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VOL. 129 | NO. 243 | Monday, December 15, 2014

Daily Digest

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Elvis Presley Enterprises Seeks $57 Million Building Permit for Hotel

Elvis Presley Enterprises has applied for a $57 million building permit for its planned 450-room hotel near Graceland.

The application for the permit filed through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement lists Flintco Inc. as the contractor and Chad Stewart and Associates as the engineer.

The resort-style Guest House at Graceland, the largest hotel development in Memphis in decades, will include a grand stairwell connecting two floors in the lobby that harkens back to the main staircase at Graceland itself. The hotel, scheduled to open in fall 2015, also will include Jungle Room-inspired prints and accents, plus a sports bar and lounge that recalls the design of Graceland’s billiard room.

Other design touches include the separation of the hotel façade into three components to give it the feel of three separate residential-scale hotel buildings added over time.

This is EPE’s second building permit application for the project. In November, the company sought a $70 million building permit.

Elvis Presley Enterprises is moving forward with long-delayed plans to develop and enhance the 120-acre Graceland campus.

The development plan relies on the creation of a tax increment financing district and a tourism development zone to finance the project using the growth in city and county property taxes and sales taxes, respectively. The third piece of financing is a 5 percent tourism surcharge on tickets and similar items sold in the 120-acre campus. The surcharge generates the largest part, $38.7 million, of the $76.8 million estimated total revenue over 20 years from the three sources.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports
– Amos Maki

T Clifton Gallery Supports Carpenter Art Garden

T Clifton Art Gallery is donating 15 percent of all sales through Dec. 20 to the Carpenter Art Garden in Binghampton.

This is the gallery’s third year to champion “shop with a cause” during the holiday season and the second straight year of supporting the efforts of Carpenter Art Garden. In addition to donating a portion of sales, the gallery will accept donations on behalf of the organization.

As part of its work, the art garden partners neighborhood children with local artists to create permanent art installations to remove blight from the community, as well as take-home art and the tending of garden boxes.

– Andy Meek

Akbari Introduces Bill to End ASD Phase-Ins

Democratic state Rep. Raumesh Akbari of Memphis has introduced a bill that would bar the state-run Achievement School District from phased-in takeovers of schools a grade or two per school year.

The bill, filed for the upcoming session of the Tennessee Legislature, which begins Jan. 13, would reinforce what has been the practice of Shelby County Schools for the current school year. The Shelby County Schools board voted earlier this year to close schools the ASD was to take over a grade at a time.

SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson is preparing a proposed policy that would address the issue generally.

Meanwhile, Akbari has also filed a bill that would bar the ASD from changing the grade structure of schools it takes over.

– Bill Dries

Junior Achievement Plans After-School Program

Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South Inc. has partnered with Regions Bank and the Memphis Public Library & Information Center to offer ninth- through 12th-graders the JA Company Program in an after-school setting starting in January.

JA Company Program, which dates back to Junior Achievement’s founding in 1919, gives high school students the opportunity to learn firsthand the steps involved in launching their own businesses. It is part of a blended-learning approach that brings together likeminded, business-savvy high school students and professionals from across the city to discuss the basics of entrepreneurship, financial literacy and business success.

The goal of the program is for students to develop skills they need to succeed in future academics and the workplace.

The after-school sessions, held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., will be guided by corporate volunteers. Interested students in grades 9 through 12 may contact Junior Achievement at 901-366-7800 or email jloving@jamemphis.org for more information.

– Don Wade

All-Star Voting Opens, Includes Grizz Players

The National Basketball Association and Sprint have tipped off NBA All-Star Balloting 2015 and Grizzlies fans can vote for their favorite Grizzlies players, including Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Courtney Lee.

NBA All-Star Balloting 2015 gives fans around the world the opportunity to vote daily for their favorite players as starters for NBA All-Star Game 2015, and for the first time ever, the ballot includes all current NBA players.

As part of the NBA’s all-digital program, fans can vote on NBA.com; through social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others; via text message; and in the NBA Game Time app.

Balloting concludes on Jan. 19, and starters will be announced Jan. 22. The 64th NBA All-Star Game will be played Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

– Don Wade

University of Memphis Faculty Express Concerns About Program

Faculty members at the University of Memphis say they have concerns about a new teacher training program under consideration.

The Commercial Appeal reports the newspaper and faculty obtained Relay Graduate School of Education’s 448-page application last month through the Freedom of Information Act. The university has offered Relay free classroom and office space for the program that it proposes to start next summer.

According to the newspaper, faculty in the college of education sent a letter on Wednesday to President David Rudd.

“This decision is literally bringing a direct competitor onto our campus and promoting them as an option for our undergraduates to move into Relay’s Graduate School of Education MAT (master’s of arts in teaching) degree,” according to the letter from faculty in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership.

“Of perhaps even greater concern and cause for alarm is the secretive manner in which the University’s administration has undertaken this endeavor, after indicating that we would be informed as details were put into writing earlier this academic year,” the letter says.

Rudd said on Thursday that he plans to forward the final agreement to faculty, but the current documents are preliminary.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission is scheduled to decide next month whether Relay will be allowed to operate in the state.

– The Associated Press

Ramsey: Medicaid Expansion ‘Sellable’ in Tennessee

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says that if fellow Republican Gov. Bill Haslam succeeds in his negotiations with President Barack Obama’s administration on a special Tennessee deal for Medicaid expansion, the result could be “sellable” to skeptical state lawmakers.

It’s a change in tone for the Blountville Republican, who as recently as November of last year said Haslam was “wasting his time,” and that he would be against an effort to expand Medicaid even if the governor could get his deal.

The biggest problem, as Ramsey sees it, is that he doesn’t think the Obama administration is interested in agreeing to Haslam’s proposal to have copays and deductibles and use the federal money to subsidize commercial insurance.

“If we can get to that, that may be something we can sell,” Ramsey told reporters Thursday.

Ramsey said copays, deductible and personal health coaching are elements of his own health coverage in the state plan, which he said helps encourage personal responsibility.

“If you could take that down to that population and still cover them, I think that would be sellable,” he said. “I’m just reluctant to think that the current administration in Washington, D.C., would allow anything like that.”

Haslam has said he will either strike an agreement by the end of the year or abandon his efforts for what he calls his Tennessee Plan altogether.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 80 401 13,843
MORTGAGES 99 439 16,005
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 19 63 2,202
BUILDING PERMITS 233 998 28,755
BANKRUPTCIES 49 276 8,926
BUSINESS LICENSES 23 136 4,701
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 23 141 5,534
MARRIAGE LICENSES 15 88 2,982

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