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VOL. 8 | NO. 46 | Saturday, November 7, 2015

Daily Digest

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American Airlines Begins Flights to New York

American Airlines officially has launched its twice-daily nonstop flights between Memphis International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport. 

The first flights took off Wednesday, Nov. 4. With 26 flights a day, American is the Memphis airport’s largest carrier. 

“This is a huge positive development for the Memphis International Airport,” said Pace Cooper, chairman of the board of commissioners for the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority in a statement. 

“Adding two more flights to the New York market provides our passengers with more choices and greater connectivity,” he added.

“For American to choose the Memphis route for their precious slots at LaGuardia speaks to the success of our efforts to sell Memphis as a desired destination.”

The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline will use 69-seat E170 aircraft for the Memphis flights to LaGuardia. Ticket sales for the flights began July 4. 

The route will depart every day from Memphis at 7:10 a.m. and 1:59 p.m. and arrive in New York at 10:31 a.m. and 5:20 p.m.

It will depart from New York at 11:30 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. and arrive in Memphis at 1:27 p.m. and 8:38 p.m.

– Madeline Faber 

Senses Nightclub Owner Renews Push to Reopen

The owner of the former Senses nightclub again is seeking to reopen the establishment.

C & R Events Enterprise LLC, owned by Francisco Dasilva, has applied for a special-use permit to revive the club at 2866 Poplar Ave. The application, filed with the Office of Planning & Development on Oct. 19, calls for a “restaurant with alcohol sales.”

The Land Use Control Board is slated to hear the request at its Dec. 10 meeting.

C & R Events originally sought a special-use permit shortly after buying the property in May. A letter of intent filed with the original application outlines C & R Events’ plan.

“The new owners plan to reopen the nightclub under the same name,” it reads, adding that a special-use permit is required because the original club had closed. “There are no planned changes to the site except to restripe the parking lot.”

C & R bought the former Senses property from Mascom Properties in May for $1.2 million. The property has been vacant since Senses closed in April 2013 after a nine-year run.

– Daily News staff

AutoZone Announces Four Promotions

AutoZone has made a handful of promotions among the ranks of its senior leadership team.

The Memphis-based auto parts retailer has promoted four to the title of senior vice president, overseeing different aspects of the business:

• Phil Daniele, vice president, commercial support, has been promoted to senior vice president, commercial

• Bill Hackney, vice president, merchandise pricing and analysis, has been promoted to senior vice president, merchandising

• Jim Griffith, vice president, store development, has been promoted to senior vice president, store operations

• And Rod Halsell, vice president, distribution, has been promoted to senior vice president, supply chain.

In a statement about the promotions, AutoZone chairman, president and CEO Bill Rhodes said each of the executives has worked in multiple areas across the company, providing them with “a wealth of knowledge.”

“They each have a minimum of 22 years of AutoZone experience, so they have a deep understanding of our culture, customers and businesses,” Rhodes said.

– Andy Meek

Avett Brothers Plan Concert for St. Jude Marathoners

The Avett Brothers will be in concert in Memphis next month – but if you want to go, there’s a catch: The Dec. 5 event is exclusively for those participating in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, Nov. 5, and will be available for purchase only by registered participants of any race for the marathon weekend. While some races are sold out, entries are still available for the 5K and family fun run.

The post-race concert will be at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, less than a mile from the finish line. Tickets are $35, and seating is limited. Registered participants will receive an email Thursday morning with a personalized link to buy their tickets.

More information and registration for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend races is available at stjudemarathon.org.

– Daily News staff

Incredible Pizza To Unveil Indoor Roller Coaster

America’s Incredible Pizza Company is unveiling an indoor roller coaster at its Cordova family entertainment center next month.

The 3,500-square-foot steel coaster, to be housed inside the location at 1245 N. Germantown Parkway, is 72 feet long, 35 feet wide and 14 feet tall.

The track is a figure-eight shape and each compartment car can hold up to four people, making for an overall capacity of 16 people per ride. 

In addition to the coaster, Incredible Pizza is adding Laser Frenzy and expanding its mini bowling lanes.

Laser Frenzy is a laser maze and requires players to duck and dodge through a web of laser beams, and the mini-bowling will increase from six to eight lanes and undergo a complete remodel. 

