VOL. 9 | NO. 20 | Saturday, May 14, 2016
Memphis Football Attendance No. 2 in Growth
The University of Memphis football team experienced the second-largest growth in average attendance from 2014 to 2015, according to a report of the National Football Foundation. Memphis saw an increase of 9,951 people per game in its average attendance numbers, second only to Temple’s increase of 20,789 during that period..
In 2014, Memphis averaged 33,851 fans for its six home games at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. In six games in 2015, the Tigers’ average attendance jumped to 43,802.
In addition, Memphis’ appearance in the Birmingham Bowl helped the bowl game with its biggest increase in attendance, drawing 59,430 fans to the contest compared with 30,083 in attendance the year prior, a 98 percent increase. The bowl was one of 15 that drew more than 50,000 people.
Memphis will play seven home games for the upcoming 2016 season, head coach Mike Norvell’s first. The Tigers open with Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 3. The Tigers also will have seven home games in 2017 and 2018.
Season tickets for Memphis football start at $100 for all seven home games. New for 2016 will be premium sideline seating on both sides of the stadium, featuring wider chair-back seats with arm rests. Information on purchasing season tickets is available at GoTigersGoTix.com or by calling the ticket office at 901-678-2331.
– Don Wade
Local Rite Aid Pharmacies Offering New Vaccines
In response to the outbreak of measles cases in the Memphis-area, Rite Aid pharmacies are offering to administer the MMR vaccine, which offers protection against measles, mumps and rubella, at all Memphis-area stores to anyone age 3 and above.
The vaccine can also be ordered upon request at other Rite Aid pharmacies in Tennessee and
in Kentucky and Mississippi.
No appointment is necessary to get the vaccine, administered during pharmacy hours.
– Andy Meek
Mike Conley Finalist For Community Assist Award
The NBA today announced the finalists for the 2015-16 season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award, with Grizzlies guard Mike Conley making his first finalist nomination for the league-wide award.
Conley previously won the monthly NBA Cares Community Assist Award in January for his Jr. NBA work in the Memphis community and his fundraising efforts for Methodist Healthcare Foundation through the Methodist Sickle Cell Center.
The nominees include past monthly winners: Conley, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Zach LaVine, Victor Oladipo, John Wall and three additional nominees, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Damian Lillard. The NBA and presenting sponsor Kaiser Permanente will donate $25,000 to the winner’s charity of choice, with Conley choosing the Methodist Healthcare Foundation.
“It’s a blessing to be able to use my platform to bring more awareness to the local causes that are near and dear to my heart,” Conley said in a statement.
Conley is being considered for the award after a breakout year in his local philanthropic efforts, where he routinely expressed his passion in supporting the health and wellness of Memphis’ youth.
In the 2015-16 season, he stepped up as Ambassador of NBA FIT and Jr. NBA and hosted more than two dozen basketball clinics, and multiple Shoe UP! events where he provided underprivileged youth with Under Armour basketball shoes. Continuing a tradition, he hosted his seventh annual Mike Conley Bowl N’ Bash benefiting Methodist Sickle Cell Center and continued his work as a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ambassador.
Along with an NBA panel of judges, a social media campaign will take place via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram urging Grizz Nation to use #NBACommunityAssist and #MikeConley to help Conley win the top honor.
Fan voting will close on May 18.
– Don Wade
Memphis-Area Tech Firm Acquired
Massachusetts-based SmartBear software has acquired CrossBrowserTesting of Germantown.
SmartBear says the acquisition will help it further accelerate and scale the growing cloud testing platform.
CrossBrowserTesting has more than 200,000 users globally. With more than 5 million tests run so far, CrossBrowserTesting provides a secure, scalable and flexible cloud containing more than 1,500 mobile and desktop browsers in more than 65 operating systems, including iOS, Android and Windows.
CrossBrowserTesting will also continue to operate as a standalone business inside SmartBear.
