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VOL. 131 | NO. 50 | Thursday, March 10, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Cubits Anyone, The G-Word and The TV News Crime Block

By Bill Dries

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How long is a cubit? After a day in which many of you got about four to five inches of rain and more to come Thursday, it seems an appropriate and timely question.
And yes, there is a cubit conversion chart on line for converting that and other really old units of measurement no longer in use like the mina, drachma or the synodic month.
So the average cubit, which is supposed to be the length of a forearm, is 18 inches or a foot and a half. That’s 0.4572 of a meter, which might as well be an ancient unit of measurement.
Someone had to say it.
According to biblehub.com – I’m not making up websites – the book of Genesis sets God’s instructions to Noah as an arc with the dimensions of 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits tall. And it was to be made out of gopher wood and covered inside and out with pitch.
The New Living Translation and Holman Christian Standard Bibles convert that to an arc 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

The g-word is getting thrown around a lot in the neighborhoods north of the Crosstown Concourse project – gentrification.
And the discussion involves University of Memphis research about the impact of the project on existing homeowners.
The discussion is an ongoing one over several years even during the recession when earlier versions of some of the development plans across the city now under construction were on hold until economic conditions improved.

Three post-season games in three days for the University of Memphis basketball team. That’s the path to the big dance. Don Wade compares the situation to a similar scenario just five years ago.
The American Athletic Conference tournament in Orlando starts Friday.

You could call the August ballot in Shelby County something of a tournament. The winners of the state and federal primaries advance to the November general election ballot.
The filing deadline for the candidates in the primaries and a set of nonpartisan local races is less than a month away.
And here is a survey of the action so far.
Fear not, every one of the 16 incumbent Tennessee legislators whose seats are on the ballot this year have petitions out to run for re-election.
The busiest race, however, is the Republican primary for the 8th Congressional district – seven Shelby Countians with petitions out. That doesn't include Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and several contenders over Jackson way in a district whose geographic territory is predominantly rural west Tennessee.

Some new developments on the broadest political front in Memphis – violent crime.
They came during an on-air town hall meeting Fox 13 television will air Thursday evening at 6 p.m.
We were there for some of the taped segments at the National Civil Rights Museum and paid particular attention to Mayor Jim Strickland on the legal challenge to the no-gang zones local authorities have been using since 2013 and Police Director Michael Rallings on community policing, specifically his definition of it.
Of the last three police directors, Rallings included, all three have had very different definitions of the concept. Larry Godwin thought Blue CRUSH was a form of community policing. Toney Armstrong did not and pushed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to come up with a national standard and definition as well as federal funding.
The Fox 13 conversation on those points and others was interesting, especially an exchange between Harold Collins, formerly of the Memphis City Council and now the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission, and Mearl Purvis of Fox 13 about the opening segments of most local television newscasts that are a virtual blotter of violent crime.
Collins challenged the television orthodoxy that includes sending reporters to small towns with violent crime when there isn’t enough in Memphis to fill the segment.
The first segment also likely features a look at the weather (especially if there is any kind of cloud in the sky or wind above 5 miles an hour – but that’s me and I digress.)
Purvis said Fox 13 has tried to put “good news” stories in the A block but that viewers don’t remember those stories.
She insisted the crime story on top of crime story has stopped at least at their shop.
It’s an interesting discussion. It’s also a perennial discussion.

New real estate numbers from Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of Daily News Publishing Co.
First, the local mortgage market was up 33 percent in February, which confirms some earlier thoughts among bankers that the market will grow more as we get into spring.
In new home sales, there was a lag in February from a low inventory of new homes in the area. Otherwise there appears to be high demand for what inventory there is.
Also a factor in overall home sales prices locally is an increase in foreclosures.

In the Memphis Real Estate Recap, four industrial buildings near Memphis International Airport sell as a group for $1.2 million, the Walgreens at Quince and White Station goes for $3.6 million, a medical office building at Poplar and White Station for $1.2 million and more U of M parking south of the railroad tracks.

Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard in his View From The Hill column examines rumors that there could be a University of Tennessee – Tennessee State University merger in the larger changes to higher education proposed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
Also in Nashville, reversing course on the liquor store cap that has become the most unpredictable item before the Tennessee legislature this election year. Elsewhere in the capitol, an AG’s opinion on who can sell beer and who cannot. And Haslam is talking about a gas tax hike late in the legislative session.

Nationally: Amazon has leased 20 jets in a move being watched closely by Memphis-based FedEx.

PROPERTY SALES 97 418 8,253
MORTGAGES 112 508 9,293
BUILDING PERMITS 194 1,059 18,126
BANKRUPTCIES 46 208 5,367