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VOL. 7 | NO. 32 | Saturday, August 02, 2014

Daily Digest

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Airport Authority Seeking More Affordable Air Service

Officials with the Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority are hitting the road in the hopes of attracting more affordable air service.

As part of its “relentless pursuit to add frequent and affordable air service,” Airport Authority officials will be attending meetings at the upcoming World Routes 2014 forum being held Sept. 20-23.

The event, which takes place in Chicago this year, is expected to draw 3,000 aviation professionals, with representation from 300 airlines, 800 airports and 200 tourism authorities.

The forum allows for numerous pre-arranged meetings between airport executives, airlines, charter operators and other aviation professionals.

“Chairman (Jack) Sammons and I will be meeting with between 10-15 airlines, five airports and several international charter operators,” said Airport Authority president and CEO Scott Brockman in a statement.

During last year’s World Routes forum, Airport Authority officials met with representatives from American Airlines and Philadelphia International Airport. American added three new daily nonstop flights between Memphis and Philadelphia in June.

Scripps’ Newspaper Spinoff Includes Commercial Appeal

The E.W. Scripps Co. of Cincinnati announced Wednesday, July 30, that it will spin off its newspapers, including The Commercial Appeal, in 2015 into a new Journal Media Group to be based in Milwaukee along with newspapers from the Journal Media Group of Milwaukee.

Scripps will own and operate the combined television and radio stations of both companies in 27 markets and exit the newspaper business entirely. The company began in 1878 as a newspaper company in Cleveland, Ohio, that published a newspaper called “Penny Press.”

In the mergers and spinoffs, Scripps shareholders will own 59 percent of Journal Media Group and 69 percent of the new Scripps broadcasting business.

The two publicly traded companies will be separate entities.

Journal Communications’ broadcast assets will be folded into Scripps, with headquarters remaining in Cincinnati. The company will be the fifth-largest independent TV group in the country.

Grizzlies License Plate Added to Specialty List

Move over Growl Towels. The Grizzlies now have an official license plate.

The new Grizzlies License Plate will be added to the specialty license plates available for Tennessee motorists with the purchase of 1,000 plates through Grizzlies.com this upcoming season. The Tennessee Legislature added the Memphis Grizzlies License Plate to its stock of sports specialty plates with the help of approved legislation from Sen. Jim Kyle and Rep. Larry Miller and the Shelby County Delegation.

The plates are available for purchase at Grizzlies.com for $35. Proceeds from plate sales benefit the Grizzlies Foundation.

“I’m excited for our fans to get the opportunity to showcase their support and spirit for the Grizzlies in their communities, and throughout their travels,” said Grizzlies President of Business Operations Jason Wexler in a statement. “We extend our gratitude to Sen. Kyle and Rep. Larry Miller for their sponsorship of this endeavor, and to the entire Shelby County Delegation for their support.”

The plate features the Grizzlies’ signature three shades of blue and official logo. The Grizzlies license plate cannot be customized and Tennessee state license plate numbers will be issued at random by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

FedEx Pleads Not Guilty In Drug Distribution Case

FedEx pleaded not guilty Tuesday, July 29, in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to charges that it conspired to distribute controlled substances from illegal Internet pharmacies.

Memphis-based FedEx was slapped with a 15-count federal grand jury indictment July 17 alleging the company delivered prescription drugs from illegal Web-based pharmacies despite warnings from government authorities. Rather than closing the pharmacies' accounts, FedEx is accused of taking detailed steps to allow the flow of prescription drugs to continue.

FedEx, which could face a penalty of around $1.6 billion if convicted, is due back in the San Francisco courtroom Sept. 24 but could face additional charges before then. Last week, prosecutors said they planned to present a superseding indictment to the grand jury no later than Aug. 28.

FedEx has denied the allegations.

