VOL. 9 | NO. 52 | Saturday, December 24, 2016
Hyde Foundations Gives $1M to Church Health
The Hyde Family Foundations has given Church Health a $1 million gift as the organization prepares to move into Crosstown Concourse early next year.
Half of the money will go to cover capital expenses, and the Hyde Family Foundations has given another $500,000 and issued a 2-for-1 matching grant challenge to Church Health to raise a $1 million through new and increased donations that range from $2,500 to $24,999.
“We are grateful for this generous gift,” said Church Health CEO Dr. Scott Morris. “This will go a long way toward helping us serve more people and serve them better at Crosstown Concourse.”
Founded in 1987, Church Health’s core purpose is to improve the health and well being of people so they can experience the full richness of life. The center provides affordable health care services to uninsured working people and their families and gives people tools to live healthier lives. For more information, visit churchhealth.org.
– Don Wade
FedEx’s Glenn to Receive Liberty Bowl Spirit Award
The AutoZone Liberty Bowl is preparing to honor T. Michael Glenn a few days before the longtime FedEx executive retires.
Glenn, who is retiring from his role as FedEx’s executive vice president of market development and corporate communications at the end of the year, will receive the AutoZone Liberty Bowl’s 2016 Spirit Award on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Each year, the award is given to a person who demonstrates the patriotic spirit of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and has served the community in an exemplary manner. Glenn has had a 35-year career at FedEx and been a key contributor to the company’s global growth, success in sports marketing and as an ambassador for the Memphis community.
Glenn will be recognized at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Players and Coaches Luncheon Dec. 28 at noon at the Hilton Memphis, 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. Both the University of Georgia and TCU football teams will be in attendance.
For ticket information regarding the luncheon, call 901-795-7700 or visit libertybowl.org.
– Don Wade
Airport Launches Program For Frequent Parkers
Memphis International Airport has announced a new program, dubbed MEMperks, in which frequent visitors to the airport can earn points for parking and those points can be redeemed for free parking.
Once enrolled, participants will earn one point for every dollar spent on any airport parking facility.
Passengers can enroll at www.memperks.com. Once the MEMperks pass is linked with a credit or debit card, travelers will no longer need to pull a ticket when parking at the airport – the pass will automatically record a passenger’s time in and out of the parking lot and charge the debit or credit card accordingly.
“Much of our efforts here at Memphis International Airport involve air service, but we’re also working hard to improve the entire travel experience,” said Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “MEMperks is a way for us to say ‘thank you’ to our passengers, and rewards them for their loyalty with free parking.”
New enrollees will receive a bonus of 60 points, which is redeemable for one free day of parking in the economy parking lot.
– Patrick Lantrip
Beale’s Bucks Program Giving Back to Community
The Downtown Memphis Commission, Beale Street Merchants Association, and Beale Street Management have awarded their fourth weekly donation through Beale Street Gives Back, an initiative to donate $55,000 collected from the Beale Street Bucks program to several local charities.
Each Thursday throughout December, the organization has been announcing organizations that will receive funds through the program.
The Memphis Police Department was selected as the fourth recipient of the program. A check presentation ceremony was held Thursday, Dec. 22, at Handy Park to present the check to MPD.
Launched last summer, the Beale Street Bucks program was implemented to address overcrowding and safety issues on Beale Street on Saturday nights.
The program required guests to pay $10 for entry onto the street after 10 p.m. on Saturdays and those guests received a $7 voucher in return for purchases at Beale Street restaurants and shops. The remaining funds were used to administer the program.
Beale Street Bucks was highly successful, resulting in a 30 percent reduction in safety issues on Beale.
The Beale Street Gives Back program is funded by excess funds from unredeemed Beale Street Bucks vouchers.
– Daily News staff
Impact Innovations Rolling With Recent Wal-Mart Deal
Wal-Mart’s shift to more US manufacturing is benefitting a Memphis business.
Impact Innovations is now producing more than 20 million rolls of Christmas wrapping paper at the former Cleo Inc. facility in Southeast Memphis that was previously produced in China for Wal-Mart’s 4,500 stores.
