Nine Retailers Closing the Most Stores

Reprinted from 24/7 Wall Streetradio shack

Brick-and-mortar retailers have been suffering from slow economic activity for years, as well as from increased competition from online retailers. The rise in store closings is a prominent sign of their struggles. Weakened companies cannot afford the real estate and personnel costs that go along with supporting hundreds of unprofitable locations. The clearest proof of the problem was Radio Shack’s recent decision to close more than 1,000 stores.

Closed schools could add to Memphis’ blight

(Reprinted from

closed schoolsNeighbors say the old Melrose High School building in Orange Mound proves to be the worst that can happen to a school after it closes.

“The police patrol it the best they can, but you can only do so much … be better to have it gone,” said neighbor Semmie Askew.

Other closed schools have been demolished. A couple of signs stand as the only remains of Graceland Elementary in Whitehaven.

The uncertain future of school buildings is a major reason one board member voted against closing schools.

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Seeking Safety: Crime and blight still remain

(Reprinted from

New apartments near downtown Fayetteville are evidence of the city’s most significant effort to turn LOC Blightaround a troubled neighborhood. Five years ago, apartment complexes began to rise where once stood two of the most rundown and crime-infested public housing projects in the city – Campbell Terrace and Delona Gardens.

The last apartments will be finished by June, marking the end of a $120 million project funded largely through federal Hope VI grants for distressed public housing.

But just beyond those new town homes and apartments – in what has long been considered Fayetteville’s poorest neighborhood – crime and blight stubbornly remain.

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Emmanuel Pratt’s mission to turn blight into farms and to grow entrepreneurs

(Reprinted from Chicago Tribune Blue Sky Innovation)

chi-emanuel-pratt-hydroponics-bsi-gallery-2014-007As you turn south off 95th Street at Cottage Grove, you might miss the farm on your left. Most farms, after all, don’t look like abandoned shoe factories.

That will change if Emmanuel Pratt has anything to say about it. He envisions a network of urban farms across Chicago, feeding both people and new businesses in blighted food deserts.

He says his facility, run by the Sweetwater Foundation in conjunction with Chicago State University, is an incubator for all the elements that need to grow to make this happen. Chicago State calls it the Aquaponics Facility for its emphasis on the food-processing system that combines aquaculture (raising aquatic organisms) and hydroponics (growing plants in water).

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