Associated Press

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Muslims in the Tennessee city of Murfreesboro were able to celebrate Friday prayers in a new mosque after more than two years of controversy about the building.

Opponents of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro who sued to try to halt construction were nowhere to be seen. Instead the worship space was filled with smiling men, women and children.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The run of unusual weather continued in Tennessee this past month.

Memphis was dry in July while rainfall in the Tri-Cities set an all-time record. The mid-state almost caught up on annual rainfall.

National Weather Service meteorologist Danny Gant says a stubborn high pressure ridge has taken up residence over western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. It blocks storm systems from moving into the Mississippi Valley. The farther away from the ridge, the better chances of rain.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro will meet for prayers in its new mosque on Friday.

Rutherford County Building Codes Director David Jones said Tuesday that he issued a temporary occupancy permit to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro after inspectors approved the building.

Construction was nearly shut down after Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew ruled in May that the meeting at which mosque construction was approved was not sufficiently advertised to the public.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart has lost her state House primary to a retired Air Force officer backed by the National Rifle Association.

With 88 percent of precincts reporting Thursday night, Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers had more than 1,630 votes, or 58 percent, compared with Maggart's 1,157, or 42 percent.

Rogers was endorsed by the NRA, which was outraged that Maggart didn't push through legislation to allow workers to store guns in vehicles parked on company lots regardless of their employers' wishes.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Voters in six Memphis suburbs have approved the creation of municipal public school systems to sidestep the merger of city and county schools.

Referendums in Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington passed Thursday. Next month, a judge will have the final say on whether the vote will stand.

Voters in those municipalities want their own schools to avoid the merger between the larger, struggling, majority-black Memphis school system and the smaller, more successful, majority-white Shelby County district.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Six congressional incumbents have defeated their challengers in Tennessee's primary election.

Republican Reps. Chuck Fleischmann and Diane Black won their races, following some of the state's toughest campaigns.

The other winners were Republican Reps. Jimmy Duncan in the 2nd District, Stephen Fincher in the 8th District and Scott DesJarlais in the 4th District. Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen prevailed in the 9th District.

Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker also easily won nomination.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) —  Filled with big money punches and verbal attacks, the primary for the 6th District congressional seat is looking more like a female boxing match: Black vs. Zelenik, the rematch.

Two years ago former state Sen. Diane Black defeated Lou Ann Zelenik by fewer than 400 votes in a GOP primary that pitted Black's mainstream Republican credentials against Zelenik's tea party fervor. Black went on to win the seat east of Nashville, helping tip the Tennessee congressional delegation to 7-2 in favor of the GOP.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Health has issued licenses to 255 pain clinics since a new law took effect on Jan. 1 requiring the step.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that there are another 20 applications being reviewed, while 19 have been rejected.

The law imposes regulations on pain management clinics in an effort to crack down on so-called pill mills. In addition to licenses, the new regulations outlaw cash payments for treatment and require licensed physicians to be present in the clinic at least 20 percent of the time.

WMOT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM) will be permitted to occupy its new mosque in time for Ramadan.

WTVF-TV is reporting that a federal judge issued an emergency restraining order Wednesday evening that compels county officials to grant immediate occupancy. The order means that ICM will likely get to celebrate Ramadan beginning Thursday evening in its new facility.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A Memphis woman has been sentenced to 29 years in prison for fatally stabbing a Middle Tennessee State University women's basketball player.

Rutherford County Circuit Court Judge Don Ash on Tuesday sentenced Shanterrica Madden of Memphis to 25 years for second-degree murder and four years for tampering with evidence. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Madden was convicted in May in the March 2, 2011, death of 21-year-old Tina Stewart at an off-campus apartment they shared.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $395,000 a year for three years to Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region.

A news release said the money will provide Title X family planning services, including birth control and related health care, annual wellness exams and cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Planned Parenthood in Memphis said it had provided these services for more than 30 years until last year when county health officials awarded the funding to Christ Community Health Services.

TOWNSEND, Tenn. (AP) — At least two people have been killed as a violent thunderstorm struck the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Park spokeswoman Melissa Cobern says a man on a motorcycle was killed as was a 41-year-old woman who was struck by a falling tree. The names of the victims were withheld while their family members were told.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Steve Peterson has retired after 25 seasons as head baseball coach at Middle Tennessee State University.

