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Editorial Results (free)

1. City Council Weighing Budget Amendments -

The Memphis City Council budget committee plan to wrap up its work Tuesday, May 31, on the city operating and capital budget proposals for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The committee meets Tuesday, May 31, at 3 p.m. and will hear from nonprofit agencies seeking city grants. Council members also will propose amendments to the budget proposals from Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration.

2. City Council to Wrap Up 2016-2017 Budget Sessions -

The Memphis City Council’s budget committee meets Tuesday, May 24, for wrap-up sessions on the operating and capital budget proposals from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

3. Crime Stats Chronicle Recent Spike in Violent Crime -

Myneishia Johnson’s funeral was the day before she was supposed to graduate from high school.

The teenager’s death at the corner of Second Street and Peabody Place on May 22 came on one of the first busy Downtown weekends of the spring not connected to a Memphis in May International Festival event.

4. City Council to Wrap Up Budget Sessions -

The Memphis City Council’s budget committee meets Tuesday, May 24, for wrap-up sessions on the operating and capital budget proposals from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

5. Memphis Police Partner With NextDoor Network -

Memphis Police and the city of Memphis are partnering with NextDoor, the social media network, to better communicate with residents.

Mayor Jim Strickland and interim Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings announced the partnership Thursday, May 19, at City Hall.

6. Memphis Police Partner With NextDoor Network -

Memphis Police and the city of Memphis are partnering with NextDoor, the social media network, to better communicate with residents.

Mayor Jim Strickland and interim Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings announced the partnership Thursday, May 19, at City Hall.

7. Last Word: Mud Island Money, Elvis Mystery and Beyond Barbecue -

It looks like the dry rub will be in order for Memphis in May's barbecue weekend with a shower or two keeping the dust down in Tom Lee Park Wednesday.

If you can see it through the smoke, Mud Island might strike a first-tme observer as a marked contrast to all of the activity in Tom Lee Park that goes right up to the bluff's edge.

8. RVC Outdoors Seeks Strickland’s Commitment -

Andy Cates, CEO of Memphis-based RVC Outdoor Destinations, said his redevelopment plan for Mud Island won’t require significant public dollars, but he’s looking for a commitment from the city to move forward.

9. Haves, Have-Nots Get Varied Tax Relief -

Amid the rancor of bathroom and counseling bills, two major pieces of legislation slipped through the General Assembly this session with hardly a peep – elimination of the Hall tax and a partial revitalization of property tax relief for seniors and disabled veterans.

10. Last Word: Behind Grit N Grind, Brooks at 100 and Massacre -

This is a 12-month-a-year basketball town. There’s the season, possibly a post season, which by NBA standards is a second season. (Yep, they are still playing.) And then there is the rest of the year when whatever has been about to boil over behind the façade of sports clichés finally begins to spill out into the open.

11. Raleigh Mall Demolition Signals Change After Delays -

The crowd of several hundred people on the south end of the Raleigh Springs Mall Saturday, May 7, was larger than the crowd inside the mall to shop.

They came to watch the beginning of the end.

12. Demolition Begins On Raleigh Springs Mall Property -

With the business end of a Volvo crawler excavator, Memphis City Council member Bill Morrison kicked off the start of demolition Saturday, May 7, at the Raleigh Springs Mall.

13. Trustee’s Conference Meets in Memphis -

County trustees from across Tennessee will meet in Memphis for their annual conference on Tuesday through Thursday, May 10-12, at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown.

The trustees meet to exchanges ideas and practices, talk with state leaders, and take continuing education courses.

14. Last Word: Mall Demo, Defining 'Fringe Element' and Herenton's New Path -

Once upon a time there were three “town centers” planned by the city of Memphis.

City facilities like libraries and police precincts would be the anchors and encourage private retail development in them.

15. Norris Recounts Path to Majority Status, Dunavant Award -

Good government isn’t a bowl of cherries. There will be controversy even with the best of intentions and with everything done by the numbers. And that applies to those who win awards like state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville.

16. Norris, Geater Named Dunavant Award Recipients -

Tennessee State Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville and Lisa Geater, chief of staff to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, are the recipients of the annual Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards to be presented in May by the Rotary Club of Memphis East.

17. Commission Debates Full Bill for Police Body Cameras -

Most Shelby County commissioners expressing an opinion say they favor body cameras for Memphis Police.

But the opinions begin to differ significantly when comes to who pays for the back-office system to handle the recordings and how much the whole bill will be.

18. CBHS Gets $1 Million Gift, Names Business Program -

Christian Brothers High School has announced its business program will be called the Bill and Carol Marr Department of Business and Economics. The program is named in honor of the $1 million gift from alumnus Bill Marr, CBHS Class of 1964.

19. Bridging a Divide -

The Mid-South is united by more than the Mississippi River, but that’s what it took to get the region’s mayors in the same room.

In the aftermath of the 2011 Mississippi River flood, damage stretched from Millington’s naval base to Memphis’ Beale Street. Leaders of the affected municipalities had to come together to apply for FEMA grants and plot their way out of devastation.

20. CBHS Receives $1 Million Gift, Names New Business Program -

Christian Brothers High School has announced its business program will be called the Bill and Carol Marr Department of Business and Economics. The program is named in honor of the $1 million gift from alumnus Bill Marr, CBHS Class of 1964.

21. Last Word: Budget Basics, A Peak At Greensward Mediation and Elvis & Nixon -

Spurs 94 – Grizzlies 68 in game 2 of the NBA playoffs. The TNT post-game show just showed the highlights of the game while Shaq and Charles Barkley talked about how big the women are in San Antonio. I’m not making this up. They didn’t even try to talk about the game. This is just grim.

