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VOL. 133 | NO. 32 | Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Higher Ed Pushback, 50 Years Later and Attack Ads in the Race for Gov.

By Bill Dries

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The idea that higher education is primarily about getting people into jobs as soon as possible is getting some push back. And it comes several years into an emphasis at the state level on associate degrees and trade certifications. Rhodes College president Marjorie Hass said several times during our talk on “Behind The Headlines” that she isn’t downplaying the importance of trade skills and the education necessary for those skills.

But she also said the jobs of the future involve more critical thinking and choices for workers than before. And that, she says, is something four-year colleges and universities provide that can't be put on a shorter time schedule or even bypassed with college credit in high school. The conversation was prompted by Hass’s comments at her installation ceremony last month at Rhodes.

Several hundred people in the Downtown streets on a cold Monday marking 50 years to the day that the sanitation workers strike began.

The Trump administration budget books were still in the shrink wrap Monday when the Tennessee delegation found the part about the Tennessee Valley Authority – the second coming of a proposal to study the sale of TVA assets, a do-over effectively of a proposal from the Obama administration. U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander was first out of the box among our delegation to Washington, calling it a “looney idea” and just a graph or two below that adding the part about the Obama proposal. Memphis Light Gas and Water Division is the largest customer of TVA.

Here is the breakdown of the budget plan by federal agency from Associated Press. Look for this to change several times over.

The Memphis Lucite plant on Fite Road in northern Shelby County is about to get a new owner. Plaskolite LLC announced Monday afternoon that it is buying Lucite International’s continuous cast acrylic sheet business. That includes the facility on Fite Road that makes the acrylic sheets used in spas and in bathroom products. The Memphis plant got a 15-year PILOT from the Memphis Industrial Development Board – pre-EDGE – in 2010 to keep 200 jobs here. Those jobs are well-paying jobs. No dollar figures disclosed in Monday’s announcement which is expected to close by the end of March.

The Tigers loss to UCF Sunday at FedExForum was close – by four points – but the games are becoming the backdrop for doubts about the direction of the basketball program. And at least for now, criticism by former Tiger Antonio Anderson of Coach Tubby Smith is taking up much of the spotlight. Smith’s response after the Sunday game was surprising in an environment where coaches as well as players are expected to hit back and are viewed with suspicion if they don’t.

In our Financial Services Emphasis:

Attorney Richard Glassman on deadlines in tax season and how accountants and attorneys approach April 15, why the first step after making a mistake is crucial for both and sorting out federal tax reform.

Alexander Thompson Arnold buys Cannon & Co. – two financial services companies with deep roots in Memphis but different strengths.

And the new managing partner at Dixon Hughes Goodman, Buddy Dearman, knows his way around a car dealership.

Intrigue in the Republican primary race for Tennessee Governor. A donor to Randy Boyd’s campaign made a $200,000 contribution to a political committee behind a radio attack ad targeting rival Diane Black. Boyd’s campaign is denying any role in the attack ad. The Boyd and Black camps have already been testing each other virtually from the outset of the campaign.

Coming to the Land Use Control Board next month – infill, including a 30-lot subdivision in South Main, specifically at Front and Butler.

PROPERTY SALES 91 293 13,051
MORTGAGES 58 168 8,171
BUILDING PERMITS 99 744 30,678
BANKRUPTCIES 34 156 6,220