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MAAR President Celebrates 50th Birthday with Gifts to RPAC

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors president Carol Lott celebrated her 50th birthday a little early Friday, Aug. 24, by unwrapping checks for RPAC to the tune of $2,700.

RPAC, a nonpartisan PAC with 1.1 million members, is the largest PAC in the country. The MAAR chapter of the Realtors Political Action Committee hopes to raise $105,000 by the end of September. Money is used to lobby for home ownership in Washington.

About 50 people attended the celebration, during which Lott asked for donations to RPAC in lieu of birthday gifts. Lott’s pancake and waffle breakfast party brought the group’s total to slightly more than $80,000.

MAAR’s RPAC is having another fundraiser Monday, Aug. 27, for the Commercial Council at Acre Restaurant. After that, Lott said, “we’ll do a lot of telephoning between now and the end of September, because I’ve got until Sept. 30 to turn all of the money in.”

But Lott’s party wasn’t all business. For her 50th, she also picked up a tiara, a Starbucks card and a “50 happens” towel. Lott turns the big 5-0 Sept. 11.

Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum Hosts Economic Development Forum

The Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum is hosting the fifth annual Economic Development Forum Monday, Aug. 27 through Wednesday, Aug. 29 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The Mid-South’s largest economic development conference convenes more than 5,000 strategic corporate, community and minority stakeholders to discuss the value of minority economic development.

The three-day forum will feature power speakers, informative seminars and networking opportunities with more than 100 exhibitors representing major corporations, community partners and minority and women-owned businesses, as well as dining and entertainment events.

For a full schedule of events, click here.

PARK(ing) Day

For the second year in a row, Memphis is taking part in PARK(ing) Day next month, joining cities around the world where metered parking spaces will be temporarily turned into public parks and social spaces.

The event was invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio. The local celebration will happen Downtown on Peabody Place between Front and Second Streets from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21.

Teams at the inaugural event Memphis event last year created 19 installations that ranged from an outdoor library to a roller derby rink. The deadline for park proposals is August 31, and guidelines can be found at www.downtownmemphis.com.

PARK(ing) Day Memphis 2012 is co-produced by the Downtown Memphis Commission and Cat Peña, in partnership with the City of Memphis, Memphis Regional Design Center, ArtsMemphis, UrbanArt Commission, and Crosstown Arts.

Graduate Memphis

A dedication was held Thursday morning at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library for the Graduate Memphis Resource Center, part of an effort by Leadership Memphis and the Memphis Talent Dividend: College Attainment Initiative.

The resource center, all services of which are free, is devoted to post-secondary education attainment among Memphis-area adults. Onsite counselors will offer guidance on the re-application process, from financial aid assistance to admission forms and deadlines, and an interactive website offers prospective students off-site assistance options.

The center was funded over a three-year period by a $1.7 million grant from the Plough Foundation and will be housed inside the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library.

The mission of Graduate Memphis is to increase the number of adults with quality post-secondary credentials in the Memphis metro area. Since July, Graduate Memphis has reached more than 350 potential students, with 19 participants currently enrolled in a local college.

The Memphis Talent Dividend College Attainment Initiative, led by Leadership Memphis, consists of more than 100 individuals, companies, church/synagogue groups, institutions of higher learning and neighborhood associations working to increase the number of college graduates.

For more information, visit www.graduatememphis.org.

An Insider’s Look at James Lee House

Days before the Memphis City Council unanimously approved the transfer of the James Lee House to developer Jose Velazquez for his planned bed and breakfast, a group of 30 or so people gathered at 690 Adams St. for a public meeting.

It seemed somewhat ironic that nearly all attendees were sporting rosy cheeks and fanning themselves down from the stagnant heat and lack of circulation while Scott Blake and others from Victorian Village Inc. briefly recapped the history of the 171-year-old mansion.

That’s because in its glory days, the 8,100-square-foot house was one of the first to have central air conditioning in the city. But for a house that’s been vacant for more than 50 years and isn’t normally accessible, somehow I don’t think the crowd minded sweating it out a little as they got the rare chance to tour the iconic space.

“This is a real treat for people because we keep this place locked up tight, trying to keep an eye on it,” Blake said. “I’d like to show you the worst parts because they are the parts that will grab you the most by the heartstrings. But I can’t take you to the very far back of this house because it’s unsafe the farther back you go. The floors, you could fall through.”

Adding to nostalgic yet eery vibe, on the subject of ghosts, Blake said with a smile, “I’ve seen things out of the corner of my eye, but don’t trust me. It could have been a cat.”

Here are some pictures I snapped while on the tour:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Velazquez said his team will be “searching far and wide” for craftsmen who can replicate the building’s original charm, such as its molding.

“Surprisingly, there are people close by that have kept these gifts alive,” he said. “One of the many things that we will benefitting from the hard work of those volunteers next door at Association for the Preservation for Tennessee Antiquities is that every time something fell down, they very meticulously took care of it and saved it.

We actually have found some original molds to be able to create some of this stuff back. We’ve been very, very lucky to have that preserved and not lost somewhere else.”

Dansette

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