– Andy Meek

Miniature Golf Course to Be Built in Cordova

Vantage Point Holdings LLC has filed an application permit with the Shelby County Land Use Control Board to add an 18-hole miniature golf course to its 15-acre Vantage Point Golf Center in Cordova.

Located at 9580 Macon Road, the new miniature golf course would cover 18,000 square feet and be located on the southeast portion of the site. Plans call for the course to include a waterfall, pond and stream.

Vantage Point Golf Center already has a driving range and practice green. Those are lit for nighttime use, and the miniature golf course also will have lighting.

Harris Miniature Golf Inc. is the designer and will construct the 18-hole course.

– Don Wade

Wolf River Conservancy Donates Documents

The Wolf River Conservancy is donating a collection of digitalized historical documents to the Memphis Public Library & Information Center.

The documents will be added to the existing Wolf River Conservancy Collection housed in the Memphis and Shelby County Room, located on the fourth floor of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave.

The collection of documents is entitled “Esther Klyce West Pearson: Early Wolf River Conservancy History.”

“As we celebrate our 30th Anniversary this year, this collection will be an invaluable resource in helping tell the story of the organization’s early beginnings and showing the direction of the organization in relationship to the vision of its founders,” said Keith Cole, executive director.

For more than 30 years, the Wolf River Conservancy has helped to protect some 15,000 acres in the Wolf River Corridor; it also launched the transformational Wolf River Greenway Project. Visit wolfriver.org for more information.

– Don Wade

 New Office Building Planned For East Memphis

A local creative agency head is planning a two-story office building for the tight East Memphis submarket.

Speak Creative president Jacob Savage said the building is a personal, speculative real estate development project of his newly formed company, Savage Venture Partners LLC.

In an application recently submitted to the city-county Land Use Control Board, ANF Architects outlined plans for the two-story, 12,000-square-foot office building at the southeast corner of West Massey and Quail Hollow roads. Thirty-nine parking spaces are planned.

The project needs LUCB approval because planned development restrictions for the area call for all buildings to have a “residential character.”

“We feel that the surrounding neighborhood has developed significantly in the past 25 years and yet this lot has remained vacant,” stated ANF in its letter of intent. “There are now many modern office buildings that have recently been constructed nearby that are impacting current design character in this area.”

ANF’s plan calls for red brick and divided window openings as a nod to the residential character and a flat roof similar to other commercial structures in the area.

ANF said that existing building owners and tenants in the nearby Quail Hollow office complex have had a hand in developing the design.

– Madeline Faber

FedEx, TNT Express Extend Merger Acceptance Period

The acceptance period for FedEx Corp.’s scheduled acquisition of TNT Express has been extended to Jan. 8.

In a joint statement Friday, Oct. 30, the two companies said they were extending the acceptance period because an offer condition relating to competition clearances had not been fulfilled. The previous acceptance period was scheduled to expire today.

FedEx and TNT still expect the deal to close in the first half of 2016. Antitrust authorities in the European Union, Brazil, China and, where applicable, the U.S. must greenlight the acquisition before it can close.

The companies issued an Oct. 20 statement that said they had not received objections from the European Commission and have been informed that no objections are forthcoming. The Ministry of Commerce in China and the Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Economica in Brazil also are reviewing the acquisition.

FedEx and TNT Express, in the joint statement Friday, said combining forces “presents a highly pro-competitive proposition for the provision of small package delivery services within and outside Europe. The networks of TNT Express and FedEx are largely complementary, given that FedEx’s strength is providing US domestic and extra-EEA international services, while TNT Express’ focus is on providing intra-European services.

“The Combination would allow the parties to sell a more competitive e-commerce offering in the market, which should benefit consumers and SMEs in Europe and beyond.”

– Daily News staff

Whitney Elementary Gets $50,000 From ‘Ellen Show’

A Memphis school got a $50,000 surprise Thursday, Oct. 29, from Ellen Degeneres.

Whitney Achievement Elementary School in Frayser received the money from sponsor Shutterfly, which also donated more than $5,000 worth of rain gear for the school’s students.

