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VOL. 10 | NO. 29 | Saturday, July 15, 2017

Daily Digest

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Another Tiger, Avery, Makes Preseason Watch List

University of Memphis senior linebacker Genard Avery has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy preseason watch list. The Nagurski Trophy is awarded annually to the football player voted by members of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) to be the best defensively in the NCAA.

The award has been presented every year since 1993 by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the FWAA. The award was named for former University of Minnesota and Chicago Bear Bronko Nagurski in 1995.

Avery was a first team, all-American Athletic Conference honoree last season after leading Memphis in tackles for loss (11, for -59 yards), sacks (5) and quarterback hurries (6). He also added two interceptions for touchdowns (vs. Bowling Green, vs. Temple). On the year, Avery ranked second on the Tigers in total tackles with 81.

A native of Grenada, Mississippi, Avery was named the John Bramlett Defensive Player of the Year by the Memphis coaching staff at the end of last season.

Avery is the fifth Tiger in recent days to earn a spot on a preseason watch list. Senior quarterback Riley Ferguson started the week as a member of the Maxwell Award Watch List, center Drew Kyser earned a second consecutive Rimington Trophy Watch List spot and Spencer Smith was one of 29 college punters named to the Ray Guy Watch List and also earned a nomination for the AFCA Good Works Team. Senior offensive lineman Gabe Kuhn was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club will cut the list to five finalists on Thursday, Nov. 16. The award will be presented Monday, Dec. 4, at the Charlotte Convention Center.

– Don Wade

Lucian Pera Takes Reins Of Tennessee Bar

Memphis attorney Lucian T. Pera, a partner at Adams and Reese LLP, has taken office as the new president of the Tennessee Bar Association.

Pera was sworn in at the TBA’s annual convention in Kingsport, Tennessee.

A Memphis native, Pera has practiced law in the city since 1986. He served for 20 years with Armstrong Allen PLLC before joining and helping open the Memphis office of Adams and Reese in 2006.

Pera graduated from Princeton University with honors and earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1985.

With Adams and Reese, Pera practices in the areas of commercial litigation, media law, legal ethics and professional responsibility.

Pera has also served on the American Bar Association’s policy-making House of Delegates since 1990 and was ABA treasurer from 2011-14. Currently, he serves as chair of the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility, the home of the ABA’s core lawyer ethics and professional responsibility committees. He also currently serves as president of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works on open government issues across the state.

– Bill Dries

Rommy Hammond Of Buster’s Liquors Dies

Funeral arrangements were pending Thursday, July 13, for Rommy Hammond of Buster’s Liquors.

Hammond, who owned and ran the family business from 1970 to 2004, died Tuesday at the age of 76.

Buster’s Liquors was founded in 1954 by Hammond’s father, Buster Hammond. The younger Hammond got into the business full-time in 1966 Downtown with Sterick Liquors, located in the Sterick Building, before his father turned over the business to him in 1970 and the store moved east to Poplar Avenue and Highland Street.

Hammond was also an advocate for the liquor and wine business in the city.

– Bill Dries

Karl Dean Holds Memphis Fundraiser

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean was to be among the speakers at a Thursday, July 13, Memphis fundraiser for the Tennessee Voter Project.

The project is a political action committee formed by state Senate Democratic leader Lee Harris of Memphis to increase voter registration and participation among Democrats.

Dean is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Meanwhile, the contenders, Republican and Democratic, in the 2018 race for governor are moving toward a deadline later this month to report campaign contributions.

In advance of that, Dean has reported raising just over $1 million in six months. Republican contender Randy Boyd of Knoxville raised that much in a single event as did fellow Republican Bill Lee of Franklin.

Earlier this week, Boyd, the state’s former economic and community development commissioner, said his campaign finance report would show contributors in each of the state’s 95 counties.

– Bill Dries

Indie Memphis Announces Film Series Lineup

Indie Memphis has announced the lineup for its “Indie Wednesday” film series, featuring narrative and documentary films, classics, festival encores and short-film programs throughout August, September and October.

All show times begin at 7 p.m.

Aug. 2 at Microcinema at Crosstown Arts, Indie Memphis will present “Slamdance Anarchy Shorts.” Attendees will be asked to pay what they can. It’s a shorts program by the Slamdance Film Festival.

