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Editorial Results (free)

1. Bourland Heflin to Expand, Renovate Poplar Home -

A Memphis law firm is expanding its East Memphis office and improving public areas for clients and visitors.

Bourland Heflin Alvarez Minor & Matthews PLC renewed and expanded its lease in the 5400 Poplar Ave. office building.

2. GOP Blocks Democrats' Minimum Wage Try in Senate -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Republicans derailed a Democratic drive Wednesday to raise the federal minimum wage, blocking a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's economic plans and ensuring the issue will be a major feature of this fall's congressional elections.

3. Council Looks to Pinpoint Pension Numbers -

The Tuesday, March 4, discussion Memphis City Council members had with Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson, Tennessee Treasurer David Lillard and consultants from four actuarial firms centered on the city’s pension liability.

4. City Delays Fairgrounds Zone Application Vote -

The city of Memphis won’t be going to the Tennessee Building Commission in Nashville this week for approval of a Tourism Development Zone for the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

The administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. decided to delay the proposal last week as it reviewed the fairgrounds renovation financing plan with Memphis City Council members.

5. Commission Votes Down Fairgrounds TDZ Resolution -

Shelby County Commissioners on Monday voted down a resolution by Commissioner Steve Basar urging the Tennessee Building Commission to reject Memphis government’s coming application for a Fairgrounds Tourism Development Zone.

6. Commission Votes Down Fairgrounds TDZ Resolution -

Shelby County Commissioners on Monday voted down a resolution by Commissioner Steve Basar urging the Tennessee Building Commission to reject Memphis government’s coming application for a Fairgrounds Tourism Development Zone.

7. County Commission Weighs Fairgrounds Opposition -

The relationship between city and county governments long has included overlapping interests with sometimes opposing positions on those interests.

Throw in years-old agreements involving real estate, and you have a recipe for uncertainty about how to resolve the differences to meet new arrangements.

8. Fairgrounds TDZ Should be Rejected -

The proposed Fairgrounds Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) needs to be rejected. While most of the recent debate has been confined to the impact on education funding, there are several more serious issues with the TDZ.

9. City, County Differ on Fairgrounds Zone -

The city of Memphis and Shelby County governments have a difference of opinion about tax revenue and education funding.

It is over where the sales tax revenue would go within a tourism development zone the city wants to use to finance the redevelopment of the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

10. MRG Sees Flurry of Activity at Marion Center -

In 2008, Memphis-based Makowsky Ringel Greenberg LLC developed The Shops of Angelos Grove retail center in Marion, Ark.

11. County Leaders Blast Fairgrounds Tourism Development Zone Financing Plan -

Shelby County government leaders say a city plan to use incremental sales tax revenue within a tourism development zone to revitalize the Fairgrounds will take the share of that revenue that goes to Shelby County Schools.

12. Lipscomb: Fairgrounds Retail to be ‘Market Driven’ -

Robert Lipscomb, director of the city of Memphis’ Division of Housing & Community Development, says the retail to be part of the city’s Fairgrounds overhaul will not be in competition with businesses in the nearby Cooper-Young Historic District or Overton Square.

13. Analyst Downgrades FedEx Shares After Long Rally -

NEW YORK (AP) – Goldman Sachs downgraded shares of FedEx Corp. on Thursday, saying that the package-delivery giant's stock was at a fair price after a long rally.

14. Tax Zone Would Fund Fairgrounds Remake -

A 3-square-mile Tourism Development Zone would finance a $233 million renovation of the Mid-South Fairgrounds sought by the administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.

The city sent its 88-page application Sept. 13 to Tennessee Finance Commissioner Larry B. Martin. The application seeks state permission to use incremental sales tax revenue estimated at close to $12 million a year starting in 2016 to pay off the bonds to finance a project whose price tag is just below the $250 million FedExForum.

15. Seed Hatchery Companies Close Down Operations -

A few companies that participated in the inaugural round of Seed Hatchery in 2011 have shut down their operations in recent months.

Work for Pie, a platform to help developers find work, and stiQRd, a QR code-based loyalty and rewards platform, have both closed down.

16. Pair of Seed Hatchery Companies Shuts Down -

A few companies that participated in the inaugural round of Seed Hatchery in 2011 have shut down their operations in recent months.

Work for Pie, a platform to help developers find work, and stiQRd, a QR code-based loyalty and rewards platform, have both closed down.

