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VOL. 131 | NO. 122 | Monday, June 20, 2016

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: Cavaliers, The Longer County Tax Season and The New Elections Chief

By Bill Dries

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are the NBA champs, beating the Golden State Warriors 93 – 89 in the final game of the NBA’s second season. I don’t want to hear a word about how baseball takes too long.

When the “playoffs” began April 16, two months and three days ago, Dave Joerger was still coach of the Grizzlies and Josh Pastner was settling in at Georgia Tech with a ban on his assistants playing golf.

Mayor Jim Strickland had not yet presented his first budget to the City Council.

People were still wondering if Donald Trump would be the Republican presidential nominee. And Bernie Sanders was giving Hillary Clinton plenty of trouble in the Democratic primaries.

So, who is ready for next season? We are.

The cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, is about the Grizzlies. Really not about the next season. It’s more about our reaction to the Grizzlies as they change and evolve.

Don Wade’s Press Box column offers more on the passing of George Lapides last week.

Shelby County Commissioners likely have a long Monday afternoon ahead of them as they try to put their budget season to bed. Yes, a season that endures beyond the NBA’s. The first order of business will be to see if a compromise on school funding from last week is still viable, and more importantly, has seven votes.

In less than a month, early voting starts in advance of the Aug. 4 elections and it will be the first election for Linda Phillips, the new Shelby County Elections Administrator who has been on the job here for about a month.

The election commission wants to avoid a repeat of the problems in the last election where some polling places didn’t have enough voting machines. So their solution was a recommendation that the entire county use a ratio of one voting machine for every 500 votes on election day. Phillips had other thoughts, saying a ratio that treated all precincts alike isn’t the way to go. And she made a distinction between election day turnout and early voting as well as active voters from inactive voters.

The Election Commission saw it her way but still wants extra voting machines ready to go on election day.

Undercurrent, the three-year old networking series, goes to Loflin Yard in South Main Monday. And the series is seeing larger numbers for the events which emphasizes gatherings and de-emphasizes a formal program or presentation.

Much of the story of Crosstown Concourse has been the partners whose leases of space in the 1.5 million square foot landmark made the comeback possible. Crosstown Concourse now has its first corporate headquarters lease with nexAir leasing 33,000 square feet.

Here’s more background on what nexAir has been up to recently.

Further down in Digest, the state’s unemployment rate drops to 4.1 percent and wages increased an average of 30 cents an hour in May.

The Memphis News Almanac: The first issue of The Memphis News, nuclear powered batteries and Operation PUSH raises money for Stax.

A closing note about the 8th anniversary of our first issue of what we think is the city's most unique publication. The Memphis News caught on right out of the box with very little promotion. It also caught on at a time when newspapers as an industry weren't handling a shift to the web particularly well.

A publication whose motto is "business, politics and the public interest" was a necessary combination that retains its relevance because it acknowledges that readers don't have blinders on that prevent them from having an interest in a broad spectrum of reporting that has one thing in common -- seeking the truest most relevant portrait of a community whose story has never, ever abided by any artificial border.

In eight years, we've done the broadest and biggest stories as well as spotted trends on their way to becoming enormous stories in the shaping of Memphis. And we've tackled the less than obvious stories that can be hard to go after with textbook journalism. We've done stories on the shifting temperment of the Memphis identity.

This is a much more competitive media marketplace than it was eight years ago. And that wouldn't be possible without the good folks we compete against every day. We also believe that we've had a lot to do with raising the bar.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 91 158 16,219
MORTGAGES 98 179 18,735
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 13 36 2,497
BUILDING PERMITS 136 349 33,738
BANKRUPTCIES 63 115 10,429
BUSINESS LICENSES 30 47 5,350
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 24 53 6,326
MARRIAGE LICENSES 19 52 3,563