Best of Tennessee, and the political wing of the operation will focus on “pro-choice” messaging to elect moderate candidates, according to The Tennessean.

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Mayor Freddie O’Connell Courts Nashville Business Leaders to Fund Mass Transit Campaign

Nashville Mayor

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell attended a Monday evening meeting with the city’s leading business leaders and lobbyists in a bid to secure their support for his mass transit referendum scheduled for November.

The meeting between O’Connell and Nashville community leaders took place at the offices of Ingraham Industries Inc., according to the Nashville Business Journal, which reported the mayor met with many of the groups and individuals who backed the failed transit plan pitched by disgraced Mayor Megan Barry in 2018.

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Federal Judge Orders FBI to Turn over Covenant Killer Documents for In-Camera Review

Audrey Hale

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to turn over all documents related to Covenant School shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale, including the killer’s manifesto, for a private review of materials.

The FBI was ordered to turn over the materials as part of the nationally watched lawsuit brought by plaintiffs Star News Digital Media Inc., the parent company of The Tennessee Star, and Michael Patrick Leahy, a resident of Tennessee and CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Star News Digital Media and journalist Matt Kittle. The plaintiffs are seeking the release of Hale’s manifesto.

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Tennessee Bill to Allow Cities, Counties to Cut Taxes on Food Comes amid Nationwide Push Fueled by Inflation

Family Grocery Shopping

Legislation that would allow Tennessee counties and cities to reduce or eliminate the state sales tax on groceries is advancing through the Tennessee General Assembly as more states look for opportunities to defray the effects of inflation on citizens.

The bill would allow all “counties and municipalities, by resolution or ordinance” set the “tax on the retail sale of food and food ingredients” at any “rate less than” the state’s sales tax rate.

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Tennessee Comptroller Claims Nashville Nonprofit Misspent over 10 Percent of State Grant, Including $29,000 to Executive Director

Curtis Bryant

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office published a report on Tuesday asserting a Nashville nonprofit misspent over $40,000 from a state grant, with the majority of the diverted money allegedly going to the group’s executive director or the church where he is a pastor. The office referred the matter to Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk.

According to the investigators in a press release, the Successful Survivors nonprofit that claims to assist individuals with mental illness and substance abuse issues received $299,670 in grant funds from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (MHSAS) to purchase and renovate a Nashville home for use as a “rehabilitation house.”

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Anonymous Demonstrators Who Waved Nazi Flags in Nashville Are Connected to ‘Boneface’ Provocateur Who Claimed to Fight with Neo-Nazi Battalion in Ukraine

A group of masked, anonymous demonstrators who waved Nazi flags at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville on Saturday are apparently part of the same Blood Tribe neo-Nazi group as Kent “Boneface” McLellan, the American neo-Nazi who gained notoriety in 2023 after he claimed to fight alongside a Ukrainian military unit that regularly uses fascist imagery and is accused of harboring neo-Nazi views.

Media reports suggest the group of individuals who were holding Nazi flags in the viral video recorded by Representative Justin Jones (D-Nashville) on Saturday are affiliated with the Blood Tribe, which the Anti-Defamation League explains is a “growing neo-Nazi group” that purportedly has chapters in the United States and Canada.

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Judge Overseeing Case to Release Covenant Killer Manifesto Warns of Contempt If Parties ‘Usurp’ Sealed Materials

Chancery Court Judge I’Ashea L. Myles on Tuesday filed an order in the ongoing case seeking to compel the release of the manifesto written by the Covenant School killer that warns all involved in the multi-plaintiff lawsuit that they could be sanctioned or held in contempt if they “usurp” materials submitted to her for review.

Star News Digital Media Inc., the parent company of The Tennessee Star, is a plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking to compel law enforcement to release the manifesto written by Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who reportedly identified as a transgender man before she was fatally shot by police.

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Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell Reportedly Planning Mass Transit Referendum After ‘Car-Free Streets’ Executive Order

Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell is reportedly planning to introduce a major mass transit project this year that will need to be approved by voters in November, and would likely require an increase to the city’s sales tax.

A report published Monday by Axios claims O’Connell is days away from announcing a “mass transit funding proposal” that will be “less downtown and tourist-focused than” the proposal previously defeated by voters in Metro Nashville in 2018.

