Auto supplier Denso: $1B investment in Tennessee plant

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 10:18 AM
Updated: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 10:16 AM

Automotive supplier Denso announced plans Friday to invest $1 billion and create more than 1,000 new jobs in its main Tennessee facility to meet growing demand for electric vehicle parts.

The investment is aimed at making the Maryville plant the Japanese company's primary manufacturer in North American for electrification and safety systems, the company said.

"This is an investment in the future of Denso, and also the future of transportation," Kenichiro Ito, the chairman of Denso North America, said in a statement. "We are seeing dramatic shifts in the role of transportation in society, and this investment will help position us to meet those changing demands."

The company plans to expand several production lines to produce advanced components for hybrid and electric vehicles. The products are designed to improve fuel efficiency and preserve electric power by recovering and recycling energy. They also will boost efficiency for the entire vehicle by anticipating road conditions through data collected inside and outside the car.

The expansion in Maryville comes atop a $400 million investment that the company announced in 2015 to consolidate its warehouse operations, a move intended at the time to add 500 jobs.

Denso opened the plant in Maryville in 1988 with about 100 employees. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, then governor, has said the facility in his hometown was a sort of consolation prize after Tennessee lost out to Kentucky for a Toyota assembly plant. Today about 3,200 people work at the Maryville plant, besides another 1,400 employees at another Denso facility in nearby Athens, Tennessee.

The announcement comes as Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam prepares to embark on a trade mission to Asia that will include a pitch seeking to attract a new joint Toyota and Mazda assembly plant to his Southern state.

The Japanese automakers announced in August that they plan to spend $1.6 billion on the new manufacturing plant, creating up to 4,000 jobs. The companies plan to work together on advanced auto technology, such as electric vehicles, safety features and connected cars, as well as products that they could supply each other.

Tennessee is home to assembly plants by Nissan, General Motors and Volkswagen, along with a slew of suppliers. The state has been prepping a sprawling site outside of Memphis in hopes of attracting another auto manufacturing plant.

"We would love to get the Mazda-Toyota plant," Haslam told reporters Thursday. "We think we have leg up in automobile manufacturing because we're so strong in it now, and there is a sense in which there's a real desire to locate near other suppliers."

Family says Trump told fallen soldier's widow that husband 'knew what he signed up for'

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 11:41 PM
Updated: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 12:40 PM

Reports: President Trump to Widow of Fallen Soldier, He Knew "What He Signed Up For"

Update, 12:39 p.m. ET Wednesday: President Donald Trump on Wednesday afternoon staunchly denied an account by a congresswoman and the family of a fallen U.S. Army soldier that claimed the president told the soldier’s widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for” before his death.

>> Read more trending news

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, first spoke about the comment, which she said was made during a call Tuesday to La David Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson.

“I didn’t say what that congresswoman said – didn’t say it at all,” the president told reporters Wednesday. “I did not say what she said, and I’d like her to make the statement again because I did not say what she said.”

Wilson said Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for” in a phone call put on speakerphone as she, Wilson and others headed to Miami International Airport on Tuesday to meet the body of La David Johnson.

“She knows it and she now is not saying it,” Trump said. “I had a very nice conversation with the woman, the wife, who sounded like a lovely woman.”

Despite the president’s claim, Wilson has not backed down from her account. She highlighted her position on Twitter shortly after Trump spoke.

UPDATE, 12:08 p.m. ET Wednesday: The family of a fallen U.S. Army soldier killed earlier this month in an ambush in Niger on Wednesday confirmed that President Donald Trump told the soldier’s widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

“Yes the statement is true,” Cowanda Jones-Johnson, the mother of slain Sgt. La David Johnson, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, first spoke about the comment, which she said was made during a call Tuesday to La David Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson. The president had called Myeshia Johnson as she, Wilson and others were on their way to Miami International Airport, to meet the body of La David Johnson.

Trump has denied the report.

“I was in the car and I heard the full conversation,” Jones-Johnson told the AP, adding that the president disrespected her son, her daughter-in-law and her husband.

The president said Wednesday that he had proof that he didn’t tell Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for,” although he did not elaborate.

UPDATE, 11:22 a.m. ET Wednesday: U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, said on Wednesday morning that she was not the only one to hear President Donald Trump tell the widow of a fallen soldier that her husband “knew what he signed up for” after the president accused her of lying about her account.

“(I) was not the only one who heard and was dismayed by his insensitive remarks,” Wilson wrote in a tweet Wednesday morning.

Wilson told CNN that Trump was on speakerphone when he made the remark Tuesday to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson. The president had called Myeshia Johnson as she, Wilson and others were on their way to Miami International Airport, to meet the body of La David Johnson.

La David Johnson was one of four Army soldiers killed earlier this month in an ambush in Niger.

Wilson told CNN that Trump’s comments were overheard by others in the car, including the driver, the master sergeant, her press person and the widow’s aunt and uncle.

“The president, evidently, is lying, because what I said is true,” Wilson said. “I have no reason to lie on the President of the United States, with a dead soldier in my community -- I have no time, I have no motive.”

Trump denied telling Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for” and claimed to have proof to refute Wilson’s account. He did not elaborate.

