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VOL. 8 | NO. 23 | Saturday, May 30, 2015

Daily Digest

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Memphis Area Sees Drop in Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate for the metropolitan Memphis area dipped below 6 percent in April.

The April rate for the metro Memphis area was 5.9 percent, down from 6.5 percent in March and just below the state’s April rate of 6 percent, according to preliminary figures from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Among Tennessee counties included in the metro Memphis area, Shelby County’s April unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, down from 6.7 percent in March; Fayette County’s rate was 5.8 percent, down from 6.5 percent in March; and Tipton County’s rate was 6.7 percent – the highest in the Memphis metro area, but down from 7.5 percent in March.

The April unemployment rate for the Arkansas portion of the Memphis metro area was 6.4 percent, down from 7 percent in March, while the rate for the Mississippi portion of the metro area was 4.9 percent, down from 5.4 percent in March.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in April at 4.1 percent, down from 4.4 percent in March. Knox County was 4.3 percent in April, down from 4.6 the previous month. The Hamilton County April rate was 5 percent, down from 5.4 in March.

Hancock County was the only one of Tennessee’s 95 counties to see an increase, rising 0.1 percentage points to 8.5 percent, while 17 counties saw unemployment rates of less than 5 percent.

– Amos Maki

The Cheesecake Factory to Open This Winter

After months of remaining quiet, The Cheesecake Factory is acknowledging it will open a restaurant in Memphis this year.

The company’s website said the California-based restaurant chain will open the Memphis location in the winter of 2015 and that it is currently searching for an individual to manage the restaurant “located in Wolfchase, near Memphis, TN.”

In February, Wolfchase Galleria’s owner, Simon Property Group, applied for a $480,000 building permit to relocate Milano Mens Wear inside the mall. Milano is currently located near Wolfchase’s main entrance on the Germantown Parkway side of the Cordova mall, the same location where multiple sources previously told The Daily News that The Cheesecake Factory would open its first Memphis-area restaurant.

Until now, neither Simon Property Group nor The Cheesecake Factory had confirmed plans for the restaurant.

– Amos Maki

Council Committee Gives Nod to Brewery Funding

Memphis City Council members vote Tuesday, June 2, on $2.5 million in city capital funding for the remake of the Tennessee Brewery as a mixed-use development.

The council’s budget committee, with eight of the 13 council members present, recommended the funding May 26.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. proposed in April a $55 million capital budget, which is $10 million below the $65 million cap on annual capital spending the mayor and council agreed to several years ago.

The $2.5 million in city capital funding for the brewery project would be for deferred maintenance on the 19th century structure which is being redeveloped by 495 Tennessee LLC as a $28 million project including a public parking garage and a new six-story apartment building on the now open lot north of the brewery building.

Council member Edmund Ford Jr., whose district includes the brewery, moved for the city funding.

– Bill Dries

Colonial Country Club Hires General Manager

Colonial Country Club has hired John Schoenbeck as its new general manager.

As a “Class A” PGA Member, Schoenbeck has more than 22 years of golf club management experience and was most recently the managing director of The Woodlands Country Club, host of the PGA Champions Tour’s Insperity Invitational.

Schoenbeck joins Colonial Country Club as part of the club’s appointment of Redwood Six Golf to oversee all aspects of day-to-day operations. Redwood Six is an Atlanta-based company recently established by former executives of Sequoia Golf following the sale of that company to ClubCorp Holdings in late 2014.

“I have been a member here for more than 40 years,” said majority owner Jim Russell, who purchased the 100-year-old Club in 2013, “and I believe the appointment of John Schoenbeck is tremendous good fortune for our membership and another example of Redwood Six’s resources and commitment to support our strategic goals.”

Schoenbeck and the Redwood Six team have worked with Colonial staff and membership to prioritize improvement opportunities, including restoring the south course to its historic quality and implementing many enhancements to the overall member experience. Wendi Haley recently joined as food and beverage director, and John Tinney is the new golf course superintendent. Tinney has more than 30 years of experience at clubs around the region including Atlanta Athletic Club, Big Oaks Golf Club, River Bend Links and Wedgewood Golf Club.

