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Editorial Results (free)

1. Chamber Names Simmons Director of Public Policy -

Haley Simmons has joined the Greater Memphis Chamber as the director of public policy, a new position in the chamber’s community development department. In this role, Simmons will be focused on enhancing the chamber’s advocacy efforts to inform and engage its members on important policy issues, and he’ll also be responsible for growing the chamber’s role in education initiatives.

2. University of Memphis Moves Toward Own Board in a Year -

For decades, University of Memphis alumni and supporters have run hot and lukewarm on two topics – an on-campus arena and a board for the university independent of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

3. Legislators Sweating the Small Stuff -

My late father kept a paper weight on his desk at home that read: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Well, we’re sweating the small stuff – from the federal government down to the states – with this harangue over transgender bathrooms.

4. Wilson Urges Family Philanthropic Efforts at Dunavant Awards -

When most people think of the Kemmons Wilson family, there is an image that comes to mind. It’s a black and white photo from the 1950s of the five children – three boys and two girls – of the Holiday Inn founder cutting the ribbon on the very first Holiday Inn at 4925 Summer Ave.

5. Wilson Urges Family Philanthropy at Dunavant Awards -

Families can have an impact on public service, the chairman of Kemmons Wilson Inc. said Wednesday, May 11, at the 13th annual Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards.

6. The Week Ahead: May 9-15 -

Alright, Memphis, grab your calendars! Whether you want to book it over to the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival or just baste in the scent of barbecue, there’s plenty to do this week. Here’s our roundup...

7. Last Word: Council Return on Overton, No Frayser Truck Stop and Historian-apolooza -

June 30 is fast approaching. It’s coming up so fast that the City Council is moving to seal in any agreement that might come from the Overton Park Greensward mediation process before the ink dries.

8. Norris Recounts Path to Majority Status, Dunavant Award -

Good government isn’t a bowl of cherries. There will be controversy even with the best of intentions and with everything done by the numbers. And that applies to those who win awards like state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville.

9. Last Word: BSMF Looks Up, Overton Park Respite and Slow Economic Growth -

The Beale Street Music Festival box office numbers won’t be in for a bit yet. But it looks like the three-day event that ended Sunday evening with Beck and Paul Simon weathered the weather very well, maybe better than usual.

10. Did ‘People Back Home’ Really Sway No Votes on Bible? -

I thought about skipping church Sunday and playing golf. After listening to the House of Representatives’ debate on the Bible bill, I could probably skip church for a month and still be in good standing.

11. Robots Are Taking Tennessee’s Jobs -

MTSU student Nathan Simpkins found the perfect major when the university started its mechatronics engineering program in 2013, a pursuit practically guaranteeing him a high-paying job in an increasingly automated manufacturing industry.

12. City Council Approves Parkside Development -

The Memphis City Council has approved the concept of Parkside at Shelby Farms Park, a $200 million mixed-use development on the northern border of Shelby Farms Park.

13. Parkside Development Gets Green Light -

Parkside at Shelby Farms Park, a $200 million mixed-use development on the northern border of Shelby Farms featuring three six-story apartment buildings, won the approval Tuesday, April 19, of the Memphis City Council.

14. August Primaries Feature Intra-Party Challenges -

Two years after a disastrous slate of races for countywide offices, there is a move among younger Democratic partisans in Memphis to shake up the Democrats who represent the city in the Tennessee Legislature.

15. 8th Congressional District Primaries Draw 22 Contenders, 13 Republican -

The Republican primary race to fill the 8th District Congressional seat Republican incumbent Stephen Fincher is giving up drew a field of 13 contenders – seven from Shelby County and four from Jackson, Tennessee – at the Thursday, April 7, noon filing deadline for the Aug. 4 ballot.

16. Bill to Make Bible Tennessee's State Book Heads to Governor -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Derided by critics as everything from unconstitutional to sacrilegious, Tennessee lawmakers nevertheless plowed ahead with designating the Holy Bible as the state's official book.

17. Last Word: A Trip to Committee, Minority Business Moves and the Issue With Reissues -

So those who support the general concept of de-annexation in the Tennessee state Senate were the most vocal Monday in sending the proposal back to committee for a more intense examination.

