Report Says Tennessee Schools Spent COVID-19 Funds on Unrelated Projects

A new report by the Beacon Center of Tennessee says that $4 billion worth of federal COVID-19 relief funding allocated to Tennessee’s school systems was largely spent on items unrelated to COVID-19. 

“The data suggests that Tennessee public schools have budgeted or spent millions of dollars on areas that had little to nothing to do with COVID or student performance,” said Beacon Research Associate and report author Jason Edmonds. “School districts across the state budgeted tens of millions of dollars for ‘indirect costs’ without any further explanation and also funded pet projects such as walk-in coolers and retractable bleachers.”

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Memphis, Nashville School Districts to Make Education Savings Accounts Available to Families

According to the governor’s office and the cities of Memphis and Nashville, more than 40 independent have committed to allowing families to enroll in Education Savings Account (ESA) programs beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year. 

“There was an urgent need for school choice in 2019, and finally, parents in Memphis and Nashville won’t have to wait another day to choose the best educational fit for their children,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R). “I thank each school that has partnered with us to swiftly implement a program that will change the lives of Tennessee students, and I invite interested families to begin the enrollment process today.” 

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CDC Says More than 20 Tennessee Counties Should Return to Wearing Masks

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued nationwide guidance on mask wearing as community COVID-19 spread levels increase, and included seven Tennessee counties in its assessment. 

“COVID-19 Community Levels are a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data,” according to the CDC. “Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.”

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All-Star Panelist Clint Brewer Comments on the Tennessee Democrats’ Redistricting Lawsuit

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Public Affairs Specialist and all-star panelist Clint Brewer in studio to weigh in on recent Democratic lawsuit filed in response to Middle Tennessee’s redistricting.

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Proposed Legislation Would Enter Tennessee into an Interstate Compact, Creating an Unelected Quasi-Governmental Entity with Broad Powers Including Eminent Domain

A bill scheduled to be heard by the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday would enter Tennessee into an interstate compact with Arkansas and Mississippi for the greater Memphis region, creating a quasi-governmental and public entity of unelected commissioners that will be vested with very broad powers, including eminent domain and condemnation of any and all rights or property.

If enacted, the legislation would create the RegionSmart Development District (District) and the RegionSmart Development (RegionSmart Development) Agency of the Greater Memphis Region.

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Tennessee Secures $38 Million Grant for Veteran-Focused Nursing Home

West Tennessee Veterans Nursing Home

The State of Tennessee will receive a $38 million grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to build a nursing home for veterans, according to a release from U.S. Representative David Kustoff (R-TN-08).

The award will help cover construction costs of the new facility in the western part of the state.

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Multiple Cases of Omicron Variant Detected in Tennessee

Person with mask on holding COVID vaccine

Officials in multiple jurisdictions throughout Tennessee have detected cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Shelby County reported the first case of the new variant. New cases were discovered on Thursday by both the Metro Nashville Public Health Department and the Hamilton County Health Department.

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Shelby and Hamilton Counties Use Same Bail Calculation Tool That Left-Leaning Philanthropist Designed for Waukesha, Wisconsin

Officials in two Tennessee counties, Shelby and Hamilton, use a bail calculation tool for criminal defendants that is also used in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Waukesha is where suspect Darrell Brooks Jr. faces homicide charges for using his car to kill six people at a recent holiday gathering. Prosecutors handling a previous case of physical abuse and vehicular assault involving Brooks asked a court to set bail bond for the defendant at a mere $1,000. Court officials agreed.

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Tennessee Christian School Teaches God Made Only Males and Females, Infuriating Shelby County Commissioner and LGBTQ Activists

A private Christian school in West Tennessee has triggered LGBTQ activists as well as Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer into an angry frenzy.

Officials at Briarcrest Christian School, in Eads, held a training session for parents and students about how to respond Biblically to gender theory. A flyer for the event, which school officials held November 9, asked participants to “look into the craziness our culture is throwing at our kids.”