– Don Wade

TDOT Slates Meetings on I-55 Roundabout

The Tennessee Department of Transportation will hold two public information sessions June 1 and June 4 on plans to build a new Interstate 55 interchange at E.H. Crump Boulevard, changing it to a roundabout design.

The project is an important change for the truck traffic that comes across the Memphis-Arkansas bridge and uses the interchange to connect with Interstate 240. The roundabout also is considered vital to development plans for the French Fort area, the neighborhood that is just south of Crump and west of Interstate 240.

With the scheduling of the meetings, transportation department officials have said the construction work will mean closing the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge for nine months. Initially, the department estimated the construction work might mean the bridge would be closed for two years.

The meetings will deal with the impact of the construction as well as a review of the project’s final environmental impact statement and more detail about the project’s timeline.

The June 1 meeting is at the West Memphis Civic Center, 228 West Polk, and the June 4 meeting is at Central Station, 545 S. Main St. in Memphis. Both meetings start at 3:30 p.m. with formal presentations at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

– Bill Dries

Fogelman Management Group Adds 1,800 Units

Memphis-based Fogelman Management Group has won approval for the management of seven new properties across the Southeast totaling more than 1,800 units.

The company announced Monday, May 25, that it was awarded management duties at the properties in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Missouri.

The properties are: the 238-unit Villas of Park Avenue in Savannah, Ga.; the 392-unit Center Point in Raleigh, N.C.; the 324-unit Columns of Wakefield in Raleigh, N.C.; the 202-unit Vanguard Crossing in St Louis; the 239-unit Hawthorne in Jacksonville, Fla.; the 153-unit Moretti in Birmingham, Ala.; and the 300-unit Arlington at East Shore in Mobile, Ala.

Fogelman Management president Mark Fogelman said that with the recent additions the company is now managing more than 20,000 apartments valued at more than $1.7 billion in 26 cities across 14 states.

– Amos Maki

100 N. Main Listed on National Historic Register

The city’s tallest building has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, a designation that could allow tax credits and grants for the redevelopment of the building at 100 N. Main St.

Architecture Inc., the Memphis-based architectural and design firm spearheading the building’s proposed architectural renovation, pushed to have the building listed on the register. Judith Johnson, a historical architect and owner of Memphis-based J. Judith & Associates, supported its inclusion.

The Tennessee Historical Commission approved inclusion on the register in March and the National Park Service recently granted approval for Part I Certification, meaning the building is officially on the register and able to qualify for Historic Tax Credits.

The next step is Part II Certification, which involves submitting any plans for potential changes to the building, including any changes that could alter the building’s appearance. Part III Certification, the final step in the process, requires the owners to provide documentation to justify alterations after approved updates are completed. Parts II and III are required for the owners to maintain tax credit benefits.

Yitzchok “Isaac” Thomas and One Hundred North Main LLC acquired the building at Main Street and Adams Avenue in August 2013 for $5 million from the Zimmerman Revocable Trust.

Thomas moved tenants out of the 37-story building to make way for an ambitious proposed mixed-use development that will feature hotel rooms, apartment units and commercial space.

Designed by Robert Lee Hall & Associates, the skyscraper – featuring a round, revolving restaurant on the top floor – was completed in 1965.

Architecture Inc.’s plans for 100 N. Main include a conversion to apartments, a hotel and commercial retail space,” said Architecture Inc. principal David Schuermann in a statement. “We will make these renovations with the experience and expertise that meet the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s guidelines and with the intent to preserve and protect one of Memphis’ most prominent historic buildings.”

– Amos Maki

Board of Regents Approves New Southwest President

Tracy Hall is the new president of Southwest Tennessee Community College, approved Wednesday, May 27, by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Hall will succeed Nathan Essex as president of the Memphis institution.

