VOL. TMN-11 | NO. 14 | Saturday, April 7, 2018
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was jeered Saturday, April 7, and called a “coward” and “liar” at a rally as part of a “Cathedral to City Hall” MLK50 event outside City Hall.
Health care costs, delivery evolving in an environment that’s always changing
Anyone paying attention to recent news headlines alone should have a pretty good indication that health care in the U.S. – really anywhere you look, on local, state or national levels – remains a byzantine, expensive proposition. Health care keeps getting more expensive. It involves navigating a lot of paperwork with bureaucratic legalese that bears the fingerprints of a tangle of stakeholders, including insurers, doctors and lawmakers.
SPECIAL EDITION The Status of Health Care
Local medical device manufacturers are breathing a sigh of relief this year following the January delay of the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax, and most are hoping for a permanent repeal sometime in the next 21 months. The tax is now set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, saving device companies as much as $3.7 billion during the two-year suspension.
Methodist South Hospital in Whitehaven has for more than a year been the site of a flurry of construction projects, including an $8.7 million expansion of the emergency department that wrapped up last year, while an upgrade of the intensive care unit is underway now.
Legislation decriminalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee is effectively dead for the year after its Senate sponsor, Nashville Republican Sen. Steve Dickerson, withdrew the bill from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, April 3.
NASHVILLE – Three Shelby County lawmakers played key roles in helping a medical marijuana bill move through the Legislature, supporting its passage in the House Criminal Justice Committee before the bill was pulled Tuesday, April 3, by its Senate sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville.
While many of us were thinking about and remembering the turbulent events of 1968, this week brought another significant nod to the past with a commitment to the future.
The way National Civil Rights Museum president Terri Lee Freeman described it as the MLK50 commemorations began this week, the church bells would cascade when they rang Wednesday, April 4, starting at 6:01 p.m. – the moment Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot 50 years ago.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told a University of Memphis and National Civil Rights Museum symposium Monday, April 2, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. helped create “a new country” in 39 years of life but that “it is necessary to be indignant and be impatient” 50 years after King’s death.
The bright and multi colored lights at Mason Temple Church of God In Christ gave way for a few minutes Tuesday, April 3, to a single white spotlight on the empty pulpit of the South Memphis church and a recording of part of the speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered from the pulpit 50 years ago Tuesday.
THE MEMPHIS NEWS ALMANAC
2008: The University of Memphis Tigers play Kansas at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, for the NCAA men’s basketball championship. The Tigers, led by coach John Calipari and Derrick Rose in his one and only year of college basketball, lose 75-68 in overtime. It marks the first time the Tigers have played in the NCAA championship since the 1973 finals won by UCLA, and it is Calipari’s first time back at the championship since his University of Massachusetts team won in 1996.
There is still some build-out to be done on the Universal Life Insurance building at Danny Thomas Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. But Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and other dignitaries cut the ribbon Tuesday, April 3, on the formal reopening on the 1920s Egyptian-themed landmark in black business enterprise.
After multiple delays, lawsuits, and revamped plans, the next phase Elvis Presley Enterprises’ expansion plans have been approved by the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Memphis Symphony Orchestra unveils 2018-19 season lineup
The Memphis Symphony Orchestra wants audiences to be “challenged” and introduced to new people and ideas via its programming choices and performance series, a philosophy that informed how the symphony’s upcoming season, which kicks off in September, was put together.
REAL ESTATE & DEVELOPMENT
Two Downtown Memphis hotel projects that were seemingly in stasis appear to moving forward.
A multifamily project planned for Broad Avenue could provide the housing element that takes the arts district to the next level. -
In many ways the Broad Avenue water tower has become the defining emblem of the iconic arts district, but the empty warehouse it sits on stands in stark contrast from the vibrant shops, restaurants and art galleries that line the more developed south side of the street.
AngelStreet Memphis lifting girls up through music
On a recent weekday afternoon at AngelStreet in North Memphis, dozens of girls age 8-18 are practicing a song, “We Are the World.” Their voices seem to blend together naturally. It takes but a few seconds to hear the talent that’s in the room.
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell says placing a moratorium on any contracts or budget amendments through the end of August is “counterproductive” and he is considering, among other reactions, a veto of the measure approved Monday, April 2, by the Shelby County Commission.