Peterson, who announced his retirement Thursday, compiled a 791-637-3 record with the Blue Raiders. His teams played in nine NCAA regional tourneys.

Jim McGuire, associate head coach, was named interim head coach.

Peterson also was head coach at Roane State Community College from 1979 to 1984.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam will begin his review of the state's college and university systems next week.

The Commercial Appeal  reports Haslam will assemble business, legislative and higher education leaders for a meeting at the governor's residence on July 10.

An invitation sent from the governor's office to members of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, Board of Regents and others says the meeting will also feature presentations by three leading higher education policy experts and that Haslam will moderate discussions after each presentation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Temperatures across Tennessee are predicted to build during the week, reaching triple-digit readings by Friday.

The National Weather Service forecasts call for late week high temperatures of 101 degrees in Nashville and Clarksville and 100 degrees in Memphis.

Even the uplands will be hot — reaching 95 degrees in Gatlinburg and 94 in Crossville.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are taking criminal action related to a mosque under construction in Tennessee that's been hit by arsonists and vandals and opposed in court.

U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin is holding a news conference Thursday afternoon at the building site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also will attend.

Officials from those federal agencies declined to release more details before the announcement.

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn (AP) — An American woman who sent her Russian adopted son back to Moscow on a plane is asking a Tennessee judge to set aside an order for her to pay $150,000 in child support.

The Shelbyville Times-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/Mwrumr ) that Torry Hansen claimed in court filings the child support would not go to benefit the boy, but would get lost in a bureaucratic system.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Students in the University of Tennessee system will find out this week how much their tuition will be in the fall.

The finance committee of the UT Board of Trustees is scheduled to make the tuition projections on Wednesday and the full board will vote on them Thursday.

The university system has an enrollment of about 50,000 students at campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin; the Health Science Center in Memphis; state Institutes of Agriculture and Public Service; and the Space Institute in Tullahoma.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two Knoxville state representatives who were running unopposed for re-election this year could wind up with challengers from the Green Party.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/Mw1Y0y ) the Green Party of Tennessee last month nominated candidates for several offices after a federal judge ruled the state may not enforce several rules that minor political parties claim are roadblocks to their candidates getting elected.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro will be allowed to continue construction of its new mosque, but may not be allowed to use the building once it’s complete.

Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew last month voided construction approval for the mosque, saying the county didn’t provide proper notice for the meeting where it was approved.

However, county officials have not acted to stop mosque construction. At a hearing yesterday, plaintiffs asked presiding judge Robert Corlew to order county officials to do so.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A group that has attacked the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro is now taking aim at a recent hire by Gov. Bill Haslam based on her religion.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/Mrtu2Q ) the Center for Security Policy and the 8th District Tea Party Coalition have urged their members to put pressure on the state to dump Samar Ali, an attorney appointed last month as the new international director for the state's Economic and Community Development office.

NASHVILLE, Tenn (AP) — Tennessee's tea party activists hope to expand their influence with the fall election, but the movement's various groups may be too divided to have much impact.

The Tennessean reports tea party groups hope to pick off a few members of the state legislature, with the idea of reshaping its leadership. But the groups have not agreed to which members to go after. Nor have they settled on a slate of candidates to support.

The situation in Tennessee may also indicate a broader problem for the tea party movement.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Middle Tennessee State University is making efforts to increase its graduation rate. Just over half its students are currently completing college within six years.

According to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, 53 percent of MTSU students who began in fall 2004 graduated by 2010. That was fourth best among the state's four-year public universities. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was tops with 67 percent. Tennessee Tech had a 55 percent graduation rate, and UT-Martin's rate was 54 percent.

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — The Department of Defense has announced four units, including two from Fort Campbell, that will deploy to Afghanistan this year.

The scheduled rotation announced Thursday includes more than 11,000 soldiers from the four units who will start deploying between spring and winter.

More than 3,000 soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kan., will deploy in the spring.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Rutherford County judge has ruled that construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’s new mosque can continue for now. 

Opponents of the Murfreesboro Mosque convinced Judge Robert Corlew to nullify the county planning commission decision that approved it, but they lost their bid to stop construction immediately.

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