Hall comes to Memphis from her positions as vice president for academic affairs at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park since 2011. She will assume her duties at Southwest July 13.

– Bill Dries

Pyramid Vodka Picks Up Awards, Plans Expansion

Even though it’s only been producing its flagship product for six months, Memphis-based Pyramid Vodka already has picked up two competition wins.

They include a silver award in the vodka category in March at the Denver International Spirits Competition. Mostly recently, the company picked up another silver award in the vodka category at the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition.

Next month, Pyramid Vodka – based in North Memphis and led by Alexander and Winston Folk – is expanding its footprint into Nashville, Chattanooga and Oxford, Miss.

The vodka is distilled one batch at a time using Memphis water and locally sourced Delta corn.

– Andy Meek

Orpheum Board Names New Center After CEO

The board of the Memphis Development Foundation, which operates the Orpheum Theatre, has decided to name the organization’s new capital addition the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education.

That’s in honor of president and CEO Pat Halloran, who will have served the Orpheum for 35 years when he retires at the end of 2015. It’s also a reflection of the fact that the new center, a $14.5 million addition to the Orpheum campus, has long been a passion project of Halloran’s.

The center will be dedicated in conjunction with Halloran’s upcoming roast, set for September 24th. When Halloran’s retirement becomes effective December 31st, he will move to the center where he will serve as a consultant.

– Andy Meek

Astronaut from Tennessee Inducted into Hall of Fame

An alumna of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and a co-owner of a Memphis-area business is being inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame this week.

Dr. Margaret Rhea Seddon is a 1973 graduate of the medical school and one of NASA’s first female astronauts.

The public ceremony will be held Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Seddon is a three-time space shuttle astronaut. She was selected by NASA in 1978 as one of the first six women to enter the astronaut program. She spent a total of 30 days in space.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis said from 1996 to 2007, Seddon was assistant chief medical officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Since 2007, she has been co-owner of LifeWings Partners LLC, which is based in Collierville.

– The Associated Press

Grizzlies Will Participate in Orlando Summer League

The Memphis Grizzlies will be one of 10 teams playing in the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League, hosted by the Orlando Magic, at the Amway Center from July 4-10.

The 25-game, seven-day event will feature the Grizzlies, two teams from the Orlando Magic, and the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Each team will play five games over the seven-day event, with a championship game on the final day. A point system will establish the standings leading up to the final day.

This marks the second-consecutive year the Grizzlies have played in the Orlando Pro Summer League, where last year they advanced to the championship game as the first seed before falling to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Grizzlies’ will announce the full summer league roster later.

Due to space limitations, the event is not open to the public; it is open only to the media and professional team/league personnel. NBA TV will televise the Orlando Pro Summer League games, with a schedule and broadcast information to be released later.

– Don Wade

National Transplant Society Honors UTHSC Professor

Marie Chisholm-Burns, dean and professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, was given the Clinician of Distinction award from the American Society of Transplantation at the recent 2015 American Transplant Congress in Philadelphia.

The award is given to a non-physician clinician considered an expert in his or her field, whose career is dedicated to transplant and who is recognized for outstanding contributions to clinical transplantation.

Chisholm-Burns has a background in patient care with a focus on solid-organ transplant patients. She founded and directs the Medication Access Program in Georgia, which helps to provide medication to about 820 solid-organ transplant patients. She also has served on the editorial boards of several journals, including the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

Her work has appeared in more than 275 publications, and she has received about $10 million in external funding from organizations including the National Institutes of Health and several foundations.

– Andy Meek

Lionel Hollins to Speak at Healthy Shelby Event

Healthy Shelby Partnership is inviting the public to attend Men in Motion: Men’s Health Expo, a hypertension awareness event encouraging men to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

The free expo takes place Saturday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 2835 Broad Ave. It will feature former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, who now coaches the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

During the expo, attendees will have the opportunity to meet Hollins, who also is the founder of Lionel Hollins Charities. Attendees can participate in 3-on-3 basketball, blood pressure screenings, live cooking demonstrations and family-friendly activities as well as interact with a variety of vendors and receive information on how to better manage hypertension and other men’s health conditions.

