Main Street Journal - Thursday, March 1, 2012

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Photo Credit: National Civil Rights Museum
Do The Nice Thing

The National Civil Rights Museum needs your help to reach 1000 pre-orders, for the State to commit to producing an NCRM specialty license plate. More information on how to help here. The NCRM website.

Achievement Schools District: Now that the decision has been announced, the changeover of six Memphis schools to “achievement schools” begins.

Shelby County Commission: Local reaction to efforts to preempt, via State law, local “fair wage” and “living wage” laws.

Ninth Congressional District: The race for the seat currently held by Democrat Steve Cohen sure is popular! Former County Commissioner George Flinn announced his candidacy on Wednesday. He believes the new district is “winnable”. More in the Commercial Appeal.

Municipal School Districts: County mayor Mark Luttrell is not in favor of raising the County tax rate, opening the door for Arlington to raise its own taxes to fund an MSD. More from WMC, Fox13 and the Commercial Appeal. Arlington says “the clock is ticking” on their MSD bid.

Transition Planning Commission: Governor Bill Haslam will be in Memphis next week to talk to surburban mayors about giving the new unified school district a chance first. He is asking the suburbs to “slow that train down”. Reaction from County residents.

Shelby County Sheriff: The sheriff’s office is turning to social media for help in noting and identifying gang graffiti.

Republican Presidential Primary: A poll by Middle Tennessee State University shows Rick Santorum with a “sizeable” lead, 40-19%, over Mitt Romney; more in the Nashville City Paper. Link to the MTSU press release and deeper analysis. He’s also leading over President Barack Obama! Rick Santorum is making TN one of his three “wheelhouse” states, despite a “dearth of endorsements”. He’s “very confident” of winning next Tuesday and taking shots at President Obama. A left-wing take on Mitt Romney in Tennessee. A Tennessee swing is planned by the Newt Gingrich campaign for Monday.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton: He reiterated that he has no plans to privatise City sanitation work. From his blog, the mayor explains the need for and purpose of the annual disability audits. He, along with County mayor Mark Luttrell and others, are looking for religious agencies around town to further address the needs of the homeless.

DeSoto County: The County is pressing the USDA to keep the Farm Service Agency and Rural Redevelopment offices open. Milwaukee Electric Tool is looking to expand its 600,000 square foot distribution facility in Olive Branch.

Chattanooga: Proposed rezoning maps for the Hamilton County School system have been released. Reviving the historic Glass Street neighborhood. All Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies must have their pay “equalised”, says a State Appeals Court.

Local Media: Radio station WPLX-AM 1180 has switched to a country and agriculture format, completely excluding its former programmer, Thaddeus Matthews.

Business: The Memphis residential rental vacancy rate dropped more than 3% in 2011, to 15.4%.

People on the Move, from the Business Journal. Today’s Events, from the Daily News. People in Business and What to do, in the Commercial Appeal.

Standard Parking: They are purchasing competitor, Nashville-based Central Parking, in a $350 million deal. More in the Nashville Post.

Medtronic: Rumors continue to nip at the company’s Spinal & Biologics Business division, depressing earnings.

Delta Air Lines: The Memphis International Airport’s only non-stop commercial flight to Europe has come to an end. It will operate only in the Summer season, but the change won’t be effective until September 3.

Electrolux: Details on the women- and minority-owned businesses that were awarded contracts, along with many other local businesses, from Electrolux.

Job Fair: The Raleigh United Methodist Church will hold its seventh annual job fair on March 13.

Financial: The state’s banks made $260 billion in 2011. Seventy-one percent were profitable, nearly doubing the number from two years ago.

Tell your friends you read it here:

NEW! INTERNET EXCLUSIVE! Bloomsberg’s Money, Part III: Our Second Amendment contributor Craig Harper continues his series, looking at the use of Bloomberg Philanthropy money in Memphis. In Part III, he notes it’s all going according to plan.

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.

The March 6 Election: Minimal ID problems in early voting lead State officials to expect few problems on Election Day. A Davidson County Election Commission early voting snafu led to a closing on one day during early voting. More on low turnout from WREG.

Educational Travel: City and County teachers both are racking up millions in travel to conferences and teacher training in other cities.

