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VOL. TMN-9 | NO. 51 | Saturday, December 17, 2016
Weekly Issue

Empty Seats

Downsizing Shelby County Schools comes with emotional questions

Shelby County Commissioner David Reaves can still see it clearly: “Take the whole map of the county and lay a grid on it. Then I’d like you to say, ‘Where’s the population? Where’s the projection?’ And then let’s strategically place schools all over the county based upon that and make them all of equal offerings.”

EDITORIAL

Editorial: Changes Needed As Death Toll Sets Record

Memphis has seen more homicides in 2016 than in any other year for which the city has kept records. That dubious distinction occurred less than a month before the year gives way to 2017, and with it, a new year of hopes and resolutions for a better Memphis.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Memphis Chamber Announces Program to Assist Minority-, Women-Owned Businesses

At a press conference fittingly held at the National Civil Rights Museum, The Greater Memphis Chamber announced their newest pilot program Thursday, Dec. 15: the Ascend Memphis Business Development Pilot Program.

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SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Frugal Home Finds Specializes In Upscale Furnishings, Customer Service

It all started with a $6 ladder bookshelf. Two years later, Frugal Home Finds’ 9,000-square-foot storefront is a cult classic for high-end furniture enthusiasts and designers in Memphis and around the Mid-South.

THE MEMPHIS NEWS ALMANAC

December 16-22, 2016: This week in Memphis history

2015: A record high temperature of 70 degrees at Memphis, according to the National Weather Service. The 70-degree mark ties a record for the date set in 1982.

GREEN

Wolf River Greenway’s Epping Way Segment Moves Toward May Opening

The only trace of Berry Brooks’ Epping Way clubhouse and recreation area is a pair of wooden gabled stone posts across the curb cut and gravel entrance at the end of a Raleigh cul de sac.

FINANCIAL

Renasant Corp. Kicks Off Common Stock Offering

For the parent company of Renasant Bank, now looked like the perfect time to kick off a common stock offering that will bring more than $75 million into the company’s coffers.

EDUCATION

Rhodes College Names First Female President

The new president of Rhodes College comes to the Midtown liberal arts college from being president of Austin College in Texas.

New State Education Plan Limits ASD

The state of Tennessee is about to change the rules for how the Achievement School District takes over a failing school.

TNReady Report Cards Dip With New Test

Shelby County Schools leaders have a math literacy program that will rollout in phases starting next year. The plan was already in the works before new state test results were released Tuesday, Dec. 13, for school districts across the state.

Hiring Teachers Year-Round Effort for Shelby County Schools

It used to be that Shelby County Schools and its predecessor Memphis City Schools had a season for hiring teachers that began around the end of the school year and ended the first day of classes.

DOWNTOWN

Medical District Using Tactical Urbanism to Increase Walkability

Redevelopment in dense city centers provides a unique set of problems for urban planners. Decades and sometimes centuries of overlapping growth make utilizing every possible square foot of land a necessity.

RETAIL

Analyst: Fred’s May Be in Talks To Sell

Memphis-based pharmacy operator and retailer fred’s Inc. was still keeping quiet at press time about the “pending transaction” that led the company to take the unusual step of declining to allow questions from analysts following its earnings presentation Dec. 8.

REAL ESTATE

Development Projects Tied to Mid-South Reach $9.2B

The number of development projects in the Memphis market has risen above $9 billion, according to data compiled by Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors.

Village Shops of Forest Hill Sold for $37.1 Million

9155 U.S. Highway 72 , -
A 360,000-square-foot commercial retail center in Germantown was recently purchased by Epic Real Estate Partners acting as EREP Forest Hill I LLC for $37.1 million.

COMMUNITY

Dunavant Awards Give Recognition Some Rarely Experience

It’s been said that character is defined by what you do when nobody is watching.

Snowball Express Benefits Local Families Who Lost Military Parent

Seven local families are in Dallas/Fort Worth this week for the 11th annual Snowball Express Weekend, an all-expense-paid holiday gala for children of fallen military heroes.

HEALTH CARE

Baptist Prepares to Open Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Baptist Memorial Health Care is opening a 12-bed pediatric intensive care unit next week at the Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children’s Hospital, the latest addition to Baptist’s growing suite of pediatric services.

UTHSC Faculty Members Get Almost $4M In Funding for Military Research Projects

A trio of University of Tennessee Health Science Center professors has won almost $4 million in grant funding to pursue studies that could produce insights eventually useful to the military.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

TBI File Details Critical Points in Police Bratcher Shooting

There were several points at which the encounter between Memphis Police and Jonathon Bratcher at South Parkway and Mississippi Boulevard this past January might have gone differently.

THE TIPPING POINT

Mansberg Teaches Young Women To Give Back

In a city full of dreamers, Leigh Mansberg works on the front lines. “My goal is to raise a generation of smart, empowered women who can take on any challenge,” she observes. “It’s been an amazing journey.”

SPORTS

Liberty Bowl Coaches: Today’s Offenses Go Ever-Faster, Tackling is a Skill in Demand

Gary Patterson was still relatively new to this head coaching business when in 2002 he brought TCU to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl. His team defeated Colorado State 17-3 and the memories are good.