Lakeland Pharmacist Installed in TSHP Role

Brandon Edgerson of Lakeland was installed as the 2014-2015 president-elect of the Tennessee Society of Health-System Pharmacists (TSHP) at the 127th Annual Convention of the Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA) held recently in Hilton Head, S.C.

Edgerson is the director of pharmacy at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. He received his PharmD degree from Xavier University of Louisiana, and his Masters in Science from Ohio State University, where his also completed his residency training.

He is involved in numerous professional organizations including TPA, TSHP, Children’s Hospital Association, American Association of Health-System Pharmacists and Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group. Edgerson is a former secretary/treasurer of TSHP and has previously served as a pharmacy forum advisory member for Children’s Hospital Association.

In 2013, he received the TSHP Pharmacist of the Year Award.

The Tennessee Society of Health-System Pharmacists is a statewide professional organization for pharmacists whose practice is in an institution or health system. It is affiliated with the Tennessee Pharmacists Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Civil Rights Museum Names New President

The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis has named Terri Lee Freeman to be its next president.

Freeman succeeds Beverly Robertson and will begin her new position in early November.

Robertson headed the museum for 16 years. She will remain through the end of the year to help with the leadership transition.

The main section of the newly renovated museum reopened April 5, the day after the 46th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Memphis.

King was killed on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel, which was later converted into the museum in Downtown Memphis.

The museum recently underwent an extensive renovation that modernized the exhibits at the space in the South Main Historic Arts District.

Tunica Roadhouse Casino Celebrates 20 Years

This weekend, Tunica Roadhouse Casino & Hotel will celebrate 20 years of gaming.

To commemorate the occasion, the property is giving out free T-Shirts and offering a free concert by Cowboy Mouth at 9 p.m. on Aug. 2.

Continuing the anniversary celebration, Tunica Roadhouse will give away a jet ski on Aug. 2, among other celebratory giveaways and goodies.

The casino opened on Aug. 1, 1994. Its roadhouse concept featuring a mechanical bull and non-casino gaming area including beer pong, corn hole and pool tables, debuted in December 2009 with a motorcycle procession and ribbon cutting ceremony.

Judge Orders Mediation Between Pilot, Customers

A federal judge has ordered mediation in a lawsuit targeting the truck-stop chain owned by Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

The suit claims Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J fraudulently withheld fuel rebates and discounts from customers. Pilot earlier settled similar claims in a class-action lawsuit for $85 million. A few companies opted out of that settlement.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that some plaintiffs' attorneys this week objected to the ordered mediation. They said they need to take discovery first to determine what was stolen from their clients.

A Pilot attorney disagreed, saying an audit provided by the company gives an "absolutely full picture" of the damages.

Pilot also recently agreed to pay a $92 million penalty to avoid criminal charges against the company.

Big River Initiative Organizes Levee Tours

The Big River Strategic Initiative, the private group working on the pedestrian and bicycle boardwalk across the Mississippi River at Memphis, is organizing tours of the St. Francis, Ark., levee system.

The initiative leaders announced this month an agreement with the St. Francis Levee Board to begin working on terms for access to the levees in two Arkansas counties it has authority over. The levee trails would be a pedestrian and bike trail system of 62 miles on the other side of the Harahan Bridge boardwalk, now rebranded as the Big River Crossing.

To limit access to the levees, the initiative is organizing tours with the permission of the levee board that include a look at the scenery along the river including farmland and stands of hardwood forests.

For more information on the tours call Greg Maxted at 202-4141.

UTHSC Professor Receives $2.5 Million Grant

Donna K. Hathaway, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies in the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health.

The award will be used to support a project titled, “An RCT for Medication Adherence in Kidney Transplant Recipients.” The award will be distributed over a four-year period.

Medication non-adherence (medication not taken or taken incorrectly) is a $300 billion problem among organ transplant recipients in the United States. Though they have received the “gift of life,” about 75 percent of people with a kidney transplant struggle to take transplant medicines on time every day for the life of the transplant. Without these critical medications, the kidney will not survive.