On Aug. 9 at Malco’s Studio on the Square, the drama “Berlin Syndrome” will be free for Indie Memphis members and cost $10 for everyone else. That will be followed Aug. 16 at Crosstown Arts with another pay-what-you-can night and “Romeo is Bleeding,” about a young poet in California.

Things go back to Studio on the Square Aug. 23 with “The Reagan Show,” about the made-for-TV politics of Ronald Reagan. Tickets are $10. On Aug. 30, Malco’s Ridgeway cinema will host “Obit,” about the daily rituals of obituary writers at The New York Times. Tickets are $10 for that one as well.

The following month begins with a selection of narrative shorts from the 2016 Indie Memphis Film Festival on Sept. 6 at the Microcinema at Crosstown Arts, another pay-what-you-can night. On Sept. 12 at Studio on the Square, there will be two showtimes – at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. – of the documentary “May it Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers.” Tickets are $12.

The comedy “The Lure” will be shown on Sept. 13 at Studio on the Square, with tickets costing $10. That will be followed Sept. 20 at Crosstown Arts with the documentary “One Big Home,” another pay-what-you-can night presented with the Urban Land Institute.

Sept. 27 at Ridgeway, it’s another documentary – “Free to Rock,” for which tickets are $10.

On Oct. 4 at the Microcinema at Crosstown Arts, it’s a pay-what-you-can night and an encore screening of the jury and audience short film award winners from the 2016 Indie Memphis Film Festival.

“The Force,” taking viewers inside the Oakland Police Department, will be shown Oct. 11 at Malco’s Studio on the Square. Tickets are $10.

The documentary “All the Rage: Saved by Sarno” will be shown Oct. 18 at Crosstown Arts for another pay-what-you-can night. And things wrap up Oct. 25 at Malco’s Ridgeway cinema with “Score: A Film Music Documentary,” for which tickets are $10.

– Andy Meek

Pinnacle Achieves Status As SBA Preferred Lender

Pinnacle Financial Partners has earned Preferred Lender Status from the U.S. Small Business Administration, a move that will benefit clients seeking an SBA-backed loan.

The firm also earned Community Bank of the Year honors from SBA for the state of Tennessee, an award Pinnacle has won every year since it began giving SBA loans in December 2013.

The SBA Preferred Lender Program streamlines the process of applying for, reviewing and securing financial assistance for small businesses. By taking part in the program, Pinnacle has final authority on SBA lending without requiring each loan to be reviewed and approved by the SBA.

The Community Bank of the Year designation is given to the Tennessee-based bank with the highest dollar amount and number of loans in the SBA 7(a) program within the state.

For the SBA’s fiscal year 2016, Pinnacle extended 20 7(a) loans totaling $9.8 million.

Now that Pinnacle has joined forces with BNC Bancorp, the firm’s SBA program will be based at the combined firm’s office in Greenville, South Carolina.

– Andy Meek

Royal Studio Marks 60th Year With Concert, Dinner

Royal Studio, the South Memphis recording studio where Al Green recorded his hits of the 1970s and Bruno Mars recorded “Uptown Funk” more recently, is kicking off its 60th anniversary with a July 28 concert and “soul food dinner” at the studio.

The event is the first of a three-part anniversary celebration for the studio that was also home to the Hi Records label.

The limited-seating concert will feature the Bo-Keys and Don Bryant. Bryant was among the Hi Records recording artists of the 1970s and recently released a new album that has garnered critical acclaim.

Early bird tickets are $200 through July 28.

– Bill Dries

Aaron Thomas Co. Expands Memphis Footprint

Los Angeles-based packing company Aaron Thomas Co. is growing its Mid-South footprint with the recent purchase of a 400,000-square-foot facility at 4834 S. Mendenhall Road from Glencore Cotton Storage USA.

Brad Murchison of Colliers International represented Aaron Thomas Co. in the $6.1 million transaction, while Preston Thomas, also with Colliers International, represented the seller.

The new building is on the east side of Mendenhall south of Distribution Drive and near Aaron Thomas’ existing Memphis facility.

“The acquisition of 4834 S. Mendenhall by Aaron Thomas Co. was strategic in the fact that the building is in close proximity to their current operation located at 5649 Distribution Drive consisting of 240,000 square feet,” Murchison said. “The additional 400,000 square feet will provide Aaron Thomas the ability to meet the contract packaging demands of its current and future customer base that have the need to be serviced out of Memphis.”

