VOL. 7 | NO. 28 | Saturday, July 5, 2014
Weirich: Brown ‘Out of Touch With Reality’
Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich says a video posted Tuesday on the campaign website of Democratic challenger Joe Brown questioning her sexual orientation represents a “sad day” in local politics.
“It’s just a sad day that someone that out of touch with reality is running for district attorney general,” Weirich said at an afternoon press conference at the Child Advocacy Center that was called as part of an effort to remind parents not to leave their children in cars during the summer heat.
In the video, which was taken down hours after it was posted Tuesday, Brown is seen talking to a group of people about recent press coverage of his divorce. He segued from that to questioning Weirich’s sexual orientation and saying her husband and children had moved out of the family home as a result.
Kim Perry, Weirich’s campaign manager, said Tuesday evening that Weirich and her husband were at home that evening as the video went up.
Weirich said Wednesday she had to have a talk with her 8-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter about the claim and the campaign by Brown.
Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham, at the same press conference, called the video “reprehensible.”
“I call on all candidates to run their campaigns on fact,” he said. “This has no place in any campaign.”
Graceland May Remove Presley’s Old Airplanes
For 30 years, tourists from around the world have paid money to get a look at two airplanes once owned by Elvis Presley at Graceland in Memphis. Fans enjoy touring the planes for their direct connection to Presley and his jet-setting lifestyle, a sort of touchstone to the life of the King of Rock and Roll and his family.
By April of next year, the planes named Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II could be gone.
Elvis Presley Enterprises, which operates the Graceland tourist attraction, has written to the planes’ owners saying they should prepare to remove the jets from Graceland by next spring.
The planes have been a tourist attraction since the mid-1980s. They had been sold after Presley’s death, and were eventually purchased by OKC Partnership in Memphis.
OKC Partnership and Graceland agreed to bring the two jets to Graceland. The agreement called for OKC Partnership to receive a cut of ticket sales in return for keeping the planes there.
In an April 7 letter to OKC Partnership’s K.G. Coker, Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden says the company is exercising its option to end the agreement and asks Coker “to make arrangements for the removal of the airplanes and the restoration of the site on or shortly after April 26, 2015.”
Their removal could cause an uproar among fans, especially those who visit Graceland every year as part of an annual pilgrimage to events such as Elvis Week and the candlelight vigil commemorating Presley’s death.
The disclosure also raises questions about the future use of the site where the airplanes now sit, across the street from Presley’s longtime home.
Elvis Presley Enterprises declined immediate comment.
ServiceMaster Completes Initial Public Offering
ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. announced Tuesday, July 1, that it has completed its initial public offering of common stock at $17 a share.
The shares began trading June 26 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Memphis-based company went public to pay down its debt.
The underwriters also exercised in full their option to purchase an additional 5.3 million shares of common stock.
With that included, the company sold a total of 41.2 million shares of common stock in the initial public offering.
Memphis Football Single-Game Tickets on Sale
Single-game tickets for all six University of Memphis home football games are now on sale. The Tigers open the 2014 football season by playing host to Austin Peay on Saturday, Aug. 30, at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Single-game box (chairback) seat tickets are $50 each, while sideline seats are $30 and end zone seats are $10.
Season ticket packages also remain available for the 2014 season and range in price from $55 to $250. The Tigers are also offering a Pick 3 Pack for the 2014 season. Fans can select tickets for any three home games and receive sideline seats for $78. The Pick 3 Pack will put fans in the same seat for all three selected games.
Through the university’s ongoing partnership with Paciolan, fans will be able to take advantage of several new ticketing features, including access scanning and digital-ticketing solutions. Access scanning gives fans the ability to print tickets at home and bypass will-call lines. Fans will also have the ability to transfer tickets to family and friends online.
Memphis opens the home portion of the American Athletic Conference schedule against Houston on Oct. 11. The Tigers will also play host to league opponents University of Tulsa, University of South Florida and University of Connecticut at home this fall.
For more information about individual game or ticket packages, visit gotigersgo.com/tickets or call 678-2331.
