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VOL. 132 | NO. 246 | Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Grizz Troubles Deepen, Germantown Kroger Enigma and The Strikers

By Bill Dries

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Tigers over Great Danes Tuesday at the Forum 67 – 58. The Grizz are in Washington Wednesday to play the Wizards and some of the attention around the Grizz is shifting away from what happens on the court. What would you call the place that the Grizz are at this mile marker past Grit & Grind? It is more than a losing streak, says Don Wade in his Press Box column.

The developer of what was the Kroger store on Exeter Road in Germantown has now bought the building in an $8.1 million deal and there is still no definitive word on what will go in the space after it was initially to be the site of a Trader Joe’s. That may still be the case or it may not.

In the Gibson Guitar Factory project, the lease transfer to the new owners is approved by the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. And in the process there are a few more clues or perhaps possibilities for what could happen on the property once Gibson moves out. Gibson has an option to continue there for up to two years. Some discussion Tuesday about the possibility that Gibson could remain in a part of the building.

The Shelby County Election Commission says it has a conflict – the city charter says ranked-choice voting but the state election coordinator says it is not permissible under state law. So the election commission voted Tuesday to file a lawsuit in Nashville to settle the matter – in legal terms, get a declaratory ruling from a Chancellor there on the controversy. The election commission’s attorney, John Ryder, says regardless of the ruling to come, the November referendum question seeking to repeal the RCV amendment to the city charter remains on the ballot.

The contenders for Governor in the August primaries have been through here since well before Thanksgiving. Now some contenders in the August primaries for the state legislature are opening up shop including intra-party challengers in at least one case.

Since that story went to press Bartlett alderman Bobby Simmons has filed for Juvenile Court Clerk in the May county Republican primary. And Mick Wright of Bartlett has pulled a petition to run in the Republican primary for county commission District 3 becoming the first prospective candidate to pull for the seat Republican David Reaves is leaving at the end of the current term.

In the Republican primary for Tennessee Gov., U.S. Rep. Diane Black announced Tuesday a $4,000 contribution to her campaign from “Great America Committee” – the PAC of Vice President Mike Pence.

The story of this coming spring in Memphis will be the saga of the Memphis sanitation workers who went on strike in 1968 in what was so much more than a labor dispute. It was a defining moment in the city’s history. This week, some of those strikers put on hard hats and wielded ceremonial shovels in the middle of Hernando Street where nearly 50 years ago they began daily marches to City Hall. The occasion was the groundbreaking for “I Am A Man” Plaza on the open lot across Pontotoc from Clayborn Temple. The city’s plans for the commemoration aren’t the only plans around town. The Memphis Coalition of Concerned Citizens is planning 50 days of protest and action and is very critical of the city’s branding of its events under the banner “I Am Memphis.”

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally wants the state comptroller to investigate problems in high school ACT scores – specifically the nonprofit status of the testing company, how much its leaders are paid, the information it gets on students and its contracts with the state of Tennessee.

The first of our year-ender pieces, this one on the health care industry – one of the pillars of the Memphis economy. And the pillar did some moving around and expanding in 2017.

Billy Turner of Collierville  pleaded not guilty Tuesday at his arraignment on a charge of first degree murder in the 2010 death of Tigers and Grizz basketball star Lorenzen Wright.

Kitchen fire before dawn Tuesday morning at Pete and Sam’s on Park which means the long-running restaurant is down for the holidays.

Just in time for Thursday’s Star Wars premiere, Malco’s Paradiso theater in East Memphis  opens an IMAX theater.

We are in an IMAX movie coming in February that is appropriately enough a musical journey across America. Here is the trailer. Note: This does include Flying Elvises which is usually an indicator that Memphis is about to get a pretty shallow fly-by treatment. But it is IMAX and how often do you get to see us in that format? So I will suspend judgment for now.

More from The Christian Science Monitor on the passing of Johnny Hallyday.

Atop our Memphis Newsmakers segment, Frankie Dakin, who is the new director of strategic initiatives at New Memphis. NEW.

PROPERTY SALES 107 331 6,877
MORTGAGES 60 239 4,368
BUILDING PERMITS 190 508 16,423
BANKRUPTCIES 22 136 3,532