Main Street Journal - Thursday, March 22, 2012

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“And Your Little Municipal School Districts, Too!”

The Shelby County Election Commission has canceled all five referenda scheduled for Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, and Lakeland, based on advice from the State Election Commission and Attorney General Robert Cooper. The opinion was solicited by Democratic State Senator Beverly Marrero. Basically, all legal maneuvering to merge the two school systems must be complete under Norris-Todd before any actions toward separate municipal school systems can start. (Read his ruling here (PDF document) and our coverage of Tuesday’s events here). More from ABC24 and again.

Additionally, the General Assembly put the kibosh on efforts to move legislation advancing the date of implementing municipal school districts. Democrats on the committee that heard the bill labeled it racially motivated. This is not likely to stop the suburban push. Bartlett and Germantown plan to continue; more. Ernie Freeman of Fox13’s interview with Bartlett mayor Keith McDonald.

Shelby County Housing Authority: “Major problems” found by a Federal report: mismanagement, files left out, misspending, and more. The former Executive Director, Ed Pearlman, claims he was not fired.

Memphis City Council: More on Tuesday’s Council decision to use reserve funds and not a tax increase to cover a budget shortfall of $13 million. The City has suspended a plan to buy out sanitation workers will still have to make cuts. More from ABC24.

Memphis City Schools: The system is handing out “placeholder cards” for parents who get in line for open enrollment this Friday. Computers were stolen from Farmington Elementary.

City of Memphis: Mayor A C Wharton unveiled a new Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Ethics Hotline to allow citizens to encourage whistleblowing. More from the Commercial Appeal. City union employees believe that using undercover cops to ferret out City crime was wrong.

Memphis Leadership Academy: They are hosting “Memphis 101″ today, an in-depth history of the city of Memphis. It is open to the public. MLA website.

Sex, Education, Tennessee: The “Don’t Say Gay” bill is dead, replaced by HB3621, which now bans “gateway sexual activity” and promotes “family life” and “abstinence” in education. Memphis Democratic State Representative John DeBerry helped in writing the new bill. It passed out of House committee.

Representative Matthew Hill, the sponsor of a bill requiring reporting of non-specific abortion data by doctors, has now withdrawn that bill. The amended replacement bill still requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. More from the Nashville Scene, the Associated Press and again, the Tennessean, the Commercial Appeal.

Second Amendment: State Attorney General Robert Cooper has issued an opinion that the bill to allow gun carry on business’s property even if they ban possession would likely pass constitutional challenge. Opinion is here. (PDF document) State Senate sponsor Mike Faulk will narrow the bill’s coverage anyway. More from the Tennessean.

Economic Development Growth Engine: International Sourcing Company was awarded a 5-year PILOT among other items at their most recent meeting. They inaugurated an “Impact Fund” for loans to small and medium-sized businesses.

Business: The Yorkshire Center is rebounding; more in the Business Journal. Inside Memphis Business announced their first CEO of the Year awards. Women-owned businesses increased by 50% in the last 15 years in Tennessee.

The Commercial Appeal has What to Do and People in Business. The Daily News covers Today’s Events.

Verso Paper: The New York Stock Exchange has accepted the company’s plan of action to remain listed on the exchange. More from Commercial Appeal.

Fred’s: The company’s 2011 earnings were up 16%. More from the Commercial Appeal.

FedEx: The US Department of Labor will announce today “the settlement of a significant case involving systemic hiring discrimination”. It’s a $3 million settlement involving thousands of “prospective” employees.

Pinnacle Airlines: Upset and questions about the raises for the company’s top two executives.

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NEW! INTERNET EXCLUSIVE! Memphis Bus Riders Union: A group of Memphis bus riders are tired of feeling left out of the decision-making process for MATA. They’ve taken action!

NEW! INTERNET EXCLUSIVE! Our tea party contributor, Ed “Doc” Holliday is still out on the primary trail. He asks, “What now, Republicans?” and sees possibilities between now and November.

NEW! INTERNET EXCLUSIVE! Southpaw: Memphis columnist Andria K. Brown wonders why do we expect politicians to be more than politicans with our most intimate and personal issues?

Internet Exclusive: Commissioner Roland Demands an Apology! Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland is demanding an apology from Commercial Appeal columnist Wendi C. Thomas to the suburban communities.

AutoZone Park: The Flyer interviews John Pontius, Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation, about a possible sale of the debt-heavy field.

Downtown: The Center City Development Corporation approved two substantial development loans and a “facade grant” yesterday. A. Schwab’s new owners got $360,000.