The school has made national headlines because of its community of teachers, who began voluntarily walking their students home every day regardless of the weather. No buses run within a two-mile radius of the school, and most of the students were making the walk home unsupervised. 

“When you educate a child, you transform communities, and when you transform communities, you can change the world,” Whitney Elementary principal Debra Broughton said on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.”

During the show’s segment, Degeneres Skyped with Whitney’s students and gave them the news of the funds – which will go toward technology and educational materials upgrades – live on the show.

– Daily News staff

Feuer Powertrain Begins Production In Tunica

Feuer Powertrain North America Inc. has started production at its $60 million plant plant in Tunica County, Mississippi.

The Robinsonville plant’s first product from the assembly line was a V8 diesel crankshaft for Cummins that will go into a new Nissan Titan pick-up truck.

The 155,000-square-foot facility plans to employ 300 people when fully operational. With the ramp-up to full production, 39 workers currently work at the plant.

A formal opening is planned for early next year.

Feuer is Europe’s largest crankshaft manufacturer, making more than 1 million a year for auto brands such as BMW, Volkswagen, Maserati, Cummins and Rolls Royce.

Feuer executives broke ground on the plant in September 2013.

– Bill Dries

Walton Foundation Gives $50M to Teach for America 

The Walton Family Foundation says it will donate $50 million over three years to Teach for America to support 4,000 new teachers nationwide.

Teach for America, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, recruits college graduates to teach for two years in schools in high-poverty areas.

The foundation, which was created by Wal-Mart’s founders, says the grant will support the recruitment, training and professional development of about 4,000 new teachers in Atlanta, Arkansas and the Mississippi River Delta region; the San Francisco Bay Area; Camden, New Jersey; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans; San Antonio; and Washington, D.C. The grants also funds new teachers in Colorado and Massachusetts.

The Mississippi Delta region, one of the poorest areas of the country, will get 800 new teachers under the grant.

– The Associated Press

Memphis Leader Gains Regional Recognition

Dr. Glen Fenter, president of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, was recently lauded by Southern Business & Development magazine.

The regional publication named Fenter as one of its 2015 Persons of the Year for his contributions to workforce development in the Mid-South. As leader of GMAC Workforce, Fenter is working to create a pipeline of skilled workers by aligning K-12 and higher education programs with employer needs in the Memphis region. 

“The public-private GMACW is one of the most comprehensive workforce development initiatives we’ve ever seen,” said Michael Randle, owner and publisher of SB&D. 

– Madeline Faber

CBU, Baptist to Compete In Case Study Challenge 

Christian Brothers University, Baptist College of Health Sciences and the Assisi Foundation of Memphis are set to present the inaugural Baptist College-CBU Inter-Professional Health Care Case Study Challenge later this month.

The event will take place Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. until noon in the University Theater on CBU’s campus.

For this event, each school has assembled an interdisciplinary team of five students to prepare solutions to a specific case study focused on a fictitious outbreak of influenza in Shelby County.

The case study begins with an unvaccinated 10-year-old boy who presents symptoms following his grandmother’s return from a sightseeing trip to Asia with a church prayer group. Within three weeks, 12 cases have been reported in the boy’s neighborhood. By the end of a month, hundreds of cases have been reported throughout the Memphis metro area, and the Centers for Disease Control classify the outbreak as a moderate epidemic.

With this fictional scenario in mind, the student teams from CBU and BCHS will address issues related to vaccinations, origins of the outbreak and the integration and collaboration of public and community health services with local and regional primary care services. A panel of regional and local experts will judge each school’s team, who will present their solution. 

The event also will include a “scholarly engagement” session, whereby audience members may ask questions to the case competition judges, as well as have the opportunity to discuss with them the pros and cons of influenza vaccinations.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public.

– Andy Meek

City Council Approves One Hotel, Delays Another

Memphis City Council members have approved construction of a 400-room hotel on Lamar Avenue near Memphis International Airport.

Vista Lamar Hospitality LLC will develop the hotel on 1.9 acres of open land at 2876 Lamar Ave. The building will include a conference room.

At its Tuesday, Nov. 3, meeting, the council also approved a motorcycle and ATV dealership at 5715 Mt. Moriah Road.

