Main Street Journal - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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Time Has Come Today

The hammer came down Monday as the State announced that five Memphis City Schools will now be under the aegis of the State-controlled Achievement Schools District. The schools are Corning, Frayser, Gordon and Lester Elementary Schools and Westside Middle School. Cypress Middle School will also see ASD-influenced changes. The schools are part of a ten-school network that feed up to Frayser High School. ASD Superintendent Chris Barbic will hold “parent information sessions” beginning in two weeks. He calls this “a collaboration, not a takeover”.

Lester and Gordon will be State-run charters, operated by Cornerstone Prep and Gestalt Community Schools, respectively. Cypress will have a KIPP Academy. The other three schools will be still be neighborhood schools. How we got to takeover.

Memphis City Council: Council members and officials with the Wharton administration are attempting to cut first before turning to revenue enhancements to cover a surprising $47 million budget shortfall.

Shelby County: Local officials, Democrats and labor, City and County, are vigorously opposing State efforts to end “prevailing wage” and “living wage” laws in the County.

Transition Planning Commission: They approved a “set of seven principles” known as “The Wheel”, last week, that are aimed at every student. Stand for Children TN presents their thoughts on “The Wheel”. The TPC website.

Catholic Diocese of Memphis: The State Supreme Court has ruled the original case, Norman Redwing vs. The Memphis Catholic Diocese, can go forward with claims of child sex abuse that are forty years old. Attorneys for the Diocese may still argue for dismissal, depending on discovery. Details and history of the case.

Collierville: The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously on the second reading, last night, to hold a special public meeting and then city-wide referendum on a municipal school system.

Gender Diversity: A study by Lipscomb University and Nashville CABLE shows “little progress has been made” in the past decade for women and corporate boards in the State.

Business: Another change coming to the Toyota Center as Sullivan Branding moves in, taking over the old Looney Ricks Kiss space, doubing their office spaces Downtown. Among Memphis’ publicly traded companies, share for AutoZone and International Paper hit 52-week highs.

From the Commercial Appeal, What to Do. The Daily Journal covers Today’s Events.

ServiceMaster: They are looking to fill 100 IT positions in Memphis.

Arkansas: The police chief of Trumann, Tony Rusher, “verbally resigned” yesterday after an investigation was launched into whether he was abusing drugs in the police evidence room. Legislators expect to finish up budget discussions this week.

Tax Preparers: How to avoid questionable tax preparation agencies or agents.

R. Allen Stanford: The defense rests in his embezzlement trial. Stanford himself never testified. Closing arguments start Wednesday.

Saint Francis Hospital–Bartlett: This week, they’ll open their new $34 million, 54 bed expansion owned by Tenet Healthcare.

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NEW! INTERNET EXCLUSIVE! Comparing Economic Plans: Our economic contributor Chuck Bates looks at the tax plans of the four Republican presidential candidates and President Barack Obama to see which offers the great, most beneficial change.

Internet Exclusive: Where’s Carol? Contributor Mick Wright wonders why Shelby County District Attorney candidate Carol Chumney is missing in action for her own campaign!

Internet Exclusive: How I Got Involved in Local Politics: Southaven’s Oriana Hill was dismayed that nothing was being done about Mayor Greg Davis’ official shenanigans, so she decided to take action herself. Read her exclusive story here!

The March 6 Election: Today is the last day for early voting. A sample ballot. The Shelby County Election Commission website. Turnout is running about 2%.

Unified Shelby County School Board: Unionised Memphis City Schools support staff are trying to get themselves included in discussions about the Unified schools labor landscape, to protect jobs.

City Disability: More on the City’s desire to audit workers who receive disability pay, to prevent abuse and fraud.

Felons: Plans to move State felons from local jails back to State prisons are being “stymied” by an influx of new felons!

Memphis Animal Shelter: New interim shelter director Larry Rogers laid out his plans for the shelter. He has 10 items he expects to complete in 60-90 days.

Mississippi River: The City of Memphis dumped raw sewage into the River over the weekend, from the Maynard C. Stiles wastewater treatment facility, after equipment was damaged. The dumping is expected to be stopped today.

