Daily Briefs

By Updated: February 05, 2019 8:25 PM CT | Published: February 05, 2019 12:41 PM CT
  • Shelby County Court Clerk to appear before State Supreme Court on expungement case
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha pledges $100,000 endowment to LeMoyne-Owen
  • Sales, net income rise at Mueller Industries
  • Memphis woman to be guest at President Trump's State of the Union address
  • Building permit filed for Germantown location of The Container Store
  • Juvenile Court monitor to submit final report
  • Fred's Inc. announces appointment of CEO and three other top executives
  • Graceland seeks workers at job fairs
  • Blues Foundation announces 2019 International Blues Challenge winners
  • Bill Morris to be awarded first Dunavant/Rotary Lifetime Achievement Award

Shelby County Court Clerk to appear before State Supreme Court on expungement case

Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk Edward Stanton Jr. has been ordered to appear before the state Supreme Court Feb. 6 to explain why his office has not complied with a previous mandate from the court regarding the expungement case of a Memphis man.

Marcus Deangelo Lee filed a petition with the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2017 over a lawsuit he filed against the state regarding the expungement of his criminal record.

In the case, Lee contended he paid the outstanding court costs and wanted the Clerk’s office to provide proof of his expungement. The Clerk's office has not done so. 

The court is requiring Stanton and his principal clerk to be in Nashville Wednesday afternoon to answer questions about how the clerk's office handled the expungement filings in Lee’s case.

-Yolanda Jones

Alpha Kappa Alpha pledging $100,000 endowment to LeMoyne-Owen

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, in partnership with the Educational Advancement Foundation, has pledged a $100,000 endowment to LeMoyne-Owen College.

The endowment is part of the sorority's AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund to support historically black colleges and universities. 

Dr. Andrea Lewis Miller, LeMoyne's president, will join with 31 other HBCU presidents Feb. 28 at AKA headquarters in Chicago to accept the first installment of the endowment.

"LeMoyne-Owen College is extremely grateful to benefit from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.'s incredible history of supporting HBCU's," Miller said. "This generous donation will be used to provide critically needed scholarships funds that are key to recruiting and retaining students."

- The Daily Memphian Staff

Sales, net income rise at Mueller Industries

Mueller Industries Inc. reported net income of $26.9 million, or 47 cents per diluted share for its fiscal fourth quarter, up from net income of $5.7 million, or 10 cents per diluted share, in Q4 of 2017.

Fourth quarter net sales were $559.1 million, compared with net sales of $523.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Memphis-based manufacturer of copper and copper alloy tubing and fittings reported operating income for the fourth quarter of $40.0 million, compared with $21.1 million a year ago.

For the full year, Mueller reported net income of $104.5 million, or $1.82 per diluted share, on net sales of $2.5 billion, compared with net income of $85.6 million, or $1.49 per diluted share, on net sales of $2.3 billion in 2017.

Full-year operating income was $173.0 million, up from $150.8 million in fiscal year 2017.

In a release, the company attributed the stronger sales to higher sales volumes combined with sales from the recently acquired ATCO business, even though the gains were offset somewhat by lower selling prices principally due to lower copper prices. Copper prices were 11 percent lower in Q4 2018 compared to a year ago, the company said.

For the full year, the company generated $167.9 million in cash from operations, ending the year with a current ratio of 3.0 to 1 and a return on equity of 19 percent compared to 16 percent in 2017, according to the release.

“Overall, our acquisitions are exceeding our expectations and we are beginning to see the benefits of the major capital investments we worked so hard to complete these past five years,” Mueller’s CEO, Greg Christopher, said in the release. “Most notably our U.S. Copper Tube manufacturing platforms continue to improve and throughout the year, yielded positive results in throughput, quality, and cost reductions, which will continue to benefit us in the future.”

Christopher said the company intends to use “strong cash generation to fund growth opportunities, reduce debt and, when appropriate, return capital to our shareholders.”

