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VOL. 131 | NO. 206 | Friday, October 14, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: T-STEM At East High, Casinos Off the Ballot and Dylan Gets A Nobel

By Bill Dries

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About six years ago, the current cycle of change in public education within Shelby County starting moving. And the changes have been nothing short of historic. Since then at least one piece of a very complex mechanism driving the change has been whirring away. The hope in the last year or so has been that all of this is at a place where some long term plans can start to emerge that are more than reaction to what another cog in the system is doing.

That’s what Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson is trying to do with the school system’s footprint – it’s set of buildings and how they are used. It’s a process that never seems to stop long enough to just work on a plan and then present it. Hopson is working on a plan. But he’s also adjusting along the way. And a remake of East High School has been on his list for several years now. What’s emerged is a new kind of optional school that focuses on logistics. And the school system’s proposal for federal funding to that end may have been rejected by the Feds in the most recent round of grant funding, but Hopson had already said in September that he would likely push ahead with the plans even if the U.S. Department of Education said no.

The federal government calls optional schools “magnet schools” and the magnet schools grants grounds rules emphasized that federal officials wanted to see such schools reduce minority group isolation. Race has been a factor in school board discussions about optional schools since their inception in the early 1980s. That’s probably because the optional schools were a response to white flight – an attempt to curb it.

The incoming executive director of the Urban Child Institute and the board chairwoman talk specifics of the institute’s new direction after hitting the reset button on several fronts.

Among the new areas – CANDLE – Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early Childhood and ACE – Acute Childhood Experiences.

Strike the proposal to legalize casinos in three Arkansas counties from the Nov. 8 ballot. The Arkansas Supreme Court took the referendums off the ballot Thursday based on a challenge that included Southland in West Memphis and Oaklawn in Hot Springs.

The Crosstown Concourse lease up continues with an organic vegetarian restaurant called Mama Gaia that opens early next year.

The Tigers in New Orleans Friday evening to play Tulane in a game on ESPU:

Elsewhere in our Friday sports section:

David Climer on UT and Alabama this weekend after the Volunteers double-overtime loss to Texas A&M a week ago raised questions about what is next now that Tennessee has something in the loss column.

Don Wade on the start of the NBA season and a Press Box column on Alan Cross, the Tiger football player who is a walk-on for the Tampa Bay Bucs this season. Cross is having his Millington Central jersey retired at the school Friday.

The cover story in The Memphis News is the coming of Big River Crossing, including the West Memphis end of all of this. As usual, the PDF of the new issue in its entirety including Andrew J. Breig’s fantastic photos is on this website right now. The hard copies go in the racks Friday morning and the story goes up on this website Friday afternoon.

Bill Gibbons and Harold Collins of the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission talk about Operation: Safe Community and “stop and frisk” on Behind the Headlines which airs on WKNO/TV Friday at 7 p.m.

A “Purple Night” fundraiser for pancreatic cancer research at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Verizon closing call centers in five states and the New York governor’s office is critical of the move, terming it “corporate abuse.”

Amazon plans to hire 120,000 workers for the holiday rush.

Goldman Sachs moves further into retail banking with an online consumer lending service.

And finally, Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize for literature:

“Crimson flames tied through my ears, rollin' high and mighty traps

Pounced with fire on flaming roads using ideas as my maps

‘We'll meet on edges, soon,’ said I, proud 'neath heated brow

Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.”

PROPERTY SALES 76 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 83 131 1,047
BUILDING PERMITS 190 277 3,028