BlueCross Rates Approved for the Health Insurance Marketplace

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced today its Health Insurance Marketplace rates received final approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, offering the lowest rates available in most plan levels across the state.

As a Qualified Health Plan issuer in the Health Insurance Marketplace, BlueCross will offer:

• A total of 54 plans
• The lowest rates for most plan options
• Plans in all 95 counties, not just select areas
• Zero-deductible plans

“We are focused on helping individuals access affordable, quality health insurance coverage through the Marketplace,” said Henry Smith, chief marketing officer for BlueCross. “We’ve positioned our rates to be very competitive, and we feel that, between our affordable pricing and high-value physician networks that we are the best choice for Tennesseans looking for insurance.”

For example, a 35-year-old person with a 34-year-old spouse and two children living in the Nashville area, making 250 percent of the poverty level, or about $58,875 annually, would pay $373 a month for coverage with a Silver plan on Network E. Rates vary by network, coverage selections and region. (See attachment for regional rates.)

BlueCross’ new website – BCBST.com/KnowNow – will serve as a resource to those who are shopping for insurance for the first time or have questions about new benefits and options for individual coverage. It will help guide shoppers through applying for financial assistance and selecting the right benefits for themselves and their families.

“We’re the only health plan to offer product choices statewide,” Smith said. “This is part of fulfilling our mission to serve Tennesseans with affordable coverage. We realize this is a complex process and people have a lot questions. This is just one of the ways we’re working to educate these potential customers about their options.”

Other statewide outreach and educational efforts for Marketplace plans will include:

• Multichannel advertising campaign
• Community advocate outreach
• Speaking engagements
• College displays/outreach

TDOT Awards Contract to Improve I-40/I-240 Interchange / Work to Begin in Fall 2013 and to be Completed in Summer 2017

TDOT Awards Contract to Improve I-40/I-240 Interchange / Work to Begin in Fall 2013 and to be Completed in Summer 2017

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) awarded a construction contract to Dement Construction Company, LLC to complete infrastructure improvements on the I-40/I-240 interchange in Memphis from Sycamore View to the east, White Station to the west, Walnut Grove to the south and Covington Pike to the north. The contract was awarded on Friday, September 20, 2013.

TDOTbillboard

Dement Construction, headquartered in Jackson, TN., submitted the lowest bid of $109,341,000 for bridge work and heavy construction. “This award is the largest single contract TDOT has ever bid,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “This is a large and complicated project, but it will provide great benefits to Memphis and the entire region. We look forward to getting the work underway and completed on time and on budget.” The project is scheduled to begin this fall and will be complete by the summer of 2017.

Continued growth on the east side of Memphis has created congestion at the I-40/I-240 interchange. The construction of new ramps and the widening of I-240 will improve traffic flow not only on I-240 and I-40, but also on local roads that feed into the interstate system. The project includes a four-level interchange, the first of its kind in West Tennessee. Once completed, the fourth level structure will rise more than 70 feet above Sam Cooper Boulevard, which will be completely rebuilt with an additional lane in each direction.

For more information on TDOT construction project activity visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway/. Travelers can also dial 511 from any landline or cellular phone for travel information or can follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel information or www.twitter.com/Memphis511 for traffic information in the Memphis area.

Android and iPhone users can download TDOT’s SmartWay Mobile App to assist them in navigating Tennessee highways. The app provides up-to-the-minute customized traffic information and enables the user to access TDOT’s SmartWay cameras, messages displayed on overhead Dynamic Message Signs, and information on construction related lane closures and incidents on interstates and state routes. The TDOT SmartWay App is free and available for download in the Apple App Store and Play Store for Android.

As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.

Mid-South Fair Crowns 2013 Queen, Announces Main Stage Performers

As opening day to the Mid-South Fair approaches, the excitement continues to build with events leading up to the 157th annual Fair. The Mid-South Fair hosted the Miss Mid-South Fair Pageant and Youth Personality Contest on Saturday, September 14.

Thea Wilkens-Reed, 16, was crowned Miss Mid-South Fair 2013, at Saturday’s pageant. Wilkens-Reed is a 10th grade homeschooled student whose hobbies include tap dance and theatre.
Wilkens-Reed shared her enthusiasm about winning this year’s title, “It’s an honor to be crowned Miss-Mid South Fair and be a part of a longstanding tradition in the Mid-South community.”
The Mid-South Fair also crowned Allison Marcom, 16, Miss Youth Personality 2013. Marcom is a junior at Houston High School and founder of the “I AM BEAUTIFUL pageant,” a pageant fundraiser for children with special needs.

In addition to crowning this year’s Miss Mid-South Fair winners, officials have released the Main Stage lineup which includes various Mid-South performers and nationally acclaimed musicians.
This year’s main stage performers include Two Mule Plow, Blind Mississippi Morris, Overton Rock Band, Nick Boddington, Micaelyn Oby, New Era, Shekinah, Zealous, Flight 2, Jack Rowell Jr. & Triplethret, Memphis Allstars, Navy Band Mid-South, Erek Stone & The Fabulous Steeler Band, New Era Funk, North Mississippi Allstars Los Cantodores & Friends, Tierra Mestizi Dance Company, Maggie Thorn, The Original Riverbluff Clan, Papa Don McMinn & B3GB and Kris Thomas.

