Main Street Journal - Monday, February 20, 2012

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Shelby County Commission: The 13-single member district plan for redistricting of the County comes up for a second reading on Monday. Meeting agenda. (PDF document)

Municipal Schools Districts: Has the train already left the station, as far as momentum for MSDs go?

Memphis City Council: Councilwoman Janis Fullilove says she’ll fight the privatisation of sanitation workers.

Unified Shelby County Schools: The Transition Planning Commission is preparing two plans that would subdivide the district into six sub-divisions with varying degrees of autonomy.

Nashville: A Metro Councilman, Brady Banks, was arrested for patronising a prostitute. He was responding to a police-setup escort agency sting. At least one member of the Metro Council, Jerry Maynard, a fellow Democrat, is calling for others to not “throw Brady under the bus”. Banks political future is now unclear. Big snowfall yesterday. Mayor Karl Dean’s niece was killed in a driveway accident. More from WSMV.

Memphis City Schools: A State-funded program was approved to allow MCS to hire 23 business managers for one million dollars as part of a student achievement drive?

Millington: Interim mayor Linda Carter is efficiently putting a new face to the mayor’s office.

NAACP: They are taking a pro-active, court-oriented approach to the State’s voter ID reforms.

Food Stamps: The Commercial Appeal claims food stamp fraud is prevalent but documents only 40 cases since 2003, and highlights only one in their story. The related national story from their parent corporation, Scripps Howard.

MLG&W: They were recently rated the lowest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates of 13 regional utilities. Customers with good credit ratings will get nearly twice as long before utility shutoff for non-payment.

Politics: Most of the Tennessee Congressional delegation (Democrats and Republicans) voted against the payroll tax-cut extension. State Senate Resolution 84 expresses the will of the Tennessee General Assembly opposing the “birth control mandate” for employers. Efforts are underway to increase police power to “combat” prescription drug abuse.

Governor Bill Haslam supports a bill to extend unemployment benefits to spouses of active-service military; more from the Associated Press. And his bill to widen secrecy with government economic and development deals appears to be stalled. Haslam has “flagged” 73 legislative proposals this year.

Republican Presidential Primaries: The Knoxville News-Sentinel’s Tom Humphrey previews the next few primaries. Rick Santorum has agreed to headline the Chattanooga Tea Party’s Liberty Forum next weekend. A pro-Romney Super PAC has launched the first statewide ads. Next week begins the primary run-up to Super Tuesday on March 6.

Germantown: Poplar Grove Road becomes the first street in the town to go from private to public under the new plan.

Gasoline: Gas prices are now the highest they’ve ever been this time of year. The currenct Memphis average is now $3.48/gallon. (

Financial: Local banks saw smaller profits in 2011.

Chattanooga: There is an underground city, built one hundred years ago and then buried to deal with flooding. Using a provision of No Child Left Behind, the Hamilton County schools may end school transers.

Mississippi: The Healthy Transitions Development Group can help first-time home buyers make the leap. City cops want the ability to run radar guns on non-city streets they also patrol

Real Estate: Memphis foreclosures were down by a third in January.

Arkansas: The $37,500 lost to Czech hackers from the Craighead County library will not be recouped. Citizens of Blytheville are being asked to approve a one cent sales tax increase to repay unpaid payroll taxes and penalties the town owes. The town of Marion will host an event on the Sultana tragedy next month.

Bonnaroo 2012: A combination of unexpected high demand and “technical problems” led to a suspension of ticket sales. No word on when they will resume.

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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.

Memphis Bus Riders Union: An ABC24 report on this past weekend’s first meeting of the proposed union of MATA customers, to agitate for more action. The Daily Helmsman has a story, as does WMC. A march and an organisation meeting will follow next month. Occupy Memphis (see story below) is involved, as is the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center. And there’s a Facebook page.

President’s Day: Holiday openings and closings.

City of Memphis: The City’s “boot and tow” program has netted $33,000 from 194 vehicles since its inception. More from WMC. Fourteen percent of Memphis families live in poverty.

Occupy: The local news media, in this case Bill Dries in the Daily News, finally has an in-depth profile of the Memphis encampment. Republican State Representative Gerald Niceley believes the legislation to oust Occupy Nashville from War Memorial Plaza is too broad. (HB2638 passed the State House on Friday on a lop-sided non-partisan vote.)

Morgan Keegan: Further court orders in their mutual fund scandal as they are ordered to repay $400,000 to Kyle Rote Jr. They will appeal. After their sale to Raymond James Financial they will no longer be the number one investment banking and brokerage businesses in the country. Last week, in four separate groups, a total of 550 MK employees toured the Raymond James Florida offices.

