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VOL. 127 | NO. 160 | Thursday, August 16, 2012

Daily Digest

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McDonald's Planned for Millbranch Road

A McDonald’s fast-food restaurant is set to be built at the southwest corner of Millbranch Road and East Shelby Drive in Whitehaven.

A $1.3 million permit application filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement by McDonald’s USA states the restaurant at 4673 Millbranch will feature a double drive-thru design as part of a steel and masonry building.

McDonald’s franchisees across the Mid-South made a big hiring push in July, hosting a one-day event in hopes of hiring 1,000 managers and crew members in West Tennessee, East Arkansas, North Mississippi, southwest Kentucky and southern Missouri.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Methodist University Hospital Announces Renovation Plans

Methodist University Hospital, 1265 Union Ave., says the hospital is filing a Certificate of Need with the Tennessee Health Services Development Agency for permission to renovate and expand its emergency department.

The more than $33 million project’s purpose is to better serve patients and increase efficiency. While the emergency department has had minor renovations over the last few years, the space was designed and built more than 40 years ago.

The new emergency department will be a two-story structure with a heliport on the roof. The lower level will house the new ambulance entrance and parking area with elevators to the main floor.

The project adds 93,000 square feet of new space and includes 6,200 square feet of renovated space. The new center adds 16 patient treatment areas, bringing the total treatment areas in the center to 54.

The center will be built to green building design standards and the hospital will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Two adjoining buildings on the campus, the Doctors’ building and the West buildings, will be demolished.

– Aisling Maki

Kelsey, McManus Seek Opinion On South Cordova

Two state legislators from Shelby County have requested a legal opinion from Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper on the recent annexation of South Cordova by the city of Memphis.

Republicans Brian Kelsey of the State Senate and Steve McManus of the State House want an opinion on whether the city can charge newly annexed homeowners’ city property taxes retroactively.

The legal opinion could have an impact in the Shelby County Chancery Court case by residents contesting the city action.

Kelsey said he wants an opinion on the part of state law that he interprets as saying property taxes can be charged only if the area is annexed as of Jan. 1. South Cordova was annexed last month.

If the legal opinion backs the city charging for services dating back to Jan. 1, Kelsey said he will sponsor legislation to change state law when the legislature returns to Nashville next year.

– Bill Dries

Judge Fowlkes Begins Federal Tenure

U.S. District Court Judge John Fowlkes has been on the bench since taking the oath Aug. 2 from fellow Memphis federal Judge Hardy Mays and began hearing matters on Aug. 6.

The first matter he heard was a telephone status conference in a 2010 civil case in which a UPS employee alleged racial discrimination.

Fowlkes has named Phyllis Buchanan, his judicial assistant for the last two years he was a Criminal Court judge, to his staff. Lorri Fentress is his case manager.

President Barack Obama appointed Fowlkes in December. The U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination in July.

Fowlkes previously was a Criminal Court judge for five years. Before that he was chief administrative officer to then-County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. He was also an assistant U.S. attorney for 13 years.

– Bill Dries

Two Memphis Law Firms Combine Forces

Two Memphis law firms announced a merger earlier this week.

The nine attorneys of 45-year old Williams McDaniel PC are merging with Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP to form one of the largest estate planning law groups among regional firms in the country.

The merger means Wyatt will have 27 estate planning attorneys, 10 of whom will practice out of Wyatt’s Memphis office at 1715 Aaron Brenner Drive.

Joining Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs are A. Stephen McDaniel, C. Michael Adams Jr., Edward Autry, Marjorie Baker, David Swilley, Cynthia Tobin, Michael Womack, Jason Salomon and Robert Malin.

– Andy Meek

AIA Memphis' Koury Named Nat’l Director of the Year

Heather Koury, executive director of the Memphis chapter of the American Institute of Architects, received the AIA Component Leadership Award from the Council of AIA Component Executives Aug. 10 during its annual conference.

The award, also known as the AIA Executive of the Year award, recognizes the achievements of one CACE executive or component staff from among more than 300 AIA components nationwide. Past recipients of the honor have traditionally gone to state-level AIA chapters or those in the largest metro areas in the U.S.

Koury was selected for achievement as a single-staff component by going beyond the typical responsibilities of an AIA component executive to create groundbreaking programs that emphasize the strengths of the Memphis design community.

During her 10-year tenure with AIA Memphis, Koury has grown the component’s programming from an annual calendar of 25 programs to more than 70 events, and special initiatives a year including significant and ever growing partnership-based programs.

– Sarah Baker

MATA Proposes Longer Waits Between Trolleys

The Memphis Area Transit Authority board is considering a proposal that would mean longer waits between trolleys on the Riverfront loop.

The proposal the board is seeking public comment on through Aug. 27 at 3 p.m. is posted in the notice section of The Daily News.

The wait time would go from nine to 11 minutes to 13 to 15 minutes. Wait times not matching such estimates have been a perennial complaint of riders of the Riverfront loop, Main Street service and the Madison Avenue line.

The other proposed cutbacks include ending Friday night service at 1 a.m. instead of 2 a.m. and discontinuing trolley service on Christmas and Thanksgiving days.

The MATA board will review public comments and vote on the proposal at its Aug. 27 board meeting at 3:30 p.m.

The trolley proposal comes the same month that MATA enacted cuts in its bus fixed-route system.

– Bill Dries

State Education, Nashville Officials at Odds

Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says the Metro Nashville school board’s decision to put off approval of a charter school application is a violation of state law.

On Tuesday night, the school board discussed the effort by Great Hearts Academies to open a school on the city’s affluent west side. The Tennessean reported that after two hours, the board decided to postpone a vote.

The board earlier denied the application. The State Board of Education then ordered the city to reconsider and approve the charter school.

On Wednesday morning, Huffman issued the state’s response, saying the board was now operating in violation of state law and state officials will take appropriate action to ensure that the law is followed.

It’s not the first time the state has ordered a school board to approve a charter school the same board previously rejected.

The old Shelby County School board rejected a charter school application before it merged into the countywide school board last year and later approved the application after the state ordered it to.

The countywide school board rejected 17 charter school applications in November citing the “financial hardship” they would pose to both school districts. The state rejected the reasoning and ordered the board to approve them. The board complied.

– Bill Dries

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173