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AP List of Top Ten Tennessee News Stories in 2012

Here are the top Tennessee stories of 2012, as selected in voting by subscribers and staff of The Associated Press:
1. An outbreak of fungal meningitis and other diseases linked to tainted steroid shots leads to more than 80 cases and a dozen deaths in Tennessee. (October-December)
2. Pat Summitt, winningest coach in NCAA basketball, steps down as coach of the Lady Vols. (April 18)
3. Republicans win a supermajority in the state Legislature for first time since Reconstruction. (Nov. 6.)
4. Tennessee implements election changes, including redistricting and requiring photo identification for voters while a court allows Shelby County to use library card ID for general election. (January-November)
5. U.S Rep. Scott DesJarlais is hit with election-year revelations from his 2001 divorce that showed he dated patients, urged one of them to get an abortion, prescribed another one painkillers and consented when his ex-wife had two abortions. (October-November)
6. (tie) The triple-digit heat wave shatters high temperature records across the state. (June 25-30)
6. (tie) A mosque near Murfreesboro is allowed to open after opponents wage a two-year legal battle to stop it. (Aug. 10)
8. Two West Tennessee sisters, 12-year-old Alexandria and 8-year-old Kyliyah Bain, are recovered alive after their abductor killed their mother and sister and himself. (May 10)
9. Tennessee fires football coach Derek Dooley after his third losing season with the Volunteers (Nov. 18)
10. (tie) The Southern Baptist Convention votes to make the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. its first African-American president and to adopt an optional alternative name, Great Commission Baptists. (June 20)
10. (tie) Tennessee walking horse trainer Jackie McConnell, three others plead guilty after undercover video show them soring, beating horses. (May)

AP’s Top Ten Tennessee News Stories of 2011

We’re still a couple of weeks away from year’s end, but the cycle of media re-reporting what happened during the year is underway.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Here are the top Tennessee news stories of 2011 as chosen by The Associated Press staff:
1. 37 die in April tornadoes.
2. Pat Summitt diagnosed with early onset dementia.
3. Lawmakers repeal teachers’ collective bargaining rights amid union, tea party protests.
4. (Tie) Occupy Nashville protesters gather at Capitol; win court battle to keep going.
4. (Tie) Mississippi River floods parts of Memphis, West Tennessee.
6. Bruce Pearl fired as Tennessee basketball coach.
7. Woman who spent 26 years on death row is released.
8. Former Gov. Ned McWherter dies.
9. Legislators approve photo ID for voting.
10. General Motors announces plans to restart assembly work at Spring Hill plant.
Note: The story accompanying the list, written by Joe Edwards, is below.

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On Telling Tennessee Political Tales

Reading former state Rep. Bob Patton’s recently-published book is akin to sitting down with a bunch of Tennessee political junkies and listening to them reminisce. Some of the stories are funny, some are philosophical, some are really dull or seemingly pointless and some, well, leave you wondering if the truth hasn’t been stretched somewhat.
In a foreword to “Tennessee Political Fireworks,” conversation collector Patton offers a disclaimer: He isn’t vouching for the veracity; he’s just repeating the tales he was told in his own sitting and listening.
The repeating and the reading are both worthwhile endeavors if you are the sort who enjoys political yarns. (Disclosure: I am.)
There is Don Sundquist as an incumbent congressman campaigning for reelection with his wife, handing out fans bearing his name. A woman accepts one from Martha Sundquist and asks her, “Who is this and what’s he running for?” That’s my husband and he’s running for Congress, says Martha.
“Well, I don’t know who he is, but I’ll vote for him. He’s got to be better than the guy we have in there now,” the woman replies.

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