Main Street Journal - Monday, March 26, 2012

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Cooling the Fires

The Shelby County Commission redistricting battle continues this week in a private meeting with attorneys. The meeting’s agenda. The Commision’s website.

Commission members went on a retreat this past weekend; more from WREG. Not all commissioners attended, though. They heard from Mayor Mark Luttrell on the health of the budget.

Memphis City Schools: Open enrollment began Friday. Parents had mixed reactions to the new system.

Trayvon Martin: A prayer vigil, put together by Mississippi Boulevard Church at the National Civil Right Museum will be held tonight. And a Poor People’s March will be held Wednesday. Hundreds rallied in Nashville.

Municipal School Districts: Although the General Assembly is due to finish its work soon, there are some committees still working on education issues that could affect Shelby County. The Flyer’s Jackson Baker has the “muddle for dummies” overview.

Arkansas: Crittenden County Quorum Court Justice Hubert Bass wrote a letter to the West Memphis Evening Times that is filled with expletives and racist, offensive language, which they published! (NOTE: Not in the online edition.) A similar letter, from just weeks ago. Bass has been fighting this fight for a while now. Radio broadcasts of Helena-West Helena City Council meetings may run afoul of FCC obscentiy restrictions.

Bullying: Today’s young people suffer an amplified torrent of abuse thanks to social media.

Representative Steve Cohen: He sent a letter to a White House regulatory official, trying to get some relief on the “check engine” light issue. He also declared the murder of Trayvon Martin to be a “hate crime”.

The Emerging 200: More on the City/County partnership with the Small Business Administration to nurture more small-business owners.

Memphis Police Department: Officer Dion Anthony has resigned following the “inappropriate radio communications” incident. City Attorney Herman Morris has asked the police department to stop 48-hour holds on suspects.

Riverview Community Center: A man, Kevin Brooks, was arrested for possession of a stolen gun after police searched everyone on fears of a retaliatory shooting.

Planned Parenthood: Beginning today, they will offer free packs of emergency-contraception pills as long as supplies last. No prescription is needed.

Tennessee: Beginning next month, 56,000 of the State’s jobless will need to document the job searches they are doing and 10,000 will lose benefits.

Politics: Governor Bill Haslam has signed into law the deal he worked out with, regarding their collecting State sales taxes beginning in 2014. A list of all the current legislation awaiting the governor’s signature.

Republican Second District Congressman John J. Duncan paid three family members a total of $7600 to work for him. More on other Congressmen’s abuse of campaign money. Despite the stunning losses the TN Democratic Party suffered in 2010, their chairman, Chip Forrester, was given a 33% pay raise! An error in tax statements sent out by the City of Kingston cost the town $70,000 and the employee responsible thirty days unpaid leave. Memphis Representative Joe Towns’ “saggy pants” bill is headed to a House vote; more. Random news from the Tennessean’s Political Notebook.

Debate stalled in the State Senate over a bill to allow college professors to teach at high school grades. Social issues are “front and center” in this Legislature and if they benefit in re-election, that’s a plus. Speaker of the House Beth Harwell beat out Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey in the annual Ag Day “milk-off”.

DeSoto County: “Amnesty Days” for Hernando’s Municipal Court brought in nearly $7000. Hernando got good news that the new jail is on track to open this Fall. By refinancing County bonds, the County will save $1.2 million over 12 years. Speaking to the Economic Development Council, Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace talked of the local impact of the organisation. County education officials are considering an “abstinence-only” approach to mandatory sex education. The Commercial Appeal reports that Southaven mayor Greg Davis used well over $100,000 in County money to cover personal expenses. The Regional Utility Authority board is starting the bidding process on the Short Fork Waste Water Treatment Facility.

Scorecard: State Represetative Craig Fitzhugh says he is not retiring. And Representative Vince Dean, of East Ridge, will not give up his seat to run for the State Senate; more from the Chattanooga Times Free Press. But Mountain City Republican Scotty Campbell is retiring after one term, to pursue “long-term personal and education goals”.

Germantown: A 14-year old unnamed student was charged with bringing a gun to Germantown Middle School. This kind of infraction usually earns a 180-day suspension. The student was released on a juvenile summons. Citizens held a rally Sunday in support of the town starting its own school district; more from WREG and the Commercial Appeal.

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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.

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!

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?

Religious Freedom: Hundreds of protesters turned out for a rally in Nashville protesting the Federal government’s intrusion into religious liberties and insurance.

Millington: The First Baptist Church Millington plans to open a private school before the new school year starts.

West Memphis 3: For the first time, prosecutor Scott Ellington talks about why he agreed to an Alford plea that released the three men.

Memphis City Council: At next Tuesday’s meeting Councilwoman Janis Fullilove has requested that excerpts from the I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech by the Rev Dr Martin Luther King be played. More from Fox13, WMC.

Shelby County Schools: While closing three elementary schools will save millions for the County, it won’t come without a lot of anger.

Grizzlies: Any attempt to move the team from Memphis comes with a “hefty price tag” and some prohibitive contract clauses.

Cancer: Local hospitals are watching their supplies of certain cancer drugs, due to shortages nationwide.

