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Editorial Results (free)

1. Rising Programs -

Iowa State plays in college football mecca as a Power 5 member, albeit in the Big 12. The University of Memphis lives in the non-Power 5 outer ring that is the American Athletic Conference. The Cyclones (7-5) play a tougher league schedule. That’s just true. And they pulled two big-time upsets by beating Oklahoma, which is in the College Football Playoffs, and then-No. 4 TCU.

2. State Elections Coordinator Says Ranked-Choice Voting Not Permissible -

The Tennessee elections coordinator has told Shelby County election officials that it is illegal to use ranked-choice voting in an election because there are no state guidelines and procedures in place for counting second- and third-preference votes.

3. Tennessee Elections Coordinator Says Ranked-Choice Voting Not Permissible -

The Tennessee elections coordinator told Shelby County’s administrator of elections in September that it is illegal to use ranked-choice voting anywhere in the state because there are no state guidelines and procedures for counting the second and third preferences of voters to avoid a runoff election.

4. City: Rideshare Services Need Permits for Airport Use -

The city of Memphis will ask popular ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft to cease and desist operations until they acquire city permits.

“We know (Uber and Lyft) are doing business in Memphis without the required permit,” said Memphis spokeswoman Dewanna Smith. “We will send them a cease-and-desist notice along with an application and links to our ordinances. That letter has only recently been approved by counsel and will be going out soon.”

5. City to Issue Cease-and-Desist Notices to Rideshare Services -

The city of Memphis will ask popular ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft to cease and desist operations until they acquire city permits.

“We know (Uber and Lyft) are doing business in Memphis without the required permit,” said Memphis spokeswoman Dewanna Smith. “We will send them a cease-and-desist notice along with an application and links to our ordinances. That letter has only recently been approved by counsel and will be going out soon.”

6. Airport Authority Looking at Rideshare Policy -

The battle that has raged between ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber at airports across the country has finally landed at Memphis International Airport.

For now, Lyft and Uber are prohibited from picking up passengers at Memphis International Airport, but that could change as airport and city officials develop policies for dealing with the emerging services.

7. Dunavant Awards Symposium Set for April 21 -

When the 11th annual Bobby Dunavant Public Service awards are given out in April, the University of Memphis will also host the awards’ second annual symposium on public service.

8. Nominations Open for Dunavant Public Service Awards -

The 11th annual Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards in 2014 will be awarded against a backdrop of the largest election ballot in Shelby County history.

The once-every-eight-year August ballot features not only county races held every four years but judicial offices for terms of eight years, U.S. Senate primaries and primaries in the governor’s race.

9. Memphis Airport Adds Free Wi-Fi -

Memphis International Airport continues to add new customer-friendly amenities this year, including the introduction Thursday of free Wi-Fi service throughout Terminals A, B and C.

During the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority board of commissioners Thursday, Nov. 21, monthly board meeting, officials discussed the ongoing upgrades and renovations occurring at the airport.

10. Kuhn Enjoys Change of Pace As Airport Authority Counsel -

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a Daily News series featuring past winners of the Bobby Dunavant Public Service Awards, which annually honor one elected and one non-elected government official. The 2012 awards will be presented Wednesday, Feb. 22.

11. Asst. County Atty. Kinard Joins Luttrell Staff -

In her four years as the assistant county attorney for the Shelby County Commission, Christy Kinard has been a key part of drafting three sets of Shelby County charter amendments and the first proposed metro consolidation charter to go to local voters in 39 years.

12. Rotary Seeks Nominations for Dunavant Award -

The Rotary Club of Memphis East is seeking nominees for its 8th annual Bobby Dunavant Public Service Award, an event that honors distinguished work by public officials.

13. Kuhn’s Legal Career Veers to Airport -

The legal profession is somewhat of a family business for Brian Kuhn, recently retired Shelby County attorney and newly appointed legal counsel for the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.

14. MSCAA Approves Appt. of New General Counsel -

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority board of commissioners voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Brian Kuhn as the new general counsel of the airport authority at its special called meeting Tuesday.

15. County Pension Fund Grows to $855M in July -

The value of the county’s pension fund rose from a little more than $821 million in June to more than $855 million in July.

This week, the county pension board voted to pay 79 retiring county employees pension benefits that collectively amount to a little more than $225,000 a month. Individual monthly pension amounts the board approved range from a little more than $7,000 for retiring county attorney Brian Kuhn to a little more than $6,300 for former county clerk Debbie Stamson.

