Daily Briefs

By Updated: March 08, 2019 5:30 PM CT | Published: March 07, 2019 5:00 PM CT
  • Text-to-911 service launching soon in Memphis
  • Portion of Pleasant Ridge Road to close for about a month
  • American Home Shield holding jobs fair
  • Beale Street Music Festival adds four more acts 
  • Union Row buys 2 more properties
  • Sticky problem
  • Home sales rise in February
  • Nine Memphis women to be honored at Women of Achievement awards
  • Walmart doles out bonuses to associates

Text-to-911 service launching soon in Memphis

Reaching 911 by text will be available in the city of Memphis in the next two to three weeks, making the metro area the first in the state to have this capability.

After the service launches in  Memphis, it will then be made available over the next 6 to 8 months in the remaining areas of Shelby County, including Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Millington and unincorporated areas of the county, Raymond Chiozza, the director of the Shelby County Tennessee 911 District said.

He said the text-to-911 service is designed specifically for those who are hearing impaired, speech disabled or in a dangerous situation where you can’t call 911. But if you have an emergency and can call 911, do that first.

“Remember, call 911 if you can, text 911 if you can’t,” Chiozza said.

People who have an emergency can text 911 followed by their location and a short description of their emergency. Videos, photos and group text are not allowed in the service, Chiozza said.

Chiozza said to upgrade their technology and equipment to make the texting service available it cost the Shelby County 911 District $1.6 million to upgrade the service for the City of Memphis. To provide the upgrades to the reminder of Shelby County it cost $2.5 million and the money is collected from the 911 tax on you cellphone bill.  

Shelby County is one of the recent areas nationwide to have text-to-911 service and will join more than 1,600 911 emergency call centers  that have implemented the service.  

-Yolanda Jones

Portion of Pleasant Ridge Road to close for about a month

A portion of Pleasant Ridge Road east of the intersection of Austin Peay Highway will close temporarily for up to four weeks while a new water main is installed.

The temporary closing will begin March 11 and continue to April 5, 24 hours a day, according to a press release from Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division.

MLGW crews will be installing the new water main as part of the widening of Austin Peay Highway, a Tennessee Department of Transportation project. Construction will take place within the roadway lanes.

Motorists are encouraged to use Austin Peay and Donnell roads or Paul Barret Parkway (State Route 385) as alternate routes. Detour routes will be posted, according to MLGW.

-Daily Memphian Staff

American Home Shield holding jobs fair

The home-warranty company American Home Shield is holding a job fair Saturday, March 9, to fill 30 customer service positions at its Memphis contact center.

The event will be 9 to 11 a.m. at 6399 Shelby View Drive, Suite 104.

The new hires will start March 26. The jobs pay up to $14 an hour.

The jobs involve acting as "customer advocates" to ensure a claim is resolved when a home system or appliance breaks due to normal wear and tear.

 Anyone interested should bring multiple copies of a resume and wear “professional attire,’’ a company release states. Applicants can meet and interview with local managers, see the facility and learn more about American Home Shield, which is headquartered in Memphis.

Those who cannot attend the event can learn more about the positions and apply at                   --Staff 

Beale Street Music Festival adds four more acts

Beale Street Music Festival will have four more acts joining the 2019 lineup, bringing the total numbers of performers to 64.

The new additions are alt-rock acts Everclear and The Claypool Lennon Delirium comprised of Les Claypool (of Primus) and Sean Lennon, along with indie pop act Echosmith and emerging Memphis rap artists Kevo Muney and Action Pack AP.

“We already have a very strong lineup covering a wide variety of musical genres for the 2019 Beale Street Music Festival, but felt these additions will resonate with our rock fans and increase the number of local performers onstage, making a great lineup even better,” James L. Holt, President and CEO of Memphis in May, said in a release. “We pride ourselves on the musical diversity found at Beale Street Music Festival and this year patrons will find hip hop, R&B, soul, rock, indie, pop, blues, and more.” 

Tickets for the festival can be purchased through and are sold now through April 19. Three-day passes are $135 and single-day tickets are $55. A limited number of VIP passes are also available for $649.

The festival opens to the public at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 3 and runs through Sunday, May 5. The 2019 Beale Street Music Festival is sponsored by Bud Light, FedEx and Coca-Cola.

-Natalie Martin

Union Row buys 2 more properties

The Union Row developers purchased two more properties totaling about 5 acres on Thursday.

The vacant, grassy parcels totaling 4.4 acres at 276 Union was sold by C and O Memphis LLC  for $4.1 million.

And the property at 448 Beale, at Danny Thomas, where Gordon’s Auto Body operates, was sold by Terry and Marjorie Smith for $1.025 million.

On Wednesday, Union Row developers purchased for $4.7 million 309 Union, where the Lit restaurant and kitchen-supply shop operates.

Union Row is to be a $950 million, 29-acre development of apartments, offices, retail and hotels that is generally bordered by Union, Beale, Fourth and Lauderdale.               

