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VOL. 131 | NO. 11 | Friday, January 15, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Secrets In A Small Town, Bullard Bounce and Beale & Mud Island

By Bill Dries

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Munford! A winning Powerball ticket for the largest jackpot ever was sold in Munford and that warrants a rare exclamation mark.
Possibly two when you consider that small towns are supposed to be places where it is nearly impossible to keep a secret – at least from the other folks in the town.
The fact that it was sold at Naifeh’s, a long-standing Tipton County business institution adds to the story.
The person who bought the ticket in Munford holds one of three winning tickets which comes out to about $582 million for that ticket.
That is roughly the size of the city of Memphis operating budget.
There was a similar mystery underway Thursday in Dyersburg where someone bought a Powerball ticket worth a paltry $2 million. Probably worth an exclamation mark if I wasn’t over the limit and already feeling the unspoken disdain of my reporting brethren who are judging me harshly as you read this.

UPDATE: The Munford winner turned up Friday morning on the Today show -- John and Lisa Robinson of Munford.

The president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis came to Memphis Thursday and moved the markets. Some accounts of Jim Bullard’s speech at the Economic Club of Memphis referred to it as a Bullard bounce.
Here is more on what the market did and why and a world view of the longer term economic turmoil. And in that turmoil, a national fall in average long term mortgage rates.

The next chapter in the revived Overton Park Greensward controversy is a plan to plant a tree on the greensward Saturday morning and the first comments on this from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

As we mentioned here Wednesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was our guest on the WKNO TV program Behind The Headlines. And he made news in three areas: the gas tax, school funding and higher ed. Take your pick and watch Friday evening at 7pm.

We know more about the four companies who want to be the day-to-day manager of the Beale Street entertainment district.
The Beale Street Tourism Development Authority reviewed the proposals Thursday from four very different companies. Two are no strangers to controversy.

Meanwhile, last year we gave you the first outline of a plan by RVC Outdoor Destinations to redevelop Mud Island River Park. And RVC has now submitted its proposal to the Riverfront Development Corp.
Company founder Andy Cates emphasizes this is not set in stone. But it includes some ideas that are certain to generate a lot of discussion about a Memphis landmark that has always been a bit of a lightning rod since it began rising out of the river waters at the dawn of the 20th century.
There is the legend that it was formed on the wreckage of a Civil War gunboat – not true.
E.H. Crump alternately proposed dynamiting it into oblivion as a river navigation hazard. He also proposed keeping it and filling in the city harbor to make it physically part of Memphis.
There were court cases on whether it was in fact part of Memphis or Tennessee.
Some 60 years after Crump’s proposal to fill in the harbor, Mayor Willie Herenton had the same idea.
It never got very far either time.
Then there were the Sidney Shlenker-era proposals which included such names as Rakapolis, Festival Island and Bud Boogie Beach, whose imported sand area on the southern end of Mud Island can still be seen ever so faintly on Google maps.

Don Wade offers some perspective on the Grizzlies move away from Grit ‘n’ Grind and its return.

STUBBY CLAPP (again no going over the exclamation mark limit) and the Tigers tough win over Temple.

Meanwhile, UT weighs a renovation for Neyland Stadium.

Ikea site prep is underway in Cordova. And there are some construction details ready to go and others still being discussed -- all involving sustainability.

Frances Hooks, the widow of judge and civil rights icon Benjamin Hooks and an activist in her own right, died Thursday.
She was 88 years old.
At a time when the civil rights movement’s public face had moved just a few clicks beyond integration of public spaces, Frances Hooks was working on economic empowerment issues by creating enduring institutions in our community that still exist to this day.
Those institutions recognized that there really is no barrier between economic and social issues.
They included the Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis and what is now the Memphis Prep program.
My most vivid memory of her is a recurring image across numerous events over a lot of years.
It is her husband at a podium or rostrum toward the end of an event wrapping things up with some more immediate points on what was next – the next meeting, where a gathering would be or acknowledging dignitaries in the audience.
She is standing behind him with her hand pressed against his back, speaking softly but firmly into his back with her head down, unseen by the audience but heard loud and clear by him.
Her husband often said there are two kinds of men, “Those who do what their wives tell them now and those who do what their wives tell them later.”

PROPERTY SALES 83 405 4,276
MORTGAGES 104 424 4,814
BUILDING PERMITS 148 883 10,151
BANKRUPTCIES 53 264 3,149