Main Street Journal - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

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Municipal School Districts: County mayor Mark Luttrell is emerging as a voice of calm and diversity of viewpoints in talks between the Transition Planning Commission and the County government. More from the Flyer’s Jackson Baker. Baker has also revised and expanded a story he did last week on a warning by Luttrell about State education funding. Both Germantown and Collierville moved one step closer to their own districts last night. Can the new Unified School board be 13 members large? And, as promised, “Norris-Todd II” legislation was withdrawn from the Legislature yesterday.

Memphis City Council: Today’s meeting is a special session to vote for the 2nd reading of the Fisherville annexation and the first for Bridgewater. The meeting agenda. (PDF documents)

Southaven Mayor Greg Davis: He has begun granting media interviews but only if he and his lawyer can see and approve all questions first. ABC24 declined those terms. WMC’s Janice Broach spoke with Davis about the finances and his personal revelations as did the Commercial Appeal’s Yolanda Jones, who also asked about personal and business relations. The town’s Board of Aldermen has formed a committee to investigate their spending.

Shelby County Schools: A “diversity session” by controversial speaker Glenn Singleton upset a lot of teachers. He is the president and cofounder of the Pacific Educational Group. A video about his program, Courageous Conversations About Race. The PR promotion for the program. Concerns from a parent and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. A “webinar” he recently hosted.

More on the theft of computers, which were uninsured, from Germantown Elementary School.

Urban Child Institute: Activists are working to have the new Unified Shelby school district to offer programs for children and prekindergarteners, if they can find the money. As the article demurely understates, “An answer to the funding problem…remains elusive.

Arkansas: Winter weather hit the state hard. The new lottery director is focused on boosting sales. A Federal investigation of Life Options of Eastern Arkansas, in Hughes, may involve the mayor, Larry Owens, but no one is talking; more.

Occupy: Nashville Occupiers are demanding an apology for State Rep. Eric Watson’s charge that “someone believed to be associated with Occupy Nashville” peed on a State employee.

National Cotton Council: They expect growers to plant 13.6 million acres this year, down 7% locally from last year.

Business: There may be a crackdown coming on construction workers who are either misclassified or paid off the books.

From the Daily News, Today’s Events. What to Do and People in Business, delivered in the Commercial Appeal.

AB Mauri Fleischmann: They are seeking an 8-year PILOT from EDGE for a $10.5 expansion of their yeast manufacturing facility.

International Paper: Their acquisition of Temple-Inland was completed yesterday. More from the Daily News.

Oxford Immunotec: The England-based medical diagnostics company, which has an American HQ in Massachusetts, will open a blood-test reading facility here in Memphis. They are also looking for a $100,000 State development grant. More in the Commercial Appeal.

FedEx: They will spend $142 million to consolidate their flight training simulator operations in Memphis, and expand them.

Nucor: More on their $113 million investment in their local steel mill.

West Memphis Three: The mother of Damien Echols, Pam Metcalf, breaks her silence in an interview with Fox13. WMC also spoke to Metcalf and Echol’s sister, Michelle Echols.

Mississippi: Elected and appointed government officials will be able to hire private attorneys in State-related cases if a bill which passed the State House also passes the Senate.

Tennessee: The demand for white children to adopt so outstrips the demand for black children that financial incentives are now offered.

Real Estate: New home permits, compared to one year ago, are up 29%. And new home sales, again year-over-year, were up 12% in January.

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NEW ONLINE EXCLUSIVE! Rick Santorum’s Necessary Three Strategies: Our Tea Party contributor, Ed “Doc” Holliday is an enthusiastic Rick Santorum supporter now and he has three things he believes it’s necessary Santorum do right now to take his campaign to the White House.

Online Exclusive: Opportunity Lost: It’s one of the most referenced books on local politics and author Dr Marcus Pohlmann, of Rhodes College, introduces it and explains a little about why you should read it, too. It’s a touchstone for understanding Memphis and Shelby County racial politics in education.

Elections: The TN Court of Appeals ruled that losing candidates in 2010 failed to show “”fraud or illegality so permeated the conduct of the election” that it should be voided. The CA has profiles of the five candidates for County Property Assessor.