Memphis Botanic Garden Hosts Food Truck Party July 8
A food truck garden party is coming to the Memphis Botanic Garden July 8.
The event will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Attendees can shop the Henny Penny Mobile Boutique, there will be music by Chris Gavin & Bob Boccia, and featured trucks include Square Meal on Wheels, Fuel, Rock’n Dough, StickEm and Bluff City Curbside.
Garden members get in for $5, and for nonmembers it’s $10. Tickets include admission, live music and a drink ticket. A cash bar also is available.
Jackson, Stokes on Grizzlies Summer Roster
The Memphis Grizzlies’ 2014 Orlando Pro Summer League roster will include former University of Memphis guard Joe Jackson and forward Jarnell Stokes, a second-round pick out of Tennessee and Memphis native for whom the Grizzlies traded on draft night.
Second-year guard Jamaal Franklin and 2014 first-round draft pick Jordan Adams (No. 22 overall) are also on the roster. Also part of the squad: 2013 second-round draft pick Janis Timma (No. 60 overall) and Memphis native and former Ole Miss guard Terrico White.
Memphis will be among the 10 teams competing in the 2014 Orlando Pro Summer League, hosted by the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center practice court July 5-11. The Grizzlies’ summer league schedule includes games on Saturday, July 5 (vs. Miami), Sunday, July 6 (vs. Detroit), Tuesday, July 8 (vs. Orlando) and Thursday, July 10 (vs. Houston) before competing in the designated championship day on Friday, July 11.
The Grizzlies’ coaching staff during the 2014 Orlando Pro Summer League will be comprised of Grizzlies assistant coach Shawn Respert, assistant coach/advance scout Jason March and video coordinator/player development Steve Jones.
Due to space limitations, the event is not open to the public. Fans can access box scores, game recaps and cumulative statistics at orlandomagic.com. NBA TV will televise the Orlando Pro Summer League games.
Waller Lansden Leases in Renaissance Center
A Nashville-based law firm is moving into permanent space at the Renaissance Center office building.
Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis LLP, which opened a Memphis office in February, has leased 10,000 square feet in the East Memphis office building at 1715 Aaron Brenner Drive.
Established in 1905, Waller has around 190 attorneys, including eight in the Memphis office. The firm, which also has offices in Birmingham, Ala., and Austin, Texas, had been using an executive suite at Renaissance Center while negotiating its lease.
Waller chief operating officer Teresa Walker said the Memphis office adds greater depth to the firm’s national health care practice and enhances its capabilities in the areas of life sciences, biotechnology, medical devices and emerging technologies.
“Our main focus has been identifying top practitioners in the health care area and we feel like we’ve done that and we continue to look for opportunities to expand,” said Walker.
Grizzlies Forward Davis Becomes Free Agent
Forward Ed Davis, once considered a key component in the trade that sent Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors, becomes an unrestricted free agent after the Memphis Grizzlies declined to make Davis a qualifying offer.
In two seasons with the Grizzlies, Davis, 25, averaged 5.5 points per game and 4.2 rebounds. Davis, who played collegiately at North Carolina, saw limited playing time down the stretch last season.
Davis, who is 6-foot-10 and 225, showed occasional flashes of the promise the Grizzlies once believed he held, but was inconsistent enough that first coach Lionel Hollins and then coach Dave Joerger reduced his playing time. Thus, the Grizzlies were not willing to commit $4.3 million to Davis when they appear to be well-stocked in the front court.
“Ed has many years in front of him in the NBA and there’s no doubt he can have a long and productive career,” interim general manager Chris Wallace said in a statement. “However, in light of the re-signing of Zach Randolph, the continued development of Jon Leuer and the addition of Tennessee native Jarnell Stokes (acquired via trade on draft night last week), it’s in our best interests to keep our options open.”
Nonprofit Consulting Firm alt.Consulting Adds Five
Nonprofit management consulting firm alt.Consulting has added five new members to meet the increasing demands of its rural and urban-based entrepreneurial initiatives.
Three interns joined the firm’s Arkansas offices at the beginning of the summer to help in the development entrepreneurial initiatives Farm to Fuel and Delta Made. In the firm’s Memphis office, a fourth intern has joined to help market and promote the firm’s work.
