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VOL. 132 | NO. 36 | Monday, February 20, 2017

Daily Digest

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AMR Closing Memphis Office, Laying Off 175

American Medical Response of Tennessee plans to close its Memphis office April 1, resulting in the loss of 175 jobs.

AMR, which had the contract to provide ambulance service for unincorporated Shelby County, Millington, Lakeland and Arlington until this year, notified the state Feb. 1 of the pending closure of its local office, located at 6423 Shelby View Drive.

The company lost the county ambulance contract effective Jan. 1 after pushing for an increase in the rates paid by county government.

In response, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell proposed and the county commission approved the Shelby County Fire Department including ambulance service in what it does. Luttrell’s administration said it could provide the service, which is paid for mostly through fire fees assessed to residents in the unincorporated county, for less than AMR had proposed.

The local Department of Labor and Workforce Development Rapid Response Team is working to coordinate services for the affected employees at AMR, who are not represented by a collective bargaining agreement.

– Bill Dries

Memphian Chosen to Lead American Psychiatric Association

Dr. Altha Stewart of Memphis has been chosen as president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association by the organization’s membership. She is the first African-American to lead the 37,000-member APA since its founding in 1844.

The election results, which were released Friday, Feb. 17, are not official until the APA board of directors confirms them at its March meeting.

Stewart is director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where she also serves as an associate professor of psychiatry. Her career has spanned three decades of public-sector administration, including director of public behavioral health systems in Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.

“I am honored and humbled by my selection by my fellow members,” Stewart said in a statement. “The APA and the profession of psychiatry have made great strides in the past several years, but much more work is needed. We have to take a proactive role to ensure that our patients receive the quality psychiatric treatment they deserve. We live in trying times, but I’m excited to take on this leadership role.”

Stewart will begin her one-year term as president in May 2018.

– Daily News staff

Babalu Taps GM, Chef for New East Memphis Location

Babalu Tapas and Tacos has named a general manager and an executive chef for its new East Memphis location at 6450 Poplar Ave., which is expected to open in April.

Jesse Robertson, who’s been assistant manager at Babalu’s Overton Square location since December 2015, is the general manager. He’s worked in the restaurant and hospitality industry since his teens, including serving at the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, said to be one of the busiest restaurants in the country.

Ben Hickey, meanwhile, is the executive chef at the new Babalu. He was trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta and at Babalu will be creating unique-to-the-location recipes using local ingredients while still providing staple menu items.

– Andy Meek

Dunavant Buys Mobile Brokerage Company

Memphis-based Dunavant Logistics Group has bought John M. Brining Co. of Mobile, Alabama, giving Dunavant in-house brokerage services as part of its portfolio of services.

Brining, which is a freight forwarder as well as a customs broker, becomes a subsidiary of Dunavant in the transaction. And John Hearne of Brining becomes vice president of customs brokerage at Dunavant. Hearne will integrate the culture and operations of Brining into Dunavant and lead direct sales and business development for the new office.

No dollar figures were disclosed for the transaction. Brining was founded in 1946.

– Bill Dries

Bookstock Set for April 29

Bookstock, the Memphis Public Library’s annual book and author festival, will be held April 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave.

Among the featured keynote authors are Lisa Wingate, best known for her novel “The Prayer Box,” and Daniel Connolly, a reporter at The Commercial Appeal and author of “The Book of Isaiah.”

The lineup also includes ReShonda Tate Billingsley, the author of “Let The Church Say Amen,” and Adrienne Berard, author of “When Yellow Was Black: The Untold Story of the First Fight for Desegregation.”

More than 40 local authors are participating in the event, which includes live music, food trucks, cooking demonstrations, a book character costume contest and a library scavenger hunt.

– Bill Dries

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 98 172 17,556
MORTGAGES 101 194 20,229
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 9 2,654
BUILDING PERMITS 0 126 36,072
BANKRUPTCIES 51 114 11,278
BUSINESS LICENSES 26 58 5,767
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 6,715
MARRIAGE LICENSES 17 68 3,984