VOL. 10 | NO. 19 | Saturday, May 6, 2017
Frontier Adds Nonstop Flights From MEM to Vegas
Memphis International Airport has announced Frontier Airlines will begin nonstop flights between Memphis and Las Vegas on Aug. 14.
“We at MEM are excited to add another option to a destination as popular as Las Vegas,” said Pace Cooper, chairman of the board of commissioners for the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “We understand that our passengers want to see more options to destinations in the West, and we applaud Frontier for responding to customer demand.”
According to the airport, Frontier will operate a 186-seat Airbus 320 four times per week, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
“Memphis International Airport is a great partner, and we look forward to working with them to make this route a success,” said Rick Zeni, chief information officer for Frontier Airlines.
The daily flights depart from Memphis at 2:05 p.m. and arrive in Las Vegas at 3:40 p.m.
Flights from Vegas depart at 7:55 a.m and arrive in Memphis at 1:18 p.m.
Tickets are currently on sale and can be found at flyfrontier.com.
– Patrick Lantrip
Trolley Buses Running During Music Festival
The opening weekend of the Memphis in May International Festival in Tom Lee Park will be a swan song of sorts for the use of trolley buses on the Main Street Mall.
The Memphis Area Transit Authority is ending the use of the buses on the mall Monday to make repairs on the mall in preparation for a return of the rail trolleys. The trolley buses will continue to run on Front and Second streets in the transition.
During the Beale Street Music Festival, the Main Street Trolley, Riverfront Trolley and Madison Trolley lines will have buses operating approximately every 15 minutes.
Service on the Main Street line will be extended during the musical festival through 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
MATA will also have booths for trolley bus tickets on Beale Street Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and near the Sheraton Hotel at the convention center Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
– Bill Dries
Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty to Mortgage Fraud
The owner of Wonderful Properties LLC pleaded guilty Wednesday, May 3, to a federal charge of bank fraud for fraudulently obtaining mortgage loans from a group of four financial institutions.
Thomas L. Boyd was indicted on federal charges in September 2016. Boyd made false statements and presented false documents to Regions Bank, First Tennessee Bank, Bank of America and Oak Tree Funding representing people who were financing the purchases from Boyd and his company.
Boyd specifically made false statements on loan closing documents by failing to tell the lenders that he was kicking back part of the loan proceeds to the borrowers.
The indictment estimates $635,000 in loan proceeds were involved.
Boyd pleaded guilty to a fraud count involving Regions Bank.
He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison on the charge and/or a fine of up to $1 million.
Boyd is to be sentenced Aug. 9 by U.S. District Judge Sheryl H. Lipman.
– Bill Dries
Another Juco Player Signs with Memphis Tigers
University of Memphis head men's basketball coach Tubby Smith has announced the signing of Mike Parks Jr., a 6-9, 270-pound center from Southwest Mississippi Community College.
Parks joins the top-rated recruiting class in the American Athletic Conference, per 247sports.com.
"When we first saw him play at Missouri State-West Plains, we knew he had the skill set we were looking for," Smith said in a statement. "With him, we fill a need of size in interior play. He is an outstanding young man, and is team-oriented.
"I love his attitude, and he is a great fit for the program," Smith said.
Parks, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, finished fifth in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in field goal percentage and made 70.3 percent (97-138) of his shots during the season.
He averaged 8.9 points and 4.0 rebounds, playing just 19.4 minutes per game with the Bears.
Parks helped lead Southwest Mississippi to an 18-9 overall record, and a 10-4 mark in conference play.
– Don Wade
Redbirds’ Voit Named Minor League Player of Month
The St. Louis Cardinals announced that Memphis Redbirds first baseman Luke Voit has been named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Month for April.
Voit hit .360 in the season’s opening month with five home runs and 16 RBI in 23 games.
Overall, the 25-year-old led the Redbirds in average, hits (27), doubles (tie, 7th), home runs, OBP (.448), SLG (.680), and OPS (1.128) in April.
Voit was a 22nd-round pick (665th overall) of the Cardinals in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Missouri State University.
As of May 1, he ranked in the Pacific Coast League top 10 in batting (.361, 7th), home runs (6, tie for 5th), total bases (57, 2nd), OBP (.442, 5th), SLG (.687, 4th), and OPS (1.129, 3rd).
He got off to a fast start by hitting a home run in three straight games from April 9-11, including the game-winning shot on April 10 at New Orleans. He also collected a multi-homer game on April 28 vs. Round Rock.
This is the second time that Voit has garnered the award, also doing so in August 2016 when he played for Double-A Springfield.
