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VOL. 131 | NO. 166 | Friday, August 19, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Clawback, Coliseum Talks Begin and Galilee Cemetery Mess

By Bill Dries

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The new plant manager at the Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt plant didn’t know the plant had a nine-year $1.5 million payment in lieu of taxes agreement much less that the company hasn’t spent any money with locally owned small or minority business firms in 2013, 2014 or 2015 – that according to EDGE officials.

The EDGE board is considering seeking a clawback of the tax break benefit from Owens Corning if the company doesn't immediately address the situation, which is a first for failure to meet minority business standards in the agreements.

Owens Corning got the PILOT in 2009 on a $22 million expansion.

The Wiseacre concept of a brewery in the Mid-South Coliseum is coming to a talking of terms with City Hall as the week comes to an end.

And while there is some experience locally in the adaptive reuse of an arena with the Pyramid, there are some differences with the Coliseum at the outset of these discussions between Wiseacre and the Strickland administration.

The Achievement School District gets some criticism from the Tennessee Comptroller’s office on the way it has handled its finances. And our story includes a link to the complete report. Our story also fills in some important detail on a closer watch on those finances by the Tennessee Department of Education which has moved the financial part of ASD operations out of Memphis and to Nashville.

A clarification about our story in the Thursday edition on the Tennessee Educators Survey.

Survey results from Shelby County Schools and the Achievement School District were counted as part of the statewide results.

But because SCS and ASD didn’t reach the 45 percent participation level there was no local breakout of results for either district.

The local part of the Nov. 8 ballot in Germantown, Millington, Collierville and Bartlett is almost set with Thursday’s filing deadline for candidates. And the Bartlett elections for aldermen and school board were decided at the deadline with all of the incumbents running winning re-election Thursday by virtue of running unopposed. Same in Collierville where the mayoral race between incumbent Stan Joyner and challenger Tom Allen is the only contested race on the local ballot.

Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips and Shelby County Election Commission chairman Robert Meyers and Shelby County Election Commissioner Norma Lester are our guests on Behind the Headlines, which you can see at 7 p.m. Friday on WKNO.

The cover story by Andy Meek in The Memphis News is a look at how City Hall’s new administration defines transparency and how that definition differs at several of the media institutions that cover City Hall. The PDF of the entire issue is now up on this website. The hard copies are in the racks Friday morning with the story online Friday afternoon.

Dr. Meiyun Fan at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is studying a very aggressive form of breast cancer – basal-like breast cancer. And for the work she is getting a $100,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The research is another indication that medical research in our city is examining the shortcomings of chemotherapy treatments – in this case why the cancer cells can go dormant during chemotherapy only to re-emerge later. About 40 percent of the patients with this type of cancer have a relapse within three years with the cancer spreading to other areas of the body.

Associated Press reporters Erik Schelzig and Adrian Sainz report the state is preparing to end its oversight of Galilee Memorial Gardens, the Bartlett cemetery whose owner was sentenced to 10 years probation for burying bodies on land nearby that wasn’t a cemetery and burying multiple caskets in single graves.

As the oversight ends, it appears unlikely that the resulting mess will ever be completely resolved – meaning nobody will be sure who is buried where.

The AP piece also includes an investigation of state laws in Tennessee that regulate cemeteries.

More time for the Aretha Franklin house in Soulsville. Must … resist… respect … puns.

In our sports section:

The story of Razorbacks lineman Brandon Burlsworth is a new film out later this month.

UT athletic director Dave Hart is less than a year away from retirement – one more summer in Knoxville in what has been a hot-seat position lately.

Whole Foods to carry a new line of soaps that are made in Corinth, Mississippi. The Memphis stores are among those included in the initial roll out of Cottage Garden soap.

In Jonesboro, the search begins for a new chancellor at Arkansas State University following the resignation of Tim Hudson, who quit after a critical internal audit.


Wal-Mart’s annual profit outlook is up on strong sales.

PROPERTY SALES 32 176 2,507
MORTGAGES 26 101 1,687