Monday, July 1, 2013

NEW LAWS TAKE EFFECT TODAY
There are a lot of new laws going into effect today. One I think you'll like is that the sales tax on food in Tennessee will drop today from 5.25 percent to 5 percent. Other new state laws include making incoming college students prove they've had their meningitis shots, and one that lets home-schooled students participate in public school athletic programs. 

STUDENT LOAN RATES GO UP
As of today, interest rates double on federally subsidized student loans, from 3.4% to 6.8% for new loans. It'll cost the average college student an additional $2,600.

WORK DURING VACATION? HALF OF US DO, AND IT MESSES UP THE REST OF THE YEAR
Are you looking forward to your vacation? Although we claim we're ready to kick back, and post photos of our crossed feet with the sand and water in the background... more than half of us take business calls or check work emails on vacation. And if you do, it's probably hurting your personal lives. People who work on vacation tend to be less satisfied with their relationships and their jobs, and have poorer health. Researchers say even in your daily life, it's important to unplug at least some each day, where you do nothing work-related for a few hours. This story is clearly not for those people who don't do anything work-related WHILE they're at work.

MCDONALD'S ON BROADWAY BEING TORN DOWN
The burned-out McDonalds on Broadway in Nashville is finally getting rebuilt. Construction has already started, and it's supposed to be finished by September. In December 2011, a heating and air conditioning unit sparked a fire. Repairs were initially expected to take four weeks, but the restaurant remained empty for one and a half years. The city and the McDonald's Corporation recently reached an agreement allowing reconstruction to begin. According to McDonald's, the new building will have a more urban design with two drive-thru lanes and more gathering places inside and outside.

FOUR VANDY PLAYERS SUSPENDED FOR POSSIBLE SEX CRIME
Four Vanderbilt University students have been kicked off the eam and suspended.... for allegations of a sex crime that happened in a dorm room. There are six others reportedly under investigation. The alleged victim was also a Vanderbilt student.

NIGHT OWLS WEIGH MORE. THE LATER YOU STAY UP THE MORE YOU WEIGH
How late did you go to bed last night? Was it after ten? I'll bet you're overweight. A new study found if you have to get up for work at a set time, the later you go to bed, the more you weigh. There've been other similar studies, but this was one of the largest, and it was well-controlled to rule out other variables. In it, people who got only four hours of sleep for five consecutive nights ate more fatty foods and gained 2.2. pounds on average. That’s just after five nights!  (Study is in the journal Sleep.)

FIREFIGHTER DEATHS
A community is in mourning and an investigation is underway after 19 specially-trained Arizona firefighters were killed batttling a fire northwest of Phoenix. It's the deadliest incident for firefighters since 9-11.

POLICE SAY TEXT TIPS MAKING IMPACT ON CRIME
Franklin police say tips from the public are making a big impact on crime, now that they've started taking texted anonymous tips. Franklin's 9-1-1 call center is the first in Tennessee to use the anonymous texting program and says their tips have doubled each year since they started it in 2009. (To text a tip to Franklin police dial 847-411 as the phone number and on the message line type ‘615fpd' followed by your tip. You can also submit an anonymous tip on their website or call crime stoppers at 615-794-4000. )

PAULA DEEN’S PUBLISHER DROPS COOKBOOK
Paula Deen's upcoming cookbook, currently the number one seller on Amazon.com, has been dropped by its publisher, Ballantine Books. "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up" was scheduled to come out in October. The departure of Ballantine leaves very few corporations still on Paula's side. That could either mean that she's headed toward absolute ruin -- or she's hit rock bottom, and is due for a comeback.

6 YEAR-OLD SHOT TO DEATH BY 4-YEAR-OLD BROTHER
A 6-year-old Hopkinsville girl has died after being accidentally shot by her 4-year-old brother at their grandparents' home. The kids' grandfather says he was cleaning a pistol and the four year old picked it up and it went off, hitting the girl. She was taken off life support at Vanderbilt Children's hospital late last night.

BRAD PAISLEY EXTENDING HIS SUPPORT TO LITTLE JIMMY DICKENS
Brad Paisley is standing by Opry legend Little Jimmy Dickens as he battles a throat condition.  Paisley tweets that he paid a visit to Little Jimmy late last week, and calls the 92-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer "one tough cookie."  He says Dickens is "gearing up for his treatments, and looks forward to returning to the Opry soon."  Little Jimmy tweeted back his appreciation, saying Brad's support "means the world" to him.  He adds that he" will beat this" and make his return to the Opry stage.  Dickens, the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry, has been diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition.  This week he's expected to begin a three-week course of radiation treatments on his vocal chords.

ZIMMERMAN TRIAL
The murder trial of George Zimmerman continues today in Florida.

PRIDE PARADES
Crowds gathered at Pride Parades in cities across the country this weekend, to celebrate last week's Supreme Court decisions.

