News - Friday, July 29, 2011

The Main Street Journal Website

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An Ignominious End
To Beloved Companions

More Memphis Animal Shelter horror as a broken incinerator is blamed for the mass “dumping” of animal carcasses at a Shelby County landfill. Up to 30,000 animals a year are disposed of via incineration. Tennessee law does permit this. It will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the incinerator. Sanitation workers are “upset” with the smell. More in the Commercial Appeal.

Millington: Still no arrests following Wednesday’s raid. More raids were conducted yesterday. Documents related to Transmission Doctor were of special interest. WMC reports that six people have been subpoenaed. The Director of the Public Works Agency, Jack Huffman, says the investigators took “two pieces of paper” from his office and that he was subpoenad. Did the local blog Living In Millington play a part?

Visitation for Rita Hodges, Millington mayor Richard Hodges wife, will be today; the funeral is Saturday.

Unemployment: Shock as the City’s unemployment rate soars a full percentage point to 12.1%! Shelby County is at 11.1% and the Metropolitan Memphis rate (an 8 county area) is 10.9% More in the Commercial Appeal. Read the report directly here.

City Council-City Schools Funding Grapple: The “next move” is up to the Council at Tuesday’s special meeting. The Flyer looks at where things are now and what’s next. How we got to where we are today. The distrust between the two main actors still remains.

The October 6 Elections: He’s a man without a campaign because Derek Richardson says the Election Commission told him his application was OK when it wasn’t. Now that the deadline to withdraw has passed, here’s the final list of candidates or here.

One Commerce Square: The designers of the signage and lobby entrace concept take their ideas, including a 60-foot long mural, to the Design Revew Board of the Downtown Memphis Commission next week.

MLG&W: The utility has a reconnection plan but many residents can’t afford the down payment or the time frame to catch up. Also, a change in the Community Services Agency, which helps people with past due bills and reconnection, means they won’t have any money until October.

Memphis City Schools: The teachers union agreed to replace senior teachers with Teach For America recruits but they weren’t at all happy about it.

Local Media: Once again, the local Nielsen ratings for news are dominated by two stations: WREG and WMC.

Tennessee: The lender for the State’s Energy Efficiency Loan Program is lowering the interest rate (from 5% to 3%) to spur further investments. The State is still working out the design and parameters of its “dashboard” of progress.

Federal Funding and Debt: In the event of a Federal debt-ceiling problem the State’s fianaces can weather a short-term crisis. Advocacy groups in health care that depend on Federal dollars are organising to protect their funding.

Federal Debt-Ceiling Negotiations: How Representative Jim Cooper and US Senator Bob Corker stand on raising the debt limit.

Politics: A ruling by the US District Court is being challenged to the Tennessee Green and Constitution parties; more from the Tennessean. The bill was SB0935. Republican legislators have begun meetings about Statewide redistricting. Davidson County Election Commission rules that campaign volunteers cannot enter voting centers (even in public buildings) while the election is in progress. While the new State election laws don’t go into effect until 2012, the Secretary of State’s office is going into full education mode. Still, the new voter ID law has some voters in a “tizzy”.

FAA: Washington infighting is holding up the legislation to re-authorise the agency and let it end the furlough.

Kroc Center: An unexplained “engineering mistake” has now been corrected and contruction is back on track, but a year behind schedule. The cost of repairs will be borne by insurers.

911 Call Center: The Shelby County Commission will discuss simply loaning the City its share of the costs in building the center, to be repaid over time.

DeSoto County: Governor Haley Barbour got a huge round of applause at his appearance at the Neshoba County Fair. The Southaven High School band’s performance at lieutenant governor candidate Tate Reeves rally raised questions about politics and school.

Real Estate: According to Realty Trac, the rate of foreclosures had been cut in half this year.

Second Chance: The City’s program to give felons a second chance at employment claims a 5% recidivism.

Internet Exclusive! Lies, Damned Lies and Political Rhetoric: Financial Correspondent Chuck Bates believes that too many politicians are willing to play rhetorical games with the high-stakes Federal budget debate. He longs for the days of statesmen.

Internet Exclusive: Corporate Welfare and Government Waste: The Tennessee Center for Policy Research is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization that has just released their 2011 Pork Report on State government waste, fraud and mis-spending. The report can be read here.

Lambuth University: The TN Higher Education Commission approved the acquisition of the school by the State, setting up the next step: transfer to the University of Memphis. That vote comes next Friday. The U of M faces a big bill in fixing up the school.

Virtual School: The Tennessee Virtual Academy is an online school that opens this Fall, although the loss of student funds is troubling to some.

Memphis Government: There are 95 openings on various City boards and commissions and a special event, “Get On Board!” this Friday aims to fill them. The City is considering “railroad quiet zones” where 200,000 residents who might get as many 40 to 80 blasts of railroad horns will instead get silence. More on the job cuts in the library system.