Say It’s So, Mo! Speights Calls out Clippers Teammates for Complaining to Officials

Remember our old friend Mo Speights? Big fella, but liked to stay away from the scrums under the basket and instead drop in feathery jump shots?

Long Offseason Ahead for Jones

Tennessee football coach Butch Jones has plenty of winning to do next year. For starters, UT (8-4, 4-4 SEC) needs to win the Dec. 30 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville against Nebraska (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten).

Winning With ‘Bad’ Mariota a Good Sign for Titans

The Titans had been riding the gifted right arm of Marcus Mariota for about two months. The second-year quarterback had played so well during that period that he was named November AFC Offensive Player of the Month and was beginning to draw attention as one of the young QBs to keep an eye on as he began elevating his game toward superstardom.

Time to Expand College Football Playoffs to 8 Teams

When it comes to college football, I tend to be a traditionalist. That doesn’t mean I yearn for the days of leather helmets and quick kicks. I try to adjust to the times. But I must admit it’s hard to swallow a 76-61 final score, as was the case in the Pittsburgh-Syracuse game this season.

Memphis Football Bigger Than One Coach Or QB

As we count down to the University of Memphis playing in the Tuesday, Dec. 20, Boca Raton Bowl, I find myself recalling what athletics director Tom Bowen said when pressed about why Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell was the Tigers’ choice for head coach.

SNAPSHOT

Snapshot: Active Military, Veterans Take Oath as US Citizens

Twelve active and former members of the military were naturalized Wednesday, Dec. 14, as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services formally opened its Memphis field office in Downtown's Brinkley Plaza. The agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, says the Memphis office sees 60 to 90 individuals from Tennessee, the eastern half of Arkansas and the northern half of Mississippi each business day.

MEMPHIS NEWSMAKERS

Brewer Named President Of Versant Supply Chain

Buck Brewer has been promoted to president of Memphis-based Versant Supply Chain Inc. A 20-year veteran of the supply chain industry, Brewer joined Versant six years ago and had served as its chief operating officer since January 2014.

LOCAL COLUMNISTS

Lists of Things Learned

A FEW OF LIFE’S LISTS. The four stages of life: 1. You believe in Santa Claus. 2. You don’t believe in Santa Claus. 3. You are Santa Claus. 4. You look like Santa Claus.

Setting Financial Priorities in Your 50s and Beyond

Ray’s Take Every phase of life has its challenges – financial and otherwise. Your education gives way to career, which is often followed by marriage and children. Next comes educating those children. It would be great if all of these phases were managed and balanced as we pass through them, but most of us have a few detours along the way. 

Tuning Up Your Finances for 2017

As a longtime financial professional, I can vouch for the power of the looming New Year – more people begin showing interest in getting their finances in order during this time than any other. I’ve always found that the best way to ensure a great financial future is by mapping out your goals and avoiding common financial pitfalls. I’ll outline some of my most tried and true tips here.

Gatlinburg Reopens

I couldn’t believe my eyes late the night of Nov. 28 as I mindlessly scrolled through my Twitter feed and began seeing videos of drivers frantically passing through massive walls of flame shooting skyward along the road.

Fast Food Fun?

In the mid-1970s, Susan and I went into a fast food restaurant. We sat down, and the chair that she sat in – one of those glued-to-the-floor models that was prevalent at that time – just sorta slowly came loose from the floor and fell over. 

Faison’s Folly? Pushing Pot as a Conservative

By just about any measure, state Rep. Jeremy Faison is a hardcore conservative. But when it comes to the cannabis plant, the East Tennessee legislator is ready to fire up the General Assembly with a move to liberalize the state’s pot law.

Small Town, Big Perks

One of the first things every job seeker considers is what city to live in next. A list of questions comes up when evaluating options: “Are there many jobs available in my current city? Am I near my family and friends? Would I rather be on the coast, or near the mountains?”

Brand Dissonance Boosts Marketing Performance

The primary reason that most advertising fails is that the message sounds remarkably similar to most competitors in the marketplace. With all the advertising noise competing for consumer attention these days, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for the market to differentiate one brand from another. This translates to a waste of precious advertising dollars. It’s the equivalent of flushing your marketing budget down the drain.

Innovation Inside the Box

2016 Back End of Innovation Conference keynote by Drew Boyd, executive director of the Master of Science in marketing, University of Cincinnati.

3 Ways to Launch Fundraising in the New Year

The new year is soon upon us, complete with new year resolutions. Some are personal: Lose weight, exercise more, be a more loving person, spend more time with family, quit smoking. … Others relate to the nonprofit organizations we work with. To help you prepare your nonprofit organization or institution for a most positive year, we offer these three suggestions.

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Blog News, Training & Events
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 83 223 16,103
MORTGAGES 62 207 18,599
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 323 32,794
BANKRUPTCIES 66 187 10,687
BUSINESS LICENSES 28 86 5,172
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 37 127 11,344
MARRIAGE LICENSES 15 75 3,848

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The Memphis News: Business, politics, and the public interest.