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VOL. 131 | NO. 215 | Thursday, October 27, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: DOJ Reviews MPD, Big River Crossing Light Shows and Election Notes

By Bill Dries

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By the spring, we should have the first report from the U.S. Justice Department review of the Memphis Police Department. And we got a better idea Wednesday of what this study involves.

It’s not like a DOJ Civil Rights Division investigation that usually looks at a pattern of incidents. It appears to be closer to the DOJ investigation into Juvenile Court in that probe’s long look at statistics and the legal and judicial process itself. In the case of a police department, the MPD probe doesn’t have a judicial process to focus on. But it does have plenty of data about arrests as a pipeline of sorts to the judicial process.

The leader of this part of the DOJ also cautioned that some of the other reports this group has done have been rather harsh looks at police departments and their practices.

New crime stats Wednesday from the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission through the end of September shows a continued increase in violent crime citywide and countywide. But the rate of increase continues to slow after a January-February spike compared to a year ago.

More on the decision by the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority to end contract talks with 21 Beale.

In more Big River Crossing details. Hours at Martyr’s Park are being extended for those who want to see the crossing light displays and the crossing will have light shows each evening starting at 8 p.m. through December. Martyr’s Park, which features a Yellow Fever memorial sculpture, will be keeping the same hours as the crossing – 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

And another note about the bridge lights. They may not appear to be on at certain times including during the Friday night light shows. All of the decorative lights will go out for about a half hour as a train approaches the Harahan Bridge to cross the river. It’s a safety measure for Union Pacific railroad and another reminder that the Harahan remain a vital freight corridor. The safety measure will be reviewed over time

The Ikea store in Cordova sets its opening date – Dec. 14. And they are prepared for customers to line up outside and camp out for up to two days in advance.

While we are on that subject. The minority business contracting for the construction of the Ikea store came up earlier this month during our Behind The Headlines program on WKNO TV in a discussion about minority business growth.

Rusty Linkous, the president of Linkous Construction, responding to the claim that there was no black business participation in the project, a claim which has also come up in City Council committee discussions about minority contracting -- and that rules for minority and women owned business enterprises – known as MWBEs – were used to meet percentage goals for such contracting that classified Linkous as a women-owned business.

Not true, Linkous writes in an email:

“First of all, IKEA is 100% in compliance with the required MWBE goals set for this project by EDGE. Secondly, the EDGE MWBE goal was reached by utilizing LOSB, WBE and MBE companies. … Linkous Construction is not a woman-owned business and therefore, our involvement does not count at all towards the MWBE goal.”

Early voting in Shelby County through Tuesday has now eclipsed early voting totals to that point locally in 2008 and 2012. And Thursday is the first day for the extra hour of early voting with our 21 early voting sites opening at 9 a.m. instead of 10 a.m.

More fallout from the Justin Timberlake early voting selfie via Slate.

In a guest column, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell comes out against the countywide ballot question on the Nov. 8 ballot that would require county commission approval for the county mayor to not only hire a county attorney but also to fire the county attorney.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is campaigning for a couple of Republican incumbents in the Tennessee Legislature.

Sam Stockard’s “View From the Hill” column looks at Tennessee Promise and rising tuition rates.

The local food blog Caramelized goes to Kickstarter to launch a supper club.

A warehouse in the airport corridor becomes the new headquarters for Agape Child & Family Services.

Ballet on Wheels at 14 years old is looking for ambassadors.

The Tupelo home where Elvis Presley was born gets a $7 million renovation but could use some rain.

PROPERTY SALES 21 82 6,474
MORTGAGES 7 53 4,088
BUILDING PERMITS 240 353 15,714
BANKRUPTCIES 38 58 3,328