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CJ Pearson Will Seek Impeachment of Fani Willis Due to ‘Clear Impropriety’ with Nathan Wade if Elected to Georgia State House

C.J. Pearson, who is on the ballot Tuesday for the special election in 125th District to fill a recently-vacated seat in Georgia’s State House, told The Georgia Star News about his “incredible journey” that began as a preteen political commentator nearly a decade ago and may have landed him within days of officially entering politics as an elected official.

Pearson, who has faced intense criticism from parties connected to Governor Brian Kemp that he previously characterized as “rogue,” answered his critics, told Star News what his priorities will be if elected, and promised to leverage his potential status as the youngest black politician to help Georgia Republicans achieve new heights if elected.

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Jill Biden Commits Inadvertent ‘Umbrella Assault’ Against Nashville Mayor During Trip to Tennessee

Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell Greets First Lady Jill Biden

First Lady Jill Biden committed an inadvertent “umbrella assault” against Metro Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell during her visit to Tennessee, which was reportedly aimed at securing endorsements from the country music “influencer” community at an event held by country music artist Brad Paisley.

Video appears to show O’Connell being poked by the umbrella before deftly maneuvering around and underneath the umbrella as Biden raised it higher to avoid a second attack.

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Jill Biden to Visit Nashville Friday for ‘Political Event’ Reportedly Aimed at Securing Country Music Endorsements

First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Tennessee for a purported “political event” reportedly occurring at the home of country music star Brad Paisley.

According to press reports citing a White House media advisory, the First Lady is expected to land in Nashville on Friday afternoon for an unspecified “political event” that will take place in Franklin.

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Tennessee House Staffer Suspended over Alleged Heated Exchange with State Rep. Justin Jones

Justin Jones Torrey Harris

A Tennessee House staffer for Representative Torrey Harris (D-Memphis) was suspended from her position as an Executive Legislative Analyst until after the 2024 legislative session concludes.

The Tennessee General Assembly Director of Legislative Administration confirmed in a January 30 letter that the staffer “had an inappropriate confrontation with a Member of the House of Representatives” and “failed to maintain a satisfactory and harmonious working relationship” and disrupting work in the Tennessee House.

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Two Metro Nashville Schools Where Students Allegedly Brought Weapons Received ‘D’s’ on Their State Performance Reviews

Two Metro Nashville students were arrested on Wednesday as a result of separate incidents at two Metro Nashville schools involving firearms. Both schools, a middle school and high school, received D grades by the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE).

A 14-year-old student was arrested on Wednesday at Hunters Lane High School after another student reportedly told school administrators he suspected a firearm in the other student’s backpack. School administrators searched the backpack and found a semi-automatic pistol, prompting the student’s arrest and transport to a juvenile detention facility.

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Annual Report by Shelby County DA Steve Mulroy Reveals Focus on Diversity, Fairness as Memphis Faced Crime Surge

Steve Mulroy

A new report released by the office of Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy on Tuesday reveals the district attorney made his office more diverse and focused on fairness during his first year in office. Memphis suffered a crime wave during Mulroy’s first year on the job, ultimately giving it the highest homicide rate per capita in a study of large U.S. cities.

Mulroy began his report with a statement claiming “Crime and Reform” are “complementary,” arguing, “Reform restores public confidence in the fairness of our system, which is understandably low after years of neglect,” which in turn will lead to more “cooperation” with law enforcement, leading to a decrease in crime.

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Tennessee Democrats Silent on Nashville Mayor’s Biden White House Trip During Snowstorm, but Upset Glenn Jacobs Campaigned with Trump

Democrats in Knox County issued a series of statements on social media last Tuesday which claimed Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs was “absent” during the recent winter weather because he traveled to Iowa to campaign for former President Donald Trump ahead of the state’s caucuses.

The Knox County Democrats posted to social media on Tuesday, “Why is Glenn spending more time this week with Trump, MTG, Matt Gaetz, Kari Lake, and Jim Jordan than with county employees clearing roads or at local churches hosting warming centers?”

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Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell Signs Executive Order for ‘Car-Free Streets,’ Expanding Initiative Started by Disgraced Mayor Megan Barry

Nashville Mayor

Metro Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell signed 44 executive orders on Friday, including Executive Order 45, which expands Metro’s Green and Complete Streets policy with calls for the city to close some streets to vehicles and “serve the most vulnerable users of the transportation network.” The policy was originally introduced by disgraced former Mayor Megan Barry in 2016.

The text of O’Connell’s order acknowledges inspiration from Barry’s Executive Order 31, signed in 2016, which aimed to “[a]pproach every transportation improvement project phase with the purpose to create greener, safer, and more accessible streets for all users” to “enhance environmental quality” of Metro Nashville.

