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VOL. 131 | NO. 71 | Friday, April 8, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Pastner's Georgia Tech Post-Season, Who Filed and Greensward Invitations

By Bill Dries

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Not so fast with the off-season. There is a Memphis post-season after all.

And the Grizz found it Thursday like a light at the end of a long-tunnel where a lot of people slipped and fell and can’t get up.
The light was Houston flaming out at home to Phoenix without the Grizzlies having to make a basket.
It’s all about the math. Stay in school, young people.

There’s no Tigers basketball post season. But the off season came to life suddenly late Thursday with ESPN reports that Tigers coach Josh Pastner is in talks with Georgia Tech to become the school’s next basketball coach, according to ESPN.
Georgia Tech fired coach Brian Gregory March 25 after the team missed an NCAA tournament invitation.
Pastner’s is the latest of several names that have surfaced in the two weeks since Gregory’s exit.
The Tigers basketball team also went without a post-season under Pastner’s leadership for the second consecutive season, which along with low attendance at FedExForum home games led the university to say it was reviewing Pastner’s performance and his future at Memphis.
It was a quick review with the season barely over before Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen and university president David Rudd announced Pastner would remain for at least one more season.

It’s been a decade since Gilad Development bought the Lakeland Factory Outlet Mall.
After a couple of false starts, the development company based in California has unveiled a very ambitious mixed-use plan for the site called The Lake District.
It includes options on land beyond the 35-acre outlet mall site that brings this to a total of 130 acres.
There is some skepticism and some concern in Lakeland about this as well as hope for what it could mean for the smallest of the seven cities in Shelby County.

Earlier this week we told you about Loflin Yard in South Main – yes, “in South Main” is the way it should be expressed.
There are some new residential plans to the west of Loflin Yard.

There is an entire segment of logistics that is about a place to put intermodal containers at the end of a journey to the city. There are intermodal yards and repair businesses.
And now there is the idea of using the containers as pop-up retail to create marketplaces that are like food trucks but without the mobility – sort of.

Just a reminder that the ever-busy Madeline Faber will be making her debut Friday evening at 7 p.m. on the WKNO TV show Behind The Headlines where the guests will include Memphis Area Transit Authority president Ron Garrison. And the topics are nothing but the future of the city’s bus system at what is a make or break juncture for a system that is the only form of transportation most of its riders have in a city where the car is king.

United Housing Inc. has an infusion of $1.1 million from First Tennessee and Pinnacle that the nonprofit says will be used for home improvement loans and credit counseling programs.

The Zika virus has arrived in Shelby County, according to the health department.

And a six-day wastewater leak into Cypress Creek and McKellar Lake has been plugged by the city with a bypass. But there is now the clean up as the permanent fix takes another three to four months.
Among the factors, a large fish kill in McKellar and E. coli levels in Nonconnah and McKellar that are hundreds of times over the acceptable levels.

Congressional primaries don’t usually wind up in double digits, at least in our part of Tennessee.
But when an incumbent does something that is legitimately a surprise – not the political equivalent of looking like you are surprised about that “surprise” party you helped your friends organize for yourself – the dominoes start to fall.
That’s what happened when 8th District Cong. Stephen Fincher announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election.
There was the initial rush to declare within hours of Fincher’s statement from Washington in the Republican primary of the majority Republican district that includes East Memphis and Cordova.
The final count at Thursday’s filing deadline for the Aug. 4 state and federal primary elections was 13 Republican contenders, seven from Shelby County, four from Jackson, one from Mason and one from Somerville. And there were four in the Democratic primary and another five independents for a total of 22.
This isn’t a Congressional race, it’s the Grizzlies before all the injuries started.
Here is our rundown of all of the local action that includes some nonpartisan local races with the primaries.

Speaking of rundown, the Tennessee Legislature’s sexual harassment scandal got much worse at week’s end.
State Representative Jeremy Durham of Franklin has now been exiled to another office building in the capitol specifically to limit his contact with women in general and women lawmakers, lobbyists, staffers and interns in particular.
This follows a scathing memo from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, detailed in The Tennessean, about what his office’s investigation of sexual harassment allegations against Durham have turned up so far.
With this many people who refused to be alone with Durham, it can’t help but raise questions about why no one in leadership moved to put an end to a very visible problem.

A follow-up to our item in the previous edition about weekend plans on the Overton Park Greensward.
Another event has been added to the Greensward schedule.
Citizens to Preserve Overton Park sent out hand-delivered invitations earlier this week to a picnic Saturday morning starting at 11 a.m.
CPOP is the group that was the plaintiff in the federal court case that stopped the interstate from going through Overton Park. It’s also one of the groups that have been critical of the Memphis Zoo for parking cars on the Greensward.
The invitations to the “picnic with decision makers” went to zoo officials including zoo president and CEO Chuck Brady – the personal target of much of the wrath of Greensward protesters – as well as Memphis City Council members and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
The invitations say to “bring your picnic.”
As of Thursday evening, no one has RSVPd
But those in a Facebook video of the invitations being delivered insisted it is a sincere gesture and also expressed some nervousness about how they would be greeted at the zoo and City Hall. They said the reception couldn’t have been more courteous.
Like everything else having to do with the Greensward, you have to show up on Saturday and just see who shows up and what they do.

So at the end of a busy week in covering the park, here’s a look at some of the finer points of what happened, particularly in the parking and traffic study.
In bringing out these points, we’ve deliberately taken a view here that focuses on the rest of the park beyond what is arguably the most controversial and politically charged piece of turf in Midtown at the moment.

An early season of Elvis sightings as filming got underway this week for the “Million Dollar Quartet” television series with the area around the Arcade restaurant on South Main given the perma-seal 1950s treatment.
How many people does it take to tape something over a tiny window so that no trace of the sun can show through the window?
Million Dollar Quartet should be on Beale Street in about two weeks

Coming soon to a movie theater near you “Elvis & Nixon” about Elvis Presley’s 1970 quest to meet with President Richard Nixon at the White House – a true incident that’s been chronicled in most of the definitive biographies of Presley. It’s also been the subject of a book just about the encounter by Bud Krogh, a Nixon aide whose book includes just about every White House photo from the meeting.
We’ll see whether the story as told in the movie remains true or not – color me skeptical.
Kevin Spacey plays Nixon.
Michael Shannon
, currently seen in Batman vs. Superman as General Zod, is playing Elvis.
The movie also features Tate Donovan, who once came here for a screening of the 1990 movie Memphis Belle.

Friday is expected to be the day that Gannett closes on its purchase of The Commercial Appeal from Journal Media Group, the second change in ownership at the CA in just under a year and a half.
Gannett is the company known for the national newspaper USA Today.

Other Reading:

A New York Times op-ed from Gail Collins on the Bible as Tennessee’s official book. The piece includes some comments from state Senate Democratic leader Lee Harris.

Also in the Times, a profile of John Prine, a singer-songwriter with some considerable connections to the Memphis music community including the recording of his 1979 album Pink Cadillac at Sam Phillips Recording Studio.

PROPERTY SALES 56 295 6,392
MORTGAGES 26 180 4,035
BUILDING PERMITS 128 840 15,361
BANKRUPTCIES 31 153 3,270