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VOL. 122 | NO. 151 | Monday, August 13, 2007

Daily Digest

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$5M Building Permit Filed For Ruby Oaks Apartments

     Bluff City Community Development Corp. (BCCDC) has taken the next step toward building Ruby Oaks Apartments on East Alcy Road. The nonprofit development company has filed an application for a $5 million building permit with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement for the project.
     BCCDC is the general partner of the ownership entity behind the new development, which is on the south side of East Alcy Road between Hernando Road and Elvis Presley Boulevard.
     Ruby Oaks, a Low Income Housing Tax Credit property, will have 60 units in three-story garden-style buildings. The two- and three-bedroom units will be 1,042 and 1,154 square feet respectively, said BCCDC president Carl Mabry.
     The architect on the project is Lawrence Abell of La Plata, Md. Germantown-based Patton & Taylor Enterprises LLC is the general contractor.
     Construction on the $5 million project is slated to begin at the end of September or beginning of October and likely will last 10 months, Mabry said.
     Construction on Ruby Oaks will be simultaneous with April Woods Apartments West phase II. A permit for that project was filed with the Department of Construction Code Enforcement in May. For details, see The Daily News' May 29 Daily Digest at www.memphisdailynews.com.

County Commission Committee Considers Zippin Pippin Restoration

     The Shelby County Board of Commissioners Budget and Finance Committee today will consider a resolution supporting the preservation and restoration of the Grand Carousel and Zippin Pippin rollercoaster.
     The committee will consider awarding a $15,000 grant to Memphis Heritage Inc. to conduct an economic and engineering feasibility study of the former Libertyland amusement landmarks.
     Committee members also will discuss plans to match any monetary commitment made by the city of Memphis for the preservation, restoration or movement of the Zippin Pippin up to $100,000 from the commission's contingency funds.
     About five months ago, the Zippin Pippin - minus its cars - was donated by its out-of-town owners, Carolina Crossroads, to the local group that fought unsuccessfully to save the Libertyland amusement park. Libertyland was closed in 2005 by Mid-South Fair officials.
     Commissioners also will consider amending the fiscal year 2007-2008 operating budget and position control budget for Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County.
     The committee meetings begin at 8 a.m. today at the Shelby County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St. in the fourth floor conference room.
     The full board will meet at 2:30 p.m.

Bredesen Appoints Fowlkes To Criminal Court Vacancy

     Shelby County Chief Administrative Officer John T. Fowlkes Jr. has been appointed as Criminal Court Judge for the 30th Judicial District Division VI by Gov. Phil Bredesen.
     Fowlkes fills the vacancy created by the recent retirement of Judge W. Fred Axley.
     "The unique combination of administrative and legal experience that John Fowlkes brings to the bench will serve the criminal court in Shelby County extremely well," Bredesen said in a statement.
     Fowlkes, a former assistant U.S.
     attorney for the Western District of Tennessee and assistant district attorney general for the 30th Judicial District in Memphis, has been chief administrative officer for Shelby County since 2002. A graduate of the University of
     Denver School of Law, he began his legal career as an assistant public defender in Shelby County.
     "I look forward to the challenges before me as a member of the trial bench," said Fowlkes, 56, in a statement. "And while there are many such challenges to take on, I have a lot of
     ideas about how to approach them and am eager to step into this role.  I appreciate Gov. Bredesen's confidence in me, and am honored to have this opportunity to serve the state of Tennessee."

Frontier Adds Service To Fort Lauderdale

     Denver-based Frontier Airlines, which entered the Memphis market in May, will add daily nonstop service from Memphis to Fort Lauderdale beginning Nov. 15 and enhance its existing service to Las Vegas, Denver and Orlando.
     The discount airline will increase its Memphis to Las Vegas service to five days per week beginning Sept. 6; its Memphis to Denver service to three flights daily beginning Nov. 15; and its Memphis to Orlando service with two flights daily beginning Dec. 15.
     The new flights and frequencies will bring Frontier's total nonstop flights to and from Memphis to seven.
     The Denver service provides Memphis travelers with connections to more than 20 North American cities across four countries.
     Frontier is offering special introductory fares between Memphis and Fort Lauderdale for as low as $89 each way. Fares must be purchased by 10:59 p.m. Sept. 12 for travel between Nov. 15 and March 5.

Ethics Commission Approves Records Request

     The state Ethics Commission on Thursday voted to approve an 8-month-old records request for documents related to deliberations about one of the panel's first advisory opinions.
     The Tennessee Bar Association and Tennessee Lobbyists Association asked in December to see drafts and e-mail correspondence about an advisory opinion to commission on how to define a lobbyist.
     "I'm not sure why it took this long," said Courtney Pearre, Tennessee Lobbyist Association chairman. "It's been so long, I'm not sure what I asked for."
     Pearre said he understood that the startup commission, which went into operation in October, would want to be sure it was following the law.
     "They were asking for guidance about what is public and what is not, and I don't fault them for that," Pearre said. "I don't take that as a thumbing of the nose at the request."
     Commissioner Linda Knight proposed the commission compose a "white paper"
     on its understanding of the open records and meetings laws and to defend against allegations that the commission wasn't dedicated to openness.
     Knight said the commission was wrongly accused of refusing to release the documents. The commission instead has "deferred the records request" until it could get a better understanding of the law, she said.
     The commission ultimately chose to decline Knight's proposal for fear of appearing too defensive, and ultimately unanimously approved the release of the documents.
     Ethics Commission Chairman Thomas Garland, a former state senator, said he wants to eliminate questions about the commission's dedication to open government laws.
     "Every article you read begins with open meetings," he said. "I want that off the table. I want them to concentrate on the work that we do."
     The commission, which describes its mission as "increasing government's integrity and transparency," in January sought an opinion of the state attorney general's office to determine whether attorney-client privilege could apply to the documents, therefore making them closed records.
     It received that opinion from the attorney general but has declined to disclose the findings. Commissioners had suggested in June
     they might meet privately with a representative of the attorney general's office to discuss the opinion.
     The release of the documents Thursday appears to make the attorney general's findings moot, but the commission did not immediately release the text of the opinion.

Corker Tours Tennessee Counties

     U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., continued his 38-county tour of Tennessee while Congress is on its August recess by visiting Benton, Humphreys, Houston, Stewart, Montgomery and Cheatham counties last week.
     Corker will be canvassing his home state during the congressional recess holding several town hall events and updating voters on his work and other news from Washington.
     Among the sites he visited last week, Corker made his first visit to Fort Campbell since being appointed recently to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
     Among other stops he made, Corker toured a farm in Carroll County to study firsthand how continuing dry conditions in the state are affecting farmers.

Prescription Safety Program To Hold Statewide Seminars

     Physicians, family nurse practitioners, pharmacists and dentists can now satisfy the new state law that mandates continuing medical education on prescribing practices through a new course offered by the Tennessee Prescription Safety Program.
     The seminar, "Proper Prescribing Practices: Schedule II Prescription Drug Abuse," is sponsored by HealthStream and The Tennessee Foundation for Quality Patient Healthcare (TFQPH). The class is to help providers understand the issue of balancing substance abuse with medical necessity.
     Classes in West Tennessee begin with an Aug. 22 session at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. The seminar will be offered for Middle and East Tennessee in September and October, respectively.
     For a complete schedule and registration, visit www.TNRxSafety.org. The course is also available online.
PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396