Founded in 1973, Aaron Thomas Co. is a full-service contract packaging company with offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and Memphis. The Memphis office opened in 1988, according to its website.

“Already with locations in Chicago and Los Angeles, the newly expanded Memphis packaging location completes a strategic triad of contract packaging service facilities,” its website goes on to say.

Built in 1978, the 400,000-square-foot distribution facility includes a 150-foot-deep truck court, 22-foot clear height and 6,500 square feet of office space.

– Patrick Lantrip

Memphis Joins Bloomberg’s ‘What Works Cities’ Effort

Memphis is one of five new cities selected to join Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, Major Jim Strickland’s administration announced Wednesday, July 12.

As part of the initiative, which is billed as one of the largest philanthropic efforts for the use of data in making local government decisions, city government will get technical assistance from experts through Bloomberg on local issues.

The other four cities named to the initiative Wednesday are: Arlington, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Including the new additions, 85 cities are participating in the What Works Cities program.

“Decision-making based on data and evidence is at the very core of what we do in our administration,” Strickland said in a written statement, adding the initiative will “help us grow strong in our use of data – and in how we’re transparent with the public.”

Strickland campaigned for mayor in 2015 with a pledge of greater accountability in city government by objectively measuring the delivery of basic city services, including police response times and garbage pickup.

Memphis’ first involvement with Bloomberg Philanthropies was during the administration of former Mayor A C Wharton, Strickland’s predecessor.

– Bill Dries

Butch Pierre Joins U of M Men’s Basketball Staff

Longtime college assistant coach Butch Pierre has been hired as director of player personnel at the University of Memphis.

“He is someone that I have known of for many years, having coached against him at almost every one of his stops,” said Tigers head coach Tubby Smith. “He has a deep knowledge of how major basketball programs are run, and will be able to add a lot to our program.”

Pierre most recently served as an assistant head coach at North Carolina State during the 2016-17 season. At N.C. State, he helped coach recent NBA lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr., who was drafted with the No. 9 overall selection by the Dallas Mavericks.

“I’m excited to be here,” Pierre said. “I know about the program’s rich tradition, and what the people around the city and the country think of the program.”

Before his season with the Wolfpack, Pierre spent eight seasons on the staff at Oklahoma State, where he was the associate head coach. The Cowboys made five NCAA Tournament appearances with Pierre on staff.

Prior to his eight seasons with the Cowboys, he spent 11 seasons at LSU, first as assistant coach and later associate head coach. During his time at LSU, he helped lead the program to the NCAA Final Four following a Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship in 2005-06, and the program had four NCAA Tournament berths in his time there. He was the interim head coach at LSU for the final 10 games of the 2007-08 season, leading the team to a 5-5 record during his brief stint.

He also worked as an assistant coach at Charlotte (1996-97) and led the program to the NCAA Tournament and a Conference USA title. At Louisiana-Lafayette (1989-96), he spent his final six seasons with the Ragin’ Cajuns as the associate head coach. While at Louisiana, the school won its first-ever still-recognized NCAA Tournament game, while winning the Sun Belt Conference.

He made his assistant coaching debut in 1984-85 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater of Mississippi State before accepting his first full-time coaching position in 1986 with Kentucky State, where he stayed for two seasons.

– Don Wade

Council OKs New Homes, Sets Overton Gateway Vote

The Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, July 11, a set of three single-family homes by Richmark Homes LLC on the southeast corner of East Irvin Drive and Park Avenue.

Council members also delayed for two weeks a vote on a used car dealership on the site of the old Platinum Plus strip club at 2514 Mount Moriah Road at American Way.

And the council set a July 25 hearing and vote on the Overton Gateway multifamily apartment development proposed for both corners of Sam Cooper Boulevard at East Parkway.

Other items approved Tuesday included acceptance of Shelby County government’s $4.9 million share of the Crosstown Concourse project, as agreed to in 2014. City government’s share of funding for the $180 million project is $15 million.

The council also approved a $70,695 change order increase to Wagner General Contractors’ repairs and improvements to the Memphis Zoo’s “Once Upon A Farm” exhibit.

