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VOL. 131 | NO. 131 | Friday, July 1, 2016

Daily Digest

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Nonprofit for School Equity To Start Operations

The Campaign for School Equity (CSE), a new nonprofit organization focused on addressing academic achievement disparities between low-income and affluent students in Tennessee, will soon begin operations.

The mission of CSE is to expand high-quality school options throughout Tennessee by empowering and leveraging the support of faith leaders, parents, students and community members on school-choice initiatives and policies.

CSE’s work will be centered on educating, informing and convening a robust and diverse coalition of residents to advocate on behalf of students and improve equity in education. The organization is also preparing to introduce programming for leadership development, and planning to release a comprehensive report on the state of schools in Tennessee later this year.

Mendell Grinter is the founder and executive director of the Campaign for School Equity. Gritner, 25, is the former Tennessee director of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). Earlier this year, Dr. Howard Fuller, BAEO founder, announced that after 17 years, BAEO would discontinue its formal operations to launch a Social Innovation Challenge that would help determine the organization’s future endeavors.

Grinter said his motivation to start and lead the Campaign for School Equity is an urgent need to continue to identify and work in partnership with education advocates to ensure that the needs of students are met.

“The educational landscape across the state of Tennessee is changing consistently and rapidly,” Grinter said. “We know that students and parents still need help with staying updated on school performance, navigating school options, and understanding how to make the best educational choices.”

Effective July 1, Grinter and his team were to begin work on recruiting members in Memphis and Nashville to help fulfill the mission of CSE.

In the coming weeks, the organization will release more information on its specific priorities for the 2016-2017 school year. To learn more, go to campaignforschoolequity.org.

– Don Wade

County Commission Ends Year With Balance In Grants Fund

Shelby County Commissioners ended the fiscal year Thursday, June 30, with more than $36,000 left in a fund of $1.3 million it set aside a year ago for grants to local nonprofits.

Commissioners approved five grants totaling $18,000 at their special meeting Wednesday, June 29, on the budget for the new fiscal year that starts July 1.

That leaves a balance of $36,750 in the fund, which will carry over into the new fiscal year.

The $1.3 million fund is replenished with the same amount in the new fiscal year – $100,000 to each commissioner to make grants.

All grants proposed must be approved by the full commission.

The approach was a new one for county government after years of debates between commissioners and the county administration about who got selected for the grants. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, at one point, proposed eliminating the grants entirely to tighten the county’s belt financially.

Memphis City Council members considered a similar grant fund, but the council ultimately rejected the idea.

– Bill Dries

BancorpSouth to Pay $10.6M To Settle Lending Complaint

Two federal agencies – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Justice – have brought an action against BancorpSouth requiring it to pay $10.6 million to address discriminatory mortgage lending practices.

The complaint filed by the CFPB and DOJ alleges that BancorpSouth engaged in discriminatory practices that harmed African-Americans and other minorities and included illegally redlining in Memphis; denying certain African-Americans mortgage loans more often than similarly situated non-Hispanic white applicants; charging African-American customers for certain mortgage loans more than non-Hispanic white borrowers with similar loan qualifications; and implementing an explicitly discriminatory loan denial policy.

If the proposed consent order is approved by a court, BancorpSouth will pay $4 million in direct loan subsidies in minority neighborhoods in Memphis; at least $800,000 for community programs, advertising, outreach, and credit repair; $2.78 million to African-American consumers who were unlawfully denied or overcharged for loans; and a $3 million penalty.

BancorpSouth, headquartered in Tupelo, Miss., operates branches in eight states and as of March 31 had total assets of $13.9 billion.

This is the CFPB’s first use of testing – the agency’s version of “mystery shopping” – to support an allegation of discrimination. Among other requirements of the settlement, BancorpSouth must expand its physical presence.

“In addition to a branch that BancorpSouth recently opened in a majority-minority neighborhood in Memphis,” the CFPB says, “BancorpSouth must open one new branch or loan production office in a high-minority neighborhood in Memphis.”

– Andy Meek

First Tennessee Bank Announces Promotions

First Tennessee Bank has promoted veteran Duncan Galbreath and Jake Adams to be manager of commercial banking in Memphis and business banking manager for the Mid-South region, respectively.

During his two decades of banking experience, Galbreath has worked as a credit analyst, business banking relationship manager and commercial relationship manager. Previously, he served as manager of the business banking division.

Adams began his banking career as a credit analyst. He has been a relationship manager in business banking for nearly a decade and is a participant of First Tennessee’s Emerging Leaders Program.

– Andy Meek

TDOT Suspends Road Work Fourth of July Weekend

There’s some good news for motorists who will be driving through the flyover of interstates 40 and 240 in Memphis over the holiday weekend.

The state Transportation Department is shutting down road construction projects for the busy Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Construction-related lane closures will be suspended on interstates and state highways beginning at midnight on Thursday and running through 6 a.m. on Tuesday, TDOT announced.

Suspending roadwork will help travelers reach their destinations safely and with fewer delays, Transportation Commissioner John Schroer said. Some long-term lane closures will remain in place, and increased fines will still apply for speeding in areas where workers are present.

The AAA Auto Club projects that nearly 43 million people will be traveling over the holiday weekend, which would be a new Fourth of July travel record.

TDOT estimates more than 744,000 traveling motorists will be on Tennessee roads during the weekend.

– Associated Press

Arlington Chosen For State Veterans Home

A site in Arlington in Shelby County will be the location of the future West Tennessee State Veterans Home, state officials announced on Wednesday, June 29.

Tennessee Department of Veterans Services officials say the planned facility will include 144 beds and is expected to cost $70 million.

Officials say construction of the project is contingent on the availability of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs State Home Construction Grants Program. Federal funding is required to pay for 65 percent of construction costs, with the remaining 35 percent coming from combined state and local funds.

There are currently Tennessee State Veterans Homes in Murfreesboro, Humboldt, Knoxville and Clarksville.

– Associated Press

E’s 24-Hour Cafe Planned for Whitehaven

Whitehaven is getting an E’s 24-Hour Cafe.

Contractor Dan Walker Associates Inc. recently filed a $226,000 building permit for new construction at 4458 Elvis Presley Blvd. Eric Tushek Enterprises is listed as the building owner. The property formerly housed a 1,000-square-foot Church’s Chicken restaurant.

E’s has three other Memphis locations: 1308 Union Ave., 4969 Park Ave. and 3139 Poplar Ave.

– Madeline Faber

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 56 289 2,908
MORTGAGES 55 226 2,009
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 14 51 326
BUILDING PERMITS 108 1,002 6,703
BANKRUPTCIES 42 248 1,225
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 115 606
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0