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Editorial Results (free)

1. Early Voting Opens in County Primaries -

Shelby County voters begin deciding Wednesday, April 16, who holds 11 countywide offices, including Shelby County mayor and district attorney general, as well as 13 seats on the Shelby County Commission drawn with new single-member district lines.

2. Harris Files Ford Challenge at Deadline -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris is challenging Democratic state Sen. Ophelia Ford in the August primary for District 29, the Senate seat held by a member of the Ford family since 1975.

3. Hampline Recalls Overton Park Interstate Plans -

In a city with lots of markers and monuments showing where historic events happened, there is an increasing amount of attention to a different kind of Memphis historic event.

And it involves something that did not happen – the interstate that was supposed to go through Overton Park 50 years ago but was first delayed and then stopped for good in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling 43 years ago this coming Sunday.

4. Roland ReElected At Filing Deadline, Two Countywide Races Set For August -

One of the six Shelby County Commission incumbents seeking re-election this year was effectively elected to a new four-year term in a new district with the noon Thursday, Feb. 20, filing deadline for candidates in the May county primaries.

5. County Primary Filing Deadline Arrives -

A couple of days before the filing deadline for candidates in the May county primaries, it looked like a political season with lots of action at the deadline itself.

The deadline is noon Thursday, Feb. 20, with another week for any candidates who meet that deadline to withdraw if they wish.

6. Election Filing Pace Quickens as Deadline Nears -

The May 6 Shelby County primary races began to move toward their final form Monday, Feb. 17, just ahead of the noon Thursday filing deadline for candidates.

Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy brought the Democratic primary race for county mayor to four as he filed his qualifying petition Monday afternoon.

7. Harris Questions Ford’s Guns-in-Parks Vote -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris started raising funds and gauging support for a challenge of state Sen. Ophelia Ford last week by bringing up Ford’s vote earlier in the week in favor of the bill allowing guns to be carried in parks regardless of whether a local government bans the practice.

8. Democrats Still Pondering Unity After 2010 Defeats -

After hearing from the four contenders in the Democratic primary for county mayor outline the boundaries of what could be a lively campaign for the right to challenge Mark Luttrell in the August general election, Democrats last week got another look at an intraparty discussion that still hasn’t been settled.

9. Crye-Leike Drops 2 Third-Party Listing Services -

Memphis-based Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. has yanked its Memphis-area listings from Zillow and Trulia, two of the Web’s biggest third-party listing services.

10. Tennessee Democrats Struggle With New, Old Factions -

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron realizes the party faithful in Memphis see some challenges in keeping the faith these days.

11. 15 Vie for County Commission Seat -

Shelby County Commissioners will interview a group of 15 citizens Wednesday, Jan. 8, who want to become the newest member of the elected body.

The committee session interviews come before the full commission is to vote Monday, Jan. 13, on a replacement for Commissioner Wyatt Bunker.

12. If Government Backs In-Flight Calls, Will the Airlines? -

NEW YORK (AP) – The Federal Communications Commission might be ready to permit cellphone calls in flight. But what about the airlines?

Old concerns about electronics being a danger to airplane navigation have been debunked. And airlines could make some extra cash charging passengers to call a loved one from 35,000 feet. But that extra money might not be worth the backlash from fliers who view overly chatty neighbors as another inconvenience to go along with smaller seats and stuffed overhead bins.

13. Nineteenth Century Club Case Shifts to Fundraising -

Opponents of the still-pending demolition of the Midtown mansion known as the Nineteenth Century Club are in the fundraising mode.

They have until Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. to raise $50,000, the additional court bond Shelby County Chancellor Walter Evans ordered Wednesday, Oct. 16, to stay demolition as his September ruling that demolition can proceed is appealed.

14. Democrats ‘Roast’ Herenton, Look Ahead to 2014 -

Divisions within the local Democratic party took a backseat over the weekend as the Shelby County Democratic Party held the first of two large fundraisers for the 2014 election year.

But the look back for the party came with some advice for the future.

15. Director Says He Wants to Grow Mississippi Film Industry -

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Director Tate Taylor says he wants to make his native Mississippi a place where people can build careers with steady work in the movie business.

He filmed "The Help" in the state in 2010 and announced Aug. 26 that he will make a feature film about the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, with the intention of shooting "every frame" in Mississippi.

16. Carson Takes Charge of Shelby Democrats -

The new chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party says the 2014 big ballot of county elections will require more than a conclusion that there are more Democrats than Republicans in Shelby County.

17. Changing Times -

After a four-decade existence, the Morgan Keegan name has been retired.

The announcement Raymond James Financial Inc. is dropping the Morgan Keegan name was made during Raymond James’ first quarter earnings conference call last month. Raymond James CEO Paul Reilly was giving analysts listening to the call an update on the firm’s acquisition of the Memphis investment firm last year and its integration since then.

