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VOL. 10 | NO. 23 | Saturday, June 3, 2017

Daily Digest

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Tenn. Shakespeare Company Earns $25K Matching Grant

Arts Midwest has awarded $1 million in grants to Tennessee Shakespeare Company and 39 other nonprofit, professional theater companies across 26 states and the District of Columbia to perform the works of William Shakespeare for students through Shakespeare in American Communities.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company received the matching grant award of $25,000 for its innovative 2017 Romeo and Juliet Project for the fourth time in its history.

The project will perform “Romeo and Juliet” 27 times in 22 Memphis area high schools and teach more than 700 in-school sessions for 6,400 freshmen with a curriculum-based, classical play that teaches compassion, nonviolence and articulation.

TSC will partner with Shelby County Schools, the Germantown Municipal School District and other municipal school districts to engage freshmen students interactively with classical text that is part of the core Language Arts curriculum in Tennessee.

It is the 15th consecutive year of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Each participating theater company will present productions of Shakespeare plays to students from 10 or more schools.

Accompanying educational activities include in-school residencies, workshops, or post-performance discussions. Performances will take place between Aug. 1, 2017, and July 31, 2018.

Since the program’s inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has introduced 2.5 million middle and high school students to live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare.

“The partnership that Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts have forged benefits not only these highly-talented theater companies, but the thousands of students across the country reached by these theaters’ performances and educational activities,” said Susan Chandler, Arts Midwest’s vice president. “Shakespeare’s plays teach creativity, history, complex and intriguing themes, and rich language.

“Students – especially those in schools that lack financial resources – across the U.S. deserve to be introduced to live performances of his timeless works.”

– Daily News staff

Crosstown Tower Work To Precede Grand Opening

As Crosstown Concourse’s Aug. 19 grand opening draws closer, Crosstown LLC is preparing infrastructure in the old Sears Tower building with a $2.5 million building permit application.

The permit calls for roof and infrastructure work for the tower’s 11th through 14th floors. Grinder, Taber & Grinder is listed as the contractor and LRK Inc. is listed as the architect.

Both commercial and residential tenants are already partially occupying two of the mixed-use development’s atria.

– Patrick Lantrip

Seven Memphis Football Games to Air on TV in 2017

Seven games on the 2017 Memphis football schedule have been selected by the American Athletic Conference’s television partners, including one game on ABC, two on ESPN, one on ESPN2, one on ESPNews and two on CBSSN.

Memphis’ home opener against Louisiana-Monroe on Aug. 31 will be a 7 p.m. kickoff and will be one of two games on CBSSN ,which also will air Memphis’ home game against Tulane on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

The Tigers’ American Athletic Conference opener will be in week two at UCF and will be carried on ESPNews at 7 p.m.

The following week, the Tigers will be home to a nationally broadcast game against UCLA on ABC. That game, which will kick at 11 a.m., will be a mirror game on ABC with Oklahoma State vs. Pittsburgh, meaning select markets will see one game or the other.

The Tigers will make two appearances on ESPN. The first will be a road game at UConn, which will kick at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6. The second will also be a road game, this one at Houston on Thursday, Oct. 19. That game will be a 7 p.m. start.

The final game selected in the early announcement was also a road game. Memphis will play at Tulsa on Nov. 3 and that 7 p.m. game will be carried on ESPN2.

– Don Wade

Memphis Airport to Receive $5.3 Million Federal Grant

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority will receive a $5.3 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The grant will help Memphis International Airport meet design requirements and install energy efficient materials for its Concourse B modernization project.

“It is critical that Memphis International Airport continue to invest in renovating its facilities and services so it remains a world-class airport,” Cohen said in a statement. “These new federal funds will be used to ensure Concourse B will be modernized with state-of-the-art, energy efficient materials to improve the travelling experience for Memphians.”

This grant will fund phase two of the design process and phase one of the construction, mobilization and demolition process.

The multiphase, multiyear modernization plan includes passenger friendly additions such as moving walkways, wider corridors, larger boarding areas, higher ceilings and natural lighting.

– Patrick Lantrip

Fred’s Reports May Sales Slipped By 3.1 Percent

Memphis-based discount retailer Fred’s Inc. reported lower monthly sales for May compared to a year ago, citing the closing of 39 underperforming stores in the first quarter for the results.

For the four-week fiscal month of May, which ended May 27, the company reported that sales for the month decreased 3.1 percent year-over-year to $160.1 million, down from $165.2 million in May 2016.

