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VOL. 131 | NO. 78 | Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Daily Digest

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Ballet Memphis Files Permit For Overton Square HQ

Ballet Memphis is setting the stage for its Overton Square headquarters as Grinder, Taber & Grinder recently applied for a $12.6 million building permit for new construction.

In 2015, Ballet Memphis purchased the former French Quarter Inn, at the corner of Madison Avenue and North Cooper Street. Demolition on the shuttered hotel began in October.

NCE Realty and Capital Group purchased the property in 2013 for $1.9 million with plans to convert the building into Hotel Overton. Two years later, the company sold the vacant hotel at 2144 Madison to Ballet Memphis for $4.2 million.

– Madeline Faber

Bring It Food Hub Rebrands, Expands

The Mid-South multi-farm community-supported agriculture nonprofit Bring It Food Hub is reaping a harvest of growth and new offerings.

An affiliate of Memphis Tilth, Bring It Food Hub distributes local produce and farm products in the Memphis area. In addition to weekly produce shares, the venture will offer add-on shares during the summer 2016 season that include locally grown and sourced bread, eggs, cheese and fresh-cut flowers.

In addition to more than three dozen weekly pick-up locations available citywide, Bring It now also offers a home-delivery option for Midtown on Friday afternoons.

According to Bring It’s new executive director Carol Colter, at this point in the organization’s calendar last year about 60 season shares had been purchased. Today, it’s surpassed 200 shares in advance of the season that officially begins on May 3.

Subscriptions can be purchased on a monthly or season-long basis from May through November.

The nonprofit has also rebranded its website (bringitfoodhub.com), social media and marketing channels in partnership with creative communications consulting firm DCA.

– Andy Meek

Memphis Fashion Week Hits Highest Economic Impact

This year’s Memphis Fashion Week saw the greatest economic impact out of the event’s five-year run.

Memphis Fashion Week, which ran April 4-9, is an annual event highlighting emerging and established Memphis designers with fundraisers and fashion shows.

This year’s event raised $36,000 for the Memphis Fashion Fund, which supports scholarships for fashion design classes at Memphis College of Art.

To support the week’s two fashion shows, event organizers hired 47 models and 20 backstage crew members/stylists, resulting in $20,000 in local economic impact.

Fifty businesses participated in Memphis Fashion Week, and the event showcased 21 local and national designers.

As part of the Emerging Memphis Designer Project, Zoe Vu took home the first-place scholarship for her singles collection, and Mary Ambrose won first place for her mini-collection.

– Madeline Faber

Football Tigers Readying For Friday Nights Stripes

The University of Memphis football team spring practice seasons culminates Friday, April 22, with Friday Night Stripes at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, 335 S. Hollywood St. The Tiger Lane Block Party will kick off the evening’s events, running from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The football team will arrive at the Liberty Bowl at 6 p.m. for Tiger Walk. Entry for all Tiger fans will be through Gate Three, beginning at 6 p.m. All seating for the game will be on the west side of the stadium.

The team will then conduct a spring scrimmage similar to one it ran last weekend in Nashville, where the team will play one half of actual game clock time, then will finish with special situations before fans can come onto the field for post-game autographs.

The team has one full practice session left on Tuesday, April 19, to prep for the spring game. On Thursday, the team will rep what will be its normal pre-game walkthrough.

“I like that as spring has gone on, it hasn’t just been the defense dominating, or just the offense dominating, there’s been some back and forth,” first-year Tigers coach Mike Norvell said.

Admission and parking for the event will be free. Concessions will be available in the Pronto Pup and Coletta’s stands in the concourse of the Liberty Bowl. IHeartRadio will air a broadcast on AM 600 beginning at 7 p.m.

The block party will includes inflatables, DJ Devin Steel, the Memphis Spirit Squads, the Mighty Sound of the South pep band, TOM III and the Memphis Tigers’ equipment sale. The Highland Hundred will also host its BBQ contest on Tiger Lane.

– Don Wade

Bond Executives Indicted On Theft, Tax Charges

The president of Memphis Bonding Co. and a manager at 24 Hour Bonding Co. of Memphis were indicted separately Friday, April 15, by a Shelby County grand jury on theft and sales tax fraud charges.

Memphis Bonding president George Austin Hitt is specifically accused of failing to report thousands of bonds to the state and allegedly failing to pay the $12 tax levied on each bond as required by state law.

Tennessee revenue investigators allege that from January 2010 to June 2015, Memphis Bonding and another of Hitt’s companies, Tennessee Bonding Co., wrote bonds that were not reported and did not pay the state tax on them.

Angela Bryant, a manager of 24 Hour Bond Co., is accused of theft over $10,000, a smaller amount than Hitt.

Bryant is specifically accused of failing to report bonds and failing to pay taxes on them from January 2013 to June 2015.

– Bill Dries

CFOs See Little Decline In Inappropriate Requests

As the old saying goes, ask for forgiveness, not permission.

Some employees are taking the adage to heart, as Robert Half Management Resources reports in its latest survey of CFOs about company expense reimbursements.

The report shows that over the past three years, there has been little improvement in regard to employees submitting expense reimbursement reports that have no chance of getting paid.

More than 2,200 CFOs at a random sample of companies in 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas were asked by an independent research firm if they had seen an increase or decrease in the number of inappropriate expense reports submitted by employees. Only 11 percent reported a drop in appropriate requests.

The Robert Half report shows 8 percent of CFOs saw somewhat of a decline in such requests over the three years, but 20 percent reported somewhat of an increase in inappropriate reimbursement submissions. Two-thirds reported no change.

Among the most unusual requests, CFOs said employees requested expense reimbursements for a new car, vacations, a flat-screen TV, toilet paper and a 10-cent parking meter charge. One employee asked the company to reimburse a doggie day spa expense and another submitted a taxidermy receipt.

“These outlandish and sometimes funny examples shed light on what can be a serious problem for businesses,” said Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources in a release. “Inappropriate expense reports are costly – both to the company’s bottom line and to the careers of the people who submit them.”

Hird said organizations should make the expense reporting process as simple as possible.

“Ensure your policies are clearly communicated and accessible to all employees,” he said. “Take a big-picture view of the program. Removing ambiguity can help reduce the number of problematic requests.”

– Terry Hollahan

Tenn. Lottery Sets Record For Education Funding

The Tennessee Lottery says it returned a record $119 million for education funding during the first quarter of the year, a 27 percent increase over the previous quarterly record.

Lottery-funded programs include 12 different scholarships and grants, multiple after-school programs, an energy-efficient schools program and Tennessee Promise, which offers eligible high school seniors the chance to go to community or technical college without paying tuition.

Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Hargrove said the record adds to what was already becoming an all-time high fiscal year. The previous record of $93.6 million was set during the third quarter of 2015.

The quarter also broke records for instant ticket sales with $355 million, draw-style sales at $125 million and the three top selling months for total sales since inception.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 61 331 19,904
MORTGAGES 80 391 23,305
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 83 8,387
BUILDING PERMITS 0 338 40,366
BANKRUPTCIES 35 231 13,335
BUSINESS LICENSES 28 76 6,213
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 125 13,120
MARRIAGE LICENSES 21 94 4,936

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