VOL. 7 | NO. 51 | Saturday, December 13, 2014
Airport Hires Manager to Increase Air Service
Memphis International Airport has hired a former American Airlines network planner to help increase service at the airport.
The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority has tapped Will Livsey to serve as its new Senior Manager of Air Service Research and Development.
Livsey will be responsible for researching, developing and executing a significant increase in air service at Memphis International, which has lost dozens of flights following the downsizing of Delta Airlines’ service at the airport.
Livsey will work to maintain the airport’s current level of service and identify markets for additional air service and routes. He will also serve as a liaison between Mid-South passengers and the airlines, including meeting with regional corporate, leisure and convention travel executives in order to help the airport target appropriate destinations.
Livsey, a Memphis-area native, holds a bachelor’s degree in language and world business from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Business Administration in aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
He has worked for American Airlines since 2008, most recently as a senior analyst for Network Development, where he was responsible for new domestic route identification and forecasting.
County Pension Fund Valued at $1.1B in Oct.
In October, the value of the pension fund that pays benefits to Shelby County retirees stayed around the $1.1 billion mark, where it’s been for most of 2014.
That’s according to the most current figures, released this week, showing the fund’s value having climbed to $1.12 billion, up from a little more than $1 billion in October 2013.
As of Oct. 31, the largest percentage asset allocation in the plan consisted of U.S. stocks, and their performance has helped the fund’s asset value.
The domestic equity component of the county’s portfolio was up 4.3 percent year to date in October.
Dixon Preparing for Renovations
Dixon Gallery and Gardens is preparing to make some significant renovations.
The museum and event venue applied for a $600,000 building permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for “renovation of interior spaces, millwork, galleries, museum store, exterior renovations, new roof and new service entrance” to the property at 4339 Park Ave. in East Memphis.
The permit application did list a contractor or architect for the project.
Source: The Daily News Online and Chandler Reports
Tamp & Tap Preparing East Memphis Location
Tamp & Tap, the popular Downtown restaurant and coffee shop, has applied for a building permit for its East Memphis location.
Tamp & Tap applied for a $244,494 building permit through the Office of Construction Code Enforcement for its location at 6070 Poplar Ave. inside Highwoods Properties Inc.’s Triad Centre III office building in East Memphis.
Earlier this year, Tamp & Tap, located at 122 Gayoso Ave., inked a lease for 2,785 square feet in the office building on Poplar near Shady Grove. Dan Walker Associates Inc. is the contractor, and Graham Reese Design Group is the architect.
Nations Hired at Sheriff's Office
Bob Nations, the former director of emergency preparedness for Shelby County, has been hired to work with the county's sheriff's department.
Chip Washington, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, says Nations is filling the role of chief inspector over schools and crime prevention.
Nations left the emergency preparedness office in September when he was not retained by Mayor Mark Luttrell after Luttrell was re-elected.
Luttrell hired Dale Lane, a former chief inspector with the sheriff's office, to replace Nations.
During his tenure as emergency preparedness chief, Nations helped lead the county and the city of Memphis through the historic flood of 2011 and winter storms.
Kelsey, DeBerry Sponsor Profiling Legislation
The same week that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Memphis pushing a ban on profiling by federal law enforcement agencies, two Tennessee legislators from Shelby County have filed legislation that would require all law enforcement agencies in the state to put a similar policy in writing.
The bill, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey and Democratic state Rep. John DeBerry, defines racial profiling and requires every agency, including all local law enforcement, to adopt a written policy to prevent it by 2016.
Kelsey is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Holder recently banned federal agents from racial and gender profiling in new Justice Department rules that are more specific than 2003 guidelines on the subject.
Fuente, Players Win Conference Honors
University of Memphis head coach Justin Fuente was named the American Athletic Conference’s 2014 Coach of the Year and senior linebacker Tank Jakes and sophomore place-kicker Jake Elliott earned post-season honors.
The American Athletic Conference awards are voted on by the league’s head coaches and Fuente was a unanimous choice as Coach of the Year.
Jakes shared the American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award with UCF cornerback Jacoby Glenn. Elliott was named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year.
Jakes became the first player in Memphis history to be voted a conference Defensive Player of the Year while Elliott became the third conference special teams player of the year, joining place-kicker Stephen Gostkowski (Conference USA, 2005) and Tom Hornsey (The American, 2013).