Comparable store sales for the month increased 0.8 percent, however, compared with a 0.4 percent decrease in comparable sales in the prior-year period.

“This month we continued to deliver on our 2017 goals and execute our health care transformation,” Michael K. Bloom, Fred’s CEO, said in a Thursday, June 1, release. “We are seeing substantial momentum in our retail and specialty pharmacy businesses, creating opportunities for growth throughout the company.”

Fred’s Pharmacy continues to be the focus of the company’s future, Bloom said.

The company is still waiting on Federal Trade Commission clearance to purchase up to 1,200 Rite Aid stores as part of a deal for Walgreens Boot Alliance to acquire Rite Aid.

– Daily News staff

Memphis Sixth-Worst US City for Mosquitoes

A Memphis-based company that has spent years killing pests across the U.S. says its headquarters city is one of the worst for mosquitoes.

Terminix, a company of ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc., ranks Memphis No. 6 on a list of cities with the worst mosquito problems.

It based its Top 20 list of cities on service data examined from branches across the country between April 1, 2016 and April 1, 2017.

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, topped the Terminix list, followed by Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

Nashville came in at No. 7 on the Top 20 list. Other regional cities included Mobile, Alabama (No. 9), Little Rock, Arkansas (16th) and Birmingham, Alabama (18th).

– Daily News staff

Kellogg Laying Off 172, Closing Memphis Facility

Kellogg Co. is closing its northeast Memphis distribution facility, resulting in 172 layoffs.

The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company plans to shutter the facility at 1751 Shelby Oaks Drive on July 29, according to a WARN notice filed with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development on May 26 and made public Tuesday, May 30.

Some of the employees are represented by a collective bargaining agreement, according to the notice.

Kellogg in February outlined a plan to shift distribution for its U.S. snacks business to a warehouse model used by other segments of its U.S. business. The company said it would shift inventory from distribution centers, such as the Memphis facility, to retailers’ warehouses and close the distribution centers.

The transition is expected to wrap up in the fourth quarter.

At the time of the February announcement, Kellogg said it would provide severance and benefits, as well as offering retention packages for impacted employees to help ensure business continuity.

Kellogg is the world’s largest cereal company and the second-largest producer of cookies and crackers, with other business lines that include savory snacks and frozen foods.

It reported roughly $13 billion in company-wide sales in 2016, but in an earnings report released in early May, Kellogg noted the “challenging environment for packaged food companies” that resulted in slower net sales during the first quarter.

– Daily News staff

Local Medical Program Expands Internationally

A simulation program created by physicians at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Regional One Health to train health care workers to more efficiently handle obstetrical emergencies is now expanding internationally.

The program was founded about five years ago by Dr. Giancarlo Mari, professor and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UTHSC, as part of a plan to tackle the county’s high infant mortality rate. Since then, it’s been used to train more than 500 obstetricians, nurses and residents from 15 states, including Tennessee.

Mari and a team from UTHSC and Regional One Health, where he is medical director of the High-Risk Obstetrics Program, recently took the program to China at the invitation of the Third Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University in Henan Province, one of the top facilities for maternal and child health in China. During the trip, the team instructed health care workers from 36 hospitals in the province, who will then train other health care workers across the country in the program’s best practices for rapid response and delivery of quality care in emergency situations.

The effort is a multidisciplinary program for dealing with emergencies before, during and after delivery. It stresses teamwork, effective communication, shared decision making and advanced knowledge of protocols for situations that require quick response.

– Andy Meek

Grizzlies Name D-League GM and Head Coach

The Memphis Grizzlies have tapped their front office to fill two leadership roles with their NBA Development League expansion team, which will begin play in Southaven in the 2017-18 season.

Chris Makris, the Grizzlies’ director of basketball operations, will serve as general manager of the D-League franchise, while Glynn Cyprien will be the team’s head coach.

Makris spent nine years as GM of the Iowa Energy, the Grizzlies’ former D-League affiliate. Cyprien joined the Grizzlies’ basketball operations front office in the 2014-15 season and was named interim head coach of the Iowa Energy on Jan. 9.

In addition to their NBA D-League responsibilities, Makris and Cyprien both will continue in their roles within the Grizzlies front office.

In celebration of the Grizzlies’ new NBA D-League team, the team will host a fan event at Tanger Outlets in Southaven Friday, June 2, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Grizzlies also will host a D-League Fan Fest Saturday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Landers Center, 4560 Venture Drive, where the first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a free T-shirt. A free Grizzlies youth basketball clinic will be held for 60 boys and girls, ages 7 to 14, from 11 a.m. to noon. Those who wish to participate in the clinic must visit grizzlies.com/youthbasketball to pre-register.