17. Fairgrounds Events Grow as Klan Protest Nears -

As Memphis Police have been planning in preparation for the Saturday, March 30, Ku Klux Klan demonstration at the Shelby County Courthouse, the Mid-South Fairgrounds has been a busy place for organizers of several alternatives to the Klan protest including a “Heart of Memphis” gathering there.

18. Tax Zone Would Benefit Fairgrounds -

The Tourism Development Zone that Memphis officials will seek in Nashville over the next three months would generate tax revenue from Cooper-Young, the Midtown Union Avenue corridor and Overton Square for the redevelopment of the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

19. City Council Approves Fairgrounds TDZ Request -

Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, Feb. 19, plans for a tourism development zone to capture sales tax revenue in a large area for a renovation of the Fairgrounds property at first.

The boundaries of the zone go to the state for approval and city Community and Housing Development division director Robert Lipscomb said such a proposal could be at the state building commission in Nashville in April.

20. Council to Hear Fairgrounds Update -

Memphis City Council members get a look Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the latest plan for renovation of the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

The city administration presents its plan at the 1:45 p.m. council executive session.

21. Arena Transformation -

As the city of Memphis is nearing completion of its preparation of The Pyramid for Bass Pro Shops, the Springfield, Mo.-based retailer is slated to start its part of the project in March.

The city and Bass Pro Shops in January filed two building permits with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for $21.5 million and $7 million for renovations to 32-story The Pyramid arena at 1 A.W. Willis Ave.

22. Training Day -

The pursuit of economic development comes with code names, secrecy and mysterious visitors.

Without a doubt, the last two years have been eventful when it comes to the city’s civic leaders luring companies to town with the promise of jobs for Memphians. In that regard, the local debate about tax incentives and the competition with other cities, some nearby, was vigorous.

23. Drought Holds its Grip as Growers Pivot to Wheat -

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The worst U.S. drought in decades showed little sign of easing last week as farmers closed out their corn and soybean harvests and turned their attention to winter wheat, which has been struggling to break through the moisture-starved soil in some states, according to a weekly report.

24. Nightmare Election Scenarios Worry Both Parties -

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Here in a county that knows a thing or two about Election Day meltdowns, both parties are fretting over what might go seriously wrong before, during or just after the Nov. 6 presidential election.

25. Taking Stock -

The presidential race is still too close to call, the debates won’t shift things much from a statistical perspective and there’s a fair chance Democrats will retain their majority in the U.S. Senate.

26. Memphis Doctors Help Launch Iraq Heart Clinic -

Even from the ground, the rusted holes in the dry water tower over Nasiriyah, Iraq, don’t look like the pinpricks of rifle fire. They are the dinner plate-sized vandalism of heavier ordinance, and most of the wreckage comes from above. In short, we did it.

27. Council Mulls Funds for Fairgrounds -

Memphis City Council members take a step closer to redevelopment of the Mid-South Fairgrounds Tuesday, Aug. 21, with $1.7 million in sales tax revenue generated in the Tourism Development Zone that includes The Pyramid.

28. Officials Discuss Latest Small Business Road Map -

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — White House business officials have told a gathering in Oxford that the latest package of small business incentives calls for accelerating federal payments to government contractors, streamlining paperwork and making it easier for small firms to get access to loans and tax credits.

29. New Ideas for Fairgrounds Emerge As Bass Pro Project Moves Ahead -

A C Wharton Jr. noted last week that as Shelby County mayor he signed the paperwork selling Shelby County government’s partial ownership interest in The Pyramid to the city of Memphis. And as Memphis mayor, he signed the paperwork making the city’s exclusive ownership of The Pyramid official.

30. Assessor Race Looks To Battle Lines -

In an election year with a lot of transitions, the race on the Aug. 2 ballot for Shelby County Assessor of Property crosses paths with those transitions more than any other race on the busy ballot.

31. School Talks Now Turning to New Supt. -

The discussion about who will head the new consolidated Shelby County school system has been under way on an unofficial basis since Memphis voters approved a Memphis City Schools charter surrender in March 2011.

32. Pending Bill Could Raise Solar Taxes -

The week that two solar farms located in Haywood County and Memphis were dedicated, a bill that would increase property taxes on owners of solar production facilities like the two arrays was undergoing more changes in Nashville and encountering increased opposition from the state’s solar industry.