Obamacare: Seventy-seven legislators, ranging all the way to Lt Gov Ron Ramsey, have filled an amicus curiae brief in the Florida lawsuit challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. More from the Daily News.

Shelby County Government: County mayor Mark Luttrell introduced Healthy Shelby, which aims to cut healthcare costs with a “new alliance of health care, business, church and government leaders” to identify problems. It will initially cost $250,000. More from the CA.

Mo’ Money Taxes: The company is no longer handling refund checks and has turned that duty over to its bank.

DeSoto County: A look at the economic changes expected by the I-269 International Trade Corridor. The Commercial Appeal interviews Old Towne director Dee Dee Erfurdt. The Board of Supervisors interviewed the finalists for the County’s planning director in private.

Memphis International Airport: They have retained their Number Two world ranking for busiest cargo airport.

Planned Parenthood: It’s National Condom Week (according to activists at University of California, Berkeley) and PP is giving them away!

Crack Cocaine: Thanks to the Fair Sentencing Act, some 12,000 present and former cocaine convicts will get freedom.

MATA: A Memphis Bus Riders Union is being formed from labor groups and the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center to advocate for the rights of bus riders, for access, affordability and coverage. Read the press release.

Politics: US Senator Lamar Alexander spoke to the annual 2012 Lincoln Day Gala and the Daily News summarises his remarks. Joseph Kyles and Mark Skoda debate today’s issues on Fox13 Insiders. Two anti-drug bills backed by Governor Bill Haslam (SB2230 and SB2235) are advancing in the State Senate. A top-level shakeup in the TN Department of Environment and Conservation was questioned by House Democratic Caucus chairman Mike Turner. State Senator Mae Beavers is suing the publisher of the Macon County Chronicle, Kathryne Belle, alleging she owes Beavers $50,000, ironically used by Belle to buy the paper.

Voter ID: The NAACP is organising TN’s African-American ministers to “get out the vote” (but not to help get proper ID). More from the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Secretary of State Tre Hargett has done a series of PSA encouraging voters to remember to bring their ID on Election Day.

Emerge Memphis: The entrepreneur incubator agency has chosen Eric Mathrews as interim executive director. This creates an embrella agency encompassing Launch Memphis, Seed Hatchery and Wolf River Angels. It’s a position that Mathews is prepared for. He was the cofounder of LaunchMemphis.

AT&T: The heaviest users of their mobile phone’s “unlimited data plan” are, instead, having their connection speed “throttled” as punishment.

Online Exclusive: R-E-W-T, Root For Newt! Our tea party contributor, Ed “Doc” Holliday was in Charleston, South Carolina, for the CNN Republican presidential debate and he thinks he’s found “the Tea Party’s new prize fighter”. Do you agree?

Online Exclusive: The Political Silly Season: Our political and financial contributor, Chuck Bates, is already growing tired of outrageous political ads and he’s still got to survive until November!

Picture of the Day

A print from Kurz and Allison (1887) of the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, fought from February 12 to 16, 1862. The Union victory here on the shores of the Cumberland River (and nearby Fort Henry on the Tennessee River) secured West Tennessee to Union control. It was the battle where Union General Ulysses S. Grant got his nickname, “Uncontitional Victory”. It was the turning point of Grant’s career, launching him into US military history. Nashville was next taken, and with it Tennessee, on February 23. From © 2012. Used by license. You can learn more about the Battle of Fort Donelson from Wikipedia and the Civil War Trust; a Confederate viewpoint. Much more detail on the legacy of Henry and Donelson. The 150th anniversary is celebrated next month.


Joe Spake’s Daily Buzz: The rest of the day’s news, from all sorts of eclectic places.

Giving Back: This week he discusses Friends For Life. (via the Daily News)

The Worldly Investor: Don’t invest in where your are, but where you want to be. (via the Daily News)

Commercial Appeal: They don’t call them “predatory lenders” but the paper does come close, and works in the “neutral” term unbanked for those whose needs are not being served by major banks, who aren’t quite the same as the victims of unscrupulous lenders. Noting the Mmephis Horns’ Grammy Award honor.

Eric A. Trotz: What home improvement projects yield the best results in terms of resale? (via the Daily News)