Also joining alt.Consulting as a management consulting is Vonesha Mitchell, who will work with clients in East Arkansas, Memphis and West Tennessee.
Tigers’ Woodson Involved in Fight
Dominic Woodson’s troubles continue.
The sophomore forward on the University of Memphis basketball team was involved in an altercation with a Tigers football player on Monday; the two players were arguing over a female, a source told The Daily News.
Memphis Roar reported the football player involved was redshirt freshman running back Robert Davis and that Davis and Woodson argued during a study hall.
Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner suspended Woodson during the season for failing to control his language, and Woodson did not travel with the team for a time. Pastner disciplined him again toward the end of the season, but did not offer details.
Athletics director Tom Bowen said in a statement: “I am working with both head coaches (Pastner and football coach Justin Fuente) to assess the entire situation, and to deal with the two student-athletes involved accordingly. I expect all of our student-athletes to conduct their behavior in an appropriate and mature manner. We will not comment further on this incident.”
Woodson, who is from Round Rock, Texas, averaged 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds during his freshman season. Despite limited playing time, “Big Dom” became a crowd favorite at FedExForum for his surprising athletic ability and demonstrative nature.
Pastner has said on more than one occasion that Woodson was having to making a huge transition from his past social environment to being part of the Tigers basketball team and a student at U of M.
Construction Spending Up 0.1 Percent in May
U.S. construction spending barely increased in May as gains in spending on non-residential projects such as office buildings and public construction were largely offset by a big drop in home building.
Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent in May after a much stronger 0.8 percent April increase, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The back-to-back gain followed a period of weakness in which spending fell in both January and February and was flat in March.
The construction industry has struggled with an unusually severe winter which curtailed building activity in many regions.
Construction activity totaled $958.1 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in May, up 6.6 percent from a year ago.
Economists are forecasting that housing and overall construction will regain momentum in coming months, helping to boost overall economic growth.
However, housing suffered a setback in April, falling 1.5 percent. Single-family home construction was down 1.4 percent while apartment construction dropped 0.6 percent. Overall, housing construction is up 7.5 percent from a year ago.
Non-residential construction rose 1.1 percent, led by a 4.3 percent rise in construction of power generating facilities. Construction of office buildings was up slightly, but spending on hotels and the category that covers shopping centers both showed declines.
Sammy Hagar to Open Southland Park Eatery
Southland Park Gaming and Racing today has announced that rocker Sammy Hagar will bring his latest restaurant concept, Sammy Hagar’s Red Rocker Bar & Grill, to the Memphis area.
The 150-seat sports bar will open in October when the $37.4 million expansion and redesign is finished. The restaurant, the latest in Hagar’s empire, will offer classic bar food and will be the first to carry Hagar’s nickname of “The Red Rocker.”
Southland’s expansion and redesign, started at the beginning of the year, is intended to make Southland a leading gaming destination and entertainment complex for the Memphis area.
Rizzo’s to Help Raise Funds for Crisis Center
The Memphis Crisis Center and Rizzo’s Diner at 106 G.E. Patterson Ave. are partnering for a monthly event to raise funds for the 24-hour hotline for people in emotional distress.
“Less to Wine About Wednesdays” will be held on the second Wednesday of every month. The restaurant, which has been featured on Food Network, will give 25 percent of the day’s proceeds to the Memphis Crisis Center.
The first event on June 11 raised more than $500. The next two will be held July 9 and August 13. Memphis Crisis Center volunteers handled nearly 19,000 crisis calls last year, including 1,300 suicide calls, according to the center’s executive director, Mike LaBonte.
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center partners with the Memphis Crisis Center, providing its call center, training facility and administrative offices on the UTHSC campus.
For more information, visit memphiscrisiscenter.org or call 649-8572.
University of Memphis Names Carrier Assistant Athletic Director
Thomas Carrier, a two-time alumnus of the University of Memphis with more than 10 years of experience in the facility management industry, has been named assistant athletic director for events and facilities.