33. Schools Transfer Terms Take Shape -

A set of ground rules for how public school buildings are transferred to municipal school districts is in the making despite a tie vote Monday, Feb. 6, that defeated a plan by some on the Shelby County Commission.

34. Tax Reform in This Election year: It's Not Likely -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Tax reform sounds like a good idea to lots of people, but where to start? Eliminate the popular deduction for home mortgages? End the write-off for charitable contributions? How about expanding the Social Security payroll tax?

35. Bartlett Explores Own School District -

If Bartlett moves forward with its own municipal school district, the city’s school board would have to immediately begin making plans for a new high school.

And it would need to forge a cooperative agreement with the countywide school system or another municipal school system that would include Arlington High School and Bon Lin Elementary School and other territory outside the city that Bartlett students now attend.

36. New Dishes -

Memphis’ eyes were bigger than its stomach in 2011, but in a good way.

Some local restaurateurs launched completely new concepts; others entered new submarkets with additional stores. Even a handful of national retailers entered the Memphis market after having locations elsewhere in Tennessee for years.

37. Green Shoots -

As the local commercial real estate market approaches the end of 2011, experts say it appears to be in line with national fundamentals for secondary and tertiary markets.

Shelby County commercial sales in the third quarter were the highest sales volume since Q3 2007, with $259 million, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

38. Mitigating Mold -

With fall in full swing, homeowners and property owners alike should be aware of the consequences of mold, which plays a significant role in seasonal allergies.

That’s why Cade Peeper and Tom Fisher came together last year to start Diversified Environmental Solutions, a company that inspects, provides remediation and completes required restorative construction for residential and business properties.

39. Herman Cain's Sudden Surge Powered by 9-9-9 Plan -

ATLANTA (AP) – If there's a policy star in the Republican presidential primary it may be Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan. It has helped fuel the Georgia businessman's sudden surge in the GOP race. But behind the catchy slogan is a reality: Experts say it will raise taxes on some Americans.

40. Moyes Keeps Flintco’s Memphis Office Humming -

In 2000, Kevin Moyes and his wife found themselves preparing for the birth of their son in a state-of-the-art labor and delivery suite at the Baptist Memorial Health Care campus in East Memphis.

To Moyes’ delight, he found everything in the room working just the way he left it after his company built it.

41. Clayborn-Ball Temple Plays Role In Area’s Future -

A historic Downtown church is for sale after decades of attempts by the AME church leadership to bring it back.

What happens to Clayborn Ball Temple could be a bellwether for redevelopment efforts for the area just south of FedExForum. It’s an area developers and planners refer to as SoFo.

42. Coming Back -

If you were a beautician in Frayser in the 1960s, you probably trained for your job at the Jett School of Beauty either at the Northgate Shopping Center or a strip shopping center on North Watkins Street in the Georgian Hills section of Frayser.

43. Opening of Floodgates Empties Many Cajun Towns -

BUTTE LAROSE, La. (AP) – Cajun-country towns in the path of Mississippi River floodwaters were all but deserted Monday as residents heeded warnings to seek higher ground after a major floodgate was opened for the first time in four decades.

44. State Systems Celebrates 25 Years -

State Systems Inc., along with the company president Bob McBride, has experienced explosive growth and seen many changes within the protective services industry in the Mid-South over the past quarter of a century. The company celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

45. City Eyes End to Public Housing Projects -

Chain link fences went up around the four Memphis Housing Authority high-rises earlier this month.

The renovation work that is about to begin on the public housing units in the next year comes as the city prepares to begin demolition of Cleaborn Homes on April 12.

46. City Seeks Fast Fairgrounds Development -

The $15 million creation of Tiger Lane last year at the Mid-South Fairgrounds happened within budget and so quickly that Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration would like to use the method to venture into the more complex parts of the renovation of the city-owned property.

47. Council Considers Fairgrounds Bridge Loan - Partial Pyramid Seismic Study -

A plan to finance $25 million in Fairgrounds improvements with a bridge loan from the city’s Capital Improvement Projects got a frosty reception Tuesday from Memphis City Council members.

City Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb floated the idea as he updated the council on the plans for Fairgrounds renovation as well as the latest on the city’s quest to renovate The Pyramid for a Bass Pro Shops store and other attractions.