All CrossBrowserTesting employees, including co-founders Ken Hamric, Tony Colston and Mike Bowen, have joined SmartBear to continue to grow the CrossBrowserTesting product and business. The Memphis-area location will continue to serve as the headquarters of CrossBrowserTesting for future expansion.
– Andy Meek
Germantown Medical Office Sells for $1.1 Million
A Germantown medical office has sold for $1.1 million.
Wolf Trail Medical Partners GP sold the property at 7796 Wolf Trail Cove to MHFY LLC in a May 2 warranty deed.
The 10,870-square-foot building was built in 2009, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property. It most recently was appraised at $1 million.
In conjunction with the sale, MHFY LLC signed a $1.6 million mortgage with BancorpSouth Bank.
– Madeline Faber
American Residential Services Acquires Allgood
Memphis-based American Residential Services has acquired the assets of Atlanta-area firm Allgood Plumbing, Electric, Heating & Cooling.
Allgood joins ARS’ network of 65 company-owned, locally managed service locations across 22 states.
“We are very pleased to have Allgood join our family,” said Don Karnes, CEO of ARS. “With this acquisition, ARS expands its presence in Atlanta, which includes our ARS/Universal HVAC operations and our Rescue Rooter plumbing operations.”
– Madeline Faber
Hearst Foundations Awards $100K for U of M Students
The University of Memphis has received a $100,000 grant from The Hearst Foundations for the First Scholars program, which focuses on increasing the graduation rate for first-generation college students.
Nationally, only 36 percent of first-generation students complete a bachelor’s degree within six years of enrollment, compared with 60 percent of their peers whose parents are college graduates.
Students selected to participate in the four-year First Scholars program benefit from peer mentoring, personalized academic and social support, and a $5,000 annual scholarship. The grant from The Hearst Foundations will fund scholarships for 10 new participants for two years.
“First Scholars is a remarkably effective program that addresses a critical need at the university,” said U of M president M. David Rudd in a statement. “Students who are the first in their family to attend college face numerous obstacles to success, and often lack the experience and support they need to overcome those obstacles.”
Forty-two percent of full-time undergraduates at the University of Memphis are first-generation, compared with about 20 percent of full-time undergraduates nationally at four-year institutions. “The data show that students who participate in First Scholars are being provided with the tools they need to achieve at a high level and earn their degrees,” added Rudd. “The Hearst Foundations commitment will ensure that more students find success.”
Launched with a grant from the Suder Foundation, the First Scholars program has reached a landmark year with the first cohort of participants who arrived on campus in fall 2012 set to graduate in 2016. The program has demonstrated success with a four-year graduation rate of 42 percent, which is more than three times the rate for all first-generation students at the U of M, and an overall retention rate of 86 percent. The cumulative GPA for all participants is 3.19.
– Daily News staff
Kroger Delta Division Hiring Nearly 500
Kroger Delta Division is interviewing for almost 500 positions later this week.
Interviews will be held Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 470 positions at all 104 stores in the division, which encompasses Memphis. Prospective employees must first complete an application, which is available online at jobs.kroger.com, and business attire is recommended for the interviews which will take place at all area stores.
Available opportunities include positions in the floral, deli, produce and meat departments, as well as cashiers, baggers and day and night stock crew. In certain stores, wine and ClickList opportunities also will be available.
– Andy Meek
Volunteers Needed For Crossroads Hospice
Crossroads Hospice has put out the call for volunteers to provide comfort and companionship to terminally ill patients and their families in their homes as well as assisted-living and nursing facilities.
Volunteers also can help Crossroads staff in the office, including planning a “gift of a day,” which asks a patient to describe a perfect day and then makes it a reality.
Students who are 16 years or older and are interested in hospice volunteering can donate as little as 45 minutes a week, which can help them fulfill community service hour requirements while building social skills and self-confidence.
Volunteers share their favorite activities, such as reading, card games, playing music, or arts and crafts. They can bring their pets to visit patients, or run errands and provide respite for family members.