22. Last Word: When To Heal, Budget Day at City Hall and Cheese Steak Pondering -

After Sunday’s thrashing of the Grizzlies by the Spurs in their 2016 NBA playoff debut, there is a school of thought among Grizz watchers that the sooner this is over the better.
But there are others who would have a more content off season if the Grizz could win just one game in the series as they go down and then proceed back to the cave for some summer healing.
Either way, Game 2 is Tuesday in San Antonio and then FedExForum Friday for Game 3.

23. Last Word: Tubby Time, Haslam's Veto and Africa in April's 30th Year -

It was just four weeks ago that all of this talk about change at the top of the Tiger basketball chart was put to rest. Coach Josh Pastner’s performance was reviewed by the University of Memphis administration and he was staying at least for another season. Four weeks to the day of that announcement, Pastner is the new coach at Georgia Tech and we are in the first day of the Tubby Smith era at the U of M.

24. Parkinson: OK to ‘Go A Little Bit Extreme’ to Get Job Done -

With U.S. Marine Corps training, Rep. Antonio Parkinson knows how to grab people’s attention.

He did that earlier this year when he sponsored legislation to kill the Achievement School District, Tennessee’s solution for turning around struggling schools.

25. Last Word: Tubby Fever, School Closings and March Real Estate Numbers -

The Tigers basketball grapevine is nothing but Tubby Smith as of Wednesday when the speculation was joined by torrent of rumors about contact between the Texas Tech coach and the University of Memphis.
Smith has now acknowledged he’s talking with the U of M.
More background on Smith from The Sporting News and Mike DeCourcy, a former sports reporter at The Commercial Appeal, that came out before everything went Tubby here.

26. Legislators Playing Expensive Game With LGBT Issues -

The silly season is in full swing on Capitol Hill, but the “bathroom bill” and any jokes surrounding it are no laughing matter anymore. It’s getting downright expensive.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said this week the bill dealing with transgender student use of restrooms could cost the state more than $1.2 billion in federal funds for K-12 and higher education.

27. Last Word: Lipscomb's Successor, MATA School Buses and Roland's Big Breakfast -

Paul Young gets a lot more attention these days than he did when he was the first director of the city-county Office of Sustainability. The attention comes with being the city director of Housing and Community Development where virtually all of the funding comes from the federal government.
That federal funding has changed the face of public housing in the city in the last 25 years. There is only one large public housing project left in the city as a result of the federal funding and its use by Young’s predecessor, Robert Lipscomb.
And what Lipscomb did with the job combined with being the executive director of the Memphis Housing Authority is why a lot of people want to get to know Paul Young these days.
Our centerpiece story by Madeline Faber in Tuesday’s edition makes clear that Young has no desire to wield that kind of power. And it is unlikely anyone in the near future will have the kind of autonomy Lipscomb did.
But beyond that there is still the flow of a lot of federal dollars and Young has some ideas based on his experience in government and finance prior to coming to HCD – everything in government is initials.
It’s a much different experience than Lipscomb’s. Lipscomb coined the phrase “ending public housing as we know it” and at times that slogan wasn’t followed with a lot of detail about what came after public housing was demolished, especially with the first of the projects to fall.
The last public housing project, Foote Homes, will be demolished on Young’s watch which makes his tenure important if more limited than Lipscomb’s tenure.

28. Roland Starts 2018 Bid for County Mayor -

The 2018 Shelby County general elections are more than two years away. The 2016 county elections that decide races for General Sessions Court Clerk, five of the nine seats on the Shelby County Schools board and two judicial positions are still to come in August.

29. Wastewater Leak Stopped, McKellar Cleanup Continues -

The boat ramp on McKellar Lake at theA bypass around a raw sewage leak into Cypress Creek and McKellar Lake was up and running Thursday, April 7, according to the city of Memphis.

The bypass ends a leak in the main wastewater line to the T.E. Maxson Wastewater Treatment Plant that was discovered March 31 and triggered a large fish kill of more than 10,000 in McKellar Lake.

30. City Council Debates Idea of De-Annexation Compromises -

A proposal to form a joint city-county group to explore voluntary de-annexation and the city’s footprint goes to the Memphis City Council for a vote in two weeks.

But there is vocal sentiment on the council against the city giving up any of its turf, including the most recently annexed areas of south Cordova and Southwind-Windyke.

31. Last Word: Policing The Greensward, A Rural Oasis and Gene Chips -

The city of Memphis had 88 police staff and other city employees working an Overton Park detail Saturday and another 33 working Sunday on the same detail, according to the Strickland administration’s accounting on Monday.

32. Conrad Call for De-Annexation Talks Draws Favorable Reviews -

Memphis City Council Chairman Kemp Conrad wants to open talks with county commissioners on possible voluntary de-annexations.

And County Commission Chairman Terry Roland said he is open to the idea.

33. MPD Officer Schilling Gets Disability Retirement -

The city of Memphis pension board granted a line-of-duty disability retirement Thursday, March 31, to Memphis police officer Connor Schilling.

Schilling is the officer who shot and fatally wounded Darrius Stewart in July during a traffic stop in Hickory Hill.

34. Amended Senate De-annexation Bill Faces More Debate -

The de-annexation bill whose defeat became City Hall’s top priority in March is off the political frontburner.

But Memphis Democrats in the Tennessee Legislature who opposed the de-annexation by referendum measure expect that this isn’t the end of the concept or the move to make it law.