48. GOP: New Obama Budget-Cutting Offer Too Small -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Democrats on Friday detailed their opening budget offer of $6.5 billion more in spending cuts this year, but neither it nor the $61 billion in cuts passed by House Republicans is expected to survive test votes next week.

49. SPIN METER: Industry Jobs Studies are Imprecise -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Industry officials say with confidence that 7.3 million jobs will disappear if the Obama administration goes through with tighter rules to reduce smog. The industry-sponsored researcher who came up with that number isn't so sure.

50. Apartments Pushed Home Construction Up in January -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Home construction rose at the fastest rate in 20 months, pushed up by a spike in apartment building. But construction of single-family homes declined, a sign that demand for housing remains weak.

51. Moving Forward -

Even before the Shelby County Election Commission set a March 8 referendum date this week, the political discussion of school consolidation had already moved to who would control the transition.

That’s if voters approve the Memphis City Schools charter surrender and merger with Shelby County Schools.

52. Wharton Administration Rolls Out New Fairgrounds Plan -

Four months after Tiger Lane made its debut, the Wharton administration has rolled out a much more expensive and complex proposal for the continued remaking of the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

All of the tentative pieces of the fairgrounds renovation would cost $185 million to develop. The plan is to finance all or some of them using sales tax revenue returned to the city for the financing of the project through use of a tourism development zone.

53. New Fairgrounds Plan Would Demolish Coliseum, Build Stores -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has outlined a $185 million plan for redevelopment of the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

Wharton and city Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb outlined the plan Tuesday afternoon at the Memphis City Council’s executive session.

54. $300K Plough Grant to Memphis Goodwill to Aid Job Creation -

The Plough Foundation has awarded a two-part $300,000 grant to Memphis Goodwill Industries to support the nonprofit’s Community Workforce program, which provides vocational training to individuals with disabilities and other obstacles to employment.

55. Obama, Hill Leaders Meet: Taxes, Treaty on Tap -

WASHINGTON (AP) – House and Senate leaders from both parties sat down Tuesday for their first postelection meeting with President Barack Obama in an atmosphere charged with tension over taxes and a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

56. Time to Shine Lights on Tiger Lane -

The $15 million Tiger Lane project at the Mid-South Fairgrounds will get a “blue” opening Wednesday evening.

The blue isn’t from the University of Memphis Tigers’ opening loss of the football season. It is strings of blue lights from the East Parkway entrance to the western wall of the Liberty Bowl stadium.

57. Tiger Lane First Step in Fairgrounds Plan -

The dramatic changes in the landscape of the Mid-South Fairgrounds belie the lack of an overall development plan for the prime public real estate.

With bulldozers leveling ground for a seven-acre greenspace last week, city leaders made the Tiger Lane project official with a groundbreaking event.

58. Bass Pro and Beyond -

"Adaptive reuse” is the term for what city leaders hope will happen at The Pyramid.

Throw in the Mid-South Fairgrounds and the Beale Street Landing projects, though, and “adaptive reuse” seems inadequate to define what is happening among the three concepts.

59. City Files Permits For Fairgrounds Projects -

The city of Memphis has filed a pair of building permits with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for part of the roughly $10 million in upgrades it will perform at the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

60. Fairgrounds Plan Has New Details -

Memphis City Council members took up a trio of high profile CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) Tuesday as they prepared for the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

The Fairgrounds

Council members got their first look at detailed plans for “Tiger Lane”, the greenspace to be created at The Fairgrounds from East Parkway to the west side of The Liberty Bowl stadium by mid September.

61. Cohen Joins Fight Against Mega-Banks -

Limit risk-taking.

Create a new super-regulator. Use a sale of bank assets to pay for cleaning up the next mammoth meltdown.

As lawmakers consider those and other ideas in putting the final touches on financial overhaul legislation, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, wants another proposal placed on the table: putting a ceiling on how large banks can grow.

62. Haslam: State Budget Must Be Whittled in Small Pieces -

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam says the next governor will have to make some difficult decisions about state spending.

We talked with the mayor of Knoxville during a recent Memphis visit about how much can realistically be cut from state government and the impact of national health care reform on the state budget.

63. Council Approves More Fairgrounds Changes -

Just days after groundbreaking for the Salvation Army Kroc Center at the Mid-South Fairgrounds, there will be more changes to the landscape coming soon.

The Memphis City Council Tuesday approved the demolition of the Arena Building at the fairgrounds as well as $606,000 in city funding to do design work on a “great lawn” project for the fairgrounds.