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Former Tennessee Judge Accused of Being ‘Drug Kingpin’ Faces 10 Years in Prison After Pleading Guilty to Money Laundering, Marijuana Charges

Perry Stout

Former Johnson County General Session Court Judge Perry Stout pleaded guilty to charges related to money laundering and distributing marijuana on Friday in a plea agreement with prosecutors that saw charges dropped related to the weapon he allegedly possessed at the time he committed the crimes, a conspiracy to sell the drugs, and maintaining a home to sell or use drugs.

Stout was reportedly “visibly broken in appearance,” in court on Friday, reported The Tomahawk, which added that he “seemed almost disconnected” from the events unfolding in the court room, “but was very keen to ensure that his family was considered in connection to his plea deal.”

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Nashville School Hosts ‘LGBTQ+ Identities’ in ‘Diversity Night Speaker Series’ to ‘Support Elementary Kids’

Sylvan Park Paideia Elementary School PTO

An elementary school Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) affiliated with Sylvan Park Paideia Elementary in Nashville is holding a “diversity night” featuring guest speakers who will offer information about “LGBTQ+ identities” and “how to support elementary kids through these identities” on February 8.

According to an event listing on the Sylvan Park school website, supporting elementary school children who do not identify as heterosexual “starts with educating and supporting the parents/caregivers and educators about these identities so children feel comfortable to talk about their own process as well as their peers’ process.”

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Virginia Bill Would Let All Criminals Ask for Release from Prison After 15 Years Regardless of Crime

A bill in the Virginia General Assembly, submitted by Delegate Rae Cousins (D-Richmond), would allow convicted criminals in the commonwealth to petition for their sentence to be terminated after serving 15 years, regardless of the crime they committed.

Cousin’s HB 855, according to the bill’s summary, “Provides a process for a person serving a sentence for any conviction or a combination of any convictions who remains incarcerated in a state or local correctional facility or secure facility” and meets criteria established in the law.

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Grassroots Conservative Group EZAZ Plans Eight-Stop Tour to Register Arizona Voters Featuring Activist Scott Presler

Scott Presler

Conservative grassroots organization EZAZ’s Merissa Hamilton announced on Tuesday an eight-stop tour to register Arizonans for the 2024 election featuring voter registration activist Scott Presler from January 23 through January 25. Presler told The Arizona Sun Times he is “excited” to return to Arizona, which he called a “must-win” for Republicans in November.

Hamilton shared news about the event to X, formerly Twitter, and included details about events in Phoenix, Sun City, Tempe, Maricopa, Tucson, Payson, Prescott Value, and Lake Havasu City.

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Tennessee Valley Authority Requests ‘Voluntary Curtailment’ to ‘Reduce Electric Consumption’ but Predicts No Blackouts

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on Tuesday began asking utility companies to request their customers voluntarily curtail their power usage in an effort to “reduce electric consumption” as frigid weather slows much of the country, but the federally owned power company recently told Tennessee media outlets it does not expect rolling blackouts to occur because of winter weather in 2024.

Energy companies in Alabama and Kentucky have confirmed the TVA is requesting their customers decrease their energy use, with Huntsville Utilities in Alabama explained in a news release that “dangerously low temperatures” and “the expected high electric demand” prompted TVA to request “voluntary curtailment across their entire system.”

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Anti-Sinema PAC Releases Ad Bashing Senator One Day After Kari Lake Ad Calls Gallego, Sinema Biden’s ‘Enablers’

Replace Sinema PAC

A political action committee that endorses Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03) released a new advertisement targeting Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) on Tuesday, with its release timed one day after Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake released her own commercial labeling Gallego and Sinema as “enablers” of President Joe Biden.

“When Republicans take back the U.S. Senate, we will fix the problems caused by [Biden] and his enablers [Sinema] and [Gallego],” wrote Lake in a Monday post to X, formerly Twitter, containing her campaign’s new ad.

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Metro Nashville Government Posts Job Listing for ‘DEI Education Trainer’

The Metro Nashville and Davidson County government placed a job listing for a “DEI Education Trainer” on Friday, who will work a “flexible/hybrid” schedule for about $56,000 per year.

Posted on Friday, the job listing indicates the full-time position is for the government’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion division, and the applicant will be “responsible for expanding the current training efforts” of the city’s DEI office “and promoting alignment of Metro’s equity goals.”