35. Memphis Presence Helps Turn Tide on Controversial Legislation -

The Tennessee Legislature’s de-annexation debate is over for now. But the bill’s effect on the Memphis-Capitol Hill relationship has left a larger political imprint than the proposal.

That’s saying a lot considering the proposal dealt with the possibility of territory and citizens rearranging the city’s boundaries to put them and the taxes they pay outside the city limits.

36. Memphis Leaders Pleased With 'Reprieve' on De-Annexation Bill -

The de-annexation by referendum legislation pending in the Tennessee Legislature was sent to a summer study committee Wednesday, March 30, in the state Senate, effectively killing the proposal for the legislative session.

37. Amendments Cloud Issue of De-Annexation -

Tennessee state senators go back to work Tuesday, March 29, in Nashville on a modified de-annexation bill.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee will be reviewing a set of amendments to their version of the bill, which changed substantially from the House version in a committee session last week.

38. Cleaning House -

Every neighborhood in Memphis and Shelby County has the right to be free from the negative effects of vacant, abandoned and blighted properties. That’s the battle cry of the Memphis Blight Elimination Charter, a 23-page pledge that will steer policy and programs dedicated to blight eradication.

39. De-Annexation Bill Still Alive, Now In Two Versions -

At week’s end in Nashville, a bill to allow de-annexation by referendum was still on the tracks to passage. But there were significant differences in the Senate and House versions as the Tennessee Legislature heads for adjournment for the year in early April.

40. Last Word: The De-Annexation Express, Return of The Curb Market and Different Fuel -

When time ran out Wednesday on the state Senate’s state and local government committee in Nashville, de-annexation legislation was still on the tracks as the Tennessee Legislature draws closer to adjournment for the year.

41. De-Annexation Bill Amended But Still on Path to Passage -

A state Senate committee considering amendments to the de-annexation bill pending in the Tennessee Legislature has amended it to allow for de-annexation by referendum anywhere in the state.

The committee got through two of 13 proposed amendments Wednesday, March 23, and will resume work on the amendments next week.

42. Memphis Fights Back: Senate Poised To Do Real Damage via De-Annexation -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland makes a persuasive argument against de-annexation legislation now being considered by the state Legislature, providing a long list of figures to show it would devastate the Bluff City.

43. Expungement Fees Get Legislative Scrutiny -

It’s become a rallying cry in the movement for changes in the local criminal justice system – raising private money to pay the $450 expungement fee to wipe away the criminal records of those convicted of single, non-violent offenses who have stayed out of trouble for five years.

44. Opposers Fight De-Annexation Another Day -

When the state Senate’s State and Local Government Committee convenes at noon Wednesday, March 21, in Nashville, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and his administration will have been working Capital Hill for about a day and a half.

45. De-Annexation Bill Sent Back to Legislative Committee -

The de-annexation bill pending in the Tennessee Legislature was sent back to a Senate committee in Nashville Monday, March 21, after those favoring the bill raised numerous questions about amendments to it.

46. Harris, Towns Hope to Delay Monday De-Annexation Vote -

Memphis Democrats in the Tennessee Legislature are hoping to delay a scheduled Monday, March 21, state Senate floor vote on a deannexation bill that cleared the state House a week ago.

“This train is moving very fast,” Democratic Sen. Lee Harris said Friday, March 18. “The city of Memphis has never made a significant presentation about the city of Memphis’ finances to the relevant committees or to the Senate members,” he added. “Minimally, we need to send this back to committee so that we can have some airing out of what the facts are and what the known consequences are. … Minimally, if you are going to devastate a city, you should know exactly what that means and what you are doing.”

47. County Commission Questions City Figures on Deannexation -

Some Shelby County Commissioners are skeptical about City Hall’s estimate of how much city government would lose in revenue if a deannexation bill in the Tennessee Legislature becomes law.

The commission’s discussion at Wednesday, March 16, committee sessions came as Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was in Nashville to lobby against the bill in the state Senate.

48. Last Word: Putt and 1969, Fred Smith on Amazon and Ramsey's Departure -

George Howard Putt died in prison sometime last year state prison officials disclosed Wednesday -- far from the brief time he spent in Memphis but never far from the carnage he left behind in the Memphis of 1969.
The bodies of the first two of the five people killed by Putt between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11, 1969 were discovered just days after the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles by the Manson family dominated national news coverage. Less than a year earlier the Boston Strangler movie was in theaters, creating a sensation about the murders committed by serial killer Albert DeSalvo in Boston just a few years earlier.
Bernalyn and Roy Dumas were strangled by Putt in their home in Cooper-Young and Putt mutilated her body in a way that police homicide detectives still wouldn’t talk about decades later. The bodies were found in separate rooms.
Even with no details other than the names of the victims, the city was quickly spooked by the double murder. So when the body of Leila Jackson was found short of two weeks later, the city’s reaction was a palpable fear in which anyone unknown was to be avoided. Memphians didn’t tarry after work. They went home and bolted the doors.
It got worse as more victims turned up with little in common other than four of the five were women. They were of varying ages. Some were strangled and some were stabbed.
Just about any magazine rack of the day include true crime magazines that by the late 1960s were beginning to look very dated in their lurid noir-like covers teasing the most sensational crime narratives of the day.
They were an intentional contrast to the cover images of youth in bright colors in natural settings in other magazines heralding a new future and youth culture.
The murders in a Southern city, whose 1969 conservatism is hard to describe nearly 50 years later, quickly grabbed the covers of the true crime magazines. And the images they offered spoke to the scenic reality where Putt roamed even as the murders continued.
Apartment buildings and boarding houses were the settings for some of the murders but not all.
Glenda Sue Harden
was last seen walking to her car parked on the Cobblestones from the insurance office she worked at nearby. Her body was found in Martin Luther King/Riverside Park hidden under a piece of plywood.
At one of the murder scenes, police found an ice pick stuck in the side of the building with a stocking tied around it.
Putt’s last victim, in an apartment building on Bellevue, screamed as she was stabbed repeatedly and others in the building gave chase with police close behind, arresting Putt near the new and unopened section of the interstate that runs west of Bellevue.
Putt tried to force his way into another apartment nearby but the women inside kept him on the other side of the door.
The killer that panicked an entire city was a skinny utterly forgettable guy in his 20s with sideburns and glasses who appeared to have rarely roamed beyond a community of neighborhood bars, boarding houses and old apartment buildings in the Midtown and Medical Center areas.
It turns out he came to Memphis after walking away from a prison farm in Mississippi and into a Memphis that was slowly but surely changing. And the world that Putt encountered would soon vanish in large part.
Overton Square’s incarnation was about a year away. A new bridge was about to be built across the Mississippi River as part of Interstate 40 which was to go through Overton Park just south of the north-south leg of the interstate where Putt was captured.
Originally sentenced to death, Putt’s sentence was commuted when the U.S. Supreme Court banned the death penalty in the early 1970s.
He was serving a 497-year sentence when he died at the Turney Center Wednesday in Only, Tennessee.
Putt never sought parole and never gave any explanation for why he killed five people in less than a month and his apparently random selection of victims.