There were plenty of Memphians in the Senate chambers Monday despite the rumors that this was on its way back to committee.
Staying put until the deal is done has been a lesson won through bitter experience for some Memphis leaders.
Despite hearing from legislators in other parts of the state who are uneasy about this, the opposition remains a Memphis thing in Nashville.
But the Senate sponsor, Bo Watson, stumped his toe badly on this when he shut down an amendment Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville wanted to allow the voluntarily de-annexation of an area Millington recently took into its city limits.
So when the state and local government committee meets at noon Wednesday, it will be round – frankly, I forget which round it is. Just ring the bell and let’s see what happens.

18. Tenn. Approves Incentives for TV Series Production in Memphis -

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has approved a grant of up to $4.3 million to support production of a TV series that will be shot in Memphis this spring.

The series will be an eight-episode, Memphis-themed scripted drama that Viacom’s CMT network is adapting from the Tony Award-winning musical “Million Dollar Quartet.”

19. Complex path to higher-ed reform -

Only half a year after taking on the presidency of Motlow State Community College, Anthony Kinkel is trying to keep his eye on the pea.

The task of running one of the state’s fastest-growing community colleges is becoming increasingly complex, and it has nothing to do with thousands more students enrolling to take advantage of free tuition through the Tennessee Promise scholarship program.

20. Cutting taxes, school choice, tort reform drive Sen. Kelsey -

State Sen. Brian Kelsey calls himself “a proud conservative who likes to get results.”

21. Complex Path to Higher-Ed Reform -

Only half a year after taking on the presidency of Motlow State Community College, Anthony Kinkel is trying to keep his eye on the pea.

The task of running one of the state’s fastest-growing community colleges is becoming increasingly complex, and it has nothing to do with thousands more students enrolling to take advantage of free tuition through the Tennessee Promise scholarship program.

22. Tennessee Legislature Opens 2016 Session on Capitol Hill -

The Tennessee General Assembly's 2016 session will be a short one, likely done by early April. The gavels fall in the House and Senate chambers in Nashville at noon Tuesday, Jan. 12, opening the election year session.

23. Candidates Already Gearing Up For August Elections -

The ballot for the March 1 Tennessee presidential primaries and county primaries for General Sessions Court Clerk was set while many voters were focused on the holidays and preparations for the new city leaders taking office in January.

24. Last Word: Council Round-Up, One Beale's Third Tower and the Battle Over the ASD -

On a clear day, the song goes, you can see forever.
In Memphis though, it seems that no two politicians will see exactly the same thing or have precisely the same opinion.
On a somewhat sunny but not necessarily clear Tuesday in our fair city there was a lot to see.

25. Measure Increasing Seat Belt Fines Among New Tennessee Laws -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Motorists in Tennessee who don't buckle up could face stiffer fines under one of many new Tennessee laws taking effect Friday.

The tougher seat belt law increases the fine for first-time offenders from $10 to $25 and from $20 to $50 for repeat offenders.

26. Refugees, Regents, Privatization On Tap for New Session -

State Sen. Ken Yager isn’t quite ready for the state of Tennessee to reclaim the Refugee Resettlement Program from Catholic Charities.

27. After a Year of Triumphs and Defeats, Haslam Looks Ahead -

Eight days into 2015, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam formally set a special session of the Tennessee legislature for February on his Insure Tennessee plan, a Medicaid expansion Haslam negotiated with the Obama administration.

28. Last Word: Recovery in North Mississippi, Opera in 2016 and Uptown North of Chelsea -

It’s been a holiday season of challenged hopes and muted emotions in our corner of the world.
The beginning of the series of storms and tornadoes they spawned killed eight people in North Mississippi where recovery is still a fact of life in this last week of 2015.
This will be a week of funerals and damage assessments for federal disaster aid throughout our region.
And you will hear more stories of escapes and new beginnings after losing everything of any material value.
But even in our spared city, our thoughts will return instinctively to the young lives taken so suddenly and so close to the family gatherings in which our youngest give so much more in the way of hope than they will realize at this tender age.