16. Controversy Highlights End to Commission’s Term -

Six Shelby County Commissioners attend the last scheduled meeting of their tenure Monday.

The commissioners elected and re-elected in the Aug. 5 elections, as well as Shelby County Mayor-elect Mark Luttrell, begin their four-year terms Sept. 1.

17. Carpenter Wants Legal Opinion on Ford Veto Timing -

With two weeks left in his term of office, interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford is biding his time in a veto of a resolution limiting how much paid leave county employees can bank and cash in.

18. Nations Could Give Statement This Week -

The attorney for Bob Nations, head of the county’s office of emergency preparedness, said an agreement should be reached this week with the county attorney’s office for Nations to give a sworn statement.

19. Nations Inquiry Spawns Legal Flap Over Statement -

The head of the county’s emergency preparedness office won’t give a sworn statement to the county attorney’s office about his son’s job with a company that sold the office $98,000 worth of equipment in 2009.

20. Commission Races Hinge on Public Issues -

Two issues figure in to the 11 competitive races for the Shelby County Commission – the future of the Regional Medical Center and local government consolidation.

Any push card for a credible candidate includes either something about how to save The MED or the candidate’s opposition to consolidation – or both.

21. UPDATE: County Commission Delays Reappointments to Board of Adjustment -

Shelby County Commissioners have delayed the reappointment of two members of the local Board of Adjustment, the appointed body that hears appeals of conditions of zoning ordinances.

The names of Daniel Dow and Lynda Raiford had been submitted by interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford.

22. Commission Punts Adjustment Board Reappointments -

Shelby County commissioners have delayed reappointing two members of the local Board of Adjustment, the appointed body that hears appeals of zoning ordinances.

Interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford submitted Daniel Dow and Lynda Raiford as possible appointees.

23. District 83 Early Voting Comes To Quiet End Today -

Early voter turnout in the special election for state House District 83 may not make it much higher than 1 percent if the bitterly cold weather becomes a political factor.

Today is the last day of the early voting period that began before Christmas, pausing for that holiday as well as the New Year’s holiday.

24. 2009 Year In Review -

2009 was a year without a script – and plenty of improvising on the political stage.

It was supposed to be an off-election year except in Arlington and Lakeland.

2008 ended with voters in the city and county approving a series of changes to the charters of Memphis and Shelby County governments. Those changes were supposed to set a new direction for both entities, kicking into high gear in 2010 and ultimately culminating two years later.

25. MED Task Force Members Appointed -

Shelby County Interim Mayor Joyce Avery and County Commissioner Joe Ford, who will become county mayor Dec. 10, have appointed a task force to brainstorm short- and long-term solutions to the revenue crisis at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.

26. Metro Charter Commission to Choose Chair -

The first order of business today will be selecting a leader. It’s become a familiar note in political daily planners these days.

The Metro Charter Commission holds its first meeting today on the third floor of the Shelby County Courthouse.

27. FedExForum Financing Could See City Collecting -

An internal city audit suggests Memphis and Shelby County might be due more than half a million dollars because of a gray area in the $250 million FedExForum’s complex financing scheme.

The Memphis City Council will discuss the audit today during a committee meeting. The full council will meet at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St. (See Page 10 for full meeting agenda.)

28. Buehler Homes Proposal Approved -

A plan by Buehler Homes to build 125 rental homes on 140 parcels of tax delinquent land was approved Wednesday by the Shelby County Commission.

The 7-4 commission vote was at the end of a two and a half hour meeting with a lot of emotion and even more questions.

29. Buehler Homes Proposal Clears County Commission -

A plan by Buehler Homes to build 125 rental homes on 140 parcels of tax delinquent land was approved today by the Shelby County Commission.

The 7-4 commission vote was at the end of a two and a half hour meeting with a lot of emotion and even more questions.

30. Commission to Close Book on Buehler Homes Issue -

Shelby County Commissioners plan to meet in special session today to settle a protracted controversy over 140 vacant lots scattered across North Memphis.

Under Shelby County’s Homestead Program, developer Harold Buehler and the entity Memphis 2005.0 LLC want the tax delinquent land to build 125 rental homes.

31. Hospital Liens Increase in Q3 Circuit Court Filings -

Circuit Court was a busy place during the third quarter, but not for the usual reasons.