49. Potential Revenue Loss Stirs Deannexation Options -

As a potentially damaging deannexation bill moves to the state Senate for a possible vote soon, city officials are considering options to combat the expected loss of revenue should the bill pass.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland estimates the state deannexation law could cost City Hall $27.7 million on the low end but as much as $80 million if all Memphis annexations dating back to 1998 were negated by voters in those areas.

50. Council Tallies Damage in 'Day of Bad News' -

Memphis City Council member Berlin Boyd summed up City Hall’s attitude Tuesday, March 15, during the council’s executive session. “Today is the day of bad news,” he said after a briefing from Mayor Jim Strickland on the deannexation bill approved the night before by the Tennessee House.
That was followed by more details on the estimated $60 million it will cost to replace the entire radio system for local first responders from the radios to the towers used to transmit their signals.

51. Sparks Fly In Nashville Over Deannexation -

The Tennessee Legislature’s debate about a proposed deannexation law isn’t a case of Memphis against the rest of the state.

It’s a debate within the Shelby County legislative delegation and with a few exceptions, most of the critics of the measure that would allow referendums to undo annexations that are in some cases 18 years old are Memphis legislators.

52. Last Word: Deannexation, Pastner Past the Season and Chewing Gum and Walking -

The much-discussed deannexation bill in the Tennessee Legislature always had the votes Monday evening in the House with Memphis Democrats succeeding only in delaying the outcome in Nashville by about two hours.
The bill passed by a wide margin after a debate that was for the most part Memphis against the rest of the state starting just outside the city limits with Republicans in the Shelby County legislative delegation.
And there is some dispute between the bill’s sponsor from the Chattanooga area and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. Strickland puts the potential loss of tax revenue to the city at $80 million. Rep. Mike Carter says it is more like $27 million.

53. Tennessee House Approves Deannexation Bill -

The Tennessee House approved a deannexation bill Monday, March 14, in a 68-25 vote after an emotional debate and a tide of amendments that were all voted down on the floor.

Republican state Representative Mike Carter of Hamilton County also disputed Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s claim that the city of Memphis stands to lose approximately $80 million in sales and property tax revenues.

54. Finances Will Be in Focus at City Council -

The list of financial surprises that Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland presented to Memphis City Council members two weeks ago tops council discussions Tuesday, March 15.

55. Last Word: Tiger Drumbeat, Eye on Drones and Shelby County Biggest Home Sale -

Let the coaching drumbeat resume after the Tigers Sunday post-season collapse one game past Tulsa.
A confession here – I am so sports challenged that I thought UConn was a team from Alaska until I saw it spelled out.
In my defense, who associates Huskies with Connecticut?
My point is what happens next isn’t just about basketball. It’s about a change with a good track record of being emotional in the worst way.
It’s linked to how we want to be known for treating people and what they think of us as a result of that.
In those two areas, it’s never just business. It’s always personal.
Josh Pastner’s four predecessors were each very different case studies in this regard.
It could have been any stop in any city with a basketball court and a one-and-done star he could find and recruit to John Calipari. But he still had to hide under a blanket in the back seat of a car on the way to the airport and lie about it long after everyone knew.
Knew about the Kentucky job that is. The mess he left at the university would surface shortly thereafter.
Tic Price was two fast seasons and the proof that the Memphis job isn’t just about what happens on the court and the attendance at games.
Price was clearly excited about coming to Memphis. He clearly understood the importance and heritage of Tigers basketball and valued it. And he wasted no time at all getting lost in the Memphis that is not a part of that all encompassing world.
It was the only job Larry Finch wanted and ultimately the job he couldn’t continue to have. That after ignoring conventional wisdom as a player and coming from Melrose High to Memphis State, bringing a beloved team with him and then picking Memphis again in the ABA over the Lakers in the NBA.
None of that was considered in pushing him out the door and then naming a building after him.
Dana Kirk
wanted to be the hustler John Calipari was. He was certainly impersonal enough about it and he took the team to an era where a post-season NCAA bid was expected and is still expected to this day.
But his impersonality exacted a high cost and he paid most of that cost. Although you could argue the experience for his team that produced some legendary players also made some of them legendary casualties of his emotional distance. It didn’t allow him to go elsewhere because he never figured out that he was being underestimated just as much as the team whose needs he ignored was in the national view of college basketball.
While Calipari dodged big trouble twice, Kirk wasn’t even in Calipari’s league when it came to ducking and timing.
We are past our inferiority complex. That’s what the last NFL drive of the 1990s did for us.
But it’s not necessarily a bad thing that we see the people chosen to occupy these very public positions as a reflection to the world of who we are.

