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VOL. TMN-9 | NO. 13 | Saturday, March 26, 2016
Weekly Issue

Cleaning House

City gains the tools, personnel to mount unprecedented attack on blight

Every neighborhood in Memphis and Shelby County has the right to be free from the negative effects of vacant, abandoned and blighted properties. That’s the battle cry of the Memphis Blight Elimination Charter, a 23-page pledge that will steer policy and programs dedicated to blight eradication.

Roadmap to Attacking Blight Awaits City and County Approval

Blighted properties, overgrown lots and abandoned buildings are not unique to Memphis. But Memphis is the only city with a blight elimination charter that affirms cross-sector commitment to uproot the causes of blight and prevent further decline.

THE MEMPHIS NEWS EDITORIAL

Editorial: Time for Blight Talk to Become Action

It’s time for the city’s battle against blight to move beyond the byzantine path of legal barriers, grant programs and other hurdles that have defined a slow-moving process so far.

Greensward Crowd Limits Zoo Overflow Parking

The first Saturday of the spring in Overton Park drew a crowd on the park Greensward that outnumbered the cars parked on the Greensward.

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EVENTS

Memphis Area Transit Authority will host the final public review meeting for the Midtown Area Connector Alternatives Analysis Study (the MAC) on Monday, March 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Memphis Leadership Foundation, 1548 Poplar Ave. This meeting will present the seven recommended Midtown corridor alternatives. Visit macmemphis.com or call 901-722-7119 for details.

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De-Annexation Bill Still Alive, Now In Two Versions

At week’s end in Nashville, a bill to allow de-annexation by referendum was still on the tracks to passage. But there were significant differences in the Senate and House versions as the Tennessee Legislature heads for adjournment for the year in early April.

NONPROFIT SECTOR

Crocker Repairing Urban Child Institute’s Reputation, Reviving Mission

As a vice president for Bank of America, Jill Crocker has witnessed the upheaval that can occur when one financial institution takes over another.

THE MEMPHIS NEWS ALMANAC

This Week in Memphis History: March 25-31

2015: NBA legend Magic Johnson visits Memphis to announce his foundation will award $30,000 in college scholarships to students at Booker T. Washington High School.

RETAIL

The Curb Market's Central Idea: Supporting Local Growers

Several times a day for the last two weeks, people have been showing up at The Curb Market – Midtown’s new market for locally sourced meat, produce and dairy products – and had to be turned away.

Bella Vita Opening ‘The Back Room’

Stephanie Singley’s Collierville-based home interior and design accessories shop Bella Vita is celebrating its 15th year in business with a good problem to have.

TV Series Filming Fuels Growth, Changes at Midtown Eatery

“Million Dollar Quartet” means major dollars for some Memphis businesses. Erik Proveaux, owner of local restaurant Fuel Café, has been tapped to do on-site catering for the TV series about the birth of rock’n’roll. To meet the increased demand, he’s making some changes to streamline his home base at 1761 Madison Ave.

HEALTH CARE

Methodist Makes 'Great Commitment' to Memphis With Expansion

Methodist University Hospital CEO Jeff Liebman sees the $275 million that Methodist Healthcare is investing into the system’s flagship hospital as a “great commitment” to Memphis.

St. Jude, Expedia Make Virtual Reality Experience

The ad opens on a wide view of horses charging across a sweeping vista. As a camera pans over the scene, the voiceover from a child is eventually heard. “I love horses.”

Proponents of Insure TN Enlist Billboards in Fight

An effort to put pressure on the Tennessee General Assembly to consider Insure Tennessee has made its way to billboards across the state, including three in Shelby County.

SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Angel Care Clinic Takes Holistic Approach to Treating Animals

Dr. Kathy Mitchener’s philosophy on treating animals is pretty simple. More than just treating an illness or pain, she believes in a holistic approach to medical care.

HISTORY

1866 Massacre Author Says Riot Has Important Lessons

When historian Stephen V. Ash went looking for source material on that most difficult of events to piece back together – three days of mob violence in a 19th century Southern city – he expected a challenge.

LAW & THE COURTS

Expungement Fees Get Legislative Scrutiny

It’s become a rallying cry in the movement for changes in the local criminal justice system – raising private money to pay the $450 expungement fee to wipe away the criminal records of those convicted of single, non-violent offenses who have stayed out of trouble for five years.

SPORTS

Norvell: Build Relationships, But Lose the Headphones And Hats

In some respects, it’s all very corny. This whole notion of a football team as a family and relationships being the foundation of everything.

Born Ready? Grizz Players, Brass Given No Choice

This is not a Grizzlies season to remember. It is a Grizzlies season impossible to forget.

Rudd + Bowen + Pastner = PR Nightmare at Memphis

You keep thinking the story can’t get worse, and then it does. What we have here is an ongoing public relations disaster that is the University of Memphis athletic department as it pertains to all matters regarding the men’s basketball program.

Up-Tempo Offense Will Need ‘Nasty’ O-Line

If all goes well, the attention probably will be on the quarterback – an open competition at the moment – and the receivers and the running backs. That’s just how football works.

Sports Notebook: Pastner Needs Assistant With Coaching History

The University of Memphis decided to go into the next college basketball season with Josh Pastner returning for an eighth year as the Tigers’ coach, per the announcement released by university present M. David Rudd late last week.

POLITICS

Bartlett Judicial Races Shifted To August Ballot

The two municipal judges in Bartlett learned this week that they have races to run on the August ballot, not the November ballot they were scheduled to run on.

THE TIPPING POINT

Stephenson Leverages Capital for Community Change

Why start a bank? It’s a question that would never occur to most people. But to Susan Stephenson, the answer is obvious: “It’s infinite variety. You get to participate in other people’s dreams. In the morning, I can be a first-time homeowner. In the afternoon, I’m a small business looking to open a new location.”