29. Delavega Joins Hooks Institute Leadership Team -

Dr. Elena Delavega, assistant professor in the University of Memphis’ Department of Social Work, has been named associate director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the U of M. A former policy fellow at the institute, Delavega specializes in the study of poverty and economic development.

30. Last Word: More Medical Expansions, Norris & Harris and Christmas In Hell's Kitchen -

Last Word is a new daily online column that offers an overview of what’s happened at the end of shift, so to speak. Picture a dimly lit newsroom in the Downtown night and the last person in the place leaving a memo for the morning shift and you have a pretty good idea of what we are aiming for.

31. Norris: Gas Tax Proposal Not Happening in 2016 -

Don’t look for a gas tax hike in the 2016 session of the Tennessee legislature, says the state Senate majority leader.

“We’re not going to do a gas tax in 2016,” Rep. Mark Norris of Collierville said on the WKNO-TV program “Behind The Headlines.” “We are going to have to address it soon enough and these conversations are very important.”

32. Autonomy Comes With Risk for State’s Universities -

Tennessee officials are lauding Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to restructure higher education in an effort to meet his goals for the Drive to 55.

The FOCUS Act proposed recently by the Republican governor to make sure 55 percent of Tennesseans hold a degree or postsecondary certificate by 2025 promises to launch a new era for the state’s colleges and universities.

33. US Cold Storage Latest Growth For Tipton County -

Phil Coles remembers one job interview in particular as he was hiring for the new United States Cold Storage plant in Covington, Tenn.

The job applicant, who was from Covington, had questions for Coles, the plant’s general manager. Was the plant paid for? Or was U.S. Cold renting? The bottom line was job stability in a town and county that has had a rough recession.

34. Mathes Takes Helm at Community Legal Center -

Longtime attorney Anne Mathes has been named executive director of the nonprofit Community Legal Center, which has been providing civil legal services to lower-income Memphians for more than 20 years. In addition to civil cases and divorces, the CLC collaborates with other agencies to serve victims of domestic violence and elder abuse. They also take some immigration cases.

35. Insure Tennessee Path Still Facing Many Turns -

There’s a move in Nashville for a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly, but it would have nothing to do with the February special session on Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal.

36. McGehee Animal Clinic Focuses on Close Family Connections -

Dr. Norris McGehee always knew that he wanted to be a veterinarian. His father was an architect and his brothers went on to be engineers, but McGehee was attracted to a different family practice.

37. Clarksville Star Can’t Wait to Be Part of Lady Vols -

Haley Bearden will watch every pitch this weekend as the University of Tennessee softball team pursues its ultimate goal in the NCAA Women’s College World Series.

The 2015 Clarksville High School graduate and UT softball recruit has been a fan since she was young, hardly ever missing a televised game, and dreamed of playing for the Lady Vols one day.

38. Ramsey Uses ‘System’ to Reshape State’s Political Landscape -

Senate Speaker and Lieutenant Gov. Ron Ramsey laughs at the notion he’s changed since being elected to the Legislature 23 years ago, that he’s lost touch with the common man or become “arrogant” as lieutenant governor of Tennessee.

39. Harris Pushes For Insure Tennessee Comeback -

State Senate Democratic leader Lee Harris of Memphis will be on the campaign trail this summer.

Harris and other Democratic leaders in the majority Republican Tennessee legislature will campaign across the state this summer for the comeback of the Insure Tennessee proposal in the 2016 legislative session.

40. Rieger Begins Work at Memphis Chamber -

Tom Rieger recently joined the Greater Memphis Chamber as senior vice president of member development, a role in which he will oversee major fundraising activities, conduct membership drive campaigns and implement revenue enhancement opportunities.

41. Shafer Seeking County Property Tax Rate Reduction -

The chairwoman of the Shelby County Commission’s budget committee is hoping to reduce the county’s property tax rate by the time the commission approves a budget for its new fiscal year that begins July 1.

