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VOL. 10 | NO. 14 | Saturday, April 1, 2017

Daily Digest

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Malco Moving Forward With Downtown Theater

Malco Theatre’s multimillion-dollar Downtown movie theater has taken another step toward completion.

A $5 million building permit application for the foundation of a new seven-screen movie theater was filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement.

The Malco project will be located at 45 E. G.E. Patterson Ave., at the southeast corner of Front Street. It is part of the greater $55 million redevelopment of Central Station, which includes a boutique hotel, apartments, restaurants, retail and significant infrastructure and landscaping improvements to the surrounding South Main area spearheaded by Henry Turley Co. and Community Capital.

The iconic Powerhouse building, which was built more than 100 years ago to provide steam and electrical energy to Central Station, will be converted into a lobby and concessions area for the new theater. Vertical marquee signs are planned to light up the sides of the new building.

The $9 million theater will be a new product type for Malco, with a rooftop screen and lounge, and a two-story movie screen with balcony seating.

In August, the “high-impact” project was awarded a $125,000 grant by the Center City Development Corp. – an amount that was almost double the $65,500 Ghost River Brewing Co. was awarded for its new taproom, which was the largest grant the CCDC had approved prior to that point.

“It will restore the Powerhouse, which is one of the things, we being Downtown architects, have always wanted to see done,” Tony Bologna, whose firm, Bologna Consultants, is handling the project, told the Daily News at that time. “It’s always come up short to do it as a standalone building because it’s too small.”

– Patrick Lantrip

People Lists St. Jude Among ‘50 Companies That Care’

People magazine has named St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as one of its “50 Companies That Care.”

The ranking highlights U.S. companies with 1,000 or more employees that succeed in business while demonstrating respect, compassion and concern for their communities, employees and the environment.

With a ranking of No. 7, St. Jude is the only Memphis organization, and one of two Tennessee-based organizations to be included. Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners came in at No. 20.

The list is based on nearly 370,000 employees’ responses to survey questions, which asked them to rate how their companies treat them on a day-to-day basis, along with personal stories about the difference their workplaces have made in their lives and communities. Other factors included the generosity of an organization’s benefits, financial donations and volunteerism.

The inclusion of St. Jude in the “50 Companies That Care” ranking follows the hospital’s seventh consecutive year being selected for Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list.

– Daily News staff

MATA Route Changes, Additions Start Sunday

A total of 28 changes in Memphis Area Transit Authority routes and service levels, including three new routes, take effect Sunday, April 2.

The transit authority approved the changes and additions earlier this year. They represent an estimated $500,000 worth of added service, according to MATA’s figures.

The new routes include weekday and Saturday service to the Ikea store in Cordova and making permanent weekend service to and from Shelby Farms Park and Agricenter International.

There is also a Memphis International Airport shuttle seven days a week. The shuttle will operate between the airport and the American Way Transit Center, ending service between the airport and the Airways Transit Center at Brooks Road and Airways Boulevard.

MATA will also end Saturday service to and from Northaven due to low ridership.

The remaining changes are modified trip times and a few route changes.

Full details of all of the service changes can be found at memphisdailynews.com.

– Bill Dries

Section of Interstate 55 Closing Over Weekend

A section of Interstate 55 where an abandoned Union Pacific Railroad bridge crosses over the interstate will be closed starting Friday, March 31, at 7 p.m. until Monday at 6 a.m.

The closing is to remove the section of rail bridge.

During the closing, I-55 northbound traffic will be detoured at the I-55/I-240 junction. Southbound interstate traffic will be detoured at the Interstate 40/I-55 junction.

I-55 southbound local traffic will detour at Exit 11, which is the West McLemore Avenue/Presidents Island exit.

Northbound local traffic on I-55 will use Exit 10, the South Parkway West exit.

– Bill Dries

Evolve Bank & Trust Announces New CFO

Memphis-based Evolve Bank & Trust has named Mark Mosteller as its new executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Mosteller has been with the bank since May 2015 and has been leading the company’s finance and accounting group. He has more than 25 years of experience in leading finance and accounting organizations, and over the course of his career has served as the CFO of GTx Inc., the COO of Union Planters Mortgage and was audit senior manager for Ernst & Young LLP.Evolve currently operates three bank loan production offices and four full-service retail bank branches in Arkansas and Tennessee and has more than 30 mortgage production offices across the country.