64. UPDATE: Fairgrounds Plan Keeps Pipkin and Creative Arts Building -

The Arena Building at The Fairgrounds will be demolished under new plans Memphis Mayor A C Wharton will outline for Memphis City Council members today.

A resolution approving the demolition is up for discussion in the council’s executive session this afternoon.

65. Tenn. to Send 10 Buses to Immigration Reform March -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - In his role as a lay minister and translator at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Lewisburg, Jose Gomez hears a lot about the problems his fellow Hispanics face.

66. Project Greenway -

There’s no doubt 2010 will go down as a watershed year for the Wolf River Greenway, the $28 million, 22-mile nature corridor that traces the Wolf River from Memphis’ eastern border to Downtown.

The team responsible for giving life to the Greenway – the city parks department, the Wolf River Conservancy and the Hyde Family Foundations – has achieved a pair of key milestones, both of which are being celebrated as the jumpstart this project sorely needed.

67. Fairgrounds Work Continues Despite Flux -

On his way home from church one Sunday last month, Kevin Kane and his family decided to go by the Mid-South Fairgrounds to see what was left of the Zippin Pippin.

68. Fairgrounds Work Continues Despite Parking Questions -

The demolition and cleanup of the old Libertyland theme park is just about finished, and a 10-0 vote by the Memphis City Council this week means that and other work to create a “great lawn” at the Mid-South Fairgrounds will continue for now.

69. Fairgrounds Work Gets Greenlight From Council -

Demolition work at The Fairgrounds resumes now that the Memphis City Council has greenlighted the idea of a “great lawn” off East Parkway.

Future council votes are still to come on starting $600,000 in design work and then approving the design.

70. UPDATE: Fairgrounds Work To Resume -

Demolition work at The Fairgrounds resumes now that the Memphis City Council has greenlighted the idea of a “great lawn” off East Parkway.

Future council votes are still to come on starting $600,000 in design work and then approving the design.

71. Fairgrounds Jump Start on Council's Agenda -  

Memphis City Council members will be called on today to jump start the stalled renovation of The Fairgrounds.

The push by the Liberty Bowl's three tenants is to get an immediate council vote on a plan to create a great lawn at the Fairgrounds and demolish seven buildings including the Pipkin Building.

An ad hoc committee including council members and representatives of the three tenants met Monday evening to talk about current demolition underway at the Fairgrounds.

The demolition of the old Libertyland amusement park caused some concern when it went into a parking area outside the park.

Southern Heritage Classic founder Fred Jones immediately began expressing concerns that the new activity as well as the digging of a temporary siltation pond would cut the number of parking spaces available for his annual Jackson State-Tennessee State football matchup.

The work was stopped several weeks ago as the council tried to sort out where the demolition ended and the creation of a “great lawn” during the brief tenure of Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery began.

“There’s a whole lot of work still being done,” Jones told the committee Monday evening of what he had seen earlier that day.

City Housing and Community Development director Robert Lipscomb said it was only a “clean up” of the area.

At Monday’s meeting, the three tenants of the football stadium said they back going ahead with the great lawn project as long as the lawn, in some form, and a plan to demolish the seven buildings, most of which are livestock barns, can all be done by the time football resumes at the Liberty Bowl with the Sept. 11 Southern Heritage Classic.

Some of the demolition contracts run out next week.

Jones said he supports the concept of a great lawn from East Parkway to the stadium. But he questioned whether the plans would increase the number of parking spaces from the current 5,372 within the Fairgrounds property to 7,568.

“We need to know exactly what we have. I don’t mean conceptually,” Jones said. “You’re not creating new spaces.”

Architect Tom Marshall, the city’s consultant on the project, insisted new and more parking will be created with the demolition of the buildings and Libertyland.

Marshall offered to come up with a detailed map showing individual parking spaces for today’s council discussion expected to begin during executive session at 1pm.

“I’ll even put in big cars,” he told Jones at one point.

Jones was the only no vote in the seven member committee vote to ask the city council for immediate approval of the project.

“I’m not really satisfied with what I’ve seen,” he said after he and others said the work by some divisions of the city including the Park Services division didn’t mesh with what other parts of city government were saying. “It’s just too convenient that the park services people weren’t here. Every time we say there is additional parking, I have not seen it.”

Council member Reid Hedgepeth moderated the session, trying to keep all of those involved from discussing past mis-steps.

