Main Street Journal - Friday, March 23, 2012

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The Daily News has an excellent summary of the current situation with suburban municipal school districts. Will the City/County school merger be pushed back? Will there be a court challenge? The Commercial Appeal says “yes”.

Unified School Board member Mike Wissman spoke last weekend of possible proliferating special school districts. Collierville mayor Stan Joyner says the fight will go on. Fox13’s full, unedited version of Ernie Freeman’s interview with Bartlett mayor Keith McDonald about MSDs. How Better Bartlett Schools are handling the situation.

Shelby County Housing Authority: The deeply mismanaged agency may be merged with the Memphis Housing Authority.

AutoZone Park: The City of Memphis may guarantee bonds issued by the Downtown Memphis Commission, backed by dedicated revenue streams, to pay down the debts accrued.

City of Memphis: More on Mayor A C Wharton’s new whistleblower program; WREG.

Hoodie: Fox13’s Scott Madaus put on a hoodie to “gauge people’s perceptions” of a hooded man.

Shelby County: All the County’s school busses should get a “green” diesel upgrade by this Summer. The County Land Bank has a number of properties it is trying to give to non-profits to, in turn, return to community use.

Abortion: The bill to post information about doctors who perform abortions and their patients has had its two most controversial provisions stripped out. More from the Tennessean.

Chattanooga: The Volkswagen assembly plant will add 800 jobs by the end of the year. Eventually, 25% of all VWs sold in America will be assembled there. Governor Bill Haslam appeared on Fox News to tout the expansion, and avoid politics. More from the Associated Press.

Politics: The leader of the State Democratic Caucus, Representative Mike Turner, compared Tennessee to Afghanistan, Republicans to the Taliban, and said of Speaker of the House Beth Harwell he doesn’t “think she’s a nutjob”.

Republican efforts in the General Assembly to repeal the inheritance tax are progressing. A bill passed the House to make auto salvagers and crushers keep vehicles three days first. More on the “risk avoidance” abstinence plan that may replace the earlier legislation to limit what teachers can talk about in elementary schools. Mid-South reaction to that bill. The bill to create a multi-state health care compact has cleared a House committee. The amended bill to require drug testing for welfare recipients has come out of its Senate committee.

The State Senate passed a bill to allow teachers and coaches to join student prayers on school grounds, unanimously. More from the Associated Press and the Commercial Appeal.

Scorecard: The current standing: 10 Democrats and 4 Republicans. That’s the number of State legislators who are retiring (some to run for other office). Republican State Representative Scotty Campbell is the latest.

Memphis Animal Shelter: Employees are getting retrained in animal handling. More from WMC and the Commercial Appeal. They have also partnered with the Humane Society. They will shortly be installing GPS systems on all shelter vehicles, so a repeat of the Demetria Hogan incident cannot happen.

Education Reform: SCORE is calling for the State to cultivate, train, prioritise and retain good principals. Governor Bill Haslam backs the legislative plan to keep teachers’ performance evaluation scores secret. The bill has passed the Senate and moves to the House.

Memphis Farmers Market: One of the advantages of early Spring, is the market opens on April 7! And the next weekend is the Crop Hop, a 5K race.

Local Media: The Business Journal is launching Social Madness, their competition to find the best company with the “social media presence as it competes in a dynamic and unpredictable tournament-style challenge”.

Arkansas: The State’s Highway and Transportation Department is considering extra lanes and toll booths for I-40. More from WREG.

Gasoline: Prices have risen thirteen days in a row. The Memphis average is $3.69/gallon. (via The Commercial Appeal notes that local prices are up two cents.

Allergy Season: Memphis is the eighth-ranked Spring Allergy Capital, according to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

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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.

Unemployment: The State’s unemployment rate fell again in February to 8%. More from the Tennessean and the Commercial Appeal.

Howard Baker: The former TN Senator was honored in Washington DC at an event, “A Century of Service”, to honor a number of dignitaries.

Unified School Board: The board rejected a proposal that would have prevented any transfer of buildings or property unless “the price is right”.

State Redistricting: The NAACP insists their suit to stop implementation of the GOP-drawn map isn’t “a sour grapes move”.

Wounded Warrior: Marine corporal Christian Brown, seriously wounded in Afghanistan and still recovering in Maryland, is being helped by the Wounded Warriors but could still use your prayers and help. Wounded Warriors website.

