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Gov. Haslam Named Chairman of Republican Governors Association for 2015

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The Republican Governors Association announced on Thursday that Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will serve as chairman in 2015.

"Governor Haslam is a strong leader among leaders, and his chairmanship will serve the RGA well as it works to build upon a historic election year and strengthen our majority in the states," outgoing chairman Chris Christie said. "His guidance will be a tremendous asset to this organization in the coming year."

According to the RGA, Haslam said that "Republican governors are the standard bearers of truly meaningful reform."

The RGA works to "elect Republicans to governorships throughout the nation," the organization's website says.

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Tennessee Unemployment Rate Drops, but Can't Keep Pace with National Rate

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce announced on Thursday that the state's unemployment rate fell to 7.1 percent in October.

The figures were a small drop from September's revised rate of 7.3 percent.

The state unemployment rate has dropped by a full percentage point in the last year, from 8.1 percent to 7.1 percent.

Still, Tennessee's unemployment rate was higher than the national rate of 5.8 percent.

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Lebanon Man Charged with Theft from Stepfather’s Estate

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A Lebanon resident has been arrested and charged with theft from his stepfather’s estate after a five-month investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Roger Dale Garrison, 56, was arrested by agents on Tuesday after he was indicted on Nov. 5 by a Sumner County Grand Jury on charges of financial transactions from felony theft proceeds and theft of property.

TBI Agents began to investigate Garrison back in June after they learned of possible fraudulent activity when he served as the power of attorney for his stepfather, Talmadge Owen, and his mother, Agnes Owen.

Between October 2009 and December 2010, authorities say that Garrison moved a Certificate of Deposit valued at about $140,000 to a Westmoreland bank account in his name, and wrote himself checks from Talmadge’s account for more than a year after the death of his stepfather.

The 56-year-old is being held at the Sumner County jail on a $10,000 bond.

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TN to Mark International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will join with survivors of suicide later this month in recognition of the 2014 International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.

The Jared’s Keepers Foundation, a newly established suicide prevention awareness group, is organizing Music City Survivors of Suicide Loss Day on Saturday, Nov. 22 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Swang Building at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.

The Germantown Church of Christ will also be hosting an event on Saturday, Nov. 22 from 11 a.m. to  2:30 p.m. at the church, located at 8723 Poplar Pike in Germantown, Tenn.

The Tennessee Department of Health reports there were 1,017 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2013, up from 956 the past year. This marks the fourth consecutive year with an increase in suicides statewide.

“We have lost so many to suicide, too many,” said E. Douglas Varney, TDMHSAS Commissioner in a statement. “Most notably this year was the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, which has resulted in a tremendous amount of attention and awareness.”

International Survivors Day came following the passage of a bill in the U.S. Congress designating the Saturday before Thanksgiving as National Survivors of Suicide Day.

If you, or someone you know is in emotional distress, contact the Tennessee Toll-Free Statewide Crisis Telephone Line at (855) 274-7471.

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Four Accused in Walmart Theft, Money Laundering Case

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Four people have been accused of participating in a large-scale theft and money laundering operation involving Walmart stores spanning three states.

Officials from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation say Demetria Lewis, 27, Dewayne Garner, 22, Jasmine Lewis, 22, and Sandy McKay, 35, were all arrested on Friday in Nashville.

The group is accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart stores in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama, and through an elaborate system, convert the value of the merchandise to cash.

Walmart estimates the group has been in operation since at least November 2012,  and stole more than $720,000 in merchandise, according to the TBI.

They are each being held in the Williamson County Jail on $150,000 bond.

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