42. House Votes to Take Tennessee Capitol Complex Off Guns Bill -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The House voted Monday to remove the Tennessee Capitol from a bill to expand the areas where people with handgun carry permits can be armed, a move supported by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

43. Legislators Find Reasons to Deny In-State Tuition -

La Vergne High School graduate Cesar Bautista, who has lived in Tennessee since he was 8 years old, is among a group of students who’ve been here most of their lives but are still forced to pay out-of-state college tuition because they don’t have legal status.

44. Walter Awarded AAF Silver Medal -

Ronald A. Walter, president and general manager of WREG-TV, has been chosen to receive AAF Memphis’ 2015 Silver Medal, the highest form of individual recognition given by local chapters of the American Advertising Federation. The annual award, which honors an exceptional leader for a career of outstanding accomplishment and contribution in the industry, will be presented at AAF Memphis’ luncheon Jan. 29 at 11:30 a.m. at Memphis Botanic Garden.

45. Pitts-Murdock Leading Library’s Teen Services -

R. Janae Pitts-Murdock has been named coordinator of teen services for the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, a role in which she’s responsible for coordinating teen programs, partnerships and special initiatives across 18 locations.

46. Walton Foundation Awards Grant to Excel Center -

The Excel Center, a new charter high school that will serve adults 18 and older, has been awarded a $250,000 Walton Family Foundation grant for school startup. The Excel Center will begin classes in fall 2015 at 1490 Norris Road, site of the former Norris Road Elementary.

47. Excel Center Awarded Walton Family Foundation Grant -

The Excel Center, a new charter high school that will serve adults 18 and older, has been awarded a $250,000 Walton Family Foundation grant for school startup. The Excel Center will begin classes in fall 2015 at 1490 Norris Road, site of the former Norris Road Elementary.

48. McGuire Joins Insight Risk Management -

Myles McGuire has joined Insight Risk Management LLC as a corporate consultant. In his new role, he will consult with commercial clients and place them with the appropriate coverages to protect their business from risk and liability issues.

49. Tenn. Lawmakers Discuss Common Core Compromise -

State lawmakers are considering compromise legislation that would delay the testing component for Tennessee's Common Core education standards for one year.

Last month, a broad coalition of Republican and Democratic House members passed a bill seeking to delay further implementation of the new standards for two years. It also seeks to delay the testing component for the standards for the same amount of time.

50. Wharton Takes Budget to City Council -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. takes a budget proposal to the Memphis City Council Tuesday, April 15, that is supposed to be a departure for an administration that, since 2010, has come to the council with options instead of a total budget plan.

51. Haslam Free Tuition Plan Garners Praise, Concern -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam's signature proposal this year, a program that would cover a full ride at two-year colleges for any high school graduate, appears on track to pass as lawmakers enter the waning days of the legislative session. The details, however – including how to pay for this perk in the years to come – remain scattered.

52. Lawmakers Seek Compromise on School Voucher Bill -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Lawmakers trying to decide on a limited school voucher program in Tennessee or a broader one say they're close to reaching an agreement on legislation.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville is carrying a proposal for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam that's limited to students from low-income families attending the bottom 5 percent of failing schools. He had that measure withdrawn last year when Senate Republicans sought to expand to a larger number of children.

53. Mae Be, Mae Be Not -

MAE BE ONTO SOMETHING. State Sen. Mae Beavers – really, that’s her name – has offered legislation that makes it against the law in Tennessee to obey the law in the United States – really, I couldn’t possibly make that up.

54. UTHSC Nurse Develops 'Socrates' Board Game -

Her students were bored. She was frustrated.

That was the setup for discovery, invention and entrepreneurship.

Dr. Hallie Bensinger, an advanced practice nurse at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, planned to play a “Jeopardy”-style game as part of a PowerPoint lecture in hopes of jumpstarting her students’ brains. So she went to a supply store in search of fake money to use in the game. Instead, she found her eureka moment.

55. Lawmakers Reconvene For 108th General Assembly -

State lawmakers on Tuesday reconvened the 108th Tennessee General Assembly in a legislative session that is expected to feature debates over creating a school voucher program and whether to allow supermarkets to sell wine.

56. Failed Education Bills to Return in New Session -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Proponents of revamping education laws in Tennessee cite a recent report that ranked the state's students tops in the nation in academic improvement as proof that recent reforms are working and more should be considered.

