VOL. 131 | NO. 180 | Thursday, September 8, 2016
City Council Pot Ordinance Passes Its First Reading
The Memphis City Council is one step closer to decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, passing an ordinance on its first of three readings at the body’s Tuesday, Sept. 6, meeting.
Councilman Berlin Boyd is the sponsor of the ordinance, which would allow Memphis police the option of writing a ticket with a $50 fine for possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana. Boyd has amended the ruling to increase fines for multiple offenders and exempt juveniles from its provisions.
In a committee discussion about the ordinance, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said the ordinance wouldn’t have much bearing on Memphis law enforcement. She said that her office prosecuted only 300 cases last year that were solely related to marijuana. Most cases are related to other charges, like illegal gun possession, she said.
In other business, Wiseacre Brewing Co.’s bid to lease the Mid-South Coliseum became official when the council approved the minutes from its Aug. 23 session.
Council members approved Wiseacre’s proposed Coliseum lease two weeks ago. The agreement begins with a four- to six-month due diligence period in which Wiseacre will determine whether locating a brewery in the Coliseum is feasible. Wiseacre puts down a refundable $25,000 deposit during that time. If the idea is feasible, the agreement moves to a 30-year lease at $25,000 a month. Under the deal, the city also will get 30 percent of any sublease payments above $25,000 from other tenants brought in by Wiseacre.
The brewery still has 180 days to back out of the deal as part of the due diligence period.
Just before formally accepting Wiseacre’s lease Tuesday, the council opened the floor to any alternate proposals in an executive session. The only one came from Brian Saulsberry with The DSG Group, who presented an updated version of the plan he pitched at the Aug. 23 meeting.
Saulsberry’s original proposal, which called for turning the Coliseum into a sporting and entertainment arena and youth development center, was met with skepticism from council members, who were unimpressed by his financial credentials and questioned the feasibility of the plan.
In Tuesday’s presentation, Saulsberry toned down his projections for revenue generated by bowling and presented a letter of intent from Baltimore-based Allied Athletic Group LLC promising to loan Saulsberry $25 million for the project. Still, council members doubted that the redevelopment project would work.
“How can you do all of these things and then still bring in a profit for your business and the people that are part of your group?” councilwoman Janis Fullilove said at Tuesday’s meeting.
– Madeline Faber
Yancy to Retire From MMBC Continuum
One of the most influential advocates for minority businesses in Memphis is retiring from that economic development role.
Luke Yancy III, who has been president and CEO of the Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum for 16 years, will retire in September 2017 to pursue other interests, according to the MMBC Continuum board of directors.
Yancy has served as the leader of the nonprofit economic development organization since July 2000. The board plans to hire a firm to do a national search for Yancy’s replacement.
“We hate to see Luke go, but respect his decision to pursue other personal and professional interests,” board chairman Fred L. Davis said in a release. “The organization has experienced tremendous growth under his visionary leadership.”
During Yancy’s tenure, the MMBC Continuum transitioned from a certification-focused organization to a multifaceted entity focused on growing scalable minority- and women-owned businesses that have the greatest opportunity of boosting the economy and creating jobs. The number of scalable minority employer firms with multimillion-dollar contracts grew from zero to more than 100 firms while Yancy was leading the organization. Since 2008, minority businesses have been conservatively awarded more than $1.7 billion in contract awards through programs of the agency.
Training and development services have grown and a Working Capital Loan Fund for certified M/WBEs was created under Yancy’s leadership. He has forged local, regional, national and global strategic partnerships to benefit the agency and its members, including the acquisition of one of 32 Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Centers under the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Yancy, a former commercial banker, retired as president of AmSouth Bank’s West Region prior to joining the MMBC Continuum.
– Daily News staff
Crosstown High Delays Opening, Seeks Leaders
Crosstown High School organizers are looking for a principal and an executive director to lead the school when it opens in August 2018.
The search for those leaders comes after the proposed school’s second application to operate as a charter school was approved by the Shelby County Schools board on Aug. 23.
Those organizing the new school hoped Crosstown High would open in the fall of 2017, but the timetable has changed, according to Meg Crosby, chair of the Crosstown High board of directors’ search committee.
“This extra year will allow us time to recruit outstanding leaders and teachers, continue to learn from successful, innovative high schools throughout the country, finish designing and building a 21st-century learning space, establish meaningful partnerships with businesses and nonprofits inside and outside Crosstown Concourse, and continue to solicit the input of community members to ensure that XTH is the school that our students need,” Crosby said in a release.
The high school plans to open with approximately 125 ninth-grade students.
In addition to a principal and executive director – the job descriptions can be found at crosstownhigh.org/xth-help-wanted – Crosby said Crosstown High leaders have been encouraged by inquiries from teachers who may be interested in teaching there.
– Daily News staff
Saddle Creek Adding Trio of New Tenants
Three new tenants have been announced for the Saddle Creek shopping center in Germantown. Allen Edmonds, a manufacturer of men’s footwear and accessories, will open late this year. The store will be located between Indigo and Brooks Brothers in Saddle Creek South.
Southern Avenue Co., a home interiors store, will also open late this year. The 2,000-square-foot store will be located in Saddle Creek South next to Lily Rain. The store will feature a large gift selection and a wedding registry.
Victoria’s Secret will open in an 8,060-square-foot store in early 2017. The lingerie and beauty provider has three other Memphis-area stores, at Carriage Crossing, Wolfchase Galleria and the Oak Court Mall.
– Madeline Faber
Grizzlies to Stay Home For Training Camp
The Memphis Grizzlies will remain in the Bluff City for their preseason training camp from Sept. 27 through Oct. 2.
This marks the 10th time since relocating from Vancouver in 2001 that the Grizzlies have held their training camp in Memphis. The team also has hosted camp in Barcelona, Spain (2003), Malaga, Spain (2007), Birmingham, Ala. (2009), Nashville (2013), San Diego (2014) and Santa Barbara, Calif. (2015).
On Oct. 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Grizzlies will host a Blue White Scrimmage in place of the annual open practice at FedExForum. This full-team scrimmage will offer a first look at newcomers Chandler Parsons, 2016 draftees Wade Baldwin IV and Deyonta Davis, plus fan favorites Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen. Led by new head coach David Fizdale, the scrimmage will also include entertainment by the Grizz Girls, Claw Crew and more, plus fan giveaways.
The scrimmage is free to the public, and parking is available in the Toyota parking garage. Fans in attendance will receive a voucher for two complimentary tickets to a Grizzlies 2016-17 preseason matchup.
In addition, the Grizzlies Foundation will make a donation on behalf of scrimmage attendees to the Police Athletic League in support of its community-based youth programming.
Coming off a franchise-record sixth consecutive playoff appearance, the Grizzlies will tip off the 2016-17 regular season hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at FedExForum. The team’s six-game preseason slate tips off on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. against the Orlando Magic at FedExForum, followed by two more home preseason contests against the Atlanta Hawks (Oct. 6) and Philadelphia 76ers (Oct. 11).
– Don Wade