56. Politics of Deannexation Proposal Grows More Complex -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is heading to Nashville Wednesday, March 16, to talk with legislators about what he considers City Hall’s highest priority in the 2016 session of the Tennessee Legislature – defeating a deannexation proposal.

57. Last Word: Mudslide, The Deannexation Storm and Kilzer at Calvary -

Lots of news on a very rainy day including the flooding from the constant rain that closed some schools and cancelled a lot of other events. And then there was a mudslide on Riverside Drive from the bluff overlooking Tom Lee Park and the Mississippi River. The rain has also pushed the Wolf River to the point that it is now over some parts of the greenway in Germantown.

58. Strickland Makes Defeating Deannexation Bill Top Priority -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is downplaying but not ruling out a move toward local government consolidation as a response to a deannexation proposal in the Tennessee legislature.

59. Strickland Downplays Consolidation Response to Deannexation Bill -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is downplaying a move toward local government consolidation as a response to a deannexation proposal pending in the Tennessee legislature.

60. Last Word: Cubits Anyone, The G-Word and The TV News Crime Block -

How long is a cubit? After a day in which many of you got about four to five inches of rain and more to come Thursday, it seems an appropriate and timely question.
And yes, there is a cubit conversion chart on line for converting that and other really old units of measurement no longer in use like the mina, drachma or the synodic month.
So the average cubit, which is supposed to be the length of a forearm, is 18 inches or a foot and a half. That’s 0.4572 of a meter, which might as well be an ancient unit of measurement.
Someone had to say it.
According to biblehub.com – I’m not making up websites – the book of Genesis sets God’s instructions to Noah as an arc with the dimensions of 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits tall. And it was to be made out of gopher wood and covered inside and out with pitch.
The New Living Translation and Holman Christian Standard Bibles convert that to an arc 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

61. St. Louis Cardinals Sell Majority Stake in Memphis Redbirds -

Less than two years ago, the St. Louis Cardinals finalized their purchase of their Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds. Now, the Cardinals, pending full approval from the Pacific Coast League, have announced on Monday, March 7, that they have reached an agreement to sell a majority interest in the Redbirds to Peter B. Freund, the Principal Owner of Trinity Baseball Holdings.

62. Strickland Outlines $136.1M In Capital Expense Surprises -

The city has to put up $30 million over five years to match a $30 million federal grant the city got in 2015 for the South City development, including demolition and redevelopment of the Foote Homes public housing development.

63. Last Word: Hedgepeth Speaks, Josh Pastner's Future and Big Box Liquor -

Where else is there to begin but the Greensward controversy.
And we start with an email from Memphis City Council member Reid Hedgepeth in what is rapidly becoming a Last Word tradition and institution – the email in full.

64. Strickland Outlines $136.1M in Capital Surprises -

The city has to put up $30 million over five years to match a $30 million federal grant the city got in 2015 for the South City development, including demolition and redevelopment of the Foote Homes public housing development.

65. Council Rejects Hotel at Jackson and Front -

Memphis City Council members rejected a hotel with retail Tuesday, March 1, on the northeast corner of Jackson Avenue and Front Street, across from The Pyramid in the Pinch District, that was first proposed last year.

66. Last Word: Presidential Distractions, Dude Perfect and The Kirby Farm House -

When it comes to political surprises, the presidential contenders may be the next group on the ballot locally. But they need to up their game if they are going to hold the attention of Memphis voters.
With three of the Republican contenders on their way to Shelby County this weekend and probably more making plans, the attention Tuesday shifted dramatically to the open 8th District Congressional seat that isn’t on the ballot until the August primaries.

67. Strickland to Sign Police Director Search Contract -

It will cost the city $30,000 to $40,000 for the national search for a Memphis police director.

That is the estimate from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which will be conducting the search for the city.

68. Last Word: Presidents Day In An Election Year, Minority Business and Spring Training -

Presidents Day in a presidential election year.
Consider the political kaleidoscope of a foggy office-bound or home-bound Monday in Memphis with former President George W. Bush on the tube in the late afternoon defending his brother’s presidential campaign without once uttering the word Trump.
No further word of a Trump appearance promised for Memphis and some of Donald Trump’s own statements Monday suggested that by the time Memphis is on his schedule, he might be running as an independent.
Then there is the obsession in one corner of social media with Supreme Court history in rich detail.
And heads were turned Monday evening by the excerpt on the Grammys from the Broadway musical about Alexander Hamilton – a founding father born in the West Indies who established the nation’s financial system and the Federalist party. He never became a president, in part, because the vice president killed him. Hamilton wasn’t the only one who had been talking bad about Aaron Burr. The top of the ticket, President Thomas Jefferson, had decided to dump Burr from the ticket in the next election and Burr was trying to transition to become governor of New York.

69. Strickland to Sign Police Director Search Contract -

It will cost the city $30,000 to $40,000 for the national search for a Memphis police director.

That is the estimate from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which will be conducting the search for the city.

