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VOL. 132 | NO. 102 | Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Minority Business Mic Drop, Truckers & Taxes and Confederate Statues

By Bill Dries

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Quite the buzz around the minority business discussion on “Behind The Headlines” – notably the progress report from Greater Memphis Chamber board chair Carolyn Hardy about what’s working and, more to the point, what is not working. In Hardy’s view that would be general minority business goals that she said amount to black-owned businesses being left out some three years into the renewed push for minority business growth – in government contracts and private business-to-business contracts.

Even without the budget season, this is going to be a busy council day at City Hall for several reasons. Just take your pick.

As we mention, at the top of the council’s Tuesday agenda is an evidentiary hearing on the Railgarten development. Here is more on the move toward a compromise that the owners of the restaurant-bar hope will satisfy the council to keep their special use permit in place and not revoke it.

The Shelby County Commission had a busy Monday around some pretty technical points but nonetheless very important points that included the terms for its minority and locally-owned business efforts in county government contracts. But also in the setting of a certified property tax rate taking into account the 2017 countywide property reappraisal. Many of you got more than the 13.5 percent average jump in residential property value. County government’s first resetting of the rate to take into account that jump put the new rate at $4.06 cents – not the $4.13 that was approved Monday. But the state rejected that, saying Shelby County and other local governments across the state should not use the most recent reappraisal before this year’s.

Speaking of taxes, local trucking companies have already estimated what the hike in the state’s gas tax will mean toward their bottom line. And there are some impressive dollar figures in the latest in our series of stories on the fine print and ultimate effect on businesses of the IMPROVE Act. But the trucking executives tell us they are willing to pay more for better roads toward a better overall bottom line once you take into account how much their trucks work.

In our Health Care Emphasis:

Here is the Q&A with Dr. Robert Miller of Campbell Clinic we talked about here when last we met. Miller talks about the evolution of sports medicine and how the knowledge in that field is changing sports itself. Yet there are new types of injuries.

LifeSigns, the health care company known for executive physicals, is 25 years old this year and doing more in the work place including ultrasound as a part of comprehensive physicals that can take an hour-and-a-half to two hours.

So, you get a diagnosis that probably comes after several visits to a doctor and a battery of tests you didn’t expect. And the diagnosis is you need a transplant. What is your next step … and the second and third and so on. That’s an area the National Foundation for Transplants, based here in Memphis, wants to expand into. The group began in the early 1980s around an effort by three women who began raising money after they heard about a child who needed a liver transplant. The transplant was a success at a time when Memphis was becoming a transplant center. NFT offers services to living donors as well as fundraising assistance and the foundation gets into what it costs for a kidney or lung transplant.

Park Tower Apartments, 128 units in the Memphis Medical District, sells for $5.2 million. This is a 1957 nine-story building at 57 N. Somerville St. that will get a $750,000 upgrade.

In off-session Nashville, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed the “In God We Trust” bill that includes the phrase on the new Tennessee license plate design. There is a wrinkle that came with Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s constitutional concerns about the legislation. The new design will be optional. So you have a choice to make when the time comes to renew.

Tami Sawyer – the city’s original Black Lives Matter leader who made a strong challenge of state Rep. John Deberry in the 2016 elections and is now on the board of the Memphis Branch NAACP -- on Medium on the effort to remove local Confederate monuments that had already been stirring when it came up a few times at Sunday’s centennial of the Ell Persons lynching.

And here is more on Sunday’s anniversary.

You know about the “Lisa Marie” and “Hound Dog” -- the two jets owned by Elvis Presley that have been part of the Graceland experience for quite a while. There is another one that has been sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 30 years and will be auctioned Saturday.

PROPERTY SALES 39 202 12,960
MORTGAGES 25 110 8,113
BUILDING PERMITS 114 645 30,579
BANKRUPTCIES 37 122 6,186