East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden was chosen The American’s Offensive Player of the Year. USF running back Marlon Mack was selected the league’s Rookie of the Year.
Joining Jakes and Elliott on the all-conference first team from Memphis were offensive lineman Al Bond, tight end Alan Cross, defensive end Martin Ifedi and cornerback Bobby McCain. Named to the second team were running back Brandon Hayes, quarterback Paxton Lynch, return specialist Keiwone Malone and punter Spencer Smith.
Memphis’ 10 all-conference selections this year are a program high. The six first-team picks is the most for the Tigers since 1993 when they were part of the Independent Football Alliance.
IP Honored for Effort to Fight Multiple Sclerosis
Memphis-based International Paper was recently inducted as a Circle of Distinction member at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Leadership Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
The company was recognized for the impact it has made as part of the MS movement, having cumulatively raised $1 million or more to help create an MS-free world.
Members of the Society’s Circle of Distinction include individuals, corporations, foundations and teams whose financial leadership and generosity has reached $1 million or more.
26 Industrial Properties Facing Foreclosure
The company that purchased Farnsworth Investment Co.’s industrial portfolio in 2005 has defaulted on a $69 million loan, and now 26 of its properties are facing foreclosure, according to a first-run foreclosure notice in the Friday, Dec. 12, edition of The Daily News.
Boca Raton, Fla.-based Net Magan Property Owner One LP took out the loan through Eurohypo AG, New York Branch, in August 2005 in conjunction with its $76 million purchase of Farnsworth’s portfolio, which included property in the 100-acre Distriplex Center near Memphis International Airport and the 275-acre Distriplex Farms near Hickory Hill and Holmes roads.
The properties facing foreclosure, according to the notice, include addresses on Distriplex Farms Drive, Distriplex Cove, Distriplex Drive, Discover Drive, Mineral Wells Road and Appling Road, among others.
R. Spencer Clift III of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has been named substitute trustee and will hold a foreclosure sale Jan. 9, according to the notice.
Parties involved in the foreclosure could not be contacted by press time; per newspaper policy, calls to those involved, such as the property owner, deed holder or trustee, are prohibited until the notice is published.
Home Builders Group Welcomes New President
The West Tennessee Home Builders Association celebrated the inauguration of incoming board president David Goodwin Jr. at the organization’s annual gala Thursday, Dec. 4. The association also celebrated several achievements and milestones at the gala.
A fourth-generation developer and homebuilder, Goodwin is a veteran of the industry, having begun his homebuilding career in 1976 when he went to work for his father, T. David Goodwin. He worked as a foreman and superintendent before building his business, and also spent years developing more than 500,000 square feet of commercial retail space. For more than a decade, he has focused on residential real estate and has developed more than 2,000 lots in Shelby, Fayette and DeSoto counties.
The gala also marked the completion of organization’s first year of expansion to 21 counties in West Tennessee and the conclusion of the yearlong term of the organization’s first female and youngest board president, Kim Grant Brown.
Shildt to Manage Redbirds in 2015
The St. Louis Cardinals have selected Mike Shildt as the Memphis Redbirds’ new manager for the 2015 season.
The 46-year-old Shildt becomes the sixth manager in the Redbirds’ 18-year history and takes over for Ron “Pop” Warner, who was named a minor league roving infield coordinator with the Cardinals organization. Warner guided the Redbirds to the Pacific Coast League American South Division title in 2014 as the Triple-A club posted a 79-64 record. Warner managed the Redbirds from 2012-2014.
Pitching coach and former Redbird Bryan Eversgerd, hitting coach Mark Budaska, and athletic trainer Jeremy Clipperton are all returning to Memphis for the 2015 season.
The 2015 season will be Shildt's 12th in the Cardinals organization and seventh as a minor league manager. He carries an overall 333-284 career record (.540 winning percentage) over his previous six managerial seasons with three league championships in three postseason appearances.
Prior to joining the Redbirds, Shildt managed the past three seasons at Double-A Springfield, finishing with an overall 209-207 record. In his first year at the helm in Springfield in 2012, Shildt guided Springfield to its first Texas League Championship.
Stax Announces Massive Collections Release
Concord Music Group and Stax Records have announced the digital release and physical reissue of two big box sets – “The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles, Vol. 2: 1968-1971” and “The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles, Vol. 3: 1972-1975.”