And the council again delayed a vote on plans for a hotel with retail space on the northeast corner of Jackson Avenue and North Front Street, across the street from Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid.

– Bill Dries

ServiceMaster Gains Revenue, Income

ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. posted net income of $49 million in its most recent fiscal quarter.

That compared to a $4 million net loss in third quarter 2014, according to the Memphis-based company’s third-quarter earning report released Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Net income was 36 cent per share in the third quarter compared to a 3-cent loss in the year-ago quarter.

ServiceMaster also grew its revenue 6.3 percent, from $664 million in third quarter 2014 to $706 million last quarter.

The company’s American Home Shield division saw its revenue grow 12 percent while Terminix had a 5 percent increase.

The Terminix growth came with increased sales of new service that was offset by lower demand for traditional termite services.

American Home Shield’s increase was credited to “organic growth and price increases.”

ServiceMaster’s Franchise Services Group showed a 9 percent revenue drop from a year ago, $58 million compared to $52 million.

The drop reflected ServiceMaster’s ongoing conversion of its Merry Maid branches to franchises.

– Bill Dries

Metropolitan Bank Expects ‘Solid Finish’ to 2015

Metropolitan Bank saw a 25 percent increase in diluted earnings per share through the first nine months of 2015, as compared to the same period in 2014, the bank announced in recent days.

The bank also showed a 23 percent increase in net income, driven by continued loan and core deposit growth, along with strong results from the mortgage division, which showed a 40 percent increase year-to-date over the same period last year. 

Net income was $4.6 million for the first three quarters of 2015, up from $3.7 million during the same period last year. 

Earnings per share stood at 61 cents as of Sept. 30, up from 49 cents at the same point in 2014.

Curt Gabardi, Metropolitan’s president and CEO, said the bank expects fourth quarter results to reflect a “solid finish for 2015.”

– Andy Meek

EDGE Forms Partnership For West Tenn. Prosperity

The Industrial Development Board of the Memphis-Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine now has a statewide partnership with the Memphis Area Association of Governments. 

MAAG, the designated Development District, covers a six-county region including Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton counties in Tennessee, Crittenden County in Arkansas and DeSoto County in Mississippi. 

MAAG and EDGE have agreed to collaborate on economic development initiatives in the Tennessee counties, including federal and state grant applications, workforce development, bond and loan programs, Tax Increment Financing, foreign-trade zone, export promotion and other development areas. 

“We are excited to partner with MAAG to better our region,” said Reid Dulberger, president and CEO of EDGE, in a statement. “Both our organizations strive to create a stronger Memphis and Shelby County and working together strengthens the West Tennessee region as a whole.”

– Madeline Faber

Former NSA Leader Joins FedEx’s Board of Directors

FedEx Corp. announced Monday, Nov. 2, a new board member with deep ties to the National Security Agency.

Chris Inglis retired in 2014 as the deputy director and senior civilian leader of the NSA. He acted as COO of the agency and was responsible for guiding and directing strategies, operations and policy.

He began his 28-year NSA career as a computer scientist. Prior to that, Inglis had nine years of active duty service as an officer and pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He also served 21 years with the Air National Guard, retiring as a Brigadier General.

In addition to his role on the board, Inglis also will join FedEx’s information technology oversight and nominating and governance committees.

He is a 1976 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and holds advanced engineering and computer science degrees from Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University and The George Washington University.

– Daily News staff

EdR Announces Sale Of 6.5 Million Shares

Memphis-based collegiate housing developer EdR announced Monday, Nov. 2, it plans to sell 6.5 million shares of common stock in a public offering.

The public offering is to pay off unsecured revolving credit agreements as well as possible funding of what the company described as its “development pipeline” or to buy more housing.

The offering comes with a 30-day option for underwriters to buy up to 975,000 additional shares of common stock.

Meanwhile, EdR executives reported its funds from operations in the third quarter of 2015 declined 2 percent from a year ago, going from $14.8 million in third quarter 2014 to $14.5 million in the quarter that ended Sept. 30.

The company also projects the rate of new student housing supply in the markets EdR is in will decline by 20 percent in 2016.