It’s part of a commitment the retail giant made in 2013 to buy $250 billion in products supporting American jobs.
Since 2015, Impact Innovations has created more than 25 full-time jobs and 200 full-time seasonal jobs because of its deal with Wal-Mart, according to a release. Impact Innovations’ investment in the Memphis facility will exceed $10 million.
The 20 million rolls of Christmas wrapping paper being produced by Impact Innovations is double the 10 million rolls just last year.
Where products are made is second in importance only to price among shoppers at Wal-Mart, according to a company release.
– Daily News staff
Kelsey Proposes $50M Sales Tax Shift to Memphis
State Sen. Brian Kelsey of Memphis is proposing a shift in state sales tax revenue that could mean at least $50 million in additional sales tax revenue for the city of Memphis.
Kelsey unveiled the plan Tuesday, Dec. 20, as the Shelby County delegation to Nashville met with local constituents in advance of the Jan. 10 opening of the legislative session.
Kelsey would shift a half-cent of the state sales tax rate to cities across the state, which Kelsey estimates is $500 million in new revenue for local governments. The Memphis share of that would be $50 million.
Kelsey says a state revenue surplus is what makes the shift possible.
“Our cities are struggling financially,” Kelsey said in a statement. “The state has a surplus. The state should help our cities keep our property taxes low.”
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and other city leaders are bracing for a loss of approximately $14 million in revenue with the phase out of the Hall state income tax on dividends and other investment income.
– Bill Dries
Weirich Opens ‘Community Prosecution’ Unit in Frayser
Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich is preparing to open a satellite prosecutor’s office for the Frayser-Raleigh area.
Weirich announced the “community prosecution” plan Monday, Dec. 19, at Ed Rice Community Center in Frayser.
The new office will be at the Old Allen police station on the Frayser-Raleigh border. Assistant District Attorney General Carrie Shelton will work out of the precinct and coordinate with victim witness coordinators and support staff at the Criminal Justice Center Downtown headed by Assistant District Attorney Neal Oldham.
“The community prosecutor will be building relationships with law enforcement, neighborhood watch groups, schools, businesses and other community-based organizations,” Weirich said in a written statement.
With the start of the effort in January, the cases developed by Shelton and her staff will go to General Sessions Court Judge Gerald Skahan and Criminal Court Judge John Campbell.
A similar effort is being planned at the Tillman Police station.
The Frayser area once had a community court with prosecutors and judges trying minor offenses in a courtroom set up at the Northgate shopping center.
– Bill Dries
Western Kentucky Rolls Past Tigers in Bowl Game
The Western Kentucky offense was billed as explosive and it proved to be true as the Hilltoppers defeated the University of Memphis 51-31 in the Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
WKU rolled up 598 yards and also used a little trickery as offensive lineman Forrest Lamp scored on a 9-yard touchdown pass. Running back Anthony Wales rushed for 245 yards and three scores.
Memphis ended the season, its first under coach Mike Norvell, at 8-5.
Quarterback Riley Ferguson threw for 372 yards with four TDs and an interception. Wide receiver Anthony Miller caught 11 passes for 151 yards and three TDs.
But the Tigers never got their ground game going. WKU held them to 73 yards on 32 carries – a 2.3 average. Memphis also lost two fumbles and was -2 in turnover margin for the game.
Kicker Jake Elliott made four extra points to finish 202 of 202 for his career. Ferguson set a school record with 32 TD passes this year, and Miller established a school record with 14 TD catches in a season.
Norvell was disappointed but not discouraged after the loss: “We’ve got a lot of confidence in where we’re going.”
– Don Wade
GiVE 365 Now Accepting Grant Applications
GiVE 365, the dollar-a-day philanthropy initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, is accepting grant applications from area nonprofits.
The theme for this year’s grant cycle is Foundations for the Future.
In an effort to address some of the many causes of local poverty, grants will support programs that help youth meet their potential.