About 300 more cases were filed in the nine divisions of the civil court compared to the second quarter, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

Much of the dramatic increase came from a jump in the number of hospital liens filed by the Regional Medical Center at Memphis under the name Shelby County Health Care Corp.

Getting away from form

Divorces are usually the leading category for filings in Circuit Court. That wasn’t the case in the third quarter.

Hospital liens accounted for 531 of the 2,057 Q3 cases filed in Circuit Court. There were 511 divorces with and without children followed by 288 auto accident claims.

By comparison, only 147 hospital liens were filed in Circuit Court in Q2 2009. And the liens didn’t even show up as a category in the filings from Q3 2008.

The number of cases filed in Chancery and Probate courts remained about the same as in Q2 2009 and Q3 2008.

In the three parts of Chancery Court, divorces with and without children were the top category in Q3, followed by adoptions and complaints for damages.

In Probate Court, wills took the top category with conservator appointments a distant second.

Attorneys for The MED began filing the suits against patients during the third quarter to garner a better flow of money into the county government-run institution.

The public hospital is facing a funding crisis that has prompted continuing talks with officials in Mississippi and Arkansas about payments for uninsured residents from both states who go to The MED in emergencies.

Suit, countersuit

The liens began earlier this year and have resulted in countersuits in Circuit Court.

The MED is using a state law that allows it to perfect a hospital lien within 120 days after a patient is discharged from the hospital for “the amount claimed to be due for such hospital care and … persons, firms or corporations claimed by such ill or injured person … to be liable for damages arising from such illness or injuries.”

In a response to one of the countersuits, attorneys for The MED wrote that the institution has “put the world on notice of The MED’s claim for hospital expenses against third parties responsible for the treatment” of the plaintiffs in that particular action.

The plaintiffs in those cases reached settlements with insurance companies and other third parties before The MED filed its liens. Attorneys for The MED sought discovery to “determine whether the settlements addressed The MED’s hospital expenses, among other things.”

Meanwhile, city and county government attorneys continued preparations for a long-anticipated suit in U.S. District Court against a group of national mortgage lenders.

But the case in the making now lacks an outside counsel for the plaintiffs.

Memphis city and Shelby County governments had settled on the Montgomery, Ala., law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles PC. But the firm pulled out after a similar lawsuit it filed in Birmingham, Ala., was dismissed.

The Memphis case is expected to allege discriminatory lending practices toward minority communities that worsened the impact of home foreclosures at the start of the current economic recession. The Memphis lawsuit is modeled on a similar claim in Baltimore by local government leaders there.

Shelby County Attorney Brian Kuhn told The Daily News last week talks are under way with other law firm prospects.

“The suit will soon be filed with or without new outside counsel joining before or after the suit is filed,” he said.


32. Commission to Appeal Second Juvenile Court Judgeship -

The battle over more than one Juvenile Court judge is on its way to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Shelby County Commissioners voted this week to appeal an earlier ruling by the Tennessee Appeals Court to the high court. The Supreme Court could choose to hear the case or deny the request for an appeal, which would leave the appeals court ruling in place.

33. New Firm Sought In Lender Action -

Memphis and Shelby County governments are looking for a new law firm to represent them in a potentially high-profile lawsuit they’re planning against a group of national mortgage lenders.

Both governments’ original choice for outside counsel, a 30-year-old Montgomery, Ala.-based firm, recently decided to step aside. Little explanation accompanied the departure of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles PC, although it followed months of private negotiations over the terms of representing both local governments.

34. City Council to Take Up Consolidation Today -

Consolidation of Memphis and Shelby County governments could move one more step closer to the ballot today.

The Memphis City Council this afternoon is scheduled to discuss a proposal to set up a new charter commission to create a metro government charter. The measure is a companion resolution to one the Shelby County Commission began debating last week, with the two bodies’ work reflecting the support a metro charter commission would have to get from city voters and those outside the city.

35. All in Favor: The forces behind the latest push for city-county consolidation -

For the first time in 30 years, government consolidation is moving to the ballot.

Although a firm plan doesn’t exist yet, the Shelby County Commission and Memphis City Council are poised to vote on creating a metro charter commission, possibly as early as next month. And the votes to make it a reality appear to be there on both bodies.

36. Not So Fast -

A proposed ordinance to prohibit employment-related discrimination in Shelby County government based on sexual orientation failed in a County Commission committee Wednesday morning on a 5-5 vote.

The measure, sponsored by Commissioner Steve Mulroy, will head to the full commission Monday for a vote on first reading but without the support of committee approval behind it. If Monday’s vote results in another tie or clear defeat, the measure at that point will have died.

