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VOL. 131 | NO. 59 | Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Confirming The Spike, Methodist Changes and The Honorary Miamian

By Bill Dries

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Lots of Memphians spending the week in Nashville in the name of bringing down the de-annexation proposal that’s already cleared the state House and is residing for now in a state Senate committee.

The Senate’s state and local government committee takes up the bill at noon Wednesday and we’ll be providing updates from the session via @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols.
Here’s a recap of where we are in all of this including Monday’s debate on the Senate floor that led to the return trip to committee with the committee chairman being the most vocal of the critics of the legislation as it currently stands.
Our best guess from 250 miles away is that the questions won’t be totally resolved with Wednesday’s committee session. Legislators are waiting on two legal opinions from the Tennessee Attorney General’s office on different but very crucial legal questions posed by legislators – one Democrat and one Republican.
The Senate appears to be against the idea of taking on a court fight if the state doesn’t have to.

Back here at home, new crime figures from the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission confirm a spike in violent crime over the first two months of the new year compared to a year ago. And the interim police director continues to talk about gamechangers being something beyond a larger police force and more Blue CRUSH.

The landscape at the Methodist University Hospital campus continues to change. And what is happening in the area of Bellevue and Union are changes that will profoundly change the land uses around Methodist.
We’ve already talked about the new parking garage underway which will free up land probably for development as residential immediately to the east of the Bristol Apartments on Union between the interstate overpass and Bellevue.

The president of Tennessee State University expresses her concerns about plans to undo the Tennessee Board of Regents system of higher education and move toward independent boards for the colleges and universities in the Regents system.
Glenda Glover
says the move strengthens the surviving University of Tennessee system possibly at the expense of the independent schools.

BPI Packaging of Memphis is going south of the state line with its plans for an $8 million factory in Olive Branch that is to hire 150 over three years.

Here’s a look at the latest mural in our mural-mad city – the one that’s going up at 107 S. Main St. as the new owners of the troubled property contributing to the building prep for the mural.

Your excitement however might not be a case of mural fever. It could be Trader Joe-mania as some of the paperwork to begin work on the Germantown site for the long sought retailer has now been filed. So has the paperwork on Char, the steak house and first tenant of the Highland Row development by the University of Memphis’s western border.

The Miami Herald notes that President Obama’s delegation to Cuba this week includes no member of Congress from Miami.
But it does include an “honorary Miamian” – U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis.
A nice exploration of Cohen’s Miami roots as well as more on his much-explored connection to baseball legend Minnie Minoso.
At the end of the trip to Cuba, Cohen said in a statement issued by his office that the widow of Hall of Fame baseball player Jackie Robinson was also part of the American delegation.
And Major League Baseball had its own front office roster at the game including fellow Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Joe Torre as well as recently retired Yankees great Derek Jeter.

More recommended reading from elsewhere: The Atlantic on the black church and the Black Lives Matter movement with a Baltimore setting.

PROPERTY SALES 51 180 16,377
MORTGAGES 21 57 10,144
BUILDING PERMITS 103 665 39,209
BANKRUPTCIES 31 107 7,704