57. Norris Expects Maintenance of Effort for Pensions -

Tennessee Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville says whatever fix Memphis leaders come up with for the city’s unfunded pension liability, the Tennessee General Assembly will probably still pass legislation dealing with the problem on a scale broader than Memphis.

58. Leadership Selections Next for Suburban School Boards -

For five of the six municipal schools boards that began taking office this week, their only formal involvement in the talks that led to agreements on school buildings and ending the federal lawsuit that threatened to hold up their start dates was to approve the agreements already negotiated.

59. Suburban Voters Decide School Board Races -

Voters in Shelby County’s six suburban towns and cities elected their respective municipal schools boards Thursday, Nov. 7 with low voter turnouts that reflected that most of the school board positions on the ballots were one-candidate uncontested races.

60. Inman Joins Next Day Access as Franchise Manager -

Greg Inman has joined accessibilities solutions provider Next Day Access as franchise manager for the Memphis office, where he will supervise sales, marketing, service management and hiring. Next Day Access offers wheelchair ramps, stair lifts, bathroom safety products and other accessibility products for people with disabilities or accessibility challenges.

61. Early Voting Expands in District 91 Primary -

Early voting in the Democratic primary special election for State House District 91 expands Friday, Sept. 27, from the Shelby County Election Commission’s Downtown offices, 157 Poplar Ave., to three satellite locations.

62. Filing Deadline Nears for School Board Races -

It looks as if the prospective candidates in many of the suburban school board races on the Nov. 7 ballot had already decided the winners a day away from the noon, Thursday, Sept. 26, filing deadline for the six sets of races.

63. Job Training Spurs Unilever Growth -

The Unilever USA plant in Covington should be the largest ice cream manufacturing plant in the world by 2016, following an $108.7 million expansion announced last week in Covington.

But when the global company began making ice cream in Covington in 2011 at what used to be a SlimFast plant, it was not a promising beginning.

64. LEAP of Faith -

A STEP IN SYNC. I have in my possession a rare document, evidence of a shared spark of hope, a light at the end of all the tunnel vision, a warm fire in that cold cave in Nashville.

I have a letter signed by two gentlemen of color – one black and blue, one white and red – pledging cooperation in a state program that could genuinely and uniquely benefit Memphis rather than target and isolate it. Think of it as Auburn and Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, Pelosi and Boehner, wet ribs and dry ribs, humans and Klingons – all together to save the universe. I have a letter jointly from and signed by state Sen. Reginald Tate, chair of the Shelby County Legislative Delegation, and state Sen. Mark Norris, Senate majority leader.

65. Moore Rejoins Girls Inc. as President/CEO -

Lisa Moore recently joined Girls Inc. of Memphis as president/CEO, returning to the organization where she began her career in the late 1980s. In her new role, Moore said, she will provide leadership and support to equip Girls Inc. of Memphis to effectively and efficiently fulfill its mission of equipping all girls to live strong, smart and bold.

66. Advisory Board to Examine Community Health Needs -

Dr. David Stern, executive dean of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, has launched a unique effort to address community health needs in Memphis.

“It’s my belief that a medical school has a very unique opportunity to interact with the community,” Stern said. “I consider our community to be a very important laboratory – it is an underserved, minority community that is in ill health. The biggest contribution we can make is to move the needle on overall community health and to develop new methods that we can apply to other communities like Memphis.”

67. Haslam Urges Better GOP Campaign Skills Nationally -

There were no campaign stickers or push cards at the Shelby County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner, but still plenty of hand-to-hand campaigning Friday, May 17, among the crowd of 350 at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn.

68. Failed Education Bills on Radar for Next Session -

NASHVILLE (AP) – In the last few years, Tennessee hasn't shied away from contentious education initiatives as it seeks to remain at the forefront of education reform in the nation.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has even characterized the state's efforts as "courageous leadership."

69. 108th General Assembly Adjourns for Year -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The 108th Tennessee General Assembly adjourned on Friday, the first time in 45 years that lawmakers have finished as early as April in the first year of a session.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey had set an adjournment goal of April 18, but he didn't seem upset finishing a day later.