37. County Pinpoints June Filing For Lender Lawsuit -

Questions about legal fees and whether an attorney from Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. can participate in a lawsuit against mortgage lenders were among the hitches that have held up the filing of such a lawsuit for several months.

38. Local Government Inches Toward Lending Lawsuit -

In about two weeks, members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners may finally get to see and approve the language of a federal lawsuit they already authorized against unscrupulous mortgage lenders.

39. Wharton Not Giving Up On Consolidation -

Look for a new consolidation offensive to surface in about two weeks, said Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr.

Wharton told the Memphis Kiwanis Club this week that he and Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton plan to begin with a list of frequently asked questions about the general idea of consolidating the Shelby County and Memphis governments.

40. County Commission To Fill Vacancy -

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners should return to its full complement of 13 members today.

The commission is scheduled to select a replacement for David Lillard, a Republican who resigned from the commission this month following his appointment in January as state treasurer. Whoever wins the appointment will serve the year and a half remaining in Lillard’s four-year term of office.

41. Details Coming Soon for Lender Lawsuit -

Right on schedule, elected officials on both sides of local government were briefed this month on the plan to file a lawsuit against national mortgage lending companies that allegedly targeted minority borrowers for high-cost loans.

42. Commission Committee Authorizes Foreclosure Suit -

Shelby County government has been authorized to sue national lending companies found to have contributed to the foreclosure problem in Memphis and the county by extending high-cost loans to disadvantaged and minority borrowers.

43. Predatory Lending Suit Could Gain Traction -

Members of the Memphis City Council and Shelby County Board of Commissioners may get a chance this month to put their weight behind a proposed class action lawsuit being contemplated against suspected predatory lenders.

44. Plan to Stem Foreclosure Process Comes Into Focus -

Little by little, a comprehensive plan for solving the foreclosure problem in the Memphis area is coming together. A makeshift task force has been assembled, and its members continue to receive their individual marching orders.

45. Commission to Decide Ultimate Role in Pyramid Deal -

Shelby County government may or may not give up its share of The Pyramid in advance of a deal to bring Bass Pro Shops there. The Shelby County Board of Commissioners will make that decision Monday.

46. Bass Pro CEO to Meet With City Leaders Today -

Bass Pro Shops CEO Jim Hagale is scheduled to pitch the idea of a Bass Pro lease of The Pyramid today in a joint meeting with the Shelby County Board of Commissioners and Memphis City Council members.

47. Commission’s Budget Work Never Ends -

There is one enduring bright bottom line in local politics that has been a consistent marker for the Memphis City Council, Shelby County Board of Commissioners and both mayors: Did you raise my property taxes?

48. Commissioners Start Over On Term Limit Amendment -

A compromise by members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners on the issue of term limits lasted long enough – about two weeks – that the consensus collapsed this week.

It was May 12 that 11 of the 13 commissioners voted for a proposed amendment to the Shelby County charter that would put a limit of three consecutive four-year terms for county office holders to voters on the Aug. 7 ballot. If that proposal went on to be defeated by voters in August, there would have been a Nov. 4 referendum on a two-term limit.

49. Shelby Legislators File Bills to Sidestep Charter Changes -

A bill in the Tennessee General Assembly has overshadowed the complex technical debate members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners have had for months about a set of county charter changes.

50. Herenton to Make Schools Pitch Today -

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton will take a plan for Memphis City Schools to City Council members today.

Herenton has said in the last month that he's put a lot of research into the plan. But he hasn't offered any indication of specific points that will be in it.

51. Commission to Take First of Three Votes On Charter - Again -

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners will meet in special session one week from today to take the first of three votes on ordinances to start the process of changing the county charter.

The ordinances would put the proposed changes to five offices - trustee, sheriff, register, assessor and county clerk - and other changes on the Aug. 7 ballot.

52. Kwanzaa Tussle Neutralized in Court -

It began as a routine announcement at the end of the last Shelby County Board of Commissioners meeting of 2007.

County Commissioner Henri Brooks announced her annual Kwanzaa program would be held the day after Christmas in the County Commission chambers. There was some concern immediately. Commission Chairman David Lillard thought workers would be installing a new document management and voting system in the chambers - work involving some major disruptions, including drilling holes in the floor.

