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VOL. 131 | NO. 121 | Friday, June 17, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Back On, EDGE and Diversity and Jungle Room Sessions

By Bill Dries

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Are your lights on yet? How is your air conditioning? First came the rain Wednesday night and then came the power outages that stretched into Thursday.

So the last Twitter update from Memphis Light Gas and Water at 8 p.m. Thursday shows 248 outages in the MLGW service area with 2,746 customers still in the dark and the worst heat of the year so far. Those numbers translate to 95 percent of the customers impacted having their power restored Thursday evening.

At one point just after the Wednesday storm, 54,000 customers were affected by the outages. That was down to 11,353 by Thursday morning.

MLGW used out-of-town crews to help out with back-to-back shifts. And the city had opened cooling centers Thursday

A week of decisions on economic development incentives locally and not just for the ServiceMaster move into Peabody Place.

All of which has been keeping Madeline Faber incredibly busy.

First, EDGE has ratified its minority participation goal for projects that get PILOT incentives and we’ve got some insight into what was mostly an internal debate on the percentage and what to do if someone doesn’t met it.

All of this has raised some questions about minority participation in the bridge lighting project that was signed, sealed and delivered this week.

And the questions are raised for a project that is funded entirely by private anonymous donors but which is being overseen by the Center City Development Corporation. No incentives involved in any of this.

The agreement is not to fund the work and for the CCDC to then go out and contract for it. The private donors are arranging that and by terms of the contracts delivering the lighting systems for the Harahan and Hernando DeSoto Bridges to the public.

Second, EDGE approved two PILOTS this week. One is for the TAG Truck terminal at the old Mall of Memphis site in Parkway Village and the other is for an expansion at the Prairie Farms Dairy operation in Midtown.

The Midtown project drew some public comment questioning whether the dairy is the best use of incentives and the property next to the booming Overton Square district as the district is contemplating residential development to go with the entertainment district.

Turner Holdings executives, who own the property, were even asked outright about relocating.

Nevertheless, the EDGE board approved the PILOT.

Don Wade with the story of Ridge Smith’s dream to play Major League baseball that began in his grandfather’s backyard in Germantown. This week, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. Before ballplayers hear the roar of a major league crowd from the field, there is a long journey through moments that involve much smaller crowds but people who are individual and powerful voices in the story. And for every one player who makes it to the majors there are many, many more who don’t.

Don also has the cover story about Grizz Biz in our weekly, The Memphis News, which hits the streets Friday and is up on this very website as a PDF.

A quote to whet your appetite from Grizz GM Chris Wallace: “We are a more viable free agency destination than we have ever been.”

Some further detail on the winding road the county’s budget season has taken on its central detail – funding local schools.

At the FedEx World Hub Thursday, the debut of a third-generation Orbis Flying Eye Hospital which is a mobile teaching hospital with all of the attendant technology in a retrofitted MD-10 donated by FedEx five years ago.

The newest generation of the unique jet leaves for China on Sept. 2.

The jets have technology and facilities that couldn’t be turned out on the commercial market.

FedEx pilots also volunteer their time to fly the jets.

Kroger is starting to show off the bells and whistles of its mobile shopping app called “ClickList” that allows you to order what you want from the supermarket and then go pick it up without setting foot in the store proper.

Behind The Headlines on WKNO Friday at 7pm is a discussion we haven't had in a while -- The Fairgrounds and the Coliseum with some of the folks who took inspection tours of the Coliseum recently. We talk about plans, scenarios, no compete clauses and city priorities right now.

Metro Nashville schools are suing the state over the state’s funding of education for children form whom English is a second language.

And Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday, this is wrong time for Nashville to take the state to court.

Here is The Tennessean's story.

The Nashville school board’s decision to go to court follows lawsuits filed by a group of school districts in the Chattanooga area and Shelby County Schools.

SCS decided to go its own way and not join the other school systems because its legal beef with the state is different.

SCS officials also wanted to maintain some kind of dialogue with the state that would be harder to control with multiple approvals needed for any kind of settlement.

Other Other Reading:

The Hollywood Reporter looks at “Greenleaf,” the Oprah Winfrey Network series about a Memphis mega-church and its first family that is three episodes into its run.

Still seeing “MDQ” signs with arrows around town meaning the “Million Dollar Quartet” production is getting a good taste of early Memphis summer as a backdrop for the Sun Records drama.

Earlier this year, there was a bit of mystery as some session players known for their work with Elvis Presley gathered at Sam Phillips Recording for what was rumored to be a Graceland project.

RCA and Legacy Recordings announced Thursday that in August they will release the last recording sessions of Elvis Presley done in 1976 in the Jungle Room at Graceland.

And some of the work at Sam Phillips was toward the double CD release which will also be available digitally and on vinyl.

The finished results were on the last two Elvis albums released during his lifetime, not counting RCA’s decision to release his Sun Records singles from the 1950s as an album.

The second part of this is a group of 17 outtakes that were at the center of the sessions this year at Sam Phillips. The studio chatter between the takes in 1976 is also included and sequenced in the order the outtakes were recorded.

Some mixed feelings here about the studio chatter not having heard it.

The highlight is an alternate take of the George Jones tune “She Thinks I Still Care” whose arrangement is another exhibit in the case file of Elvis Presley versus What Could Have Been.

It’s honky tonk and has a quicker pace than the released ballad version.

All these years later the 1970s release of the tune is a reflection of the times it was recorded in – especially the thought process about what worked and what didn’t for the 42-year old King of Rock and Roll.

The alternate throws much of that out the windows in back of Graceland and goes for it on the shag carpet.

Here is the Rolling Stone account of “Way Down In the Jungle Room” including the alternate version of “She Thinks I Still Care” awaiting your judgment.

Back to the What Could Have Been Case File and a later Elvis version-remix called to mind by this week’s passing of Chips Moman.

Moman was never a fan of the version of “Suspicious Minds” that made it to vinyl after it was recorded at American, his studio at Chelsea and Danny Thomas, in 1969. Didn’t like the horns etc.

Curious about what he would think about the remix of the tune on “Viva Elvis” the 2010 release from the Elvis Cirque du Soleil show.

Just leave “Burning Love” and “Promised Land" alone.

PROPERTY SALES 51 426 3,824
MORTGAGES 27 229 2,508
BUILDING PERMITS 178 829 8,785
BANKRUPTCIES 35 152 2,056