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News - Friday, November 24, 2017

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Haslam backs WGU despite critical audit
Feds: Online college lacks faculty, should repay $700M in financial aid funds

On any day, hundreds and possibly thousands of Tennessee students go to college online, whenever and however they want, courtesy of Western Governors University Tennessee.

In interviews and in online statements, many students swear by WGU Tennessee’s combination of structured degree programs designed around workplace needs, online courses that award pass-fail credits once a student has mastered the topic and a mentor system that includes subject-matter experts and others who guide them toward graduating. More than 3,600 students across the state are enrolled, and some 2,200 have graduated. WGU is nonprofit, and its programs are accredited.

WGU students say mentors are their key to success

Every morning, Western Governors University course mentor Linda Knieps checks her roster of students to learn what they’ve been accomplishing. One may have aced an exam; another, not so much.

Depending on what she sees, she’ll get in touch by email or phone, offering additional reading materials or perhaps setting up a time to talk further. At any given time, she supports about 200 students taking two WGU psychology courses.

WGU: How it works

WGU offers two six-month terms a year, and students can start their school year on the first day of any month. The next term starts on Dec. 1.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, WGU Tennessee students will pay $3,190 per term for undergraduate programs, and from $3,190 to $3,750 per term for graduate programs that award master’s degrees. Additional fees may apply.

View from the Hill: Wiping slate clean less about money

The scales of justice in Tennessee are slowly tipping back toward the poor – and not so poor – helping them regain traction lost to often-minor transgressions.

Change is taking place in court battles and in the Republican-controlled Legislature, believe it or not.

Mid-South Super Lawyers honored

The legal division of Thomson Reuters has delivered its list of Super Lawyers for 2017. Once again, Chattanooga fared well.

Covering more than 70 practice areas, Super Lawyers is a directory of attorneys in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Keeping cool leads to hot opportunity for Fuqua

“I wouldn’t want you in my neighborhood if you were the last people on Earth!”

Realtor Cheryl Fuqua wasn’t hearing the words she’d hoped would be spoken at the closing table between her buyers and the builder who was selling the house they wanted. But the steadily increasing tension between the two parties had finally boiled over into a heated exchange.

River City Roundabout: Pop in to Calamansi Cafe’s pop-ups

Angie Adams remembers growing up in the jungle mountains of the Philippines and begging her grandmother to make arroz caldo, or rice porridge.

Adams’ grandmother would say, “My grandchild, I don’t have any presents for your birthday.” Adams would reply, “I don’t want presents. Just make me your arroz caldo.”

Pride only thing at stake in UT-Vanderbilt game

Tennessee’s football team and interim head coach Brady Hoke will try to avoid a historically bad season Saturday.

If the Vols (4-7, 0-7 SEC) lose to Vanderbilt (4-7, 0-7), it would be the first team in program history to lose eight games and go winless in the conference. Kickoff is 4 p.m. EST at Neyland Stadium (TV: SEC Network).

‘Justice League’ has too little Flash

When Marvel released “The Avengers” in 2012, it had already laid the groundwork for a great character-based action movie. After each of the main characters had starred in their own film, they came together to complete the bond between them and fight a common foe.

The American dream of home ownership is Alive

Throughout 2017, this column has reported on rising home prices and decreases in the housing affordability index. For the first 10 months of 2017, the median home price in the greater Chattanooga region grew from $161,000 to $175,000.

While this 8.7 percent increase is music to the ears of existing homeowners, it represents to many in our community the reality that the dream of homeownership is slipping farther out of reach. For the most vulnerable of working families, homeownership is just that – a dream. Hence, the critical mission of Habitat for Humanity.

Secure your home for the cold

While heavy snow or extreme cold might not be a big factor in Chattanooga or the surrounding area, those who experience even moderate snow falls or brief cold snaps during the winter know that colder temperatures can take a big toll on your home.

Winter weather can also knock out heat, power and other services to your home, sometimes for several consecutive days.

How can you share your financial “abundance” with your family?

Thanksgiving is almost here. Ideally, this day should be about more than football and the imminent arrival of Black Friday mega-sales. After all, the spirit of the holiday invites us to be grateful for what we have and for the presence of our loved ones.

Insurance challenges for Realtors

Nearly nine in 10 Realtors are independent contractors of their real estate firms. As an independent contractor, many typically don’t have access to traditional employer-provided benefits, such as health insurance.

As debate continues around the Affordable Care Act and more insurance companies drop out of the individual and small group insurance market, it’s more important to the National Association of Realtors than ever to ensure affordable health insurance options are available to Realtors and other individuals who are also self-employed or independent contractors.

Passage of flood bill critical step toward reform, Realtors say

With less than a month left before the National Flood Insurance Program expires, the National Association of Realtors is applauding the House of Representatives for passing what NAR believes is smart, much-needed support for the program.

“Realtors know first-hand what happens when the NFIP expires, and it isn’t good for consumers, businesses or our communities,” says Elizabeth Mendenhall, NAR president. “We appreciate the leadership that members of Congress have shown passing sound reforms, which will strengthen the program, protect property owners and deliver good results for taxpayers.”

National Association of Realtors says tax bill an ‘all-out assault on homeowners’

As House passes middle-class tax increase, Realtors say their work is just getting started

National Association of Realtors President Elizabeth Mendenhall has issued the following statement on the passage in the House of Representatives of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a bill she calls an all-out assault on homeownership:

Aquarium exhibit features holographic technology

Despite exhibiting some species that have existed long enough to earn distinction as living fossils, the Tennessee Aquarium is no stranger to being on the leading edge of technology.

From virtual reality immersive learning and the region’s first IMAX with Laser projection system to the world’s only tweeting electric eel, the Ocean Journey and River Journey buildings have long served as test beds for new technologies.

River Gorge Explorer will log final cruises in January

Aquarium President and CEO Keith Sanford has informed staff and volunteers that cruise operations aboard the River Gorge Explorer on the Tennessee River will end in January after nine years.

“After developing a new strategic plan and carefully evaluating the Aquarium’s resources, we’ve decided to stop operating the boat,” Sanford says.

Newsmakers: CVB announces new board chair

The Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau’s executive committee has unanimously elected Keith Sanford, president and CEO of the Tennessee Aquarium, chairman of the board.

This new appointment was necessary due to the resignation of Tom Cupo of The Chattanoogan Hotel. The property, which has been managed by Benchmark Resorts and Hotels, was recently sold. Cupo will be transferring to a Benchmark property in Virginia.