Highlights of the third quarter for EdR included closing on plans at Boise State University to build a $39.7 million, 658-bed development that will open on the Idaho campus in 2017.

– Bill Dries

City Engineer Cameron Won’t Seek Reappointment

John Cameron, director of engineering for the city of Memphis, won’t seek reappointment when Mayor-elect Jim Strickland takes over in January.

Cameron will assist in transitioning Strickland’s new administration through Dec. 31.

In a statement announcing the move, Mayor A C Wharton said Cameron had served Memphis for 18 years and pointed to the modernization of Downtown’s parking meter system and the implementation of more than 100 miles of on-street bike lanes as some of his achievements.

– Daily News staff

Barbecue Judging Seminar Set for Next Weekend

For those barbecue consumers who always thought they’d make good judges: Here is your chance.

Memphis in May International Festival will host its annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest judging seminar Saturday, Nov. 14.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select Downtown, 160 Union Ave. It represents the only opportunity for “barbecue enthusiasts” to receive training and become a qualified judge for the contest, according to a statement from Memphis in May.

The seminar is limited to the first 100 registrants on a first-come, first-served basis. Cost is $85; visit memphisinmay.org/judge-barbecue for applications.

Registration closes Monday, Nov. 9.

The World Championship is set for May 12-14 in Downtown Memphis’ Tom Lee Park.

– Daily News staff

Methodist Remodels Union Avenue Facilities

With remodeling beginning at its new Shelby Oaks office this week, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare also is working on its Union Avenue facilities.

On Nov. 2, Turner Construction filed a $456,654 permit application for phase two of repairs, including the removal of bricks on the west side of the 1265 Union Ave. building to be replaced with stucco. 

At the same time, Belz Construction Services LLC filed a permit application for $34,106 in tenant improvements for the Methodist Human Resources facility at 1211 Union Ave. 

– Madeline Faber

Yellow Cab's Smythe Nabs Lifetime Achievement Award

William Hamilton Smythe III, owner of Yellow Cab in Memphis, has received the lifetime achievement award from a major trade group.

Smythe accepted the award from the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association at the group’s recent annual convention, held this year in Las Vegas.

Smythe was a 30-year-old Korean War veteran when he was approached to be the president and general manager of the Yellow Cab Co. in 1960. The company’s roots date back to the mid-1800s, when it provided stagecoach service between Memphis and LaGrange, Tennessee.

Smythe became the owner of the company in 1979.

– Andy Meek

Reverb Launching Mobile Coffee Truck

Reverb Coffee is launching a mobile coffee truck this week, with a series of opening events.

The truck will park at the Downtown Barking Lot Friday, Nov. 6, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and at the Memphis Made Taproom, 768 S. Cooper St., Saturday, Nov. 7, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Reverb Coffee has been roasting specialty coffee since April 2013. It will have a full espresso bar on the new truck and serve high-quality drinks, in addition to teas from Rishi Tea, gourmet hot chocolate, and baked goods from Avenue Coffee. 

– Andy Meek

Vatterott College Holding Food Bank Collection Drive

Vatterott Career College – Memphis Dividend is holding a collection drive this holiday season for the Mid-South Food Bank.

The college will collect canned and shelf-stable food items through Dec. 19, excluding the Thanksgiving break from Nov. 22 through Nov. 30. 

Donations can be dropped off at the Vatterott Career College – Memphis Dividend campus, 2655 Dividend Drive, in the marked boxes near the entrance.

Canned vegetables, no-sugar-added fruits, shelf-stable milk, canned chicken and tuna and baby food are are among requested items.

– Andy Meek

University of Memphis Gets Bike-Friendly Designation

The University of Memphis has been awarded the Bicycle Friendly University designation.

The League of American Bicyclists awarded U of M a bronze-level recognition. The school joins a group of 127 other BFUs in 42 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

Among the U of M’s bike-friendly activities is the Tiger Bike program, which allows students, faculty and staff to rent bikes for transportation or recreation. The school also hosts a Bike to Campus Day ride each fall. And it hosted an Earth Day celebration that included an All Things Bike Fest.

– Daily News staff

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 6 6 196
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173
BANKRUPTCIES 42 42 795
BUSINESS LICENSES 2 2 331
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0