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Mohawk Industries to build $180M tile plant in TN
DICKSON, Tenn. (AP) - Mohawk Industries says it will build a $180 million tile plant in Dickson County, creating 320 new jobs over the next four years.
The 1.4 million-square-foot plant is scheduled to open at the end of next year. The Calhoun, Ga.-based company is the largest manufacturer of ceramic tile in North America, and the new facility is projected to bring global production capacity to more than 2 billion square feet a year.
Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that Mohawk's decision to build the new plant outside Nashville reflects the state's business-friendly approach. His administration did not release details of the state's incentive package, saying it was not yet finalized.
Company officials cited the central location of the site and access to raw materials in their decision to build in Dickson County.
Sousa removed as Tennessee's band director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee has removed Gary Sousa as band director, five months after the band issued a statement detailing its "bitter battle" with the school's athletic department and complaining about reduced travel and budget cuts.
In a letter sent to Sousa on Thursday and obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request, Tennessee provost and senior vice chancellor Susan Martin said the decision was effective March 31.
Martin's letter stated Sousa would remain a tenured professor. Sousa's salary drops from $155,000 to $105,000.
The school relieved Sousa of his duties as band director and placed him on administrative leave for the rest of the fall semester on Oct. 14, a week after the band's statement was released. Don Ryder was named interim director of bands at that point and will continue in that role.
VICTORY UNIVERSITY CLOSING
Victory University to close, cites money issues
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A Victory University official says the Christian liberal arts school in Memphis will close its doors due to financial difficulties.
University Director of Marketing Kenneth Kinney told The Commercial Appeal the school had a funding meeting Wednesday and discussed financial struggles, which he said were typical for schools of similar size, but closing had not come up.
Kinney said he had recently increased advertising for the institution that still has television advertising in rotation and had not been aware of the coming decision to close.
The school has about 1,879 students and was founded in the 1940s.
Memphis man indicted in girlfriend burning death
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Prosecutors say a Memphis man has been indicted in the burning death of his girlfriend.
The Shelby County district attorney's office says 58-year-old Gregory Powell is being held without bond on a first-degree murder charge in the October death of 56-year-old Alice Wells.
According to prosecutors, Powell said he hit Wells with a stick, retrieved a can of gas and dragged her into the bathroom.
Authorities said Powell put Wells in the bathtub, doused her with the gasoline and set her on fire before putting out the flames with a fire extinguisher.
Officers who went inside the house smelled smoke and gas odors and discovered the woman with severe burns all over her body. She died at the scene.
Online records do not show if Powell has a lawyer.
Corker is keynote speaker for Andrew Jackson event
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Bob Corker will be the keynote speaker at a celebration of President Andrew Jackson's 247th birthday.
The commemoration takes place at Jackson's home, The Hermitage, on March 15.
The museum is offering half-off admission for the special event. It will include educational activities for visitors of all ages, as well as birthday cake and a wreath-laying ceremony at Jackson's tomb.
More information is available at http://www.thehermitage.com.
Gay hiring fears hurt Baptist agency fundraising
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Uncertainty over a short-lived proposal to open employment to gays at Kentucky's largest private child care agency prompted many supportive churches to withhold giving last year, creating a multi-million dollar shortfall.
Sunrise Children's Services depends on giving from Kentucky's Baptist congregations - and government funding. But Kentucky Baptist Convention executive director Paul Chitwood says offerings dried up last year amid donor concerns the proposal to allow gay workers might succeed.
The Sunrise board ultimately rejected the proposal, unwilling to begin hiring gays at Sunrise just to ensure future government contracts. Supporters now hope a fundraising drive will cover $5 million of the roughly $7.5 million shortfall.
Meanwhile, experts note religiously-affiliated groups operating with government funding could be increasingly held to new standards as gay right protections advance in several states.
KENTUCKY BRIDGE COLLAPSE
Ky. sues crew of barge that collapsed bridge
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky transportation officials are suing the crew of a cargo ship that struck and collapsed part of a bridge over the Tennessee River in western Kentucky.
The state Transportation Cabinet says in a lawsuit moved to federal court this week that it spent at least $7 million to repair the Eggner's Ferry Bridge after the Delta Mariner struck it on Jan. 26, 2012. The cabinet's lawsuit says the ship's crew ignored warnings from the U.S. Coast Guard about the bridge's navigation lights being out.
Seattle-based Foss Maritime, the owners of the cargo ship, said in a statement Thursday that it doesn't comment on pending court actions.
The wreck caused a 322-foot section of the span to collapse. The bridge carries traffic from near Aurora, Ky., to Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.
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