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VOL. 132 | NO. 22 | Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: State of the State React, Reverse Logistics and Speed Limiters

By Bill Dries

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As the work week began, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis joining House Democrats in sponsoring a bill that would bar the use of any federal funds to carry out President Trump’s order barring refugees from seven majority Muslim countries.

It was part of the reaction locally and statewide that began over the weekend. Also in Monday’s reaction, a statement from U.S. Rep. David Kustoff.

Meanwhile, the group Comunidades Unidas en Una Voz sent out Facebook notices last week of a protest march Wednesday from Clayborn Temple to the National Civil Rights Museum. Organizers of the effort said Monday their city permit for the march had been denied by the city because there wasn’t enough advance notice (14 days) to the city. CUUV was among the groups leading a Jan. 20 protest march on immigration issues from Robert Church Park to City Hall that drew about 200 people the day before the Women’s March Downtown. We shall see what happens Wednesday.

Our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard with the rundown of Gov. Bill Haslam’s State of the State address Monday evening in Nashville and reaction from the Shelby County delegation. The speech included an ambitious next step for the Tennessee Promise program’s pledge of last-dollar scholarships for two years of community college high school graduates. Haslam is proposing extending that to adults returning to college.

A first look at the fine print -- items not in the speech include state money for a new music school at the University of Memphis and as we heard last year -- a new TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology) in Memphis, which would make three.

We talked further with Haslam during his Memphis visit last week and House Speaker Beth Harwell, via a “Behind The Headlines” road trip to Nashville, about the gas tax proposal and the state’s relationship with the new Trump administration, specifically the possibility of a block grant approach to future federal funding.

Haslam’s walk to the House chamber Monday was through a noisy protest in the corridors of the Capitol with many of the signs referring to the federal immigration ban. Planned Parenthood of Memphis also in the capitol to lobby against the “heartbeat” abortion bill and expect petitions to be delivered to Shelby County Commissioners at their Wednesday committee sessions urging the commission to consider funding a Planned Parenthood free condom program. The commission sent the grant funding proposal back to County Mayor Mark Luttrell earlier this month.

More on the Temple Israel presence at Crosstown Concourse we touched on here just about 24 hours ago.

In our Distribution and Logistics Emphasis:

CBRE Group Inc. estimates the value of goods bought online in the recent holiday season that are being returned at $14 billion to $29 billion. Thus along with the rise of e-commerce you have the rise of “reverse logistics.” And in Memphis, where logistics is a big part of what we do, that means more e-commerce companies are hiring third party logistics firms to handle those returns. With the lowest vacancy rates in 15 years, the demand also means you could see more new construction.

Mallory Alexander and Dunavant executives talk about the perilous ocean freight business where 2017 could be one of the worst financially in the history of the industry. The problem is bigger containers had costs that some of the carriers with them couldn’t sustain. So the result is a shake-out or consolidation in the industry in which bigger-sized companies are buying up smaller operators with big containers.

A few issues back in the weekly, we took a detailed look at the technology that governs the trucking industry. In the emphasis we look specifically at a federal proposal that would require speed limiters on heavy duty trucks. It’s a proposal talked about and debated for about a decade. It applies to trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds. Still being discussed is what the speed limit should be and Canada’s experience with the limiters. And there are differing views in the industry. Some opposition but also some are talking about the insurance claims the industry now sees from speeding.

The Society of Women Engineers is opening a Memphis section of the national organization.

A fuller accounting of last week’s Newsmakers Sports Seminar we put on at the Brooks.

The Grizz waive Troy Williams and sign Toney Douglas to a 10-day stay; Ole Miss borrows $19 million to renovate its baseball stadium and TSU alum Richard Dent and Claude Humphrey will among the Hall of Famers recognized at Super Bowl 51 Sunday in Houston.

A $1.8 million Burger King? What’s that they say about the importance of location in real estate? In this case, it is a Burger King at Winchester and Mendenhall.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is already looking toward the 2018 Congressional mid-term elections and has an initial focus on 33 House seats in 24 states held currently by Republicans in districts where in most cases Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton either won or lost by four percentage points or less. That doesn’t count anticipated open seats.

The list includes no seats in the Tennessee delegation where Republicans hold seven of the state’s nine U.S. House seats.

Roll Call has more on the developing Democratic strategy.

Booked May 19 at FedExForum: The Chainsmokers, an EDM duo doing a lot of arenas this time around.

The newest Marvel superhero is from the land of superheroes, Germantown. Olivia Holt, a 19-year old actor from Germantown cast in Marvel’s live-action drama “Cloak and Dagger.”

Deadline with more on the series and the stars.

Memphis Music Initiative takes stock of where it has been and where it is going from Visible Music College to arts-based youth apprentice programs and a whole lot more. And some discussion of a “venture capital belief” in the approach.

Remember the $950 million deal in which Memphis-based Fred’s buys nearly 900 Rite-Aid stores from Walgreens. It’s a deal that has a lot of moving parts and since December, there hasn’t been much movement on the part of the deal where Walgreens buys Rite Aid. Walgreens has slashed its offering price and upped the number of store it wants to buy.

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751