Sales Tax Holidays All three Mid-Southern states will give a break from (some) sales taxes. In MS, it starts this weekend–July 29 -30. In TN it’s August 5 - 7. In AR, it’s August 5 - 6. The TN website for the holiday is here.

Lorenzen Wright Vigil: A candlelight vigil was held at the FedEx Forum yesterday, to mark the one-year anniversary of his still-unsolved murder. Over one hundred people turned out. The reward for information about his murder is $8000 but might be increased soon.

State Education Reform: The Dickson County teachers union went to court to compel the local school board to negotiate and then discovered their contract didn’t expire in 2013 as they thought but expired at the end June. State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman admitted that even though school starts in a week, the State still hasn’t worked out its teacher evaluation plan. Governor Bill Haslam links our high unemployment rates with our college graduation rates.

Ofc. Tim Warren: The man accused of his murder, Alexander Haydel, is awaiting his mental evaluation. More from ABC24 and the CA.

University of Memphis: The Green Campus Network is a six school energy program that “encourages students to pursue careers in sustainability and increases energy efficiency awareness”.

Mississippi: An Associated Press report on the governor’s candidate debate at the Neshoba County Fair.

US Representative Stephen Fincher: While the Federal Election Commission elected to do nothing about a campaign disclosure reporting error, that doesn’t mean the press has to let it go.

Hickory Ridge Mall: They are hosting a Public Health & Safety Expo this Saturday from 10 to 3, offering free screenings and testing.

Business: The local hotel/motel industry is seeing increased demand and rising occupancy rates, thanks to no new construction. Black and Hispanic Americans have been hardest hit by The Great Recession.

People on the Move, reported by the Business Journal. In the Commercial Appeal, they cover What to Do and People in Business. The Daily News handles Today’s Events and Inked.

Wright Medical Group: Government investigation or no, they still saw sales increase and net income more than double. The company still holds to its projection of 3% growth for FY2011. More in the Commercial Appeal.

International Paper: Like the cat said to the mouse, so IP says to Temple-Inland, “we can be patient, and we can take the time we need”. And though sales only grew modestly, 2Q earnings exploded by more than double. More from the Commercial Appeal. The company described it as a “sideways” quarter. With two distribution centers under construction, they are now looking at a short-term, leasable space in Lebanon, and yet a third site for another new facility. More from the Chattanooga Time Free Press, the Tennessean.

Delta Air Lines: They stress their capacity reduction plan is the right thing to do at this time.

Internet Exclusive: Herman Cain for President: Mississippi Tea Party activist Doctor Ed “Doc” Holliday says the only man who stands a chance of defeating President Barack Obama in 2012 is Republican candidate Herman Cain, and he lays out why.

Internet Exclusive: Is Downtown Up To Snuff? The Main Street Journal’s senior writer, Michael Roy Hollihan, has a little Q & A with the Center City Commission’s Paul Morris about the state of the Downtown, and a few other topics of interest.


Picture of the Day

All this nursery needs now is the baby, from sharp stick in the eye by Leslie Jerkins. © 2011. (Look carefully for the cat!)


Joe Spake’s Daily Buzz: The rest of the day’s news, from his usual, eclectic sources.

John Jay Hooker: Almost every Supreme Court and appellate judge at the State level is unconstitutionally chosen and retained. (via the Tennessean)

Commercial Appeal: The way the Shelby County school board treated its first charter school applicant to be successful was “shameful”. The income disparities created for black and Hispanic Americans during the Great Recession must be addressed.

Geoff Calkins: What do you think the murderers of Lorenzen Wright are thinking about today? (via the Commercial Appeal)

Frank Cagle: The curious tale of a cancelled rule-making hearing and a secret Attorney General’s opinion as they relate to Amazon. (via the Knoxville Metro Pulse)

Bill Maxwell: “Distance learning” versus community colleges. (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Knoxville News-Sentinel: For tea party Republicans, a default crisis is a “cold bucket of reality in the face” for Democrats and big government believers.

Ina Hughs: “Cigarette pack regulations violate your right to be stupid.

Flyer: Pleading with the Council and school board to wrap up this mess.

John Branston: Do I detect a whiff of Nashville envy in this column? (via the Flyer)

State Senator Lowe Finney: He thinks the new requirement for voter ID is a “setting the table for disaster”. (via the Tri-State Defender)

Shep Wilbun: A former election commissioner admits that elections are open to fraud, but he did nothing about it. (via the Tri-State Defender)

Dr. Bettye J. Alston: Getting fit requires planning and rethinking your life. (via the Tri-State Defender)

Memphasis: He wants to say to the City Council, “Just wait until your father gets home!” (via the Daily News)

FUNdraising: This column is written for everyone in the professional fundraising world. (via the Daily News)

Robert Lee Long: The closing of many posts offices will be the death knells of some small towns. (via the Desoto Times Tribune)

Gaston Caperton: Even in the Great Recession, having a college degree means you are more likely to be working. (via the Tennessean)