Carrier will serve as the game administrator for all Tiger home athletic events. He will function as the onsite contact for the university’s on-campus athletic facilities and will serve as the official liaison between the athletic department and off-campus facilities, including FedExForum, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.
In his new position, he will also play a key role in oversight and planning of new athletic facilities projects.
Carrier joins the University of Memphis Athletic Department after nine years in event operations at FedExForum and working for the Memphis Grizzlies. He began his career with a two-year internship in event services for SMG and The Pyramid.
In his final role at FedExForum, Carrier managed all coordination for arena events. He administered facility projects, coordinated internal facility usage and had oversight of building conversions.
This past spring, Carrier was the facility manager for the inaugural American Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship and the NCAA Division I Men’s South Regional.
Tigers’ Ifedi Receives Athlon Recognition
University of Memphis senior defensive end Martin Ifedi has been named to Athlon Sports’ preseason American Athletic Conference first-team. He was one of five Memphis players recognized by the preseason publication.
Memphis senior Joe Craig was recognized as a second-team specialist as a kickoff returner. Senior cornerback Bobby McCain was named to the third team on defense. Sophomore place kicker Jake Elliott and punt returner Keiwone Malone were third-team specialists.
Ifedi enters his senior season on the verge of setting the school record for quarterback sacks. He ranks second all-time at Memphis with 20 during his career, one shy of the school record. Last year, Ifedi was named to the American Athletic Conference Team after leading Memphis’ defensive linemen in tackles, finishing with 52 stops including 14.5 for lost yardage (-73 yards) and 11.5 quarterback sacks (-62 yards).
Haslam Signs Agreement to Protect Dairy Industry
Gov. Bill Haslam has signed an agreement with eight other states to protect the dairy industry in the event of an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease.
According to the state Agriculture Department, the agreement is called the Secure Milk Supply Plan. It sets standards by which milk producers, haulers and processors interact with animal health authorities to reduce the risk of spreading hoof and mouth disease in the event of an outbreak.
Although the disease has not been seen in the U.S. since 1929, outbreaks occur every year in other countries and the disease could easily be introduced through international trade.
For more information on the Secure Milk Supply Plan and opportunities to learn more about it, contact the State Veterinarian’s Office at 615-837-5120.
Campbell Foundation Honors Class of 2014
The University of Tennessee-Campbell Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering and the Campbell Foundation recently celebrated the graduation of the class of 2014 orthopedic surgery residents and orthopedic fellows at the Memphis Country Club.
The graduating residents presented the Willis C. Campbell Aesculapian Award for Teaching Excellence to Dr. William A. Albers. The Aesculapian Award recognizes the most outstanding contribution to resident education in orthopedic surgery, and the recipient is selected by the orthopedic surgery residents. Albers, associate professor of orthopedic surgery, retires Monday, June 30.
During the ceremony, Dr. Robert F. Murphy, chief resident, was given the Hugh Smith Research Presentation Award for his presentation “Morbid Obesity Increases the Risk of Systemic Complications in Patients with Femoral Shaft Fractures,” presented at the 2014 Ingram Memorial Lecture. The award was established by the family of former Campbell Clinic chief of staff Dr. Hugh Smith in tribute to him and his belief in the transformative power of research and innovation.
Memphis Center to Help in Nuclear Disasters
Officials in the U.S. nuclear energy industry have held a ribbon-cutting for a facility that holds equipment such as power generators and water pumps that could be delivered to nuclear plants struck by a natural disaster or other extreme event.
The ceremony took place Friday at the Memphis Regional Response Center.
The Memphis facility, along with an identical center that opened last month in Phoenix, are part of an effort by the nuclear industry to possess the ability to fly in heavy equipment that could avert a meltdown.
The response center is part of a plan being developed to meet new rules that emerged since a 2011 tsunami struck the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, flooding its emergency equipment and causing nuclear meltdowns that sent radiation into the environment.
Tunica Roadhouse Launches Free Concert Series
Tunica Roadhouse Casino & Hotel has announced it is hosting a free concert series starting July 5.
