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VOL. 131 | NO. 259 | Thursday, December 29, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Change at the Top, Legislature New Year's Resolution and Election Selfies

By Bill Dries

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It’s the Grizz and the Thunder Thursday at the Forum followed by the Tigers and South Carolina at the Forum Friday. And yes there are still people in town watching football. They are here for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl earlier in the day Friday between Georgia and TCU. You should join them.

Seriously, the Liberty Bowl football classic marks the end of an important year in sports locally with changes at the top of the Tigers basketball and football programs, the Grizz and the Memphis Redbirds. University of Memphis athletics didn’t make it into a Big 12 conference expansion, but then again no one did because the Big 12 didn’t expand.

Elsewhere in our Year in Review series:

We review the Overton Park Greensward controversy, in its third year of protests which proved to be a decisive year.

And lots of changes and new locations and new concepts in the local restaurant and food scene locally.

Our “View From the Hill” columnist, Sam Stockard, offers some New Year’s resolution for the Tennessee Legislature ahead of its return to Nashville in 2017.

Speaking of the Legislature, when we last checked in with Democratic state Rep. G.A. Hardaway of Memphis, he had posted a selfie he took of himself during early voting in October at an early voting polling place – a violation of state law. The selfie was no accident. It was an open challenge of the recently enacted law. Hardaway followed up with a request for a legal opinion on the matter from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery. Slatery’s legal opinion is that the selfie ban is Constitutional. Hardaway still plans to move in the upcoming session for the repeal of the law.

More on the appointment of Flora Tydings of Chattanooga this week as the new chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents as that group shifts to overseeing the state’s community colleges.

The Arlington schools system doesn’t have any plans at present for a new school, but the school system is about to start construction on a new $3-million central office on Arlington Trail that will allow it to move out of Arlington High School.

Also among the permits filed Thursday, a $1.5 million permit to begin construction on the Nordstrom Rack store in Laurelwood that is to open later in 2017.

The Memphis Real Estate Recap: The retail strip at Poplar and Avalon in Midtown that includes Planet Fitness is sold to an Israeli investment company; More details on the sale of land in Cordova by topless nightclub kingpin Steve Cooper in a deal that will bring an LA Fitness storefront to the retail strip planned for what is now a parking lot; And a REIT out of Texas sells a Hickory Hill warehouse on Freeport for $21.5 million.

Some thoughts on the upcoming Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards from past winners of the honor. The awards annually to one elected official and one non-elected public official are sponsored by The Daily News and the Rotary Club of Memphis East with the Rotarians and the Dunavant family selecting the recipients.

Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in November by the latest numbers nationally.

A national perspective on how small businesses view the Trump presidency.

And growth in the number of Americans retiring outside the U.S. The number has grown in the last five years as the number of boomers retiring has also grown. About 400,000 American retirees living abroad, according to the numbers from the Social Security Administration with Canada, Japan and Mexico at the top of the list.

PROPERTY SALES 76 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 83 131 1,047
BUILDING PERMITS 190 277 3,028