Along with Cynthia L. Russell, professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Hathaway is testing an innovative intervention called SystemCHANGE, which has been shown to be effective with difficult-to-change behaviors like exercise.

The study will also examine physiological outcomes and the cost effectiveness of improved medication adherence. The hope is that by improving medication adherence, recipients will be able to keep their organs functioning longer and avoid the need for additional transplants.

Dishcrawl to Produce Bacon-Themed Event

A new Dishcrawl event is on the way.

On Aug. 13, Dishcrawl Memphis is hosting its “Bacon Lovers Delight” event, which will involve taking participants to three restaurants for a culinary adventure pairing bacon with other food items.

The names of the restaurants are secret for now, but will be revealed as usual shortly before the event.

Tickets are available now, and more information is available at http://www.dishcrawl.com/memphis.

Conde Nast Traveler Recognizes Muddy’s

Conde Nast Traveler thinks it might be worth traveling to Memphis to visit Muddy’s Bake Shop alone.

The leading travel magazine has included the East Memphis bakery on its list of “13 destination bakeries.”

“Would you travel across the country solely to eat dessert?” the magazine asks. “You might, after seeing these decadent, impossibly sweet treats.” The magazine calls Muddy’s “a homey bakery” that serves “traditional Southern sweets in a comfortable setting. Aside from its community outreach program and use of locally sourced ingredients, Muddy’s is known for its decadent cupcakes, toffee bars and pies.”

Grizzlies Participate In Basketball Without Borders

Memphis Grizzlies mascot Grizz and select members of the Grizz Girls and the Kings of the Court performance teams will travel to South Africa for a 10-day stay to participate in the 12th Basketball Without Borders, Africa events in Johannesburg from July 31 to Aug. 9.

During their visit, Grizz, the Grizz Girls and the Kings of the Court will perform at different Basketball Without Borders events, as well as at Basketball National League (BNL) games. While in South Africa, they will tour various cultural sites including the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Apartheid Museum. Their stay in Johannesburg will end with a performance at the Basketball Without Borders All-Star Game on Saturday, Aug. 9.

Basketball without Borders (BWB) is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program that unites young basketball players to promote the sport and encourage positive social change in the areas of education, health and wellness.

FedEx to Send 138 Drivers To Driving Competition

FedEx Corp. is sending 138 drivers to the National Truck Driving Championships.

The drivers from 45 states representing FedEx-operating companies will compete in Pittsburgh Aug. 12-16.

Each FedEx driver earned the right to compete in the NTDC by winning at state-level truck driving championships.

The American Trucking Associations sponsors the NTDC, which is designed to recognize industry leadership in safety and to promote professionalism among truck drivers.

In total, the drivers FedEx is sending have safely driven more than 180 million miles during their careers, enough to circle the globe nearly 7,275 times.

Tennessee Students Struggle in Reading

District-level student assessment scores released by the Tennessee Department of Education show elementary and middle school students need improvement in reading.

The state released results from the 2014 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program on Wednesday.

Statewide, reading in grades three to eight dropped slightly, and is an area of continued need for improvement. Results from the 2013-2014 TCAP results released earlier this month showed students in those grade levels continue to lag behind in reading.

For 2014, results in grades three to eight math, science and social studies were largely flat or showed slight growth.

However, districts did well in high school in most subject areas.

Results for Shelby County Schools and the Achievement School District were also released, and can be found in separate stories in The Daily News.

Blood Donors Needed To Address Shortage

Donations through the Red Cross are down approximately 8 percent over the last 11 weeks, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected. The number of donors continues to decline, and the shortfall is significant enough that the Red Cross could experience an emergency situation in the coming weeks.

Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially needed at this time. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

There is also an urgent need for platelet donations. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients – must be transfused within five days of donation, so it’s important to have a steady supply of platelets.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in the Greater Memphis area include: Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Dean Hill MB Church, 5100 Dean Road in Lake Cormorant in DeSoto County; and in Memphis, July 30 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Regional One Health, 877 Jefferson Ave; and Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Regions Headquarters, 6200 Poplar Ave.

St. Jude Honored By Department of Defense

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of 15 recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The Freedom Award is the Defense Department’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees. This year’s recipients were selected from 2,864 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists for going far beyond what the federal law requires to support their military employees.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was nominated by a member of the Army Reserve. The nominator highlighted the hospital’s active volunteer-based Military Support Resource Group that supports service members and their families during deployments. St. Jude employees send cards and care packages to deployed military members and participate in local veterans recognition events. The hospital also maintains a Military Tribute Wall to honor employees currently serving and veterans.

The 2014 Freedom Award recipients will be honored at a ceremony at the Pentagon Sept. 26.

Tower Center Hosting Fundraiser for Dog Rescue

A party to raise money for Real Good Dog Rescue will take place Aug. 20 on the 33rd floor of Clark Tower at the Tower Center, 5100 Poplar Ave.

The event will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will feature music from Good Company Trio, Hank and Nora, Chuck and Nora are Retroactive, and Judith Johnstone. Handmade and vintage jewelry and original art also will be for sale, with a percentage going to the rescue.

Silent auction items are being donated by businesses and individual supporters. The $20 ticket price includes an appetizer buffet and food by Wade and Company Catering, plus a cash bar with Happy Hour drink prices.

Sierra Club Begins Allen Plant Ad Campaign

The Sierra Club has begun an ad campaign in Memphis and Knoxville to push for the use of wind and solar power in the coming conversion of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Allen Fossil Plant in southwest Memphis.

The TVA board is scheduled to vote this month in Knoxville on switching the Memphis plant from coal to natural gas.

The Sierra Club has praised the move away from coal but its leaders have pushed for the conversion of the plant to include the use of wind and solar power as well.

The print ads began Sunday, July 27, with a radio ad campaign and digital ad campaign to follow.

UTHSC Honors Four With Alumnus Awards

Four physicians will receive the 2014 Outstanding Alumnus Awards from the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Aug. 14.

The doctors are being honored for their work in clinical practice, teaching and community service. Two internal medicine specialists, a pediatric allergist/immunologist and a pediatrician, the outstanding physicians will be honored when graduates of the UTHSC College of Medicine gather in Memphis for the annual College of Medicine Alumni Weekend Aug. 14-16.

The College of Medicine Alumni Council will bestow its highest honor on James D. Link, a pediatrician; Dana V. Wallace, a pediatric allergist/immunologist; Jesse J. Cannon, Jr., an internal medicine physician; and Jack B. Alperin, a specialist in internal medicine and hematology. The awards are presented annually to give special recognition to graduates of the UTHSC College of Medicine.

The physicians will be honored during an Alumni Awards Dinner at The Peabody, which begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception. Some 100 UTHSC friends, alumni and team members are expected to attend, including UT System President Joe DiPietro and UTHSC Chancellor Dr. Steve J. Schwab, who will welcome the guests. Other events during the College of Medicine Alumni Weekend include class reunions, continuing medical education, campus tours and a networking reception for alumni and students.

Latino Memphis Features Bush at Luncheon

George P. Bush, grandson of President George H. W. Bush, will be the featured speaker at the Latino Memphis Leadership Luncheon Sept. 9.

Bush will share during the first Leadership Luncheon his thoughts on the role Latinos play in the country and will touch on topics including education reform, immigration and increased civic and political participation by Latinos.

The event will take place at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Ave, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Medtronic Wins Approval For Cervical Disc Product

Medtronic, Inc. has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market the Prestige LP Cervical Disc System for the treatment of single-level cervical disc disease (radiculopathy and/or myelopathy).