Right-handed pitcher Jack Flaherty was named the Cardinals’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month after going 4-0 with a 0.56 ERA in five starts with Double-A Springfield.
– Don Wade
Jernigan Capital Has Solid Q1, More Growth Expected
Memphis-based Jernigan Capital Inc. is enjoying a strong start to 2017.
The company – a capital partner for self-storage entrepreneurs – saw net income attributable to common stockholders for the three months ended March 31 increase to $1.2 million, or 14 cents per share, compared to net income of $1.1 million, or 18 cents per share, for the comparable period in 2016.
Among the highlights for the quarter, the company said it increased its investment pipeline to about $825 million.
According to company chairman and CEO Dean Jernigan, the $105.6 million of developments closed in the first quarter was Jernigan Capital’s largest investment quarter to date.
And the company, per president and chief operating officer John Good, is also on pace to “substantially exceed in 2017 the investment volume of 2015 and 2016 combined."
"As of today, we have closed $155.7 million of development investments in 2017 and have executed term sheets for another $212 million of investments,” Good said.
In addition, Good said, another $613 million of “high quality prospective investments is in our underwriting process.”
– Andy Meek
Airbnb Sees $1M Economic Impact During Music Fest
An estimated $1 million of economic activity in Memphis will come from Airbnb guests staying in the city during the Beale Street Music Festival this weekend, according to the accommodations marketplace Airbnb.
Memphis residents who share their homes on Airbnb during the music festival will earn $240,000 in supplemental income.
The hosts will welcome about 1,700 guests to the city.
Based on how much Airbnb guests to Memphis report that they spend per day at restaurants, shops and other local businesses, Airbnb estimates an additional $714,000 in guest spending with local merchants.
The online marketplace reports these statistics for the Memphis market:
• There are currently 300 active Airbnb hosts.
• Memphis welcomed 40,000 Airbnb guest arrivals in 2016, which resulted in 99 percent year-over-year growth.
• Memphis Airbnb hosts earned $3.9 million in supplemental income in 2016.
• The typical Memphis host earns $8,000 annually in supplemental income.
• Among the Memphis Airbnb listings, 46 percent are extra, unused rooms in a host’s residence such as an empty nester whose children are living on their own, according to Airbnb.
– Daily News staff
FedEx Awarded $2.35B Defense Delivery Contract
The Department of Defense’s United States Transportation Command has awarded a government-wide package delivery services contract valued at more than $2.35 billion to Memphis-based FedEx Corp.
The government-wide Next Generation Delivery Services contract awarded April 26 is a best-in-class contract for domestic and international express small-package delivery services, and domestic ground small-package delivery services. The contract will begin Oct. 1, according to a DoD release.
Services outlined in FedEx’s contract include time-definite, door-to-door pickup and delivery; transportation; timely and accurate in-transit visibility; and customs clearance processing. The contract also may include shipments of foreign military sales.
Lousville, Kentucky-based United Parcel Service Co. was awarded a similar five-year contract for roughly the same amount as FedEx, while Polar Air Cargo of Purchase, New York, a primary subcontractor for DHL, received a five-year contract valued at $199 million.
The contract represents the federal government’s acquisition approach to consolidate federal package-delivery contracts into one government-wide contract under the purview of the DoD’s U.S. Transportation Command, a specialized buyer of global transportation services, according to the DoD release.
The Next Generation Delivery Services approach marks a fundamental change in acquiring package delivery services, according to the DoD.
The department's primary goals in making the change were leveraging the federal government’s buying power, reducing the number of contract vehicles and strengthening demand-management practices.
– Daily News staff
Management Firm Buys Midtown Retail Center
Absolute Storage Management has purchased a Midtown retail center for a little more than $1 million.
The Memphis-based firm, working under the name ASM Storage Partnership, purchased the building at 376 N. Cleveland St. from Overton Park Commons LLC, according to an April 24 warranty deed filed with the Shelby County Register of Deeds.
A $660,000 mortgage though First Bank was filed in conjunction with the purchase. Michael J. Haugh, president and CEO of Absolute Storage, signed the trust deed on its behalf.
The 7,293-square-foot community shopping center was built in 2006 and sits on a little more than 1 acre near the intersection of Cleveland Street and Overton Park Avenue.
The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2017 appraisal is $729,300.
An ACE Cash Express and Jackson Hewitt Tax Services are currently located in the center.
Overton Park Commons LLC had owned the property for more than a decade, having purchased it from UT Medical Group for $155,000 in 2005.