Second Amendment: The TN Firearms Association has been consistently excluded from talks between legislators and other parties in the bill to allow gun carry in parked cars on business parking lots.

Memphis Police Department: Major Stan Eason is off “field duty” while a complaint filed at his second job in investigated. A TN Appeals Court ruled unconstitutional their practice of 48-hour holds, again.

Downtown: The Downtown Memphis Commission is offering the PowerHouse space rent-free to the winning retail concept. Concerns about rising crime on Mud Island.

Emerging 200 Program: There are still 17 slots available for the City-administered, Small Business Administration program for … well, small and medium sized businesses.

Business: The Memphis bioscience sector still suffers from a local skills gap that local businesses and educators are eager to close.

In today’s Business Journal, it’s People on the Move. The Commercial Appeal reports People in Business. And the Daily News covers Today’s Events.

FedEx: Following yesterday’s news of a settlement with the Dept. of Labor over employment practices, shares fell in spite of an optimistic earnings report. The company’s 3Q net earnings were 126% higher than the year-ago quarter; more from the Commercial Appeal. No Memphis facilities were implicated by that settlement. More on the settlement from the Daily News, WMC and again, the Commercial Appeal.

Kroger: The chain is pulling the meat replacement called “pink slime” from its shelves and discontinuing its sale. They also had mislabeled and mispriced beef that, if you bought it, you can get refunds.

Mississippi: Attorney General Jim Hood is seeking a review by the State Supreme Court of former governor Haley Barbour’s pardons.

DeSoto County: Residents of the gated community Cross Creek may go public in order to get needed street repairs. The Southaven Board of Aldermen discussed the long-aborning Outlet Shops of the Mid-South project; more. A State budget proposal could mean a $5 million shot in the arm for County schools. The School Board, in their meeting, approved a number of 2011 storm-related repairs.

Southaven mayor Greg Davis has been speaking with State auditors and hopes their investigation will wind up soon. State auditors have apparently given Southaven aldermen a deadline and warned them they could share liability with Davis.

Memphis Zoo: The miscarriage of an elephant there is leading to a fuss with out-of-state animal activists.

Tennessee: The State will award its first Fallen Heroes medal posthumously to Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Murray. The official State notice.

Germantown: The police SWAT team is getting new equipment. Heads up! The town’s police cars have a new logo.

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

Rain or shine for some guys…. From Itchy Shutter Finger by Jackie Ellison. © 2012. Used with permission.


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

Gary Goff: Guns have no place on campuses. (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Ina Hughs: From dark times and terrible circumstances came a hymn whose words have far outlived their author: “Jesus loves me, this I know.” An incredible story. (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Another media outlet looks to Wisconsin’s State courts as an example of how to thwart voter ID reform. Blighted properties are a community’s tumors.

Gail Kerr: The Legislature is trying to intimidate doctors into not performing abortions. “Period.” (via the Tennessean)

Joseph P. Fuhr: Government-run and -funded broadband isn’t wise in tight financial times. (via the Tennessean)

Tennessean: Making teacher performance scores available can only help the public.

Jackson Sun: Young people especially but everone actually, needs to be educated in the safe use of internet tools and technology. There is no need to hide teacher performance reviews.

Sid Salter: Expect the Justice Department to thoroughly block all voter ID reforms in the South. (via the Desoto Times Tribune)

Sean Phipps: Five ridiculously easy ways to brighten someone’s day. (via the

Barbara Prescott: She argues for the system the Unified County Schools will be arranged under, the Multiple Achievement Paths. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Commercial Appeal: If Republicans are a hammer, then Democrats are a cash machine. They oppose horse slaughterhouses.

Bernal E. Smith II: Only in Memphis! (via the Tri-State Defender)

Shannen Dee Williams: Hate speech is not a First Amendment right. (via the Tri-State Defender)

Money Matters: Exploring “key person” insurance. (via the Tri-State Defender)

Flyer: The Attorney General’s report is just another force wisely counseling a slow-down in the school merger process.

John Branston: State Representative Jimmy Naifeh’s segregation claims are “not quite the right word(s)”. John’s got nine easy Memphis predictions. (via the Flyer)

FUNdraising: Non-profit boards should be concerned with legalities in policy-making. (via the Daily News)

Memphasis: Remembering Pete & Sam’s. (via the Daily News)

Chattanooga Times: Government should allow free speech, no matter how inconvenient it might be to a community. They try to link Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law with the death of Trayvon Martin and the need to implement more gun controls.