Main Street Journal - Monday, April 30, 2012

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Photo Credit: WREG

New Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, that public pools and hot tubs install hydraulic chairs to lower the disabled into the water, are so expensive that many pools may simply close down by this Summer.

Memphis City Schools: The City’s 7000 graduating seniors were the target of a voter registration drive on Friday. The teachers union says teachers at Kirby High School are in grave danger. KIPP is literally pounding the pavement to recruit students to their lates school. Forty congregations held services for teachers on Sunday.

Shelby County Commission: The battle between Plans 2-J and 2-O. The County’s library of redistricting documents.

Municipal School Districts: On Friday, the State House approved a bill, allowing Shelby County to hold municipal elections, substantially similar to the one passed by the State Senate. A conference committee today will iron out the differences, before it goes to the governor for his signature. A Friday story on the whole thing from The Flyer’s Jackson Baker.

American Queen: The riverboat was christened by Priscilla Presley on Friday. A WREG interview with Presley. The local media was duly excited: Business Journal, the Daily News.

Morgan Keegan: More relocation of their former employees to other brokerages in Memphis, like Stephens, Incorporated.

Bus Rapid Transit: The City is pursuing a $10 million Federal grant to upgrade the amenities along the Route 43 bus line, from Downtown to Brooks Road and Shelby Drive.

Transition Planning Commission: They are just beginning the process of potentially closing up to 21 “underperforming” schools. Officials for both school systems aren’t waiting for the merger to come down before starting action.

Crime: Nine car break-ins in ten days on a stretch of Quince between Kirby Road and White Station.

Politics: Were you aware of the Legislative practice of “ghost voting”? WMC reports on the welfare benefits/drug-testing bill. More about the governor’s FastTrack business program. Republicans are considering a law that penalises filers of frivolous lawsuits up to $10,000 of their lawyer’s fees. Republican State Representative Jeremy Faison blamed parents for failure to “instil proper principles”, for their children’s suicides.

General Assembly Winds Down: Bills signed by Governor Bill Haslam last week. Two tax cut bills, on phasing out the inheritance tax and the other cutting the grocery tax by one-quarter percent, are headed to the governor. The so-called “gateway sexual activity” bill passed the House, with Democratic help. (Only Memphis Senator Beverly Marrero, Democrat, voted against it.) More from WMC, the Tennessean. Ethics Commission disclosure requirements for local and regional planning commissioners was approved. The derogatorily named “Don’t Say Gay” bill will die with the end of the session. There was even a rare Sunday session to consider veterans’ issues. Legislators still hope to end the session today; more.

A conference committee late Friday OK’d a budget bill that restores some spending cuts to the State’s 2012-13 budget. TN Reports on the conference committee meeting. Stories on pre-conference Senate cuts from the Knoxville News-Sentinel, WPLN. The budget bill should be voted on today. More from the News-Sentinel, Tom Hunphrey.

First Tennessee Bank: The parent company, First Horizon National Corporation, is a “most attractive buying target” right now.

DeSoto County: How will Statewide redistricting affect the County? Nearly ready to open, Senatobia’s newest park, Sycamore Park, is hoped to become a “destination”. Will the Shelby County school merger also grow the DeSoto County student population? Horn Lake Chamber of Commerce executive director Larry Witherspoon got a nice send-off when he stepped down. County students are preparing for the Curriculum Test 2. Some developers in Olive Branch will pay for street repaving.

Local Media: The FCC will require all broadcast television stations to post their political ad rates on line. Online archives for the TV political talk shows: WREG’s Informed Sources and the Daily News’ Behind the Headlines.

Real Estate: The Memphis market is bucking the national trend with real growth.

Tell your friends you read it here:

Internet Exclusive! Conservatives Cannot Afford To Be Silent and Republicans Cannot Afford To Let Them is the message in this month’s column from our political/financial contributor Chuck Bates. It’s do or die.

Internet Exclusive! Our Tea Party contributor, Ed “Doc” Holliday has a monumental post likening the 2012 election campaign to the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War! And President Barack Obama is…General Robert E. Lee?

Internet Exclusive! Southpaw: Andria K. Brown looks at abstinence-only education, as enacted by the State, and wonders at their “modesty proposal”.

Memphis City Council: The council had a special budget meeting on Saturday. Police and fire unions are concerned about cuts. Early budget stories from Fox13, WMC. They face tough choices. The Fire Department plans to decommission five of their vehicles but warned about other cuts.

Americans Elect: Tired of the current two-party system dominating national politics, a non-partisan group is trying to create a third option. It’s born from, but separate altogether to, the Occupy and tea party movements. Their website.

Memphis in May: While the festival is only days away from opening, the support staff works year-round.

Shelby County Juvenile Court: Parents have stories of unfair treatment by the court, in line with the Federal examination of discrimination. And court officials are “balking” at the report. The report is a red flag for the community.

Tennessee: The TBI downplays the rise in hate crimes in recent years. The press release from the TBI.

Shelby County: Nearly 40% of children in the county depend on some form of Federal assistance. The Faith Team Ministries group home believes they are being unfairly targetted by State officials.