18. Legislation Propels Parks Controversy to New Level -

As Shelby County suburban leaders were meeting in Nashville Tuesday, Feb. 5, with Tennessee legislators about possible moves toward some version of suburban school districts, the Memphis City Council was reacting to a pending bill in the state Legislature.

19. Pettes Finds Every Day a ‘Learning Experience’ -

With just more than a month under his belt as a practicing attorney, Brandon Pettes believes he is in the best place possible to begin his career and learn on the job with Glankler Brown PLLC.

20. It’s Magic -

Nine-year-old Joel Brown, a fourth-grader at Moody Elementary in White Hall, Ark., and his dad, Chris, a Jefferson County deputy clerk, arrived at Sturgis Hall at 4:20 last Friday (Oct. 26). Busy with her nursing school studies, mom Stacy couldn’t come.

21. Obama Carries Shelby, Cohen Over Flinn and Two Tax Hikes Defeated -

President Barack Obama carried Shelby County in unofficial Nov. 6 election returns as his Republican challenger Mitt Romney took the state’s 11 electoral votes.

Voter turnout in the most popular election cycle among Shelby County voters was 61.9 percent, about the same percentage as four years ago. But the 371,256 voters is fewer than 2008 when more than 400,000 Shelby County voters cast ballots. The percentage is about the same because there are fewer registered voters in Shelby County than there were four years ago after a purge by election officials.

22. Commission Approves Bartlett Senior Facility -

If an expansion of an assisted-living facility at Baylor and Brunswick roads stays on schedule with votes next month by the Memphis City Council, the planned development should win final approval less than a month before the area it is in is annexed by the city of Bartlett.

23. Bar Launches Health Care Law Section -

The Memphis Bar Association has a new section of attorneys dedicated specifically to health care law.

The bar’s newly formed Health Law Section held its organizational meeting Oct. 17 at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Officers were chosen at that time, including Robyn Diaz, deputy general counsel at St. Jude, who led the effort to form the section and who was nominated as the first chair.

24. MAAR Members Honored at State Association Convention -

Several members of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors received recognition at the recent Tennessee Association of Realtors 93rd annual convention in Kingsport, Tenn.

Current MAAR vice president Steve Brown received TAR’s 2012 Presidential Award, which is given in honor of outstanding service to the leadership of the real estate industry.

25. Crye-Leike's Brown Receives State Association Award -

Steve Brown, executive vice president of Crye-Leike Realtors Inc., recently received the 2012 Presidential Award presented by the Tennessee Association of Realtors at the 93rd annual convention in Kingsport, Tenn.

26. August Home Sales up 21 Percent -

Home sales in August were up 21 percent year over year, representing the eighth consecutive monthly increase from 2011.

Shelby County saw 1,487 home sales last month compared to the 1,228 homes sold in August 2011, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

27. Feds: For-Profits Could Lose Federal Student Aid -

Former students in career-training programs at dozens of for-profit institutions have had so much trouble paying off their loans that the schools could lose access to federal student aid if they don't improve, new data from the U.S. Department of Education finds.

28. WLOK Celebrates 35 Years With Dinner -

WLOK 1340 AM, the first black-owned radio station in Memphis, is hosting an anniversary dinner this week to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

The dinner, which will be held May 18 at the Marriott East, 2625 Thousand Oaks Blvd., will bring together gospel celebrities, dignitaries and listeners to pay tribute to the radio station, which today is a leading source of gospel music and news.

29. Conspiracy Theory -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tennessee joined 14 other states along with the U.S. Justice Department in suing Apple Inc. and major book publishers Wednesday, alleging a conspiracy to raise the price of electronic books they said cost consumers more than $100 million in the past two years by adding $2 to $5 to the price of each e-book.

30. Cohen-Hart in Congressional Race at Filing Deadline -

The chairman of the countywide school board, Billy Orgel, was effectively elected to his District 7 school board seat without opposition at the Thursday, April 5, filing deadline for candidates on the Aug. 2 primary and general election ballot in Shelby County.

31. Humane Soc. Names Walker Development, Marketing Mgr. -

Leah Walker has joined the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County as development and marketing manager. Walker represented her home state as Miss Georgia in 2008 before joining the Greater Memphis Chamber as a development consultant.

32. Bynum, Bryant Help Lakers Beat Grizzlies in 2 OTs -

MEMPHIS (AP) – It took two overtime periods, but the Los Angeles Lakers eventually made sure the Memphis Grizzlies stayed behind them in the Western Conference standings.

Andrew Bynum had a season-high 37 points and 16 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 22 of his 34 points after halftime, and the Lakers beat Memphis 116-111 in double overtime on Tuesday night.

33. Lakers Beat Grizzlies for 6th Straight Home Win -

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kobe Bryant says the Los Angeles Lakers' early-season schedule has been every bit as brutal as they expected, forcing them to learn coach Mike Brown's system on the job rather than in practice.

