Blake Farmer

Demand for food assistance in much of Middle Tennessee has been declining for the last couple of years. But Second Harvest Food Bank is expanding anyway, as the organization finds hunger is becoming a more dispersed problem.

Food stamp recipients in Middle Tennessee are keeping tabs on potential cuts to the program. Food banks are watching the situation as well. Pantries expect a surge in need if federal assistance is slashed.

Tennesseans surprised pollsters this week. For the first time since Vanderbilt launched its regular polling, health care tied with the economy as the top priority of Tennessee voters.

Black bears are on their way to Middle Tennessee. That's the cautious heads-up coming from state wildlife officials, who say residents will need to get accustomed to living with bears in the vicinity.

Historians are leading a movement to add more names to the bronze plaques at Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium, as part of the centennial commemoration of World War I.

A publicly-traded IT company says it's locating 300 jobs in Putnam County over the next five years.

Most of Tennessee's congressional delegation has been quiet about the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Sen. Bob Corker was the only Republican to release a statement, saying the removal "at this particular time will raise questions."

Tennessee's governor has signed a bill that is seen as a way to chip away at gay marriage rights in the state. The legislation orders courts to use the "natural and ordinary" definitions of legal terms like husband, wife, father and mother. Governor Bill Haslam says he didn't see a problem with the bill because, he argued, it doesn't do much.

The Tennessee legislature is in horse trading mode as it nears final votes on Governor Bill Haslam's signature infrastructure funding bill, which includes a gas tax increase along with cuts to taxes on groceries and manufacturing. Passage will almost certainly require the help of Democrats. And minority party leaders have decided to offer their votes in exchange for support of an educational endowment.

State education officials are dubbing the first day of standardized testing in Tennessee schools "nearly flawless."

Without a doubt, day one went more smoothly than last year. In 2016, computer glitches were followed by printing problems for the paper backups. TNReady's launch got off to such a rough start that testing was basically scrapped for the year.

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