Latest Tennessee news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CDT


Lee: More information to be released on COVID-19 deaths

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee has announced that Tennessee will soon release location information on where coronavirus deaths have occurred in the state after his administration initially declined to do so. The Republican had been facing pressure to provide the county information as Tennessee's death toll from the virus climbed to 23 Tuesday — which includes a former college president who was serving as a pastor in Memphis. On Tuesday, Lee said the state would list not only county information for COVID-19 deaths but also the number of negative tests on a county level.


Knox to release arrestees; Memphis canceling court dates

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Knox County’s judges have ordered the sheriff's office to book and release all arrestees charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies in an effort to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile Memphis has canceled all out-of-custody court dates in April. The moves come after the Tennessee Supreme Court last week ordered local judges to submit plans on how to reduce jail and prison populations. A group has petitioned the Tennessee Supreme Court to go even further and order the release of a number of prisoners from the state's jails and prisons. The court hasn't responded to the emergency petition.


Red Cross again extends assistance deadline after tornadoes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The American Red Cross has announced that it once again was extending the deadline for emergency financial help for Middle Tennessee residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed earlier this month by several deadly tornadoes. The Red Cross said in a Monday news release that the new deadline to file an application for financial assistance is now April 7. The organization had previously announced it would extend the deadline to April 1. Affected homeowners and renters can determine if they are qualified and complete an application by calling the Red Cross. All services, including financial help, are free to eligible households.


Deadline for rural broadband internet grants extended

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended a deadline for funding requests by rural communities and businesses seeking to improve high-speed broadband internet access. The department said in a news release Monday that the application deadline for the ReConnect Pilot Program is now April 15. The federal program provides loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural parts of the country. Congress has provided $600 million to the USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services under the program. The Agriculture Department is investing $9 million on projects in Cumberland, Houston, Henry, Maury, Montgomery, Rutherford, Smith, Stewart, Williamson and Wilson counties.


Judge won't halt Watkins College-Belmont University merger

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Nashville judge has ruled against two students and a teacher who are attempting to block the proposed merger between Watkins College of Art and Belmont University. Chancellor Patricia Head Moskal issued a ruling Friday that found that the students and teacher lacked standing to stop the merger. Moskal wrote that for purposes of the temporary injunction Watkins is governed by the Tennessee Nonprofit Corporation Act. That limits who can challenge the school's actions to a few parties including the Tennessee Attorney General and school directors. Moskal also noted that the merger is still subject to review by the Attorney General's office.


Singer John Prine is in stable condition, his wife says

NEW YORK (AP) — John Prine is in stable condition after being placed on a ventilator while being treated for COVID-19-type symptoms, his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine said Monday. The singer-songwriter's family said Sunday that Prine was critically ill. Fiona Prine's message Monday on social media, suggested his condition had improved overnight. Prine remains hospitalized. News that Prine's health was in jeopardy provoked an outpouring of affection for Prine. Joan Baez responded with a video of her playing his song “Hello In There" from her kitchen.