– Bill Dries

Dominion Partners to Lease Space in Crye-Leike HQ

Memphis-based Dominion Partners Wealth Management has signed a five-year lease to occupy just under 2,000 square feet in the Crye-Leike Regional Headquarters building, 6525 Quail Hollow Road.

Bill Caller with Crye-Leike Commercial negotiated the lease on behalf of the tenant, while Eric Fuhrman, also with Crye-Leike Commercial, represented the landlord.

Dominion Partners’ suite will be located on the third floor of the 96,000-square-foot office building, located on the southwest corner of Quail Hollow and Aaron Brenner Drive. The building also is occupied by Crye-Leike Realtors, its affiliated companies and Pinnacle Bank.

– Patrick Lantrip

Developer Sells Pair Of Bartlett Office Buildings

Freestanding office buildings at 6590 and 6591 Summer Ave. in Bartlett have sold for just less than $1 million.

Brian Califf, executive vice president with NAI Saig Co., represented the seller, Den Con Partnership, who originally developed the properties.

According to Califf, the buyer, Jeffery Hedwall, bought the properties for investment purposes after completing a 1031 exchange.

Both properties were fully occupied at the time of the sale.

– Patrick Lantrip

Tigers’ Ferguson, Kyser On National Watch Lists

Memphis senior quarterback Riley Ferguson has been named to the summer watch list for the 81st Maxwell Award, annually awarded to the nation’s player of the year, while junior center Drew Kyser has been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, presented to the most outstanding center in Division I-A football.

Ferguson passed for 3,698 yards and a school-record 32 touchdowns in his junior season in 2016. He ranked second in the American Athletic Conference, with 284.5 yards passing per game and a 152.7 passer efficiency rating. His 3,698 passing yards rank second only to 2016 NFL First Round draft pick Paxton Lynch in the Memphis record book.

The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell and presented by the Maxwell Football Club, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. The watch list incorporates a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision programs and conferences across the country. Returning Maxwell Award winner Lamar Jackson (Louisville) headlines the 2017 watch list class.

Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced Oct. 30, while the three finalists for the award will be unveiled Nov. 20. The winner of the 2017 Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 7.

Kyser, a junior from Opelika, Alabama, graduated from high school a semester early to join the Tigers roster, enabling him to earn playing time right away as a true freshman in 2015. After playing in the season-opener off the bench, Kyser stepped in and started at center for the remaining 12 games of the year, helping the Tigers to a Birmingham Bowl appearance.

Last year, Kyser started all 13 games at center, helping an offensive unit that ranked 28th in the country in total offense (463.7 yards per game) and 14th in passing offense with 304.4 yards per game. In all, Kyser has appeared in 26 straight games heading into his junior season.

The Rimington Trophy, which is overseen by the Boomer Esiason Foundation, will be presented Jan. 13.

– Don Wade

Council Delays Discussion About Future of DMC, RDC

Memphis City Council members put off a discussion Tuesday, July 11, on a call to look at restructuring or abolishing the Downtown Memphis Commission and the Riverfront Development Corp.

Council member Philip Spinosa, the co-sponsor of the measure with council chairman Berlin Boyd, delayed a committee discussion Tuesday until October citing last week’s resignation of DMC president and CEO Terence Patterson.

Council members also got an update on the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division kiosk glitch, which converged with a false rumor Saturday about Memphis Grizzlies player Zach Randolph paying overdue utility bills, creating long lines at some of the kiosks.

MLGW President Jerry Collins said 18,774 of the more than 30,000 customers who used the TIO Network kiosks will be refunded for the $2 user fee, to the tune of $37,000.

A TIO vice president said the company has never experienced this kind of glitch with its systems. The glitch made it appear that a customer’s balance had been reduced, which fed the false rumor that Randolph had donated money toward the bills.

Collins said many customers were paying a dollar on their balances to check the total and also incurred the $2 user fee.

The council also heard Tuesday in committee that developers of the Universal Life Building at Danny Thomas Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue have closed on financing for the renovation of the building, which was the cornerstone of black business in Memphis in the early 20th century.

Construction is about to begin on the building, which has been vacant since 2001 and is scheduled to reopen next spring.