The first show will feature the band Fuel, with a free fireworks show immediately after the concert. Additional concerts will take place Aug. 2 and Sept. 6, with the bands being announced the first week of July.
Also, Tunica Roadhouse is giving away a jet ski every Saturday in July, with the first drawing being held July 5.
Regional Tourism Campaign Gets Marketing Boost
State and local officials are pumping up marketing efforts for a regional tourism campaign.
The marketing push, called West Tennessee Day Trippin’ and focused on regional tourism in Shelby, Fayette, Lauderdale and Tipton counties, is funded with a $20,000 USDA Rural Business Enterprise grant and a $20,000 match from the Memphis Area Association of Governments.
The program is designed to raise the awareness of regional sites and attractions within a day’s trip of Memphis.
“Tourism not only grows businesses and jobs, it brings outside revenue to the community,” said state USDA rural development director Bobby Goode.
Dollar General CEO to Retire Next Year
Dollar General CEO Rick Dreiling plans to retire from that post next year.
The company’s shares fell more than 4 percent in morning trading after the announcement on Friday.
The discount store operator said that the retirement is effective on May 30, 2015, or when a successor is appointed. The 60-year-old Dreiling – who also serves as chairman – has agreed to remain as chairman during the transition process once a new CEO is named.
Dreiling has served as Dollar General’s CEO since January 2008. He became chairman in December of that year.
The company said that its annual sales have surged more than 80 percent to $17.5 billion during Dreiling’s tenure. Its store count has climbed 38 percent to more than 11,000 stores in 40 states during that time.
Dollar General Corp., based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, is currently conducting a search for a new CEO.
Earlier this month the company reported a slight rise in its fiscal first-quarter profit as sales improved.
Job Growth Boosts Consumer Confidence
Strong job growth lifted U.S. consumer confidence this month, as Americans looked past the economy’s dismal first-quarter performance.
The University of Michigan said Friday that its index of consumer sentiment rose slightly to 82.5 in June from 81.9 in May. That is still below April’s reading of 84.1, which had been the highest in almost a year.
Confidence “has remained largely unchanged for the past six months,” said Richard Curtin, an economist at the University of Michigan and director of the survey. “This was remarkable” given that the economy shrank in the first quarter.
Still, the survey was mostly conducted when the government had estimated that the economy contracted at a 1 percent annual rate in the first quarter. On Wednesday, that estimate was revised much lower, to show a contraction of 2.9 percent.
And so far, steady confidence hasn’t yet translated into more spending. Consumer spending rose just 0.2 percent in May after a flat reading in April. Weaker spending suggests growth won’t rebound as strongly as many economists had hoped. Some marked down their forecasts for growth in the second quarter, to roughly 2.5 percent from 3 percent.
Still, there were other positive signs in the University of Michigan’s report. Steady hiring is improving Americans’ finances, the survey found. Forty percent of respondents said their finances had improved in June, the most in seven years.
Oak Ridge Launching Imaging Institute
The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., has launched the Institute for Functional Imaging of Materials, which aims to accelerate the development of new materials that can be used to produce more efficient solar cells, batteries and other products.
Institute Director Sergei Kalinin said in a news release that imaging advances over the past couple of decade have made it possible to observe and identify individual atoms in a material. More recent imaging advances are now making it possible for scientists to determine not only where atoms are, but what they do.
That new knowledge will enable researches to improve the efficiency of tasks like converting solar energy to electricity in solar cells and converting chemical energy to electrical energy in batteries.
Obama to Nominate New NTSB Chair
The White House says the president will nominate a lawyer with a history in aviation and transportation safety to head the National Transportation Safety Board.
Christopher Hart joined the board as vice chairman in 2009 and became acting chairman in April. That’s when former NTSB chief Deborah Hersman resigned.
Hart has held high-level posts in the FAA, including deputy director for air traffic safety oversight and assistant administrator for system safety.
He served as deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before moving to the FAA in 1995.
Hart is a licensed pilot with commercial ratings. His great uncle is James Herman Banning. Banning in 1926 became the first African-American to receive a government-issued pilot’s license.