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Tennessee State Rep. Justin Jones Ruled Out of Order After Calling House Speaker Sexton ‘Drunk with Power’ on Second Day of Session

Jones Sexton

State Representative Justin Jones (D-Nashville) was ruled out of order by the Tennessee House of Representatives on Wednesday after he reportedly claimed House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) was “drunk with power” on the second day of the 2024 legislative session.

Jones asked to speak about his purported concerns over an incident he and Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) claimed to witness on Tuesday, when they allege that Sexton’s security detail prevent Republican Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) from riding in the same elevator as Sexton.

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New Report Shows Virginia Hospitals Provide $3.3 Billion in Community Support, Generate over $64 Billion in Economic Activity

Virginia hospitals and health systems provided $3.3 billion in community support for the commonwealth in 2022, according to a new report by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) published on Wednesday. The report also revealed Virginia’s healthcare industry generated more than $64 billion in positive economic activity over the same period.

VHHA determined the dollar amount in community support by “reflecting the cost of uncompensated care, community wellness investment, taxes, and donations.”

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney Asks Virginia General Assembly to Approve $100 Million for Sewer Upgrades

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney reportedly wants the Virginia General Assembly to approve $100 million for the city’s sewer upgrades, plus additional revenue for new speeding cameras, and warned Virginians could see their utility rates “skyrocket” without additional state funding.

“We’re asking for more because we know if we are unable to find the needed amount, a lot of this burden will fall on the ratepayers,” Stoney claimed, according to 12 On Your Side. The outlet reported that Stoney warned “utility bills could skyrocket” without additional funding approved by Virginia lawmakers and Governor Glenn Youngkin (R).

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WKRN TV Fails To Mention Tennessee 11 Gun Control Group Funded by Mexican-American New York Billionaire

Daniel Lubetzky

A report published Tuesday by WKRN TV failed to acknowledge the Tennessee 11 (TN 11), an activist group that seeks to pass red flag legislation and other gun restrictions this year in Tennessee, is funded by a Mexican-American billionaire based in New York.

The television station, which is owned by the publicly traded Nexstar Media Group, reported on the Tennessee 11 event held Tuesday at the Tennessee State Capitol, where the outlet reported, “The TN 11 said they’re calling for legislative solutions addressing gun violence and safety while upholding gun rights.” WKRN TV explained that “TN 11 also polled about 30,000 Tennesseans from all 95 counties” to determine priorities they would ask Tennessee lawmakers to address.

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Lawyer Ben Crump Demands Memphis Mayor Paul Young Accept Tyre Nichols Ordinances Despite Ex-Mayor Warning They Are Illegal

Ben Crump

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump reportedly urged Memphis Mayor Paul Young to embrace the police reforms passed through city ordinances following the death of Tyre Nichols last year, even after former Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland claimed the ordinances were illegal.

Crump, who represents family members of Nichols, said in a statement issued on the anniversary of Nichols’ death that the family and legal team “are deeply disturbed by the recent revelation by former Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland that he actively avoided signing and enforcing the Driving Equality Act in honor of Tyre Nichols that the Memphis City Council passed in Spring 2023.”

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Memphis Has Highest 2023 Murder Rate of All Large U.S. Cities

Memphis Police Van

Memphis had the highest murder rate of 2023 in a comparison of 10 major cities identified as “homicide hubs” within the United States, according to an analysis published Wednesday.

The only Tennessee city tracked for the Wirepoints report, Memphis had a murder rate of 63.9 homicides per 100,000 people in 2023. A total of 397 homicides were reported in the city last year, up by 38 percent from 2022, when the city saw 288 homicides.

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Atlanta Saw Less Violent Crime in 2023, but Vehicle Thefts and Shoplifting Skyrocketed

Mayor Dickens

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and Police Chief Darin Schierbaum held a joint press conference on Thursday to detail what they identified as a downward trend in crime within the city, but preliminary numbers published by the Atlanta Police Department (APD) in December 2023 reveal that not all types of crime are declining.

Dickens said during the press conference that the “major crime against people” was “down more than 15 percent,” with homicides down about 20 percent and rapes down about 50 percent since 2022.

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Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego Appointed by Sec. Pete Buttigieg to Advise Department of Transportation

Kate Gallego

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego (D) was selected by Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg to participate in a new advisory committee on December 29.

Gallego was among the 27 members of the agency’s new Transforming Transportation Advisory Committee (TTAC) for a two-year term named by Buttigieg last week. Explaining the need for the committee, Buttigieg noted the United States faces both “unprecedented opportunity and unprecedented challenges in transportation.”