“We call our volunteers ‘ultimate givers’ because they selflessly give extra love and comfort to terminally ill patients and their families,” volunteer coordinator Joycelyn Robinson said in a statement.
For more information or to sign up as an “Ultimate Giver,” contact Robinson or Angela Arnold at 816-333-9200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Before becoming a Crossroads Hospice “Ultimate Giver,” participants must complete an application, TB skin test, and training session led by members of the Crossroads team. Potential volunteers must wait a minimum of one year after the death of an immediate family member or loved one before applying.
The mission of Crossroads Hospice is to provide unique, comprehensive and compassionate hospice services to persons experiencing a life-limiting illness and to their caregivers. Visitcrossroadshospice.com for more information.
– Don Wade
Pieces of Schools Budget Begin to Fall Into Place
Shelby County Commissioners on Monday, May 9, approved $33 million in capital funding among the county’s seven public school systems for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.
Shelby County Schools’ share of the funding, based on average daily attendance, is 78 percent, or $26 million. That’s what SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson requested last month of the commission.
The funding in the current fiscal year is one of a series of moves, along with possibly closing two high schools and an adult education center next academic year, designed to close an estimated $86 million budget funding gap.
SCS is still preparing its budget proposal for the commission’s approval. What happens between now and when it submits its budget will determine how much it will ask for from county government.
The school system has an estimated $476.4 million in critical deferred maintenance needs at school buildings over the next five fiscal years.
The list is prioritized as requested by the commission as it explores funding for schools.
The list isn’t something the school system is seeking full funding of, but a list to choose from on a case-by-case basis.
The county budget proposal being considered by the commission also includes an additional $16 million from the county wheel tax that would go toward school system renovations and repairs.
The schools already get the other half – $16 million – of wheel tax revenue for operations.
SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson has said the school system could tap into some reserve funds but doesn’t want to get near the $36 million it has used in the current fiscal year to close the gap between revenue and expenditures.
– Bill Dries
Tubby Smith Finalizes Tigers Coaching Staff
Tubby Smith has completed his first University of Memphis coaching staff with the additions of former Texas Tech staffers Pooh Williamson, Joe Esposito, Saul Smith (Tubby’s son) and Zo Goodson.
“I think we put together a staff that I am familiar with that brings continuity and consistency to help us recruit the type of players that are going to fit our system and our style,” Smith said.
Williamson, Esposito and Smith will be assistant coaches with the Tigers, while Goodson will be the director of basketball operations. Keelon Lawson will remain on staff as the director of player development.
Smith on Williamson: “Played for me at Tulsa, was one of the best point guards I have ever coached. He has excellent knowledge of the game and has recruited some outstanding players.”
Smith on Esposito: “Worked this state before at Tennessee State, has been with me for nine years. He has excellent skills in coaching and has that ‘New York flavor.’ He will help us in a lot of ways. ... I don’t think there is a place he hasn’t been to recruit.”
Tubby Smith on son Saul Smith: “Worked in this state at Tennessee Tech. We have brought in guys that had connections to this region. Saul played on the national championship team at Kentucky in 1998, and is a knowledgeable coach who has excellent contacts.”
Smith on Goodson: “Been with me for 12-plus years now, in multiple capacities, starting as a manager. He is going to be a good coach someday, and I know his dream is to be a full-time coach. He will be in charge of day-to-day operations.”
Smith on Lawson: “In Keelon we have an experienced guy who knows this city. He grew up here, and has coached here at multiple levels.”
– Don Wade
Agricenter Generates $524M For Shelby County Economy
Agricenter International generated 1.3 million visitors in 2015, producing an overall economic impact of $524 million, according to a study announced Wednesday, May 11.
That dollar amount reflects the value of all goods and services produced within the Shelby County economy as a result of Agricenter International and the business entities operating as tenants, combined with visitor spending from events, according to the 2015 Economic Impact Study conducted in March by Younger Associates.
John Charles Wilson, president of Agricenter, said that amount of economic impact on the region “is second only to the tourism draw of Beale Street.”