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Crom Carmichael Unwinds Shelby County Lawsuit Against Lee’s Executive Order Citing Sly State Law

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to discuss the course events of Shelby County’s mask mandate lawsuit against Governor Lee.

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Shelby County Sues Gov. Bill Lee over Mask Executive Order

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee

Shelby County has announced a lawsuit against Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) over his executive order allowing parents to opt their children out of mask mandates. The county says that the order puts children at risk of contracting COVID and even dying.

The complaint, filed Tuesday, says that “Governor Lee’s executive order makes the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools impossible.” The lawsuit opens by stating that Shelby County is in the middle of a “global pandemic, the likes of which the world has not seen in over a century.”

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Dr. Carol Swain: ‘The National Agenda Is to Keep Everyone in Masks to Strike Fear in the Hearts of People and Manipulate the Population’

host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist, Dr. Carol Swain, in studio to advise of her upcoming in-store appearance at Puffy Muffin where she will be signing her new book Black Eye for America this Saturday, and governor Lee’s lack of Republican leadership.

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Precedent Matters: Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Questions the Slippery Slope of Bill Lee’s Executive Order Regarding Masks in School

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in studio to discuss the lack of clarity in Bill Lee’s executive order for K12 mask mandates.

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Tennessee House Speaker Sexton on Letter to Governor Lee Asking for Special Session Over Mask Mandates and Vaccine Passports

Speaker Cameron Sexton

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Speaker Cameron Sexton to the newsmakers line to weigh in on his current letter to Governor Bill Lee requesting a special session to debate COVID mandates in the state.

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Tennessee Investigation: COVID-19 Vaccines Possibly Stolen, Children Vaccinated in Shelby County

The Shelby County Health Department director has resigned after a state investigation uncovered potential theft of COVID-19 vaccine doses, evidence that two children were inappropriately vaccinated and a handwritten log as the only record sent to the state documenting expired doses.

Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey shared Friday that after a week-long investigation into vaccine waste by the SCHD, the state received only one record of vaccine waste from county health officials: a scrawling six-line, handwritten log labeled “Pfizer waste.”

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Tennessee Senate Approves Bill to Allow School Districts, Governor to Reopen Classes

The Tennessee Legislature is looking into giving local education districts more leeway to open or shut schools during public emergencies — or the governor the power to send students back to campus.

On Monday, Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) presented Senate Bill 103 to the full Senate. The bill passed the Senate as amended, 27-5.

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Tennessee Ranks 33rd Among States in Percentage of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Administered

Tennessee ranks 33rd of the 50 states for the percentage of COVID-19 vaccines it has distributed versus the number of doses it received, data show.

The ranking was revealed by Becker’s Hospital Review, and is available here. Becker’s updated the data on Tuesday.

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Governor Lee Refutes Representative Cohen Claims on Shorted Distribution of COVID Vaccines

In a letter to Memphis Mayor Strickland, Governor Bill Lee refuted recent claims that the COVID-19 vaccines weren’t distributed equally to Shelby County.

“[I]t has been reported that Shelby County has not received an equitable share of vaccine doses relative to other counties across the state. However – and I want to be clear and unmistakable about this – any such claims are incorrect,” stated Lee.

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Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton Discusses the Fast Moving Bills Addressing Literacy and Learning Loss

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton to the newsmakers line to discuss the expediency in which special session is moving bills through.

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AFC’s Shaka Mitchell Joins the Tennessee Star Report to Discuss the Pending Lawsuit Regarding Gov. Lee’s ESA Program

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the American Federation for Children’s Tennessee State Director Shaka Mitchell to the newsmakers line to discuss the pending lawsuit for Governor Lee’s new education savings account pilot program.

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New Report Shows Education Savings Accounts Would Help Taxpayers in Shelby and Davidson Counties

Shelby County Schools would save more than $2,000 for each student who chooses to utilize Education Savings Accounts, and Metro Nashville Schools would save more than $500 for each student who uses them.

This, according to a new research report that staff at the Beacon Center of Tennessee published Thursday.

