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VOL. 133 | NO. 74 | Thursday, April 12, 2018

Daily Digest

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Airport to Unveil Photos Of King’s Last Flights

Memphis International Airport is set to unveil a photography exhibition Thursday, April 12, that commemorates the last trip taken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Martin’s Last Flights” will feature several never-before-seen images taken by Memphis photojournalist Ernest C. Withers, including shots of King arriving at Memphis International Airport with Dorothy Cotton and Ralph Abernathy after a flight delay in Atlanta due to a bomb scare.

Another photo shows James Bevel, James Orange, Bernard Lee and Andrew Young loading King’s casket on an American Airlines plane chartered by Robert Kennedy.

The unveiling, which will take place at 9:15 a.m. in Delta Air Lines’ Ticket Lobby B, will include remarks by Memphis City Council chairman Berlin Boyd, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority president and CEO Scott Brockman, Withers Collection Museum & Gallery executive director Rosalind Withers, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

– Patrick Lantrip

CCRFC Approves Change In Wessman Hotel Project

The Center City Revenue Finance Corp. has approved a change in the development team planning an Arrive Hotel in the former Memphis College of Art graduate school, 477 S. Main St., and granted an extension on the time the owners have to close on the project.

The CCRFC board on Tuesday, April 10, granted a request by the project’s principals that effectively removes the original developer, Wessman Holdings LLC, from the development.

Wessman Holdings LLC had purchased the former graduate school in late 2016 with plans to develop the 62-room hotel. But principal John Wessman was charged with public corruption in Riverside County, California in February 2017, two days after the CCRFC board granted the hotel a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive.

With the change, the project is being led by Arrive MEM Development LLC, which puts the development directly in the hands of the hotel’s manager, Arrive Hotels & Restaurants. It also replaces the initial PILOT applicant, 477 Memphis Hotel LLC, with a new applicant, South Main Hotel LLC.

Originally the group was to close on the deal one year after the PILOT was granted. But the corporate restructuring “took materially longer than expected,” the developers wrote in a letter to the CCRFC board, necessitating their request to extend the closing timeline.

In other action, the CCRFC board approved up to $240,000 in funding for the Downtown Parking Authority to conduct a Downtown parking study through Nelson Nygaard Consulting Associates Inc. The firm was selected in late 2017. The Downtown Parking Authority is working with the Memphis Medical District Collaborative on the study.

– Bill Dries

Council Moves Closer To De-Annexations

Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, April 10, on the second of three readings ordinances for the de-annexation of part of Eads and an uninhabited area of the southwest Memphis flood plain.

In other action, the council approved on the second of three readings the ordinances that commit the city to partial funding of an expansion of prekindergarten classrooms across Shelby County.

Council members also approved funding of $250,000 for a driver’s license reinstatement and diversion program. Working with the General Sessions Court clerk and City Court clerk, the council fund will go to help individuals who meet program guidelines clear court fees they owe that have led to their driver’s license being suspended or revoked. The council is using the $100,000 it was allocated for MLK50 activities and initiatives.

The city fire station at 211 Jackson Ave. was sold to ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for $1.7 million by council resolution Tuesday. In a separate resolution, the city sold the Vehicle Services Center and Sign Shop, both located beneath the Danny Thomas Boulevard overpass, to St. Jude at their appraised value of $3.3 million.

– Bill Dries

Green Dot Gets $3M Loan For Bluff City High School

Green Dot Public Schools is preparing for renovations of its Bluff City High School in Hickory Hill with a $3 million loan from Nonprofit Finance Fund and Boston Community Capital.

The loan is for further renovations, including modular buildings for classrooms and staff offices, at the charter school’s campus in what was Solid Rock Christian Church, 4100 Ross Road.

Bluff City High is the first charter school in the state approved and overseen directly by the Tennessee Board of Education.

The school opened last fall with a ninth-grade class and is phasing in other grades across several school years with a goal of serving grades 9-12 by 2021.

The Green Dot loan is the sixth loan the two organizations have made to charter schools in Tennessee.

– Bill Dries

GTx Completes Enrollment In Latest Clinical Trial

Memphis-based biopharmaceutical company GTx Inc. reports it has completed patient enrollment several months ahead of schedule in its placebo-controlled, Phase 2 clinical trial of enobosarm in postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence, or SUI.

The ASTRID (Assessing Enobosarm for Stress Urinary Incontinence Disorder) trial enrolled 493 women at more than 60 clinical trial centers across the United States, GTx reported Monday, April 9. Top-line results are expected early in the fourth quarter.

“Due to overwhelming interest from women wanting to participate in the clinical trial, and the extraordinary teamwork by the clinical trial centers, enrollment in the ASTRID trial was completed in approximately eight months, with enrollment exceeding the 400 patients planned per protocol,” GTx executive chairman Robert J. Wills said in a statement.

Stress urinary incontinence refers to the unintentional leakage of urine during activities that increase abdominal pressure such as coughing, sneezing or physical exercise. SUI, the most common type of incontinence suffered by women, affects up to 35 percent of adult women in the United States.

A variety of treatments are used to treat SUI in women, including behavioral modification and pelvic floor physical therapy, especially as initial treatment options. As the condition worsens, bulking agents and surgical procedures are often the most widely used treatments.

GTx reported in March that a clinical trial of 3 mg enobosarm reduced episodes of urge incontinence by 68 percent in female patients who experienced UI and stress urinary incontinence.

GTx shares were trading at $18.45 midday Wednesday. It has ranged between $2.73 and $23.40 in the past year.

– Daily News staff

Rajun Cajun Festival Returns Sunday

The annual Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival benefiting Porter-Leath returns Downtown Sunday, April 15, from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m. at Wagner Place and Riverside Drive, between Union Avenue and Beale Street.

The 26th annual event, sponsored by Stinson’s Industrial, is the largest one-day crawfish festival in the Mid-South, according to Porter-Leath, and will feature more than 17,000 pounds of fresh Louisiana crawfish. In addition to crawfish, more than two dozen food trucks will offer a variety of foods, including barbecue, burgers and traditional carnival fare.

Porter-Leath maintains free admission to the Rajun Cajun festival in order to welcome all Mid-South families. The event includes fun for all ages, including crawfish bobbing, eating and racing contests, along with a play zone on Riverside Drive for children 12 and younger.

In addition, Rajun Cajun will feature three stages of live music – including performances by Marcella + Her Lovers, Freeworld, Black Oak Arkansas, The ShotGunBillys and The Bar-Kays – and a gumbo cook-off with 24 teams.

For a VIP experience, festival-goers can buy tickets to the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust Swamp Tent tickets in advance for $125 per person or $225 per pair. The tickets include unlimited crawfish and Cajun cuisine from noon until 6 p.m., plus two drink tickets, each good for a margarita or hurricane.

Proceeds from the festival support Porter-Leath’s mission of empowering more than 46,000 Mid-South children and families to achieve healthy, optimal and independent lifestyles.

For more information or VIP tickets, visit rajuncajunmemphis.org.

– Daily News staff

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