JESSICA SIMPSON BABY
Jessica Simpson has had her baby, little Ace Knute Johnson. This is the second for the 32-year-old singer and her fiance, former NFL player Eric Johnson. Her oldest is 1-year-old Maxwell Drew.

AT THE MOVIES
At the movies this weekend the most-watched movie was Pixar's "Monsters University," Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy's new movie "The Heat" was the next-most-popular.

MAN'S DAUGHTER, LOST TO HIM, SHOWS UP IN PHOTO
What are the odds on this one? In England, 58-year-old Michael had been trying to find his 31-year-old daughter Lisa for ten years. While posing for a photo to publicize the search, his daughter was walking by, and ended up in the photo with him. Someone recognized her, and dad and Lisa are back in touch. She hadn't seen him since she was just a baby and her parents split up.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, ALABAMA COMING OUT OF BANKRUPTCY
The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight for America's largest municipal bankruptcy.  Jefferson County, Alabama on Sunday filed a negotiated restructuring plan to emerge from bankruptcy.  Some 19 months after filing for bankruptcy protection, the county is now on a path to exit Chapter 9 by the end of the year.

UNEMPLOYMENT CHANGES IN NORTH CAROLINA
Starting today, people applying for unemployment in North Carolina will get less money and for a shorter period of time.  By reducing compensation, the state became the first in the nation to disqualify itself from a federal program that pays long-term benefits. 

FOUR-YEAR-OLD NEARLY DROWNS
A four-year-old is in the hospital after nearly drowning.  Officials say the boy was found floating in the water at the Starline Apartments pool Sunday afternoon.  According to investigators, the boy was in the water for several minutes before being noticed by other swimmers.

WHAT TO DO WITH EXTRA FLOOD AID MONEY
Metro Nashville officials say they want to reallocate more than $7 million in federal aid for flood mitigation from housing assistance to riverfront revitalization. Metro Development and Housing Agency official Angie Hubbard told The Tennessean that funding isn't needed anymore for homes damaged in 2010 when the Cumberland River overflowed its banks. Hubbard said the agency consulted with city officials and decided the funding would be best spent on aiding plans for the west bank of the Cumberland River. MDHA's board and the Metro Council would need to approve the proposal, then it would go before U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development There won't be a public hearing on the proposed changes, but the metro housing agency is accepting public comments through July 2.

MAN EJECTED FROM TRUCK AFTER HITTING POLE GUY WIRE                        A man was rushed to Vanderbilt on Sunday morning after his truck  hit a guy wire on a utility pole. It happened on Horton Highway in Williamson County just south of State Route 840. Officials say the truck skidded off the highway, then hit the wire. He was ejected out of the vehicle on impact. At this point, officials aren't sure if he'll survive. There's no word on what caused the accident.

TEEN CHARGED IN DEATH OF LONGTIME TEACHER
A teenager is facing charges for a car crash that killed a local teacher.Police say 16-year-old Darius Johnson was behind the wheel, when he hit another car driven by 58-year-old Randy Vanatta, a longtime teacher and coach at Lebanon High School. Investigators say Johnson was speeding down Winwood Drive, and failed to yield at a stop sign, just as Vanatta pulled into the intersection. Vanatta died at the scene. Johnson now faces charges of vehicular homicide by recklessness.

PRESIDENT IN AFRICA
President Obama will be in Tanzania today on the last leg of his Africa tour.  He will be unveiling a new seven-billion-dollar program to enhance Africa's electric power networks and also will visit a power plant.  On Sunday, Obama went to the prison outside Cape Town, South Africa, where former South African President Nelson Mandela was a prisoner for 18 years. 

WOMAN, SON HIT BY METRO BUS
A woman and her son are okay after being hit by a Nashville MTA bus.  Police say the woman was standing near a parked car on Alameda Street on Saturday when she was clipped.  The bus driver reportedly tried to avoid the accident, but there were cars on both sides of the road.

STATES' NEW GUN LAWS START TODAY
Two states impacted by some of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history are ushering in new gun control laws today.  Colorado and Connecticut lawmakers passed legislation to strengthen background checks or keep guns away from the mentally ill.

CALIFORNIA BAN ON SHARK FINS STARTS TODAY
California starts enforcing a ban on shark fins today.  The gelatinous delicacy of shark fin soup is a mainstay at Chinese weddings and other special occasions.  Lawmakers in 2011 passed a ban aimed at slowing the decimation of shark populations around the globe. 

WINNER OF WOMEN'S OPEN LPGA TOURNAMENT
Inbee Park is the winner of the U.S. Women's Open LPGA tournament.  Over the weekend, Park shot eight-under-par to win the tournament by four strokes.  Park is the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1950 to win the first three majors in a golf season.

TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: LIV TYLER, PAMELA ANDERSON & MORE
If you're celebrating a birthday today you're celebrating with Liv Tyler, who's 36, rapper Missy Elliot, who's 42 and former Baywatch Babe, Pamela Anderson, who's 46.