Haugh founded Absolute Storage in 2002, and the company has grown to include 90 properties totaling more than 5 million square feet.
Though headquartered in Memphis, the storage management company also operates offices in Nashville; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Absolute Storage acquired the property where Snapbox Self-Storage is located at 1486 Madison Ave. for $5.5 million in December.
– Patrick Lantrip
Hernando Mayor Johnson Upset in Primary Election
Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite and Horn Lake Mayor Allen Latimer won Republican primary re-election bids in local elections across Mississippi Tuesday, May 4, and won re-election to new terms of office by virtue of being unopposed in the June local general elections.
Meanwhile, Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson lost a re-election bid in that city’s Republican primary to challenger Tom Ferguson Jr., who is running unopposed in the Hernando general elections.
Olive Branch Mayor Scott Phillips ran unopposed in Tuesday’s local primaries and has no opposition in June either.
In the nonpartisan elections in Walls, Mississippi, Mayor Patti Denison is running unopposed on the June ballot.
– Bill Dries
St. Jude Seeking ‘Heroes’ For 2017 Marathon
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is calling on supporters to lace up their running shoes and register as a St. Jude Hero for the 16th St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend.
Participants who fundraise for the hospital are called St. Jude Heroes because they “Run for a Reason” – to help ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
Runners who register as St. Jude Heroes and commit to raise a minimum of $500 are able to sign up for any of the races – including the full and half marathon, the 10K and the 5K – during the VIP registration period, which ends May 31. Visit stjude.org/marathon2017 for more information.
“Funds raised by our St. Jude Heroes are critical in enabling St. Jude to find cures for some of the most aggressive childhood cancers and life-threatening diseases,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend presented by Juice Plus+ is a collaborative effort between ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Memphis Runners Track Club to help children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Last year, the marathon weekend raised more than $10 million, and this year’s event is expected to attract more than 25,000 participants.
– Don Wade
High Water Closes Arkansas Side of Big River Crossing
The Mississippi River at Memphis is on the rise and the Arkansas entrance to the Big River Crossing closed Tuesday, May 2, as a result.
The flood plain before the West Memphis levee comes each year at about this time and the high water on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River is the first since the crossing opened on the north side of the Harahan Bridge this past fall.
The Memphis side of the crossing, atop a bluff, remains open to the public from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Visitors can only enter and exit the crossing from the Memphis side until the river level drops from its annual rise. Then the West Memphis entrance and exit will reopen.
– Bill Dries
U of M Healthcare Admin Program Ranks No. 12
The University of Memphis’ Master in Healthcare Administration program has been ranked No. 12 by the online resource topmastersinhealthcare.com.
The U of M is ranked along with such prestigious programs as Columbia University, Johns Hopkins, George Mason, Seton Hall, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Southern California.
The University of Memphis is home to the only MHA program in Tennessee accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education. In addition to making U.S. News & World Report’s Best Healthcare Management Degree rankings, the U of M also has appeared on Modern Healthcare’s list of Top 20 MHA Programs.
– Don Wade
UTHSC College of Nursing Starts Innovation Center
The College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center has launched a new Center for Community Partnerships and Nursing Innovation.
Led by Dr. Sara Day, associate professor and assistant dean in the UTHSC College of Nursing, the center is designed to develop sustainable partnerships with clinical, research and service institutions in the Memphis area to advance health care, foster innovative nursing strategies, reduce health disparities and improve patient outcomes.
According to Day, the center will work to integrate academic nursing into population health initiatives, offer education and support for evidence-based practice, expand academic leadership in clinic practice and grow academic nursing research programs.
Among other things, the center will also collaborate with other institutions to establish and support nurse practitioner fellowships, offer guidance in quality improvement initiatives and serve as an accredited provider of continuing nursing education credits.
– Andy Meek
U of M Extends Ticketing, Engagement Partnership
Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagement, the leading provider of ticketing, fundraising, marketing and analytics solutions in college athletics, announced it has extended its 34-year partnership with the University of Memphis. The U of M has been working with Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagement since 1983.
With the extended partnership, the U of M will employ Spectra’s industry-specific implementation of Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) services, the division’s industry-leading PAC Analytics services, and leverage the relationship with StubHub to increase convenience for fans.
The U of M will implement Salesforce CRM to provide staff with a 360-degree view of every season ticket holder, fan and donor. Salesforce CRM provides real-time reports of sales activities and progress, accessible from any device at any time to help staff track relationships and better communicate with fans and donors. Spectra also will work directly with the U of M to develop and implement best practices as part of its PAC Analytics solution.
