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VOL. 131 | NO. 21 | Friday, January 29, 2016

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: New Minority Business Numbers, The House Affair and The Heights

By Bill Dries

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The recently revived discussion on minority business in Memphis is about to go back on the front burner again. Fueling the intensity are new U.S. Census numbers. They show the percentage of business receipts in Memphis produced by black-owned businesses has dropped since the 2007 census numbers showed a 1.08 percent share of those receipts by black-owned businesses. That in a city whose population is 63 percent African-American.
The drop to below one percent is even though the overall receipts in 2012 were higher than they were in 2007.
Madeline Faber is the first to report the new numbers as part of a cover story in our weekly, The Memphis News, that will be on the streets and in the racks Saturday, on-line Friday afternoon.
The numbers are such a telling story and such an important indicator that we broke it out as its own story in advance of the cover story.

In Nashville’s increasingly disturbing saga of state Representative Jeremy Durham, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said Thursday that he had heard Durham had an affair with another member of the state House and then forced that other member to resign from the House.
The fact that the leader of the state Senate would repeat this rumor is an indication of how serious an issue Durham’s behavior has become. It’s also an indication of the ongoing differences between the two chambers of the legislature on numerous matters that come down to how the leadership of each chamber is tending to its business.
The Republican leadership in the House will continue to have to answer questions about what it knew and when it knew it long after what now appears to be Durham’s imminent and forced departure from elected office.
Late Thursday as the legislators adjourned for the week, Durham announced he was taking a leave of absence from the General Assembly.

As the legislative week ended in Nashville, state Senator Lee Harris of Memphis also ended his consideration of a challenge of U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen in the August state and federal primaries. Harris won’t be making the race which would have been his third in five years.

A big economic plum for Bartlett with the announcement of a $12 million distribution center by Olympus, a Tokyo-based manufacturer of medical and surgical products.

We’ve written a lot about the Binghampton Community Development Corp. which has worked long and hard to get this long-struggling area of our city to a point of critical mass in both its commercial and residential areas.
That CDC has been a nest of sorts for a smaller CDC called The Heights.
And this week they got a state grant to buy and rehab five homes in the area north of Summer Avenue. It’s a first step toward some ambitious plans the group has.

A rebranding for Doug Carpenter and Associates in the business sector that brands and rebrands other people for a living.

Speaking of branding, Poplar Trust is a division of The Bank of Fayette County – a growing division. And the decision to go with a name that doesn’t include a specific geographical reference is part of the growth strategy.

Thursday’s Downtown Memphis Commission retreat came with the announcement of a move to find a permanent home for Creative Works, a conference for artists and designers. Among the goals of this is to follow up on the long-held goal of making Downtown affordable for young professionals. It's an ambitious goal at least in that regard because the new residential construction and the residential renovation is often done with those renters in mind. But the rents also reflect the cost of such projects in a part of town where rents are the highest in the city.

This is, of course, Super Bowl weekend, and while some of us come for the increasingly elaborate halftime shows, others among us, including Don Wade, go back to our first memories of watching this game before halftime became so important.

A sci-fi weekend to remember at the Orpheum with Friday night's Star Trek 50th anniversary concert that combines a live orchestra with clips from the Star Trek canon of television shows and movies.
We talked with the founder of the company that is traveling the country with stops in 100 cities including Memphis to pay tribute.
Justin Freer also conducts the orchestra and assembled the clips as well as the score for the elaborate production. The preparation included watching 720 episodes of the Star Trek television anthology.
The story arc includes a look at the starship Enterprise over the 50 years of Star Trek storytelling, the legendary fight between Spock and Kirk and Benjamin Sisco’s confession about genocide.
All this from a television series that never made the five-year run considered standard for syndication and a healthy and profitable after life.
CineConcerts, the company, has done this with other films and has a version of this for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Braveheart coming up.

For now though, Live Long and Prosper and Make It So.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 76 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 83 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 19 170
BUILDING PERMITS 190 277 3,028
BANKRUPTCIES 39 73 691
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 22 298
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0