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VOL. 8 | NO. 47 | Saturday, November 14, 2015

Daily Digest

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Methodist Gets Anonymous $40M Donation

An anonymous donor has gifted $40 million to Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center – the largest single donation in the health care system’s nearly 100-year history.

The health care system said the gift will be used to take the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute to the next level, transforming it into a world-class research program and a progressive, healing environment for patients and families.

The donation will be used for a new comprehensive transplant facility at Methodist University Hospital that will provide state-of-the-art and accessible accommodations for all stages of the transplant process. The funds will also be used for pioneering research in conjunction with UTHSC.

Methodist CEO Gary Shorb said the gift will "greatly impact" the scope and care provided by the transplant program.

“This gift will further our vision of Memphis being a healthcare hub not only for the Southeast, but for the entire United States,” said Dr. James Eason, UTHSC Professor of Surgery and Director of the Methodist UT Transplant Institute.

– Andy Meek

Unions Go To Court Over Pension Changes

Five unions representing city of Memphis employees, including police officers and fire fighters, are taking the city to court in an effort to stop pension and benefits changes.

Union leaders have vowed for the last year to file a lawsuit in reaction to the changes, which would reduce pension and health insurance benefits for city of Memphis employees and retirees.

The unions filing the Chancery Court lawsuit are: the Memphis Fire Fighters Association, Memphis Police Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Union of Operating Engineers and International Association of Machinists.

New city employees and those with less than seven and a half years of service to the city go to a hybrid pension plan effective July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. The new plan is a combination of a market-based retirement account and a defined contributions plan.

The unions claim the change violates the equal protection clause of the Tennessee Constitution and the city pension ordinance.

The seven-and-a-half year threshold for the hybrid pension plan was a compromise the Memphis City Council approved in December 2014. The council had previously rejected Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s proposal to switch all unvested city employees – those with less than 10 years of service – to the pension hybrid.

Changes related to health insurance coverage are set to start in January. With the new calendar year, city retirees younger than age 65 come off the city’s health insurance plan.

Earlier this year, the council approved an extension of the pre-65 coverage beyond Jan. 1. But that extension is something the council can only suggest; the city’s mayoral administration has the ultimate authority on the issue. Prior to the council’s vote, Wharton’s administration indicated it would not extend the coverage.

– Bill Dries

Highland McDonald’s Moves Forward with $1.2M Permit

A McDonald’s restaurant at the southeast corner of Highland Street and Southern Avenue is moving forward.

Local McDonald’s franchisee Century Management Inc. has applied for a $1.2 million building permit for the new restaurant, which will replace an existing McDonald’s just across Highland.

The proposed fast food branch at 610 S. Highland has been controversial. Earlier designs met strong opposition from the University District neighborhood associations and the University of Memphis because the drive-thru ran against the Highland sidewalk.

In the updated design, the 5,353-square-foot restaurant will be situated along the Highland sidewalk with the drive-thru running behind the building, thereby preserving easy pedestrian access.

– Madeline Faber

Big River Crossing Work Passes Half Way Point

The Big River Crossing on the north side of the Harahan Bridge across the Mississippi River passed the 1,000-foot mark for sections of the pedestrian and bicycle boardwalk.

A 180-foot section, which was assembled on the Memphis side of the river and pulled onto the bridge siding last week, put the boardwalk at 1,080 feet in place.

The sections are assembled with lighting and cameras in place before they are slid across the bridge siding on Teflon pads.

The sections of the boardwalk are visible from Memphis’ Martyr’s Park.

Work continues on the bridge structure, which should allow workers to begin securing sections to the bridge itself, according to a briefing last week by engineer Harry Pratt, vice president at Allen & Hoshall, the engineering firm managing the project.

The goal is for the 2,000 feet of boardwalk over the Mississippi River to be fully assembled and in place by New Year’s Day. Another 2,000 feet of boardwalk and approaches are over land on both the Arkansas and Tennessee sides of the river.

