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Tuesday, September 29th

The Times Free Press Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam urged Volkswagen to quickly address consumers' worries about the company's vehicle emissions-testin

The Times Free Press Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam urged Volkswagen to quickly address consumers’ worries about the company’s vehicle emissions-testing scandal because of the potential impact on sales and jobs at VW’s Chattanooga plant. “My primary concern is getting Volkswagen back to where they’re in a mode to sell cars,” Haslam told reporters in Nashville on Monday. Haslam’s concerns come as state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, tries to set up a Chattanooga meeting between legislators and VW officials next month. Watson said the meeting would publicly address worries related to the automaker’s efforts to defeat emissions tests on many of its diesel vehicles — including the locally made Passat — and how VW will move forward. “We want everybody working as much as they can work” at the plant, Watson said. VW’s Passat diesels represent about 29 percent of the sedan’s U.S. sales, according to Kelley Blue Book. Jack R. Nered, KBB.com’s executive editorial director and market analyst, said it’s a reasonable concern that the emissions issue could, in the short term, affect the Chattanooga plant’s workforce. Nered added that he didn’t think the problem will have long-lasting effects on VW sales. He said the situation offers a chance for the car company to more aggressively push its U.S. products and efforts to expand in America. “It’s American workers building American cars for American consumers,” he said. Chattanooga VW plant spokesman Scott Wilson said Monday afternoon the factory is operating as normal. “The construction project for the plant expansion to build the midsize SUV and the production of Passats continues as before,” he said. “We are currently in a ramp-up phase of the all-new Passat per our planned schedule.” VW has put a stop sale on all 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder, turbocharged direct injection-equipped vehicles. The company said it’s working with agencies to obtain approval for model year 2016 2.0 liter TDI vehicles, which officials believe do not have any of the issues the government has identified in other vehicles. “We are working very hard to get our 4-cylinder TDI business restarted as soon as possible,” the company’s statement said. Meanwhile, Haslam said he has two concerns. “No. 1, we have an investment in the original plant and then the expansion. Second, we obviously have a vested interest in their success; I mean, in them selling cars. And so we’re urging them to get everything out in front of everybody as quickly as possible so existing customers can understand what the solution is going to be and [so] that Volkswagen can have a clear path forward.” The Cleveland Daily Banner- Cleveland and Bradley County residents will probably see a lot more of NFL star Peyton Manning around town. Maybe not in person, but on billboards and advertisements for the new Tennova Healthcare-Cleveland. The name is new, but the facility which will now bear its name is not. SkyRidge Medical Center made it official Monday with the announcement it will now be part of Tennova Healthcare. With this alliance, SkyRidge Medical Center’s name will change to Tennova Healthcare-Cleveland. Workers were beginning to make the changes to signs around SkyRidge hours before the official announcement on the transition was scheduled to be made. SkyRidge Medical Center will now be part of a system formed four years ago to enhance access and improve coordination of care for patients at all member hospitals. Tennova is one of the largest healthcare systems in the Volunteer State with 12 hospitals and more than 80 physician clinics. The network includes approximately 1,800 licensed beds, 1,700 physicians on the combined active medical staffs, and 6,800 employees, with more than 51,000 admissions and 300,000 emergency department visits each year. “This is an exciting opportunity for our hospital to experience the shared benefits of becoming part of Tennova Healthcare,” Coleman Foss, CEO Tennova Healthcare-Cleveland, told the Cleveland Daily Banner . “It is our continued mission to be the community’s hospital of choice by offering high-quality care and the best possible experience to our community. Through this alliance, we look forward to continuing to grow how we serve the healthcare needs of Cleveland/Bradley County.” To celebrate the announcement with the Cleveland/Bradley County community, the hospital will host a tailgate celebration at the Cleveland High School football game against Walker Valley High School on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m., and at the Bradley Central High School football game against Bearden High School onFriday, Oct. 2.