Family Safety Center: This new sanctuary for domestic violence victims had its grand opening over the weekend.

Lottery Winnings: 2005 Powerball winner, Sandra Hayes, shares the tale of her life since an $8 million windfall.

Business: How local banks rank on various measures, from the Business Journal. The “aerotropolis” brand has been slow to catch on. Americans are too often financially illiterate.

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

International Paper: First quarter profits were down by half for them, due largely to expansion or investments worldwide. There may be more facility closures. More from the Daily News.

Southwest Airlines: There’s a lot of hope that the airline’s arrival will spur lower ticket prices in our market.

Cracker Barrel: The company announced a surpise 60% increase in their third quarter dividends.

Mo’ Money Taxes: Co-founder Markey Granberry defends his business in a WPTY interview.

Education Reform: Higher expectations for students and teachers alike are adding pressure.

Chattanooga: The Tennessee Aquarium celebrates 20 years and has changed the city in that time. TA website. has begun sending out sales tax notices to its custmers.

Bartlett: A Chevy Camaro seized by the police in a drug arrest has now been creatively repurposed for DARE officers to drive rather than sold.

Weather & Critters: A warm and early Spring means an upswing in the tick population.

Mississippi: Today is Confederate Memorial Day in the State. (Background about the holiday.) Office closings.

Democrats are claiming that the charter school bill is dead; majority Republicans aren’t so sure. The State House approved a redistricting plan that will cut the number of white Democrats. With House passage last week, voter ID reform is headed to the governor to become law; this enacts last year’s constitutional amendment. Legislators raised overall State educaton funding, but didn’t target high-growth areas. The House failed to raise the spending level of the Public Safety Division. Despite the failure of the “personhood amendment”, abortion foes press on.

US Congress: Freshmen legislators in the US House are examined for their donations to fellow elected officials.

Dog Fighting: CrimeStopper is offering up to $1000, from a reward pool of $12,000, for tips that break up dog fighting in Shelby County.

Picture of the Day

Sarah lives in Fayetteville, AR, and she recently took a road trip to Memphis, by Sarah Fortune. © 2012. Used with permission. More on Baby Iris here.

Opinion and Blogs

I’ll be the one in heels: Kalisa haz food question.

MemphisWeaver: How the life and death of his brother and the music of Levon Helm are inextricably linked for him. Did you know about the Memphis Association of Craft Artists downtown?

My Memphis Mommy: I occasionally remind readers of this phenomenally useful blog, which posts coupons, offers, deals and so much more, up to a dozen a day. Start at the top and just keep scrolling.

Knoxville News-Sentinel: The first budget by new mayor Madeline Rogero manages to not include a tax increase. They support the Knox County Chamber of Commerce’s support of a $35 million increase in County school spending.

Mary Dorothy LaMarche: The State’s government should “do something” about “our” “obesity crisis”. (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Robert Houk: The Democrats have recruited an actress, Park Overall, best known for sitcom Empty Nest, as their candidate for the US Senate seat held by Bob Corker. (via the Johnson City Press)

Tom Bohs: He believes that widespread gun rights means widespread gun violence. (via the Jackson Sun)

Jackson Sun: When failure is rampant in TN schools, charter schools are necessary.

John Whitehead: ALEC, prison labor, Big Business and the rise of the corporate state. (via the Desoto Times Tribune)

Frank Cagle: Another generation of adults must learn about adults trying to control the fashion choices of a younger generation. (via the Knoxville Metro Pulse)

Amy Greene: A Tennessee resident says that politicising our faith is to ignore out State’s religious roots. (via the New York Times)

John Branston: When it comes to the opportunites made possible by the school planning commission, he says, “Improvise! Go for it!” (via the Flyer)

Air Traffic Mike’s: He’s (voluntarily) dog-watching a dachshund and a Chorkie and he decided to pimp them out … “Jersey style”.

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

Smart Stuff 4 Work: The lesson of a pastoral preacher. (via the Daily News)

Memphis News: The riverfront will always be a reflection of the city’s past and future.

Tennessean: We are just a trashy people, and not in the amusing ways.

Yuri Cunza: The immigration debate our politicians should be having. (via the Tennessean)

Wendi C. Thomas: A hopeful update to the story of the Wooddale rocket team. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Commercial Appeal: County Commissioner Henri Brooks deserves deserves the “gratitude” of many in the County and the Juvenile Court needs “strong oversight” from the Federal government. Listen to the “stakeholders”, and other dances around their actual point. Asking how the merged school system can exceed expectation. Students: don’t drink and drive for prom.

City Councilman Jim Strickland: When the city is losing population, and especially their wealth, now is not the time for a property tax increase. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Randy Hutchinson: Now is not the time to be financially illeterate. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Chris Peck: He cites examples of other fire departments providing a similar level of service as Memphis, but on a smaller budget. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Meagan Nichols: Decrying the sensationalism of TN news while she studiously avoids looking to the newpaper that published her column. (via the Commercial Appeal)