– Andy Meek

FedEx Express Hosting Job Fair

FedEx Express will host a job fair Saturday, April 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2874 Business Park Drive, Building D.

The company said 1,000 permanent part-time positions are available.

Hourly rates start at $12.62 per hour with a minimum of 17.5 hours per week guaranteed, plus medical, vision and dental benefits, tuition assistance and opportunities for growth within the company.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, be able to lift 75 pounds, and are subject to a criminal background check and drug test.

There are no minimum education requirements.

– Patrick Lantrip

Feast on the Farm Set June 10 at Agricenter

Agricenter International’s Feast on the Farm will be held from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on June 10 at Agricenter’s Expo Center.

All proceeds from the event will support Agricenter International, which is a nonprofit dedicated to agricultural research, education and conservation and has educated tens of thousands of students.

The evening will feature food prepared by some of the area’s finest chefs. There will also be live and silent auctions, musical entertainment, dancing and more.

VIP tables of eight are $1,500 and come with preferred event seating, wine at the table, and valet parking.

Individual tickets are $125 and are open seating.

Visit agricenter.org/feast for more information or to purchase tickets.

– Don Wade

Blends Donut Cafe Opens in Schilling Farms

Blends Donut Café has opened as the new 1,200-square-foot corner retail tenant in Boyle Investment Co.’s multifamily community, The Carrington at Schilling Farms in Collierville.

The new donut shop, which specializes in cake-style donuts decorated to replicate popular desserts and flavor combinations, is located at 914 Carrington Oak Lane, near the northeast corner of East Winchester and Schilling boulevards.

More information on Blends can be found at blendsdonutcafe.com.

– Patrick Lantrip

Memphis Raceway Hosting Super Chevy Show

The all-American original automotive tour returns to Memphis April 7-9 for the 31st annual Super Chevy Show. The event will bring together the largest collection of Chevrolet vehicles in one place as part of a tour that has grown to include eight markets across the U.S.

The kick-off event of the series at Memphis International Raceway, located at 5500 Victory Lane in Millington, will feature drag racing with multiple classes and cash purses, a professionally judged car show with multiple payout levels, a non-judged “Show ‘n’ Shine,” the possibility of participant vehicles being featured in Super Chevy Magazine, an automotive swap meet, a Pro Show with jet cars and wheelstanders, and more.

Gates open at 8 a.m. all three days for participants, vendors and spectators. Pricing for participants ranges from $20 to $65 and vary by event, day and location.

One-day admission for spectators is $20 for adults on Friday or Sunday, $25 for adults on Saturday, $5 for children 6-12 any day and free for children 5 and under. The cost for three-day passes is $40 for adults and $15 for children 6-12 years. Complete details on pricing, event schedule, special features and more are available at www.superchevy.com/show or www.racemir.com.

– Don Wade

Orpheum Broadway Series Tickets on Sale Monday

The Orpheum Theatre begins selling season ticket packages for its 2017-2018 Broadway season Monday, April 3.

The season includes “The King and I,” “An American in Paris,” “Finding Neverland,” “The Color Purple” and “Something Rotten.” In addition, return engagements of “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Wicked” are a special option.

Subscribers to the 2017-2018 season also get first shot to secure tickets for “Hamilton” in the 2018-2019 Orpheum Broadway series.

The subscriptions start at $129 with a 20 percent savings on a five-show package compared to what it costs to buy tickets individually.

Subscription perks include prepaid parking, a ticket exchange and resale privileges.

Season tickets are available for purchase online at the official Orpheum Theatre website, orpheum-memphis.com, by phone at 901-525-3000 and at the Orpheum Box Office, 203 S. Main St.

“We anticipate seeing a healthy number of new subscribers this season, so we encourage everyone to send in their orders early for the best seats,” said Brett Batterson, president and CEO of the Orpheum Theatre Group.