70. Municipal Schools Bill Sails Through House, Senate -

After much speculation about resistance from other parts of the state to lifting the statewide ban on special school districts statewide, the bill to do that sailed through the Tennessee House and Senate Monday, April 15.

71. Push Education Bills in Final Days of Session -

NASHVILLE (AP) – As the 108th Tennessee General Assembly draws to a close, state lawmakers are hoping to push through education proposals that include creating a state panel to authorize charter schools for five counties and a measure that would clear the way for cities to begin forming municipal school systems.

72. Welfare Penalty for Parents Dead This Session -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The sponsor of a proposal to dock the welfare payments of parents whose children fail school refused to listen to a little girl opposing the measure Thursday, saying she was being used as a prop.

73. Charter Panel Bill Slowed in Senate -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Lawmakers questioned a proposal to create a special panel to authorize charter schools in several Tennessee counties during debate at the state Legislature Tuesday, while a nonprofit group criticized the governor's decision to withdraw his school voucher program.

74. Kelsey: State Confirms Six-Year Auto Inspection Timeframe -

Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown says he is confident Shelby County vehicle owners outside Memphis won’t have to go through auto inspections for another six years.

75. Haslam School Voucher Bill Dead This Session -

NASHVILLE (AP) – The Republican leader carrying Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to create school vouchers in Tennessee said he's decided to let it die this session because he's tired of the "gamesmanship."

76. Bill Would Let Cities Form Own School Systems -

Legislation that would allow cities to form their own school systems is advancing in the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

77. Bill Would Let Cities Form Own School Systems -

Legislation that would allow cities to form their own school systems is advancing in the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

78. Bill Would Let Cities Form Own School Systems -

MEMPHIS (AP) – Legislation that would allow cities to form their own school systems is advancing in the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

79. Hopson Heads Both School Systems -

The city and county school systems have a single school superintendent less than five months from the start of the first school year of the consolidated school system in Shelby County.

Interim Memphis City Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson was appointed interim Shelby County Schools superintendent at the first countywide school board meeting since the board approved a buyout last week of county schools superintendent John Aitken.

80. Senate Approves Virtual School Measure -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to tighten enrollment requirements at privately run online schools has passed the Senate.

The measure guided by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville was approved 27-2 on Thursday.

81. Haslam's School Voucher Bill Delayed -

NASHVILLE (AP) – State Republicans are trying to decide between two competing proposals that would create a school voucher program in Tennessee.

Gov. Bill Haslam's measure had been scheduled to be heard Wednesday in the Senate Education Committee, but was delayed for two weeks.

82. Critical Merger Decision Now Centers on School Board -

The group with the most direct role in what a consolidated school system will look like and how it will operate is now the group at the center of the ongoing federal lawsuit over the merger and the reactions to it.

83. Senate Majority Leader Norris Files Job Training Bill -

Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, has filed legislation that would create a new statewide initiative aimed at shoring up workers’ job skills and addressing labor shortages among Tennessee employers.

84. Norris Files Job Training Legislation -

Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, has filed legislation that would create a new statewide initiative aimed at shoring up workers’ job skills and addressing labor shortages among Tennessee employers.

85. Merger Again Intersects With Nashville -

For a third consecutive year in Nashville, the Shelby County schools merger and the suburban reaction to it are on the calendar of the Tennessee legislature.

As the General Assembly finished its legislative week Thursday, Feb. 14, state Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville introduced several bills, some of them captions to be added to as needed that would make suburban municipal school districts possible.

86. War Within the State -

TENNESSEE HAS DECLARED WAR ON SHELBY COUNTY. We now have renamed three parks. Forrest Park to Health Sciences Park. Confederate Park to Memphis Park. Jefferson Davis Park to Mississippi River Park. The new names are uninspired and uninteresting – they might as well be Boring Park, Bland Park and Whatever Park – but what inspired them is what makes them interesting.