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Donald Trump’s Justice Department Awards More Than $2 Million to Fight Crime in Memphis

U.S. Department of Justice officials announced Monday that they will grant more than $2 million to fight and prevent crime in Memphis and Shelby County.

This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website Monday.

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The Beacon Center Vice President of Legal Affairs Braden Boucek Weighs in on School Voucher Ruling and Taking It to the Tennessee Supreme Court

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the Vice President of Legal Affairs at The Beacon Center Braden Boucek to the show to discuss the recent ruling regarding the school voucher program in Tennessee.

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Crom Carmichael Weighs in on Tennessee Court of Appeals School Voucher Ruling and Questions Judges’ Motives

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to discuss the recent ruling deeming the ESA and school voucher programs for Davidson and Shelby Counties unconstitutional.

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Shelby County Reports Biggest Virus Spike Since Pandemic Began

Tennessee’s largest county reported Saturday its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases, though officials were trying to figure out if the jump represented a surge in people getting sick or delayed results from testing laboratories.

The Shelby County Health Department in Memphis reported an increase of 385 cases of the new coronavirus, eclipsing the previous single-day spike by more than 100 cases.

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Lawsuit Seeks Release of Detainees at Shelby County Jail After COVID-19 Outbreak

A new lawsuit seeks the release of inmates at the Shelby County Jail who are at “high risk of severe injury or death from COVID-19.”

As of Friday afternoon, the jail reported 160 confirmed coronavirus cases among detainees, but 156 have already recovered, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Another 68 employees have tested positive for the virus, 46 of whom have recovered. Only one current hospitalization was reported among both employees and detainees.

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Shelby County Officials Report Spike in Opioid Deaths, 20 Overdoses in 24 Hours

The Shelby County Health Department in Tennessee has issued a drug overdose spike alert lasting from April 6 to May 7 after seeing an unexplained increase in drug overdoses between that time.

Recent data showed that seven separate spike alerts were triggered between those dates, with the most recent reporting 20 suspected overdose events, four of them fatal.

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Clint Brewer on School Voucher Program: ‘The Status Quo Is Not Working in Our Largest Cities’

Public affairs strategist and all-star panelist Clint Brewer joined The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Wednesday morning on the newsmakers line.

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Tennessee Republican Senate Candidate George Flinn: ‘This Pandemic Should Be a Wake-Up Call to the United States of America Just Like the Tea Party’

Live from Memphis Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.– Leahy was joined on the newsmakers line by Shelby County resident George Flinn who is seeking to replace Sen. Lamar Alexander in the U.S. Senate.

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Bill Lee Won’t Say if COVID-19 Restaurant Closings Are Unconstitutional

  Governor Bill Lee said Monday that the state shutdown of restaurants to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic was necessary, even if members of the Memphis Restaurant Association reportedly described it as unconstitutional. A member of the media pressed Lee at a press conference Monday as to whether the shutdown…

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Carol Swain Commentary: Ditching Rep. DeBerry Shows the True Colors of the Tennessee Democratic Party

Tennessee State Rep. John DeBerry, a black Shelby County Democrat, is an independent thinker, which at the moment makes him Public Enemy No. 1 in the eyes of the state’s Democratic Party.

Earlier this month, with most Americans distracted by the media’s nonstop coronavirus coverage, Janeita Lentz, another Shelby County Democrat and co-chair of the Memphis-Mid South Democratic Socialists of America, advanced a racist, cultist agenda. Her mission: to oust a black Democratic incumbent deemed too uppity for the Tennessee Democratic Party (TNDP) and its white overseers.

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Shelby County Issues ‘Stay at Home’ Order

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris on Monday announced that county and other local officials will enforce a stay-at-home order for residents because of the coronavirus emergency.

Harris announced this at a press conference Monday.

“The coronavirus is a major disruption to our way of life,” Harris said.

“And we have to expect that it could be a long-lasting effect on our way or life.”

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Nashville, Memphis Report Tennessee’s Second, Third Cases of Coronavirus

Nashville Mayor John Cooper confirmed a case of coronavirus on Sunday, making it the third in Tennessee, coming the same day Shelby County announced a case.

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