Each set includes full-color booklets with essays by Stax historian and compilations co-producer Rob Bowman. The collections include contributions from Stax legends like Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, The Bar-Kays and others, and many of the tracks included are being made available digitally for the first time.
The “Vol. 2” series includes nine CDs and 216 songs, including Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft” and the Staple Singers’ “Respect Yourself.” The “Vol. 3” series features 10 discs and 213 soul singles, including the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There.”
Tennessee Gets Grant to Expand Preschool
Federal officials have awarded a $17.5 million grant to Tennessee to expand preschool services.
A statement from the U.S. Education Department on Wednesday says Tennessee is one of 13 states receiving funding from the Preschool Development Grants program to expand services. Five other states received grants for preschool development.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said expanding access to quality preschool "is critically important" to ensuring the future success of children.
Duncan says that states receiving the grants will serve as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.
TennCare May Scrap Computer System
A $38 million computer system that had been in the works for the Department of Human Services might be scrapped.
The system under design was supposed to determine Medicaid eligibility, but it has been bogged down with delays and design defects. It was supposed to be operational more than a year ago and is still not complete.
WPLN reports scrapping the system is one of three options under consideration by TennCare, which could also try to salvage some of the work that's been done on the system.
The agency spent $1 million to hire consulting firm KPMG to recommend a course of action. They hope to reach a decision by the end of the year.
Riverdale Retail Center Fetches $1.4 Million
A southeast Memphis retail center has been sold for $1.4 million.
City Storage East West Connector LLC sold the retail center at 5144 Riverdale Road to 5144 Realty LLC, according to a Nov. 26 warranty deed. The buyer, 5144 Realty LLC, is affiliated with New York-based Jaran Realty Corp. The seller, City Storage East West Connector, is affiliated with the Kevin Hyneman Cos.
In conjunction with the purchase, 5144 Realty filed a $1 million loan with Banking Consultants of America LLC, according to a Nov. 25 deed of trust.
The 17,220-square-foot shopping center was built in 2004 on the northeast side of Riverdale near the intersection with East Holmes Road. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $1.5 million.
Commission Approves Greenline Contracts
Shelby County Commissioners approved a contract Monday, Dec. 8, buying the section of the old CSX rail line from Mullins Station Road to the old Cordova train station for $2.5 million and a companion contract to build a 4.1-mile-long extension of the Shelby Farms Greenline on it for $2.2 million.
The extension would take the bicycle and pedestrian path east and across Germantown Parkway.
The commission also approved on third and final readings ordinances that repealed earlier ordinances setting a “living wage” and a “prevailing wage” for contractors wishing to do business with Shelby County government.
After the original ordinances were passed, the Tennessee Legislature passed laws barring local governments from setting or enforcing such standards.
Commissioners approved issuing $120 million in bonds to finance county construction projects over a two-year period. The bulk of that amount – $110 million – is designated for school construction and renovation over the two-year period.
Collierville Adds Signs to Historic District
The town of Collierville has added new signs directing motorists on Tenn. 385 and U.S. 72 to the Downtown Historic District.
The new signs are a recognition that with last year’s completion of Tenn. 385, traffic volume is increasing along Collierville’s southern corridor.
The town is also making improvements along U.S. 72 and Center Street.
The signs identify the historic district with a train car and depot logo signifying the Collierville Town Square’s railroad theme and heritage.
The signs were fabricated and installed by Law Signs LLC, which is the official state contractor on such projects.
Collierville Station Sells for $600,000
The 8,900-square-foot Collierville Station retail center along West Poplar Avenue has sold for $600,000.
An entity named MD 695 Poplar LLC purchased the neighborhood shopping center at 695 W. Poplar in a Dec. 4 warranty deed from JW-Collierville LLC, PC-Collierville LLC, DB-Collierville LLC and SG-Collierville LLC, which collectively had owned it since 2008.
The Class A center, which was built in 1941, is situated on about an acre on the south side of West Poplar, west of where Highway 72 splits and runs to the south. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $598,700.
In conjunction with the purchase, MD 695 Poplar LLC filed a $1.4 million loan with First Capital Bank, according to a Dec. 1 deed of trust. Julian Wise Smith Jr. and Christopher Hunter Smith signed the trust deed as members of MD 695 Poplar.