Shelby County Commission: The Vasco A. Smith Jr Administration Building might not be getting that overhaul. More commission business summarised by the Commercial Appeal. More on this weekend’s team-building retreat.

Transition Planning Commission: At tonight’s meeting they are supposed to hear from two experts on constructing a new school system.

Local Media: WREG reporter April Thompson and a cameraman had a gun pulled on them by an angry person in Joiner, AR.

Politics: A Federal delay in setting up a health insurance exchange, necessary for the Affordable Care Act, is good for State Republicans, as they can delay Tennessee’s response. The tax on inherited property that opponents call a “death tax” is getting a renewed push in the General Assembly. It has cleared the House committee.

Memphis Democratic Representative Joe Towns’ bill to ban saggy pants and sports bras is headed to a full House vote. A pilot project via legislation to allow closer cooperation between County Beer Boards and the State Alcoholic Beverage Commission will only apply to certain localities in the state, but not Shelby County. A bill that would keep teachers’ evaluation reports private cleared a House committee; more. Senate bill 3116 allows teachers to physically move students, even against their will; bill is here.

State Representative David Hawk: Fallout from his domestic violence charge continues as Hawk has resigned his committee chairmanship. Representative Ron Lollar will take over the Conservation and Environment Committee until it closes next month.

VESTA Home Show: Yesterday was the groundbreaking for the 2012 show in Germantown, in the St James Place subdivision.

Welfare: The Attorney General, Robert Cooper, has been busy this week, ruling that welfare recipients cannot be drug-tested before receiving benefits, as a blanket policy.

DeSoto County: State auditors requested a review of the credit cards issued to Southaven mayor Greg Davis, which they conducted at Tuesday’s closed-door session. More from WREG. Coming to Southaven is the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. More on proposed gun laws for the County.

Allergy Season: Pollen levels the year are “off the charts”.

Memphis Fire Department: They now have an ambulance rated to carry a 1600 pound person.

Mississippi: Legislators are beginning to pass the early versions of the final budget bill. Governor Phil Bryant is teaming up with oilman T. Boone Pickens to promote cars that run on natural gas. More from the Commercial Appeal. Cities and police departments across the state are opposing the immigration bill now before the Legislature. Counterfeit money is showing up on the campus of Ole Miss.

Presidential Economic Plans, Part II: Financial contributor Chuck Bates continues his examination of the economic plans of the four Republican presidential candidates. You can read part one here.

Picture of the Day

Backwords on stage at the 1884 Lounge in Minglewood Hall, from Facebook by Rachel Hurley. © 2012. Used with permission. May require Facebook log-in. Check out Rachel’s Tumblr.

Opinion and Blogs

Neshoba Nights: Elliot at six months. Your mommy and daddy love you very much.

Walls of the City: What’s the term for “people who enable others to be victims of predators”?

vibinc: Politicians, like doctors, should “first do no harm”.

vegan crunk: It’s old-school TV night, Twin Peaks, with appropriate food snacks. A review of the new book, Practically Raw.

Time Flies….: Take a trip with them, one blog post at a time. Just keep scrolling!

The Soundcheck and the Fury: Just chillin’ with his boys.

Pretty in Pink Megan: An update on the Online Yard Sale. Thoughts on her favorite TV viewing.

Paul Ryburn’s Journal: A Quick review of the Double J Smokehouse and Saloon. The musical lineup for the Peabody Rooftop parties.

My Crazy Busy Life: When she loves being pregnant, raising infants, and he … well, doesn’t.

Memphis Foodie: Someone had a very good evening at Sekisui Pacific Rim. And took some mouth-watering pictures thankyouverymuch.

This Classical Life: A series of inspirational posters for your Holy Week and Easter. More to come.

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

MemphisConnect: Join the conversation about Triangle Noir. A film about Benjamin Hooks is coming to Memphis next month, Duty of the Hour.

Guerrilla Sales & Marketing: Use your eyes and ears to listen for “overselling” warning signals. (via the Daily News)

I Swear: Political correctness and aggrieved “victims” come to the crossword puzzle. (via the Daily News)

Commercial Appeal: Pinnacle’s executive raises can also be looked at as preventing a valuable brain drain. The stakes are high, as they always seem to be, for the U of M Tigers.

John G. Castellaw: Tennessee can be the biofuel champion of our energy future. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Wendi C. Thomas: She elects to not try to explain the “unexplainable”, to avoid it in future, opting for outrage instead. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Fox13 Insiders: They discuss the issues of the day.