34. Peppers Joins Lifeblood To Grow Donor Base -

Jeanie Peppers has joined Lifeblood as senior donor relations account manager.

Hometown: Drummonds, Tenn.

35. Home Sales Up 2 Percent For October -

October home sales in Shelby County inched 2 percent higher compared to the same month a year ago, marking the fourth consecutive month with year-over-year improvement.

Shelby County registered 1,073 home sales last month, compared to 1,011 in October 2010, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

36. Two Tenants Join Ridgeway Center -

Boyle Investment Co. has inked a pair of new office leases at 999 S. Shady Grove Road in Ridgeway Center, building on its longevity with two local companies.

37. Boyle Adds 2 Tenants to Ridgeway Center -

Boyle Investment Co. has inked a pair of new office leases at 999 S. Shady Grove Road in Ridgeway Center, building on its longevity with two local companies.

38. Three-in-One -

Highwoods Properties Inc. is about two weeks away from completing more than $1 million in parking lot renovations and building improvements at the East Memphis office complex Triad Centre, bringing its three developments into a cohesive, campus-style environment.

39. Hubbard Selected to Serve as MAAR President-Elect -

Regina Hubbard of Lester Hubbard Realtors has been selected as the 2012 president-elect of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors after a vote by the 2011 and 2012 board of directors Wednesday, Sept. 21.

40. MAAR Elects Five Realtors to 2012-13 Board of Directors -

Memphis Area Association of Realtors members elected five individuals to the 2012-2013 board of directors at MAAR’s annual meeting and election Thursday, Sept. 8.

They are: 2012 director/2013 vice president John Linthicum of Crye-Leike Inc. Realtors; 2012-2013 associate director Claire Owen of Crye-Leike; and 2012-2013 directors Sam Zalowitz of Zalowitz Commercial Realty; Jo Walker-Payton of BenchMark Bartlett Realtors; and Tom Murphree of Hackmeyer Realty.

41. City Council Still Debating Budget Decision -

In some ways, the city budget season isn’t over just yet.

Memphis City Council member Joe Brown moved Tuesday, July 5, to reverse an effective 4.6 percent pay cut for city employees through 12 unpaid furlough days.

42. SCOTUS Wal-Mart Decision a ‘Watershed’ Case -

The dust is still settling from this week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

43. Crye-Leike To Close Midtown Branch -

Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. will close its Midtown office by mid-July in efforts to cope with depressed market conditions and improve operating efficiencies, the firm announced Monday, June 20.

44. Crye-Leike to Close Midtown Branch -

Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. has announced it will close its Midtown office by mid-July in efforts to cope with depressed market conditions and improve operating efficiencies.

45. Jobs Emerges From Leave, Unveils New Products -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Apple CEO Steve Jobs has briefly emerged from a medical leave as the company unveiled a new music and storage service and new software for Mac computers and mobile devices.

46. Day of Reckoning -

Memphis and Shelby County governments are in the process of taking a hard look at the benefits they’ve promised to start paying their several thousand employees once they retire – payments the employees will then get for the rest of their lives.

47. Crye-Leike Honors Top Performers, Longevity -

Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. honored its brokers working in the residential and commercial sectors Tuesday at its annual awards gala.

48. First Horizon Reports Profitable Q1 -

Bryan Jordan, president and CEO of Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp., told his audience at Tuesday’s annual meeting that the parent of First Tennessee Bank is becoming “more efficient and nimble.”

49. First Horizon Reports Profitable Q1 -

Bryan Jordan, president and CEO of Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp., told his audience at Tuesday’s annual meeting that the parent of First Tennessee Bank is becoming “more efficient and nimble.”

50. First Horizon National Corp. Unloads Investment Unit -

First Horizon National Corp., the Memphis-based parent company of First Tennessee Bank, is selling an investment advisory unit.

51. Growing Biz in Region’s Biosciences Topic of Panel -

Scientists, academics, business professionals, politicians and others gathered Thursday at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave., to listen to entrepreneurial panelists voice their perspectives on the business of bioscience.

52. Growing Biz in Region’s Biosciences Topic of Panel -

Scientists, academics, business professionals, politicians and others gathered Thursday at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave., to listen to entrepreneurial panelists voice their perspectives on the business of bioscience.

53. Interstate Brands Renews, Expands Lease -

Interstate Brands Corp. has renewed and expanded its lease in the Germantown Park - Kimbrough Building in Cordova, more than doubling its footprint.

54. Highwoods Stands Tall Among Competition -

As a prominent investment and leasing firm and one of the most active real estate investment trusts in the Memphis market, Highwoods Properties Inc. routinely made commercial real estate headlines in 2010.

