VOL. 131 | NO. 146 | Friday, July 22, 2016
Tennessee Joins Effort To Block Anthem-Cigna Merger
The state of Tennessee is one of the 11 states that have joined with the U.S. Department of Justice to block the merger of health insurance giants Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp.
“In what instance would Tennesseans want four instead of five competitors from which to choose insurance products or negotiate services?” Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery asked rhetorically in a written statement. “That is the question raised by the merger, whether one is a national employer comparing benefits and premiums, a health care provider like a hospital or physician practice, or an individual selecting a policy on an exchange. There are too many unanswered questions and too much at stake in reducing competition for Tennessee to support this merger.”
The lawsuit contesting the merger argues it would reduce competition in the industry for millions of consumers and threaten competition among commercial insurers purchasing health care services from health care providers.
– Bill Dries
Crosstown High Advances In Grant Competition
The proposal for a Crosstown High School has advanced in the national competition for one of five $10 million grants from the XQ Super School Project.
The XQ Institute is an education reform group specifically working on new models for American high schools. The institute’s supporters include Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs.
The organizers of Crosstown High, to be part of the Crosstown Concourse development, were among 700 applicants for the grant funding. With Crosstown High’s advancement announced Thursday, July 21, the school is one of 50 teams competing for grants to be announced Aug. 4.
The Crosstown High board is pursuing an open enrollment public school for 500 students in grades 9-12 with some kind of contract agreement with Shelby County Schools that includes a curriculum allied with Christian Brothers University.
The group submitted a charter school application this summer that was turned down by the Shelby County Schools board, with the possibility that the group may reapply and submit that new application to the SCS board for another vote in August.
The school, under that scenario or another, would open in 2017.
– Bill Dries
Soma Intimates Coming To Saddle Creek Center
Soma Intimates will open at the Shops of Saddle Creek later this year.
The women’s intimates and loungewear boutique will occupy a 2,132-square-foot store at Saddle Creek North next to Lucky Brand Jeans, according to a release.
Soma Intimates opened its first boutique in 2004 and now has more than 250 stores. In addition to intimate apparel and loungewear, it sells dresses and fragrances.
“We’re so pleased to add Soma Intimates to the growing list of best-in-class tenants that have chosen Saddle Creek as their primary location in the Memphis metropolitan area,” said Terry Montesi, CEO of Trademark Property Co., the operating partner for Saddle Creek.
American Threads, Sephora and Vom Fass are also set to open at Saddle Creek later this year.
– Madeline Faber
Marc Gasol to Miss Olympics for Spain
The Spanish basketball federation says that center Marc Gasol will miss the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after failing to recover from a broken foot in time.
The federation says “Marc Gasol hasn’t passed the necessary medical tests” and will miss the games.
Gasol has not played since he broke his right foot in February while playing for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Spain won silver medals in men’s basketball at the last two Olympics, losing the finals to the United States.
The 2016 basketball event starts in less than three weeks.
– Associated Press
Airport Business Park To be Sold at Auction
The Airport Business Park, an eight-building office campus, is headed to auction with a starting bid of $2.4 million.
The 235,006-square-foot office park covers 32 acres near Memphis International Airport and the FedEx Express Global Hub.
The property is currently 57 percent occupied with tenants including FedEx and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Located at 3000 Democrat Road, the property consists of seven parcels and two additional pads for development.
Avison Young is teaming up with Ten-X in the live auction to be held Aug. 8-10.
– Madeline Faber
Memphis Attorney Elected President of Association
Memphis trial attorney Thomas Greer was elected president of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association at its annual convention held recently in Florida.
Members also voted to change the name of the organization back to TTLA. It had been operating under the name Tennessee Association for Justice.
Greer replaces Eric Buchanan of Chattanooga, who served as president in 2015-2016.
Since graduating magna cum laude in 2005 from the University of Memphis School of Law, Greer has helped make a difference in the lives of victims of serious personal injury, wrongful death, and professional negligence, according to a TTLA release. He has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Greer is a partner in the Memphis law firm Bailey & Greer.
“Thomas Greer has been an active member in TTLA for over 10 years,” Buchanan, now immediate past president, said in a statement. “He will be a true asset to the association and the citizens of Tennessee. He has dedicated his life to helping others and will do a wonderful job leading the state’s top trial attorneys as president.”
In addition to Greer, the TTLA Executive Committee includes Memphis attorneys Cameron Jehl, vice president of the West region of the state, and Miranda Rhoads, who is parliamentarian.
– Daily News staff
Ioby Launching Campaign For Overton Park Intersection
Ioby (In Our Backyards), a nonprofit civic crowd-resourcing platform, is kicking off its second annual “Trick Out My Trip” campaign in Memphis Monday, July 25, to address transportation challenges.
The effort is to raise public money for everything from rehabbed bus stations to bike-fixing stations to improved crosswalks for citizens. The kickoff takes place at 11 a.m. at the entrance to Overton Park at North Tucker Street and Poplar Avenue.
One of the goals of this campaign is to re-envision the intersection at Tucker and Poplar and the group hopes to raise $16,500.
Ioby will gather the experts who can help navigate regulations around capital improvements; a pool of willing volunteers; the crowdfunding platform to help raise small donations from local residents; and matching grants from TransitCenter, a national foundation improving urban mobility, according to a release.
Among those slated to attend the kickoff at Overton Park are Melissa McMasters and Susannah Barton with the Overton Park Conservancy; bike enthusiast Sara Studdard; Nicole Lacey with the Memphis Area Transit Authority; and Ellen Roberds, Memphis Action Strategist who helps resident leaders plan, fund and implement local change.
All funds raised by Aug. 5 will be matched. Donations through ioby.org/trip will begin being accepted July 25.
– Daily News staff
Memphis Airport Receives $12.4 Million Federal Grant
Congressman Steve Cohen has announced a $12.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to go toward the modernization of the Memphis International’s Airport’s Concourse B as well as improvement of security and the access road.
The Airport Improvement Program grant will fund the initial design phase for modernization of Concourse B after the elimination of Delta Airlines’ hub. The five-year plan includes consolidating all usable gates in Concourse B and mothballing Concourse A for future airline growth. Funds will also go toward the rehabilitation of 300 feet of pavement to improve the existing commercial access road to the airport and various security enhancements required by the Transportation Security Administration.
“Memphis International Airport is a critically important transportation link in the Mid-South region,” Cohen said. “This funding will help the airport continue to make upgrades to serve travelers safely and efficiently for many years to come.”
– Madeline Faber