– Bill Dries

Toof Printing To Open Nashville Sales Office

Toof American Digital Printing is opening a Nashville sales office.

David McQuiddy, the former president of McQuiddy Printing Co., will establish the Nashville office.

McQuiddy most recently has been in account management with Cenveo Inc., a Connecticut-based printer. He is a former chairman of the Printing Industry Association of the South.

Memphis-based Toof, which was founded in 1864, is the oldest and largest commercial printing provider in the Mid-South region. The Nashville office is the company’s first sustained effort in Nashville and East Tennessee.

– Bill Dries

MATA Bus Riders Drivers Team Up

Memphis Area Transit Authority patrons and employees have teamed up in an aim to expand and improve MATA service under the new administration.

The 850 total members of the Memphis Bus Riders Union and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 713, whose members include MATA bus drivers, wrote a letter to Mayor-Elect Jim Strickland impressing the need to reinvest in public transit as “service cuts and outsourcing is planned for the spring.”

“We have brought together the operators at ATU Local 713 and the MBRU in a campaign to reverse the decline of our bus system, protect good jobs for Memphis and prevent further service cuts and outsourcing.” said Sammie Hunter, Memphis Bus Riders Union co-chair, in a statement.

The joint letter states that Local 713 members have fears of overcrowded buses and regular breakdowns.

“Trolleys will continue to receive adequate funds,” the letter continues. “Buses on the other hand are experiencing a crisis.”

The unions call for a sit-down with the Strickland administration to lay out the footwork for an expanded, efficient mass transit system.

– Madeline Faber

Mallory Alexander Gets Shanghai License

Memphis-based Mallory Alexander International Logistics can begin direct operations in Shanghai with word Thursday, Nov. 5, that the company has been granted a Class A forwarder’s license.

The operations under that license will be centered in Shanghai and will mean an expansion of Mallory Alexander’s existing operations in Asia.

“We have been operating in China for many years, but were only able to offer limited services,” Mallory Alexander COO Tinamarie Newman said in a written statement. “The Class A license was always our goal for service continuity. … We are expanding staff and will be adding office locations. That will help us continue to grow in the market, and better position Mallory Alexander as a provider of complete supply chain services to our global customers.”

The license means Mallory Alexander is bonded with the Chinese Ministry of Communications and can issue its own House Bill of Lading. That means the Chinese government will recognize letters of credit, and the bill of lading can be used for shipments to and from China by the company.

Prior to the license, Mallory had to work through partners to provide some services. The company said those partners will continue to work with Mallory’s global network.

– Bill Dries

TruGreen Adds Sprinkler Repair Division

TruGreen has added a new division and is getting into the irrigation business.

TruGreen piloted the new offering when it purchased Memphis-based Rainman Irrigation in 2013. With the pilot phase complete, Rainman by TruGreen will now be known as TruGreen Sprinkler Repair and Maintenance.

Memphis-based TruGreen plans to launch the new division in more than a dozen markets in 2016, and it is currently available in select cities in Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri and Nebraska.

– Madeline Faber

New Andrew Michael Eatery Planned for the Big Easy

Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman are venturing outside the Memphis market for their next restaurant venture.

In the spring, the chefs are opening a restaurant in New Orleans’ new Ace Hotel, according to nola.com.

The restaurant will be housed in an Art Deco high-rise Ace is restoring in the city.

Word of the new eatery follows on the heels of the announcement that the longtime friends and restaurateurs are headed outside Brookhaven Circle for the first time with their fourth restaurant concept planned for Carlisle Corp.’s The Chisca on Main.

That concept, Catherine and Mary’s, will join LYFE Kitchen on the first level of The Chisca.

– Andy Meek

Billy Joel to Play FedExForum in March

The Piano Man is coming back to Memphis.

Billy Joel is set to play FedExForum Friday, March 25, a date that brings him back to a city with plenty of connections to his past.

The 66-year-old singer songwriter was still an up-and-coming act when he sang and tickled the ivories during appearances at the previous incarnation of Lafayette's Music Room in the 1970s.