– Bill Dries

White Station Senior Wins $10,000 Scholarship

Megan Cox, a senior from White Station High School, is set to follow in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest creative leaders, including Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon and Zac Posen.

Cox has been named a national Portfolio Gold medalist in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards – the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition and scholarship program for creative teens – and has been awarded a $10,000 cash scholarship.

Her winning art portfolio portrays the distortion water causes in everyday life; she used water to alter images she has created out of charcoal.

This year, the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which administers the awards, received more than 330,000 submissions from students in grades 7-12 across the country. Cox is one of 16 students nationwide to receive a Portfolio Gold Medal, which is the program’s highest honor and only available to graduating seniors.

She will be recognized onstage at Carnegie Hall during an awards ceremony in New York this June and her art will also be featured in a special exhibition at The New School’s Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery also in New York City, opening June 8.

– Don Wade

Tenn. Justice Center Seeks ‘Mother of Year’ Candidates

The Tennessee Justice Center is accepting nominations for its ninth annual “Mother of the Year” contest, which honors moms, foster moms and grandmothers from across the state who work hard and advocate for their children’s health care.

Community members can nominate their own mother, a neighbor, friend or other mother they know. Children ages 3 to 9 can submit a picture showing why their nominee is their “health care hero,” while anyone older than 10 can submit an essay of 300 words or less explaining the same thing.

“Our annual ‘Mother of the Year’ recognition acknowledges the struggles, sacrifices and devotion of mothers across Tennessee,” said Michele Johnson, executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center, a Nashville-based nonprofit public interest law and advocacy firm. “These women are inspiring examples of how Tennessee parents bravely persist and overcome obstacles to obtain care that their children need and should receive.”

Individuals recognized as Mothers of the Year will receive a framed certificate and appear on the Tennessee Justice Center’s website and blog.

Nominations must be received by April 7 and should include a photo of the child and their nominee with the nominee’s name, the child’s name, phone number and address. Submissions can be mailed to Tennessee Justice Center, 211 7th Ave N., #100, Nashville, TN 37219, or emailed to josgood@tnjustice.org.

For more information, visit tnjustice.org or call 615-255-0331.

– Daily News staff

House Bill is Back Declaring God As Source of Liberty

A previously defeated proposal to amend the state constitution to say that God is the source of Tennesseans’ liberties has been resurrected in the House.

The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough had failed on a 3-3 vote in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee earlier this month. But Republican Rep. Martin Daniel of Knoxville made a motion to reconsider the bill, so it is scheduled to be heard again on Wednesday.

The proposed addition to the Tennessee Constitution would read: “We recognize that our liberties do not come from governments, but from almighty God.”

Amending the state constitution is a lengthy process in Tennessee. Proposed changes must pass during one successive General Assemblies, and then be approved by voters in a gubernatorial election year.

– The Associated Press

Audit Questions Spending Of $12M Meant to Feed Kids

State auditors are questioning how tens of millions of dollars meant to provide meals and snacks to low-income children in Tennessee were spent.

News outlets report the state’s comptroller released an audit Monday, slamming the Tennessee Department of Human Services for its lack of monitoring and internal control over the state’s $80 million food program.

The audit, which reviewed all state agencies that receive federal funds, found that 41 of the 68 problems involved DHS, ranging from subcontractors spending money intended for food on home improvements and hotels to filing false reports.

The spending in question equates to over $12 million.

DHS officials deny having not provided adequate oversight, noting that the food programs have inherent flaws. They say the agency is working with federal officials to resolve the issues.

– The Associated Press

FedEx, JA Launch Challenge For Young Entrepreneurs

Memphis-based FedEx Corp. and JA (Junior Achievement) Worldwide are partnering for the FedEx Junior Business Challenge, a program in conjunction with the PGA Tour to help empower the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The challenge, which is an extension of the JA Company Program, will give JA students an opportunity to pitch their business concepts at one of our PGA Tour stops: The Shell Houston Open (Humble, Texas) on Wednesday, March 29; The Players Championship (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) on May 10; Travelers Championship (Hartford, Conn.) on June 21; and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational (Akron, Ohio) on Aug. 2.