In a release, John Butler, president-elect of Agricenter, said the report shows the value of the nonprofit and its tenants.
The Agricenter and its related operations support 2,517 jobs in Shelby County. This figure includes jobs directly employed by Agricenter and its tenant operations, as well as indirect jobs that exist elsewhere in Shelby County in support of such operations. These indirect jobs are employed in a broad range of activities such as manufacturing, farm technology development, crop production, warehousing, customs brokerage, maintenance services, office suppliers, hotels, food services and other retail.
Total local taxes generated from operations, visitor spending and wages paid to direct and indirect jobs are estimated to be $4.7 million annually.
Visit agricenter.org/documents to download a copy of the report.
– Daily News staff
Facing History Announces Memphis Upstanders
The Memphis chapter of Facing History and Ourselves has named the people and groups that will be memorialized on its “Upstanders Mural,” a public art project honoring those who chose to take positive action in the face of injustice.
The mural, which will cover one wall of the organization’s office complex at 115 Huling Ave., was commissioned in partnership with the UrbanArt Commission, Downtown Memphis Commission and National Civil Rights Museum.
Nominations were accepted from the community and vetted by a committee of local historians, civil rights leaders, and South Main stakeholders.
The subjects for the mural will be:
• Nina Katz (1924-2014): “Victimhood Didn’t Define Her”
• Rev. Billy Kyles (1934-2016): “Hold on to Your Dreams”
• Lucy Tibbs (1860s): “Spoke the Truth at Great Personal Risk”
• Maxine Smith (1929-2013) & Vasco Smith (1930-2009): “Even Great Leaders Have to Protect Their Hope”
• Dr. Sheldon Korones (1924-2013): “Protecting the Most Vulnerable”
• Bishop Carroll Dozier (1911-1985): “Love the Stranger”
• Ida B. Wells (1862-1931): “Challenging Racist Ideologies”
• Charl Ormond Williams (1885-1969): “Equality in Schools and in the Voting Booth”
• Yellow Fever Upstanders (1878): “Compassion in Times of Crisis”
Sanitation Strike Upstanders:
• T.O. Jones (1924-1989): “Power in Identity”
• John T. Fisher (1934-2011): “Going Against the Status Quo”
• Rabbi James A Wax (1912-1989): “Building Bridges”
“Throughout the selection phase of the Upstanders Mural project, the most important goal to us was to think deeply about how we are talking about these stories – and to understand why we chose the stories we did,” said Marti Tippens Murphy, executive director of FHAO’s Memphis chapter, in a statement.
Facing History and the UrbanArt Commission are seeking an artist to design and produce the mural, which is scheduled to be complete in September. Visit info.facinghistory.org/upstandersmural for more details on each upstander, along with information for artists interested in creating the mural.
– Daily News staff
Poplar Place Apartments Sell for $15.3 Million
The 220-unit Poplar Place apartments in East Memphis have sold for $15.3 million, or $69,409 per unit.
Brooklyn-based Poplar Place TN Townhomes LLC purchased the complex in a May 6 warranty deed from Poplar Place Associates LLC, a company of Newton Square, Penn.-based GMH Capital Partners LP. The deed lists 1669 Randolph Place as the real property address.
According to the Shelby County Assessor, the complex was built in 1975 and totals 330,631 square feet. It most recently was appraised at $8.8 million.
– Madeline Faber
MMIWorks Hires Youth Program Manager
The Memphis Music Initiative has hired Brittney Boyd Bullock as youth program manager for its new MMIWorks initiative.
In her new role with Memphis Music Initiative, Bullock will lead the development and implementation of MMIWorks, a new youth engagement program focused on creating summer internship and professional development opportunities for young people around music and the arts.
Bullock has worked as a project manager for the UrbanArt Commission and as the partnerships and community engagement manager for Crosstown Concourse and Crosstown Arts, working on arts-inspired initiatives as well as projects that use the arts as a tool for social change.