“From now on people are going to know what’s happening,” he said. “If we’re going to do it, let’s do it. If not … let’s send them home,” he said referring to demolition crews.

Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart said pre bowl game events should have some kind of building on the grounds to host them. Lipscomb said a tent will serve the purpose even though Ehrhart would prefer one of the surviving Fairgrounds buildings.

“A tent would be better than those buildings,” Lipscomb said.

Marshall estimated what is known as phase one of The Fairgrounds overhaul could cost $6-million to $9-million. There are no plans for a second phase or anything else beyond the great lawn and the building demolition.

The phase one cost could vary depending on bids and design work still to be done. Construction would start in June. But the council could vote on a specific design in April or May.

“We’re supportive of it,” University of Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson said near the end of the two hour session. “I’m more and more concerned about the land. But we want to move on it.”

The construction of the Salvation Army Kroc Center on a Fairgrounds lot along East Parkway next to Fairview Junior High School is independent of the city’s on again-off again plans for the rest of the Fairgrounds property including phase one.

...

72. UPDATE: Council To Be Asked To Jump Start Fairgrounds Project -

Memphis City Council members will be on the deciding end Tuesday of a push to get an immediate council vote on a plan to create a great lawn at the Fairgrounds and demolish seven buildings including the Pipkin Building.

73. MED’s Future Becomes Muddier -

The Regional Medical Center at Memphis’ future grew more tenuous this week as Gov. Phil Bredesen and the Memphis political community staked out differing political stances.

However, Bredesen and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. began discussing the future of the county-owned and -funded hospital – even as Bredesen appeared to dismiss efforts by interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford to get emergency state funding.

74. No Room at the Inn -

The bed came with a view of a sparkling Mississippi River on a winter day that was about 10 degrees on the warm side of crisp. The trees were bare and no one appeared to be at home near the concrete floodwall that ends just south of The Pyramid.

75. Tipping a Tricky Business Behind Scenes at Area Restaurants -

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series about tipping in local restaurants.               

The next time you feel good about yourself for plunking down a $20 tip for a $100 tab at a restaurant, consider this: The server who benefits from your generosity may not actually hold on to that princely sum.

76. Wharton Goes Straight to the Top With Stimulus Specs -

Around lunchtime Monday, the nation’s attention was fixated on the U.S. Senate’s early morning procedural vote on a health care overhaul.

Away from the heat of legislative battle, meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden was preparing to dial in to what would be a 45-minute conference call with four big-city mayors, one of whom was Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.

77. Conway Brings Compassionate Nature, Diverse Interests To Memphis Area Legal Services -

Liz Conway has joined Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. as director of development. In that capacity, she will oversee MALS’ annual Access to Justice Campaign.

78. Internal Affair -

One in five of the Memphis school system’s new teachers quits after a year in the classroom. After three years, 40 percent of the new hires are gone. For those who do hang around, the process of becoming – and remaining – a teacher is the story of a system within the school system.

79. Fairgrounds Redevelopment Slow but Happening -

Workers began dismantling the Grand Carousel this week at what used to be Libertyland.

Most of the rest of the circa 1976 theme park with the notable exception of the Zippin Pippin roller coaster has been removed or is visibly deteriorating. The carousel is being packed for storage until a future use is found for it.

80. City Pushes For East Parkway Facelift For Fairgrounds -

The city has no new developer for a proposed overhaul of The Fairgrounds. But it will continue with the demolition of what used to be Libertyland theme park.

City Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb told City Council members he also wants to improve other frontage along East Parkway, south of Central.

81. Memphest Offers Fair Alternative Back at Old Fairgrounds Home -

Fans of pronto pups and funnel cakes have double the opportunity to fill up this week, though the hogs, chickens and cattle are optional. The first-ever Memphest opened Friday at the Mid-South Fairgrounds just as the Mid-South Fair opened at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven.

82. Braking Point: Inside MATA's identity crisis -

The bus system in Memphis has an undeserved “mythology,” according to the people who run it. However, some who ride Memphis Area Transit Authority buses everyday – and many who don’t – contend the system is far from perfect.

83. Mayor’s Resignation Date Set for July 30 -

Mayor Willie Herenton’s departure is July 30.

Memphis City Council members locked in the date with a resolution declaring the mayor’s office vacant by July 31.