-Tom Bailey

Sticky problem

Things can get sticky working in the dark.

Which is what a transport operator discovered last week as molasses was being pumped from a barge to trucks at a Memphis port.

“The transport operator visually monitors the molasses level in the tanker truck, while the offloading occurs,” states a storm water spill report submitted by American Yeast Corporation to a water resources manager with Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The worker had a two-way radio to inform the barge operator when the truck tanker was full and to stop the pumping.

Trouble was, it was about 6 p.m. Nearly dark as molasses.

The truck driver "did not have enough light to see and misjudged the level of molasses in the tanker truck,” the report states.

“When molasses overtopped the tanker, the transport operator immediately notified the (American Yeast Corp.) operator to radio the barge to stop pumping.”

The good news: American Yeast put covers over nearby storm drains to prevent the spill from entering the storm water system. And, the company immediately called an environmental clean-up firm to absorb and pressure-wash the spill.

The bad news: The next day, molasses residue was found in two storm drains where the off-loading occurred, A B Mauri Fleischmann’s at 2743 Riverport Road on the south side of Memphis. It was unknown if the “molasses wash water” proceeded off site.

More good news: Only about 20 gallons was spilled, the company estimated.

And future developments: American Yeast does not anticipate offloading barges at Fleischmann’s in the future because it is building a barge dock at its own facility 10 miles away at 251 Stiles on the north side of Memphis.   

-Tom Bailey

Home sales rise in February

February home sales in the Memphis area rose 3.4 percent from a year ago, according to the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

Last month, 1,252 sales were recorded in the MAARdata property records database.

The average sales price rose even more, 7.6 percent, compared to February 2018. The average sales price last month was $171,757.

The relatively small number of homes for sale has been a defining force in real estate for Memphis and across the U.S. over the past few years. Inventory rose by 4.3 percent in February, to 3,786 units. Before the Great Recession hit a decade ago, the Memphis area had nearly 14,000 homes for sale.

Still, the 2019 year-to-date sales volume has risen 2.3 percent, to $419.3 million, compared to 2018, MAAR reported on Thursday.

“All the numbers were up across the board,” MAAR president Lee McWaters said in a prepared statement. “That’s really encouraging given that the spring selling season hasn’t even started yet.”                                                               

-Tom Bailey

Nine Memphis women to be honored at Women of Achievement awards

Nine Memphis and Shelby County women will be honored for changemaking leadership at the 35th annual Women of Achievement awards on March 24 at 3:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis.

The ceremony will be hosted by WMC News anchor Kontji Anthony, and will have a 3 p.m. reception. In addition to the ceremony, a new Memphis Women’s History Trail will be unveiled featuring a printed guide, online historic content and a mobile app organized by Women of Achievement historians, according to a release.

The Women of Achievement honorees for 2019 are:

  • Courage, Mildred Richard-Edwards, HIV/AIDS advocate
  • Determination, Rachel Coats Greer, Binghamton community advocate, and Mary E. Mitchell, Orange Mound community advocate
  • Heroism, Gabriela Salinas, cancer survivor, scientist, legislative candidate
  • Heritage, Estelle Axton, co-founder STAX recording studio, and Cornelia Crenshaw, civil rights activist
  • Initiative, Maxine Starling Strawder, dancer, Project: Motion
  • Steadfastness, Dr. Jane Hooker, women’s sports advocate
  • Vision, Dr. Carol Danehower, domestic violence researcher and educator

Nominations for the awards come from across the community, and since the first celebration in 1985, 248 individual women plus the Yellow Fever martyrs and local suffragists have been honored.

Admission to the awards ceremony is $35, and should be paid in advance through Eventbrite, or by checks mailed to 2574 Sam Cooper Blvd., Memphis 38112. Names of persons who will attend must be included.

A $60 donation can also be made that includes the awards event, membership for Women of Achievement for 2020, and inclusion in selection of 2020 honorees and other Women of Achievement gatherings.

-Natalie Martin

Walmart doles out bonuses to associates

Walmart says Tennessee employees received more than $6.4 million in bonuses for fourth-quarter performance and more than $21.6 million in bonuses for the full year.

The discount retailer said Thursday that more than 912,000 U.S. associates would share in nearly $207 million in cash bonuses, after the company posted 4.2 percent growth in quarterly comparable sales.

Walmart said U.S. associates received nearly $800 million in store performance-based bonuses for the full year.

“Success for Walmart starts at the associate level,” said Sean Riley, regional manager for Walmart in Tennessee. “When Walmart is performing well, it is in large part, due to the valuable work our associates do. We are immensely proud of our Tennessee associates, who make every day easier for busy families, and we are pleased to reward their generous contributions to making Walmart a place that customers trust.”

Quarterly bonuses are part of an incentive plan that rewards associates whose stores achieve sales and customer service goals. Both full- and part-time associates are eligible.

-Wayne Risher


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