– Andy Meek
Cordova Wingate Sells for $6 Million
A Cordova hotel has sold for $6 million.
Amber Hospitality LLC purchased the Wingate by Wyndham hotel from Tirupati LP in a May 5 warranty deed. The three-story hotel, built in 1998 at 2270 North Germantown Parkway, bears 55,932 square feet, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property. It most recently was appraised at $2.6 million.
In conjunction with the sale, Amber Hospitality signed a $4.6 million mortgage for the property with First Capital Bank. The loan matures May 5, 2021.
– Madeline Faber
Tenn. General Fund Surplus Reaches $700M in April
Tennessee general fund tax collections are beating projections by nearly $700 million through the first nine months of the budget year.
The Legislature adjourned last month without taking most of the surplus tax collections into account, meaning that the bulk of the money will not be appropriated until lawmakers return next year.
Collections in April exceeded estimates by $166 million on the strength of an 8.5 percent increase in sales tax collections compared with the same month last year. Corporate taxes came in at $82 million more than expected.
The state’s Hall tax on income from stocks and bonds was $36 million above the budgeted estimate. Lawmakers passed a bill this year calling for the Hall tax to be phased out by 2022.
– The Associated Press
Gibbons Leaving Haslam Administration Cabinet
Tennessee Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons of Memphis is leaving the post at the end of the summer, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced on May 11.
When Gibbons took the post in 2011 as Haslam took office, he retained his position as a leader of Operation: Safe Community, the anti-crime strategy adopted by local law enforcement leaders in 2006 that relies on massing police in statistical crime hot spots.
Gibbons is a former Shelby County District Attorney General, Memphis City Council member and Shelby County commissioner. His resignation is effective Aug. 31.
– Bill Dries
Rhodes College Graduates Largest Class in History
Rhodes College will graduate its largest class with a Friday, May 13 baccalaureate program on campus followed by a commencement on Saturday.
The Rhodes Class of 2016 is 515 students from 46 states and 10 countries.
The Rhodes tradition is to have a baccalaureate speaker instead of a commencement speaker. The speaker for the baccalaureate service is Diana Chapman Walsh, president emerita of Wellesley College in Massachusetts.
Both programs will be streamed live from the Rhodes website, www.rhodes.edu.
– Bill Dries
WIN Launches Data-Driven Initiative
Workforce Investment Network has launched a new initiative that will use a data-driven approach to identifying a skilled workforce based on local industry needs.
The ACT Work Ready Communities initiative will use the college admissions ACT test to certify potential employees as “work ready,” according to a release from WIN.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell announced the initiative at a Monday, May 9, press conference.
– Madeline Faber
U of M Women’s Basketball Staff to Host June Camps
University of Memphis women’s basketball coach Melissa McFerrin will be offering her Hoops School at Memphis in June.
McFerrin, who will be entering her ninth season in 2016-17, and her staff are offering three basketball instruction sessions: Team Camp on June 10, Elite Camp on June 11 and Day Camp from June 20-23.
Registration is available online at www.coachmcferrin.com. For questions on registration and further camp details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 901-678-4120.
Also, McFerrin has hired Danielle O’Banion as associate head coach. O’Banion was on McFerrin’s Memphis staff from 2008-12 before becoming the women’s head coach at Kent State.
– Don Wade
Ikea Memphis to Install State’s Largest Solar Array
Ikea’s Memphis location will have the largest rooftop solar array in Tennessee, the Swedish furniture retailer announced May 12.
The 250,675-square-foot solar array will produce approximately 2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually for the store. The 1.46-megawatt system, built with 4,424 solar panels, will harness enough energy to provide electricity for 205 homes yearly.
The Memphis addition marks the 44th solar project for Ikea in the U.S. and furthers Ikea’s goal to fulfill all its energy needs through renewable systems by 2020.
Ikea has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns approximately 300 wind turbines, including 104 in the U.S.
It has allocated $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020.
