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Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An education advocacy group's poll found that Democratic voters widely support Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and many want his education initiatives to continue through his successor.

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE, ordered the survey of 500 Democratic and 500 Republican past primary voters.

It says more than six in 10 Democratic voters approve of the popular governor's performance.

Two weeks ago, in a remarkable move, the State Plant Board of Arkansas voted to ban the sale and use of a weedkiller called dicamba. It took that action after a wave of complaints about dicamba drifting into neighboring fields and damaging other crops, especially soybeans.

That ban is still waiting to go into force. It requires approval from a committee of the state legislature, which will meet on Friday.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam is headed to Europe next week to try to recruit more foreign investment in Tennessee.

Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe plant to visit the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Germany. They are scheduled to leave on Monday and return June 30.

More than 500 European businesses operate in Tennessee, employing about 62,000 people. More than $3.8 billion has been invested in the state by European companies since 2011.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Marsha Blackburn has confirmed she will seek another term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2rIGLi8) that Blackburn's bid for a ninth term puts an end to speculation in some circles that she might instead try to run for statewide office next year.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — About 26,000 customers of a Memphis power company are still without electricity in the aftermath of a Memorial Day weekend storm that hit the Tennessee city with strong winds.

Memphis Light, Gas & Water said Thursday its crews are working with about 90 other utility companies to restore power to parts of the city that remain in the dark.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Kellogg Co. says it plans to shut down a distribution plant in Memphis and lay off 172 workers.

The company said Tuesday in a letter to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that the Memphis plant will close by the end of July.

The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company has said it would close 39 distribution facilities across the country, affecting more than 1,000 workers. The company says it is changing how it ships products.

Originally a cereal maker, Kellogg's also makes Eggo frozen waffles, Pop-Tarts and Pringles.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican state Sen. Mark Green says he has made up his mind about whether to rejoin the governor's race in Tennessee, but he doesn't want to make his decision public until later this week.

The Ashland City physician suspended his gubernatorial campaign while seeking confirmation as President Donald Trump's pick for Army secretary. He withdrew from consideration for that position amid bipartisan criticism about his past comments on LGBT issues and Muslims

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Businessman Randy Boyd will happily talk at length about his role in creating Tennessee's free community college tuition program and his plans to attract more companies to the state and cut regulations to keep others from leaving.

But he's less eager to discuss the crowd of candidates likely to join him in the Republican field seeking to succeed term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam next year.

So far they include multiple state legislators, a businessman and a congresswoman, and there could be more.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to speak with Tennessee law enforcement officials about efforts to fight violent crime, nearly two weeks after he said prosecutors should bring the toughest charges possible against most suspects.

Sessions' speech is set for Thursday morning in Memphis, a city beset by gang activity, drug crime and gun violence.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee education group is aiming to get high school students interested in teaching.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2phxbEK) that the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, known as SCORE, launched its "Teach Today. Change Tomorrow" initiative this week.

The program offers a recruitment and mentorship network for a diverse variety of young students.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee police say they have found an infant that was the subject of an Amber alert.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said 5-month-old Ayla Settles was taken early Tuesday "by force" from her home in Memphis by her non-custodial father, Alvin Lloyd.  The agency says she was found about six hours later and Lloyd has been arrested.

No additional details were immediately available.

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — The final suspect charged in connection with the 2014 shooting deaths of Arkansas State football player Markel Owens and his stepfather Johnny Shivers has pleaded guilty.

The Jackson Sun reports (http://bit.ly/2qCPQam) 24-year-old Craig Taylor pleaded guilty Monday to accessory after the fact on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, especially aggravated robbery and attempted first-degree murder.

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Severe thunderstorms with possible tornadoes are forecast from the Plains states to the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Valley regions.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a Memphis meat packer has recalled some ready-to-eat ham products due to possible bacterial contamination.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee local official has been arrested after police said he choked his girlfriend at a fast food restaurant.

Memphis police said Monday that Shelby County Commissioner Justin Ford has been charged with aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

Police said Ford's girlfriend told officers he physically assaulted and choked her during an argument at a Church's Chicken on Sunday.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee legislative leaders appear to agree on a bigger property tax break for disabled veterans, which should put the finishing touch on months of work on Gov. Bill Haslam's bill that increases the gas tax to fund roadwork and cuts other taxes.

Both chambers passed the Republican governor's roads bill Wednesday, with the property tax break unresolved.

Senators amended the legislation to increase property tax relief to disabled veterans to up to $175,000 in property value, from $100,000 currently.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Residents of a Memphis neighborhood are being told to avoid approaching, detaining or feeding a black bear that's been roaming the area for two days.

Memphis police say officers are looking for the bear, which was seen by people in the Frayser neighborhood in north Memphis on Thursday and Friday.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials are leading the investigation into the bear's whereabouts. Frayser has woods that could attract the bear and allow it to avoid people as it moves through the area.

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (AP) — Teacher Tad Cummins took guns, money and his wife's car before kidnapping a 15-year-old female student and taking her on a 2,500-mile cross-country journey that ended Thursday, court records show.

He had just been suspended from teaching and police were zeroing in on him, questioning his relationship with the girl.

After taking out a loan for $4,500, the records say, the teacher took the money and two handguns and wrote a note to his wife saying he needed to go to Virginia Beach or the D.C. area to clear his head.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Health officials say the state's first human case of West Nile virus this year has been found in west Tennessee.

The health department in Shelby County, which includes Memphis, said Friday the virus was recently confirmed in a person who lives in the county. Officials did not identify the patient.

Officials said there were six human cases of the virus in Tennessee in 2016. One case was fatal.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's road and bridge funding bill is headed for a showdown in the Tennessee House on Wednesday.

The sticking point is the governor's proposal to pay for new projects in large part through the state's first gas tax hike since 1989.

Supporters argue that a package of tax cuts made in the bill outweigh the amount raised from the fuel tax increases.

Opponents are calling for the fuel tax hikes to be stripped from the bill and to instead dedicate sales tax revenues from auto sales to highway funding.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen is expected to announce on Tuesday a new education plan that will emphasize more accountability, especially when it comes to teaching traditionally underserved kids.

The plan outlines how Tennessee will comply with a federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Shelby County Commission has decided against naming an interim replacement for a Republican state House member who resigned amid a sexual harassment investigation.

The Commercial Appeal reports (http://memne.ws/2niIydu) that commissioners voted 6-5 against a resolution to schedule the appointment to replace former Rep. Mark Lovell. That means nobody will hold the seat until after the general election scheduled for June 15.

The primary will be held on April 27.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that would create a school voucher pilot program for Shelby County has passed in a House committee following rancorous debate.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Harry Brooks, a Republican from Knoxville, would allow public school children to use taxpayer money to go to private schools.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State Sen. Mae Beavers, the sponsor of a bill seeking to require students to use restrooms and locker rooms of the sex on their birth certificates, says she is exploring a bid for Tennessee governor.

The Mt. Juliet Republican tells WKRN-TV (http://bit.ly/2nOkX1T) she's considering entering the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam in the event Sen. Mark Green gets appointed to President Donald Trump's administration.

Funding for the Delta Regional Authority would be eliminated under President Trump’s first budget request to Congress. The federal agency is set up to help encourage and coordinate economic development in eight states, including Arkansas, tied to the beleaguered Mississippi River Delta region.

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