55. Broad Ambitions -

Its title may sound like a Woody Allen movie, but an innovative, two-day street festival in a resurging Midtown neighborhood may draw in new businesses via bike traffic.

“A New Face for an Old Broad,” to be held from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, will temporarily exhibit Broad Avenue as a connector between the terminus of the Shelby Farms Greenline and Overton Park.

56. Split Vote Takes Down Metro Charter Proposal -

The metro consolidation charter won a narrow victory with Memphis voters Tuesday but was crushed by Shelby County voters outside Memphis.

The first consolidation charter to go to voters in 39 years had to win both in Memphis and outside Memphis in order to consolidate the city of Memphis and Shelby County governments.

57. Retry: Anti-Discrimination Ordinance in Council Committee -

A proposed city anti-discrimination ordinance surfaces again Tuesday at an 8:30 a.m. Memphis City Council committee session.

The ordinance would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression in the city government’s hiring practices.

58. A New Era -

As the Grizzlies mark their 10th season in Memphis, whispers of “contender” and “dark horse” can be heard in the halls of FedExForum.

The positive outlook is an encouraging sign for a team that sat at the bottom of the league just two seasons ago and has endured a bumpy ride during its decade-long tenure in Memphis.

59. Downtown Touchdown -

Many of the dominoes that fell into place in advance of Pinnacle Airlines Corp. deciding to move its Memphis corporate headquarters to the landmark Downtown tower One Commerce Square happened in the public eye.

60. Home Sales Fall 14 Percent -

While September’s numbers were not where the real estate industry would like – as new and existing home sales dipped 14 percent from September 2009 – local agents said there are clear signs the market has potential to improve.

61. Pinnacle Chooses One Commerce -

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. has decided to shift its Memphis headquarters from Memphis International Airport to a landmark Downtown tower, capping months of study by Pinnacle and intense lobbying of the regional air carrier by state and local governments.

62. Pinnacle Chooses One Commerce Square -

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. has decided to shift its Memphis headquarters from Memphis International Airport to a landmark Downtown tower, capping months of study by Pinnacle and intense lobbying of the regional air carrier by state and local governments.

63. MAAR Elects 2011-2012 Board of Directors -

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors elected its board of directors for 2011-2012 at its annual meeting and election last week.

MAAR members elected six real estate agents to serve on the board during the next two years.

64. BP: No Oil Leaking Into Gulf From Busted Well -

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A tightly fitted cap was successfully keeping oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in three months, BP said Thursday. The victory — long awaited by weary residents along the coast — is the most significant milestone yet in BP's effort to control one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

65. Lookin’ for Rain -

At this time of year Tommy Harrison puts in a lot of windshield time behind the wheel of his extended-cab pickup.

66. Sheriff's Race Attracts Hard-Boiled Veterans -

Most of the Democratic and Republican candidates for Shelby County sheriff gathered last month in the office of outgoing Sheriff Mark Luttrell.

67. Study Sees Jobs if Tennessee Cuts Energy Demand -

CHATTANOOGA (AP) - An energy efficiency study shows that reducing Tennessee's projected 15 percent increase in residential, commercial and industrial power demand in the next two decades can create 21,500 jobs.

68. Study Sees Jobs if Tennessee Cuts Energy Demand -

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - An energy efficiency study shows that reducing Tennessee's projected 15 percent increase in residential, commercial and industrial power demand in the next two decades can create more than 20,000 jobs.

69. Herenton Takes Aim at August Primary -

Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said he and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, may agree on some issues as they campaign in the August Democratic primary for the 9th District congressional seat.

70. Crye-Leike Considers Options for Midtown -

When Harold Crye and Dick Leike bought the former Anderton’s seafood restaurant at 1895 Madison Ave. in 2007, the founders of the state’s largest realty firm had big plans for the property.

71. What’s Coming Up This Election Season -

After a year of turbulence, the Memphis political scene continues to remake itself.

The May 4 and Aug. 5 elections don’t have the focused drama of last October’s special election for Memphis mayor, but they represent new chapters in a story that could end with a new generation of political leaders and at least a passing of the political baton.

72. Outsider Image So Hot Even Ex-Insiders Want It -

NEW YORK (AP) - Ask national Republicans to name a model 2010 congressional candidate, and they're likely to mention Stephen Fincher. A 37-year-old farmer and gospel singer from Frog Jump, Tenn., Fincher has raised more than $675,000 in his bid to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. John Tanner.

73. Events -

The InMotion Orthopaedic Research Center will present another lecture as part of its Quarterly Musculoskeletal Lecture Series today at 5 p.m. at the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology. Richard Coutts will speak on “National Total Joint Replacement Registries.” To register, call 271-0021.

74. Glankler Brown’s Hancock Elected Bar Foundation Fellow -

Jonathan C. Hancock of Glankler Brown PLLC has been elected a Fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation, an association of 710 attorneys across the state.

