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VOL. 130 | NO. 252 | Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Daily Digest

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Mississippi River at Memphis To Pass Flood Stage Friday

The Mississippi River at Memphis is expected to crest above flood stage Friday, Jan. 1, and stand at 41 feet on the flood gauge by Saturday, Jan. 9.

Flood stage at Memphis is 34 feet on the river gauge.

The National Weather Service at Memphis issued flood warnings over the long holiday weekend for the Mississippi River and its tributaries because of heavy storms all along the river as well as the system of rivers and streams that feed into it.

The Monday, Dec. 28, flood warning from the NWS says the river could continue to rise past Saturday.

In May 2011, the Mississippi River at Memphis rose to 48 feet on the river gauge, the second-highest recorded level at Memphis, second only to the record 1937 flooding.

The flood warning is in effect until further notice, according to the National Weather Service.

– Bill Dries

Transportation Coalition Maps Tenn. Infrastructure Backlog

Leaders of the Transportation Coalition of Tennessee have mapped the state’s $5.3 million worth of backlogged road projects as part of the discussion about how the state should fund the projects.

The coalition includes the Tennessee Trucking Association, Tennessee Municipal League and Tennessee Road Builder Association.

The new interactive maps and list of projects is posted at TransportationCoalitionTN.org.

Meanwhile, Susie Alcorn, executive director of the Tennessee Infrastructure Alliance, which is also part of the coalition, said the December congressional deal to pass a five-year Surface Transportation Program doesn’t ease the backlog of projects.

She called the federal funding legislation “a step in the right direction.”

“But it won’t solve Tennessee’s infrastructure funding problem,” Alcorn added. “Our state’s leaders must find a long-term, sustainable solution to meet our state’s identified infrastructure needs.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has been pushing for a funding solution of some kind since the summer but has backed away from calling for a hike in the state’s 40-cent-a-gallon gas tax, which includes the 18-cent federal gas tax.

State Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville said this month a gas tax hike won’t be on the Tennessee Legislature’s agenda in 2016, and Haslam said earlier that he wasn’t certain when he would push for a specific state funding measure for the projects.

– Bill Dries

City Leaders to Take Oath On New Year’s Day

Memphis Mayor-elect Jim Strickland takes the oath of office Jan. 1.

Strickland will be joined in the oath by 13 Memphis City Council members and new City Court clerk Kay Robilio.

The noon ceremony at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, 255 N. Main St., marks the beginning of the four-year term of office for all 15 elected officials.

Among the city council members, six are starting their first term on New Year’s Day. The seven remaining council members are returning to the body after winning four-year term.

Robilio succeeds outgoing clerk Thomas Long, who did not seek re-election after 20 years in the clerk’s position.

– Bill Dries

Beatles Tribute Band Coming to The Orpheum

An all-Liverpool-born Beatles tribute band – The Mersey Beatles – is headed to the Orpheum Theatre.

The group, which also has 10 years under its belt as the house band at Liverpool’s famed Cavern Club, are performing March 4 at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education, 203 S. Main St., as part of their inaugural U.S. tour.

Tickets are on sale now. Since 1999, the band has played sold-out shows in more than 20 countries, re-creating The Beatles’ most popular hits. The show spans the Fab Four’s catalog and includes costume changes and authentic Liverpool accents, wit and charm.

Also in attendance for the show will be Julia Baird, the sister of John Lennon. She’ll be signing copies of her book “Imagine This: Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon.”

– Andy Meek

Volunteers Needed For Kids Shoe Distribution

More than 250 Memphis children will receive new shoes on Jan. 26, thanks to a partnership among the nonprofit Samaritan’s Feet, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club – and the organizers are seeking volunteers to help make it happen.

Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, who serves as the team’s Jr. NBA Ambassador, plans to host two dozen basketball skills clinics for 6- to 14-year-olds this season. But offering skills and drills isn’t enough to prepare all kids for the game. Some lack the right footwear – comfortable sneakers that fit.

The children already have been selected through local nonprofits and will be bused to FedExForum in waves starting around 3:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in a variety of capacities, ranging from event set-up to filling buckets and helping wash children’s feet – part of the Samaritan’s Feet tradition. Those who wish to volunteer can participate for a short while or the whole event.

Corporate and individual sponsorships also are available, as every $10 buys a new pair of socks and shoes.

The LPBC has hosted two Samaritan’s Feet shoe distributions annually since 2010. Each January, the organization teams up with the Grizzlies to kick off the MLK National Day of Service in Memphis. Then, toward the end of the summer, the LPBC hosts a back-to-school shoe distribution, which features new socks and shoes along with a backpack filled with school supplies.

Visit thelpbc.com for more information and volunteer registration.

– Kate Simone

International Paper Tower III Undergoing Renovations

International Paper is undergoing renovations on Tower III of its East Memphis headquarters. Contractor Grinder, Taber & Grinder has applied to the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for a $609,753 building permit for renovation to 6420 Poplar Ave. International Paper is listed as owner and tenant of the building.

Built in 2001, the Class A tower has 394,765 square feet, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property, and is appraised at $30.7 million this year.

– Madeline Faber

Local Alzheimer’s Chapter Gets $265,000 Gift

The Mid-South Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association got a special holiday gift this year – a $265,000 donation, to be exact.

The gift that will help the association continue and expand on the work it will be doing in the year ahead came in the form of a check from Charles and Connie Cotros of Memphis, the association has announced.

Part of the donation, said local association president Jim Ward, will go toward research for a cure.

According to the association, more than 5 million Americans, including more than 110,000 in Tennessee, are living with Alzheimer’s, and it’s also the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

– Andy Meek

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