JA students ages 15-18 will pitch their concept to a panel of judges that includes a PGA Tour player and several business leaders. The winner from each tournament will move on to the FedEx Junior Business Challenge Finals in September for a chance to earn the $75,000 donation for their local JA chapter on behalf of FedEx.

– Daily News staff

Superintendent Supports Germantown School Site

Germantown Municipal School District superintendent Jason Manuel has recommended 38 acres of land at Forest Hill-Irene Road and Poplar Pike for the site of a new elementary school with 40 classrooms for 750 students.

The Germantown school board votes on the contract at its April 5 meeting.

The school system is already building an addition to the Riverdale K-8 school to meet student growth the district has seen since its debut in the 2014-2015 academic year along with five other suburban school districts.

The district had hoped to buy either Germantown Elementary or Germantown Middle from Shelby County Schools and pursued that track along with looking at sites for a new elementary school.

Germantown Elementary and Middle are within the Germantown city limits, but when the suburban school districts were formed, Shelby County Schools retained those two schools as well as Germantown High to meet student growth in southeast Memphis and Shelby County.

– Bill Dries

EBiz Solutions Announces New Tech, Local Partners

Memphis-based digital business solutions firm eBiz Solutions has lined up new local partners in addition to announcing new technology it can offer clients.

In addition to providing web applications and digital solutions, eBiz now specializes in app development and process automation for new and expanding companies. The firm has launched its first stage of process automation platform using Office 365 SharePoint for Data Facts, and it’s launching a location intelligence app Jinzgo, which connects local businesses to consumers across the country based on their current location and preferences.

Recent eBiz business partners in Memphis include the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, Doc’s Wine & Spirits and Data Facts, who are now on board alongside established clients such as cityCURRENT and Executive Speakers Bureau.

Recently, eBiz and cityCURRENT expanded their partnership through the launch of a new business line for Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, called SmallBizInsure.

– Andy Meek

U of M Professor Gets Grant For Military PTSD Research

Meghan McDevitt-Murphy, director of the Trauma and Coping Research Group at the University of Memphis, has received a grant of more than $925,000 from the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (CAP) for a study to help better understand the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on the lives of combat veterans. James Murphy, a U of M faculty member, will be a co-investigator on the project.

CAP is a multi-institutional research network jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs that is working to find the best interventions to detect, prevent, diagnose and treat PTSD and related conditions that affect service members and veterans.

The CAP study led by McDevitt-Murphy, known as Project BRAVE, aims to understand the daily activity patterns that go along with PTSD. The project will also investigate the ways that PTSD interferes with daily functioning in veterans after deployment. The study involves three assessment visits and a three-week period of self-monitoring during which participants will use a mobile device to provide real-time updates on their daily activities.

The Trauma and Coping Research Group is currently looking for participants for Project BRAVE. Any veterans who deployed after 9/11 and are dealing with PTSD symptoms or are having difficulties related to deployment experiences are encouraged to contact the research group. Participants who complete the full study may earn up to $350. To learn more, visit memphisveterans.org, call 901-678-5966 or email tcrg.lab@gmail.com.

– Don Wade

Sheriff’s Office Gets $150K MacArthur Grant

An effort by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to build more pretrial release programs as an alternative to jail custody has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department has announced.

It is the second one-year grant from the foundation to the sheriff’s office in as many years.

The sheriff’s office applied for a two-year, $2 million grant from the foundation in 2016 for a list of 10 measures to cut the time it takes cases to move through the legal system.

With the lesser amounts of funding, the office is funding parts of the overall plan that includes strategies developed with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office and other related county bureaus.

The sheriff runs the Shelby County Jail at 201 Poplar, which is a facility for those awaiting trial. The MacArthur Foundation grant announced Friday is one of only nine across the nation.

Late last year, Sheriff Bill Oldham gathered leaders of various parts of the local criminal justice system together to express concern about the length of time those awaiting trial were staying in the jail.

Jail analysts said then that the increase in the jail population, the largest population in three years, was not the result of more arrests. Bookings were at low levels for the year.

