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VOL. 132 | NO. 254 | Monday, December 25, 2017

Daily Digest

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Germantown Students Win Congressional App Challenge

Three Houston High School students have earned a congressional nod for their gaming app.

Jump, created by Henry Abrams, Mason Rocha, and Tyler Scarmastro, won the 2017 Congres-sional App Challenge for Tennessee’s 8th District, represented by U.S. Rep. David Kustoff. Jump uses randomly generated platforms that require quick thinking and problem-solving skills in order for the player to achieve the highest score and compete against themselves and other play-ers.

The Congressional App Challenge aims to engage students in coding and computer science. In all, 190 Congressional districts across 42 states hosted app challenges for their student constitu-ents. Abrams, Rocha and Scarmastro were among more than 4,100 students who took part in the 14-week regional competitions. Participants submitted more than 1,270 original apps, up 96 per-cent from last year.

Winners have been invited to showcase their apps to Congress and members of the tech commu-nity at #HouseOfCode, a reception to be held on Capitol Hill in April. Their work also is eligible to be featured for one year on the permanent display in the U.S. Capitol Building and on the house.gov website, and each winning student will also be awarded $250 in Amazon Web Service credits.

– Daily News staff

MEM Adds New Food Options, Relocaties PGA Tour Shop

In preparation for its concourse modernization project, Memphis International Airport has added new food and beverage options and relocated the PGA Tour Shop. The new airport amenities are designed to accommodate the increased flow of passengers to the A and C concourses during construction on the B concourse.

HMS Host, which operates many of the food and beverage businesses in the airport, has opened a first-of-its-kind Cinnabon Baked To Go concept on the C concourse near gate C14. While Cin-nabon previously operated in a shared space with Moe’s Southwest Grill, the “wall hugger” con-cept allows for expanded offerings, such as Cinnabon cookies and brownies as well as the restau-rant’s traditional fare such as the “minis,” pecan rolls and “the classic.” All of the food is fresh baked on location.

HMS Host also has opened two food and beverage locations near the B checkpoint, at the former Blue Note Café location. These include a new Starbucks and Urban Market, a grab-and-go food concept. The PGA Tour Shop, operated by Paradies Lagardère, has relocated from concourse B to this area, as well.

The modernization project will result in the temporary closure of the B concourse in early 2018 for construction. At that point, all airlines, retail and food and beverage businesses will operate out of concourses A and C.

– Daily News staff

MAS Reaches Record Number of Adoptions, Transfers

With several days left in 2017, Memphis Animal Services has processed a record number of adoptions and rescue transfers for the year.

The shelter announced Friday, Dec. 22, it had reached its goal of processing 6,000 adoptions and rescue transfers for 2017, thanks in part to a promotion that began in mid-December offering $17 adoptions for all dogs and cats, compared to the regular adoption fee of $75 for dogs and $70 for cats.

“Our team is really proud to be making history here at MAS and extremely happy that so many dogs and cats will get to spend the holidays with a family of their own,” MAS administrator Alexis Pugh said in a statement. “MAS has never had so many animals leave for new homes or rescue groups in a single year, and we are so thankful to everyone in the community who has helped us save lives in 2017.”

The 6,000th adoption of 2017 was a 1-year-old, 40-pound female dog who came to the shelter on Dec. 11 after being found by an animal services officer near McLemore Avenue and South Third Street. She was adopted by Jessie Smith and Jason Head.

Year to date, MAS has maintained a save rate of 84.7 percent. In addition to 3,222 private adop-tions and 2,781 rescue transfers it had processed through Dec. 22, the shelter also had reunited 604 lost pets with their families.

In 2016, there were 2,662 private adoptions and 2,942 rescue transfers (with a save rate of 74 percent), and in 2015, there were 2,360 private adoptions and 3,010 rescue transfers (with a save rate of 65 percent).

Memphis Animal Services will continue to offer the $17 adoption promotion for the rest of 2017. All adoptions at MAS include spay/neuter, microchip, vaccines, heartworm test (dogs), FIV/FeLV test (cats), collar/leash and a customized ID tag.

– Daily News staff

Kosten Foundation Wins SPARK Award

The Kosten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research recently was named a 2017 SPARK Award winner for a nonprofit with an annual budget under $1 million.

The annual awards recognize the efforts of individuals, nonprofits, corporations and schools in 13 categories who are igniting change and making a positive impact in Memphis. The 2017 win-ners were announced at an awards ceremony that aired on WKNO-TV on Dec. 18.

The SPARK Awards is produced by WKNO-TV and cityCURRENT with sponsorship from Midtown Memphis Rotary Club, Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, Data Facts, Champion Awards & Apparel and Memphis Theological Seminary.

– Andy Meek

Financial Tech Firm Opening Tennessee Operations Site

Financial services company Avant LLC is bringing 200 jobs to East Tennessee with a soon-to-open call center in Blount County.

The center is opening in an existing 25,000-square-foot building in the town of Louisville, Ten-nessee, just south of Knoxville, and is expected to be fully operational by January.

Avant.com is an online lending platform and provider of credit alternatives to middle-income consumers. The company also offers technology solutions to bank and non-bank partners via its “Powered By Avant” product.

"As Avant continues to expand the suite of financial products available on its platform and grow its customer base, we saw an opportunity to add another operations site in Tennessee,” Avant president Adam Hughes said in a release. “This new facility will help support many of our growth initiatives so we can continue to provide our customers and partners with best-in-class services. Our leadership team conducted an extensive analysis of several locations and believe that the opportunities presented to us in Louisville will continue to move Avant in the right direc-tion.”

– Patrick Lantrip

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