UPDATE, 7:38 a.m. ET Wednesday: President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to deny reports that he told a fallen soldier’s widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” Trump tweeted.

>> See the tweet here

The tweet was referring to U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, who said she heard Trump say the words when he offered his condolences to Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson.

Wilson stood by her remarks. 

"I don't know what kind of proof he's talking about. I'm not the only person that was in the car," Wilson told CNN. "I have proof, too. This man is a sick man and he feels no pity for no one."

ORIGINAL STORY: President Donald Trump reportedly told the pregnant widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson that “he knew what he signed up for...” in a call Tuesday afternoon according to WPLG.

Johnson’s body, one of the four Army servicemen killed in action in Niger on Oct. 4, returned to the United States Tuesday. The flight bearing Johnson’s remains landed at Miami International Airport, according to WPLG.

The plane was met by Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant with the couple’s third child. Also present was an honor guard and local politicians.

Trump called Johnson to offer his condolences, telling her that her fallen husband “knew what he signed up for,” adding that “when it happens it hurts anyway,” a congresswoman who said she was present for the call said.

That response is generating some controversy, with some saying the president was unnecessarily callous and blunt. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, said she heard the call with Trump and couldn’t believe her ears.

“It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it,” she said.

Also killed in action on Oct. 4 were Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and four soldiers from Niger, according to the New York Daily News. Two other Americans were wounded.

Rare.us contributed to this report.

Men respond to #MeToo with #HowIWillChange, promises to do better

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 11:53 AM

What Is "Me Too" On Social Media?

Some men have created their own call to action in response to a hashtag campaign bringing awareness to the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

>> Read more trending news

Actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women who experienced sexual harassment and sexual assault to use the hashtag #MeToo to bring awareness to the issue. The hashtag, which received a lot of traction on social media, inspired men to share the actions they planned to take in response.

“Guys, it’s our turn,” Twitter user Benjamin Law wrote on the social media platform.

A man listens to a woman talking(Thomas Barwick/Getty Images)

Texas couple stranded in remote Utah desert for six days

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 9:44 PM

Couple Stranded in Remote Utah Desert for Days

Helena and Gerald Byler, both in their seventies, made a narrow escape from a bad end after being stranded in the Utah desert for six days.

>> Read more trending news

According to Utah news outlet the Deseret News, if the couple had been subjected to the desert environment for even one more day, they might not have made it out.

“It’s totally unbelievable. So many things seem to have fallen in place on their behalf,” said Kane County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Alan Alldredge in an interview. “Many little things fell into place that allowed the Bylers to be located alive.”

What was supposed to be a day trip turned bad when the Bylers’ car was disabled on rough terrain far off the main road. They tried to get back on foot, spending the first night walking through rain.

When her husband couldn’t walk any further after that night, Helena left him their remaining food — a few pecans — and continued walking on her own. She ended up wandering the desert for another five days. She slept wherever she could, made an “SOS” sign in the road, and suffered hallucinations from the physical strain.

She was eventually found on Oct. 2, seemingly out of sheer luck, by Dell LeFevre, of Panguitch, Utah. LeFevre was checking on the cattle he keeps on the Grand Staircase Monument’s land when he found Helena lying in the road, according to the Kane County Sheriff’s Office. He got her into his vehicle, gave her water, and contacted the police.

Gerald was found later, having taken shelter in a group of old trailers, and evacuated by helicopter to Dixie Regional Medical Center. One of the trailers near his showed signs that Helena may have sheltered there, not knowing Gerald was so close. Her ‘SOS’ sign was only 3 miles from their abandoned car.

Both of the Bylers recovering well and expected to return home soon.

“I’m a firm believer in God. He’s pulled me out of quite a few messes in my life,” LeFevre said in an interview regarding the rescue. “If she had gone off the road, no one ever would have found them.”

Hillary Clinton defends NFL players kneeling for the national anthem

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 2:20 PM

Hillary Clinton Comes To The Defense Of NFL Players Kneeling During Anthem

While on tour promoting her book “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton defended NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, arguing that they’re neither protesting the anthem nor the flag and calling their display “reverent.”

>> Read more trending news 

That’s what black athletes kneeling was all about,” she said in response to a question about how to resist the Trump White House. “That’s not against our anthem or our flag. Actually, kneeling is a reverent position. It was to demonstrate in a peaceful way against racism and injustice in our criminal system.”

Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick sought to protest racial injustice in the United States last season, beginning by sitting on the bench for the national anthem. After speaking with former NFL player and Green Beret Nate Boyer, he decided to simultaneously protest and show respect by kneeling for the song instead.

“We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates,” Boyer said after their meeting. “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security.”

President Donald Trump recently began attacking players who kneel during the anthem, calling them “sons of (expletive)” and imploring team owners to fire players who participate in the protest.

WATCH: Trump Says NFL Owners Should 'Fire' Players Protesting the National Anthem

Hillary Clinton is interviewed by Mariella Frostrup (not pictured) at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on October 15, 2017 in Cheltenham, England. The former US secretary of state and 2016 American presidential candidate yesterday received an honorary doctorate from Swansea University. She is also visiting the UK to promote her new book "What Happened". (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)(Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)