87. School Closings Meetings Move to Orleans Elementary -

Memphis City Schools officials host the next in a series of meetings on proposed school closings Tuesday Jan. 15 at Orleans Elementary School, 1400 McMillan St., from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

88. Back to Work -

The Shelby County legislative delegation to Nashville returned to the capital Tuesday, Jan. 8, with three fewer members – one state senator and two state representatives – all Democrats – but with no new faces.

89. Countywide School Board Acts on Recommendations -

Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools become a single consolidated school system in August with the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

The countywide school board will get around to hiring a search firm to pick a merger superintendent at its meeting next week. And the goal is to pick a superintendent by mid-February.

90. Gordon Elementary Not Part of State-Led District -

Leaders of the Achievement School District will announce Friday, Dec. 14, which schools in the Memphis City Schools system they plan to include in the state-led school district next school year.

And as the announcement nears, they are also making it clear that Gordon Elementary School will not be on the list of 10 schools. Gordon also is not on the list of 14 Memphis elementary and middle schools under consideration.

91. Calls Come to Change Schools Merger Process -

As suburban mayors were scheduled to meet this week to talk over their options, the consolidation of all public schools in Shelby County that begins in August began to show signs of a shift.

The shift might be to take at least some of the decisions about the schools merger out of the hands of just the countywide school board or to junk the process the board is using. The mayors of the six towns and cities have all indicated they intend to push on for their own school districts, although several have said it is highly unlikely they could form them and open them for classes by August.

92. Board Votes to Close, Convert Schools -

Countywide school board chairman Billy Orgel warned school administrators that they may be pushed aside if they don’t come up with recommendations that produce more efficiencies and save more money for the soon-to-be-merged school systems.

93. School Board Starts Process on School Closings-Transformations -

Countywide school board members voted Thursday, Nov. 29, to begin the process of considering the closing of four elementary schools in western Memphis and the conversion of two other inner city schools in what amounts to a move to compete with the Achievement School District.

94. Cash Puts Five Elementary Schools On List For Closing Consideration -

Memphis City Schools superintendent Kriner Cash is proposing the countywide school board consider closing five elementary schools and turn Humes Middle School over to the state-run Achievement School District.

95. Achievement School District Leaders Hold Meetings -

Leaders of the Achievement School District started earlier in the run-up to their second school year than they did with the first group of five Memphis schools they picked for the state-run district’s debut in August.

96. Achievement School District Weighs 10 Additions -

The state-run Achievement School District will add 10 more Memphis schools in the 2013-2014 school year, the first year of the schools merger in Shelby County.

The 10 schools to be run under state control or with charter school operators selected by the state will be announced Dec. 17. That’s also when leaders of the district will announce which schools they will run directly and which ones will be operated by charters.

97. Obama Carries Shelby, Cohen Over Flinn and Two Tax Hikes Defeated -

President Barack Obama carried Shelby County in unofficial Nov. 6 election returns as his Republican challenger Mitt Romney took the state’s 11 electoral votes.

Voter turnout in the most popular election cycle among Shelby County voters was 61.9 percent, about the same percentage as four years ago. But the 371,256 voters is fewer than 2008 when more than 400,000 Shelby County voters cast ballots. The percentage is about the same because there are fewer registered voters in Shelby County than there were four years ago after a purge by election officials.

98. Decision Day -

The last election of 2012 will be one where questions continue to command as much attention if not more than candidates.

The polls are open Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters come to the polls in this election to vote in the presidential general election. That is what drives the only election cycle in which more than half of the county’s registered voters consistently show up.

99. Schools Fight Looks to Milan System -

The date to a city-county schools merger in Shelby County is less than a year away and the six suburban towns and cities in the county are preparing for Nov. 6 school board elections for their municipal school districts.

100. Mays Begins Hearings in Schools Case -

Memphis Federal Court Judge Hardy Mays begins two days of hearings Tuesday, Sept. 4, that are pivotal to what happens next in the coming merger of Shelby County’s two public school systems.

Mays will specifically hear arguments on claims by the Shelby County Commission that the state laws creating suburban municipal school districts violate the Tennessee Constitution. Mays will hear another part of the argument later alleging violations of the U.S. Constitution and claims that municipal school districts are intended to promote racial segregation.