This event is part of Healthy Shelby’s 140/90: Living Life Under Pressure campaign that specifically seeks to encourage and educate residents of Shelby County to take charge of their health by getting screened, exercising, modifying their diets and, if necessary, taking medication to control their blood pressure.

Hypertension is a serious problem in Shelby County. In a recent national study of hypertension “hot spots,” Memphis was ranked first among the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

Nationally, hypertension affects one in five adults. In Shelby County, 36 percent of residents have high blood pressure. Studies have shown that African Americans are more likely to have high blood pressure than their white or Mexican-American counterparts.

– Don Wade

Graceland Nursing Center in Whitehaven Sells for $1.1M

1250 Farrow Road LLC filed a $1.1 million special warranty deed for the Graceland Nursing Center located at 1250 Farrow Road in Whitehaven on May 21.

Graceland Nursing Center LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Provident Resources Group Inc., had owned the 240-bed facility since Aug. 31, 2000, when they purchased it for $6.5 million.

The sale date on the deed was April 30, 2015, and it was signed by Steve Hicks, CEO of Provident Resources Group and Eliezer Scheiner, manager for 1250 Farrow Road LLC. A $3.75 million mortgage was filed in conjunction with the sale by Illinois-based PrivateBank and Trust Co.

The one-story frame nursing home was built in 1994 and sits on 4.73 acres.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property lists an appraisal value on the property of $4.2M.

– Chandler Reports & The Daily News Online

AutoZone Among Top 10 Arts-Supporting Businesses

AutoZone Inc.’s commitment to the arts has earned it a place in Americans for the Arts’ top 10 business partners.

The national nonprofit released its BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America which honor 10 U.S. companies for exceptional commitments to the arts through grants, partnerships, volunteer programs, matching gifts, sponsorships and board membership.

Americans for the Arts noted AutoZone’s ArtsZone, a dedicated grant category that provides annual funding to ArtsMemphis and other arts and cultural organizations.

“Even as AutoZone has evolved over the last 36 years, we’ve maintained a steadfast commitment to our hometown of Memphis,” said Bill Rhodes AutoZone’s chairman, president and CEO, in a statement. “Leadership and active participation in our region’s arts and culture are essential to community engagement and growth.”

The Memphis-based auto parts retailer will receive its award at a New York gala on Oct. 6. Other companies recognized as 2015 BCA 10 honorees are: Ameriprise Financial; BNY Mellon; Corning Inc.; GE’s FirstBuild; NV Energy and the NV Energy Foundation; Prospective Inc.; Spec’s Wines and Spirits & Finer Foods; The Trust Company of Kansas; and U.S. Bank.

– Daily News staff

Inventor’s Camp Making Summer Stops in Memphis

A summer enrichment day camp program that is supported by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the National Inventors Hall of Fame is making several local stops.

Camp Invention will be at Crosswind Elementary School, Lakeland Elementary School, Grahamwood Elementary School and Bon Lin Elementary School the week of June 1-5, 2015. It also will be at Woodland Presbyterian School and Saint Louis School the week of June 15.

The weeklong day camp for students entering grades one through six fosters innovation and creativity while also building self-esteem, teamwork, persistence and goal-setting skills.

Students are encouraged to exercise their creativity and use their imagination in ways they don’t normally get to: through real-world problem solving.

Local programs are facilitated and taught by educators who reside and teach in the community. Camp Invention serves more than 87,000 students every year through more than 1,300 camps across the nation. For additional information, or to find the nearest location for registration, visit www.campinvention.org

– Amos Maki

Cooper-Young Festival Poster Artist Chosen

The Evolve Bank and Trust Cooper Young Festival has announced Midtown-based creative Gino Barzizza as the poster artist for the 2015 festival.

