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VOL. 131 | NO. 131 | Friday, July 1, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Highlander, Aretha's House and When The Old Daisy Was New

By Bill Dries

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There is Highland Row and Highland Strip and they do not meet, although they are just a short walk from one another near the University of Memphis.

That is going to be a handy point of reference because the area in general – called the University District – is coming along so well that you are going to be reading more about it.

If you are in the area, you know that the Highland Strip sign above the row of shops that was the heart of the old Highland Strip – think Popeye’s (not chicken) and U.S. Male – went up some time ago. And the Highland Row development between Midland and Central, also on the west side of Highland, is more than taking shape this summer.

And Loeb Properties has a contract on the western part of the Highland Row lot along Ellsworth to build townhomes.

The single family construction on the back of the lot was a part of the plans for Highland Row early on before the recession hit and the whole undertaking stalled.

It’s back on now. Although the Loeb part of Highland Row is just getting started with some more details of how this works still to come.

A bit of background on the county budget season and how it got resolved this week on the way to the Fourth.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich on WKNO’s Behind The Headlines at 7 p.m. Friday for an interesting conversation about crime.

It’s one in a series we’ve had on the program and will have. This show includes some issues raised in the June 3 show with Rev. Keith Norman, Harold Collins of Operation: Safe Community and Josh Spickler of Just City.

It’s almost guaranteed that when you have a mayor in a forum like this you will have questions about other related and unrelated matters. And that was the case.

He had a lot to say about The Commercial Appeal’s lawsuit against the city seeking to make public the list of all who applied for the job of Memphis Police Director.

The LeMoyne-Owen Community Development Corp. is involved in a plan to turn Aretha Franklin’s Memphis home in Soulsville into a museum.

That’s still a considerable distance from assuring the heavily damaged shotgun house has a future. But it was enough for a reprieve in Environmental Court Thursday.

Further back in the city’s musical history is Frank Stokes, a musician who recorded in the 1920s and 1930s when the record companies rented rooms in hotels, put blankets on the walls and a single microphone in a chair across from another chair where the musician played and sang.

Stokes died in the mid-1950s and about a week ago the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund, a group that repairs and puts up new headstones for blues musicians, unveiled a new headstone for Stokes at Hollywood Cemetery.

DeWayne Moore of the Mt. Zion group is an academic who has done scholarly work to flesh out the lives and talent of these musicians who lived in times and places few of us alive today can imagine. And Moore also dodges a minefield of stereotypes that get in the way of the unique stories of these musical masters who were here before Stax and Sun.

In Stokes’ case, he was singing on Beale Street – not a club but the street itself – when the Old Daisy was still new and the New Daisy hadn’t yet been built.

Don Wade on the NBA draft shake-out and its relationship to Mike Conley staying with the Grizz.

Promotions at First Tennessee and Bankcorp South settles a complaint by the Feds alleging discriminatory lending practices against minorities -- just above it in Digest. Further down, the state picks a site in Arlington for the West Tennessee State Veterans Home and E’s 24-Hour Café coming to Whitehaven where the Church’s Fried Chicken was on Elvis Presley Boulevard. This was meant to be.

PROPERTY SALES 70 70 16,267
MORTGAGES 30 30 10,117
BUILDING PERMITS 297 297 38,841
BANKRUPTCIES 44 44 7,641