75. Black Farmers Leader Stumps for Equitable Treatment – and Money -

A week from a planned political rally in Washington, the founder of the National Black Farmers Association was in Memphis Monday to rally farmers for the political cause.

The Presidents Day rally is the latest chapter in John W. Boyd Jr.’s eight-year fight to make good on a 1999 legal settlement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for denying loans and credit to black farmers.

76. Rhea Receives WKNO’s Distinguished Service Award -

Stephen H. Rhea has received the Julian Bondurant Distinguished Service Award from WKNO Public Broadcasting.

Rhea is the WKNO Capital Campaign chair and led the campaign for the digital transition that brought in $16.9 million. The campaign enabled the station to build the Digital Media Center.

77. Hubbard Named MAAR Realtor of the Year -

Regina Hubbard, a broker with Lester Hubbard Realtors, was named 2009 Realtor of the Year at the Memphis Area Association of Realtors’ honors luncheon, held Wednesday at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis.

78. Memphis Bar Assn. Elects New Officers, Board Members -

At the Memphis Bar Association’s Annual Meeting Thursday at The Peabody hotel, the MBA announced its 2010 officers and new members of its board of directors.

Immediate past president Art Quinn passed the gavel to incoming president Ricky E. Wilkins of the Law Offices of Ricky E. Wilkins. John Cannon of Shuttleworth Williams PLLC and Gary K. Smith of Apperson Crump & Maxwell PLC automatically move to the positions of vice president/president-elect and treasurer, respectively. Linda Warren Seely, director of pro bono projects at Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., was chosen as secretary.

79. City’s Dilemma: Fight Crime or Bust Blight? -

Some Memphis City Council members question whether the city’s crackdown on crime is coming at the expense of efforts to eliminate or prevent blight in neighborhoods.

That sentiment surfaced in a council committee session this week. It came the same week that Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. talked of an emerging anti-crime strategy at his first town hall meeting.

80. A City in Transition -

Just before sunrise on a rainy Tuesday morning, the armed officers raided the city office. They didn’t make any arrests, but they took files, interviewed employees and served search warrants. And they temporarily closed the Memphis Animal Shelter.

81. Chaotic Council Welcomes Wharton To ‘Land of Fire’ -

Memphis Mayor-elect A C Wharton Jr. got an early welcome to the ways of City Hall in the week before he took the oath of office.

It came from the City Council he will serve with for the next two years.

82. Morris Confirmed As City Atty. -

Memphis Mayor elect A C Wharton Jr. was put to the test by Memphis City Council members before he even takes office.

The council approved his indirect nomination of Herman Morris as the new city attorney.

And it approved his five indirect nominees to the Metro Charter Commission.

But there was a lot of discussion among council members this afternoon and evening about:

-Morris being paid $140,000 a year as city attorney, $15 thousand more than his predecessor, Elbert Jefferson.

-Whether Morris was the choice of outgoing Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery or Wharton. The answer was Wharton with Lowery making the appointment since he is still mayor.

In another rapid move, Wharton and Lowery teamed up to appoint the five city of Memphis representatives to the Metro Charter Commission. All five nominees were recommended by members of the City Council. Normally, the council votes on such groups of nominees to one body with a single vote on the slate. The council voted separately on all five.

The original five nominees were:

-Damon Griffin, an assistant District Attorney General.

-Carmen Sandoval, an administrative director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

-Steve Ross, a freelance video and technical director who also has a popular political blog.

-Jim Strickland, attorney and Memphis city council member.

-Rev. Ralph White, pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church and candidate for Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk in past elections as well as in the 2010 elections.

Strickland was named just this week to Wharton’s transition team. But he is giving up the transition team spot to serve on the charter group. Council members Bill Boyd and Joe Brown voted against Strickland’s appointment saying they considered it to be a conflict of interest for an elected official to serve on the commission. Brown didn’t vote on the other nominations. Council member Wanda Halbert passed on Strickland.

Ross encountered vocal resistance during committee sessions from council members upset with critical comments he has made on his blog about council members. Council member Shea Flinn, who recommended Ross, came to his defense during an emotional committee discussion – clashing with Brown as Lowery and Wharton watched from the end of the council committee table.

“I’m a real man,” Brown told Flinn at the end of the exchange. “I’m a real black man. I hope you are a real white man.”

By the time the council voted, Wharton and Lowery decided to pull his nomination and instead nominated Richard Smith, a FedEx executive and son of FedEx founder Fred Smith. Council member Janis Fullilove was the only no vote. Halbert recused herself because she works at FedEx. Brown and Boyd did not vote.

...

83. Wharton Picks Morris for City Attorney Post -  

Memphis Mayor elect A C Wharton Jr. was put to the test by Memphis City Council members before he even takes office.

The council Tuesday approved his indirect nomination of Herman Morris as the new city attorney. And it approved his five indirect nominees to the Metro Charter Commission.

