Across the state
Tennessee Republican Party chairman Robin Smith of Hixson resigned from that position. Smith is considered a leading candidate to replace outgoing Third District Congressional representative Zach Wamp, who is running for governor.
Gov. Phil Bredesen announced that the U.S. Department of Education had approved Tennessee’s application for the first $635 million available to the state through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act State Fiscal Stabilization Plan. The amount represents 67 percent of all funding available to the state for educational initiatives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program. The rest of the money will be available this fall.
Bredesen also presented a jobs package plan aimed at reducing unemployment in Perry County using federal dollars from the Recovery Act. The plan will employ nearly 300 unemployed residents in both government- and private-sector employment opportunities. Perry County has the state’s highest rate of unemployment at 25.4 percent. The next highest rate is 18.8 percent.
Rally Tennessee, a Linden-based road racing event held over a closed course of twisting roads, brought some needed economic activity to Perry County over the Memorial Day weekend. Celebrating its fifth year, the acclaimed Rally Tennessee race boasts competitors from all over the world. Although a modest sport stateside, rally racing is big in Europe. The sport features "street legal" cars (the same that fans use in their daily lives) on real roads. And with the designation of longest all-tarmac race in the States, Rally Tennessee has found its niche.
Portland, Ore.-based Nike Inc., which has significant distribution operations in Memphis, announced that it is cutting nearly 1,800 jobs worldwide, or roughly 5 percent of its global work force.
Minnesota-based Medtronic Inc., a medical devices company that also has a significant presence in Memphis, announced plans to eliminate as many as 1,800 jobs from its payroll by the end of June amid efforts to control costs and manage economic pressures.
A report by the Center for Business and Economic Research at UT-Knoxville found that development of the megasite in Haywood County could create between 900 and 2,000 direct jobs, 9,000 indirect jobs and have an estimated direct payroll of $136 million in the first five years of operation. Gov. Bredesen recently announced plans to spend $62 million at the site to create a solar power farm and to install infrastructure.