The U of M continues to use Spectra’s PAC Ticketing and PAC eCommerce platforms to enable fans, donors and students to purchase tickets to ticketed sports and make donations in real-time at gotigersgo.com.
Through Spectra’s partnership integration with StubHub, Tigers fans will access StubHub as the official ticket marketplace of the Memphis Tigers. The service is a fully integrated ticketing platform, which allows ticket holders the opportunity to resell their tickets on the world’s largest ticket marketplace while providing buyers a secure shopping experience.
– Don Wade
Baptist Completes Merger With Miss. Health System
Memphis-based Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. and Mississippi Baptist Health Systems of Jackson, Mississippi, have completed a merger, making the new health care system one of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the country.
The completion comes about eight months after the two hospitals first started merger talks in September. The Federal Trade Commission has approved the merger, and both systems have signed a shared mission agreement.
The combined hospital system will be the largest provider in the Mid-South as well as the largest health care system in Mississippi. It will also be Mississippi’s fourth largest employer.
Baptist Memorial has 17 hospitals in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, and Mississippi Baptist has four in Mississippi. Baptist Memorial’s Baptist OneCare electronic health record system is being installed in Mississippi Baptist hospitals and clinics.
“This merger will have a significant impact on health care and our communities,” said Jason Little, president and CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care. “By combining our resources, we can invest more heavily in our team members, facilities and equipment, which will result in greater access to new technologies, best practices and medical specialists.”
– Andy Meek
Tigers Kicker Jake Elliott Drafted by Cincinnati
Memphis place kicker Jake Elliott became the latest Tiger to join the NFL via the draft, being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round and the 153rd overall pick.
Elliott becomes the second Tiger kicker to be drafted. Stephen Gostkowski, whose records Elliott broke this season, was drafted in the fourth round (118thoverall) by New England in 2006.
Elliott leaves Memphis as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 445 points (passing NFL veterans Gostkowski and DeAngelo Williams), also putting him among the career top 10 in FBS scoring by a kicker.
In four years at Memphis, Elliott was a perfect 202-for-202 on point-after-touchdown attempts (PATs), and his 81 field goals made and 104 attempted are both career records for Memphis.
In total, Elliott holds the Memphis school records in scoring and points kicking (445), PATs made (202), PAT attempts (202), field goals made (81), field goal attempts (104) and field goal percentage (77.9).
He also holds the school records for the longest field goal with his 56-yarder at USF in 2013.
The Western Springs, Illinois, native was also a key component of a Memphis special teams unit that ranked as one of the best in the country. In 2016, Memphis ranked second in the country in kick-return defense (16.04 ypr) and Elliott recorded 64 touchbacks on 92 kickoffs (69.6 percent). His 64 touchbacks led the American Athletic Conference and ranked third nationally.
– Don Wade
‘Great Streets’ Pilot Project Introduced
Plans for protected bike lanes and pedestrian spaces between FedExForum and the Mississippi riverfront are being planned as part of “Great Streets” pilot project the city of Memphis is to announce Tuesday, May 2.
The project is scheduled for a June 26 launch as the city hosts the national conference for the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycling Professionals. The funders and partners of the effort include the Hyde Family Foundations, UrbanArt Commission, Looney Ricks Kiss, DCA and Ikea.
– Bill Dries
Tenn. Republican Party Names New Leaders
Tennessee Republican Party chairman Scott Golden has named Michael Sullivan as the state party’s new executive director and Ashley Hesseldahl-Harbin as finance director.
Sullivan is a former political director and deputy executive director of the state party who in the 2016 presidential campaign worked for the Republican National Committee in Iowa.
Hesseldahl-Harbin comes to the state party position from being bill clerk for the Tennessee General Assembly.
– Bill Dries
Memphis Lab Testing Firm To Pay $900,000 Settlement
A Tennessee lab testing company has agreed to pay $900,000 to the federal government to settle allegations that it performed diagnostic tests that were not medically necessary.
The agreement between the Poplar Healthcare and the federal government was unsealed Monday in federal court in Rhode Island.
Under its terms, about $200,000 of that amount will be given to a doctor who blew the whistle.
The Memphis-based company did not admit wrongdoing, but agreed the government will be able to recoup the cost of the tests.
Federal prosecutors say an investigation found that Poplar promoted the test as a way to diagnose a condition known as “mast cell enterocolitis.” They say the promotion was not supported by adequate scientific evidence and not consistent with Food and Drug Administration requirements.
– The Associated Press