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VOL. 131 | NO. 154 | Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Daily Digest

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Purifoy Named County Judicial Commissioner

The Shelby County Commission appointed attorney Shayla Purifoy as the newest Shelby County judicial commissioner at the body’s Monday, Aug. 1, meeting.

Judicial commissioners work with the General Sessions Court to conduct probable-cause hearings and determine if those arrested can be released from custody and, if so, under what conditions.

Purifoy, who was one of seven attorneys who applied for the appointment, fills the first of two new positions the commission funded in the new fiscal year. The position pays $93,270 a year.

She has been a staff attorney with Memphis Area Legal Services’ domestic violence and family law unit since 2009, shortly after earning her law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in urban studies at Rhodes College.

Purifoy also was among the contenders in June 2015 when the commission appointed attorney Yolanda Kight to another new judicial commissioner position. It took 12 rounds of voting to fill that position. Purifoy’s appointment Monday came after five rounds of balloting by the county commission.

Roland told the other six applicants for the position that they would have a chance to reapply when the commission moves to fill the other new judicial commissioner position as well as a part-time position.

The commission also approved Monday the first two grants this fiscal year from the commission’s $1.3 million fund, which provides each of the 13 commissioners $100,000 to allocate to local nonprofits, with approval from the full commission. If the grant is approved, the county administration then has a month to develop a grant contract that specifies the conditions of the funding.

The commission approved a $20,500 grant to Crosscheck, a faith-based athletic association that runs youth sports leagues. Crosscheck is a part of Grace Athletic Ministry Enterprises Inc.

The commission also approved a $15,000 grant to Growth International Development Corp. Inc. of Memphis for its “On The Scene” sports tournament. The grant funding specifically goes toward paying the expenses of a 25-player youth basketball team to travel and play in a three-city tournament.

– Bill Dries

Bartlett Office Building Sells for $1.4 Million

An office building in Bartlett Corporate Park has sold for $1.4 million. D3 Bartlett LLC purchased the property at 8010 Stage Hills Blvd. from Med-A.R.M. in a July 27 warranty deed.

The single-story Class C office building was built in 1998 and bears 17,920 square feet. It is situated on 3 acres on the south side of Stage Hills Boulevard west of North Germantown Parkway. The Shelby County Assessor most recently appraised the property at $1.5 million.

In conjunction with the sale, D3 Bartlett filed a $1.5 million construction loan with Commercial Bank. The loan matures February 2027.

– Madeline Faber

Huey’s Downtown To Close for Renovations

Huey’s Downtown location is closing soon for a few days to get a facelift.

The Huey’s location at 77 S. Second St. will close to the public for seven days – Aug. 8-14 – to pursue some needed renovations. With the help of Traditional Construction, the location will see upgrades that include the kitchen getting new floors, a new walk-in freezer, and a new sink.

At the bar, one ice machine will be rearranged to allow for more bar seating. Two flat-screen televisions will be added behind the bar, and exterior work includes a new awning and new signage.

The estimated cost of renovations is $49,000.

In the interim, all other Huey’s locations will be open for business as normal.

– Andy Meek

Cursive Workshops To Be Held in Memphis

While cursive was left out of the national Common Core standards, Tennessee has mandated the skill be taught, and an upcoming workshop aims to help teachers do just that. Handwriting Without Tears presenter Bill Weaver will be running cursive workshops for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13.

The pre-K workshop, to be held Friday from 8 a.m. to noon, will have participants mimicking a puppet and clanging wood pieces to learn simple, effective tools for teaching handwriting. Meanwhile, the K-5 workshop, happening Saturday from 8 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. will help educators learn novel ways to teach and write cursive.

According to Handwriting Without Tears, high schoolers who wrote in cursive on the SAT essay have scored slightly higher than those who printed, and a recent UCLA/Princeton study found college students remember lectures better when they’ve taken handwritten notes rather than typed ones.

Both workshops will be held at the Fogelman Executive Hotel & Conference Center, 330 Innovation Drive, suite 206, on the University of Memphis campus.

– Daily News staff

Tennessee Lawmaker’s Federal Trial Underway

Just days before Tennessee’s primaries, one veteran state lawmaker won’t be battling on a ballot, but in federal court fighting fraud and tax evasion charges.

Democratic state Rep. Joe Armstrong of Knoxville did not draw a primary challenger, but nonetheless finds himself possibly fighting for his political life.

Federal prosecutors allege that Armstrong conspired with his accountant to profit from a 2007 state cigarette tax hike, and then tried to hide the more than $318,000 in earnings from the IRS. His trial was set to begin Tuesday, Aug. 2, with jury selection.

At the center of the case is to what degree, if any, Armstrong’s position as an elected official played in the scheme. The accusation, in short, is that Armstrong purchased $250,000 worth of cigarette tax stamps before the legislature tripled the tax, only to resell the stamps for big profit. The profit, prosecutors say, was not reported to the IRS.

Armstrong’s attorney, Gregory Isaacs, says that the charges against the long-serving state representative have nothing to do with his position.

Isaacs unsuccessfully sought to keep the defendant’s role as a state lawmaker from the jury, arguing that it would require a more complex defense than the charges would normally call for.

“He was an innocent taxpayer that relied on a tax professional,” Isaacs argued in a pre-trial hearing. “I’m going to be forced to combat a political corruption case instead of a tax evasion case. It doesn’t matter if he’s an elected official or a farmer – the question is did he intentionally defraud the government?”

Armstrong’s accountant, Charles Marshall Stivers of Manchester, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to a related fraud charge in 2015.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Atchley Jr. said secretly recorded conversations show that Armstrong’s role as a politician played a key part.

“The United States intends to prove Mr. Armstrong was motivated from the very start to hide this money and knew from the very start he had to hide this money,” Atchley said. “He said from the very beginning, ‘No one can know about this. I can’t be seen to profit from Big Tobacco’ – his words.”

– The Associated Press

July US Auto Sales Could Fall on Weaker Demand

U.S. auto sales were expected to drop slightly in July as unusually hot weather – and softening demand – kept buyers at home.

Kelley Blue Book predicted a 1 percent decline from last July to about 1.5 million new cars and trucks. Sales were strong at the beginning of the month thanks to Independence Day promotions, but weakened after that, KBB senior analyst Alec Gutierrez said.

General Motors’ sales fell 2 percent while Ford’s U.S. sales fell 3 percent. Toyota’s sales slipped 1 percent. Volkswagen’s sales fell 8 percent. Honda’s sales rose 4 percent while Nissan’s were up 1 percent.

After six straight years of growth – and record sales of 17.5 million new vehicles last year – U.S. sales are beginning to plateau. In the first six months of last year, for example, sales were up 4 percent, or more than double the pace of this year. But low gas prices, low interest rates, enticing new vehicles and strong consumer confidence should keep them at a very high level.

– The Associated Press

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 56 9,658
MORTGAGES 0 49 10,665
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 12 1,301
BUILDING PERMITS 0 548 21,505
BANKRUPTCIES 0 256 6,219
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 64 4,003
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 60 2,952
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 52 2,073