Tennessee: The recent staff shake-ups at the Department of Environment and Conservation have many worried that Governor Bill Haslam is preparing to let the state’s waterways and environment come to “wholesale auction”. Tennessee accounts for 4% of the iPhone/Android app market. Norfolk Southern Railway has been cited for polluting their Fayette County construction site.

Jackson, TN: Does the city have too many charities fighting for the public dollar? Memphis police officers have been called to Jackson about a homicide that might be missing former MPD officer Charles Jones. Three suspects have been arrested and charged in his murder; a fourth suspect is being sought. More from WREG and “intimate details”.

Memphis Animal Shelter: Protesters against the shelter’s treatment of animals and its secrecy were out on the streets Saturday.

DeSoto County: Citizens in Hernando are trying to get the Excel by 5 program adopted, to “boost early childhood learning”. It will also create a “‘child-friendly community’ certification process”. Program website and the Mississippi State University (MSU) Early Childhood Institute. Southaven State Representative Wanda Jennings was named House Republican Caucus Vice Chairman. Tuesday’s Southaven aldermen’s meeting is, once again, expected to be crowded and concerned with mayoral issues.

Memphis Zoo: The video featuring Nathan Rucker’s encounter with a Memphis monkey has now gone viral. Watch the video. More from WREG.

Industrial Downtown: The Port Commission is weighing several possible deals for land in the Frank Pidgeon Industrial Park. Nearby, the Army Corps of Engineers is planning to dredge McKellar Lake to repair damage done in last Spring’s flooding.

Business: The Small Business Spotlight shines this week on LED Direct.

Via the Commercial Appeal, People in Business and Property Transfers. The Daily News has Today’s Events; and the Business Journal reports People on the Move.

Mitsubishi Electric Power Products: They have begun recruiting employees for their new Memphis plant. They will have a job fair on February 23; more.

FedEx: Drug trafficking through their Memphis hub is “substantial” but no one is sure just how much goes on.

Local Media: Radio talker Thaddeus Matthews has been kicked off WPLX, but is now broadcasting on the internet. Hear him here.

Second Amendment: Fox13 talks about “packing heat” instead of “carry” in a story on a bill in the Legislature.

Picture of the Day

Fifty years ago today, astronaut John Glenn became the first human to orbit the earth, from NASA. © 1962. NASA page; Widipedia entries on John Glenn and the flight. He was a member of the legendary Mercury Seven program. (NOTE: Soviet Yuri Gagarin and American Alan Shepard were the first humans to go into space, but did not achieve orbit.)


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

James Dowd: Are entrepreneurs optimistic or just naturally forward looking? (via the Commercial Appeal)

Small Business Advocate: Are social media entrepreneurs on the upside of the next stock market bubble? (via the Commercial Appeal)

Harry Markos: Alex Haley’s legacy is enduring and a part of Tennessee history. (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Jack McElroy: No one reported Judge Baumgartner’s problems and some may have protected him. (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Knoxville News-Sentinel: The public needs answers to who aided former drug-addicted, lecherous Criminal Court judge Richard Baumgartner.

Tennessean: Drug overdoses kill more people in the state than traffic accidents, homicide or suicide.

David Hampton: Charter schools may create more problems than they are supposed to solve. (via the Desoto Time Tribune)

Chattanooga Free Press: Chattanooga’s prospects for the future are bright.

Chattanooga Times: Anti-gun hysteria over the Legislature considering allowing gun storage in parked cars.

Smart Stuff 4 Work: There are signs the economy is improving. (via the Daily News)

Memphis News: The modern news media loves dissenters, at least some types.

Commercial Appeal: Many questions for the Southaven Chamber of Commerce. The suburbs should just let the Memphis-dominated school merger run its course before trying to stop it. Sure enough, a call for more public money for a Liberty Bowl revamp. They support (surprise!) the City schools’ decision to hire business managers, if it comes about. Cupid’s diversity.

Better Business: Now you need to beware phishing scams that use the BBB name! (via the Commercial Appeal)

Chris Peck: In which he justifies a story his paper ran that, had it been about his own workplace, he would never have contributed to nor run. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Otis L. Sanford: He confuses regional preferences with party preferences in order to conflate both with a separate Shelby County story. Nifty trick! (via the Commercial Appeal)

Danny Beach: A nostalgic fifty-year old memory isn’t an argument for saving an old school building, is it? (via the Commercial Appeal)

Andre K. Fowlkes: He lauds the Downtown Memphis Commission and its supremacy. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Wendi C. Thomas: Local musician Kirk Whalum was there to watch Whitney Houston’s long decline because of drugs. (via the Commercial Appeal)