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VOL. 131 | NO. 84 | Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Daily Digest

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Johnson, Koepka Confirmed For FedEx St. Jude Classic

Two of golf’s top players are confirmed for the FedEx St. Jude Classic, to be played from June 9-12 at TPC Southwind.

Past champion Dustin Johnson, currently sitting eighth in the World Golf Rankings, will make his fifth appearance in Memphis. He won here in 2012 and his most recent victory on tour came in 2015. He finished 2015 ranked seventh in the FedEx Cup standings and presently is fourth on tour in driving distance.

Brooks Koepka, 18th in the World Golf Rankings, tied for third at last year’s FESJC. He finished 2015 ranked 24th in the FedEx Cup standings. His 20 eagles this season leads the tour.

Visit stjudeclassic.com for tickets and an up-to-date player commitment list.

– Don Wade

Sultana Steamboat Disaster Author in Memphis

American historical author James Alexander Thom will discuss and autograph his book “Fire in the Water” at The Booksellers at Laurelwood, 387 Perkins Road Extended, on Wednesday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday is the anniversary of the Sultana steamboat disaster, which occurred in 1865 on the Mississippi River just a few miles from Memphis.

The protagonist of “Fire in the Water” is a Harper’s Weekly Civil War correspondent who is on the doomed boat, on his way up to Illinois to cover the funeral of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. The vessel explodes and burns a few miles above Memphis, killing about 1,700 Yankee veterans released from Andersonville Prison in Georgia. It was the worst maritime disaster in American history, surpassing the later Titanic in number of lost lives.

Learn more about Thom and his approach to the story at jamesalexanderthom.com.

– Terry Hollahan

Commission Approves Houston High Project

Shelby County Commissioners approved Monday, April 25, the Germantown Municipal School District’s use of $196,521 for a repaving project at Houston High School. The county capital funding is left from HVAC renovations at Dogwood Elementary School.

The reallocation is the latest in a series of capital project changes among the county’s seven school districts as the current fiscal year nears an end on June 30.

A vote on the appointment of Demar Roberts to the Downtown Memphis Commission was delayed. Roberts, a vice president of First Choice Sales and Marketing Group and a former deputy chief administrative officer for the city of Memphis, was out of town on business Monday when the commission was to vote on his appointment.

And the commission approved five grants from a $1.3 million grant fund for five nonprofit organizations.

The grant fund is allocated equally among the 13 county commissioners at $100,000 each. The full commission must approve each grant.

Since the July 1 start of the current fiscal year, the commission has approved $1.2 million in grants, including the five approved Monday, leaving a balance of $108,300.

Meanwhile, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is expected to deliver his budget proposal to the commission at May 4 committee sessions, formally starting county government’s budget season.

– Bill Dries

Lawson in Line to Be Tigers’ Director of Player Personnel

The ever-moving story of whether Keelon Lawson, father of freshmen forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, would have a place on the new University of Memphis basketball staff has taken another turn.

First, multiple media outlets reported that both new coach Tubby Smith and Keelon Lawson had confirmed that Lawson, who had been an assistant the past two years under Josh Pastner, would have a non-coaching role. Specifically, Keelon Lawson would become director of player personnel.

“Oatmeal is better than no oatmeal,” Lawson told ABC-24 sports director Doc Holliday, according to Holliday’s tweet on Monday, April 25.

University officials had believed they would need – and have no trouble – receiving a waiver from the NCAA to move Lawson from his coaching position; things get complicated, by NCAA rule, when a staff member is related to one or more players on the roster.

But later, NBC Sports reported that a waiver might not even be needed because the NCAA’s board of directors for Division 1 would be voting on changing the rule in question and sources had indicated the rule change was likely to be adopted. The NCAA is expected to vote on amending the rule in question on Thursday, April 28.

Last season, Dedric led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding while K.J.’s season was cut short because of heel spurs. Dedric is testing his NBA Draft stock this spring, but can return to school as long as he doesn’t sign with an agent. As long as his father has a job on staff, there is every expectation Dedric will play his sophomore season.

Meantime, Smith’s on-the-bench coaching staff will consist of Pooh Williamson, Joe Esposito and Saul Smith, Tubby’s son. Williamson and Esposito were assistants under Tubby Smith at Texas Tech, and Saul Smith was video coordinator.

– Don Wade

Red Deluxe Makes Hires, Promotion

Red Deluxe Brand Development has promoted account executive Zach Smith to account manager.

Smith joined the firm in 2014 and leads Red Deluxe’s client teams for the Memphis Grizzlies, Duncan-Williams and Old Dominick Distillery.

Meanwhile, Red Deluxe also has added Ben Powers as associate creative director and Reina Christian as account executive.

Red Deluxe Brand Development works with local and national brands to develop marketing strategies and campaigns.

– Andy Meek

Absolute Storage Mgmt. Reports Q1 Growth

Memphis-based Absolute Storage Management saw growth in its first-quarter revenue and occupancy, the self-storage management firm announced this week.

ASM, the largest private, third-party self-storage management company in the United States, said its same-store income revenue increased 10.3 percent, compared with a 9.7 percent increase in first quarter 2015. Same-store square-foot occupancy rates increased 2.3 percent year-over-year, while same-store rent per occupied unit increased 6.9 percent.

The company also added four operating stores and one new development across the Southeast, bringing its total at quarter’s end to 89 properties across 12 states. It continued to manage all of its existing properties.

In addition to its Memphis headquarters, ASM has regional offices in Nashville; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; and Jackson, Miss.

– Daily News staff

Supreme Court Justice Takes Ceremonial Oath of Office

An investiture ceremony has been held for Tennessee’s newest Supreme Court Justice Roger Page.

The Jackson Sun reports the ceremony was held Monday in the West Tennessee community of Mifflin, where Page was raised.

More than 1,000 people packed the Mifflin Country Kitchen, where Gov. Bill Haslam ceremoniously administered the oath of office to Page.

Page was the first Supreme Court nominee to have to be approved by the state legislature after Tennessee changed the rules for how nominees were selected.

Haslam appointed Page in January, and the General Assembly unanimously confirmed him Feb. 22. He took the oath of office and began work the next day.

During the ceremony, Page, who lives in Medina, shared stories about growing up in Mifflin, where his parents have lived since 1954.

– The Associated Press

US Home Prices Rise At Solid Pace

U.S. home prices continued their steady upward march in February as buyers competed for a limited number of properties.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.4 percent that month compared with a year earlier, according to a report released Tuesday. That’s down slightly from January’s 5.7 percent rise.

Prices are rising even as sales have leveled off in recent months. The number of homes for sale last month was 1.5 percent lower than a year earlier. That’s pushed buyers to act quickly, with homes on the market just 47 days in March, according to the National Association of Realtors.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 61 262 16,169
MORTGAGES 28 132 10,054
BUILDING PERMITS 88 424 38,360
BANKRUPTCIES 36 92 7,564