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VOL. 132 | NO. 141 | Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Daily Digest

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MRG Seeking Incentives For Midtown Project

After reaching a settlement with nearby neighbors on an unrelated Midtown multifamily project, developer Makowsky Ringel Greenberg has submitted a request for tax abatement on another ambitious project.

The apartment complex is named Madison @ McLean after the eponymous Midtown intersection it would reside on, and would carry a $14 million price tag, according to its payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, application with the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County.

The application states the PILOT will enable MRG to build a 132,477-square-foot multifamily development with 108 apartment units and 127 on-premise parking spaces, plus 10 parking spaces along Madison Avenue.

To help offset the cost of the project, MRG is seeking a 14-year tax abatement for the project.

The Daily News first reported on the project in October, when MRG sought an eight-year PILOT from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp.

– Patrick Lantrip

FedEx Releases More Info On TNT Cyberattack

Memphis-based FedEx Corp. has released additional information regarding the June 28 cyberattack on the worldwide information systems of its subsidiary TNT Express.

In a Monday, July 17, filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, FedEx says TNT was hit by a cyberattack known as Petya, which involved the spread of an information technology virus through a Ukrainian tax software product.

“The systems and data of all other FedEx companies are currently unaffected by the attack,” the company said in a release.

FedEx acquired TNT Express, an international package delivery and freight transportation company, in 2016 and is in the process of integrating TNT with FedEx Express.

The Petya virus entered the TNT system through the company’s Ukrainian operations, before spreading to the whole system.

FedEx reported Monday that all TNT depots, hubs and facilities are operational and most services are available but “customers are still experiencing widespread service and invoicing delays.” It went on to say manual processes are being used to facilitate a significant portion of TNT’s operations and customer service functions.

FedEx said it does not have cyber or other insurance in place that would cover the attack, and that it is unable to estimate how long before operations return to normal or how much it would impact revenue.

– Patrick Lantrip

Lakeland to Cut Ribbon On New Middle School

Lakeland elected officials and educators will cut the ribbon July 30 on the $20 million Lakeland Middle Preparatory School.

Located on Canada Road north of U.S. 70, the 112,000-square-foot facility is built for 600 students and will be the second school in the Lakeland School System. The system began operations in August 2014 with Lakeland Elementary School.

The Lakeland system currently has interlocal agreements for middle and high school students to attend schools in Bartlett and Arlington.

With the opening of the new middle school, Lakeland will grow from 940 students in grades K-5 to 1,500 students in grades K-8.

The middle school campus has room on its 94 acres for a high school as well as athletic facilities.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at 4:30 p.m. followed by tours of the school.

– Bill Dries

NexAir Inc. Acquires Moore Oxygen Supply

Memphis-based nexAir has closed on its acquisition of Moore Oxygen Supply Inc. of Lagrange, Georgia.

Founded in 1965, Moore Oxygen Supply supplied industrial, medical and specialty gases, welding supplies and bulk liquid gas to customers in western Georgia and eastern Alabama. NexAir was to begin servicing Moore customers Monday, July 17.

NexAir is a third-generation family-owned business that is one of the largest distributors of atmospheric gases and welding supplies in the nation. The company says the acquisition boosts its footprint in the southeastern U.S., where it already operates several branches.

Earlier this year, nexAir acquired the helium and industrial gas business segment of Volunteer Fire Extinguisher Co., a fire safety services company based in East Tennessee.

– Bill Dries

Cohen Requests Info On TVA Plant Groundwater

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen is asking state officials for more information on high levels of lead and arsenic recently found in the groundwater monitoring wells beneath the coal-fired Allen Fossil Plant in southwest Memphis.

“This contaminated ground water is only a short distance from where TVA recently drilled five 650-foot deep wells into the Memphis Sands aquifer … to supply its new natural gas fueled power plant with cooling water,” Cohen wrote in the July 13 letter to Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation commissioner Robert Martineau.

TDEC officials said earlier this month they are confident the high levels of the toxins have not affected the lower-level groundwater that supplies Memphis’ drinking water.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which owns the Allen Fossil Plant and is building a natural gas plant across the street, has said it is investigating the contamination.

Cohen wants to know how TDEC reached its conclusion that the toxins are not impacting the deeper groundwater and what that agency and TVA are doing to prevent such contamination.

– Bill Dries

Tigers’ Pollard Named To Hornung Award Watch List

University of Memphis sophomore running back and kick returner Tony Pollard has been named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List, the Louisville Sports Commission said. The award is given to the most versatile player in college football.

Pollard was recognized as the 2016 American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Year and also was named to two Freshman All-America teams (USA Today, Football Writers Association of America). Pollard, a 2016 All-American Athletic Conference first team pick, led The American in kickoff return yards per game (28.1) and was the only player in the conference to return a kickoff for a touchdown.

The Memphis native played in all 13 games and made eight starts his freshman season. His first kick return for a score came in the Tigers’ 34-27 league victory over Temple Oct. 6, a 95-yard run-back. The return for a touchdown snapped a 20-year drought for the Tigers.

Pollard’s second kick return for a touchdown came against No. 24/25 Navy Oct. 22. He finished the season with 1,534 all-purpose yards (159 rush/298 receive/9 punt return/1,068 kick return). The 1,534 all-purpose yards are the fifth-most for a season in program history.

– Don Wade

St. Jude Research Identifies Genetic Marker for Flu Risk

Researchers led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have discovered a new genetic marker that may help detect high-risk flu patients.

The genetic variation they’ve identified is associated with influenza severity and the supply of killer T cells that help patients fight the infection. The scientists have also linked the gene variant to a mechanism that explains the elevated risk and offers clues about the broader antiviral immune response. The research appeared online Monday, July 17, in the scientific journal Nature Medicine.

Researchers screened 393 flu patients ranging from infants to 70 years old. The researchers found that patients with a particular inherited variation in the gene IFITM3 were more than twice as likely to develop severe, life-threatening flu symptoms as those who carried the protective version of the gene.

Working at the molecular level, the investigators showed how expression of the IFITM3 protein was reduced in killer T cells of patients with the high-risk variant compared to other patients. Researchers also found more killer T cells – which help fight the infection – in the upper airways of flu patients with the protective variant.

Dr. Paul Thomas, an associate member of the St. Jude Department of Immunology, said a genetic marker of flu risk could make a life-saving difference, particularly during severe flu outbreaks by helping prioritize high-risk patients for vaccination, drug therapy and other interventions.

– Andy Meek

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