After he'd already become a star several times over, Joel reminisced during his show at The Pyramid in 1999 about his connection to Overton Square, making specific reference to the district. Joel has also played The Pyramid in a joint appearance with fellow piano man Elton John. His upcoming show will be his first at the Forum.

Tickets will go on sale for his March show on Nov. 20 at 10 a.m. at the box office and through Ticketmaster.

– Andy Meek

CBRE Division Leaves Clark Tower

CBRE Group Inc. is vacating its Clark Tower offices and moving to Primacy Park II at 6055 Primacy Parkway.

When the move takes place next spring, CBRE’s Memphis global business services center will take up 47,600 square feet across the third floor and half of the second floor of the East Memphis building.

Kelly Truitt, with the office division of CBRE Memphis, represented CBRE in the lease and Patrick Reilly, also with CBRE Memphis, represented landlord Southland Primacy LLC, an affiliate of The Southland Cos.

– Madeline Faber

Tenn. Exploring Options For I-55 Interchange

Tennessee transportation commissioner John Schroer said he and his staff hope to have a design for the Interstate 55 in Downtown Memphis interchange ready in nine to 12 months.

Previous plans, which would have closed the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge for up to two years, are being reworked.

“We’ve opened up the idea of doing a design-build project,” Schroer said Monday, Nov. 9, during a visit to Memphis, referring to a project option in which the same contractor would design and build the project.

– Bill Dries

October Elections Numbers Show 22.6 Percent Turnout

Detailed reports on the Oct. 8 Memphis election count show the turnout in the 15 races for mayor, City Court clerk and the 13 Memphis City Council seats was 22.6 percent, or 102,049 of the city’s 452,215 voters.

By age, 60.7 percent of the voters in the election were 55 and older.

The lowest turnout by age was among those 18-24, accounting for 2 percent of the voters who turned out.

By gender, 60.7 percent of the voters were women.

By race, 42.8 percent were black and 26.9 percent were white. The remaining 30.3 percent were “other,” a designation that encompasses other racial groups as well as voters who did not indicate a race on their voter registration forms.

– Bill Dries

Survey: School Leadership Factor for Teachers

Half of the teachers surveyed in Memphis’ 35 “priority” schools were drawn to their institutions by the school’s leadership.

That’s according to a survey of Memphis teachers in both the state-run Achievement School District and the locally controlled Innovation Zone schools.

The survey by Teach901, a teacher recruitment and leadership training organization, drew a 90 percent response rate across the 35 schools, all of which are ranked in the state’s bottom 5 percent in terms of student achievement.

A third of responders said they did not anticipate being in the teaching profession by the 2021-22 school year.

Most got their teacher training and professional development training in Memphis, with the Memphis Teaching and Learning Academy topping the list of local institutions.

Of teachers in the priority schools who relocated to Memphis in the last year, 64 percent moved from states within driving distance of Memphis.

– Bill Dries

UTHSC Program Honored As National Winner

A clinical practice improvement module developed at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center was one of five national winners in the inaugural Practice Innovation Challenge sponsored by the American Medical Association and the Medical Group Management Association.

The UTHSC “SafeMed” module is designed to encourage safe and effective medication use in an outpatient setting. It may be used in clinics around the country in the future through the AMA’s STEPS Forward initiative, an online resource of educational modules to help physicians operate their practices more efficiently and economically while providing better care to patients.

The practice improvement module offers a step-by-step toolkit to help physicians extend primary care from hospital to home, reduce drug therapy problems and prevent hospital readmissions. In the CMS-funded project, a SafeMed team consisting of a nurse practitioner, a pharmacist, a licensed practical nurse and a pharmacy technician meet in the hospital with patients who are admitted multiple times over a period of a few months.

The team gets to know the patient, and follows up in the home with visits and phone calls to ensure the patient makes it to clinic appointments, gets the medicines needed most on discharge and understands how to take them properly.