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

2016 Midtown Opera Festival Kicks Off April 1

Opera Memphis general director Ned Canty, a hardcore fan of the art form, has nevertheless been keen to see the Midtown Opera Festival slowly morph into something more.

DOWNTOWN

Sugar Services, an Elephant in South End Room, Plans to Stay

In operation since 1969, Sugar Services is one of the last vestiges of the South End’s legacy as a heavy industrial area. While the factory has continued to process bulk sugar into liquid sugar from its site at 15 W. G.E. Patterson, at the southeast corner of Tennessee Street, developers attracted to the South Main Arts District have built condos and apartments on either side.

Mural Sets Scene for 107 S. Main Revelopment

The long-blighted building at 107 S. Main St. is headed for active use and will see the addition of a mural by May 1.

Beale Authority Encounters Familiar Headwinds

Somewhere near the beginning of the Thursday, March 17, meeting of the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority, Caren Nichol talked about how unique the entertainment district is because of its cultural and historical importance.

REAL ESTATE RECAP

Over $20M in Construction Headed to Brewery District

495 Tennessee St., Memphis, TN 38103 -
More than $20 million in construction is headed to the Brewery District.

NEWSMAKERS

Shipmon Joins Lending Team at Paragon

Thomas “Tee” Shipmon has joined Paragon Bank as senior vice president, specialty lending. In this role, Shipmon is responsible for developing products for Paragon that solve customers’ challenges and that are profitable to the bank. Currently, specialty lending is providing short-term commercial construction loans to companies, often franchisees, that are expanding operations.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Alzheimer’s Association Exec Seeks Congressional Support

Alzheimer’s families in Tennessee have a champion in Washington, D.C.! I would like to thank Congressman Steve Cohen for co-sponsoring the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. This move shows true understanding that Alzheimer’s is an unavoidable reality for families, as well as a budget-breaker for state and federal governments.

Push for More Progressive Memphis Leaders Needed

With only eight hours’ notice, the City Council passed a resolution giving Memphis Zoological Society authority over the Greensward in Overton Park. The Council, in an 11-1 vote, ignored the wishes of about 100 community members present, 35 speakers, and hundreds of emails and telephone calls. What’s clear about this vote is that power has shifted.

TSU President Concerned About Higher-Ed Changes

I believe it is important to communicate and clarify TSU’s position on the FOCUS (Focus on College and University Success) Act, and dispel any misconceptions regarding our position.

TENNESSEE LEDGER

Dodging a Disaster With Volkswagen?

VW, East Tennessee suppliers seem confident scandal, slump will fade

Next month will mark five years since the first Passat rolled off the assembly line at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant. Most anniversaries are a cause for celebration.

VW Scandal's Potential ‘Punishment’ Fits Electric-Car Strategy

As part of its punishment for the emissions scandal, the EPA could also require VW to make electric or hybrid vehicles in Tennessee, according to several recent reports in the German press.

LOCAL COLUMNISTS

Time On The Porch

ON PORCHES. Whatever porches are about, the best ones are about time. Time for swings and rocking chairs and reflection. Time spent alone with your thoughts or time shared with others sharing space and experience. Time to be very quiet. Or very loud. Life in real time.

Food as the Crossover

Last week, upon experiencing SXSW in my old stomping grounds of Austin, I listened, networked, and ate far more in one concentrated period than I ever thought possible. The sights and tastes were exhilarating, and the opportunities were empowering.

Should Parents Be In The Home Loan Business?

Ray’s Take: Owning our own home is still a big part of the American dream. Achieving that dream has changed a bit since the Great Recession when significantly tighter standards were put in place.

Memphis Fights Back: Senate Poised To Do Real Damage via De-Annexation

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland makes a persuasive argument against de-annexation legislation now being considered by the state Legislature, providing a long list of figures to show it would devastate the Bluff City.

How the BBB Fights Scams & Fosters Trust

It all starts with trust. But whom do you trust? That’s what Samuel Dobbs, an executive with The Coca-Cola Co. in the early 1900s wanted to know as he sat in a courtroom listening to an attorney defend a claim of false advertising.

Quotation Anthologist Still Going Strong

In October 2008 I wrote a couple of columns that, taken together, set forth a quotation and then endeavored to correctly identify the source thereof. That quotation – “I don’t cry over spilt milk, but a fallen scoop of ice cream is enough to ruin my whole day,” attributed to one Terri Guillemets – may be found throughout cyberspace to this day.

Say No To Gimmicks

There seems to be a rumor about job searching floating around. Have you heard? Finding a job is easy. It’s easy as long as you format your resume in a very specific way and you include the perfect phrases on your LinkedIn profile. There’s a very specific way that all recruiters want your resume to be formatted, and there are specific keywords they’re all looking for. Every successful job seeker knows these rules, and they’re not hard to learn.

Be a Rock Star – Be a Resource

Being a business professional is much like being a rock star. If you make great music, your audience is going to like you. However, if you give them much more than just the music – such as an engaging performance – chances are, they are going to love you. How does this apply in the business world?

Storytelling, The Brain & Work Culture

I love the quote by the poet Muriel Rukeyser that says, “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Humans live for stories. We learn from stories at home, school, from friends and also very compellingly at work. 

Assessing Your Grant Management Process

Grant funds are a major source of revenue for many nonprofits. Grant awards are heralded with public fanfare. Gaining – or losing – a grant can have critical implications. Is the grant management process at your organization as proactive as it could be? Consider these two groups of questions as you review your process.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 331 19,904
MORTGAGES 0 391 23,305
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 83 8,387
BUILDING PERMITS 0 338 40,366
BANKRUPTCIES 1 232 13,336
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 76 6,213
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 125 13,120
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 94 4,936

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