Operation Safe Community: They celebrated the end of their first five year plan and noted the steep drop in violent crime rates. OSC website.

Survey Says! According to the U-Haul National Migration Trend Report, Nashville is the number one growth city in the US.

Nashville: The City has stopped using Fitch Ratings to grade their bonds. Nashville will shortly begin an update of their 25 year growth and development plan. A recall effort is gaining steam against Metro councillor Brady Banks.

Burgundy Book: The St Louis Federal Reserve Bank released its quarterly report of economic activity for the Mid-South area and it’s good news. The report can be read here. (PDF document)

Business: Retail Truths: The Unconventional Wisdom of Retailing is a new book from the chairman of Amro Music, Chip Averwater; the Daily News shines its Small Business Spotlight on Amro. Blackstone Brewery of Nashville will partner with Budweister of Memphis to market its craft beers here. “Structural employment”, which disappeared in the Eighties and Nineties, is back with a vengeance now. The goal of entrepreneuship isn’t just starting businesses, but starting business that thrive.

From the Daily News, Today’s Events. The Business Journal reports People on the Move. The Commercial Appeal covers People in Business for Sunday, What to Do for Sunday, and Property Transfers.

Volkswagen: The United Auto Workers have been quietly handing out signature cards to workers at the Chattanooga plant, trying to drum up support; the plant is non-union.

Mo’ Money Taxes: Some think the company will come back from its troubles.

Chattanooga: The City began a series of anti-gang summits.

Mississippi: The Legislature approved a bill to allow local communities to enforce Federal flood plains regulations for hunting and fishing camps. Tunica gaming casinos posted modest gains in February. Parts of North MS have no internet access at all. Legislators are firmly on the side of public schools in approving charter schools. Attorney General Jim Hood is asking the State Supreme Court to review the Barbour pardons on behalf of the families of their victims. The Republican-led Legislature intends, for the first time in some years, to follow the “98% rule”.

Gasoline: Gasoline consumption fell three percent in 2011, according to MasterCard. The Memphis average is $3.69/gallon. (via Separating fact from fear in rising gas prices.

Allen Stanford: He attempt to get a new trial was rebuffed.

West Tennessee: Lake County sheriff’s deputy Mario Montgomery was arrested and charged with sexual battery and sexual misconduct against two minor females. Jackson is on a list of Federal court sites being considered for closure. The winding down and layoffs by American Ordnance in Milan will devastate the town.

Real Estate: More on the National Association of Realtors’ “Game Changer” grant that will fight blight in Memphis; more from WMC. New home sales fell in February.

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

Olive eyes the bedspread, waitng…. From Flickr by . © 2012. Used with permission. She also blogs


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

Barbara Harper: Contemplating what makes a morally relevant person. (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Jack MeElroy: The science of evolution is settled, so get with it! (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Snark Bites: “Government in Tennessee is the joke of which nothing sillier can be conceived….” (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Exempting teacher evaluations from the Public Records Act is a bad idea, shadily passed.

US Senator Lamar Alexander: End subsidies to “Big Oil” and “Big Wind” and double energy research. (via the Tennessean)

Tennessean: Suicide is preventable if more people will talk about it.

Tom Bohs: America needs more immigrants, not fewer. (via the Jackson Sun)

Michael R. Burch: President Obama’s middle name is “Hussein”, Al Queda wanted to assassinate him, their biggest concern was their media image, therefore “birthers” were wrong? (via the Nashville City Paper)

David Hampton: Random thoughts on Mississippi politics. (via the Desoto Times Tribune)

Chattanooga Times: An epic heatlh care battle reaches a climax today. The latest Republican abortion battle is intrusive, violence-prone and useless.

Robert Houk: He wants country music superstar Tim McGraw to run for governor or US Senator because he’s a “very respectable” actor and a superstar. (via the Johnson City Press)

Smart Stuff 4 Work: Does money make the business world go ’round? (via the Daily News)

Memphis NewsThe US military should commit to the soldiers who committed to them in service.

Fox13 Insiders: The insiders discuss the issues of the day.

Commercial Appeal: They confuse the murder of Trayvon Martin with a “stand your ground” case and presume a lot of facts not known yet. Kudos to the Lester School’s chess club. The Memphis City Council and the Mayor should “can the smoke-and-mirrors” and “get real” about the City’s finances. More against horse slaughterhouses. A “reasonable” editorial that, nonetheless, argues against 48 holds by police.

Alana Stewart: A victim of bullying speaks out about the daily pain she, and others, suffer with. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Chris Peck: The man whose paper regularly caters to “big money” complains about it. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Otis L. Sanford: His anti-Repulbican, anti-tea party beliefs still manage to spill into an editorial that argues “angry voters are informed voters”. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Bob Guinter: Childhood vaccinations undoubted save lives. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Wendi C. Thomas: She plugs some of her favorite causes in a column on Facebook and Twitter. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Andre K. Fowlkes: Memphis needs to get serious with IT entrepreneurship if it wants to catch up. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Small Business Advocate: Businesses that don’t adapt to their customers’ smartphones will lose business. (via the Commercial Appeal)