Mueller specializes in copper and copper alloy manufacturing while also producing goods made from aluminum, steel and plastics. It recently moved its Memphis headquarters to the Schilling Farms development in Collierville. It makes tubing, fittings, valves, vessels and related items for plumbing and HVACR related systems, as well as rod, forgings, extrusions and various components for OEM applications. It services the building/construction, appliance, defense, energy and automotive industries.

- The Daily Memphian Staff

Memphis woman to be guest at President Trump's State of the Union address

Alice Marie Johnson, the Memphis woman to whom President Donald Trump granted clemency last year after she served 21 years in prison, will be one of 13 guests at Trump’s second State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

Johnson, 63, who received a life sentence in 1996 for a non-violent drug offense, had her sentence commuted by Trump last June after reality television star Kim Kardashian West met with the president, asking that he free the mother of five, grandmother of six and great-grandmother from prison.

Trump granted Johnson clemency and she was freed from an Alabama prison June 6.

A week later, Johnson and Kardashian met for the first time at Johnson’s sister’s house in Southaven.

Johnson said she never gave up hope that she would get out of prison and thanked Trump for granting her release after two decades in prison for a first-time drug offense for which she received a life sentence.

Since her release, Johnson, who became an ordained minister while in prison, has become an advocate for prison reform and dedicated herself to helping other incarcerated women and young people.

She is one of 13 “special guests,” according to the White House website, who Trump and first lady Melania Trump have invited to Capitol Hill to hear the president’s address.

- The Daily Memphian Staff

Building permit filed for Germantown location of The Container Store

A building permit has been filed for a Germantown location of The Container Store, a retail chain that specializes in storage and organization, at 2130 Exeter Rd., next to Trader Joe’s.

The contractor of the project, Birmingham-based Doster Construction Co. Inc, valued the new location at a little more than $1 million, according to the building permit. The permit cites Dallas-based GFF Architects Inc. as the architect and 2130 Exeter Holdings LLC as the owner. 

A Dallas-based retailer, The Container Store was founded in 1978. Its 92 stores average 25,000 square-feet and offer more than 10,000 innovative products to its customers.

-Natalie Martin

Monitor to submit final report on Juvenile Court equal protection

Shelby County Attorney Marlinee Iverson announced the monitor responsible for tracking equal protection at Juvenile Court has agreed to submit his final report and a third report will come shortly after.

Iverson said in a press release she has received authorization from all parties that signed the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Justice in 2012 to submit their final reports on Shelby County Juvenile Court.

“We continue to take proactive measures to make sure that fewer kids are arrested and detained and that, when kids do interact with the system, their constitutional rights are absolutely protected,” Iverson said in a written statement. “We think these reports will help. Furthermore, given the high level of public interest in these issues, these reports will absolutely be immediately released to the public.”

Equal protection monitor Michael Lieber has agreed to submit his final report. In the release, the facility DOJ monitor has not confirmed she will submit her final report but the county remains hopeful that report will be submitted.

Shelby County has only received one of the final three reports after the DOJ ended its oversight over Juvenile Court last October.

Due process monitor Sandra Simkins submitted her final report in December and criticized the decision to stop monitoring, writing the court has enabled a “culture of intimidation that undermines due process” and is “deeply flawed.”

Following the release of that report, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris announced defense attorneys for detained youth would be handled by a person to be hired by Harris and not a Juvenile Court employee.

The fees for the reports will come out of the county attorney’s budget. Harris told the commission two weeks ago the county owed due process monitor Sandra Simkins about $2,500 for her report.

-Omer Yusuf

Fred's Inc. announces appointment of CEO and three other top executives 

Fred’s Inc. announced Tuesday the approval of “key changes in its top leadership” by its board of directors, including the appointment of chief executive officer, Joseph Anto.

Anto has served as interim CEO since April of last year and  as executive vice president, chief financial officer and secretary since February 2018.

“On behalf of the board, I want to express how pleased we are to have Joe as our CEO,” Heath Freeman, chairman of the board, said in a release. “As chairman, I have worked closely with Joe during his tenure as interim CEO, and I am looking forward to collaborating with Joe to write the next chapter for Fred’s.”

