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VOL. 131 | NO. 141 | Friday, July 15, 2016

Last Word: Conley Makes It Official, No "Figure Heads" and Early Voting Opens

By Bill Dries

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Mike Conley signed on the dotted line about an hour before the press conference confirming that he and the Grizz front office have closed on the deal that makes him the highest paid player in NBA history… for now.

Conley said Thursday that he’s sure in a couple of years, if not sooner, someone else will be the highest paid player.

Conley also talked in general terms about the Black Lives Matter protests in Memphis near the end of an eventful week in the city in which the movement and what it means has been the dominant topic.

At week’s end those with most of the organizations involved in the effort were also seeking to better define themselves publicly and added a few demands to the list they gave to Mayor Jim Strickland earlier in the week.

Behind The Headlines on WKNO Friday at 7 p.m. is a reporters’ roundtable that is mostly about the protests.

Outside Memphis, there are few places where these discussions are not happening. Don Wade encountering plenty of discussions during SEC Media Days in Birmingham.

The cover of our weekly, The Memphis News, is also a look specifically at the bridge protest Sunday and elsewhere there is a healthy dose of SEC Media Days coverage that has some football and some of the world off the football field. You’ll also see some quotes about the SEC from Ron Higgins, formerly of the Commercial Appeal.

The PDF of the issue is already up on this very website and the hard copy hits newstands Friday.

The Memphis Zoo sent an email to its members Thursday evening that indicates there is no agreement between the zoo and the Overton Park Conservancy on how to get people from the East Parkway surface parking lot both agree on into the western side of the park that includes the zoo and the Greensward.

The zoo is calling for its members to email city council members to push for allowing “ecofriendly” trams to run through the Old Forest instead of Strickland’s proposal for a shuttle system that goes north on East Parkway and then south on North Parkway – that’s a good opening to either a good blues song or a good country song.

The council is scheduled to take a final vote on this at Tuesday’s council session. But don’t be surprised if the ordinance vote gets delayed again and the council instead might approve a general resolution of support for Strickland’s plan as it stands, with some details still to be worked out and codified in the ordinance later.

Early voting opens Friday at one of the 22 locations across the county. That location is 157 Poplar Ave. Downtown. The other locations open Monday and all 22 are then open through July 30. Election day is Aug. 4.

It’s also the start of early voting across the state Friday and on the eve of that state Rep. Jeremy Durham of Franklin suspended his re-election campaign, per The Tennessean, citing this week’s scathing report to the Legislature from Attorney General Herbert Slatery. Slatery detailed numerous allegations of sexual harassment by Durham, who early in the scandal gave up his leadership position in the house and was exiled by House Speaker Beth Harwell to another state office building to limit his contact with women working on Capitol Hill.

As a city, many of our murals – and we have a lot of them – tend to be horizontal. I like to think it is because we have a lot of stories to tell and some of our stories cover a lot of ground.

But at Main Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard a new vertical mural went up this week that draws the eye up several stories with a reach to the street.

That rate of African-American women dying of breast cancer in Memphis is disproportionately higher than the rates for other women in the city, according to a recent study of 25 cities across the country.

With that in mind, Baptist Women’s Health Center has hired a disparity coordinator for its breast health program to make sure the center’s programs, including a mobile mammography unit, are reaching all parts of the city.

A national design competition went looking for a typical older suburban home for a redesign to accommodate older homeowners who want to keep their home, yet have it be adaptable to their lifestyle as older people. And here in Memphis that brought them to the doorstep of a 50-year old, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Raleigh that is getting a $75,000 makeover that focuses not necessarily on its exterior but on its functionality. The whole premise is to make these kinds of universal design changes to affordable housing.

Once the work is completed United Housing will select a veteran’s family to move into the home free of charge.

State education officials in Nashville have signed on the dotted line with Questar, the testing firm that takes over the state’s student achievement testing from Measurement Inc., the testing company the state dumped for massive problems in this past school year’s TnReady tests.

In the process, Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen also announced Thursday the new tests will happen in a single window near the end of the school year and the different parts will be shorter with an eye toward cutting the amount of time the overall testing takes in the classroom.

Nationally:

U.S. mortgage rates are near historic lows and not really moving.

But U.S. producer prices for June rose at a faster pace than they have in the last year.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 6 6 196
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173
BANKRUPTCIES 42 42 795
BUSINESS LICENSES 2 2 331
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0