The module was recognized at the recent 2015 MGMA annual meeting as one of five high-value, easy-to-adopt solutions to address practice challenges in today’s health care environment. Sponsors of each of the five top medical solutions earned $10,000 and the opportunity to format their module to be offered nationwide.

– Andy Meek

CBU Awards Maurelian Medal To St. Agnes President

Christian Brothers University will award its Maurelian Medal to Barbara Daush, president of St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School.

The medal, which is the institution’s highest honor, will be awarded Saturday, Nov. 14, at the university’s annual CBU Bell Tower Gala.

Daush has been president of St. Agnes-St. Dominic since 1994. During that time, enrollment has grown 45 percent and the school’s endowment has grown to $6 million.

Daush will leave the school at the end of the current school year to take a fundraising position at the University of Mississippi.

The Maurelian Medal is named for the founding president of the university, Brother Maurelian Sheel.

– Bill Dries

Terminix Acquires Alterra Pest Control

Terminix has acquired the assets of Alterra Pest Control, a three-year-old company that in a short time has grown to become one of the 15 largest residential pest control companies in the U.S.

The acquisition was announced Wednesday, Nov. 11. Alterra, which has 22 branches in 15 states, will continue to use its name.

It is the seventh deal of its kind by Memphis-based Terminix in the last year.

Terminix, which provides termite as well as pest control services across the country, is part of the residential and commercial services that make up ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc., also headquartered in Memphis.

Alterra founder and CEO David Royce said the decision to sell to Terminix was “easy.”

“We were only interested in finding a company that met these high standards and made commitments to develop our employees and meet the expectations of our customers,” Royce said in a written statement.

A total of 400 full-time Alterra employees come to Terminix in the acquisition.

– Bill Dries

Archer Malmo Leads PRSA’s Vox Awards Pack

The Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has handed out its 2015 VOX Awards for excellence in communications.

More than 125 public relations professionals and guests attended the recent Speakeasy-themed event at Minglewood Hall. In addition to the awards, Kimberly Rossie of Youth Villages was named 2015 Professional of the Year.

The Best in Show, Gold and VOX awards winners were:

Archer Malmo PR: 4 Gold Awards and 5 VOX Awards

Obsidian PR: 2 Gold Awards and 3 VOX Awards

Greater Memphis Chamber: 2 Best in Show Awards and 3 VOX Awards

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital: 1 Gold Award and 2 VOX Awards

Kingdom Quality Communications: 2 Gold Awards and 1 VOX Award

Baptist Memorial Health Care: 1 Gold Award and 1 VOX Award

Hilton Worldwide: 1 VOX Award

Homewood Suites by Hilton: 1 VOX Award

Sedgwick Communications: 1 VOX Award

The Baddour Center: 1 VOX Award

Inferno: 2 Gold Awards

Running Pony: 2 Gold Awards

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis: 1 Gold Award

Hemline Creative Marketing: 1 Gold Award

Red Deluxe: 1 Gold Award

Regional One Health: 1 Gold Award

Walker & Associates: 1 Gold Award

– Andy Meek

Free Flu Shots For Memphis Restaurant Workers

Local nonprofit Serving Memphis and the Memphis Restaurant Association are offering free flu shots to all local restaurant workers.

The shots are available at Memphis-area Walgreens stores. Restaurant workers must present a photo I.D. and recent pay stub to receive the free shot.

Restaurant operators also can arrange to have a Walgreens nurse or pharmacist provide free flu shots on site.

This is the third year the partners have offered free flu shots to the industry’s workforce; the goal is to provide 1,000 people with the immunization.

– Daily News staff

Balmoral CVS Sells To Out-of-Towner

A Rhode Island group has purchased the CVS at the northwest corner of Quince and Ridgeway roads in the Balmoral Shopping Center.

Dulgarian TN LLC purchased the 13,800-square-foot drugstore for $2.9 million on Nov. 4 and immediately signed a new lease with CVS 6304 LLC. Balmoral Shopping Center LLC, which sold the outparcel, has owned the greater 96,139-square-foot shopping center since 2001.