Shelby County commissioners approved a moratorium Monday, April 2, on all county contracts and budget amendments worth more than $50,000 through the end of August.
The new president and CEO of Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division has seen a storm or two in his career, including hurricanes.
With the estimate last month of an $18 million to $25 million county budget surplus for the fiscal year that ends June 30, taxes are about to become an even bigger issue in the Republican primary for Shelby County mayor.
TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS
Roughly a year after Memphis International Airport first unveiled its $214 million modernization plan, the project is taking its next significant step.
Shannon Perry became executive director of the Fire Museum of Memphis earlier this year, a role that brings her back to the institution she helped launch in the 1990s, when she served as its first curator. As executive director, Perry is the Fire Museum’s only full-time employee, and she handles a range of functions – including its collection, exhibits and facilities, budgets, fundraising, public relations, special events, staff and volunteers – while also working directly with the museum’s board.
Headline from the future: “Alex Lomax Leads Memphis Tigers into the Sweet 16.”
MARKETING & ADVERTISING
Back in the summer, Memphis-based First Tennessee Bank was listed as the fifth most reputable bank in the nation in a report from the industry-focused news publication “American Banker.”
Shoemaker Financial president and CEO Jim Shoemaker isn’t sure there is ever a perfect time for expansion and rebranding, but with the economy strong and his company well positioned for a transition of leadership, he could not hold off growing Shoemaker’s insurance line any longer.
Pendleton Square Trust Co., a Nashville-based independent trust and family office company, has hired an executive away from First Tennessee Bank to help launch and open an office in Memphis in the coming months.
After Historic 2017 Season, Redbirds May Have as Much Talent This Year
So what do the Memphis Redbirds do for an encore after an historic 2017 season? “For an encore, hopefully do it again,” said infielder Patrick Wisdom. “That’s what encore means. Get to 100 wins. That’d be nice.”
Jeremy Pruitt hasn’t been afraid to change things around during his first spring practice as Tennessee’s head football coach.
MARTHA KELLY'S MEMPHIS
With the world honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week, Memphis artist Martha Kelly depicts the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated 50 years ago. Kelly, who illustrates local life and culture each month for The Daily News, can be reached at marthakellyart.com. (Martha Kelly)
VIEW FROM THE HILL
It’s not that hard to light a fire under some state lawmakers, but the University of Tennessee FOCUS Act raised blood pressure considerably in the House of Representatives before barely passing with 51 votes.
THE OWNED PERSPECTIVE. From 1936 to 1938, as part of the WPA and the Federal Writers’ Project, more than 2,000 interviews were conducted with former slaves resulting in “Slave Narratives: A Folk History in the United States.” Those former slaves were very old by then, but their memories of dark childhoods were clear.
Ray’s Take: According to The American Mortgage in Historical Context, 30-year mortgages are a relatively new thing. In the time before the Great Depression, mortgages had short maturity times and usually required a very high down payment. Pre-Depression mortgages featured variable interest rates and were usually renegotiated on a yearly basis. Boy, have times changed!
Attention is on Memphis this year with the MLK50 commemoration to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination on April 4, 1968. Keeping this focused on travel, I believe it’s a good time to point out some of the newer civil rights sites across the U.S., along with a few that have been around for a while – all opportunities to honor King’s legacy while trying to better understand the struggle.
NBC ran a story about a family who booked a room on the ocean but found they had no view of the water at all when they got to the hotel. A family of five arrived at the hotel and found that the room reserved for them only had one king bed. It was summer in Florida, the hotel was full, and there was nothing the manager could do to accommodate the families.
Diversity is one of the most important issues companies are focused on today. LinkedIn recently found that more than half of companies say they are very or extremely focused on diversity. This is good news, especially when you consider the World Economic Forum recently estimated it will take 217 years for women to reach complete equality in pay and employment opportunities.
While marketers anticipate that e-commerce will continue to push retail boundaries throughout 2018, mobile commerce is a large factor in that boundary movement, widely due to advanced interest in geofencing.
We live in tense times. In our era, we’ve seen systemic and corporate fraud at SkyTel, Enron, and others. We’ve watched our tax dollars bail out many of the largest banks and insurance companies.
As Memphis and the world marks the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., there is much to reflect on and much to look forward to. Our reflections can be a source of inspiration for what we can accomplish together moving forward into the future. We can embrace the “fierce urgency of now” that King spoke of.