VOL. 130 | NO. 178 | Monday, September 14, 2015
CBRE Opening Appraisal Office in Memphis
Commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group Inc. is opening valuation and advisory services divisions in Memphis and Louisville, Ky.
The group will provide appraisal, property condition, environmental, zoning, construction risk management and telecommunication consulting services.
CBRE appraisal practices already exist in Nashville and Lexington, but the company “recognized the need for additional services to supplement a wider range of the Southeast,” according to a statement.
The Memphis and Louisville offices will have two appraisers each who will focus on all property types.
CBRE’s Valuation & Advisory Services group has a staff of more than 1,700 in more than 300 metro areas worldwide.
– Madeline Faber
Professors Awarded $1.5M Grant to Help Veterans
Two University of Tennessee Health Science Center professors have been awarded a $1.5 million grant to study the effectiveness of one of the newest prosthetic feet on the market for use with military veteran amputees.
Drs. Audrey Zucker-Levin and Phyllis Richey got the grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, funding that will allow them to direct the Veteran Amputees Leading Prosthetic Research (VALOR) study at UTHSC. The aim of the study is to determine if a microprocessor-controlled prosthetic foot will provide a better alternative to the most commonly prescribed prosthesis for the typical below-knee veteran amputee.
The project will be funded over three years to determine if exchanging a traditionally prescribed prosthetic foot with an MPF will improve walking efficiency, safety and quality of life.
– Andy Meek
Six Memphis Schools Eyed for Possible State Takeover
Six Memphis schools are on the state-run Achievement School District’s short list for possible takeover in the 2016-17 school year.
ASD leaders released the list Thursday, Sept. 10, following a series of Shelby County Schools meetings several weeks ago with parents of those schools’ students.
The schools are Caldwell-Guthrie, Hawkins Mill and Sheffield elementary schools, Kirby and Raleigh-Egypt middle schools and Hillcrest High School.
Three charter school operators have expressed interest in operating the schools for the Achievement School District.
The ASD is for the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state of Tennessee in terms of student achievement.
The short list begins a process of making the decision about which schools will be included in the ASD next year and, of those schools, which will be matched with a charter school operator.
The charter operators are Aspire Public Schools, Scholar Academies and Green Dot Public Schools.
After a series of community meetings with the schools’ parents and teachers, the charter operators will apply in October for the specific schools they’d like to operate.
The new procedure, which includes new neighborhood advisory councils, replaces a matching procedure used last year that saw several of the proposed charter operators withdraw after their selection.
The ASD also is proposing directly running Hawkins Mill Elementary, which is in Frayser.
Most of Frayser’s ASD schools are run directly by the district instead of by charters.
– Bill Dries
Delta Queen Lists Memphis as Possible Port
The legendary Delta Queen steamboat is expected to visit the Memphis riverfront with its probable 2016 return to passenger cruise service.
The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. listed Memphis as a port Thursday, Sept. 10, as the company announced its headquarters will be located in Kimmswick, Mo., south of St. Louis.
The circa-1927 riverboat came out of active river service in 2009 and operated as a dockside hotel in Chattanooga until 2014.
The company built around its passenger cruises bought the vessel in February 2015. The Delta Queen is scheduled to resume passenger cruises in 2016; a Congressional exemption for the boat is the last regulatory hurdle.
The boat will visit more than 80 U.S. ports annually.
Memphis is headquarters and the home port for the American Queen, the world’s largest steamboat. Beale Street landing also has seen this year arrivals and departures from other steamboats including the Queen of the Mississippi and American Eagle.
– Bill Dries
Memphis Scores $4 Million in Rape Kit Testing Funds
With grants Thursday, Sept. 10, from the U.S. Justice Department and the New York County District Attorney’s office, the city of Memphis completed its funding for the effort to clear a backlog of more than 12,000 rape kits dating back to the 1970s.
It also will set up a protocol and infrastructure for testing of all kits going forward.
The $4 million block of funding consists of $1.9 million from the sexual assault kit backlog elimination program of the New York prosecutor’s office and another $1.9 million grant from the Justice Department.
The city applied for both grants that come from larger pools of money.
The New York County grant is part of $38 million in funding to various jurisdictions across the country. It’s earmarked strictly for testing.
The Justice Department funding is from a pool of $41 million and the Memphis grant triggers $750,000 in additional “last dollar” funding pledged to the effort by the Plough Foundation.
That funding is for testing as well as more staff, training, equipment, travel expenses, victim support services and an evidence management system.
Another $976,420 in grants were awarded from both sources Thursday to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the state agency that oversees the laboratory testing.
The state’s application for funding comes after passage of a state law earlier this year, sponsored by state Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville, that creates a new state protocol for the collecting and testing of rape kits.
To date, 40 percent of the backlog of 12,374 rape kits in Memphis has been tested and completed. Another 20 percent have been shipped to laboratories for processing.
The untested rape kits are the basis for two pending lawsuits by rape victims, one in federal court and the other in Circuit Court, over how police allowed the kits, which contain evidence taken from rape victims, to pile up for decades. Memphis Police Department director Toney Armstrong disclosed the backlog in late 2013.
– Bill Dries
Lakeland Prepares to Close on School Bonds
The city of Lakeland expects to close Wednesday, Sept. 16, on the $20 million bond issue to build a new middle school in the Memphis suburb.
The capital outlay notes a finalized 2.82 percent interest rate and the debt is backed primarily with the 55-cent property tax increase approved by the Lakeland Board of Commissioners this summer.
The school is to be built on 94 acres near the intersection of Canada Road and Highway 70. The land is under contract with closing expected soon upon a final inspection.
The new middle school is scheduled to open with the school year that begins in August 2018. There is room on the acreage for a high school at some point in the future.
The Lakeland commission and school board each originally backed a $50 million bond issue for a Lakeland Prep school for grades 6-12.
But Lakeland voters voted down the school bond issue for that project in an April referendum.
The Lakeland Schools System consists of Lakeland Elementary School. Middle and high schoolers attend schools in the Bartlett and Arlington systems.
– Bill Dries
First Annual Latino Memphis Conference Underway
CONGRESO, the first Latino Memphis conference, is taking place Sunday through Wednesday, Sept. 13-16.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, it will bring together three nationally recognized Latino leaders for networking, workshops and leadership development. The featured speakers include author J.R. Martinez, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute president Dr. Juan Andrade Jr. and NPR and PBS Emmy award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa.
Visit www.LatinoMemphisConference.com for more information.
– Madeline Faber