The CVS was built in 2011 and is appraised at $2.1 million, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

The sparsely populated center holds Balmoral Cleaners, Baskin-Robbins, Book Traders and Little Caesars Pizza. The anchor tenant space that housed Shnucks has been vacant since 2010.

– Madeline Faber

MTSU, Southwest Presidents Sign Transfer Credits Pact

The presidents of Middle Tennessee State University and Southwest Tennessee Community College have signed an agreement that will make student transfers between the two state institutions easier.

MTSU president Sidney A. McPhee and SWTCC president Tracy D. Hall signed the agreement Monday, Nov. 9, at The Peabody hotel as MTSU officials toured the Memphis area to promote the Murfreesboro school as an option for Memphis high school graduates.

The MTSU True Blue Tour, as it is called, included a luncheon at The Peabody for area high school students and guidance counselors.

– Bill Dries

Used Tennis Balls Needed For Community Art Project

Can tennis imitate art? Yes, apparently so.

The Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster is asking for used tennis balls that will be used for a community art project.

Up to 5,000 of the collected tennis balls will be placed in the fence surrounding the Leftwich Tennis Center to create a one-of-a-kind tennis ball mural.

Tennis balls may be donated now through Monday, Nov. 16. Tennis fans can join one of the sport’s iconic players, Ivan Lendl, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. to help him place the donated tennis balls in the fence. The live art installation event is free and open to the public and will take place at Leftwich, 4145 Southern Ave.

Tennis clubs where used tennis balls can be dropped off for the art project are: Chickasaw Country Club, 3395 Galloway Ave.; Colonial Country Club, 2736 Countrywood Parkway; Germantown Municipal Park,1900 S. Germantown Road; Leftwich Tennis Center; Racquet Club of Memphis, 5111 Sanderlin Ave.; Ridgeway Country Club, 9800 Poplar Ave,; TPC Southwind, 3325 Club at Southwind; The University Club, 1346 Central Ave.; Wolbrecht Tennis Center, 645 Ridgeway Road; and Windyke Country Club, 8535 Winchester Road.

– Don Wade

Grizzlies Seeking Fastest Baby In Annual Infie 500

When your baby crawls across the living room floor, do you hear a “beep-beep” like you would at FedExForum when point guard Mike Conley drives past defenders to the rim?

If so, you might want to bring your baby to the stadium for what the team calls the “mother of all baby races,” the Annual Grizzlies Infie 500 Diaper Derby, to be held at halftime of the Sunday, Dec. 6, game vs. the Phoenix Suns.

To enter a baby in this speed-crawling competition, family members should submit an online entry on grizzlies.com explaining in 50 words or less why their baby should be selected. Entries will be judged based on content creativity. Submissions will be accepted until noon Wednesday, Nov. 25. Babies must be 6-12 months old to participate; babies who can walk are not eligible.

Finalists will receive four terrace level tickets to the Dec. 6 game against the Suns.

The grand prize of the contest: two courtside seats to a future Grizzlies game, a $100 gift card to the Grizz Den by adidas, a “golden bottle” trophy and the champion title. All qualifying babies will receive a Grizzlies gift pack.

Visit grizzlies.com for more information.

– Don Wade

Fam Mob Gang Leader Convicted

The reputed leader of the Fam Mob street gang faces up to 10 years in prison after he was convicted of a federal firearms charge in Memphis Federal Court.

Jarvis Lewis was convicted Oct. 27 of being a felon in possession of a gun after a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Sheryl H. Lipman.

Memphis police officers arrested him in October 2014 after responding to a call about gunshots being fired in the Ridgecrest Apartments complex in Frayser.

Lipman is scheduled to sentence him in February.

Lewis became head of the Fam Mob, according to prosecutors, after James McCracken, his predecessor, was indicted in November 2014 on a federal charge of interfering with interstate commerce. McCracken was charged with the Hobbs Act violation for robbing a drug dealer because the illegal drugs came across state lines.