In addition to Anto’s appointment, the board approved the appointments of Ritwik Chatterjee as CFO, Nathaniel Klein as chief operating officer and Michael Ladd as chief stores officer. 

“We are very excited to announce the appointments of Rit, Nathaniel and Mike, which I believe reflect the strength and depth of Fred’s executive team,” Anto said in a statement regarding the appointments. “I look forward to continuing to work with these three outstanding leaders as we execute our turnaround plan for the company.”

The appointments of Anto, Chatterjee, Klein and Ladd were effective as of Feb. 3, 2019, the first day of the company’s 2019 fiscal year.

- Natalie Martin 

Graceland seeks workers at job fairs

Elvis Presley’s Graceland is seeking full-time, part-time and seasonal employees ranging from ticket sellers to food and beverage workers.

Job fairs are scheduled 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, and 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Graceland SoundStage in Elvis Presley’s Memphis, 3717 Elvis Presley Boulevard.

Candidates are encouraged to fill out an application online at https://www.graceland.com/careers and bring a printed resume to the event.

Applicants should wear business casual or business professional attire.

Complimentary parking for applicants will be provided in the Graceland parking area off Elvis Presley Boulevard.

– Daily Memphian staff

Blues Foundation announces 2019 International Blues Challenge winners

The Memphis-based Blues Foundation has announced the winners of this year’s International Blues Challenge, held Jan. 22-26.

IBC events included performances, workshops, master classes, exhibits, films and the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards ceremony. The 36th annual International Blues Challenge is set for Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2020.

Next up for the Blues Foundation is the Blues Music Awards, slated at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The 2019 International Blues Challenge winners are as follows:

Band Division

  • Winner: Ms. Hy-C & Fresh Start (St. Louis Blues Society)
  • 2nd Place: Sammy Eubanks & the Work’in Class (Washington Blues Society)
  • 3rd Place: Celso Salim Band (Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society)

Solo/Duo Division

  • Winner: Jon Shain (Triangle Blues Society)
  • 2nd Place: Theresa Malenfant & Scott Medford (East Coast Blues Society)

Gibson Guitar Award For Best Band Guitarist

  • Winner: Gabe Stillman (Billtown Blues Association)

Memphis Cigar Box Guitar For Best Solo/Duo Guitarist

  • Winner: Steve Strongman (Grand River Blues Society)

Lee Oskar Harmonica Player 

  • Winner: Darryl Carriere, the Celso Salim Band (Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society)

Best Self-Produced CD

  • Winner: “Lock Up the Liquor – The Little Red Rooster Blues Band” (Central Delaware Blues Society)

– Elle Perry

Bill Morris to be awarded first Dunavant/Rotary Lifetime Achievement Award 

Former Shelby County Mayor William N. Morris will be awarded the first Dunavant/Rotary Lifetime Achievement Award as part of East Memphis Rotary Club’s annual Public Servants recognition program.

Morris will be the first recipient of the award and will be recognized during a luncheon event at the Holiday Inn–University on Central Ave. on April 3.

“Bill Morris served Shelby County brilliantly, first as a multi-term Sheriff (1964-1970) and subsequently as our county Mayor (1978-1994),” East Rotary President Bob Chance, said in a release. “Following his distinguished public service career, Bill remains integrally involved with the University of Memphis, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other worthy causes. He represents the finest qualities of servant leadership.”

The Dunavant/Rotary Lifetime Achievement Award was named in honor of the late Bobby Dunavant, a longtime, well-respected Probate Court clerk. The awards program will be chaired by president-elect of East Memphis Rotary, Richard Marsh.

Tables and tickets for the luncheon can be reserved by contacting Lee Hughes at lmhughes@costconsulting.net or 901-754-1615.

 – Natalie Martin


Graceland Blues Foundation International Blues Challenge Bill Morris Dunavant Awards Fred's Inc. The Container Store

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