70. Last Word: Clinton in Whitehaven, Changes to Parkside and The Replacements Book -

The Presidential primary caravan has arrived.
Former President Bill Clinton was in Whitehaven Thursday evening to campaign for his wife, former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton.
And it was a reminder of his political potency as well as his popularity in a city that went for Barack Obama over his wife in the 2008 Tennessee Presidential primary but which was solidly behind him in both of his successful bids for the White House in the 1990s.
Clinton spoke in a packed Whitehaven High gymnasium to more than 700 people for almost an hour and then worked the crowd that gathered near the podium for another 25 minutes before sprinting out a door to a waiting car.
We’ll be busy this weekend with the opening of the local Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters and we’re still waiting on that promised Donald Trump Memphis appearance.
And we expect to encounter lots of Republican presidential partisans at the local GOP's annual Lincoln Day Gala on the 20th.

71. Last Word: The First Surrogate, Parkside at Shelby Farms and Manilow Memories -

Here they come, fresh from Iowa and New Hampshire – first the surrogates and in the next two weeks the Presidential contenders themselves.

The nation’s “first surrogate” – former President Bill Clinton is at Whitehaven High School Thursday evening to rally early voters in the heart of a large reliably Democratic middle class community.
And it is that voter base that was integral to Barack Obama carrying Shelby County in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary even as Hillary Clinton carried the state that year.
As mentioned here Tuesday, the local Bernie Sanders campaign opens its Memphis HQ over the weekend.
Hillary Clinton headquarters in Memphis and Nashville are on the way soon with the Nashville HQ opening Thursday as the former President is in Whitehaven and the candidate is preparing for another television debate Thursday in Milwaukee with Sanders.
And early voting opened Downtown Wednesday.
The first day's turnout Wednesday was 177 early and absentee voters. Combined with another 645 absentee votes cast before the early voting period, that makes 822 early or absentee votes.
Another Republican contender on the ballot in Tennessee is out of the race. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped out the day after his dismal finish in New Hampshire. He did not have a slate of delegates on the ballot here.

72. Last Word: EW&F, Midtown Rent Rise and A Closer Look At The Pyramid Deal -

One seemingly ordinary winter’s night in Downtown Memphis, I was going from event to event focused on work – specifically trying to stay on a schedule in which several things I wanted to cover were happening at the same time.
That is usually when you miss the experience that is Memphis on an everyday but definitely not ordinary basis.
So I get in a parking garage elevator and on the next floor David Porter – of Stax Records fame – gets on and he introduces me to his friend, Maurice White – the founder of Earth Wind and Fire. They too are trying to be in several places at the same time.
As they went their way and I went mine, I remember thinking this is quite a special place.
The encounter slowed my stride a bit and took some of the edge off the schedule – noticing for the first time how many people were out on a winter’s night in our city having nothing but a good time made better by all of us going our different ways.
White, who was from Memphis, died Thursday with his band’s music stronger and more relevant than ever.
If you grew up listening to EWF when the songs were new, you know that the bright and funky sound and the positive, affirming, and diverse identity of this music was quite intentional at a time when there was plenty going on that could have pushed it the other way.
If your parents or grandparents grew up listening to EWF, this music is a part of your family’s tradition that calls to mind special occasions and even your own mild surprise the first time you found yourself dancing to it with your children.
And if your folks’ vinyl record collection from back in the day included Earth Wind and Fire, that was one of the ones you listened to when they weren’t around and one of the ones you took with you when you got a place of your own.

73. Rallings Names Police Team -

Interim Memphis Police director Michael Rallings has named deputy chief Mike Ryall as his deputy director and has filled other vacancies in the ranks of deputy chiefs.

Rowena Adams has been named deputy chief over administrative services, while Frank Garrett and Terry Landrum are over uniform patrol. Sharonda Hampton is deputy chief investigative services, Clete Knight is deputy chief special operations, and Jim Harvey is deputy chief information technologies.

74. Last Word: History As Geology, Beyond the Greensward and City Hall's HR Director -

History can be like geology once you get it in something that isn’t in the form of a book.
There are layers on top of layers that you may not ever see or miss until a site is wiped clean for the next present that used to be the future and will eventually become the past.
That’s the case with the city’s historic Medical Center where much has come and gone several times over as our city’s considerable investment in medicine and health approaches the end of its second century.
Health Sciences Park used to be the site of a hospital. You would think something as massive as the tower of Baptist Memorial Hospital’s central campus on Union Avenue would be missed. Yet even those of us who grew up with its presence drive past it every day without a thought of what was once there.
The same with the site of Russwood Park on the north side of Madison Avenue and the old bus barns where Beale used to run further east than it does now.
In recent years, new facilities have arisen as the medical center makes itself over in a kind of economic regeneration without a comprehensive plan.
There is now an effort to come up with a comprehensive plan for the area that is more than different ventures buying or leasing land and making plans for their needs.
Eight of the institutions in the area have hired a consulting firm to develop a master plan that includes not just facilities but residential and retail areas.
It’s a significant step for an area that remains intriguing for those of us trying to remember what was where and how long some of the survivors have been holding out in much different streetscapes than were there when they arrived.
The Masonic lodge at the dead end of Dunlap into Union Avenue is a survivor. It’s where the funerals were held for some of those killed in the 1925 river disaster in which Tom Lee rescued so many others.
The lodge at one time had an earth-shaking pipe organ that I had the rare privilege of hearing at a concert following its restoration in the 1980s – the ancient 1980s.
And I still wonder about the tiny medical textbook storefront and how it endures at a time when students rent books and others use digital versions.
There are still remnants of the porous border between the medical center and the Union Avenue auto row that used to exist and arose around the old Ford plant.

