Barbour Proclaims Friday Miss. Economic Development Day

Neighboring Governor Haley Barbour has proclaimed March 25 Economic Development Day in the state of Mississippi.

The proclamation honors the 75th anniversary of the Mississippi Development Authority, an economic and community development agency founded in 1936 as the Mississippi Industrial Commission.

“For 75 years, MDA has led the state’s efforts to bring business and industry to Mississippi while, at the same time, supporting the state’s existing businesses in expanding, retaining jobs and achieving long-term success,” Barbour said in a statement. “The agency also attracts visitors to the state through its tourism programs and helps communities in every corner of the state improve their quality of place and become more competitive.”

MDA’s 300-strong staff is engaged in providing services to businesses, communities and workers across the state. The agency is best known for its efforts to recruit new businesses to Mississippi, as it did late last spring when it lured Fortune 500 health care company McKesson Corp.’s distribution facility from Memphis to nearby Olive Branch, where the company built a $115 million facility that is expected to provide about 300 jobs over the next three years.

MDA at the time announced that it would provide $4 million from the Industry Incentive Financing Revolving Fund. In addition, the city of Olive Branch and DeSoto County made more than $500,000 in infrastructure improvements at the site for the facility.

After MDA and DeSoto County courted McKesson, Shelby County changed the way it determined eligibility for its payment-in-leiu-of-taxes (PILOT) program to reward companies for staying in Memphis.

More on the iPad

In Wednesday’s edition of The Daily News, I wrote the first in what will be a series that other reporters will now be adding to about how the iPad is bringing a whirlwind of change to a variety of Memphis businesses.

But businesspeople, of course, don’t just use it for work.

I couldn’t use this in the story, but I think this ranks as one of the neatest uses of an iPad I’ve heard about thus far. John Moore, the president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, plays guitar for fun in his free time.

He showed me an app he’s downloaded that actually turns his iPad into a mini amplifier. The entire screen turns into what appears to be an amplifier, complete with buttons to press and knobs to turn – all, of course, with the flick of a finger.

He plugs his guitar right into his iPad-amplifier and goes to town.

“This is like having a complete array of fuzz boxes,” he said. “People pay thousands of dollars for equipment that does what these do. And I’ve got 10 different distortion boxes, a tuner and different amps.”

UTHSC Students Raise $5000 in Five Hours for Japan

At its last university-organized fundraising event for Japanese relief efforts on March 16, UT Health Science Center raised more than $5,000 in just five hours.

Japanese faculty, students and staff are represented at UTHSC, including Dr. Isao Miyairi, MD, assistant professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry. He was on hand during the event to discuss his family’s account of the disaster. Although his family is safe, Miyari said they continue to be threatened daily by quakes and a potential nuclear meltdown, and are still dealing with a lack of power and public transportation.

All donations from that event were delivered on the same day to the Mid-South Chapter of the Red Cross at 1400 Central Avenue.

At the request of students, another on-campus drive is scheduled for tomorrow, March 23, the center’s communications department said.

Wharton and The Press

After about 18 months in office, there are indications Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is settling into some of the routines of the job including those that might rub him the wrong way.

That includes the one where reporters catch up to Wharton at one of his many stops during the work day and ask him about anything and everything but the occasion he is there for.

To be fair, he is not the only elected leader this happens to. It is considered one of the rules of the road and political leaders rarely complain about it.

Wharton didn’t complain either during an announcement last week at the Foote Homes public housing development.

You will read more about the announcement itself in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily News which goes online at www.memphisdailynews.com at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Before he got to the announcement, Wharton noted the group of reporters standing in back of the group of about a dozen people under a pavilion.

“I know there are a bunch of reporters out there pretending they want to ask me a bunch of questions about this announcement today,” Wharton said. “But they’ve got something else on their mind. So I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way so we can get to what they want to talk about which has nothing to do with this. Thank y’all reporters for coming. As you say in your business, you’re faking it until you make it.”

City Housing and Community Development director Robert Lipscomb brought formalities to an end after several more speakers.

“I think the mayor is unusually candid today,” Lipscomb said. “And so we’d better just move it along.”

After the speeches, reporters did indeed huddle around Wharton and began with questions about the event itself before moving to questions about the two school systems.

Singing the Blues

Filmmaker Lee Gordon is using social media to support a “social action” documentary.

The film he’s putting together, “This is why we Still Sing the Blues,” is about blues musicians – many of whom have died penniless – and the record companies that have made millions selling their recordings.

To get the project finished, the filmmaking team has set up a KickStarter account that asks for donations. Profits will be used to support blues musicians – who will be offered part ownership in the film.

To read more, go here.

Here’s the trailer:

Dansette

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