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VOL. 124 | NO. 118 | Thursday, June 18, 2009

Daily Digest

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MCA Files $3.3M Permit For New Student Dorm

The Memphis College of Art this week filed a $3.3 million permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to build a four-story student residence hall at 139 N. Barksdale St. south of the college’s Overton Park campus in Midtown.

The building, still in the planning stages, will be built on 0.67 acres southwest of the intersection of North Barksdale Street and Poplar Avenue. It will be next door to and south of the college’s Metz Hall at 149 N. Barksdale St.

Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC is the general contractor of record for the project. MCA public relations director Michelle Byrd said it was too early to give details on the construction of the dorm, including timeline or project cost.

The college is a “professional center of art and design education, dedicated to preparing individuals for lives of creating, problem solving and critical thinking,” according to its Web site.

MCA over the past year has bought a handful of Midtown homes and renovated them in response to increased enrollment and higher demand for student housing. It completed Metz Hall in 2004.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

MSCAA To Consider Taxiway Design Contract

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority will hold its June board of commissioners meeting today at 8 a.m. in the Airport Authority boardroom, inside the terminal building at Memphis International Airport.

Agenda items for this month’s meeting include an award of contract for taxiway reconstruction design; a contract amendment for an agreement with AirTran Airways; an award of contract to Airfield Lighting Computer Control & Monitoring System-Crouse-Hinds LLC; and information regarding specified officers’ ability to borrow on the airport authority’s behalf.

A full slate of division reports also is scheduled.

The next MSCAA board meeting is set for July 16.

Flame-Resistant Clothing On Tap for MLGW Board

Among the contracts and business items the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division board of directors is scheduled to vote on today is a purchase order for flame-resistant clothing in the amount of $266,093.

The board also is scheduled to approve an appropriation of $243,000 to install underground fiber-optic cable between MLGW’s substation 43 and MLGW’s Netters Business Center on Whitten Road.

The MLGW board meeting will begin at 3 p.m. today in the boardroom of the MLGW Administration Building, 220 S. Main St.

Tenn. Charter Schools On Fast Track in House

A resurrected bill to expand eligibility for charter schools in Tennessee was on a fast track for a full House vote Wednesday after approval by two committees.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, was approved on a voice vote in the reopened House Education Committee and was later passed by the Government Operation Committee. Harwell said she expected the measure to reach the House floor by the end of the day.

The Senate passed the bill last month on a 22-7 vote, but it stalled when Democrats on the House Education Committee closed down the panel before a vote could be taken.

Under the new proposal, children in school systems with at least 14,000 students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches would be eligible to enroll in charter schools.

Preference would be given to students with failing grades or those from failing schools.

“That was a good compromise because these are the students that we most want to reach,” Harwell said. “We’ve spent a tremendous amount of money on our education system, and we just want to make sure that at-risk children have this opportunity to succeed.”

The measure would cap the number of charter schools in Tennessee at 90, and limit the number of charter schools to 20 in Nashville and 35 in Memphis.

It would require schools to track students’ progress and allow charter school funding to be used for other “innovative” educational efforts such as magnet schools. The charter renewal period would also be extended from five to 10 years.

“I know we have come to a position where we can support the amendments,” said Tennessee Education Association spokesman Jerry Winters. “We think in the overall picture of things this is the way we ought to proceed.”

Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen has indicated he would sign a charter schools expansion into law, and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has warned that Tennessee could lose out on more than $100 million worth of federal stimulus money if it doesn’t expand access to charter schools.

Standalone Ethics Commission Fails in House Vote

Efforts to keep the Tennessee Ethics Commission as a standalone entity have likely been dealt their final blow in the House.

Republican Rep. Susan Lynn of Mt. Juliet, the chairwoman of the House Government Operations Committee, on Wednesday declined a request from House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner to bring up the extension bill that she earlier had taken off notice.

The panel instead moved out a bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville that would merge the ethics panel with the Registry of Election Finance.

The Senate a day earlier passed the extension and merger proposals, meaning the House action will determine the future of the panel created in the aftermath of the FBI’s 2005 Tennessee Waltz corruption sting that led to the convictions of five former lawmakers.

Real Estate Commission Issues Insurance Fines

During its May meeting, the Tennessee Real Estate Commission slapped more fines on real estate agents who failed to maintain errors and omissions insurance.

Eleven agents received fines for not having the insurance. The commission at its April meeting had fined more than 70 agents for failing to maintain the insurance.

Real estate agents from the Memphis area who were fined at the most recent meeting were James M. Beaty, Joelean Benson, Leon Dickerson Sr., Joseph Martin Jackson, Rasheedah Mateen Jones, Calvin N. Phan and Tony Wyatt Williams.

Rainey Kizer Named ‘Go-To Law Firm’

Corporate Counsel magazine has named Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell PLC a “Go-To Law Firm” in the area of litigation.

Corporate Counsel surveyed the world’s leading Fortune 500 companies to determine which law firms they rely on in various practice areas.

Rainey Kizer’s practice includes alternative dispute resolution, banking and creditor relations, education law, employment law, general corporate practice health care and professional liability law, insurance defense, real estate transactions and tort litigation.

The law firm has been recognized in this annual survey since 2007.

Consumer Prices Rise Less Than Expected

Consumer prices rose less than expected in May and posted the steepest annual drop in 59 years, according to government data released Wednesday, fresh evidence that the recession is keeping inflation in check.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that the consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent last month, below analysts’ expectations of a 0.3 percent rise.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core prices also increased 0.1 percent, matching expectations.

Gasoline prices rose 9.6 percent in May, before seasonal adjustment, the department said. But they are still much lower than last year, when prices at the pump topped $4 a gallon during the summer.

Because of that decline, consumer prices fell 1.3 percent in the 12 months ending in May, the steepest drop since 1950. The core CPI has increased 1.8 percent since last year.

Food prices in the U.S. fell for the fourth straight month in May, the department said, as costs fell for all six of the major grocery food groups, including fruits and vegetables, meats and poultry and dairy products.

Tobacco prices fell 0.3 percent after two months of large increases. Cigarette makers increased prices in the spring ahead of a steep tax increase.

West Nile Virus Detected in North Memphis

The Memphis and Shelby County Health Department has detected the West Nile virus in mosquito collections from North Memphis.

The Health Department has begun treating bodies of water in the 38107 ZIP code to control mosquito populations. The agency also will begin applying mosquito insecticide products in other areas of the city.

Residents who don’t want their homes to be sprayed should contact the department’s vector control division at 324-5547.

Fifth Case of Swine Flu Confirmed in Shelby County

The Memphis and Shelby County Health Department has received confirmation of the fifth case of the H1N1 flu virus.

The specimen is from an adult and was confirmed in a test conducted at the Tennessee Department of Health laboratory.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 66 378 15,444
MORTGAGES 67 456 20,235
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 109 3,995
BUILDING PERMITS 175 1,046 36,888
BANKRUPTCIES 58 290 14,633
BUSINESS LICENSES 16 80 5,209
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 76 388 22,205
MARRIAGE LICENSES 28 111 4,774

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