75. Last Word: Rallings Meets the Council, Million Dollar Auditions & A Pinch Plan Emerges -

His second day on the job, the new Memphis Police Director, Michael Rallings, met the Memphis City Council and discovered just what a huge issue police body cameras are – if he didn’t know that already.
His answers to some pointed questions about when police can turn off those cameras and why made this an uneven first encounter.
Council members told him they got an earful from constituents over the weekend in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Johnathan Bratcher in South Memphis. And some of the reaction they got was to reports that a police dispatcher ordered police trying out the body cameras to turn them off as they arrived at the scene of the shooting.
There are three cameras being tested. And one of the officers with them showed up after the shooting, according to police.
Meanwhile, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland still didn’t have a timetable for the roll-out of the cameras but did offer some specifics including hiring by the MPD of 10 new personnel to deal with the handling of what the camera records.
And Strickland’s intention is to pay for it out of the existing MPD budget.

76. Council Probes Police Body Camera Delay -

Memphis City Council members talk Tuesday, Feb. 2, about when police body cameras might be ready for action.

And there will probably be questions at the 11 a.m. executive session about whether a limited test use of the cameras recorded any of last week’s fatal police shooting of Johnathan Bratcher in South Memphis.

77. Sutton Reid Finalist for Reed Awards -

The Memphis ad agency that worked on the 2015 mayoral campaign of Jim Strickland is a finalist for three Reed Awards, given nationally by the political trade publication Campaigns & Elections.

78. Last Word: Out of Time, Brian Collins and Fear of Heights & A Different No Gang Zone -

I have a confession. Hillary Clinton is not happy with me.
I’ve seen the signs in recent weeks but didn’t want to accept the truth.
Then Wednesday evening, as I was about to put this column together, I got an email from the former First Lady and Secretary of State and Democratic presidential contender.
The subject line cut to the chase: “We’re running out of time, Bill.”
The message itself, on a backdrop of Blue State blue read:

79. Sutton Reid Finalist For Reed Awards -

The Memphis ad agency that worked on the 2015 mayoral campaign of Jim Strickland is a finalist for three Reed Awards, given nationally by the political trade publication Campaigns & Elections.

80. Overton Park Conservancy Agrees to Mediation -

The board of the Overton Park Conservancy has agreed to participate in a mediation process with the Memphis Zoo on the park greensward controversy.

The OPC board voted Wednesday, Jan. 20, to be part of the process. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland recommended the mediation during a meeting Tuesday with both sides of the controversy around zoo overflow parking.

81. Last Word: Winter Pre-Game Show, The Zoo Goes To Court And Hotel Fever -

You wouldn’t call this the eye of the storm, would you? We’ll go with calling this the pre-game show for the winter storm that is supposed to show up in Memphis at around 7 a.m. Friday morning. Think Super Bowl pre-game.
There is so much that’s been said in advance of this that whatever happens, it might be hard to live up to the preparation.
Much of the rest of this is like an arms race of sorts.
Consider the equipment list from Memphis International Airport.
10 snow brooms, 12 plow trucks, four de-icing trucks each with 40,000 gallons of deicer, four 2-ton salt spreaders and four tractors to keep the runways clear.
The city of Memphis Public Works division has eight snow plows ready to roll on major thoroughfares if the snow gets within the three-inch mark. A set of 16 salt trucks were to load up at 11 p.m. Thursday evening to begin applying salt and sand when needed, with continual inspections of road conditions. And that includes some pre-treated priority areas.
And then there was this truly unusual announcement from Shelby County Schools: the optional school parent camp-out was suspended Thursday evening because of the weather.
This is the camp out the school system tries its best to discourage each and every year at this time. That includes bar-coded applications and repeatedly emphasizing that 99.9 percent of those with the bar-coded applications get their first choice of optional schools, making the camp-out unnecessary. The applications are handed out over several days and are then time-stamped when they are turned in for consideration.
Nevertheless, the tents go up each year and voices are raised in the debate about whether this is parents who care more or parents who are carried away.
This year, the school system, while emphasizing that it “does not authorize or direct” the camp-out, says the line will resume Sunday at 7 a.m.
The school system also adds: “The current process being managed by parents will be recognized due to potential health and safety risks related to forecasted inclement weather.”
But is there a line to get back in line? And when does that start?

82. Overton Park Conservancy Agrees to Mediation -

The board of the Overton Park Conservancy has agreed to participate in a mediation process with the Memphis Zoo on the park greensward controversy.

The OPC board voted Wednesday, Jan. 20, to be part of the process. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland recommended the mediation during a meeting Tuesday with both sides of the controversy around zoo overflow parking.

83. Last Word: The View Across The Harbor, Crosstown Undercurrents and Bonnaroo -

The fishing puns are overpowering as Bass Pro Shops expresses its interest in redeveloping Mud Island River Park, on the other side of the city harbor from the Pyramid Bass Pro Shops opened at just this past May.
Bass Pro Shops is one of five companies to express interest in Mud Island as part of the process by the Riverfront Development Corporation to go a different way with the park.
The RDC released the names of the companies Thursday.
Earlier this month, we outlined the RVC Outdoor Destinations proposal.
We don’t know nearly as much about what Bass Pro Shops has in mind or the other three firms.
All five now head for what amounts to a second round in which they submit specific plans to a search committee of the RDC including how they will pay for their plans.

84. Ursula Madden: From Broadcast News to Memphis Communications Chief -

She didn’t realize it at the time, but Ursula Madden was training for her career as a local television anchor.

This was when she was a girl, growing up in Portland, Oregon. Little Ursula might have been sent outdoors to play all the time, but her mother had other ideas.