In addition to multiple programs, activities and giveaways, fans at Saturday’s event will be joined by Makris, Cyprien and Grizzlies players Andrew Harrison and Wayne Selden Jr. for autographs and Q&A sessions.

The Grizzlies’ NBA D-League team will play its 24 home games at the 8,400-seat Landers Center. Ticket information and pricing, as well as the team’s name and logo, will be announced at a later date.

– Don Wade

Speak Creative Launches Custom Website Service

Memphis-based Speak Creative has launched a new service designed to help small businesses and organizations on a tight budget create a custom designed website in two weeks.

The service, called Lift, pairs a company representative with a designer to create a custom website focused on growing the business.

The cost of creating a website with Lift is $5,000, which allows a business owner to work directly with an experienced web designer to create a mobile-ready website that represents their business and meets its digital-marketing goals.

“There are plenty of self-service website builders available, but unfortunately all of the work is on the business owner to complete,” Mike Moran, director of creative service at Speak, said in a release. “Plus, the templates available don’t have your business in mind to help you see growth. Lift allows you to focus on your business, leaving the website design and development to us.”

Websites created through Lift will be hosted on SiteWrench, a proprietary content management system that Speak has been building and improving since its inception in 2003. With 99.9 percent uptime and a dedicated support team, SiteWrench provides easy editing access to users and is regularly updated with new features.

Founded 18 years ago, Speak Creative’s primary markets are Memphis and Nashville, where it has a local presence. Last year, the company announced plans to build a new headquarters at 1648 W. Massey Road in East Memphis. The 7,000-square-foot office space will be located in the heart of East Memphis and allows for continued expansion by the agency. The Nashville office of the company began in 2014, and is currently located at 6979 Sunnywood Drive in Lennox Village.

– Daily News staff

St. Jude Wins $10K Grant From Bahama Breeze

Bahama Breeze in Memphis has named St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of the restaurant’s parent company, Darden Restaurants.

As the leader in the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, support like this for St. Jude helps ensure families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food.

“This $10,000 grant will support the pioneering research and lifesaving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” said Rich Peterson of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. “Generous supporters like Bahama Breeze in Memphis and the Darden Foundation make it possible for St. Jude to serve children from all 50 states and around the world while freely sharing the discoveries it makes, so doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.”

The 36 Bahama Breeze locations nationwide recently participated in a seven-week sales competition to determine which nonprofits would receive $10,000 grants. The top location in each of the restaurant’s five regions were each able to select a nonprofit, making for a combined donation of $50,000.

“At Bahama Breeze, we’re passionate about helping our local communities thrive,” said Allison Hart, general manager of the restaurant in Memphis. “Our team members are proud to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.”

– Daily News staff

Saint Francis Collecting Cereal to Fight Hunger

Saint Francis Healthcare is leading a community effort to provide a healthy breakfast to those struggling with hunger.

The Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive benefiting Mid-South Food Bank kicks off Friday, June 2, and runs through June 9.

Donations of healthy cereal will be collected at Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis, 5959 Park Ave., and Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, 2986 Kate Bond Road.

Financial donations received during the campaign will be matched up to $100,000 by Saint Francis Hospital Healthcare’s parent company, Tenet Healthcare.

“We recognize the importance of beginning each day with a nutritious breakfast and, through this drive, we hope to help the many in our community struggling with food insecurity,” said Saint Francis Healthcare market CEO Audrey E. Gregory.

To learn more about Saint Francis’ Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive, visit saintfrancishosp.com or saintfrancisbartlett.com.

– Daily News staff

Orpheum Names Winners Of High School Theatre Awards

The Orpheum Theatre Group has announced the winners of the 2017 High School Musical Theatre Awards. Modeled after the Tony Awards and now in its eighth year, the Orpheum’s event is part of the Broadway League Foundation’s Jimmy Awards, which includes 37 programs from across the country.

Students and supporters from 35 participating schools gathered at the Orpheum on May 25 to watch more than 200 students perform on the Orpheum stage. Individual students and entire productions were honored in categories that ranged from acting, vocal and dance performances to behind-the-scenes work such as hair and makeup, costumes and lighting.

The winners of the Lead Actor and Actress categories – Asia Smith of Bolton High School and Ethan Benson of Hernando High School – will travel to New York City in June to compete nationally in the Jimmy Awards held at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway.