– Bill Dries

Yuletide Completes Warehouse Expansion

Memphis-based Yuletide Office Solutions recently completed an expansion effort at its warehouse.

This additional 2,000 square feet will allow the office products company to increase the items it stocks.

“Our janitorial division has grown by leaps and bounds,” Yuletide owner Chris Miller said. “We found ourselves cramped for space in the warehouse and realized the need for additional product on the floor.”

Although janitorial products have been a mainstay of Yuletide’s service profile for some time, the company has recently bolstered its machinery and chemical management systems.

In Memphis, Yuletide runs five local delivery routes every day, as well as drop-ship and nationwide delivery through its network of independent dealers across the country.

– Patrick Lantrip

Haslam to Give Two Local Commencement Addresses

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will speak at two college graduations in Memphis on the same day. Haslam will deliver an address at Christian Brothers University’s commencement exercises on May 13, the university’s board of trustees has announced. Haslam also is booked to speak at the Southwest Tennessee Community College commencement that morning in a ceremony that begins at 10:30 a.m. at FedExForum.

The CBU ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at Signaigo Field on CBU’s campus, 650 East Parkway.

CBU will confer the honoris causa (honorary doctorate) on Haslam in recognition of his commitment to improving higher education across Tennessee, particularly the introduction of the Tennessee STRONG (Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen) Act, his Drive to 55 program, and the successful Tennessee Promise scholarship in boosting college attainment rates.

“We are deeply honored to have governor Haslam join us for this year’s commencement exercises,” said CBU President Dr. John Smarrelli Jr. “His extraordinary dedication to advancing higher education and creating opportunities for all Tennesseans is perfectly aligned with CBU’s values of learning and service.”

– Bill Dries

Madison Avenue Park Sets Opening Date April 21

A Downtown pocket park across the street from the Brass Door dubbed the Madison Avenue Park announced plans to officially open the public April 21 during an all-day event.

The park, which is located on the site of an abandoned Burger King, is a localized example of a nationwide movement to rediscover and activate previously dormant spaces and places.

“I’ve worked in Downtown Memphis for 20 years,” said Scott Crosby, a partner at the law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson and part owner of the Brass Door. “I’ve always been fascinated with ‘third places’ – where do people live when they’re not at work and they’re not at home. To some degree that was what creating the Brass Door was about, and it worked. When the Burger King became available, we knew we could do something great with it, too.”

Efforts to restore the once-blighted property began in 2013 when Crosby and his partners purchased it after an engineering study found the building, which had been empty since the late 1990s, was beyond repair, and the owners were facing possible legal action from the city.

Crosby said various scenarios were debated, including a second pub or a surface parking lot, before deciding on making it into a park.

The multileveled space includes ample green space as well as a small performance stage at the peak of its top level and a vitrine gallery space underneath. It was co-designed by Davies Toews Architecture and built by general contractor Montgomery Martin.

No tax dollars or other public incentives were used in any phase of the project.

Visit facebook.com/madisonavenuepark for a list of the opening day events.

– Patrick Lantrip

MLGW Moving Office Off Summer Avenue

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division is moving from its North Community Office, 2424 Summer Ave., though the utility says it will no longer pursue a site on East Parkway across from Overton Park as a possible location.

“We want our customers to be able to transact business with MLGW in an environment that is safe, convenient and that they can be proud of. The relocation of the North (Summer) Community Office needs to be a win-win for all of our customers,” said Jerry R. Collins Jr., president and chief executive officer of MLGW. “The East Parkway site meets the first three of these criteria, but it is clearly not a win-win for all of our customers. Therefore, MLGW will continue its search for a community office location that meets all four criteria.”

The utility was criticized for the East Parkway site selection. But other citizens have been critical for years of the current location next to the Paris Adult Theatre.

– Bill Dries

Tennessee Unemployment Dips in February

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in February, down slightly from the revised January rate of 5.4 percent, according to the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

By comparison, the U.S. preliminary unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in February, also down a tenth of a percentage point from the previous month.

Total nonfarm employment increased with 8,300 additional jobs from January to February. Education/health services, mining/logging/construction and manufacturing experienced the largest employment increases.

– Daily News staff

PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474