But there was a lot of discussion among council members this afternoon and evening about:

  • Morris being paid $140,000 a year as city attorney, $15 thousand more than his predecessor, Elbert Jefferson.
  • Whether Morris was the choice of outgoing Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery or Wharton. The answer was Wharton with Lowery making the appointment since he is still mayor.

In another rapid move, Wharton and Lowery teamed up to appoint the five city of Memphis representatives to the Metro Charter Commission. All five nominees were recommended by members of the City Council. Normally, the council votes on such groups of nominees to one body with a single vote on the slate. The council voted separately on all five.

The original five nominees were:

  • Damon Griffin, an assistant District Attorney General.
  • Carmen Sandoval, an administrative director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • Steve Ross, a freelance video and technical director who also has a popular political blog.
  • Jim Strickland, attorney and Memphis city council member.
  • Rev. Ralph White, pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church and candidate for Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk in past elections as well as in the 2010 elections.

Strickland was named just this week to Wharton’s transition team. But he is giving up the transition team spot to serve on the charter group. Council members Bill Boyd and Joe Brown voted against Strickland’s appointment saying they considered it to be a conflict of interest for an elected official to serve on the commission. Brown didn’t vote on the other nominations. Council member Wanda Halbert passed on Strickland.

Ross encountered vocal resistance during committee sessions from council members upset with critical comments he has made on his blog about council members. Council member Shea Flinn, who recommended Ross, came to his defense during an emotional committee discussion – clashing with Brown as Lowery and Wharton watched from the end of the council committee table.

“I’m a real man,” Brown told Flinn at the end of the exchange. “I’m a real black man. I hope you are a real white man.”

By the time the council voted, Wharton and Lowery decided to pull his nomination and instead nominated Richard Smith, a FedEx executive and son of FedEx founder Fred Smith. Council member Janis Fullilove was the only no vote. Halbert recused herself because she works at FedEx. Brown and Boyd did not vote.

...

84. Dishmon Joins UT Medical Group -

Dr. Dwight “Dan” Dishmon has joined the Department of Medicine at UT Medical Group.
Dishmon is an interventional cardiologist and cares for adults with ischemic heart disease and peripheral arterial disease.
He earned his medical degree and completed his internal medicine residency and general cardiology fellowship training at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He later completed additional fellowship training at Michigan State University’s Borgess Medical Center. 

85. McCleskey Discusses Role On County Ethics Commission Board -

Steve McCleskey, an attorney at Glankler Brown PLLC, in July was appointed by Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. to the board of directors for the Shelby County Ethics Commission. The Ethics Commission is a 13-member body the Shelby County Commission oversees.

86. Study: Local Agbio Sector Could Create 50,000 Jobs -

The fertile lands that surround Memphis could generate as much as $8 billion a year in the emerging bioeconomy as petroleum-based products are replaced with plant-based ones, according to a study released this week by the Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

87. There Goes the Neighborhood: New hope emerges in one of Memphis’ roughest areas -

Hope and despair have co-existed for a long time along the stretch of Poplar Avenue between Danny Thomas Boulevard and Decatur Street. And for the past two years, the area has seen more change than just about any other inner-city avenue in Memphis.

88. Big Demand Drives Ghost River Brewing To Expand -

Less than a year after handcrafting its first batch of beer, Memphis-based Ghost River Brewing is expanding.

The company today takes delivery of a new 900-gallon fermenter, increasing the company’s brewing capacity 33 percent from 2,500 kegs per year to more than 3,300, said Ghost River co-owner Chuck Skypeck.

89. Events -

Christian Brothers University will present the first session of its “Family Business Enrichment Series” today from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the Spain Auditorium in Buckman Hall. The topic of the lecture is “What Does the New Credit Environment Mean for Your Family Business?” For reservations, call 321-3999 or e-mail rsvp@cbu.edu.

90. Events -

The University of Phoenix will host a “Tough Times” workshop today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Memphis campus, 65 Germantown Court, Suite 100. The workshop topics will include resume writing, financial planning and living on a budget. The workshop is free. To register, call 522-6865.

91. Events -

The Shelby County Beer Board will meet today at 2 p.m. at the Shelby County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St. For more information, call Steve Summerall at 545-4301.

92. Events -

The Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South will host a presentation by James Hutto, managing project director for Valeo Design and Marketing, today at 11:45 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Select, 5795 Poplar Ave. Hutto will present “ROI Marketing for Your Business: Driving Top-Line Growth with Your Website.” Cost is $25 for guests and $15 for students. Lunch is included. Guests may pay at the door.

93. Duncan Named Senior VP For Homewood Suites by Hilton -

Bill Duncan has been appointed senior vice president of brand management for Homewood Suites by Hilton and the newly launched Home2 Suites by Hilton.