Republican Presidential Primaries: At a campaign stop in Nashville, candidate and former Speaker of the US House Newt Gingrich was protested by Occupy and called for $2.50/gallon gasoline. At another event, he said Republicans need to start discussing what replaces Obamacare. More on his Middle Tennessee visit from the Tennessean. Supporters of former US Senator Rick Santorum have set up camp in Knoxville. Gingrich also slammed Santorum as a “Big Labor Republican”. Five more TN State legislators have given their endorsement to Mitt Romney. Tennessee’s Republicans don’t seem excited.

DeSoto County: A new public trash contractor means changes in schedule and pickups for residents, who can now go online to get it sorted out. A Southaven police officer, who is unidentified, pulled over Justin Graham on a routine traffic stop and he attempted to drive away, dragging her along. State auditors are now working a second investigation of Southaven mayor Greg Davis.

Politics: Opponents of efforts to boot Occupy protesters from public plazas say such efforts will also punish the homeless. But the bill has passed both houses and goes to Governor Bill Haslam. More from the Tennessean.

Backstory on the premature release of the Comptroller’s report on the State’s civil service system, which called it “fundamentally flawed”. A proposal to tax “adult entertainment services”. State Senator Jim Kyle is renewing Democratic effots to cut the tax on groceries.

Mississippi: The tourism industry “braved both economic challenges and natural disasters” to grow 8% last year. Sixteen of 82 Counties have voter rolls larger than the actual voting age population. First District Congressman Alan Nunnelee is defending his voting record. The charter school bill may be finished by Thursday.

Local Media: WMPS The Point is moving The Mark Skoda Show to the 2 - 6PM slot. There are other changes. Websites for WMPS and Skoda’s show. KWAM will spotlight Horn Lake next month on Earle Farrell’s Drive Time program.

Picture of the Day

The first sign of Spring already? In February? From FIX MEMPHIS by Cort Percer. © 2012. Used with permission. His Flickr stream.

Opinion and Blogs

I Love Memphis: If you don’t know what a paleta is, by all means, let her tell you! And do you know about the Hickory Hill Buddha?

Judy McLellan: She discusses the residential real estate market locally in 2012. (via the Daily News)

Giving Back: He is part of an effort to “build a community narrative” and shares some responses. (via the Daily News)

Commercial Appeal: They err on the side of caution, unsurprisingly, in annually auditing City disabillity recipients. Criticising the directors of Undefeated for not mentioning Mannassas and, of course, the “f-bomb”.

Mallory Bader: Support your local museums, of which Memphis is blessed with many great ones. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Jason Smith: The newspaper writer whose column inspired the movie Undefeated didn’t get an Oscar but he’s not complaining. (via the Commercial Appeal)

George Korda: Whose definition of “bullying” will be used to craft laws and policies? (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Sid Salter: Mississippi’s government has been struggling for two years to modernise its tax collections. (via the Desoto Times Tribune)

Bill Freeman: Prostitution stings are a waste of police resources. (via the Tennessean)

Rev Becca Stevens: Decriminalising solicitation doesn’t stop the vicitimisation of women. (via the Tennessean)

Listwork: The movies quoted on a six-day “all girls” road trip. Which quotes do you think they used?

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

a belle, a bean, & a chicago dog: At the six year mark, 12 things she wishes she’d known about parenting.

A Merry Wife: She’s taking charge of her dress style, since she works at home, and is rethinking everything all over again.

Andrea Fenise: A short video! How to wear a “high low skirt” hem.

Benito’s Wine Reviews: Thoughts on a forty-year old baking sheet.

East Memphis Moms: They recommend where to get your ears pierced and family-friendly weekend getaways.

Fertile Ground: Tackling the Vermonster.

I Face Me: Mostly TV talk.

Fore Left! Why bother voting? And noting an important event, nineteen years ago Sunday.

I’ll be the one in heels: Kalisa’s annual Oscar-watching extravaganza.

In the South, it’s a religion: What she didn’t know about relationships, she knows now and passes along to you. A woman’s best friend is her Sassy Gay Friend.

LeftWingCracker: Why Democrats must take out one of their own–Representative John DeBerry.