Despite the additional three weeks of tenure for Herenton, he isn’t likely to cooperate in any meaningful way with his successor, Myron Lowery.

84. Kroc Center’s Backers Want It to Be a Gathering Spot for Diverse Groups -

From its days as a horseracing track in the latter half of the 19th century, the Mid-South Fairgrounds has a long and captivating history, including a fair share of disputes over the best uses for the sprawling property that sits in the middle of Memphis.

85. Stimulus Money Skips Needy Areas -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Counties suffering the most from job losses stand to receive the least help from President Barack Obama’s plan to spend billions of stimulus dollars on roads and bridges, an Associated Press analysis has found.

86. Fairgrounds Discussion Becomes More Ambiguous -

For two hours this week the lights were dimmed in the theater of the Children’s Museum of Memphis and Memphis City Council members got a review of plans for the Mid-South Fairgrounds renovation.

When the house lights came up and the PowerPoint presentation went dark, many concluded the ambitious Herenton administration plan is “back to square one,” to quote several council members.

87. Turley Pushes For Progress On Fairgrounds -

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and fairgrounds developer Henry Turley met for about an hour in Herenton’s office Tuesday about the uncertain future of the project.

88. County Could Transfer Some Fairgrounds Ownership -

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners is likely to discuss today a resolution by commissioner Mike Ritz authorizing the county to transfer for free to the city of Memphis the county’s ownership interest in some of the most prominent pieces of the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

89. Panel Rules on Seniority For Delta, NWA Pilots -

ATLANTA (AP) – The pilot seniority lists at Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines will be integrated based on pilots’ status and aircraft category, though pilots from one carrier will not be able to fly for a period of time certain planes the other carrier brought to the combination, an arbitration panel ruled.

90. Lipscomb Calls for Streamlining In Project Approvals -

The remake of The Pyramid and the makeover of the Mid-South Fairgrounds are two very different undertakings.

But they appear to be traveling the same political road – approval of a development agreement by the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.

91. Lee To Announce Next Step In Legal Fees Flap - The Memphis City Council Tuesday 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.

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 today.

The council has also given final approval Tuesday 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 this week’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.

...

92. 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.

...

93. Council to Discuss Fairgrounds Development -

The Memphis City Council will continue in its executive session today a discussion that began several weeks ago in a previous executive session regarding the redevelopment plan for the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

94. Fairgrounds Ownership Question Lingers -

The Herenton administration’s plan to take a development agreement for the Fairgrounds to the City Council was delayed this week. The delay came the same week that the Shelby County Board of Commissioners finally approved a development agreement for Bass Pro Shops to remake The Pyramid.

95. Pyramid Decision Sets Stage For Further Debate -

Shelby County government will stay in The Pyramid business for now.

A move to sell the county’s share of The Pyramid, The Mid-South Coliseum and Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to the city of Memphis for $5 million failed this week on a 5-6 vote of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.

96. Herenton Addresses Convention Center Speculation -

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said Thursday no decision has been made on the idea of a new convention center, much less the cost of such a center and its location.

But he added the key question might be whether the city can afford not to build a new one.

97. Eye Clinic Opens In Whitehaven Neighborhood -

Tommy Childress and his friend and co-worker, Stan Pike, were out on a hunting trip when their conversation turned toward possible business opportunities. Pike mentioned to Childress that he knew of a community where, if it was possible to get the money together, it would be a good place to open an optometry office. But not just a clinic where people pick up glasses; they wanted to focus heavily on the medical end of the spectrum.

98. Turley Moves Ahead With Fairgrounds Plans -

Mid-South Fairgrounds developer Henry Turley acknowledged this week that he and his group, Fair Ground LLC, are pursuing a major retailer as part of the plan that is still forming to redevelop the 170 acres of public land in Midtown.

99. Ex-Mayor Hackett Helps Quash Charter Amendment -

Scratch the proposed amendment to the Memphis charter that would require City Council approval of some contracts signed by the mayor.

The Memphis Charter Commission last week took back its earlier decision to include such a proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot. The earlier move was rescinded after current Mayor Willie Herenton and former Mayor Dick Hackett told the group that requiring council approval of contracts over a certain dollar amount would needlessly complicate city government and make it more inefficient.

100. DelPriore Joins Baker Donelson -

Robert J. DelPriore is the newest addition to Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC. He joins the firm as a shareholder, concentrating his practice in securities, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance.