Blake Farmer

The Cumberland Plateau is home to a rare orchid that has become so scarce it’s now up for federal protection. The Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed putting the white fringeless orchid on the Endangered Species list under a "threatened" status.

Antioch residents are still concerned about having more inmates living in their community, even after fending off an expansion of the nearby Metro jail earlier this year. Community groups and Metro Council members have summoned Sheriff Daron Hall to explain his plans at the Global Mall on Monday night.

Ninety percent of students at Hobgood Elementary in Murfreesboro, Tenn., come from low-income households. Most of the school's teachers don't. And that's a challenge, says principal Tammy Garrett.

"If you only know middle-class families, you may not understand at times why they don't have their homework or why they're tired," Garrett says.

Tennessee students who took the ACT college entrance exam this year averaged a composite score of 19.8. That’s on par with last year, but still a high point over the last five years.

According to numbers released Wednesday morning, Tennessee fares well compared to other southern states that also require 100 percent of students to take the ACT. Only Kentucky has a higher average composite score with a 20.

Home sales in the Nashville area shot up again in the month of July, approaching the level of activity seen in 2006 during the last housing boom. But condos remain a weak spot. After months of ups and downs, the median price of a condo hit its lowest point this year — $161,000, down $10,000 from the same month last year.

Earlier this summer, high school freshman Jake Rowe was deep sea fishing, snorkeling and sailing at Sea Base, a Boy Scout camp in the Florida Keys. His dad, George, was home in Nashville, waiting on his nightly phone call. He'd wanted to accompany his son, as a chaperone — like he'd done on Scout camping trips closer to home — but he was told he couldn't go. George Rowe is openly gay.

Vanderbilt University acted swiftly to delete a tweet from the official football team account after it was widely seen as insensitive in light of the program’s history with sexual assault.

One of the most sought-after producers in country music died Tuesday. Billy Sherrill was 78 years old. He discovered Tammy Wynette, turned George Jones into a superstar and became a Nashville taste-maker for decades.

"Chow bus! Chow bus! Chow bus!" chants Gunner Fischer, 3, as a custom-painted school bus rounds the corner and rumbles toward his apartment complex in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

About 21 million students nationwide eat free and reduced-price meals throughout the school year, but getting those same kids fed during the summer is a challenge. Only a fraction of those make it to schools or community centers for summer meals.

A stack of research suggests that all the classroom technology in the world can't compare to the power of a great teacher. And, since we haven't yet figured out how to clone our best teachers, a few schools around the country are trying something like it: Stretching them across multiple classrooms.