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VOL. 131 | NO. 244 | Thursday, December 8, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: MemphisWorks App, Tyler Talks and Millington Home Sales

By Bill Dries

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A busy annual Greater Memphis Chamber Chairman’s Circle luncheon Wednesday topped by the debut of a jobs app that is more than ye olde classified ads reformatted on a digital device.

MemphisWorks is several parts of the jobs search and filling jobs all put together.

The other major announcement of the event was that Lausanne is partnering with a school in China to build an International Baccalaurreate school there to open in 2017 for 1,200 expatriate students from around the world.

There was another announcement at the Chamber luncheon Wednesday. It came at the end as actor Drake Milligan came out to close the program with a few Elvis Sun-era tunes.

Milligan plays Elvis Presley in the CMT television show that shot here over the summer.

The series had been working under the title “Million Dollar Quartet.” But Milligan said it’s been rebranded and in March it will make its debut as “Sun Records.”

Incidentally, some serious music chops at work among Milligan and Griffin Rone and Will Tucker who had the Sun sound down and were having some fun with it.

Rone is a Rhodes College student with some acting and musical experience who went to the auditions earlier this year and landed a part in the TV show as Bill Black, Presley’s bass player in the Sun years.

If you’ve been on Beale Street you know Tucker from his self-named band that’s played B.B. King’s a lot and shows up at Lafayette’s in Overton Square. He was already turning heads on the street of the blues well before he was cast as Scotty Moore, Elvis’s guitarist in the Sun years.

The television show has expanded a lot and reportedly shot a lot more than one season for CMT. And a look at the real-life characters cast for the show indicates this is going to be more than the Elvis part of the Sun story. The characters who show up in the casting include Eddy Arnold, Jimmy Swaggart, Ike Turner and Joe Bihari.

Another economic development announcement Wednesday that has lead some of you to rebrand Memphis International Airport as Memphis Intercontinental Airport. Air Canada is setting up shop again at the airport with nonstop service between Memphis and Toronto starting May 1 – the first daily international flights at MEM since 2012 when things started to get ugly with Delta. Air Canada will be flying 50-seaters on the route.

As for Thursday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in town for a much anticipated press conference at St. Jude where Haslam will likely give us a better idea of what kind of money and/or financial incentives the state will be contributing to the hospital’s expansion. St. Jude puts the total scope of this at $9 billion including $1 billion in construction and $8 billion in technology, programming and hiring. Watch this website for the details that should start to bring the expansion into a more specific focus.

Haslam’s Education Commissioner, Candice McQueen, is due in the city soon as well to talk about a proposal for more autonomy for local school districts in their relationship with the state.

We’ve heard from Tyler Technologies, the Plano, Texas company whose name was dropped prominently this week and last week as Shelby County Commissioners talked about the problems with the local criminal justice system’s new computer system. At the center of the controversy is the Odyssey court case management system that is Tyler’s major part of a system that involves a total of six systems that went live before Thanksgiving in the troubled changeover.

In the emailed statement, Tyler says the part of the system responsible for the jail system isn’t theirs. Here are the central points verbatim from Tyler:

“Tyler’s project team has been and continues to be onsite since the onset of the implementation, and is actively working with county staff daily, if not hourly, on normal, post-implementation issues. Nothing has been reported to Tyler that would indicate that an individual has stayed in jail longer than they should have because of Odyssey software. Odyssey is one of six systems that went live in early November as part of the county’s court and jail systems upgrade, with a separate vendor responsible for the jail system and another responsible for the integrations between the systems.

Key points about Shelby County’s implementation of Odyssey include:

•Tyler does not know of any issue with Odyssey resulting in any person being in jail longer than necessary.

•News media reports reference litigation involving Shelby County; neither Tyler Technologies nor its Odyssey solution are named in that litigation.

•It has been incorrectly reported that Shelby County has spent $9.7 million on the Odyssey solution. Tyler’s contract with Shelby County was approximately $3.5 million.

•Reports of other litigation involving Odyssey are also incorrect. Tyler Technologies is not a party to any litigation involving Odyssey anywhere in the country. Similarly, reports of other jurisdictions with challenges during their Odyssey implementations are at best misleading on multiple levels.”

New numbers from Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Publishing Co., show Shelby County homes sales were up 30 percent in November from a year ago. The biggest percentage increases for the month were in Millington, Lakeland, Bartlett, unincorporated Shelby County and Collierville in that order.

The other new Chandler numbers for November on the mortgage market confirm the busy pace for what is normally a down month in real estate. There was a 61 percent jump in purchase mortgage activity from a year ago.

Sam Stockard, in his “View From The Hill” column looks at the review of outsourcing efforts by the Haslam administration.

HopeWorks, the faith-based nonprofit that has worked in job training and adult education for 28 years has a new headquarters building to renovate going into the new year. It’s the old Southern Security Federal Credit Union at 3337 Summer Avenue. HopeWorks works with convicted felons making the adjustment to life out of prison and were doing it before the work had the urgency is currently has in our broader civic discussions. The organization also works with traditional students on high school equivalency diplomas. That’s an average of 55 people a month earning those diplomas and an expansion across several Tennessee counties including Shelby County.

Two arrests Wednesday in the East Tennessee wildfires that killed 14 people.

When was the last time you had a chance to read what a federal judge thinks about the Gilmore Girls reboot. Well, here it is.

PROPERTY SALES 110 110 3,508
MORTGAGES 42 42 2,321
BANKRUPTCIES 24 24 1,928