The word came Thursday afternoon that Sid Selvidge has died.
Summing up what he meant to Memphis music is very difficult because his contribution covers so much ground as musician, as an influence, as a counselor on the intersection of music and the lifestyle of making music. And then there was the example of continuing to pursue with dignity and determination something that all too many people believe is neither art nor a pursuit for anyone but the young on their way to some other goal.
Realizing the limitations of trying to encompass all that Selvidge meant to a city with an abundant and ongoing musical firmament, I’ll go for this:
He was an artist with his music in the manner and determination of a painter or a sculptor. And that will be his enduring impact – a body of work that even now is being evaluated and posted on Facebook and YouTube.
Some of the bravest people I know are musicians who take their songs, their voices and perhaps a guitar or a piano onto stages, big and small, temporary and permanent, and connect with audiences night after night.
That is what Sid Selvidge did for a long time in our city and continued doing almost up to his death. He was our troubadour and our portal to the essence of a music that met official resistance and world-wide acceptance and questioned whether either was the point.
Some of us watched much of the journey from the pre-Beatles coffee house days of folk music at places like the Bitter Lemon on Poplar Avenue to the Beale Street Caravan-Levitt Shell residencies.
Others came across him intermittently over the years, a reference point in a city that to those of us who live here doesn’t seem to change fast enough but which has changed tremendously to those who no longer live here.
Still more encountered the old records turned CDs turned digital files in which his voice and his art at first surpassed the technology and then the technology managed to begin to capture what those who saw him live encountered.
The encounter will continue although the body of work is now complete.
While so many Memphians were up late Tuesday watching the Grizzlies beat the Clippers, a much smaller group of citizens were up late for a different reason – Tuesday’s school board meeting.
The meeting featured some important moments in the move to consolidation in what was also one of the busiest days recently in the schools reformation. There was the board meeting and a hearing that morning in the consolidation case before Memphis Federal Court Judge Hardy Mays and then some comments by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell at the Memphis Rotary Club on the subject as well.
You can read all about all of that in the links.
The Grizzlies got started at about 9:30 p.m. and finished at around 12:30 p.m. for a game of three hours.
The board got started at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and finished at 11 p.m. clocking in at about five and a half hours.
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Agape Child & Family Services is hosting its 15th Annual HeartLight event June 15 at FedExForum, and it will feature Tim Tebow.
The event is focused on raising awareness and support for homelessness, orphan care and under-resourced communities in the Mid-South. Tickets are on sale now at agapemeanslove.org/heartlight-2013.
“The goal of this event is to raise awareness of, and support for, homelessness, orphan care and at-risk communities in Memphis,” said Brian Hoover, Director of Development for Agape. “Tim Tebow is a dedicated follower of Jesus and a significant role model to youth and adults alike. His life and his philanthropic interests directly connect with our mission. We are not concerned about the recent news around his career…we are very excited about having Tim in Memphis and telling his story on a grand stage like FedExForum. Tim has endured incredible scrutiny since leaving college but his character and consistency have remained the same. Tim’s story is not about football, it’s about how God is working in his life despite the circumstances. It’s a story that all of us in this city need to hear. We are excited to have him in Memphis soon.”
As anyone who owns property in Shelby County knows, 2013 is a reappraisal year.
During reappraisal years, the Shelby County Assessor of Property updates property values throughout the county. For years, it’s been the norm that property owners will automatically file an appeal, forcing the assessor’s staff to defend the new values, because the property owner has nothing to lose. If they win a reduced property value, it cuts their tax bill.
A letter sent out from the Glanker Brown law firm last week gives some insight into this. Tax representatives are naturally eager to represent clients in appealing their values to the assessor, but the Glankler Brown letter was even addressed by name to some potential clients who don’t actually own property.
“You may have already received your notice of reappraisal from the Assessor’s Office,” the letter reads. “Many people throughout the county have indicated dismay at the values reflected on these notices given the overall status of the real estate market in the past several years.”
The letter does not note that the assessor has publicly stated on several occasions that the economic slump of recent years will be reflected in the county’s aggregate tax base as a result of this reappraisal – in short, that the county’s tax base will shrink somewhat because of lower values.
The letter goes on:
“We have considerable experience in handling all steps of the appeal process and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to review your recent Notice of Reappraisal to determine whether there is anything that we can do to assist you in obtaining a lower appraised value and assessment than recently placed on your property.”
A study produced by the Society of Actuaries predicted medical claim costs could jump 32 percent nationally by 2017 for individual policies under the Affordable Care Act. The research study was widely written about in the press, including The Daily News.
Kaiser Health News and Politico Pro are now reporting the study failed to note the close ties between the actuaries making the forecasts and the insurance industry.
“Undisclosed in the SOA report was the fact that about half the people who oversaw it work for the health insurance industry that is warning about rate shock. The chairman of society committee supervising the project was Kenny Kan, chief actuary at Maryland-based CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield,” Kaiser Health News and Politico Pro reported.
Optum, the sister company of UnitedHealthcare, performed the research for the study. UnitedHealthcare is the nation’s largest private health insurer, the news organizations jointly reported.
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act pointed out that the actuary society’s study failed to factor in the potential for competition to lower prices and the subsidies people will receive to purchase coverage.