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VOL. 133 | NO. 37 | Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Patio Test, St. Jude's Edge and Bredesen Runs For the Center

By Bill Dries

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All across the city Monday afternoon into the evening, the city was tested just about a month away from spring by the calendar. And I am happy to report that the dry run for the patio season proved Memphis is vigilant and prepared. The test, in extreme temperatures that reached 77 degrees – breaking the record of 76 degrees set in 1986, prompted some of you to break out the running gear and give it a spin just before the early sunset. Others among you were spotted on patios pondering what ever became of Mr. Mister and Glass Tiger.

A rendering of St. Jude's planned $412 million research center.

St. Jude took the wraps off Monday of the leading edge of its $9 billion expansion – construction and programming – with the unveiling of plans for a $412 million research center on property it already owns by the Danny Thomas Boulevard overpass.

The price tag on the seven-story building is a bit less than half of the $1 billion the hospital announced earlier it intended to spend on construction projects as part of its expansion. And while it might seem like a lot for a seven-story building – even a futuristic looking one – consider all of the advanced technology that will likely be inside the building and you might wonder why it’s price isn’t more.

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen campaigns in South Main for the U.S. Senate.

Former Tennessee Phil Bredesen is on the campaign trail – the first of many trips back and forth across this long state in his quest for the U.S. Senate seat on the ballot this year. And we talked with him after the talked to a room of potential supporters. Bredesen said he expects polling that shows his moderate politics is appealing to voters will only get better as the race moves toward what looks to be a November general election between him and Republican Marsha Blackburn. But this could get more complicated – especially in the August Republican primary -- with incumbent Republican Senator Bob Corker reconsidering his earlier decision not to run for re-election.

Democratic state Senator Lee Harris of Memphis has a bill in Nashville that looks to be the first part of the new push for a prekindergarten expansion locally. The bill would send the revenue from allowing Sunday wine sales to the Tennessee Education Department to administer a pre-k scholarship fund for low income children. Republican state Rep. Mark White of Memphis is the House sponsor of the bill.

It’s council day at City Hall Tuesday and the council has several important discussions in committee early in the day before a short afternoon agenda. You may notice that for a second council advancer we have noted that none of the documents detailing any of the items on the agenda were posted on the council’s web site as of press time Monday. That remained the case into Monday evening. We will continue to make note of this as need be.

In our Women & Business Emphasis:

Tsunami cofounder Colleen Couch-Smith has some new ideas for the Cooper-Young institution.

The co-founder of Tsunami in Cooper-Young returns from a sabbatical with new ideas toward the institution’s 20-year mark in July. For Colleen Couch-Smith that takes in a renovation of the restaurant and a marketing strategy.

Family leave policies protect the jobs of new parents but not their pay just at the time that families are expanding. And while federal and state laws have their limits, some employers are expanding those benefits with their own policies. Some of that is part of the reaction to the federal tax reform law recently passed. For others it is a result of a generally improving economy.

Changes in sexual harassment policies and how those policies are explained within companies. The changes involve more emphasis on prevention at the outset.

Last call for the Thursday Daily News Seminar at The Brooks on Women & Business where these and other related matters will be discussed.

Six cases of sexual misconduct in the last two years at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. These are just the cases against faculty and staff, not among students, substantiated by the university.

Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter is retiring effective March 1.

General Sessions Court Judge Larry Potter, who founded the Environmental Court 33 years ago, announced his retirement Monday, effective March 1. The Shelby County Commission will fill the vacancy and Potter let it be known he thinks Patrick Dandridge, an attorney and the city’s deputy public works director for code enforcement, should get the call. Like other trial court judges civil and criminal here, Potter is elected to an eight-year term of office. His current term runs to the end of 2022. So this could add a fourth special election for judge to the August ballot along with the races for two Circuit Court positions and a Criminal Court position. Here is a 2015 profile on Potter.

The Rise restaurant chain comes to Saddle Creek in Germantown next month.

Adding up the Addys shows lots of hardware for Archer Malmo, Y&R and Red Deluxe.

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108