Grants will fund programs or projects that offer opportunities for young people to learn and develop in areas including education, mentoring, behavioral health and support groups, entrepreneurship, the arts and technology.
Applications are due online at give365memphis.org by Feb. 6. Members will hear pitches from the final applicants on April 11, and grant awards will be announced on May 9.
– Andy Meek
Republicans Considering State Road Funding Plan
While Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s ready to unveil his plan to boost road funding in Tennessee, he says he’s putting off making any proposal public until fellow Republicans in the Legislature have time to explore their own funding ideas.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the governor didn’t tell reporters which lawmakers had asked for the delay, or when he expects them to present their own proposal.
Lawmakers convene the 110th General Assembly for their organizational session on Jan. 10, but they are not scheduled to get down to their regular business until Jan. 30 when Haslam is expected to deliver his annual state spending plan.
Haslam has argued new funding is needed to tackle a $6 billion backlog in road projects. The state's gas tax was last raised in 1989.
– The Associated Press
Oxford Mayor Patterson Won’t Run for Re-Election
Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson says he will not be running for re-election in 2017.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that Patterson’s official announcement comes after 16 years of serving in the city government of Oxford.
Patterson spent eight years serving on the City Board of Oxford before running for mayor, a position he will have had for eight years by the time he steps down in 2017.
At Tuesday night’s Oxford City Board meeting, Patterson said that while he has enjoyed and appreciated his time with the city, he feels like it’s time for someone else to take the helm.
– The Associated Press
Holiday Inn Wolfchase Sells for $11.5 Million
The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Memphis-Wolfchase Galleria has sold for $11.5 million.
RLM II Investors LLC and Texas-based Royal Living Inc. bought the hotel from Wolfchase Hotel Associates LLC. According to a Dec. 15 warranty deed, RLM II Investors purchased a 33 percent interest in the property, with Royal Living Inc. buying the remaining 67 percent interest.
In conjunction with the purchase, the buyers filed a $10.5 million mortgage through First South Bank.
Bhupender Patel signed the loan documents as manager of RLM II Investors LLC. Patel is the managing principal of Fusion Hospitality, a Tupelo, Mississippi-based hotel management company. No one from Fusion was available to comment by press time.
Hasmukh Patel also signed the mortgage as president of Royal Living Inc., which shares an address with Lewisville, Texas-based hotel development, construction and management firm NewcrestImage.
The hotel at 2751 New Brunswick Road sits on 3 acres of land, and the 101,117-square-foot building was built in 2009, according to the Shelby County Assessor. The property most recently was appraised at $6.4 million.
– Patrick Lantrip
Airport Board Elects Cooper Chairman for Five Years
Pace Cooper has been elected chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority after serving as the body’s interim director for a year and a half.
Cooper, who is the president and CEO Cooper Hotels, was unanimously elected as chairman at the MSCAA board’s Dec. 15 meeting.
He is the fifth executive to be elected chairman, a position he has held on an interim basis since taking over for Jack Sammons in May 2015.
Pamela Z. Clary, executive vice president and partner for Community Capital LLC, and Michael Keeney, managing shareholder at the Memphis office of Lewis Thomason Law Firm, were elected by the board to serve as vice chairwoman and secretary/treasurer, respectively.
Cooper will serve a five-year term, while Clary and Keeney will both serve single-year terms.
"I believe our airport authority is making great strides toward revitalizing our great passenger airport, and I deeply appreciate the other distinguished board commissioners' confidence in my leadership,” Cooper said in a statement.
– Patrick Lantrip
FTB Advisors Honored For Customer Service
FTB Advisors, the wealth and investment group of First Tennessee Bank, has been recognized by Greenwich Associates in the 2016 Greenwich Excellence Awards for Wealth Management and Personal Investment Services.
FTB Advisors was honored in the Customer Service category for wealth management providers. In evaluating more than 150 providers, Greenwich Associates identified 12, including FTB Advisors, that performed at differentiated levels compared to peer institutions.
National winners were based on 11,000 interviews with business owners and executives across the country.
