VOL. 131 | NO. 7 | Monday, January 11, 2016
The Week Ahead: Jan. 11, 2016
Daily News staff
How was your weekend, Memphis? Here’s our weekly rundown of local happenings you need to know about, from drones and robot research to the Grizzlies’ annual MLK symposium at the National Civil Rights Museum...
Economics geeks might be interested in knowing that a key Federal Reserve official will be in Memphis this week to talk about the economy, just a few weeks after the Fed decided to raise interest rates for the first time in years.
Jim Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is keynoting the Economic Club of Memphis’ 2016 Regional Economic Briefing and Breakfast Thursday at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn.
We wrote toward the end of 2015 about how the FedEx Institute of Technology is ramping up a renewed effort to put itself at the center of technology innovation in Memphis. The form that effort is taking includes the development of what it’s calling research “clusters” – topics like cybersecurity and robotics – around which the institute wants to build research efforts and programming as well as interest from outside the institute’s four walls.
One example of that happens this week, with the kick-off event Tuesday of a new “cluster” the institute has decided to focus on: robotics, autonomous vehicles and drones. The event, held at the institute, will include learning about the research areas covered by the cluster in addition to networking opportunities with business professionals and individuals interested in the applications of the cluster's research areas.
As part of the university’s push into this new research area, the institute has also granted $182,000 in research awards for 13 proposals. The projects include enhancing human capabilities using unmanned systems and drones, drone journalism course development and secure information-sharing among autonomous vehicles, to name a few.
If you’re starting to feel a little spring fever, you might to check out the annual Cardinals Caravan. All-Star St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha is among the players that will be part of the event on Friday in the Home Plate Club at AutoZone Park. Admission is free.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the program at 6:30 p.m., and autographs are available for fans 15 and under. The Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty will be on hand, as well as popular former Cardinals and Redbirds players Stubby Clapp and Bo Hart.
Shelby County commissioners meet for the first time this year Monday with much less pomp and circumstance than last week’s first session of the year for the Memphis City Council.
The current crop of 13 commissioners are a few months into the second year of their four-year term of office, unlike the council members who kicked off the start of their four-year tour of duty at City Hall this month.
County government’s terms of office don’t start on Jan. 1; they start Sept. 1.
Same story, second verse in Nashville Tuesday for the start of this year’s session of the Tennessee Legislature. This is an election year, which means it is likely to be a short session – out by early April to allow the incumbents to get back to their districts and campaign for re-election in August primaries.
And make no mistake: Virtually all of the incumbents up for re-election this year – a third of the state Senate and all 99 state Representatives – will be seeking re-election.
We will have more in our preview piece Tuesday but among the items up for discussion is an estimated $500 million surplus.
Race and sports are a volatile combination. Sunday, Jan. 17 – the day before the federal holiday honoring civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the NBA’s MLK game at FedExForum – the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Grizzlies and FedEx will host a forum on the intersection of race and sports.
The Sunday symposium – hosted by ESPN’s Mark Jones and held at the museum, 450 Mulberry St. – will feature two of the three Sports Legacy Award winners honored at the Monday game, Jalen Rose and Tamika Catchings, along with one of the players in the game, Matt Barnes of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The museum has a history of exploring these issues in the past with forums that went along with the MLK game the Memphis Redbirds once hosted in April to honor King’s legacy on the anniversary of his assassination.
The Beale Street Tourism Development Authority meets Thursday afternoon and gets its first look at the four applicants to be the day-to-day manager of the entertainment district. That is the next major decision for the authority, which now has a lease with the city of Memphis to develop and operate Beale between Second and Fourth streets.
Jeff Sanford, a consultant to the authority, has been talking with potential management firms as well as fielding the applications. All have been told that Beale Street is far from a typical job for a real estate management firm. There may be other entertainment districts. But there are few with a history and cultural mission like that of Beale Street.
On the court at FedExForum, the Memphis Grizzlies will continue their season-long, six-game home stand with three 7 p.m. showdowns. On Tuesday, James Harden and the Houston Rockets come to town and the Detroit Pistons will be the opponent on Thursday.
But the main event is clearly Saturday night’s game with the New York Knicks because it will bring together Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes and Knicks coach Derek Fisher. The two men were involved in an altercation at the home of Barnes’ ex-wife during the preseason. Recently, Barnes served a two-game NBA-imposed suspension for his role in the incident.
• The University of Memphis will be in action at FedExForum twice this week. The Tigers play Wednesday against American Athletic Conference foe Temple at 7 p.m., and Saturday vs. USF at 11 a.m.
• The D’Army Bailey Shelby County Courthouse gets a new portrait for its walls Monday – specifically in Chancery Court. A portrait of former Chancellor Arnold B. Goldin will be unveiled Friday afternoon in the Part II courtroom where Goldin served until his appointment in 2013 to the Tennessee Appeals Court by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
• The book club over at Muddy’s Bake Shop on Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. will be discussing “The Bassoon King,” the new memoir from Rainn Wilson. Fans of “The Office” will especially want to give the book a try. The actor who played Dwight Schrute packs it with memories and anecdotes from his time on the show, among other things.
The Daily News staff compiles The Week Ahead for you, our readers, every week. You'll receive it as part of our Monday online edition. Email managing editor Jane Donahoe, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have items for consideration.