94. Influence 1 Foundation Names Hartsfield COO -

Felicia Hartsfield has been named chief operating officer of Influence 1 Foundation.

Hartsfield will oversee the continued stability and growth of the foundation’s fiscal, strategic, organizational and operational functions. Her duties also will include building and maintaining relationships with community leaders, as well as creating collaborations, which will enhance the foundation’s strategic model.

95. Circuit City Ripples Go Beyond Vacancies, Layoffs -

Circuit City will finally flicker out when its last 567 stores close this year, but the bankruptcy of the nation's second-largest electronics retailer will ripple across the U.S. economy for years.

96. Events -

A Town Hall Meeting hosted by City Council members Joe Brown, Janis Fullilove, Myron Lowery and Barbara Swearengen Ware will be held today from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Brickford Community Center, 233 Henry Ave. Representatives from the Shelby County District Attorney’s office, Memphis Police Department and the Division of Housing and Community Development will address crime concerns and future economic development projects in the North Memphis area.

97. Payday Loan Vote Foreshadows Next Step - This week’s vote by the Memphis City Council regulating the location of payday lenders, check-cashing and title loan businesses in the city generated pointed questions about demographics, money, private business, the threat of litigation and the role of the council.

If that vote is any indication, Monday’s vote by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners on the same joint city-county ordinance likely will do the same thing.

The third and final reading by the City Council on a measure that would put new restrictions on where those fringe-lending businesses can operate passed Tuesday night on a unanimous vote.

The County Commission’s third and final reading of the same ordinance – which limits those businesses to operating no closer than 1,000 feet from each other – will take place during Monday’s commission meeting.

Politics, politics

Bill Morrison is the council member who sponsored the ordinance on the city side and who first got the idea to try and clamp down on where those businesses can operate.

He said he began sketching out a plan for the ordinance, which would create new zoning guidelines for the businesses, with officials such as Assistant City Attorney Thomas Pacello and Mary Baker, deputy director of the city-county Office of Planning and Development.

But for a body that often has gone out of its way to keep a focus on the financial burdens of city taxpayers and residents, Morrison’s idea sparked a surprising mix of responses.

In addition to that, representatives of the businesses and of the fringe-lending industry itself mounted an intense behind-the-scenes effort against Morrison’s original proposal, the basic idea of which was to break up the existing clusters of check-cashing stores, payday loan and title loan shops around the city.

Working the angles

That lobbying effort continued throughout Tuesday night’s council meeting, when individual council members repeatedly left the dais to venture into the audience and huddle with representatives of the industry.

Steve Lockwood, executive director of the Frayser Community Development Corp. and an opponent of the fringe lenders, brandished statistics at Tuesday’s meeting showing how one debtor ended up paying after one year more than $800 on a $440 payday loan.

Several council members, including Barbara Swearengen Ware, promoted one of the same arguments put forward repeatedly by representatives of the industry in private discussions about the issue. That argument was this:

“When you talk about regulating a legal business, you’re treading on thin ice, to say the least,” she said. “And to say that where they locate – the regulation needs to be in the interest rates (they charge) ... We’re not talking about strip clubs, people.”

After some inaudible whispering among council members, Ware continued: “You say strip joints are legal? Well, let’s make them illegal ... It’s supply and demand that’s driving these businesses. Nobody’s holding a gun to these people to make them walk in and hand somebody the title to their car.”

‘Opening shot’

That argument about the businesses having a legal and proper right to operate is the same idea Chuck Welch, an attorney from the Nashville office of Farris Bobango Branan PLC, shared with The Daily News in a conversation a few days before the council vote. Welch is one of the industry representatives who has been meeting with local legislators who have for the last few weeks been mulling over the issue.

“What you’ve got is a lawful business that’s a commercial retail establishment, and it’s permitted and regulated by the state of Tennessee,” Welch said.

Council member Joe Brown questioned Morrison during the meeting about whether he was being supported in his effort to push the ordinance by any entity that stands to profit from its passage. That’s something at least one of the industry representatives told a reporter privately before the vote – that some of the bill’s supporters might be able to capitalize on legislation curbing the growth of fringe-lending operations.

Morrison, during Tuesday’s meeting, reiterated the fact that he came up with the plan on his own, with help from officials like Pacello and Baker.

“It does leave something to be desired … but (this ordinance) is a step in the right direction for our city,” Morrison said.

Lockwood called it “an opening shot across the bow.”

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98. Council Again Rejects Lee Legal Fees -

The Memphis City Council this evening affirmed its vote in Oct. to reject paying the legal fees of former Memphis Light Gas & Water Division president Joseph Lee.

The bill for Lee’s legal defense in a grand jury probe that led to his indictment as well as a hearing before the council came to $426,422. The corruption charges were later dropped by federal prosecutors.