– Andy Meek
County Commission OKs Ambulance Agreements
Shelby County Commissioners at their Monday, Dec. 19, meeting approved on third and final reading the interlocal agreements that provide ambulance service through the Shelby County Fire Department to the cities of Millington, Arlington and Lakeland.
The county fire department is set to become the ambulance service provider for unincorporated Shelby County in 2017 after the county ended its contract with AMR Inc.
AMR had requested more funding to continue providing the service.
County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s administration said it could provide the service directly at a lower cost.
Commissioners also approved Monday the issuance and sale of $110 million in revenue bonds for the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority to include financing capital improvement projects at the airport.
And the commission approved a $476,870 contract with Buchart Horn Inc. to design a widening of Walnut Grove Road from two lanes to four lanes between Rocky Point and Houston Levee roads.
The plan also calls for the addition of bicycle and pedestrian lanes. Most of the amount, $357,728, is federal funding that comes to the county through the state of Tennessee.
Also approved was a five-year lease with Hendrix and Sons Farms Partnership for 933 acres of cropland to be used for farming and as pastures from the Memphis and Shelby County Port Commission at a rate of $169 per acre.
– Bill Dries
U of M Gets $1.5 Million To Improve Science Education
The University of Memphis has been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to help improve science instruction for English learners.
The five-year grant is from the U.S. Education Department’s Office of English Language Acquisition. U of M research shows that inquiry-based science instruction is particularly effective for English learners because the hands-on method can make science more accessible while also helping develop language skills.
The goal is to create a research-based, systemic initiative using a series of interventions over a five-year period to improve inquiry-based science instruction for English learners in 18 public schools in Denver and Aurora, Colorado.
The proportion of English learners enrolled in schools in the two Colorado cities is high. There are 133 different languages are represented by ELs in Aurora Public Schools, and more than 170 languages are represented by students in Denver Public Schools.
– Don Wade
NASCAR to Return To Memphis Next June
NASCAR will resurrect its relationship with Memphis International Raceway in 2017, bringing a sanctioned event back to the track after an eight-year absence from the Mid-South.
The NASCAR K&N Series will run at MIR’s 3/4-mile tri-oval short track on June 3.
NASCAR and MIR have a history that dates back to September 1998 when the facility hosted its first NASCAR event. The NASCAR Truck Series Memphis 200 drew a sold-out crowd and was broadcast on national television.
The K&N Pro Series, which includes the East and the West, is the top step in NASCAR’s developmental ladder before drivers move up to the three national series.
“In the last couple years, fans of the series have had a chance to get the first looks at drivers such as Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez before they broke through in the national series,” George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of touring & weekly series, said in a statement.
Memphis International Raceway, located in Millington, has hosted events such as the 63rd annual World Series of Drag Racing, Original Super Chevy Show, Hot Rod Power Tour, ARCA Series and IHRA Summit World Finals.
IRG Sports + Entertainment, a TPG Specialty Lending company, purchased the track formerly named Memphis Motorsports Park in 2010 and has been running a full-time schedule at its championship drag strip since the reopening of the facility.
The tri-oval has hosted various sanctioned events on a limited basis since it reopened and is home to the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. The facility will undergo some minor renovations and safety updates to prepare for the NASCAR K&N Series debut in 2017.
“This is a huge announcement not only for our organization but for the Mid-South region as well,” stated Pam Kendrick, president and general manager at MIR. “Our fans ask us constantly when NASCAR is returning to Memphis and it is finally happening.”
Ticket sale information for the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on June 3 will be announced early next year.
– Don Wade
Hickory Hill Apartments Sell for $28 Million
A California-based real estate investment and advisory firm has purchased the 630-unit Trails at Mt. Moriah apartment complex for $28 million, or $44,444 per unit.
MDO Trails LLC, an affiliate of Newport Beach, California-based CORE Realty Holdings Management Inc., purchased the Class B multifamily property from NNN Mt. Moriah Apartments LLC and 39 related entities in a Dec. 13 warranty deed.