The city minority business effort will be a tenant in the building, with a $300,000 buildout already set aside in the previous fiscal year’s city capital budget. Self-Tucker Architects also will be a tenant.

– Bill Dries

Memphis College of Art Outsources IT Operations

Memphis College of Art has outsourced its IT operations to Memphis-based IT managed services provider tamburrino inc.

The deal is expected to save the college more than $100,000 in labor costs alone and to also find more savings through the processes put in place to evaluate all IT services, software, maintenance contracts and other systems.

MCA interim president Laura Hine said the college is looking forward to continuing to work with tamburrino inc. “to streamline our processes and encourage innovation at MCA.”

– Andy Meek

Galapagos Tortoises Return to Memphis Zoo

Three Galapagos tortoises from Oklahoma City are settling in at the Memphis Zoo tortoise yards. The recent return of the tortoises to the zoo after a 30-year absence comes by way of the Oklahoma City Zoo. The exhibit area for the brothers is by the Dragon’s Lair and the Herpetarium.

Galapagos tortoises can weigh up to 500 pounds and span four feet or more. Instead of solid shells, they have a honeycombed structure that has tiny air chambers to distribute the weight of the shell evenly.

They walk with their front feet turned inward and never in a straight line.

– Bill Dries

Audit: Memphis AD Had Conflict in Pastner Deal

A state audit notes that Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen had a conflict of interest while renegotiating former basketball coach Josh Pastner’s contract in 2013 because they had the same agent at the time.

The audit also showed Pastner’s updated contract was not submitted to the Tennessee Board of Regents for approval, as was required for contracts exceeding $100,000. The audit found no evidence Bowen received a benefit from the agent in exchange for giving Pastner a raise. It also said a review of university records “did not reveal inappropriate sharing of information” between Bowen and the agent.

Pastner received a raise from $1.7 million to $2.65 million after Memphis went 31-5 and won an NCAA Tournament game in 2013. Under the terms of that raise and extension, Memphis would have owed Pastner $10.6 million if it had fired him after the Tigers went 19-15 in 2015-16 and failed to reach the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year.

Pastner left on his own after the 2015-16 season to take over Georgia Tech’s program.

In its report, the Board of Regents recommended that university officials should ensure all employees are aware of the school’s conflict-of-interest policies, implement a standard process for contract negotiations with highly paid employees to assure the school’s interests are protected and continue monitoring the university’s athletic operations through oversight and internal audits.

Memphis released a statement saying it cooperated “in full” with the investigation and has taken steps to ensure state and university policies are followed. Those steps include the use of a conflict-of-interest review committee. School officials said the audit’s findings were consistent with those from an internal review.

– The Associated Press

Group Benefits LLC Merges With Alera Group

Memphis-based employee benefits firm Group Benefits LLC is merging into Alera Group, an independent national insurance brokerage and wealth management firm covering 15 stations and 40 locations, the two companies announced Monday, July 10.

Neither company disclosed terms of the transaction.

Alera is a set of 24 firms. In the merger, Group Benefits will maintain its name and structure as a separate subsidiary.

Alera has more than 750 employees and 20,000 clients nationwide. It was founded in 2016 and offers expertise in employee benefits as well as property and casualty insurance, risk management and wealth management.

Group Benefits LLC was founded in 2009 to design and implement programs that provide financial security, health plan options and advice on increased productivity.

– Bill Dries

Memphis to Host 2019 AAC Basketball Championship

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco announced on Monday, July 10, that FedExForum will serve as the host of the 2019 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, March 14-17. FedExForum last served as the host site in 2014.

All 12 American Athletic Conference schools will participate in the 2019 championship. The format calls for four first-round games on the first day, followed by four quarterfinal matchups, two semifinal contests and the championship game. The ESPN family of networks again will provide television and digital coverage of the tournament.

The Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, will be the site of the 2018 American Men’s Basketball Championship, March 8-11. The conference is expected to announce the sites of the 2020-22 championships in the coming weeks.

– Don Wade

Lifeblood: Blood Supplies At ‘Dangerously Low Levels’

Blood supplies across the country remain at what Lifeblood describes as “dangerously low levels” following a severe decline in blood donations leading up to and following the Fourth of July holiday.

In an effort to rebuild both local and national supplies and to be prepared for unexpected events, Lifeblood is calling on Memphis-area residents to come forward and give blood both this week and throughout the remainder of the summer.

