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VOL. 132 | NO. 70 | Friday, April 7, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Spring Votes, Those Tax Bills and Tim McCarver on Baseball Changes

By Bill Dries

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Look for more details on the specifics of the “Gateway” project to start to emerge now that a crucial if overlooked piece of the geographic puzzle in the north Downtown area has come into public view. The city’s largest hotel, also the city’s original convention center hotel, is about to change hands and go back to flying the Marriott flag.

The deal emerged in writing Thursday after a story we did about a week ago.

New numbers in the transition of Memphis-based Fred’s. Usually in cases like this the figures have a dollar sign in front of them. And that is a factor. But the key figure is the number of Rite-Aid stores Fred’s will buy in its transition to a pharmacy-based health care company and retailer. It’s complex because this is tied to how many Rite-Aid stores Walgreens has to divest itself of in a companion move. The number for Fred’s now appears to be 1,200.

The task force on de-annexation says there should be three referendums on de-annexation and three automatic de-annexations -- all six areas curently within the city of Memphis. This report goes to the Memphis City Council with the backing of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. Expect some differences of opinion on the council.

Friday is early voting day for those of you who live in state House District 95. This is early voting in the special primary election to fill the seat in the legislature that Republican Mark Lovell gave up rather abruptly after less than a month in session in Nashville. Since there is a single contender running unopposed in the District 95 Democratic primary, much of the turnout is expected in the seven-candidate Republican primary that is thick with contenders from Collierville.

Our story also takes a look at some of the 2018 contenders who are already raising their profiles – Terry Roland in the race for the next county mayor and Randy Boyd in the race for the next governor.

Martha Kelly’s latest work in our pages is all about Memphis in bloom.

That goes for more than wildflowers.

The Downtown Review Board signing off this week on renovation plans for what will be the new HQ of Allworld Project Management on B.B. King Boulevard at Jefferson Avenue, next door to the offices of The Daily News.

Meanwhile, there are plans for a hotel on Beale Street although not within the boundaries of the entertainment district. This hotel would be between Fourth Street and Danny Thomas Boulevard.

Further south, around FedExForum, a renovation of a warehouse that a marketing firm will make its new base of operations.

Shelby County Assessor Cheyenne Johnson, Trustee David Lenoir and City Chief Financial Officer Brian Collins on “Behind The Headlines” to talk about the property reappraisal and your taxes. You know it is going to be a good show when the guests are telling each other things they didn’t know prior to showing up for the show. In this case it is information about the reappraisal of property for tax purposes conducted by Johnson’s office once every four years. Something here for everyone, including those of you who recently got or are about to get your home reappraisal notices in the mail. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. on WKNO TV.

How is your meniscus? Other than if you happen to be Chandler Parsons -- we know all about that. There is a Memphis medical device company that has been in clincial trials on a meniscus implantActive Implants president and CEO, Ted Davis, is a veteran of Wright Medical and MicroPort Ortho.

In the Tennessee Legislature:

More on the delay in the school voucher bill from our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard. Former state Senator Roy Herron of Dresden making an appearance in committee this week on the bill with some advice about the bill that would set up a pilot voucher program only in Shelby County: “Memphis is not Las Vegas. What happens in Memphis won’t stay in Memphis.”

A name change for the gas tax bill? There is also another alternative to Gov. Bill Haslam’s gas tax bill that would eliminate a gas tax hike.

Don Wade leads our Friday sports section with a question about whether Tigers basketball coach Tubby Smith has done one of the most dangerous things you can do in Memphis sports – under estimate the importance of winning at basketball.

A Q&A with Tim McCarver on the changes in Major League Baseball this season designed to speed up the game.

David Climer on why the Tennessee Titans don’t draft from the SEC.

And Dave Link in Knoxville on the college end of the NFL draft pipeline – the section that runs through UT.

Lots of reporting over a lot of years here on the start-up and accelerator scene – where innovation comes down from pie in the sky and meets the market. And our cover story this week in our weekly, The Memphis News, is all about the results of that movement locally. We also have some reporting on the experience of those who have made the strides toward a successful start-up and failed, which also figures prominently in future successes it turns out.

A PDF of the new issue is up now on this very website. The hard copies hit the streets Friday morning at a newsstand near you. And the online version of the cover story goes up on this website Friday afternoon.

The issue also sets the stage for next week’s latest installment of our Newsmakers Seminar series at the Brooks which is all about the explosion of start-ups locally. Our keynote speaker for the 3:30 p.m. Thursday event is Scott Vogel, the executive director of Regional One Health Center for Innovation. The panel includes Jessica Buffington, CEO of FrontDoor, a national real estate listing service; StartCo President Andre Fowlkes and Leanne Kleinmann who recently started her own communications firm.

Roscoe McWilliams was many things to many people in this city during his long life. That might seem like the long way around saying he had a lot of jobs in 92 years of life. But calling what he did several times over a job doesn’t quite seem to cover it. McWilliams was one of the African-American police officers in the class of 1948, the first black police officers on the modern Memphis police force. He was also a Memphis City Schools teacher and a leader of the Memphis Education Association. McWilliams died last week after a long life in which he was soldier, police officer, prison guard, teacher, librarian – and in all of those experiences he was most of all a Memphian whose story was inseparable from the story of his city.

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