Isner Commits to Play Memphis Open
The United States Tennis Association has announced top-ranked American John Isner has become the second Top 20 player to commit to the Memphis Open, joining 2014 U.S. Open finalist and two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori in the player field.
Isner’s best performance in Memphis to date came in 2010, when he reached the singles final against fellow American Sam Querrey. That same year, Isner and Querrey teamed to win the Memphis doubles title.
The ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament will be played Feb. 7-15 at The Racquet Club of Memphis, with a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw. Box seat and ticket packages can be purchased at memphisopen.com or by calling 855-307-1981.
Tickets for individual daily sessions will go on sale Jan. 5.
Cotton Museum Holding Children’s Coat Drive
The Cotton Museum has launched a coat drive to collect new or lightly used coats to be distributed directly to children in need.
Efforts are focused on providing coats to the students at Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School and Lester Preparatory Middle School. Coats are needed for both boys and girls in youth sizes medium to extra large and small adult sizes. The museum is also accepting donations by cash, check or charge and will use the funds to buy coats.
Coats and monetary donations can be dropped off at the Cotton Museum Gift Shop, 65 Union Ave., Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. through Dec. 30
Visit memphiscottonmuseum.org for more information, or to arrange a pickup, contact Diana Fazio at 901-531-7826, ext. 203, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four Charter Schools Prepare To Close
Four charter schools operating in Memphis will close at the end of the current school year under terms of a recently enacted Tennessee law.
The law requires the closure of any charter school that is ranked in the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide as measured by state test scores. The closings come without any decision by the local school board that authorized the charters.
The four charter schools are City University Boys Prep, Southern Avenue Middle School and two schools operated by Omni Charter.
Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson told school board members at a Tuesday, Dec. 9, work session that the system has sent letters about the closures to the charter operators and is setting up meetings with parents of children in the four schools about their possible transition to conventional schools within the Shelby County Schools system.
Meanwhile, the school system opened bids Wednesday, Dec. 10, for work on the building of a new Westhaven Elementary School with tentative plans for a design similar to the one used for Belle Forest Community School, the most recently built school in the system. Tentative date for groundbreaking on the new Westhaven Elementary is April.
Hot Rod Power Tour to Return in June
The 21st annual Hot Rod Power Tour returns in 2015 with new features for spectators, participants and auto enthusiasts, as the seven-day, seven-city journey travels more than 1,000 miles and includes a stop in Memphis.
The Hot Rod Power Tour comes to Memphis International Raceway on June 9.
Presented by Chevrolet Performance, the tour is expected to draw more than 5,800 participants and upward of 90,000 spectators as it welcomes all makes and models of hot rods, street rods, custom trucks, muscle cars and performance machines of every vintage and nameplate.
The Hot Rod Power Tour is free for spectators. Participants may register a vehicle for one day or the entire event. Vehicle registration is open to any year, make or model. Preregistration is available through May 23 at hotrod.com.
Memphis Software Firm Changes its Name
Business software firm Business Advantage is changing its name to Lumatrak, the firm has announced.
According to Lumatrak founder and CEO Steve Redden, the change in name reflects the Memphis-based company’s sharpening focus on value chain software services.
Lumatrak’s roots go back to the founding of HiTech Data in 1983. At that time, the company focused on data communications and computer networks.
Working with one of the world’s largest retailers, Lumatrak introduced its end-to-end supply chain visibility software solution in 2008.
Maines Paper & Food Files $3M Building Permit
New construction is planned at the Maines Paper & Food Service cold-storage facility in Arlington.
A $3 million building permit application has been filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for the facility at 11420 Gulf Stream Road, listing the scope of work as “new construction, dry storage.”
The 56,780-square-foot Class A facility, which is owned by W&D Arlington LLC, was built in 1998 and is situated on 6.1 acres at the northeast corner of Gulf Stream Road and Tenn. 385. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal of the site is $2.2 million.
One of the largest independent foodservice distributors in the U.S., Conklin, N.Y.-based Maines generates an annual revenue approaching $4 billion and distributes to single-unit and regional chain restaurants, educational and health care institutions, convenience stores and other outlets spanning 36 states, according to the company’s website.
Senate Confirms TVA Board Nominees
The U.S. Senate has confirmed two nominees to serve on the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility.
Media report the Senate held a roll call vote on the nominations of Democrats Ron Walter and Virginia Lodge after some Republicans objected to all Democrats being appointed to the board. The measure passed Tuesday night 86-12.