While there, they will participate in five days of private coaching, master classes and rehearsals, culminating with a panel of industry experts selecting the national winners. Students receive opportunities for merit scholarships, professional advancement and other prizes.

– Daily News staff

Unemployment Slides To 4.4 Percent in Shelby County

All 95 Tennessee counties saw their unemployment rates decrease in April, with Shelby County logging a preliminary rate of 4.4 percent, according to the latest figures from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. That’s down 0.9 percentage points from March’s revised rate and down 0.4 points from April 2016.

For comparison, the statewide unemployment rate in April was 4.7 percent, while the nationwide rate was 4.4 percent.

The 10 counties with the lowest rates were centered in Middle Tennessee, with Williamson County reporting the lowest (2.6 percent), and Davidson County just behind it (2.7 percent). Rhea County reported the highest rate (6.6 percent), followed by Lauderdale County (6 percent).

“One year ago, we had eight counties with an unemployment rate above 6 percent. This April, only two counties in the entire state reached that level,” said Labor and Workforce Development commissioner Burns Phillips in a statement. “While we still have work to do, it is clear Tennessee is making progress in putting people to work.”

The Memphis metropolitan statistical area – which includes Shelby, Fayette and Tipton counties in Tennessee as well as portions of North Mississippi and eastern Arkansas – also experienced a decline. April’s preliminary unemployment rate of 4.2 percent marked a 0.8 percentage-point decrease from March’s revised rate and 0.5 percentage-point decrease from April 2016.

– Daily News staff

JLL Signs Contract in Tennessee Outsourcing Plan

Real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle has signed a five-year contract in Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to privatize property management on the campuses of Tennessee’s public colleges and universities.

The state Department of General Services says that the contract that took effect Friday gives colleges and universities the option to outsource services. It’s unclear how many will participate.

The department says the Chicago-based company must retain all current state facilities employees, provided they pass a background check and drug test. JLL says the contract requires employees who transition over to receive compensation equitable to their current state package.

The department expects interested universities to secure cost estimates from the company for their desired services before making decisions.

Jones Lang LaSalle already manages many general state government buildings.

JLL says results of Tennessee’s initial facilities management outsourcing program, which began in 2013 and included 10 percent of state properties, yielded more than $26 million in savings through fiscal 2016 and is on track for $40 million in savings by the end of 2017.

JLL achieved the savings, the company says, by creating efficiencies for maintenance, security, janitorial and landscaping services; implementing preventive maintenance; and adding technology systems that reduce energy costs.

The program garnered innovation awards from the National Association of State Chief Administrators and the National Association of State Procurement Officers in 2014 and 2016. In early May, NASCA hosted officials from 15 states that are considering replicating Tennessee’s program.

“We are excited that Tennessee has become a national model that other states desire to emulate, and has been celebrated with innovation awards from major organizations that recognize Tennessee as a leader in facilities management,” said Tennessee Department of General Services Commissioner Bob Oglesby in a written statement. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with JLL and driving the same kinds of efficiencies to other branches of Tennessee government.”

– The Associated Press & Daily News staff

4 Tigers Players Named To Athlon’s AAC First Team

Four University of Memphis football players were named to Athlon Magazine’s American Athletic Conference preseason first team.

In total, 13 Tigers earned preseason all-conference honors on one of the four teams; the only team in the league with more honors was the University of South Florida.

On the first team for Memphis were senior wide receiver Anthony Miller, senior linebacker Genard Avery, senior punter Spencer Smith, and sophomore kick returner and defending American Special Teams Player of the Year Tony Pollard.

Second team honorees included quarterback Riley Ferguson and offensive linemen Gabe Kuhn and Drew Kyser.

Making the third team were senior running back Doroland Dorceus and senior defensive back Jonathan Cook; Miller earned a third team nod as a punt returner.

Three Tigers earned fourth team recognition: senior wide receiver Phil Mayhue, sophomore defensive lineman Jonathan Wilson and junior linebacker Curtis Akins.

– Don Wade

WREG Ranks No. 1 In Weekday Newscasts

WREG-TV News Channel 3 was ranked No. 1 in every weekday newscast during the May sweeps measurement period for the first time since July 2014, according to Nielsen Media Research.

WREG topped other stations in every weekday time slot, including early morning through 7 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. In addition to winning weekdays, WREG topped the ratings in all but one weekend newscast.

The Nielsen ratings are for the 28-day period from April 27 to May 24.