The purchase includes two parcels, 3028 and 3048 Moriah Trail, which together span about 21 acres on the southeast corner of Mount Moriah Road Extended and Knight Lane.
According to the Shelby County Assessor of Property, 3028 Moriah Trails was built in 1991 and contains 340 units for a total of 304,753 square feet. The adjacent parcel at 3048 Moriah Trails was built in 1990 and contains 290 units totaling 230,788 square feet.
The county assessor’s 2016 appraisal for the two parcels is $19.3 million.
CORE Realty Holdings Management offers a variety of real estate services in the multifamily, office, industrial and retail industries, including third-party management services and asset management support for more than 5,000 multifamily units and more than 4.5 million square feet of commercial space, according to the company’s website.
– Patrick Lantrip
Saint Francis Earns ‘Gold Seal of Approval’
Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for hospital accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards, according to the hospital.
The Joint Commission recently awarded recertification of two of the hospital’s key service areas, stroke, and joint and spine.
The joint and spine accreditation was specific to the hips and knees program. The Gold Seal of Approval is a symbol of quality that reflects “an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.”
A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated compliance with hospital standards related to several areas, including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management.
Surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews.
– Andy Meek
U of M Researcher Receives US Patent for Algorithm
Dr. Lan Wang of the University of Memphis has received a patent for “Devices and Methods for Forwarding Information Base Aggregation.”
Wang is professor and chair in the U of M’s computer science department and a research fellow in the Cluster to Advance Cyber Security & Testing (CAST) and Drones, Robotics and Navigation-Enable Systems (DRONES) research clusters.
The joint patent is shared among four inventors. In addition to Wang, they are: Beichuan Zhang of the University of Arizona; Xin Zhao, previously a graduate student under Zhang, now employed at Google; and Yaoqing Liu, a U of M graduate who studied under Wang, now employed at Clarkson University. There are two assignees for the invention: The Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona has been assigned 44 percent interest; the U of M is receiving 56 percent interest.
The invention is a novel algorithm which seeks to compress the Forwarding Information Base so that it will occupy less storage space but still allow fast and efficient updating capabilities, according to information from the U of M. The new algorithm should allow for around 50 percent compression at a speed 50 percent faster than current options.
The invention has the capability to be updated to current routers and installed on new ones through a software update.
“The internet relies on routers to forward its traffic,” Wang said in a statement. “As the Internet grows, routers need to maintain more forwarding information.”
Wang has received five major research grants from the National Science Foundation and several grants from the university. She is on a team that received a $15.8 million grant from the NSF Future Internet Architecture program for its Named Data Networking project.
– Don Wade
Riverfront Ice Rink Offers December Events
The Fourth Bluff Ice Rink in Mississippi River Park will offer skating lessons each Tuesday through December at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. The lessons are at no additional cost from the $10 admission, which includes skate rental.
Other events for December include live music by Marcella Simien of Marcella & Her Lovers on Friday, Dec. 23, at 5 p.m. and a “Frozen” sing-along Dec. 28 at 4 p.m.
The rink, which is operated by the Riverfront Development Corp., will close at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and will not be open Christmas Day. It also will close in the event of rain.
– Bill Dries
Tennessee Unemployment Holds Steady at 4.8 Pct.
Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for November was 4.8 percent, remaining the same as the revised October rate, according to the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
The state’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased 2,800 jobs from October to November, with the largest decreases occurring in leisure/hospitality, other services and manufacturing.
The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate in November was 4.6 percent, down from 4.9 percent in October.
– Daily News staff
MEMShop Businesses To Hold Grand Openings
MEMShop is holding a grand opening event on Dec. 30 for its fifth installment of businesses – Inclined Christian Design and Naturelle Cosmetique, both at 510 S. Main St., and Southern Creed, at 524 S. Main St.
Program manager and owner Communities Unlimited partnered with Innovate Memphis for the latest round of business launches. Over the next six months, the businesses will get free skills training, stipends toward monthly lease payments, and some marketing assistance. The program is open to startups and existing businesses that are looking to try out a new location.
– Andy Meek