Barzizza is an illustrator, designer, tinkerer and writer as well as the creative director at HungryFire Workshop in Memphis.

This year’s festival will be held Sept. 19, with a rain date of Sept. 20. The festival, in its 28th year, is the largest single-day event held annually in Memphis.

– Andy Meek

FAA Unveils Messaging System to Reduce Delays

A system that replaces verbal communication between pilots and air traffic controllers with computerized messages was unveiled Thursday by federal aviation officials, who said the system will reduce delays during weather events and cut down on errors that occur during routine voice transmissions.

The Federal Aviation Administration demonstrated the Data Communications system, called Data Comm, at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport. The system has been used on a trial basis since 2013 at the Newark and Memphis airports.

The system is used to communicate alternate routes for planes awaiting takeoff that are heading toward bad weather. Currently, the information is given by voice and can take several minutes as the pilot copies it down and reads it back to the controller, then enters it into the plane’s computer system. Using Data Comm, the controller transmits the information with a few clicks of a mouse. The information also is sent simultaneously to the airline’s dispatcher, whom a pilot often has to consult before taking an alternate route that will expend more fuel.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta compared the old system to getting directions over the phone from a friend, copying them down and checking them to Paul Cassel, senior vice president of flight operations for FedEx, said he has seen delays reduced by several minutes since the company began using the system at its hub in Memphis.

– The Associated Press

Seven Attorneys Apply for Chancery Court Vacancy

Seven Memphis attorneys have applied for the open Chancery Court Judge’s position in Shelby County.

The attorneys applied to the Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments, which will recommend three finalists to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam for appointment.

The applicants are attorneys Stephen H. Biller, Frank S. Cantrell, William Allan Cohn, David Eugene Ferguson, Kimbrough Brown Mullins, James Robert Newsom III and William Michael Richards.

They are applying for the vacancy created by the death earlier this year of Oscar “Bo” Carr III.

The Governor’s Council will interview the seven applicants June 17 at the Memphis Hilton with a public hearing starting at 9 a.m.

– Bill Dries

Sentimental Journey II to Honor WWII Veterans

To honor World War II veterans, Diane Hight and Forever Young will bring the Sentimental Journey II tribute show to First Assembly Memphis on Walnut Grove Road Saturday, June 6.

With an “entertain the troops” theme, the program will feature the Memphis Jazz Orchestra and others from 4 to 6 p.m. World War II veterans and a guest will be admitted free.

Tickets are $15 and may be purchased in advance at WWIIAmerica.com. Veterans also can register for tickets online.

– Don Wade

Tennessee GOP Chairman Resigns State House Seat

State Rep. Ryan Haynes has resigned his seat in the House following his election as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.

Haynes represented Knoxville in the Legislature for seven years after first being elected when he was 23 and a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee.

Haynes was elected by the state GOP’s executive committee last month to replace Chris Devaney, who stepped down just months into his fourth term to become executive director of the Chattanooga-based Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti.

Haynes, of Knoxville, won a majority of votes on the first ballot, defeating fellow Rep. Mary Littleton of Dickson and Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain.

– The Associated Press

Audit Finds Memphis Hotels Owe $333K in ‘Bed Taxes’

A three-year audit by the city of Memphis has found that 22 percent of hotels and motels are behind a total of more than $333,000 in occupancy taxes.

Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau President Kevin Kane said the city is probably missing out on between $750,000 and $1 million a year in “bed taxes.”

Kane said bed taxes generate roughly $4.2 million per year and are used to pay off debt and promote hospitality.

According to the summary report submitted to the city in March, of the 143 hotels and motels audited, 31 owed taxes.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 42 266 3,343
MORTGAGES 12 152 2,252
BUILDING PERMITS 429 905 7,956
BANKRUPTCIES 41 130 1,872