– Andy Meek

Nashville Tops Memphis As Tennessee’s Largest City

Newly released figures indicate Nashville has overtaken Memphis as Tennessee’s largest city.

The Tennessean reports population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau put the state capital’s 2016 population at 660,388, compared to Memphis’ 652,717. The two have traded places on the list of the nation’s largest cities, with Nashville ranking 24th and Memphis 25th.

Estimates show that Memphis experienced a population loss of 1,737 from 2015 to 2016, while Nashville gained 6,310.

Unlike Memphis, which stands alone, the Census lists Tennessee’s new biggest city as the “Nashville-Davidson metropolitan government (balance),” as the governments of the City of Nashville and Davidson County merged in 1962.

The growth in Middle Tennessee includes Murfreesboro, which is among the nation’s 15 fastest-growing large cities for the second year in a row.

– The Associated Press

Tubby Smith Basketball Camps Start This Month

University of Memphis head basketball coach Tubby Smith has announced a series of basketball camps, including one four-day camp for the summer of 2017 and a team camp.

The first day camp will run from June 12-15.

The individual camp is open to any and all entrants for boys ages 7-18. Included in the camps is a tour of the Larry Finch Center including the Tiger Basketball locker room, players’ lounge and weight training facility.

The four-day camp is geared to develop and improve campers' individual basketball skills, and will provide a positive and fun teaching environment. Each day will include intense skill instruction from University of Memphis staff and players. There will be a free throw competition, hot shot competition, 3-on-3 competition and 5-on-5 games, with a tournament to crown a team champion of each division.

The camp session will run Monday-Thursday. It will start at 9 a.m. and run through 4:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and run from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday. There will be an awards ceremony on Thursday at 11 a.m.

In addition to the four-day individual camp for the summer of 2017, a team camp will be held June 6-7. The team camp will have divisions for middle school, high school and AAU teams. The cost for the camp will be $350 for six games (three games per day).

Visit coachtubbysmith.com to register and to find out more information.

– Don Wade

UT-Boling Center Gets New Associate Director

Belinda Hardy has been named associate director of the UT-Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Hardy is a licensed clinical social worker and has been employed at the Boling Center as the chief of social work since 1996.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, Hardy has worked in the fields of medical social work, developmental disabilities, corrections and mental health services. She is an adjunct faculty member in the College of Social Work at the University of Memphis and serves on the board of the Memphis Center for Independent Living.

The Boling Center began as a specialty clinic in 1957, and became one of the original 19 university-based disability centers funded by John F. Kennedy’s administration. It is part of a national network of university programs supported, in part, by the federal government to facilitate the flow of disability-related information and best practices between the community and university.

– Andy Meek

Co-Chairs Named For NAACP Centennial Event

The diversity officer for FedEx Express, an attorney and long-time civil and political activist, and a member of the federal advisory board to the U.S. Transportation Department are the three co-chairs of the Freedom Fund Luncheon, June 24, that will mark the centennial of the Memphis Branch NAACP.

The Freedom Fund event is the local branch’s largest annual fundraiser with tickets for the centennial luncheon starting at $100.

The co-chairs are Shannon Brown of FedEx Express, attorney Jocelyn Wurzburg and Roquita Coleman-Williams, who in addition to being on the Department of Transportation advisory board is also on the board of the Memphis Area Transit Authority.

The Memphis Branch of the NAACP was founded in June 1917 following the lynching of Ell Persons one month earlier.

The centennial luncheon is at the Memphis Hilton with an announcement about the keynote speaker expected soon.

“This is going to be an exciting and meaningful event for all who have supported the NAACP through the last 100 years,” said Deidre Malone, Memphis branch president. “This is a time to celebrate all that has been accomplished as a community and a time to reflect on the work that is still needed to get our community to a place of true equality. Our co-chairs, sponsors and our theme reflect the hope that we have for the next 100 years.”

– Bill Dries

Cleaning Authority Program To Benefit Food Bank

For the second consecutive year, The Cleaning Authority of Memphis is conducting a summer donation program to help the Mid-South Food Bank.

Called The Cleaning Authority CARES, the company collects donations of food from clients and the community for the food bank. The initiative first launched in April 2016 and the Memphis office collected 2,456 pounds of food.

A brown paper bag is left in the homes of residential clients with information about the campaign and a request to donate non-perishable goods between cleaning visits.

Visit thecleaningauthority.com/cares/howtohelp/ for more information or call 901-751-9927.

– Daily News staff

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