53. History Lesson Serves As Cautionary Tale For The Pyramid -

When Brad Fain of Prosperity International looked at the Memphis riverfront around The Pyramid recently, he saw something that wasn't there. But he also missed a key part of the mental landscape.

Fain's Orlando investment company is one of the two out-of-town financial partners in the Ericson Group's $250 million plan to turn The Pyramid into Pyramid Adventure theme park and develop Mud Island park as well as other parts of the riverfront. The other is Essex Investment Partners of New York.

54. Former County Attorney WilsonDies of Kidney Failure -      Former Shelby County attorney Donnie Wilson, who worked on the relocation of the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis and the funding and construction of FedExForum, died recently of kidney failure in Savannah, Ga.

55. Thompson Proclaims Innocence While Prosecution Proceeds -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson's defense against public corruption charges could touch on some fundamental questions about the private business dealings of public officials.

Thompson turned himself in to the U.S. Marshals Service Wednesday, the day after a federal grand jury indicted him on one count of extortion and three counts of mail fraud.

56. On the Radar -

Members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners want to hear what voters think about the county charter.

They're planning to launch a series of town hall forums sometime after Jan. 1 so voters get to learn about and weigh in on several proposed changes in store for the charter. One of the major changes being studied calls for converting five elected county positions to appointed jobs.

57. Toothsome Ethics Ordinances to Sharpen by Year-End -

Shelby County government hasn't printed the forms that are a basic part of its new ethics ordinance. Memphis City Council members are still debating what could be the final piece of the city's ethics array.

58. Push Is on to Pull Wharton Into Race Against Herenton -

With a week to the filing deadline for candidates on the October city ballot, Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has a lot to consider.

The draft movement to get him into the race for Memphis mayor is the campaign season's best bet for a surprise. The effort launched Wednesday.

59. Reynolds Named Head Baseball Coach at STCC -

Alan "Bo" Reynolds has been named the new head baseball coach at Southwest Tennessee Community College. He previously worked at Olive Branch High School, where he was head baseball coach in 2005-2006 after serving as assistant coach from 2003 to 2005. He also coached at Rhodes College from 1990 to 2003, where he was both an assistant coach and head coach and the University of Memphis from 1987 to 1990. There, he was an assistant under head coach Bobby Kilpatrick.

60. Archived Article: Daily Digest - Arena Bonds Interest

Arena Bonds Interest

Exceeds Forecast

The Public Building Authority said bonds issued for construction of FedExForum have generated interest greater than forecast. PBA special counsel Charles Carpenter requested County ...

61. Archived Article: Benchmark - Law Talk Brian Kuhn

Kuhn continues long record of service for county government


The Daily News

Brian Kuhn, formerly senior counsel with Ford & Harrison law firm, recently was appointed county attorney by Shelby County...

62. Archived Article: Memos - <ephoto> Rear Adm

Rear Adm. Jeffrey L. Fowler was named commander of Navy recruiting following the retirement of Rear Adm. George E. Voelker. Fowler completed a military fellowship in 2002-2003 and is a life member at the Council of Foreign...

63. Archived Article: Gragg (lead) - Rural project tests facets of countys growth plan

Rural project tests facets of countys growth plan


The Daily News

Standing before Shelby County Commission committee members last week, Dr. Barret Matthews projected a conc...

64. Archived Article: Law Focus St - By SUZANNE THOMPSON Stepping up to the bar New MBA president wants association to be more "lawyer friendly" By SUZANNE THOMPSON The Daily News Now that the changing of the guard is complete at the Memphis Bar Association, the new group of ...

65. Archived Article: Law Briefs - Memphis Memphis attorney Michael H. Wills was censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on May 20 for altering insurance declaration pages to the Signature Group for the purpose of remaining on certain referral lists, when, in fact, he ha...

66. Archived Article: Law Briefs - The Memphis Bar Association will sponsor bankruptcy seminar Friday from 1:30 p The Memphis Bar Association will sponsor bankruptcy seminar Friday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at One Commerce Square. The speakers will be Judge Jennie D. Latta, U.S. Ba...

67. Archived Article: Back1 - Final slate of Memphis Bar Final slate of Memphis Bar Association nominees set The slate of candidates for 1997 Memphis Bar Association officers and directors has been finalized. No nominations were received from the membership in the time allotted ...

68. Archived Article: Page 3 - Bar association nominees announced Bar association nominees announced Charles F. Newman, president of the Memphis Bar Association, has released the report of the Nominations and Elections Committee chaired by Blanchard E. Tual. The 1997 president wi...