Main Street Journal - Weekly Update for Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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We Are Back!

Beginning this week, the Main Street Journal returns, with weekly updating. We will be filling in the depth and breadth of our coverage as we gear back up. Please tell your friends.

County Commission: At a budget retreat on Saturday, commissioners were expected to discuss funding the Unified school system. Will the Commission ask the State for more funding for the County Public Defender’s office? They did earmark $300,000 for legal fees in the court fight over the school merger.

The Bass Pro Shop Pyramid: The Downtown Memphis Commission has released the sign package (PDF file) for the remodeled Pyramid. The BPS logos are attracting discussion.

State Public Parks: The State House of Representatives on Monday approved the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, to prevent cities and counties from renaming public monuments. Additional stories from the Associated Press. More information here.

State Politics: Monday was a day of struggle for supporters and opponents of wine sales in grocery stores. One opponent, Randy Davis of the Tennessee Baptist Convention is worried about the public referendum called for in the legislation. The Department of Safety and Homeland Security is asking for $7.6 million in additional funding after a “planned windfall” of driver’s license reinstatement fees failed to materialise. State Treasurer David Lillard explains the changes to the State’s public retirement system he’s proposing.

The Department of Children’s Services is under increased scrutiny this session. Numerous problems have surfaced in the agency recently.

Tennesseans who receive subsidised basic landline phone service from the State will be charged $3.50/month under a proposal moving quickly through the Legislature. What will be the impact of Federal sequester cuts to the State of Tennessee?

Mississippi: A look at the state of disarray and despair in State Senate for the state’s Democratic Party.

Airships: Is a dirigible coming to Memphis airspace in the future?

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Tennessee: POLITICO profiles Governor Bill Haslam in an article titled, “The GOP star you’ve never heard of”. The Knoxville News Sentinel believes that Governor Haslam will ultimately approve the expanstion of the state’s Medicaid program. The state’s high school graduation rate is rising, in this Commercial Appeal story, surprisingly short of other details. The cost of a college eduation continues to rise, though.

Second Amendment: Differing interpretations of property rights are slowing efforts to move gun carry legislation in Nashville. Attorney General Bob Cooper says the new law won’t affect the exemption for “non-student adults” for carrying college students in current law. Cooper also ruled that any efforts by the State Legislature to nullify new Federal guns laws would be unconstitutional.

Unified Shelby County Schools: Memphis City School teachers absorbed into the new unified system, may find themselves subject to county residency requriements they haven’t been under.

City/County Schools Merger: US Dist. Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays raised the specter of appointing a “special master” to guide the school systems in their merger. Bartlett mayor A. Keith McDonald must plan to “wait and see” how merger issues shake out.

Airlines: The Tennessean asks their readers, “Should airlines carve out sections that are for adults only?”

General Nathan Bedford Forrest: Who was the controversial Civil War figure we’ve named a park after?

Business: The Memphis Shelby Growth Alliance is a plan born by the Brookings Institute that, through the hand of Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, will become the new jobs development plan for the area. What is the reaction of Memphis businesses to a proposal increase in the minimum wage? The Bennigan’s bar-and-grill restaurant chain is returning to Tennessee.

In Memoriam: Kindle “Bud” Davis, coach of the Itawamba Community College’s undefeated “Team of the Century” in the early Sixties, passed away over the weekend. He was also well-known for his Cadillac dealership fame.

Paywalls: If you are having trouble reading some of the articles linked by this website because you are not a subscriber to the site linked, try this solution. More information here or search here. Or become a subscriber if you can afford that many subscriptions….

Charter Schools: Former mayor Dr Willie Herenton, who is trying to get his W.E.B. DuBois Charter Schools Consortium accepted by the Unified Shelby Schools board, says it is “purposefully dragging its feet” on approval of their application.

Picture of the Week

A young man weighs the day’s movie fare being offered on Beale Street in 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, from © 2013. Be sure to click through to the website for a high-resolution version of this image!

Opinion and Blogs

vibinc: Steve argues that supporters of the Unified Shelby County school system haven’t made their case successfully, leaving it to their opponents instead.

Gail Kerr: While she welcomes Nashville’s invitation for an Olympic bid, she urges city leaders to “get real”. (Tennessean)

Bob Higgins: He argues that new bills in the Legislature should also be weighed for their impact on businesses .(Tennessean)

Tennessean: The voters of the 4th US House District deserve better candidates than the Republicans on offer, in the paper’s estimation.

Georgiana Vines: No surprise, East Tennessee Democrats are supporting President Obama on gun control. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

Commercial Appeal: Even as they caution against giving the Klan any media attention, they still manage to do so. Welcoming the new Salvation Army Kroc Center. Look to regional business leaders, not government, to solve Memphis’ problems. Focus on what’s important in the City/County schools merger.

Otis Sanford: He cautions against selling off the naming rights to city parks, even as other landmarks (Autozone Park) have done the same thing. (Commercial Appeal)

Christine Richards: A member of the Transition Planning Commission decries the politics that have entered into the inherently political process of merging the school systems. (Commercial Appeal)

County Commissioners Steve Mulroy and Mike Ritz: These two men don’t want Shelby County to have multiple school systems funded by a community’s ability to pay for its own. (Commercial Appeal)

Wendi C. Thomas: She explains the Emancipation Proclamation to her readers. (Commercial Appeal)

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