TVA serves 9 million people in parts of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
The vote came after Walter and Lodge signed a pledge to recuse themselves from any matters that come before the board involving Democratic real estate developer Franklin Haney, who is pushing a financial plan for the Bellefone Nuclear Plant.
"In order to avoid any appearance of a lack of impartiality, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter in which Mr. Haney or any person on his behalf is a party or represents a party, or in which Mr. Haney, or his family, would have a direct or indirect financial interest," the nominees wrote in separate but similar letters.
Walter is the general manager of Memphis CBS affiliate WREG-TV, and Lodge is a Nashville business consultant.
Both Tennessee senators voted for the measure, but vowed to have more congressional oversight of the board.
More Americans to Buy Homes with 3 Pct. Down
More Americans will soon be able to buy a home with a down payment as low as 3 percent, the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac say.
The new lending guidelines being announced by the companies are designed to help more low-income and first-time buyers afford homes. Millions of Americans lost their savings or no longer had the income needed to set aside money for a home in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession.
The guidelines are designed to prevent the kind of reckless lending that fueled a housing bubble and eventually triggered the recession. Borrowers must have enough income to repay loans on a monthly basis for homes that would be their main residence. This guideline would be intended to limit financial speculation.
Allen Morgan Health Center Receives 5-Star Rating
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have given the Allen Morgan Health Center at Trezevant a five-star quality rating – the highest possible designation for a nursing home facility.
The ratings are a tool for millions of senior Americans and their families in search of a nursing home. Nursing homes with five stars are considered to have much above average quality care, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rating system.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the federal agency that sets and enforces quality standards for all nursing homes enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid. They rate facilities nationwide on a scale of one to five stars, based on the ratings in three different areas of performance: health inspections, nurse staffing and quality measures.
Trezevant, a continuing care retirement community at 177 N. Highland St., recently underwent a $120 million renovation and expansion project.
UTHSC Researcher Wins Prostate Cancer Grant
Subhash Chauhan, a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has received a three-year grant totaling $562,500 from the Department of Defense to research new therapies for advanced-stage prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimated earlier this year that roughly 233,000 men in the U.S. would be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 29,480 would die from it. African-American men experience 2.5 times greater risk of prostate cancer death compared to Caucasian men.
Chauhan, along with Meena Jaggi, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and other members of their team will investigate whether the drug ormeloxifene, currently used as an oral contraceptive, can be repurposed as a treatment for prostate cancer.
Ormeloxifene has never been investigated for use as an anti-cancer drug, but if research proves its effectiveness, clinical translation could be rapid.
Haslam Addresses Public Safety Summit
While there's been progress in making Tennessee a safer state, much remains to be done, particularly on domestic violence, Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday.
The Republican governor kicked off a public safety summit in Nashville that also focused on Tennessee's sentencing laws, homeland security concerns, drug abuse and trafficking and other issues.
Haslam created his public safety subcabinet about four years ago to coordinate efforts to make Tennessee safer.
Since 2010, the governor said reported domestic violence offenses in Tennessee have decreased nearly 14 percent. Last year, Tennessee was ranked the 10th highest in the nation for the rate of women killed by men.
"I'll be really clear, they're still too high," Haslam said. "But a 14 percent decrease is a good place to start."
As part of the effort to reduce domestic violence, lawmakers approved mandatory sentences for repeat offenders.
Some legislators say they plan to introduce a bill during their upcoming session that would require people arrested on domestic violence charges to remain incarcerated for at least 12 hours.
IRS Paid $6 Billion in Bogus Child Tax Credits
The IRS paid at least $6 billion in child tax credits in 2013 to people who weren't eligible to receive them, a government investigator said Tuesday.
Payments went to families that mistakenly claimed the tax credit or claimed the wrong amount, as well as taxpayers who committed fraud, according to an audit by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.
The audit highlights problems with a tax credit that President Barack Obama has championed as a way to help low-income working families.
Obama's 2009 economic stimulus package temporarily expanded the credit to more families that don't make enough money to pay federal income tax. The expanded credit expires at the end of 2017.
These families receive the $1,000-per-child credit in the form of a tax refund. The report released Tuesday focused on payments to these families.
For years the IRS has said the risk is low for improper payments related to the child tax credit. The report says that assessment is incorrect.