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VOL. 131 | NO. 239 | Thursday, December 1, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Return of Stubby Clapp, Poplar & Ridgeway for Pedestrians and Mice

By Bill Dries

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The death toll in the Sevier County-Gatlinburg wildfires is at seven. Authorities believe a fire at The Chimney Tops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was what started the disaster and had consumed 15,563 acres as of Wednesday evening. At that point, the fire was 10 percent contained.

Stubby Clapp is returning to the Memphis Redbirds but he likely won’t be running from the dugout and performing a flip the way he did when he played for the Redbirds from 1999 to 2002.

He is the new manager of the Triple A farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals. So he’ll be coming out to hand over line up cards, argue with umpires, talk to pitchers and replace pitchers. That doesn't mean a flip on the way to any of those duties is out of the question.

We’ll find out March 30, when Clapp makes his debut as manager in the Redbirds exhibition game at AutoZone Park against the Cardinals in what is billed as the “Battle of the Birds.”

By the way, Clapp got the first hit in AutoZone Park.

Since his playing days with the Cardinals in 2001, Clapp has been hitting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays among other assignments. Welcome back to the National League where pitchers have to play the total game of baseball.

He returns to Memphis as manager Mike Shildt becomes quality control coach for the Cardinals in the St. Louis front office.

Within an hour of the announcement Wednesday, the cracks about Stubby and Tubby had already begun.

American Apparel is exiting South Main at the end of December after its second bankruptcy in a year. The store ends an 11-year run Downtown at a central intersection in the South Main district.

Another important intersection, Poplar and Ridgeway isn’t associated with the concept of walkability. But three commercial real estate firms in what is the capital of Class A office space are making plans in that direction. This is something we reported on back in early 2014.

One of those talking about this then was county commissioner Heidi Shafer, who was among those prominent in a County Commission discussion Wednesday of the disastrous roll-out of a new computer system controlling legal records of the local criminal justice system. County Commissioners got herded into a closed attorney-client meeting after several commissioners used the l-word – litigation -- in the open committee session. Meanwhile, General Sessions Court judges now want the General Sessions Court Clerk to print what could be thousands of pages of court documents and dockets every day and they’ve put that in the form of a court order. Clerk Ed Stanton went to the commission Wednesday to say he will be asking for more employees and more overtime pay to handle the court order.

Our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard, in his “View From The Hill” column talks with Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville, among others, about the Legislature’s legal challenge of the Refugee Resettlement Program with a month left in the Obama administration. The Legislature, specifically its Republican super-majorities, have hired their own counsel for the challenge after Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery declined, saying the U.S. Constitution puts the feds in charge of immigration and specifically refugee resettlement. The challenge is one of those matters that continues despite the change at the White House in January that is also likely to be a dramatic change in policy on issues like immigration.

We are awash here in more detailed data from the Election Commission which we will be exploring directly. As you know, the week after the holiday began with the certification of the Nov. 8 election results. The attorney for the Election Commission also told his clients that the lawsuit contesting the results of the City Court Clerk’s race from 2015 is probably about to be a done deal with no change in the outcome but a different set of vote totals.

Jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum is home for the holidays with a Gospel According to Jazz show at Clayborn Temple booked for Dec. 11, the latest event at the recently revived church that is undergoing a different kind of previtalization south of FedExForum.

The church is also hosting a Choose901 Holiday Pop Up shop this weekend – the third annual for Choose901.

And the Memphis Indie Holiday Market returns Dec. 10 at Muddy’s Bake Shop in Cooper-Young.

Meanwhile landlords and tenants are already looking for lease deals after the shopping and returns and New Year’s champagne are gone but inventory remains.

After the holidays, the reshaping of the Shelby County Schools system moves to another tier of rightsizing. Here’s a review of where the proposal by SCS is at this point.

On a related note, the state gets more federal money for pre-school – a $17.4 million share for the state.

There is a company in Cordova that produces mice with custom genes – specifically a certain gene turned off -- and provides those mice to researchers to study diseases at different stages. This is a business path that includes a lot of unexpected turns, a former Memphis Mayor and a Nobel Prize winning Italian molecular geneticist.

There is about to be a new element added to the periodic table, for those who are fans of said table. (I know you are out there.) And it looks like it will be called Tennessine.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry Division -- or the IUP-CIC – is recommending Tennessine as the name for what is otherwise element 117. SCIENCE.

The discovery of the element was verified this past January and the name is a tribute to the Tennessee research centers involved in the discovery – the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University.

All there are involved in research into superheavy elements – Dig? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

The road to Tennessine came from a separation of ultrapure Berkelium 294, which took nine months.

So there is now a five-month public comment period and after reviewing the comments, the IUP-CIC will forward its final recommendation to the IUP Council.

Netflix announced an offline option Wednesday to match what Amazon.com has been offering for the past year. You will still find it necessary to gauge your level of friendship with others by how wiling they are to share their password.

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396