The Prestige LP Cervical Disc is the third clinically proven artificial cervical disc in the Medtronic portfolio and builds upon the same design principles as the original Prestige Cervical Disc introduced in 2007.

Instead of utilizing bone screws to attach to the vertebral bodies as in the original Prestige design, the LP design incorporates two rails positioned off midline that press-fit into two pre-drilled holes created during the surgical procedure. In addition, the Prestige LP Disc is composed of a proprietary titanium-ceramic composite that has been shown to have a lower wear rate and produce less scatter on postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) than stainless steel (MR Conditional at 3 Tesla).

“Our goal was to maintain the same ball-and-trough articulation as in the original design, but to find a way to decrease the profile and use a material with improved postoperative MRI visualization,” said Dr. Vincent Traynelis, director of Neurosurgery Spine Services and vice chairperson and professor of the Department of Neurosurgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “To address these issues, the Prestige LP Disc incorporates a dual-rail fixation mechanism instead of bone screws and is made of a titanium-ceramic composite instead of stainless steel.”

The Prestige LP Cervical Disc has been available outside the United States since 2004 and has been studied in a prospective, multicenter, historical-controlled U.S. IDE trial for a single-level indication, according to Medtronic.

Partial Trolley Service On Road to Restoration

The Memphis Area Transit Authority has identified five trolleys that it is repairing and could have back in limited service in three to six months, probably on the Main Street line.

“We’ve identified the five trolleys that we believe are in the best condition to focus on them and go in and do a complete reinspection and begin repair work on those five trolleys with the intent of getting at least limited service in place within three to six months,” said MATA interim president and general manager Tom Fox. “We do believe that we are still on schedule to meet that window of time.”

All trolley service was suspended in June after the transit authority reached the conclusion that the fleet would either have to be completely renovated or replaced.

Fox said Friday, July 25, that no decision has been made on the possible renovation of other trolleys in the fleet.

Some of the trolleys have been in service for the 22 years since the Main Street line began. They were initially restored after being bought from sources in Australia and Portugal where they were originally in service, some as long ago as 80 or 100 years.

Midtown Fresh Market To Open in August

The Fresh Market has set an opening date for its new Midtown store.

The new store at 2145 Union Ave. will open Aug. 13 at 8 a.m., and grand opening activities will include chef demonstrations, food sampling throughout the store and drawings for The Fresh Market gift cards. A sample-sized bag of the company’s gourmet coffee and a reusable shopping bag will be free to the first 1,000 customers.

The new store, located at the site of the former Ike’s at Union and Cooper Street, will house over 23,400 square feet of culinary items, including a bakery, a full-service meat counter, a wide selection of ready-to-serve entrées, fresh seafood, imported and domestic cheeses, and produce, including a large organic selection.

The Fresh Market said in a statement that the store would employ around 90 people and that it would partner with Mid-South Food Bank to provide regular donations of food.

The Fresh Market has been hard at work transforming the former Ike’s into one of its upscale stores. Redevelopment plans included removing the existing asphalt drive-thru along the building’s west side and replacing it with sidewalk areas. The grocer also proposed adding more sidewalk space and creating new parking spaces where the gas pumps and canopy once stood and converting the Ike’s drive-thru canopy into retail space.

Homebuilders Launch Insurance Program

The West Tennessee Home Builders Association has joined forces with other homebuilder associations in Tennessee and contracted with national employee benefit consulting firm gbac inc. and Memphis-based Shoemaker Financial to launch the Tennessee Construction Industry Health Insurance Program.

Tennessee is the 10th state where a private exchange has been established specifically for National Association of Home Builders’ member associations.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 109 433 13,330
MORTGAGES 114 591 17,349
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 11 93 3,391
BUILDING PERMITS 0 366 30,930
BANKRUPTCIES 76 352 12,695
BUSINESS LICENSES 21 108 4,597
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 77 564 19,457
MARRIAGE LICENSES 29 151 4,060

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