Nashville: Davidson County grew substantially in the most recent Census, but the number of married couples with children fell. Early voting is off sharply, compared to 2008. The Metro Council may give a 60% tax break to an HCA data center.

The Hamer Suspension: His suspension is costing taxpayers not only Deputy Superintendent Irving Hamer’s salary but that of the executive assistant’s salary, too. An outside firm has been hired to do the investigation, which is leading to suspicions. The event at which the incident took place was reportedly a kick-off to Superintendent Dr Kriner Cash’ campaign to get the top slot in the Unified Shelby County school system.

Tennessee: A lawsuit brought by the Counties and cities of the state over the hotel tax and its collection was won by the travel booking-site industry.

Southaven Mayor Greg Davis: The Southaven Chamber of Commerce stopped approving checks just on the Mayor’s signature in 2010. They reimbursed him over $200,000, but he may owe even more. Further details from the Commercial Appeal.

Mississippi: Governor Phil Bryant says any law from the State Legislature reforming immigration and enforcement must apply to all, “not just to people who are south of us or Hispanic by descent.” Former Memphis mayor and charter school advocate Dr Willie Herenton is part of the push to loosen charter school requirements.

Civil Service Reform: Reportedly, the plan being pushed by Governor Bill Haslam has now been modified to give preference to veterans.

Politics: With the lottery having set sales records since July of last year, Democrats are wondering why cuts to HOPE scholarships are necessary; more from the Chattanooga Times Free Press. For the sixth year in a row, “open container” failed. Voter ID reform has been difficult for Democrats to find opposition to because citizens overwhelmingly support it. Democratic legislators are also divided on the issue of transparency in economic develoment by the State. How much are Democrats hurt by the departure of State Senator Andy Berke? This much.

Leap Year Babies: It’s a real phenomenon and ABC24 reports it.

Memphis Crime: The final suspect of four people–one Demeterous Santiagowanted in the Jackson/Memphis murder of a former Memphis police officer was arrested in Chicago. More from the Commercial Appeal.

R. Allen Stanford: Prosecutors are making their closing arguments this week.

Arkansas: A tax break for truckers failed despite efforts to save it. The State Department of Education is applying for their own exemption to the No Child Left Behind Act.

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!

Picture of the Day

It was four years ago this week that the little bake shop that could was launched, from eat local memphis by Thomas Robinson. © 2012. Used with permission.

Opinion and Blogs

almost famous: “It was the makings of a great weekend.” Sure looks like it.

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

Rays of Wisdom: Tax time is around the corner! (via the Daily News)

I Swear: More reader mail. (via the Daily News)

Gail Kerr: Rick Santorum is attracting social conservatives in Tenneesee, but not most women. (via the Tennessean)

Deb Woolley: The economic arguments against gun carry on private parking lots. (via the Tennessean)

Cordelia Harrington: The Federal minimum wage is all we need. (via the Tennessean)

John Branston: We made the cover of a scientific journal. (via the Flyer)

Commercial Appeal: Are they supporting a road construction system that builds roads just because there is money? Kudos to ServiceMaster and FedEx.

Wendi C. Thomas: Column time. Republican. Bash. Repeat. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Because I Said So: The new era of family game night? (via the Commercial Appeal)

short + rose: Knitting a sweater for the Winter that wasn’t.

Best Memphis Burger: The “Best Wings in Memphis” unfortunately aren’t. And another drubbing, this one for Tucker’s Pizza, Wings & Subs.

Dinner Belles: Want to prolong the taste of Valentine’s Day magic just a bit longer?

eat local memphis: More unrestrained praise for Restaurant Iris and chef Kelly English.

Empty Oven: She had a small, but terrifying, shock in her long-sought pregnancy.

Fertile Ground: A wrap-up on the kid’s basketball season. There was a party.

LeftWingCracker: He seems awfully confident of Representative Cohen’s chances….

Jen Simmons: Save yourself an expensive consultant and listen to her advice on social media.

matters of merrymaking: Her “Happy Hump Leap Day” post.

MemphisShelbyInform: Where can money be saved in the Memphis budget?

sharp stick in the eye: Admitting her road to hell is paved with good intentions but having a solution to that.

Smart City Memphis: What Memphis needs is a dedicated art-house cinema. (Yes!) That taxing mess that Memphis faces.