Ikea Memphis will include other energy-efficient measures such as restrooms that only have hand dryers and low-flow and motion-sensor fixtures; the recycling of cardboard, glass, paper, plastic, wood and metal; chargeable forklifts; and the use of LED lighting.
Skylights in the store’s warehouse will reduce the amount of lighting and heating necessary, and only low-emission paints will be used.
Ikea will open its 271,000-square-foot Memphis store in fall 2016 on 35 acres at Interstate 40 and Germantown Parkway.
Atlanta-based Hannah Solar will develop, design and install Ikea Memphis’ solar panel. Construction will begin over the summer.
– Madeline Faber
Planned Parenthood Launches Speaker Series
Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis Region will kick off a new series of events next week. Each event in the Beers with Pioneers series will feature an icon of the reproductive justice and women rights movement in conversation with one of her current contemporaries.
The first event on May 17 will feature Jocie Wurzburg and Cara McLane and will be moderated by Planned Parenthood board member Tami Sawyer.
Wurzberg founded the Memphis Chapter of the Panel of American Women, an organization that worked to improve race relations in Memphis. Her efforts with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission helped pass the Tennessee Human Rights Act, the state’s first anti-discriminiation law covering employment, housing and public accomodations.
In 1984, she opened Memphis’ first mediation firm and names Shelby County Government and the U.S. Postal Service among her current clients.
McLane is co-founder of Lady Parts Justice, an organization that uses humor to educate people about the political process and threats to women’s rights. She is active within PPGMR and leads a community action team. Last year, McLane was named one of PPGMR’s volunteers of the year.
The free event kicks off at 6 p.m. at Amurica, 410 N. Cleveland. The remaining Beer with Pioneers presentations will be held on June 24, July 24 and Aug. 23.
- Madeline Faber
Baptist Taps CEO For Crittenden County Hospital
Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. has named Brian Welton as CEO and administrator of the hospital the system is building in Crittenden County.
Welton came to Baptist as a Frank S. Groner Administrative Fellow. After completing his fellowship, he served as an assistant administrator at Baptist Golden Triangle for a year and a half. From there, he became an operations director for Baptist Medical Group, where he spent a year and a half managing physician offices in Columbus, Miss., and Memphis.
He will continue in his current role with Baptist Medical Group as he transitions to administrator closer to the completion of the new Crittenden County hospital.
Construction crews will break ground on the $25 million Crittenden County hospital later this year that Baptist will build and operate. The hospital is expected to open in early 2018.
– Andy Meek
Postal Carrier Sentenced To 5 Years on Drug Charges
A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier has been sentenced for conspiring to distribute oxycodone and marijuana through the mail, according to Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
Frederick Burton, 52, of Memphis, had been employed as a mail carrier since 2001.
According to prosecutors, between late 2013 and the spring of 2014 Burton arranged with the leaders of a drug trafficking organization to have express mail packages containing controlled substances mailed to addresses on his mail route. In exchange for cash, Burton would divert those packages to members of the drug trafficking organization.
Law enforcement investigators captured surveillance more than two dozen times which showed Burton diverting packages to people off of his assigned postal route. A conservative estimate revealed that Burton distributed more than 800 kilograms of marijuana and oxycodone, Stanton’s office said.
In February, Burton pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute oxycodone, and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute marijuana.
Burton was sentenced to five years in prison.
– Daily News staff
Shelby Farms Park Kids Camps Start in June
Shelby Farms Park will off its nature camp (grades K-2) and adventure camp (grades 3-6) to connect kids to the park through high-adventure fun and hands-on learning. Activities include canoeing, archery lessons, environmental education and more.
The first nature camp runs June 13-17 and the second from June 27-July 1. The first adventure camp is June 6-10 and the second June 20-24.
Equestrian camps (grades 1-7) are from June 6-10, June 13-17, June 20-24 and June 27-July 1.
Park members get a discount on all camps.
Go to http://www.shelbyfarmspark.org/camps for more information about times and pricing or to register.
– Don Wade