Two months after Lewis’s arrest, a court order sought by the District Attorney General’s office declared the Ridgecrest Apartments one of two no-gang zones in Frayser.

The Ridgecrest Apartments, 2881 Range Line Road, was described by state prosecutors as the Fam Mob’s headquarters.

The gang operates in the Frayser, Northaven, Raleigh and Millington areas.

Lewis still faces a federal charge of witness intimidation.

– Bill Dries

Memphis Tight End Makes Academic All-District Team

Know that stereotype about football players, how they’re a bunch of meatheads? It doesn’t fit for University of Memphis junior tight end Daniel Montiel.

“We’re normal people, too,” Montiel said of football players. “We go to school.”

Montiel, however, does more than just go to class. He has been voted to the College Sports Information Directors of America’s Academic All-District Team, and will now appear on the CoSIDA Academic All-America ballot.

“It’s truly a blessing,” said Montiel, who has six catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns. “I’m glad I can do that for this university and my family back home (in Arlington, Texas). They want to see me succeed. And I know I don’t want to be a hassle to the coaches when it comes to academics.”

An accounting major with a 3.72 GPA, Montiel has twice been a member of the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team and has been a member of the Tiger 3.0 club in every semester at Memphis. A multiple-semester honoree on the Dean’s List, Montiel was also an honoree of the Tiger Academic 30 award in multiple semesters.

“He’s always been a fantastic student and he’s maintained those priorities through college,” said Memphis coach Justin Fuente. “And it shows on the field. He’s an incredibly intelligent football player, a pleasure to have on the team.”

– Don Wade

Enchanted Forest, Santa Return to the Pink Palace

The holiday season will open in style at the Pink Palace Museum with the Enchanted Forest of Trees and the landing of Santa Claus.

It all begins on Saturday, Nov. 14, with the museum’s holiday festivities continuing through Dec. 31.

The Enchanted Forest includes cuddly creatures, gingerbread cottages, choo-choo trains and colorfully decorated trees. This year, mechanical Nutcracker musicians also are being added to the mix.

Local chefs, businesses, decorators and other groups have filled the Enchanted Forest with treats in the Gingerbread Village and decorations in the Festival of Trees. The Penguin Pond gets everyone involved supporting the kids at Le Bonheur; each penguin wears a donor’s name.

Santa lands on the lawn at the Pink Palace, 3050 Central Ave., Saturday at 9 a.m. Saturday’s events also feature holiday movies: Polar Express 3D and The Light Before Christmas 3D; tickets are required for the movies.

Then on Christmas Eve, there will be a special send-off for Santa at 3 p.m.

– Don Wade

Delta Blues Announces Memphis Legends Label

Delta Blues Winery is launching two new wines under its “Memphis Legends” label honoring The Memphis Horns.

The “Memphis Legends” label was created to honor Memphis musicians who’ve made an impact in the city and around the world. Delta Blues Winery co-owner Jim Wilson says the idea had been brewing for a few years, but only began to take shape after a chance meeting between his wife and winery co-owner Sheila Wilson and Amy Jackson, the wife of Wayne Jackson, one half of the legendary Memphis Horns.

– Andy Meek

Chamber’s Gibson Named To National Board

Andre Gibson, the Greater Memphis Chamber’s membership coordinator, has been appointed to the board of directors of the American Public Transportation Association and the American Public Transportation Foundation.

Gibson has been affiliated with APTA, serving on the transit board’s executive committee since 2012 and as a speaker at several transit conferences.

He has also served on the board of commissioners for the Memphis Area Transit Authority since 2012 and is currently the board’s vice chairman. Gibson joined the chamber as membership coordinator in August.

– Don Wade

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 263 9,865
MORTGAGES 0 246 10,862
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 12 1,301
BUILDING PERMITS 0 686 21,643
BANKRUPTCIES 0 256 6,219
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 93 4,032
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 85 2,977
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 71 2,092