85. Luttrell, Strickland Attend Obama’s State of the Union -

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland both attended the Tuesday, Jan. 12, State of the Union address, the final State of the Union address by President Barack Obama

86. Last Word: Secrets In A Small Town, Bullard Bounce and Beale & Mud Island -

Munford! A winning Powerball ticket for the largest jackpot ever was sold in Munford and that warrants a rare exclamation mark.
Possibly two when you consider that small towns are supposed to be places where it is nearly impossible to keep a secret – at least from the other folks in the town.
The fact that it was sold at Naifeh’s, a long-standing Tipton County business institution adds to the story.
The person who bought the ticket in Munford holds one of three winning tickets which comes out to about $582 million for that ticket.
That is roughly the size of the city of Memphis operating budget.
There was a similar mystery underway Thursday in Dyersburg where someone bought a Powerball ticket worth a paltry $2 million. Probably worth an exclamation mark if I wasn’t over the limit and already feeling the unspoken disdain of my reporting brethren who are judging me harshly as you read this.

87. Last Word: Overton Park's Restless Winter, Across The Harahan and Higher Ed -

It may be chilly outside, but it might as well be July on the Overton Park greensward with all of the political heat that is building.
The thermometer spiked when more than two dozen trees donated to the Overton Park Conservancy in 2012 were removed this week by the Memphis Zoo which is preparing for large crowds in March.
That’s when its new Zambezi Hippo River Camp exhibit opens to much anticipation and much fanfare.
That and the New Year’s Eve legal opinion favoring the zoo’s position on its use of the greensward for overflow parking set the stage for a dispute the administration of Mayor Jim Strickland has had to mediate at less than two weeks in office.

88. Luttrell, Strickland To Attend Obama’s State of the Union -

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland will both be attending the Tuesday, Jan. 12, State of the Union address, the final State of the Union address by President Barack Obama

89. Tennessee Legislature Opens 2016 Session on Capitol Hill -

The Tennessee General Assembly's 2016 session will be a short one, likely done by early April. The gavels fall in the House and Senate chambers in Nashville at noon Tuesday, Jan. 12, opening the election year session.

90. Last Word: The Crest, OPEB Fever, Armstrong Leaves and An Elvis Warning -

The crest is here and it is not quite 40 feet on the Mississippi River gauge. The projections Thursday evening going into Friday’s crest of the river at Memphis changed a bit from the 40.3 foot level. The crest is 39.8 feet.
No reports of major damage anywhere in Shelby County, according to the Shelby County Office of Prepardness.
But the river’s high water is still a sight to behold.

91. PRSA Honors Armstrong As Top Communicator -

The Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has named Memphis Police Department director Toney Armstrong as its 2015 Communicator of the Year.

Armstrong will receive the annual award, given since 1976, at a Jan. 14 luncheon at the University Club. Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich and U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton will join him.

92. Last Word: Out With the Old, In With The River -

We end 2015 with an eye on the Mississippi River as the city marks the New Year with three major New Year’s Eve outdoor celebrations – one on Beale Street, another in the newly-awakened Overton Square and yet another in the Broad Avenue Arts District.
Two come with lots of memories of past New Year’s eves – with soon-to-be memories.
Overton Square’s comeback as a theater district has been a big story of the last two years.
But Beale Street at the end of 2015 is an institution that has also seen a lot of change in the last year with the move to a Beale Street Tourism Development Authority at year’s end.
Broad is a different story with a different context. The context is a diversified Memphis whose crowd is likely to be at least slightly more local than the mix in Overton Square and on Beale Street.
It's example could very well show us the path to a New Year's eve with public celebrations from Whitehaven to Frayser.

93. Lowery’s Prayer Breakfast Marks 22nd Year -

Myron Lowery is leaving the Memphis City Council as of New Year’s Day.

But the outgoing council chairman will still be hosting a New Year’s Day Prayer Breakfast Friday, Jan. 1, at 9 a.m. on his first day out of office in 24 years.

94. McKinney Appointed as Shelby County Lobbyist -

Assistant County Attorney David E. McKinney is Shelby County government’s new director of legislative affairs.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell announced McKinney’s appointment Tuesday, Dec. 29, to take effect Jan. 1.

95. Lowery’s Prayer Breakfast Marks 25th Year -

Though Myron Lowery’s 24-year tenure on the Memphis City Council ended Dec. 31, he planned to start 2016 with a familiar tradition: his New Year’s Day Prayer Breakfast.

96. Strickland to Replace Animal Shelter Director -

Memphis Mayor-elect Jim Strickland confirmed Tuesday, Dec. 29, that James Rogers will not be reappointed as director of the Memphis Animal Shelter.

97. Memorable Events of 2015 will Spill Into 2016 -

When you really get down to it, history is a collection of moments, moments that, when they fall one after the other over the long arc of time, eventually form the tapestry representing who we are.

98. McKinney Appointed as New County Government Lobbyist -

Assistant County Attorney David E. McKinney is Shelby County government’s new director of legislative affairs.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell announced McKinney’s appointment Tuesday, Dec. 29, to take effect Jan. 1.

99. Deadly Shooting in Chattanooga Voted Top Story of 2015 -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga has been voted the top Tennessee news story of 2015.

Muhammad Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, opened fire on a recruiting center and a reserve facility on July 16. The FBI recently described the attack as an act "inspired and motivated by foreign terrorist propaganda."

100. City Leaders to Take Oath On New Year’s Day -

Memphis Mayor-elect Jim Strickland takes the oath of office Jan. 1.

Strickland will be joined in the oath by 13 Memphis City Council members and new City Court clerk Kay Robilio.