All shows on the main stage are free with general admission to the Fair.
For the complete main stage lineup and schedule of appearances, visit the Mid-South Fair website at www.midsouthfair.com or call 901-274-8800.

About the Mid-South Fair
The original and still the best, the Mid-South Fair has entertained families since 1856. As a non-profit organization, we exist to create a cultural and entertainment experience that exposes people in our community to items and events they might not otherwise encounter. The Fair is governed by a board of directors, operated by a full-time staff and funded by sponsorships and donations. Since 2001, the Fair has given out $64,000 in educational scholarships for excellence in Youth Talent, Creative Arts, and Agriculture. For more information about the Mid-South Fair visit our website at www.midsouthfair.com

Memphis Based Investment Firm Prepares for 5th Year in Business

Preserver Partners Anticipates and Plan for Substantial Growth

Preserver Partners, LLC opened its doors in July 2009 in Memphis, Tennessee. Floyd Tyler, Ph.D., the company’s founder and current President and Chief Investment Officer, had a vision of a firm with experienced fund management and entrepreneurial professionals that would help investors grow their capital with relatively low risk, and it’s exactly what he has built today.

The firm is 100% employee-owned with principals with over 50 years of combined experience in fund management, research, accounting, and compliance. “Our investment approach is different and effective,” said Tyler. “We focus on low risk, diversifying investments primarily in equities, opportunistic credit, alternative income, and real estate debt and equity strategies.”

Many businesses close before their 5th year, but Preserver Partners has experienced growth and anticipates significant expansion over the next few years. “We feel good about our footprint in Memphis and are looking forward to developing opportunities across Tennessee and other markets,” said Dana Pointer, Controller and Chief Compliance Officer.
Preserver Partners has consistently ranked in the Top 10 of the Diversified Category for Fund of Funds by BarclayHedge. It is the first and only African-American-owned alternative asset management firm in Tennessee.

About Preserver Partners
Preserver Partners, LLC is based in Memphis, Tennessee and is an alternative asset management firm that manages private funds for accredited investors including public and corporate pension funds, foundations, corporations, and individual investors.
###

NINE NEW SCHOOLS ELIGIBLE TO JOIN ACHIEVEMENT SCHOOL DISTRICT IN 2014

Today the Achievement School District (ASD) announced a list of nine new Memphis area schools eligible to join the ASD next school year, asking parents, teachers and community members to participate in a “school matching” process that will last from now until December. Eight of the nine schools announced will join the ASD next school year. All of the elementary and middle schools on the list will join the ASD, and two out of three of the high schools will be selected.

The eight schools will be run by local and national charters that were authorized by the ASD in June after a rigorous application process. “We are excited to announce this next round of ASD schools” said Chris Barbic, ASD superintendent. “In June we authorized a world-class group of charters to run Priority schools in 2014, and now we’re going to take our time over the next few months to hear from the community and get feedback on which charters make the best match for each of these schools.”

Schools joining the ASD next year
Elementary:
• Coleman, Denver, Springhill, Westwood
Middle:
• South Side, Wooddale
High (NOTE: Only two of these three high schools will join the ASD):
• Carver, Fairley, Frayser

Why these schools were chosen
The ASD’s mission is to move the bottom 5% of schools in Tennessee—called Priority Schools— to the top 25% in five years. The ASD selects schools for the matching process based on several criteria. These include performance (the lowest achieving Priority Schools), feeder pattern (high concentrations of Priority Schools in areas where elementary, middle and high schools are clustered together), enrollment, and charter operator models and preference.

What Happens Next: Community Engagement
The ASD is asking parents, teachers, and community members to participate in a school matching process between now and December, when the Priority schools selected will be matched with charters next year. The engagement process—led by a volunteer 25-member Achievement Advisory Council (“AAC”)—will connect the charters with school communities through a series of meetings,
surveys, and visits. The AAC encourages parents, teachers and community members to contact them at aacmemphis@gmail.com.

First up is a series of community meetings next week. Parents and community members are invited to attend meetings from 5:30-7:00 at these locations next Monday and Tuesday:

Monday Tuesday
Coleman Elementary
(Springhill ES/Coleman ES)

South Side Middle

Carver High
Denver Elementary
(Denver ES/Frayser HS)

Wooddale Middle

Westwood Elementary
(Westwood ES/Fairley HS)

The ASD

The Achievement School District—a state-created school district formed as part of Tennessee’s winning Race to the Top application—is dedicated to moving the bottom 5% of schools in the state (Priority Schools) to the top 25% in five years. The ASD is both an operator of schools—running six schools in Frayser in 2013-2014—and an authorizer of high quality charter schools. There are currently 16 schools in the ASD—15 in Memphis and 1 in Nashville serving over 4,500 students in grades Pre-K through 9th.

###