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VOL. 132 | NO. 161 | Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: Night in the Park, Hattiloo Goes Bigger & Cohen on the Republican Soul

By Bill Dries

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A gathering in Health Science Park a little before 11:30 Monday evening by a group of protesters who Facebooked that their intent was to take down the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Memphis Police showed up quickly and the police supervisor told those around the statue that the park is a private park and that no one can be in the park after 8 p.m. No arrests but the police did ask for identification from those in the park.

The park is a city park that is managed by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. But it does raise some interesting questions about whether UTHSC could somehow play a role in the city's plan to remove the monument and others like it.

Or it could be a really bad interpretation of the law which sometimes happens when it comes to putting all of the legal qualifications into actual practice.

The park is also a key piece of real estate in the Medical District Collaborative ongoing plans for development of the medical center area that links the various institutions with retail, housing and other uses.

The UTHSC arrangement is a long-standing one with the city and came with an earlier controversy over the Forrest statue more than 20 years ago. The university chose early in its management of the park to hold a banquet there including then Gov. Ned McWherter and the Memphis Branch NAACP, among other organizations, protested -- saying a state institution shouldn't be doing anything in the shadow of the monument. After a few weeks of negotiations, UTHSC dropped plans for the gathering in the park.

In reaction to the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, protests in Nashville Monday that left a black shroud over the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust in the capital. Gov. Bill Haslam again called on the state Historical Commission and Capital Commission to consider removing the bust as he did two years ago after the Emanuel massacre in Charleston. The NBF statue here in Health Science park was climbed by someone Monday afternoon who put a white hood over the likeness of Forrest.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis on “Behind The Headlines” talks before Charlottesville about differentiating between President Donald Trump and the Republican majorities in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate and mincing no words about his feelings for Trump. Since the recording of the show, Cohen has called on U.S. Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander to more toward, in effect, reclaiming the soul of the Republican party from Trump.

A soggy beginning Monday evening to the high school football jamborees. Meanwhile on Friday, before the kickoff of the Germantown High School football season, the field house at GHS will be dedicated as the Ernest Chism Fieldhouse – Chism, who died last September, was the long-time principal of Germantown High School, county school board member and Germantown alderman.

It’s been a few months since Hattiloo Theatre founder Ekundayo Bandele announced that playwright Katori Hall would be the theater’s new artistic director. Last week, before opening night for the theater’s current production of “Ruined”, he and Hall talked with a small group of patrons about an ambitious plan for the black theater company that is part professional development, part step up to regional arts magnet and part about Hattiloo having an impact beyond theater in Memphis.

In our Women & Business Emphasis:

Daphne Large, the CEO of Data Facts Inc., didn’t seek to have her business certified as a woman-owned business for 25 years. What changed her mind? Also in the same story about efforts to increase contracts – local government and business to business – Nisha Powers of Powers-Hill talks about her problems with the definition of the disparity in government contracts and thus the remedy.

Valerie Morris’s unusual path to head of her own marketing firm that included culinary arts classes at the Shelby County Corrections Center and Caesars Entertainment in Tunica.

And what the experience of other women in business locally has meant to the owner of a tour business focused on African-American history.

In the race for Tennessee Governor, Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black names former state Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher as her campaign co-chairs. Ramsey knows the raise well from his 2010 bid in the three-way Republican primary with current Gov. Bill Haslam and former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp.

In Hickory Hill, a belated formal opening Monday morning for Bluff City High School, the Green Dot charter school turned down by Shelby County Schools that as a result is the first charter school in the state to be overseen directly by the Tennessee Department of Education. And there is still a bit of a flap between SCS and Green Dot over student data.

A short meeting for Shelby County Commissioners Monday with a couple of parking contracts that point to the seemingly perpetual parking crunch for those who work and have business at 201 Poplar as well as the courthouse.

In advance of The Daily News Seminar on start-ups Thursday at the Brooks, a recap of the line-up and some national praise recently for the start-up community here.

A new baggage carousel at Memphis International Airport. And Allegiant kicks off Memphis-Las Vegas service Monday with free barbecue and vacation packages elsewhere in town.

New indications Monday from another Fed official that the Fed will be paring its bond portfolio when it meets next month.

Target buys a tech company whose software connects retailers with 700 delivery companies that then pick up items and take them to customers. Can you say “same day delivery”?

Medicaid seems to get stronger after the failure in Congress to pass “skinny repeal” earlier this month.

A new study shows 20 percent of Americans describe their workplace as hostile or threatening.

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