The 7-6 vote came at the end of a day in which MLGW president Jerry Collins told council members talks between the utility and Lee’s attorney, Robert Spence, failed to reach any terms for a lesser amount.

Council members voting against the proposed settlement were: Bill Boyd, Kemp Conrad, Shea Flinn, Reid Hedgepeth, Myron Lowery, Bill Morrison and Jim Strickland. Those voting for it were: Joe Brown, Harold Collins, Edmund Ford Jr., Janis Fullilove, Wanda Halbert and Barbara Swearengen Ware.

Spence told The Daily News an announcement on a decision by Lee about pursuing the legal fees in a lawsuit against the city could be made as early as Tuesday.

The council has also given final approval this evening to an ordinance regulating the location of financial services, payday loan and title loan businesses.

The council vote was unanimous on third and final reading. Third and final vote before the Shelby County Commission is scheduled for Dec. 8.

The council passed an amended version that emerged as a compromise during today’s council session.

The ordinance bans the businesses from being with 1,000 feet of each other. The compromise worked out by council member Bill Morrison, with agreement from the payday loan industry, deals with a 90 day grace period for existing businesses to apply for a waiver.

Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware argued the location of the businesses isn’t the problem. It’s the high interest rates the companies charge – up to 264 percent annually.

“We need to deal with the root of the problem,” she said. “And if we could regulate how much (of an) interest rate is charged or how much the fees are, then we would be doing a service to the community,” Ware said. “I know we mean well here, but it’s supply and demand that is driving these businesses.”

But usery rates are regulated by the state and not the city council.

Morrison said the businesses cluster in his district which covers Frayser and Raleigh. Frayser is among the areas of the city hardest hit by home foreclosures.

Council member Harold Collins, whose district includes Hickory Hill – also hit hard by home foreclosures – said there is a connection. He counted at least 20 pay day lenders along one stretch of Winchester.

“Maybe they’re not contributing to the fact that many of the people in my district are losing their homes. But they are sure out there,” he said. “There needs to be some kind of line drawn that will keep the people in Hickory Hill from losing their homes.”

Steve Lockwood, head of the Frayser Community Development Corporation, said the close proximity of the lenders allows people in desperate financial straits to get around a limit of two loans totaling $500 from a particular lender by simply going to the payday lender next door.

He termed the location limits “an opening shot across the bow.” He said his organization’s financial counselors see a connection between the lenders and foreclosures.

“I think that the neighborhoods that are really going to benefit from this are in Cordova,” Lockwood said. “If you want Cordova to look like Winchester or Frayser, don’t pass this.”

In other action, a Fairgrounds development agreement is tentatively set to have the first of three Memphis City Council votes in two weeks.

The city picked Fair Ground LLC to develop a master plan for the property that includes the Mid-South Coliseum, The Liberty Bowl and The Children’s Museum of Memphis. What is still being worked out is a contract with the terms for drawing up that master plan.

There are still several formidable obstacles to putting a development agreement in writing.

Shelby County government owns some of the Fairgrounds land including some of the land under The Liberty Bowl.

City Housing & Community Development director Robert Lipscomb told City Council members he will again pursue an agreement in which the county would sell its share in The Fairgrounds as well as The Pyramid.

The Shelby County Commission rejected such a sell-off by the county during consideration of a development agreement for The Pyramid involving Bass Pro Shops.

The commission eventually approved the development agreement after the agreement won approval from the city council.

Without a sell-off, the Fairgrounds development agreement appears on its way to the same dual track debate and voting process.

Lipscomb also told The Daily News there are conflicting legal opinions on the amount of public infrastructure financing the city would have to put up to leverage private investment.

He said the amounts vary from $75 million to $200 million. The city is seeking legal opinions on the public amount required under terms of Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) financing. If the amount is $200 million or close to it, Lipscomb said it makes the Fairgrounds renovation much harder to accomplish.

Henry Turley, one of several developer partners in Fair Ground LLC, said he considers the city’s contribution to be $75 million. Turley was instrumental in drafting the state legislation that allowed for the Tourism Development Zones.

The TDZs allow for financing of bonds through sales tax revenue generated in the designated area or zone.

Turley wants to include a big box retail store on the site and possibly a hotel according to tentative plans that are fluid on the location of those and other parts of an overall plan. The sales tax revenue from the store would go to pay off the TDZ bonds. No local government general fund revenue would be used.

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99. Gibbons’ Pressure Tactics Outed G’town Pols -

The controversy over the Germantown ballot endorsing Gary Pruitt, Frank Uhlhorn and Mike Palazzolo in the town’s three alderman races underscores the power the local GOP ballot has in Shelby County outside the Memphis city limits.

100. Ghost River Enters Microbrew World -

The roots of Chuck Skypeck’s passion for handcrafted beer dates back to the late 1980s, when he began brewing at home and sharing his libations with a handful of other homebrewers at gatherings around town.