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VOL. 130 | NO. 38 | Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Daily Digest

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Gestalt Renews Plans for Hickory Hill School

A new Power Center Academy middle school in Hickory Hill near or on the footprint of the old Marina Cove Apartments moved a step closer to reality with Gestalt Community Schools applying for a $7 million building permit to build a 40,147-square-foot middle school at 5449 Winchester Road.

A project contractor has not been determined, according to the application filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement.

The charter school company currently operates the Power Center Academy at 6120 Winchester Road.

The Marina Cove apartments were demolished by the city in October 2010 after standing vacant for years.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. drove a bulldozer into a stairway of one of the 54 buildings in the complex to mark the occasion and signal the redevelopment was a priority of his administration.

The Power Center Community Development Corp. bought an adjoining 19-acre parcel for $182,400 from Boston Capital Corporate Fund in 2010. With the apartment complex site and that additional land, CDC had plans to develop a town center that would have included retail, some residential and a performing arts center.

The new Power Center Academy, by those plans, would have been the development’s first phase and was to open in 2012, financed with money from private donors and grants.

Gestalt also operates charter schools at Humes Prep and Klondike Prep for the state-run Achievement School District and is among the tenants to come of the Crosstown Concourse redevelopment project that formally began construction Saturday, Feb. 21.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Bill Dries

Tigers Football to Host Ole Miss Rebels in October

The University of Memphis football team’s 2015 schedule includes an early road game at Big 12 member Kansas and an Oct. 17 home game vs. the University of Mississippi.

It will mark the Rebels’ first visit to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium since 2009.

The Tigers open the 2015 season at home against Missouri State on Sept. 5. Following the opener, the Tigers travel to Kansas (Sept. 12) and Bowling Green (Sept. 19).

Following three nonconference games to open the year, Memphis will play its earliest league opener since 2010 when the Tigers play host to Cincinnati on Thursday, Sept. 24, in a game nationally televised by ESPN.

The Tigers will play another non-Saturday game the next week when they travel to the University of South Florida on Friday, Oct. 2.

Unlike recent years in which Memphis has enjoyed two open weeks, the 2015 season has just one bye week which comes ahead of the Ole Miss game on Oct. 17. Starting with the Ole Miss game, Memphis will play seven straight weeks.

Memphis’ only back-to-back home games will come Oct. 31 against Tulane followed by the program’s first-ever meeting against the Naval Academy on Nov. 7. Memphis plays seven of the same conference opponents it played in 2014 during the 2015 season. The only difference is the addition of Navy which replaces UConn from the previous two seasons on the 2015 schedule.

Over the final weeks of the season, Memphis will play consecutive road games at Houston and Temple on Nov. 14 and 21. The Tigers close out the regular season the Saturday following Thanksgiving, playing host to SMU on Nov. 28.

– Don Wade

Shelby County Schools Begins Open Enrollment

Shelby County Schools officials launched the school system’s open enrollment, or General Choice Transfers period, Tuesday, Feb. 24.

The online process is separate from the Optional Schools enrollment process which involves specific academic criteria.

The General Choice Transfers are available in schools that have room for students who don’t live in the attendance zone for a given school.

Applications can be made through a portal on the school system’s website, www.scsk12.org. The application period runs through April 3.

Students who already attend a school based on a General Choice Transfer do not have to reapply as long as the school they attend remains part of Shelby County Schools in the 2015-2016 school year.

Of the 147 schools in Shelby County Schools, 75 have little to no space for additional students.

– Bill Dries

Magna Bank Reports 2014 Earnings

Magna Bank earned net income of $5.1 million for the year ended Dec. 31 – the highest annual earnings since the company was founded in 1999, the bank announced this week.

Among the results for the year, loans were up 6.1 percent to $442 million. Deposits likewise rose $43.1 million, a 12.2 percent increase over the prior year. Capital retained in the bank for future growth totaled $68.8 million at year end, ensuring Magna is well capitalized as determined by federal regulations.

According to Magna chairman and CEO Kirk Bailey, the bank also paid out cash dividends of $1.5 million to shareholders during 2014.

Looking ahead, Magna’s chief financial officer David Wadlington expects pressure on margins but says the bank has developed plans, “including line-of-business modifications and cost containment strategies, to support core earnings improvement.”

– Andy Meek

FedEx Cargo Plane Makes Emergency Landing

A FedEx cargo plane has safely landed in St. Louis after smoke was reported inside the aircraft.

The plane made an emergency landing at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday at Lambert Airport. Lambert spokesman Jeff Lea says four crew members evacuated by emergency slide. One of them was taken to a hospital for evaluation for an undisclosed injury. Lea did not have any details about how the injury occurred or the extent of it.

Firefighters boarded the plane but did not find smoke or flames. The plane was towed from the runway and the incident did not delay any other flights.

An investigation continues.

Lea says the plane took off from Memphis, and was bound for Minneapolis.

– The Associated Press

Tigers’ Nichols named AAC Player of the Week

Austin Nichols is recovering well enough from his ankle injury that his performance has earned recognition from the American Athletic Conference.

Nichols, a sophomore forward, was named the AAC’s Players of the Week after averaging 18 points, 7.5 rebounds and five blocks in victories over Connecticut and USF. Nichols is second in the nation in blocked shots with 3.5 per game. Nichols leads the Tigers in scoring with 13.7 points per game.

Memphis is 12-4 overall, 9-5 in the conference. SMU — which is ranked No. 21 in the country and is 22-5 and 13-2 atop the AAC — comes to FedExForum for an 8 p.m. game on Thursday, Feb. 26.

The game will be televised on ESPN2.

– Don Wade

Memphis Among Highest-Suspending School Districts

A recent report on student suspensions shows Memphis is among the highest-suspending large school districts in the nation.

The analysis was conducted by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project of UCLA.

According to the report, in 2011-12 Memphis suspended students at a rate that was about double the national average.

The highest suspension rate in Memphis was 53 percent for secondary-level black males with disabilities.

However, Memphis also showed some progress. Suspension rates declined for all students at both the elementary and secondary levels from 2009-10 to 2011-12.

During the 2011-12 school year, nearly 3.5 million public school students nationwide were suspended at least once.

Given that the average suspension lasts 3.5 days, the report estimated that U.S. public school children lost nearly 18 million days of instruction in just one school year because of exclusionary discipline.

– The Associated Press

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 51 328 20,960
MORTGAGES 58 387 24,132
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 6 54 3,101
BUILDING PERMITS 170 842 43,435
BANKRUPTCIES 50 288 13,468
BUSINESS LICENSES 34 90 6,712
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 16 110 7,899
MARRIAGE LICENSES 32 91 4,734