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Convicted Arizona Ballot Harvester Appointed San Luis Vice Mayor Despite Sentence Keeping Her from Public Office

Gloria Torres

San Luis City appointed city Council Member Gloria Torres as the city’s new vice mayor on December 14, 2023, representing her first promotion since her conviction for a misdemeanor ballot harvesting scheme in June of last year. Her colleague and longtime critic, Council Member Gary Garcia Snyder, told The Arizona Sun Times his constituents “are at a loss” following Torres’ appointment.

Torres (pictured above) pleaded guilty to her role in a ballot harvesting scheme after she was indicted following the release of camera footage obtained by Garcia Snyder and David Lara, a San Luis Republican who was elected to a school board seat in 2016, as the result of a “sting” operation.

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Atlanta Road to Remain Closed Up to 10 Weeks After Possible Homeless Fire Under Cheshire Bridge

Cheshire Bridge

A section of the Cheshire Bridge Road will remain closed to traffic for up to 10 weeks after a fire that may have started in a homeless encampment under the bridge, an Atlanta City Council member confirmed in a December 29 newsletter to his constituents.

Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan told his constituents in his newsletter that the bridge is slated to be repaired, all at once, over a period that may take up to 10 weeks. Wan explained, “it has been determined that it is better long term to complete the entire rehab work at once” rather than partially opening the bridge to accommodate some traffic while repairs are finished.

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20-Page Complaint Filed Against Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert Alleging Mismanagement of County Finances, Properties

A 20-page complaint was submitted on Thursday against Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert, detailing an alleged pattern of paranoia and workplace incompetence that has resulted in a severe backlog in vehicle registrations and a working environment reportedly described as “hell” by an employee.

Shelby County Commissioner Mick Wright promised the formal complaint against Halbert was forthcoming in a social media post on Wednesday, which responded to a letter from Hamilton County District Attorney Coty Wamp (R), which explained the need for a formal letter of complaint about Halbert. Wamp’s office began investigating Halbert after District Attorney Steve Mulroy recused himself.

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Tucson Claims It’s ‘Immune from Liability’ from City Policy in Lawsuit Demanding Homeless Camp Cleanup

The City of Tucson claimed it is legally immune to consequences of its public policy as part of its defense in a lawsuit claiming the city’s decision to allow a homeless camp is causing damages to local residents and businesses.

Bernardo Velasco, an attorney representing the city in the lawsuit, reportedly argued on Friday that Tucson “is immune from liability for its policy determinations, according to The Arizona Daily Star. That policy determination, the outlet explained, was to allow homeless individuals to camp in a “pocket park” known as the Navajo Wash.

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Tennessee Democrat Claims ‘Flawed Letter Grades’ Fail to Reflect Schools After 43 Percent in Her City Receive Failing Grades

Raumesh Akbari

Tennessee State Senate Minority Leader Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) claimed the new letter grades assigned to every Tennessee school are “flawed.” Akbari represents Memphis, where more than 40 percent of schools did not receive passing grades.

Akbari released a statement on Thursday declaring the “flawed letter grades will never define a school, their students and families, or their teachers and staff.” She asserted the grades instead reflect what she claimed is inadequate state funding for education.

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Commissioner Promises Formal Complaint for Investigation, Possible Removal of Shelby County Clerk

Halbert Wright

Shelby County Commissioner Mick Wright promised a formal complaint about County Clerk Wanda Halbert on Wednesday following a December 21 letter from Hamilton County District Attorney Coty Wamp (R) stressing the need for a document formally notifying her office of the clerk’s alleged failures.

Halbert is being investigated over claims of mismanagement, and allegations include hours-long lines for basic services, a backlog in license plate registrations, and alleged unpaid back rent on a satellite location that purportedly resulted in the court’s eviction, reported Action News 5.

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Murfreesboro Police Announce ‘Real Time Crime Center’ Equipped with Cameras, License Plate Readers

The Murfreesboro Police Department (MPD) released new details about its Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) on Tuesday, revealing the new system will rely on Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs), Public Safety Camera systems, and potentially “gunshot detection technology” to more quickly locate and respond to crime.

The agency revealed on its website that MPD “is taking the final steps” toward completing its RTCC, with ALPRs already “installed in various locations” selected “based on historical crime trends and traffic patterns” throughout the city, and cameras coming soon to areas hit with violent crime or another “specific need” identified by police.

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