Lifeblood tries to keep a three-day supply of every blood type on the shelf at all times to be able to meet the needs of patients at more than 20 hospitals. Donations from O-negative donors, the universal blood type, are especially important at this time of year due to increased accidents and trauma cases, but the current O-negative blood supply sits at an approximate two-day supply.

Platelet donations, which have a shelf life of only five days, are also in high demand after a slow holiday week. However, donors of all types are needed.

– Andy Meek

Health Insurance Carriers Seek to Raise Tenn. Rates

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has released the insurance rates requested by carriers offering coverage on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace ahead of open enrollment for 2018.

Only three carriers filed rates with the department: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Cigna and Oscar Health. Cigna will be the only carrier covering Memphis, along with all of Shelby, Fayette, Tipton, Haywood and Lauderdale counties, according to a TDCI release.

Both Cigna and BCBST are requesting rate increases, while Oscar Health is covering Tennessee for the first time. Cigna’s average increase statewide will be 42.1 percent, with an increase range of between 12.2 percent and 182.2 percent.

The average premium prices that Cigna proposed to charge for 35-year-old individual purchasers in the Memphis region are $419.81 for a Bronze Plan, which covers 60 percent of medical costs; $683.02 for a Silver Plan, which covers 70 percent of costs; and $951.61 for a Gold Plan, which covers 80 percent of costs.

Compared with Cigna’s 2017 average rates for 35-year-olds in the Memphis region, that amounts to a 34.3 percent increase for Bronze Plans, a 64.5 percent increase for Silver Plans and an 84.7 percent increase for Gold Plans.

For Memphis-area 55-year-olds, meanwhile, Cigna’s proposed 2018 average rates are $766.11 for a Bronze Plan, $1,246.52 for a Silver Plan, and $1,736.57 for a Gold Plan. Comparable 2017 rates for 55-year-olds were not available through TDCI’s website.

BlueCross BlueShield, which pulled out of covering the Memphis area last year and won’t be covering it in fiscal 2018, is requesting an average rate increase of 21.4 percent, with a range between 4.6 percent and 44.5 percent higher.

All rates must be actuarially justified by TDCI and given final approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. TDCI will review the rate requests with its actuarial team and has until Aug. 16 to approve the policy forms and rates. CMS will also review the filings and, if approved, the carriers will have until Sept. 27 to sign agreements to participate in the marketplace.

Open enrollment is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

– Daily News staff

YMCA Opening Child Center in Lakeland

The YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South is opening its first Child Development Center in Lakeland, in the old Funtimes Learning Center facility.

The newly remodeled YMCA Child Development Center at 2935 Lakeland Hills Drive will work with parents to support children 6 weeks to 5 years old with new state-of-the-art classroom furniture, equipment, toys and supplies.

Meals for the children will include breakfast and an afternoon snack included with a full lunch daily for most children except infants.

“At the Y, babies develop trust and security; preschoolers experience early literacy and learn about their world,” said YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South president and CEO Jerry Martin. “Most importantly, children learn how to be their best selves.”

Registration is now underway.

– Andy Meek

NSA Mid-South to Get New Commanding Officer

The Naval Support Activity Mid-South base in Millington is getting a new commanding officer.

Capt. Michael Wathen will relieve Capt. David Bryson as commanding officer of the installation in a change-of-command ceremony Friday, July 14, at the NSA Mid-South Conference Center.

Bryson has served as commanding officer since July 2015 and worked to ensure the installation provided support to its 64 tenant commands, maintained emergency readiness for the Navy in the region, and effectively managed resources during an ever-changing fiscal environment, according to a release from the Navy.

Wathen, a native of Evansville, Indiana, comes to NSA Mid-South after a tour as the executive officer at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. A 1992 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Wathen was stationed on the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) during its historic nine-month deployment following Sept. 11.

Additionally, he has served in support of operations Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.

– Daily News staff

Construction Employment Swells After 3-Month Lull

Employment in the construction sector rose by 16,000 jobs in June, an increase that nearly doubled the jobs added in the previous three months combined, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Total construction employment reached 6.9 million in June. Year-over-year, jobs rose by 206,000 in June, or 3.1 percent.

– Patrick Lantrip

PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783